The Green Bay Packers are looking forward to working with troubled rookie tight end Colt Lyerla on and off the field, coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday.
McCarthy spoke to the media after the first day of open OTA practice on Thursday. Here are some highlights:
On being back in action:
Itís great to be out on the practice field. Obviously, it was a lot of fun today having fans at Nitschke Field. Weíve had two practices so far in phase 3. Feel weíre off to a good, solid start. Every year we go through the growing pains of a group of men practicing together. Weíre ahead of where weíve been in the past. Credit to coaches, players.
A lot of conversation. Our personnel department does all that. Iím excited about having Colt here. This is our ninth season. Everybody is excited about helping a young man whoís been through what heís been through. We havenít really participated in this type of situation in the past. I know people like (security director) Doug Collins, (player development director) Rob Davis, weíre excited to impact this young manís life. Everything else will take care of itself professionally.
On use of team takeaway drills:
We have periods throughout practice that have an emphasis on takeaways. Itís a team fundamental. Everybody on the field needs to know how to handle the football. Team takeaway, obviously ball security.
On new OTA schedule mandated by collective bargaining agreement:
Weíre all doing a better job of understanding what CBA tempo is. Thatís where you always have growing pains. You have new members in your program. You have rookies trying to keep up with tempo. Veterans have had a couple years to go through. Itís a real indicator when you watch practice, you donít see players on the ground as much.
On defensive changes:
One of the things really as a football team is we want to operate at a lower volume of scheme. Our scheme volume is where it needs to be. We cut about 10-15 percent there. We went after the scheme evaluation with a focus on doing less scheme and trying to make sure we have more people available and creating competition across the board. Weíve learned some hard lessons as of late about maybe playing some players who werenít quite ready. Thatís a trap you donít want to fall into. Everybody prepares this way, weíre just tilting that way more than in the past.
I think training camp will probably answer that a little more. On paper, I think thereís great competition for our team. Every team has a different vibe and work ethic. I want to say itís an experienced team compared to some of our prior teams. Weíve been around each other more. The integration of new players whether it be a huge veteran free agent class we had Ė Iím trying to be funny Ė but integrating them into our team.
Do outside linebackers Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews help versatility on defense?
Absolutely. I think the more a player can do, it was obviously the value he brings to your football team. Iíve always looked at players are they a four-, three-, two-down player.
On tight end Jermichael Finley, still not cleared to play after neck surgery:
I really donít have any medical updates. As far as Jermichael personally, I know he was in town. I didnít see him, but I havenít had any recent conversations with our medical staff about him. My understanding is heís in great shape.
On the NFLPA Rookie Premiere event, where draft picks Davante Adams and Khyri Thornton are instead of OTAs:
Itís in the CBA? My understanding is the Rookie Premiere is part of CBA contract.
On second-year center JC Tretter:
JC is doing a really good job. I think heís been here every single day since February. I think thatís really shown as far as how heís jumped in there.
He looks natural at outside linebacker. Moving like a young man.
On second-year cornerback Micah Hyde:
He can be a four-down player. Good football player whether he's playing the nickel, natural corner. We're giving him an opportunity to be on field all three downs.