Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, right, and Eliot Wolf,
director of pro personnel, watch during NFL football rookie
camp Friday, May 16, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis.
GREEN BAY — The
brief scuffle at Packers practice turned heads in the crowd. The
dropped ball by a receiver during an offense vs. defense security
drill drew roars from defenders.
The team has
grinded through offseason workouts with a work ethic that coach
Mike McCarthy says is one of the best he's seen during his nine
years as head coach in Green Bay. The energy is up.
saying the other groups weren't mature," McCarthy said.
"It just seems like this group is further ahead than we've
been, and you can sense the energy."
June, still more than six weeks from the start of training camp
and three months from the start of the 2014 season. Almost every
team feels good this time of year.
The Packers, of
course, have a championship pedigree. Confidence that comes with
winning three straight NFC North titles, and just a few seasons
removed from winning the Super Bowl.
ethic is very high. This group is really extremely competitive, in
tune. Our new training environment has been unbelievable. It has
put us so far ahead of where we've ever been, so I think with that
brings more confidence so there's just a sense of maturity,"
Changes on the
coaching staff brought some new perspective. Quarterbacks coach
Ben McAdoo left to become the offensive coordinator of the New
York Giants, while outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene left to
spend more time with family.
Sam Gash is the
new running backs coach after Alex Van Pelt slid over to replace
McAdoo. Winston Moss is the assistant in charge of all linebackers
now, not just inside linebackers. Former Illinois and Florida head
coach Ron Zook is now an assistant special teams coach.
Green Bay hopes
the defense will be improved this year with the addition of Julius
Peppers and the anticipated healthy return of linebacker Clay
Matthews from an injured thumb. Eddie Lacy has a full year of
seasoning now as the lead rusher in a talented backfield that
The 2011 NFL MVP,
for one, likes the spunk he's seen on the practice field.
"I love it.
I love the energy, I love the passion. There will be those
altercations in training camp. When guys remember this is a
professional environment, not a personal environment, then you
won't have any issues in the locker room," Rodgers said.
"But every now and then you have to stir it up a little bit,
you have to make some changes."
Rodgers said he
also likes the changes he has seen with new personnel and new
natural progression. And when you have some new players there's
always going to be stuff like that, guys getting used to this
tempo," Rodgers said. "Sometimes guys don't like getting
tossed down a little bit, and you need to work it out."
anxiously looking for a roster spot shouldn't get too overly
worked up. Jobs aren't won in June, McCarthy said, when practices
are tailored to highlight agility and playing in space.
likes some of the intangibles that he has seen so far.
you're seeing more player interaction as far as what goes on on
the field. Guys self-correcting, and a lot more pro-active as far
as sharing information," he said. "Those are good
things. I see more of it this year."
Note: The Packers
signed rookie free agent Shaun Lewis on Tuesday. Lewis, a
5-foot-11 linebacker from Oklahoma State, tried out at Packers
rookie minicamp in May. He had 73 tackles and three interceptions
last season for the Cowboys.