Next Up: Training Camp


Strength and conditioning was taken care of in the early spring. Then came the installation of the offensive and defensive schemes through minicamps and organized team activities (OTAs).

So with the players in shape and the playbooks understood, the upcoming five-week training camp will go beyond learning all the things that came with a new coaching staff.

It will focus on building the 2006 Green Bay Packers into a team ready to make the franchise's first losing season in 14 years a distant memory, and it all starts July 28.

"You have to come together as a team," offensive tackle Mark Tauscher said. "You spend so much time together here, you're either on the field all the time or watching film and trying to make corrections from the mistakes in practice.

"It's going to be an important time, especially with the youth we have. You have to be able to make corrections and be able to do them quickly so they're not lagging into the third and fourth week of the season."

Head Coach Mike McCarthy emphasized that the players already have been shown everything they'll need to know as far as schemes and situations. So it's their job to review it during the next month to help prevent training camp from being repetitive, and make it truly productive.

"We're not adding anything," McCarthy said. "Everything they've been given to date is what we'll use in the upcoming season.

"The practices (in camp) will be longer and more involved, and we'll create a game-like atmosphere for our players. We'll have padded practices throughout."

That will create not only a more intense environment as players battle for roster spots, but a more realistic one to see who can truly contribute to a team at this level.

"Everyone looks like an all-star in shorts," defensive lineman Aaron Kampman said. "With pads on it becomes a lot more physical, and players either shine or don't shine.

"It's kind of where the rubber meets the road and we try to start building our team. Training camp is where it ratchets up a notch. Or three."

McCarthy's first training camp as a head coach will have only seven two-a-day practices through the first three weeks, with only one practice on the other days.

That's likely to keep the intensity up when the players are on the field because they know maximum effort won't burn them out.

"I think Coach McCarthy has made a big push as far as having an open competition at a lot of spots, but also trying to keep everybody fresh so we're not going into the season beat to heck," Tauscher said. "He made that a major point the first time we met him - 'Just trust us and we'll take care of you.'

"We're going to get our work done but we definitely hope to stay fresh and not be dinged up going into the season."

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