GREEN BAY — With so many young players fighting for their NFL lives in the final preseason game this week in Kansas City, Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he doesn’t want anyone holding back.
“Super Bowl or bust,” McCarthy said prior to Tuesday’s practice, the last of training camp. “I think you have to practice that way, you have to play that way. Anytime you perform across the white line and it’s on video, you have to go about it the same way. You want these young men to go out and play their best game, lay it all out there, not only for opportunity to be here but for the opportunity to play in the NFL. That’s always been our approach.”
McCarthy also said that offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett would call the plays on offense in Kansas City, keeping with McCarthy’s tradition of turning over play-calling to a member of the offensive staff for the final preseason game so the head coach gets a chance to see more of the sideline interaction amongst players.
Training camp was longer this season than usual, with the Packers scheduled to play in the Hall of Fame Game back in early August, and that produced a very “uneven flow” to the schedule, according to McCarthy. But that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“This schedule is different than any one we’ve ever been on,” McCarthy said. “Frankly, I think it coincides with our regular-season schedule, and with that, it’ll help us be prepare for a different regular-season schedule. We have the bye in Week 4, the earliest we’ve ever had it, and we’re playing a game in Jacksonville Week 1. Anytime you have an uneven flow, it can definitely help you going into this type of season.”
The Packers typically show some type of appreciation for the fans as the final camp practice concludes, so that awaits on Tuesday afternoon. Often the players run along the Nitschke Field stands to do high-fives with the fans.
“Training camp wouldn’t be the same without our fans,” McCarthy said. “Our fans create a tremendous training environment for us. To even take it a step further, Family Night is really like a fifth preseason game for us. Our players get to go out and perform in front of 68,000 people prior to playing in their first preseason game.
“It’s a sign of appreciation for them being here every day. Since we made the addition to Nitschke Field with the stands and so forth, it’s been awesome. We’re saying thank you.”
Packers.com will have more following practice and locker room interviews.