Before the Green Bay Packers took to the practice field for their second day of OTAs (and their first practice of the year that is open to the public), head coach Mike McCarthy spoke to members of the media inside Lambeau Field. McCarthy discussed the first day’s practice, the overall offseason workout program, a few specific players, and much more.
Regarding the first practice on Monday, McCarthy said that “day one was good.” He also explained that the team is “really focused on the passing game” during this phase of installs, in part because of the rules surrounding OTAs and minicamp, namely the fact that no live contact is allowed and players are in only helmets. With those rules in place, “the run game production is minimal in terms of the quality of work,” McCarthy said.
Overall, McCarthy’s plan for OTAs and minicamp has not changed much from previous years. He noted that one thing the coaching staff is focused on is implementing their own self-scouting from last year: “(We’re) really staying focused on the scheme evaluation, the things that came out of last year,” he said. He also noted that they will be working on developing a “team identity” as well, something that “you have to start (fresh) each and every year.”
The large rookie class was also a topic of discussion for McCarthy, as he commented that the young players are “finding their way” as they work through the film room installs and look ahead to the on-field work. He also noted that “our veterans do a great job” in helping to bring the rookies along. However, McCarthy does not adjust the program based on the size or experience level of the rookie class, instead saying that “I think it’s important to get the needle moving” on the season. “Regardless of how many rookies you have or how many 2nd-year players or how many 5-plus year players you have, (the approach) never changes.”
McCarthy was later asked about third-year QB Brett Hundley and his development as he prepares for a long look in the preseason. McCarthy mentioned that he is working more with Hundley on the fundamentals of the position:
We just had a great session this morning with the quarterbacks, focusing on fundamentals. We adjusted some things with the schedule ... to go into the specifics for each player, especially at the quarterback position. Just want to see him advance in his fundamental work and we’ve given him an opportunity to do that ... I know with Brett’s improvement in the fundamentals, staying healthy, he’ll take full opportunity of his preseason.
A big proponent of the second-year jump, McCarthy also brought up last year’s first-round draft pick, Kenny Clark. The phrase he used to describe Clark’s work in the weight room was “crushing it,” a great sign for a 21-year-old player who has limitless potential. “I look for Kenny to do a lot more as a football player on the field,” McCarthy said, “but everything’s better for him.” Look for Clark to have a big season in year two.
Finally, Jahri Evans came up, as McCarthy was asked about his initial impressions of the veteran offensive guard. McCarthy called Evans a “hell of a football player,” noting that he has great experience and toughness on the interior of the line. “I really like the way he’s come in and he fits into the room,” McCarthy said. “Not only the offensive line room but the locker room. Personally, being around him at the Pro Bowl, I know the type of professional he is and he’s definitely stepped right in and I’ve been pleased.” That sounds like a player who’s likely to step in as a starter right away.
Stay tuned for updates from today’s open OTA practice shortly.