Successful organizations don't treat everyone by a separate set of rules because they understand the value of team chemistry. What Mike McCarthy is doing by not having a mini camp before the draft is allowing everyone to feel they will be in it together. No one will have the edge over anyone else. Not the veteran and not the first round draft pick because the offense and the defense as well as the special teams will be taught to everyone at the same time. No player can afford not to be at the camps. The old way of having the mini-camp before the draft was usually just a reminder camp anyway. This was the camp where the players would get back together and the coaches would just revisit how players are working out. Just make sure everyone's alive. Throw out any new wrinkles that the coaches might be considering for the future, but that's it. Also they used it to get the new free agent used to the other veterans, but besides that not a lot was accomplished. Everyone attended because that's what everyone else did. Remember this is a copycat league. Monkey see, monkey do.
Here's why I think this is a brilliant move by McCarthy: Usually that mini-camp after the draft is mandatory, so he should have everyone's full attention. The veterans as well as the rookies will have an opportunity to prove their worth because everyone will be evaluated on the same things. I'm sure McCarthy will let everyone know that it doesn't matter what they have done in the past because after going 4-12 nobody - and he means nobody - has starting job, though, he knows some do. So let's look at who has their spots on offense: Driver, Clifton, Tauscher, Franks and Favre, if he comes back. And on defense it will be hopefully Kampman, Harris, Barnett and Collins, so you can see there will be a bunch of competition.
With having so few penciled-in starters, the coaches and the players should be licking their lips because of the opportunity the players will have to show what they can potentially do. That's why I think it's a great move by McCarthy, because he will basically have a whole month of May for football. Which means everyone will have to sacrifice and McCarthy and his staff will get a good idea of who mentally is grasping what they are teaching. You have to remember because a lot of the things will be different on offense, no one will be learning from anyone else. In the past that rookie running back or linemen could learn from a veteran, but this year the veteran will be learning as well, so he can't teach anyone else. This means everyone has to pay attention and nothing can be taken for granted. What competition that will bring!!!!
Also as a coach you love this time of the year because this is when you really love your job. You are coaching football. You are building the foundation for the season. They get to put in their schemes without any distractions and see who is understanding it without worrying about putting on the pads. At this time their isn't any pressure except for what the players might be feeling because, trust me, they will be given a lot of information, which is part of the coaches' strategy. They want to see what the players can handle and who can handle what. Even though they won't be in pads there are other things you can find out, like who has a little attitude, who are the risk takers, who has a feel for the ball on defense. On the offensive line with a new zone blocking scheme you can see who is comfortable with the technique. As for the receivers you can see who's willing to be physical. Also at quarterback there is the Aaron Rodgers development. They will be able to see how that is coming, especially if Favre decides to retire.
After a season of 4-12 this change might just be what the Packers need to stop from falling any further into the cellar of the NFL. I know this might seem to some as a small thing but, trust me, it's huge because McCarthy is telling everyone that things are going to be different and that he's committed to this organization. He's going to find out if the players are as well because there's A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN.
Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to PackerReport.com managing editor Todd Korth at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will forward it to him.