Coach: Lockout Good For Rodgers

Coach Mike McCarthy talked about the impact of the lockout and what his staff has been doing to stay busy without practices to conduct and players to evaluate.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy strongly believes his offseason program is a major reason why his team is the reigning Super Bowl champion, but he isn't exactly pacing his office that one of his players has been able to take it easy this offseason.

"A little longer break was probably not a bad thing for him," McCarthy said of Super Bowl MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers during an appearance on "The SiriusXM Blitz" on Tuesday.

"I can't believe I'm saying this on national radio. He's played a lot of football the last three years and has spent five years going through quarterback school. You get to the point where you start to be smarter with him in how much time you keep him on the field and things like that. It's more of a maintenance program that he goes through."

McCarthy had scheduled the rookie minicamp for last week, and four weeks of voluntary organized team activities would have started this week or next. Instead, everything's on hold because of a lockout that seemingly has no end in sight.

Most teams have had players organizing informal practices but the Packers are not among them. During a Monday interview on Sacramento (Calif.) radio station KHTK, Rodgers said he would consider doing so if the lockout "continues to drag on." Nothing, however, was in the works, he said, referencing the challenges of getting his receivers — all of them married with families — to gather at the same place at the same time.

McCarthy, however, seemed to be gently pushing a rethinking of that stance.

"I think anytime a group comes together, that's a positive," McCarthy said. "I think training together is very important, regardless of the position or what side of the ball you're on, just the camaraderie, just the ability to enhance and expand the development of group dynamics. I think those are all positives when you see your teammates come together."

With no players to coach, the coaches have been staying busy. With the Packers' season lasting 35 days longer than that of 20 other teams, the coaches' offseason routine faced a welcome delay with a run to the championship. McCarthy said the catch-up lasted until about May 1, with the coaches evaluating the scheme and personnel and conducting their end-of-season studies.

One thing that became apparent during the coaches' offseason review was the impact of a wave of injuries. Season-ending injuries to Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley rendered a lot of last offseason's work null and void.

"There were a lot of offensive concepts and packages that you didn't really get to that you spent a lot of time training," McCarthy said. "The positive is, you can still use them next year and you have a lot of practice reps tied up in them."

Now, they're working ahead. Usually, the training camp script would be finalized by the second or third week of June, McCarthy said. Instead, it will be finalized in the next week or two. Plus, for all the things his staff did right in handling a league-high number of injuries, McCarthy said the coaches need to do a better job of getting a player signed on a Tuesday night incorporated into the Wednesday practice and able to participate on special teams on Sundays.

And at some point, there will be games to play, so some of the game-planning has started.

"We're spending a lot of time on our divisional opponents and our first four or five opponents of the season," McCarthy said. "We're just getting ahead as much as we can and just watching what's going on in the legal system. We want to be ready to go when the lockout is lifted."


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.


Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.


Packer Report Top Stories