Coach McCarthy had some interesting comments after Wednesday's practice, and may have shed some light on who might be winning some position battles so far. Here's what he said, and what I deciphered from it.
First off, all is well on the DuJuan Harris front.
EVERYTHING IS FINE, dr.s found a fist sized cyst on my lung next to my heart. Shows the importance of getting routine check-ups, GET YOURS!— DuJuan Harris (@Ol_sLy_Foxx) June 5, 2013
Here is what Coach McCarthy had to say about Harris:
DuJuan Harris will not be available for the rest of the off-season program, but I’m confident he’ll be ready for training camp.
He is a great example of the excellent work that our scouting and personnel department does, as well as our approach as a program to bringing in young players and developing them.
Coach McCarthy didn't seem overly concerned with Harris' health, and it appears he will be back in time for training camp. If there's anything positive to take away from this unfortunate situation, it's that the two rookie running backs will likely see more reps heading into training camp, which can't hurt their progression during what coach McCarthy calls "the learning stage of the year".
On Randall Cobb:
We look for him to be one of our primary focuses on offense, especially in the passing game.
His special teams role is up to his teammates. We hope someone else can push him and eventually take his place there. Field position is important, and we are a different team with Randall as a returner.
As Cobb's role as an offensive playmaker increases, I expect his role as a special teams returner to decrease. Coach McCarthy acknowledges that Cobb is a difference maker in the return game, but he also mentions that if someone else can push him as a returner, Cobb will likely be restricted in his return duties. Jeremy Ross seems to be a top candidate at that role, but time will tell if he can be as dynamic a returner as Cobb has been in his first two seasons with the team.
On Graham Harrell:
It’s important to go through QB school when you are developing as a young quarterback. He’s done a very good job in the strength and conditioning aspect this off-season. He’s put in the extra work and it’s noticeable to everyone.
There are some things with his footwork and mechanics that he still needs to work on. At the end of the day, he has to come out and perform.
Coach McCarthy's comments here lead me to believe that if the season started today, Harrell will be the No. 2 quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers. McCarthy knows what he wants out of his quarterbacks, and if he says Harrell has put together a good off-season, then who am I to disagree. McCarthy does mention that Harrell needs to have his play in camp translate into games, and also states that the preseason games will likely determine who is where on the depth chart.
On the running game:
At the end of the day, it’s the offense’s responsibility to score points. That’s how you put together the game plan. Running the football helps the defense prepare for the other team, and it helps the offense during games to run the clock and keep the offense moving.
There’s two schools of thought: Playing keep away, playing the field position game, and hoping you don’t get beat or trying to score as many points as possible. I like to play fast and throw as many punches as I can.
Coach McCarthy has always been an offensive-minded coach, and that won't change. He wants to be able to run the ball to keep defenses honest, but don't expect him to change his philosophy on being a fast-paced spread offense.
On Don Barclay:
Don did a good job last year, and is improving this year. It’s important that we give him an opportunity for a starting job. He deserves it in my opinion. He can play right tackle, or right guard. He’s a very tough, smart, versatile player.
Is Don Barclay ahead of Marshall Newhouse right now? It appears as though coach McCarthy likes his chances at this point in the off-season, and the fact that Barclay could play either guard or tackle on the right side makes him that much more valuable to the team.
On Johnny Jolly:
Johnny Jolly looked good in short yardage and goal line. We’ll evaluate him more during training camp. We’ve had some conversation on where we will have him train during the off-season.
By all accounts, Jolly has looked like an above-average run stopper so far, and that is a promising sign for someone who has been away from football for three years. The Packers will do whatever it takes to give him an opportunity to make the 53-man roster this fall, but it is up to Jolly to stay committed to the path he is on and continue to work back into playing shape.
On Tramon Williams:
He’s set a high standard of play for himself, and we want him to get back to that point. He worked his way up from the practice squad when he first signed with us. He did everything the right way, and he is a poster child for being a professional and working your way up the roster.
It's always nice to hear Coach McCarthy praise someone for their work ethic, and Tramon seems to be doing all the right things in order to become a leader on the defensive side of the ball.