Right place at the right time

Besides being in warm weather, Packers coach Mike McCarthy, his staff and representatives of the Green Bay Packers will get up-close and personal look at some stars scheduled to be free agents this offseason.

There is usually a reason for everything, so when Mike McCarthy said earlier this week that he is allowing his assistants to handle practices and call the plays for Saturday's Pro Bowl game, you wonder: What else is the coach going to do? Pro Bowl games are notoriously laid back, so the NFL's coach of the year on a few fronts has to do something, right?

How about eyeing up potential Packers? Right before his eyes, McCarthy will get a closeup look at a number of players who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents this offseason, and possibly next offseason. What a great time to not only watch them practice, but talk to them about life beyond football to determine if they fit the 'Packer People' mode. While his assistants organize practices and install a handful of plays, McCarthy has a great opportunity to possibly meet with players that he doesn't, or hasn't, spoken with before. Plus, he has his staff and four of his players - Donald Driver, Al Harris, Chad Clifton and Aaron Kampman - are onhand to lobby soon-to-be free agents as well.

Though they are on the AFC side, defensive end Jared Allen (Kansas City), or cornerback Asante Samuel (New England) would look awfully good in a Packers uniform next season. Chances are that McCarthy and his crew will be bumping into those players at Pro Bowl functions during the week.

The Packers have the salary cap space to sign a big-name free agent this offseason. For a team that was one game away from winning it all, the Packers can get their offseason in high gear by connecting with the right players in Hawaii.

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.

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