The Packers' 13-week offseason strength and conditioning program has proven to be more popular than ever as almost the entire roster has participated since the sessions started on Monday.
"This is the most guys I've seen since I've been here," Aaron Kampman said. "I would imagine if you go back through the annals of Packers offseason, this is probably a record number."
Typically, a handful of veterans attend these 13-week programs, which all 32 NFL teams conduct. The Packers, however, have shown up in droves to meet the new coaching staff. Bouncing back from a 4-12 season has added further incentive to enter minicamps in peak physical condition.
"I'm ready to get this next season going," defensive tackle Colin Cole said. "Last year a lot of expectations weren't met for anybody here. And we want to get back out there and show what Packers football is all about."
For fullback William Henderson, the many participants has him reminiscing about the mid-1990s when players like Robert Brooks and Gabe Wilkins led the year-round conditioning push.
"It reminds me of the offseasons of old when we had 40-plus guys living in the area and we all had a great time during the offseason, hanging out, working out," Henderson said. "It's a great sign."
As part of the program, the players have begun using the weight room, which new strength and conditioning coach Rock Gullickson revamped by adding free weights and replacing some of the machines with platforms for deadlifts, hang cleans and other power lifts.
The renovated weight room reminds Kampman and Robert Ferguson of their respective college weight rooms at Iowa and Texas A&M. And Samkon Gado has been using a power-lifting routine all offseason.
"I like it a lot," Gado said. "(Gullickson) has a very similar philosophy to what I'm used to ... It's everything I've known."
Cole said the new platforms, weights and routine will make them better players.
"They've implemented a lot of new equipment to try and get us more explosive and, of course, quicker, faster and stronger," Cole said. "That's only going to benefit us as a team."
Since returning to Green Bay from Columbia S.C., Gado has benefited from the presence of Ahman Green. The 23-year-old has picked the brain of his fellow running back and one of the best conditioned athletes in the league.
"When it comes to working out and preparing, Ahman's the guy," Gado said. "He sets the standard."
Green has imparted that knowledge to both Gado and Noah Herron. In addition to stressing the "drive" the second-year players need to prepare for a 16-game season, Green guided Gado and Herron on how to increase their flexibility through post-workout Pilates stretching exercises.
"Ahman has been great," Gado said. "(He)'s kind of taken us under his wing."
Although the Packers' first minicamp does not start until May 5, that kind of teamwork bodes well for the season.
"The more we work together as a team, the more cohesive we'll be," Cole said. "And the more cohesive you are, the more you can rely and depend on the man next to you."