When the Green Bay Packers step on Ray Nitschke Field for their first practice of training camp on Tuesday, July 26, coach Mike McCarthy anticipates having a fully healthy roster.
“Maybe one (player won’t be able to practice) that I can think of off the back,” McCarthy said before Thursday’s practice, the final one of minicamp. “I’ll be disappointed if everybody’s not ready to go, but we’ll see in five weeks.”
McCarthy declined to say whether that player was Jordy Nelson, who missed last season with a torn ACL.
Also from McCarthy’s final press conference before the start of training camp:
— McCarthy said there will be more night practices “than we’ve had in quite some time.” It’s all part of adapting to a five-game preseason that has little flow to it.
“When you play Sunday, Friday, Thursday, Friday, Thursday, that’s not what you’re looking for as a head coach as far as how you’d like to train the team as far as the periods of time between each game,” McCarthy said.
— McCarthy and the training staff addressed the team before Thursday’s practice to tell the players their expectations for the five-week break before the start of camp.
“We talked about what we accomplished the past nine weeks and how good that we should feel about the workload, the quality of it and the investment that everybody’s made, and more importantly the gains – particularly our younger players – have made,” McCarthy said. “We talked extensively about that. We just wanted to make sure everybody has a clear understanding of the expectations for the next five weeks and the responsibility that everybody has to one another to make sure that these nine weeks and what we’ve accomplished is clearly a big platform for us to jump off of when we get going in training camp. At the end of the practice, I’ll probably just break them real quick. The message has been delivered.”
— McCarthy had little interest in detailing his message about staying out of trouble, again turning a question into an answer about offseason gains — and the necessity to maintain those gains.
“I think the reality is that it’s part of the business," McCarthy said. "We’re about education and training. That’s a big part of the environment that’s been created with the rules and so forth that you operate in the last nine weeks. I feel like we’ve definitely hit the targets. The application of education and training has to continue on a personal basis. We have a program that will be open here at our facility from 8 o’clock to 1 o’clock — players only during the summer. This is their time. I mean, this is their time to make sure they build on what they’ve accomplish. We’ve had guys make some big gains. You get into body compositions — we spent two days, yesterday and even this morning, we met as a staff before the team meeting just making sure we went through every guy, their body compositions, their targets and make sure the communication is clear, the expectations and what needs to get done and what they’ve accomplished. Ninety-five percent of it is about what they’ve accomplished. We’ve had some guys have great results these last nine weeks. When you have a player who put on eight to 10 pounds of lean muscle mass, that’s a hell of an offseason, and we had a number of guys do that. We just want to build off our successes.”
— There would be no Davante Adams “offseason MVP” comments from McCarthy this year, not after Adams suffered through a disappointing second season.
“I've stood up here in the past and ranted and raved about (them to) you guys. But it's not fair to them,” McCarthy said. “It's unfortunate, you compliment somebody, it becomes a wave of expectations and more things that they've got to deal with. You don't want to create questions for other people in the locker room. I think sometimes when you come out here and divulge and praise for certain guys, it creates questions in the locker room that they really don't need.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.