GREEN BAY – NFL coaches have been adjusting to the current offseason regulations for a half dozen years now, and less time with the players has produced greater emphasis on the time they do get.
“There’s a workload you can hit and it’s regulated and that’s important, but to maximize the workload over these four weeks is my goal,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Tuesday before the Packers’ second practice of OTAs.
“I want to max out these 10 practices and this minicamp.”
The Packers have four weeks left in their offseason program – three weeks of OTAs and the concluding mandatory minicamp in mid-June.
McCarthy said the Packers will conduct all eight installations of their offensive and defensive playbooks during this time, a process that started on Monday.
A lot of focus right now, as McCarthy promised at the conclusion of 2016, will be on the passing game. He estimated 6-10 percent of the snaps normally devoted to the running game at this time will go to the pass, with players practicing in just shorts and helmets. The time on the ground game will be made up in training camp when the pads go on.
Team-building both on and off the field is also underway.
“The personality of your football team, you have to start from scratch each and every year,” McCarthy said. “It’s really making sure your system of football has room for everybody. You want to take advantage of your new players, and make sure younger players as they advance are getting new opportunities.”
The Packers’ new players include a handful of veteran free agents in tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks, guard Jahri Evans, cornerback Davon House, and defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois.
McCarthy likes how they fit in the locker room already, while second-year players looking to take a big step in their development are watched closely, too. McCarthy mentioned 2016 first-round pick Kenny Clark, who wasn’t able to participate in OTAs last year due to UCLA’s school calendar, is “crushing it” in the weight room.
As for the rookie class, it’s “important to get the needle moving,” McCarthy said, during this teaching phase. Mistakes are reviewed, discussed, and fixed now, because training camp pauses for no one.
“My job and responsibility is to make sure the environment will be as competitive as all hell when we get to training camp,” McCarthy said. “It’s making sure we get everything taught right way, get things slowed down, and make sure we get it corrected so we can build off of it.”