From all indications, the Green Bay Packers have had a very productive week of training camp practices.
And if one doesn’t believe that, just ask Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
Not only is the coach fired up about being back with his team for the start of a new season, he seems even more excited to talk about it.
After Wednesday’s practice, McCarthy held his daily round at the microphone answering questions and talking about what he’s seeing.
An animated McCarthy took to the podium to crack a couple of jokes – as wry as they were – tussle a bit with a reporter, call out the efforts of some of the players who are standing out to him and describe where the team is headed at this point.
He began, as he always does, with an injury report. On the good news front, he told reporteres that John Kuhn and Desmond Bishop were headed toward a full return to practice, but he also mentioned that wide receiver Tori Gurley left because of a leg injury. He didn’t say how severe it was.
Gurley can ill-afford to miss any practice time as he competes against a deep and talented pool of players vying for a roster spot at that position.
Most interesting from McCarthy today was his take on the defense, which he said amped it up Wednesday afternoon and focused on their blitz packages.
“I felt it was important to crank it up,” McCarthy said, implying that the team is just beginning to get into the swing of the camp with now being the time for both the offense and defense to begin giving their best shots.
This is the time of camp when players stand out and show their value.
It’s also a time when both the offense and defense show what they’re made of.
“We had great work on both sides … it’s great for the offense … we had some quality work today.”
That said, what I feel will bring this team togther this year is the depth on the defense. Not only will it give opponents jitters once the games begin, but a better defense always makes for a better offense. After all, it’s the offense that has to go up against the defense every day at practice.
If one can imagine the Packers’ offense getting any better, consider that it’s only inevitable. As the defense stiffens, the offense needs to also bring its best.
Anyway, it’s great news from McCarthy.
The head coach also called out some players who have been standing out for him. Davon House, the second year defensive back was mentioned by McCarthy, but he would be remiss not to mention players from the offensive side as well.
He was asked about tight end D.J. Williams and said that he’s been impressive. “The quickest way to the end zone is the middle of the field,” McCarthy said, indicating that the skill set Williams brings to the field allows the offense to exploit the middle.
“D.J. Williams … Ryan Taylor … really happy with those guys,” McCarthy said.
Other notes of interest:
• McCarthy’s concerns about the transition from morning practices to evening practices and the need to do so to make the adjustment to the game schedule;
• His disagreement that Packers backs – Marc Tyler in particular – were having difficulty adjusting to pass protection; and
• His discussion about readying his team for Family Night.
With injuries at a minimum, it seems this first week of training camp has been very productive for the Packers. Can you believe that it’s just a few days before the team kicks off its preseason schedule?
While some may yawn at the prospect, I look at preseason games as the Super Bowl – you see for the guys on the bubble, the guys who are fighting for a job, this is their Super Bowl. This is their time to shine.
That’s why I love watching these games. You can pick out the guys who have a shot, you have the opportunity to watch players for the first time who are the stars of the future and you can always pinpoint the guys who will be turning in their playbook the following Monday.