It’s early in training camp and the pads have only been on for two practices, but Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy appears to be excited about the young men in his quarterback room.
I’m with them the majority of the time (and) I really like our room,” McCarthy told the media before his team took the practice field on Tuesday morning. “All three of them are making improvements (in their fundamentals), their footwork, not just the decision making but the anticipation.” It is a good sign for a group of three young players — third-year player Brett Hundley, second-year Joe Callahan, and rookie Taysom Hill — who are all still learning the finer points of playing quarterback in the NFL.
McCarthy was complimentary of Hundley in particular: “Brett’s done some great things if you look at last year to now,” he said. However, there is still work to do, especially as the team progresses from OTA practices in helmets and shorts to full pads. With that transition, McCarthy noted that the quarterbacks need to focus on a particular area: “We need to get the ball out a little quicker during pressure situations.” Still, McCarthy is pleased overall with the players’ progress early on in camp.
One other transition the team is set to make in the coming days is establishing a schedule for when they play or practice in the evenings. Although McCarthy said he would prefer to “get up early in the morning and get your heavy lifting done,” he acknowledged that all of the team’s preseason games and several regular season games will come in prime time, and the team will be working on that schedule later this week. “When you go to the night practices, Thursday-Friday-Saturday (of this week), those are very long days. Those are actually the hardest schedules to be on.”
Of course, Saturday’s practice is part of the Packers’ annual Family Night tradition, with which McCarthy seems to have a love/hate relationship: “It’s a tremendous atmosphere that we have,” he said, “but it’s a long day. Our football team needs to experience that because we have that during the regular season.”
McCarthy also discussed a handful of players, starting with safety Morgan Burnett. With Burnett playing safety and inside linebacker, his responsibilities and leadership skills have grown as well: “Morgan Burnett’s a premier player for our defense,” McCarthy said. “He’s clearly one of the top leaders on our football team and our defense. You watch him communicate during practice, he knows what’s going on.” The coach also praised Burnett’s work ethic and attitude during practice, as the veteran continues to lead by example.
Dean Lowry was next up, with the coach using the phrase “bigger, faster, stronger” to describe the defensive lineman. He went on to say that “If you’re looking for an excellent example of a player taking a jump in his second year, Dean may be near the top of the list.”
On Monday, McCarthy revealed that Lowry’s fellow defensive lineman, Montravius Adams, suffered a serious foot injury on Saturday. McCarthy confirmed that Adams had a successful surgery on Monday and that his timeline for return remains on the order of a few weeks. “He’s going to be fine; he’s going to get better,” McCarthy said, while acknowledging that the coaches have had very little time to evaluate the rookie.
Stay tuned here for practice updates throughout this morning’s session, which kicks off at 8:15 AM Central.