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Packers' minicamp geared toward younger players

Veterans excused from final week of offseason program


GREEN BAY – Like last year, Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy has dismissed the team's veterans from this week's minicamp practices to dedicate more time towards the younger players on the roster.

McCarthy also went that direction last year with the Packers facing an early start to training camp due to their participation in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game.

After going through eight installations during organized team activities, the Packers began a series of review sessions without veterans last Friday and will tailor this week's three-day minicamp the same way.

"These four practices, in my view, are the most important practices of the offseason program," said McCarthy before Tuesday's practice. "We've had a lot of good things come out of these practices in the past and really gearing them toward the young players. You're looking for your second-, third-, fourth-, fifth-year players to step up. They have more opportunities and a chance for leadership."

Prior to dismissing the veterans, the Packers conducted their annual team-building exercise. Historically, McCarthy has given veterans with at least six NFL seasons an early start to the summer, though it wasn't until last year they were excused from minicamp entirely.

The decision opens up extra reps for the team's 10-player rookie class and undrafted free agents that otherwise might not be readily available once training camp begins on July 26.

McCarthy said the team will concentrate on third-down situations and move-the-ball periods with all three backup quarterbacks – Brett Hundley, Joe Callahan and Taysom Hill – getting a chance to run the two-minute offense.

"Face it, 20 percent of your football team is going to be first-year players. That's what history will tell you," McCarthy said. "That's all in accordance with our plan to get these young guys playing. I'm hoping to see some guys take a jump this week, which is only natural. They will because they'll have more opportunities to do that."

All three practices are slated for 11:30 a.m. CT at Clarke Hinkle Field and are open to the public on a standing-room-only basis.

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