Two years away from the sideline was enough for Ron Zook — he wanted back in.
So when Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy called with an opportunity to return to the profession in which he had worked more than three decades, Zook jumped at the chance to interview.
McCarthy gave him the job. Meet the new assistant special teams coach for Green Bay.
"No, I didn't have to think about it at all," Zook said Monday at Lambeau Field.
At Green Bay, he'll assist special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum.
The addition of Zook was part of a handful of offseason changes to McCarthy's staff, necessitated in part by the departures of quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo to become offensive coordinator of the New York Giants; and outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene, who left to spend more time with family.
Alex Van Pelt, a former NFL backup quarterback, replaces McAdoo after coaching running backs for two seasons.
"Anybody can coach the position,” Van Pelt said, downplaying his experience. “The only thing it gives you is the ability to say, 'Hey, I experienced this.' That's about it in that regard. ‘I actually took a five-step drop and had to pressure out to the right side and threw an interception. I know what that's like. I've done that.’ That's really about all it does give you is say 'Hey, I've had these experiences and this is what I've learned from them.'"
Assistant head coach Winston Moss, who concentrated on inside linebackers since defensive coordinator Dom Capers installed his 3-4 scheme in 2009, will be responsible for overseeing all four linebacker positions.
“As Coach McCarthy talked about, I think it’s going to be more of an expansion (of roles),” Moss said. “I am going to be responsible for all four guys and (new linebackers assistant Scott) McCurley is going to help me from that standpoint. I see some great opportunities. It’s going to be a great challenge. Both the inside linebackers and the outside linebackers, there’s a lot of great guys. I’ll look forward to getting them when everything starts up again and look forward to having a great offseason.”
Like the rest of the team, the defense was mired by injuries, and playing without pass-rushing linebacker Clay Matthews for much of the year stung. Green Bay struggled against the run in the second half of the season and didn't have enough playmakers.
"Our defense is going to change some. You don't ever stay the same," McCarthy said. "We obviously need to get better on defense, and I think these moves that we've made on defense will definitely put us on that path."
Sam Gash replaces Van Pelt as the running backs coach. Gash, who had a 12-year NFL career at fullback, spent six seasons as the running backs coach for NFC North rival Detroit until 2012.
Gash and Van Pelt played together for a couple seasons in Buffalo. Now it'll be Gash's responsibility to tutor 1,100-yard rusher Eddie Lacy, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
“I’ve always liked Sam Gash,” McCarthy said. “He’s an excellent fit for us. He’s played the position, he’s coached running backs. He did a very good job in the interview process. He’s worked with Alex Van Pelt in the past. I think his transition will be very easy to our offense.”
Find Genaro Armas on Twitter at twitter.com/GArmasAP.