Picking up where they left off

The Green Bay Packers entered the final stage of their off-season preparation for training camp with the first of 14 scheduled practices between today and June 21 at Clarke Hinkle Field in Green Bay.

While Brett Favre and a number of other veterans participated in the first of the voluntary practices, the defense was without a handful of veterans, including defensive backs Al Harris, Charles Woodson, Ahmad Carroll and Mark Roman.

"We had a great work day as a group," new head coach Mike McCarthy said. "There were a number of guys missing for personal matters, but I thought we got better as a football team today."

The Packers reviewed plays that were installed in the first two off-season mini-camps earlier this month. McCarthy said he was pleased with the tempo of practice and the players' retention of the plays.

"This is the third time that we've been able to practice the concepts and the different plays that we were practicing today," McCarthy said. "I thought we accomplished that. I thought our young guys are starting to (reach) a comfort level in their play. You didn't see any pre-snap penalties. The ball wasn't on the ground. I thought it was a lot cleaner than it was in the second mini-camp, so I thought we made a step in the right direction today."

McCarthy said he and his staff will begin installing new plays on Monday, June 5. The Packers will practice again on Thursday and Friday of this week, then resume next week with four practices, which are conducted without pads.

For the most part, many of the veterans on the roster have been in Green Bay since the team's off-season workout program began on March 20. Fullback William Henderson, and defensive linemen Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and Aaron Kampman are a few of the veterans that spend the majority of the off-season, if not all, in Green Bay.

"I think it makes for consistency," said veteran fullback William Henderson. "I think having guys come in and spend this much time together before training camp is going to ease us into that training camp atmosphere, so guys come into camp knowing the offense, knowing the defense and being ready to go ahead to hone in on their skills and master things than trying to learn on the fly. Consistency and repetition should make for a better team going into the season."

Some of the veterans who did not participate in practice today will be on the field tomorrow or next week. McCarthy said that Roman will be at practice on Thursday. Woodson, signed to a multi-year contract this off-season, is out of the country and will participate in practices next week, McCarthy said. Harris reportedly is unhappy with his current contract and plans to skip all of the practices. He also did not participate in the second mini-camp, May 19-21. McCarthy said that he has not spoken with Harris about his contract situation.

"A lot of veterans that missed are because of personal situations," McCarthy said. "We had a number of things come up. Another thing, too, is the schedule. Anytime you have a new coach who puts in a new program, you're going to have scheduling issues. Every team has different issues, and one of ours is communication. We need to do a better job of communicating to one another. I think they're doing a better job of that. As we move forward and install our off-season program, obviously, I'm looking for better participation. … The goal is 100 percent."

Packer Report Top Stories