In the NFL, more than any other league, coaches will often give mandatory press conferences that rarely provide many answers, and are generally less than exciting. Mike McCarthy has mastered this language of "coach-speak" and seems to enjoy answering media questions with his own brand of mundane football terms. Coach McCarthy is a smart man, he knows what he is doing when he filibusters a press conference with sports clichés and other football jargon.
McCarthy held his usual press conference after minicamp practice today, and as you can expect, there was plenty of "coach-speak". I will attempt to read between the lines, and decipher Coach McCarthy’s hidden message in what will become a weekly treasure hunt.
On Johnny Jolly:
"It's great to have him back. We wanted to have a good grasp on where he was at. I don't really have an evaluation of him yet, but it's good to have him back with the team.
"The biggest thing for him, is to be one of the 90, our locker room is ready to embrace him.
"I'm not worried about the football aspect of it, we just want to get him back into regularity and get back on the horse and get riding again. He's a football player playing for his job.
"If anyone can do it (coming back after 3 years) it's him. He's got the toughness, drive, and passion to do it. This is more about life, and second chances. I'm excited about giving him this opportunity. What needed to be said has been said, and now it's time to get back to work."
It's clear that everyone, especially within the organization, is rooting for Johnny Jolly the person. It's also clear that coach McCarthy isn't getting anyone's hopes up as far as whether or not Johnny Jolly the football player will even make the 53-man roster. Coach McCarthy seems to believe in him, and it appears the locker room does as well. Time will tell if Jolly will be able to get back into playing shape and be a solid contributor or not, but for now, we should just be happy for Jolly that he is making the necessary steps in his recovery.
On Sam Shields:
"It's great to have Sam back. He was able to get limited reps in, and we got to see where he's at as far as conditioning. Cornerback is a competitive position for us, and this is the learning part of the year. It's very important to have everyone here, so we can practice with every player, at every position, with every unit."
Coach McCarthy seemed generally up-beat about having Shields back with the team, and the fact that Shields was playing with the first-team nickel package during his first day back (over Jarrett Bush) must mean that he showed up in promising shape and is ready to compete for the starting corner spot across from Tramon Williams.
On Jermichael Finley:
"He has put weight back on, is stronger, and playing with more confidence. I really like the off-season he's put together."
Another promising sign from the McCarthy press conference is that he noted Finley seemed stronger and more confident. If Finley can use that bigger frame and added strength to become an above-average run blocker, as well as a freakishly athletic tight end, he could be headed for a promising season in 2013.
Other interesting notes from minicamp practice on Tuesday:
Coleman fumbles snap at goal line, can't have that— Pete Dougherty (@PeteDougherty) June 4, 2013
The B.J. Coleman vs. Graham Harrell competition may come down to who makes less mistakes. Not a promising sign so far.
Jolly's first snap in goal line and he swims right past the guard and into the backfield forcing the QB to scramble.— Zach Heilprin (@ZachHeilprin) June 4, 2013
In order to balance out the the bad news with some good news, Johnny Jolly seems to still have some natural technique along the defensive line.
As always, we extend our thanks to the reporters covering the Packers in traditional media who do such a great job of covering the team:
MV - Mike Vandermause, Green Bay Press-Gazette
WH - Wes Hodkiewicz, GBPG
PD - Pete Dougherty, GBPG
RD - Rob Demovsky, GBPG
TD - Tyler Dunne, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
TS - Tom Silverstein, MJS
JW - Jason Wilde, ESPN Wisconsin
ZH - Zach Heilprin, ESPN Wisconsin
BC - Brian Carriveau, Cheesehead TV