GREEN BAY — The pads are going on for the first time in training camp on Thursday morning, and Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said things are definitely going to change.
“You see it each and every year,” McCarthy said prior to Thursday’s practice, the third of camp but the first one in pads. “You see players that stand out and make plays, or vice versa, a player may struggle.”
McCarthy recalled how he felt about former NFL linebacker (and current assistant coach) Greg Manusky when the two were in Kansas City together. During OTAs, wearing only helmets and shorts, Manusky “didn’t look like much,” but that changed when the pads went on.
“He was one of the better players on the field,” McCarthy said of Manusky, who played 12 years in the league. “It’s different, everybody understands that. From an evaluation standpoint, everybody’s in tune with that.
“This is the closest you can get to a game situation. We can really break down the fundamentals and let our guys get to work. This is really the first step in getting a team ready to play a game.”
Among many players eager to put the pads on is defensive lineman Mike Daniels, who has already re-established himself as a vocal leader on the field and in the locker room. Daniels’ personality is all his own, but McCarthy appreciates that.
“Mike’s always had that natural leadership ability,” McCarthy said. “It grows for people. In Mike’s case, performance is a big part of it. It gives you a platform to grow and pull others with you. He’s always been an excellent teammate.
“How loud you are or how much you don’t talk … it’s what you do on the field that resonates the loudest. He’s about winning, that’s what I’ve always appreciated about Mike Daniels.”
Packers.com will have more following practice and locker room interviews.