GREEN BAY – Alex Van Pelt isn’t going anywhere – except down the hall to a different Lambeau Field meeting room.
After two years as the Green Bay Packers’ running backs coach, Van Pelt will serve as team’s new quarterbacks coach, an NFL source confirmed Thursday evening. The move was first reported by CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora.
The move made sense from the moment ex-quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo, now the New York Giants' offensive coordinator, began drawing interest around the NFL.
Van Pelt, who spent nine NFL seasons as a backup quarterback for the Buffalo Bills and played the position at the University of Pittsburgh when Packers coach Mike McCarthy was working there, coached the Bills’ quarterbacks from 2006 through 2009 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterbacks in 2010 and 2011.
The Packers did not officially announce the move. Neither Van Pelt nor McCarthy was available for comment Thursday night. Presumably, McCarthy will wait to make any staff announcements until the entire staff is completed, considering he must now replace his running backs coach and also hire an outside linebackers coach after Kevin Greene stepped away from coaching last week, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.
Van Pelt’s move comes after new Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine had reportedly expressed an interest in having Van Pelt be his offensive coordinator. Pettine was officially hired by the Browns on Thursday afternoon, so it seems unlikely that the Browns would have asked the Packers permission to interview Van Pelt before the news broke that Van Pelt was shifting to quarterbacks coach.
Van Pelt becomes the Packers’ third quarterbacks coach under McCarthy, following Tom Clements (2006 through 2011) and Ben McAdoo (2012, 2013). McAdoo left earlier this month to take the Giants job.
Even though it’s not official, Van Pelt’s move should go over well with starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has a strong rapport with Van Pelt. His experience coaching quarterbacks should also bode well for No. 3 quarterback Scott Tolzien, who is under contract for 2014, and backup Matt Flynn, who is an unrestricted free agent but has expressed an interest in coming back after leading the team to a pair of victories and a tie while Rodgers was sidelined with a broken collarbone.
“I think I’m getting to the point of my career where I need someone who can continue to give me the things I need during the week as far as preparation. Make sure they stay on me as far as fundamentals,” Rodgers said on the Jan. 7 edition of The Aaron Rodgers Show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com. “I think it’s more of a tandem cooperation between the quarterbacks coach and myself helping out the young guys. That’s kind of my legacy as a teammate is helping out the young players.
“I know Tom was instrumental in my development. Ben helped me out a lot, as well, and wanted to help the young players out. He did a great job with Scott this year. As a quarterback coach, I think you really want to develop young talent and if you have a talented guy like myself now being my 10th season next year, I think it’s more about getting that guy ready to play and getting him all the necessary looks and preparation and conversation that I need before game day.”
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