In the first public event of the team's 2015 Training Camp, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy got things kicked off with his opening press conference. Among the topics discussed included the health of some of the Packers' key players, Andrew Quarless' arrest, and the returning depth on both sides of the ball.
McCarthy opened his presser with a welcome to the reporters and a few opening comments about his feelings on the team and the staff before taking questions:
It's another great opportunity for us here in Green Bay. I thought it really kicked off Hall of Fame weekend ... a lot of energy in the building ... I know everyone's excited to get on Nitschke Field tomorrow. Guys want to get back, make sure they get acclimated, particularly if they're coming from different climates...obviously the weather here, it's fabulous this time of year.
Which of the assistant coaches won the "presentation" contest during the offseason program?
(James) Campen and Trgo (Mike Trgovac), I actually voted for them, but they finished fourth. Winston Moss and Edgar Bennett were the winners ... (What was their presentation?) I think that's something they'll really enjoy sharing with you on a one-on-one setting.
Is Jordy Nelson cleared yet to practice fully?
I don't know, I think Jordy looks good. I know he's been here. We're actually as we speak, 10:00, conditioning tests are going on. Physicals were this morning. I don't get a medical update until we get a break about 4:00 today...we haven't had a medical meeting. We have a new training center, our training staff has been here the last couple weeks.
All indications are (Casey Hayward) looks good but as I said, I don't have any indications (yet).
Is there a theme for the 2015 team?
There's a theme every year, but I haven't shared it with the team yet. I'm not going to share it with the team until later this week ... Every year is different. This team is definitely different than 2014. We acknowledged that in the spring. Some of the things we installed in the spring, some of our approaches particularly in areas of communication, responsibility for players. We made those adjustments for players. I thought our team did a great job this offseason ... first two practices are in shells, then we'll crank it up on Saturday in the pads.
Are you excited having 20 starters back from last year?
20 starters returning, that's cool. That's news to me. Is that your depth chart or my depth chart? (laughs) So we probably have about 28 starters returning. It's a group that has a lot of experience ... there is definitely a percentage of youth that we need to get ready. I thought we hit the targets in the spring. these guys need to have their opportunities, practice time is limited ... making sure that the top fo the roster and bottom of the roster come together as fast as possible.
How did you feel about the offseason program and how that relates to training camp?
The spring is really more for the rookies and being excited about them. Really, I want to see the team make the grind to come together. It never looks the way it's supposed to in the beginning ... make sure the team stacks success and progresses through training camp. The thing that excites me most is improvement, whether that's individual, group, team.
How do you change things in training camp to get off to a faster start during the regular season?
I think it's like anything. Everything we do, we look at it, do we need to change it? ... there will be adjustments to our practice schedule. I don't know if you'll recognize it or not ... playing in Chicago week 1, new staff, that's a unique challenge and I want to make sure our football team is ready for that ... we have things that we're really emphasizing. We're well aware of what our record's been the last few years early on.
Do you focus on the disappointment of 2014 to motivate the 2015 team?
I really don't operate that way. I never have. I think it's clear, when you set goals you put it right out there. We're about winning the world championship here, that's how it's always been ... we understand the opportunity we're given here and everything we're doing applies to how we reach that goal.
Do you have different emotions now in your 10th year than early in your head coaching career?
I enjoy the press conferences a lot more. It's exciting, heck yeah! How do you not get excited about coaching football and coaching football in Green Bay, WI? I enjoy coming to work every day ... our people are second to none and that's how you win. Our people are winners through every department ... it's an honor to be in front of the team and leading the charge.
What differences will you personally see in training camp?
I'm going to spend more time in the area of analytics than I have in the past. My job responsibility is not written yet, I'm still working through the schedule of where I'm going to be every day. I'm going to continue to learn from the people I trust in the industry ... I'm gonna analyze the media's comments more (laughs) frankly spend more time on ourselves ... I like to go back and look at old notes as something I've always tried to stay on top of.
Have you talked to Andrew Quarless about his arrest?
I've talked to Andrew. He was here briefly today ... We had a long conversation after his incident down in Florida. It's in the legal process right now. He made a mistake, frankly I'm disappointed, he's disappointed. Our players know that our program is about protecting the brand of the Green Bay Packers. That was the first thing out of his mouth in (our) phone call.
How do you deal with the youth at cornerback?
Very young at corner, there's some things within the drill work we're going to emphasize stronger that we have in the past. That's the beauty of the fundamental drills ... that's a signature moment with the assistant coach with his players out on the grass ... Joe Whitt's outstanding, he'll do a great job like he always has.
How do you feel about the offensive line?
I think you have to like where we are offensively because of everybody who's returning. Offensive lines who line up and play every snap together are very good ... that's an important part of it. It's the best offensive line that I've coached and I'm confident that 2015's offensive line will be better than 2014.
Do you have a reaction or plan to treat the team differently because they are a favorite to win the Super Bowl?
Really, if I did treat it any differently, I would be one super-hypocrite. The vision's clear, we have a plan, we'll work that plan, our players believe in the plan. I love the leadership of our veterans. I feel strongly that this group can be the strongest group of leaders in our locker room, in terms of the numbers of them.
McCarthy will speak daily after practice throughout this year's training camp. Stay tuned to APC, as we will bring you notes from as many of his pressers as we can.