Fifty-nine players took the field for the first practice of the Green Bay Packers' rookie minicamp on Friday, and following the session head coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the media to address the events of the day. Among a variety of topics he addressed were the performance of some of the team's high draft picks, the method for assessing tryout players and undrafted free agents, and how much of the Packers' on-field philosophy gets introduced on day one.
First-round draft pick Damarious Randall was not working in drills on Friday, causing a bit of a stir among the Packers' beat writers and fans. McCarthy was not concerned, however, saying the team is "Just being smart with him" and that the issue is "Just something temporary (and) minor. He'll be ready to go, probably next week."
As for the process that goes on in rookie minicamp, McCarthy referred to evaluation repeatedly as the theme of the weekend: "It's evaluation time on the field really, just to confirm some things and really get some guys started in certain areas. We do a very limited scheme installation. I'ts really about getting them to move as much as you can."
When asked about Brett Hundley, McCarthy had good things to say about his new quarterback. He said that the UCLA product "had a lot of throws he threw with anticipation," that Hundley is an "excellent athlete," and that McCarthy is glad to have him on the team.
On what exact positions that the Packers' top picks (Randall and fellow cornerback Quinten Rollins) would play, referring to the slot vs. the boundary, McCarthy would not show his hand, saying that it is "Too early, we'll see. Once we get going into the OTAs, some of those things will sort themselves out."
McCarthy also echoed Ted Thompson's comments during the draft when discussing the tryout players that are in town for the weekend. He said the team is "looking for football players, we're looking for guys that jump out at you." As for how the evaluation process goes, he noted that the coaching staff works collaboratively to make decisions about which, if any tryout players will receive contracts: "We'll go watch the tape, everybody will have opinions. We'll have a similar format tomorrow (during practice), we'll have a little more open field work, in a special teams setting, to continue the evaluation process."
With several running backs on the field this week, the battle for the third running back position is taking shape, and that battle should be an interesting one to follow in training camp. Regarding what he would look for in a third-running back to match up with Eddie Lacy and James Starks, McCarthy said he does not look for a specific skill set: "I don't think you can just say 'this is what we want.' There's so many talented young men out there, if someone has talent, your offensive system has to be able to absorb that...whoever can produce, we definitely have enough flexibility to take advantage of that."
Moving outward to the receiver position, third-round pick Ty Montgomery received solid praise from his new head coach today. McCarthy said he was "very impressed" with the Stanford product, who "obviously has a ton of explosion in his body. I thought he definitely stood out there today." That will be worth keeping an eye on as special teams drills become more and more prevalent in practice.
Finally, McCarthy addressed the assumption that Jarrett Bush will not be back with the Packers, given that his number 24 was assigned to second-round pick Quinten Rollins: "Jarrett Bush, obviously he's out there (as a free agent)...I don't think (giving Rollins) the 24 really signifies that (Bush won't be back). Jarrett's a 9-year player here...I think it's premature here that we did that. I think if he came back here he'd be wearing number 24." It was difficult to tell from his comments, however, if he thought that the assigning of the number to Rollins was premature, or that the assumption about Bush's status was premature because of that assignment.
Keep your browsers locked at APC for more from rookie minicamp this weekend.