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McCarthy's Camp Will Have Its Own Flavor


Mike McCarthy's first Packers training camp as head coach won't be dramatically different from that of any other NFL head coach, but it will have three distinct characteristics.

McCarthy emphasized it will be up-tempo, team-oriented, and focused on execution.

Regarding the tempo, look for players to move through drills quickly and for the different practice periods to get through several repetitions in a short time.

"We believe we have three types of environments here - a classroom environment, a practice environment and a game-day environment," McCarthy said. "The practice environment is something we want to get as close to the game-day environment as possible, so the speed and the tempo of getting on and off the field is something we will definitely utilize and maximize every time we hit the field.

"Those are important aspects of how we train. We're taking care of our conditioning within our practice structure."

McCarthy also noted he likes to run more team drills than some coaches. Players will still have plenty of positional work, but McCarthy believes the best preparation for the season is to work together as a complete team.

"I'm a big proponent of team activity, because I think it's important anytime you have an opportunity to create game-like situations for your team, you need to do that," he said. "We want a very competitive, team-oriented practice. That will be our focus."

The focus of both player evaluation and team preparation also shifts now. With the off-season strength and conditioning program done and what McCarthy calls the "learning phase" for installing the offense and defense completed, evaluation of players' athletic abilities and grasp of the system takes a back seat to their execution on the field.

"Now it's time the performance level and the efficiency level of how we go about our task improve," McCarthy said. "We need to get to that mode of competing and winning on a daily basis."

The move away from traditional two-a-days and to night practices on days with two workouts is the most significant departure from past Packers training camps. The Packers will not have two practices on back-to-back days at any time.

The new schedule is both player-friendly and fan-friendly, giving players adequate down time and allowing fans who couldn't leave work during the day to catch practices at night.

It's becoming more of a trend around the NFL. McCarthy has been involved in both the traditional training camp and this type of schedule and believes the new schedule creates the right rhythm for players to learn, get their reps, and correct their mistakes. It also forces coaches to maximize on each and every practice.

"You still have the same amount of time, it's just the way we're using our time on the field," McCarthy said. "I don't like to go on the field and have walk-throughs. I don't believe in walking on a field.

"When we go down to the practice field, it's a practice. It's not a special teams practice, it's not a walk-through, it's not half-of-this and half-of-that. We're going to go down there and have a full practice."

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