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Mike McCarthy says Packers structure rookie minicamp around player evaluation

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The head coach spoke on day one of the Packers’ rookie orientation to preview what the team looks for in this first weekend of on-field work.

NFL: Green Bay Packers-Rookie Minicamp Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy addressed the media at the start of the team’s rookie orientation camp, his first press conference since the conclusion of the 2018 NFL Draft.

McCarthy confirmed that although a few of the players invited to camp had some travel delays, all of the team’s 11 draft picks were in town and would be practicing. This is of course a good sign for their ability to get started in picking up the team’s overall philosophies. In fact, all players in attendance had an introductory meeting on Thursday evening and a pre-practice football meeting on Friday morning prior to the presser.

What did those meetings entail? McCarthy indicated that it was far more general, rather than diving too deep into the team’s schematic tendencies and goals. “Scheme, scheme, scheme, scheme scheme, I’m tired of talking about it (with) the Madden football generation,” McCarthy said, talking about these first meetings. Instead of too many details, he said that the team prefers to focus this week on “the fundamentals of practice, what we expect, the fundamentals of football” instead.

However, the on-field work is still where players can stand out. In fact, evaluation is what this weekend is all about: “The specific drill work that we’re doing is designed to enhance our evaluation of these guys,” McCarthy said. “The drills within the periods are really geared to make sure we get a clear evaluation on each player.”

The Packers have been one of the best teams in the NFL at acquiring and identifying talent in undrafted players, and this camp is a primary reason for that. “I think 30% of the (players in the) National Football League last year were (undrafted) free agents,” McCarthy commented. “There are going to be tryout players that you’re going to look at and not know the difference (from drafted players), and that’s the norm.”

Still, it’s clearly exciting for the head coach to be back on the field, even if evaluation is the primary purpose of the weekend. “Today’s practice will be high-energy, like it always has been,” McCarthy said, adding “I’m looking forward to seeing these young men hit the field.”

As for the last rookie to get a tryout invitation this weekend? He’ll be considered for a spot just like everyone else.

“Every young man who steps on the field today will have an opportunity to make our 90-man roster.”