Anybody who attended Saturday morning's practice at Clarke Hinkle Field across the street from Lambeau Field could see that three young quarterbacks were McCarthy's focus. With Brett Favre absent, Aaron Rodgers, Ingle Martin, and Tom Arth are getting a great opportunity to showcase their skills this weekend.
McCarthy, beginning his first season as Packers head coach, is working through the process of being in charge, which, he has admitted, has been an adjustment. Except for being that guy at practice with the pen coming out of the back of his hat, he has been relatively inconspicuous on the practice field during his first practice sessions this year. Where he has stood out, though, is when he works hands-on with the quarterbacks.
For at least 10 minutes on Saturday, he worked one-on-one with Martin, some 30 yards removed from the rest of organized team activity. While the team went about its business with the other coaches, McCarthy spent time breaking down footwork and the dropback with his rookie quarterback. Close by, quarterbacks coach Tom Clements worked with Rodgers and Arth on hitting the "hot read" and getting the ball out quickly.
"This is the closest environment you get to playing in a game, and for a quarterback, you can't have enough live ‘reps,'" said McCarthy. "I think it's vital to all the young guys, the whole quarterback group, to take full advantage of this weekend because as you know, in this league, the starter usually gets the majority of the ‘reps' and once you get into the season, he takes all the ‘reps.' So this is a very important time for a development of a quarterback."
While it is way too early to tell exactly what kind of coach McCarthy will be, his early actions on the practice field indicate he knows and is utilizing his strengths. With 10 of his 19 seasons as a coach (in college and the NFL) working directly with the quarterback position, he would be doing the team an injustice to ignore the position in the off-season just because he is a head coach now. He needs to do what he does best, and thus far, that is working with quarterbacks.
As with most mini-camps, skill position players are about the only ones that can really show anything, and the quarterbacks have done well. Not discounting the work Rodgers and the others have put in, the improvement with the young quarterbacks and the attention that McCarthy has been giving them is a sign that he has had a positive influence on the position already.
Editor's note: Matt Tevsh is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.