GREEN BAY – The Packers' veterans were excused for this week's minicamp, and on Thursday the young players are catching a break, too.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy said the final offseason practice will be cut short, a reflection of the "quality and quantity" of the work being "over the top" since Friday, when the veterans were dismissed.
"We have a lot invested here," McCarthy said. "Our workload was significantly higher than last year."
In the final offseason team meeting on Thursday morning, the players were given the expectations for strength and conditioning, nutrition, and the like over their five-week break. They report back to Green Bay for training camp on July 26.
As for the full nine-week offseason program, the last four weeks of which have been spent on the field in OTAs and minicamp, McCarthy said the team's athleticism has stood out to him so far.
"You can see it in the big guys," he said. "Obviously you'd better be athletic in your perimeter players, but (overall) our athletic ability is high.
"But let's be honest. You don't really know until you get to pads, and you don't really know until you get to games."
McCarthy also declared the team "relatively healthy" for this stage compared to prior years. The only starter to miss significant time this spring was center Corey Linsley, and McCarthy expects him ready for training camp, barring a setback.
Once the pads go on – which will be the third practice of training camp – the team will shift its focus to the running game and run defense, which hasn't received as much attention in the non-padded work this spring. This offseason was more pass-heavy than usual, which McCarthy had planned from the start.
After Thursday's abbreviated practice, players and coaches alike will head out for their vacations and prepare to reconvene in a little over a month.
"I'm just hoping the players and staff don't wreck going out to the parking lot," McCarthy joked. "This has been a hard, hard offseason, and that's the way you want it. With that, we got a lot of work done.
"Things are laid out for a great training camp."