Throughout the offseason, I’ll be answering reader questions in a weekly mailbag here at PackersNews.com. If you’d like to submit a question in the future, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Packers will be back on the practice field next week for the start of organized team activities, but in the meantime, you have questions about your beloved team. As I do each week in this space, I’ll try to give you answers. Emphasis on “try.” Let’s get to it.
From Andrew Gardiner:
As an Aussie who loves Packers football and not having grown up with it, when Mike talks about installs for the season ahead what is he talking about? Game plans or what part of the play book he will be using ?
All of the above, Andrew. Kind of.
Starting with OTAs next week, the Packers will indeed start “installing” their schemes on both sides of the ball and special teams. What does that consist of? I know the word “install” makes it sound like the team will be inserting some kind of disk drive into the brains of the players (and I’m sure the coaches wish they could…) but in fact, an “install” is simply code for the process of the coaching staff imparting each player's responsibilities within each playcall. Sound like a lot? It is.
Traditionally, installs happen in three phases, the first of which happens in meeting rooms and classrooms. Coaches will be up on whiteboards and/or showing video cut ups and going over what each player is expected to do. Players are drilled on their physical and mental responsibilities.
Next up, coaches get the players up on their feet and the team conducts walkthroughs of each and every play and each and every adjustment. Guys have to know each assignment, each adjustment and they have to know it cold.
Finally, the team hits the practice field. This is undoubtedly the most nerve-wracking part for young players, especially the rookies. While not run at quite full speed, coaches expect to see assignments carried out quickly and crisply. Oh, and that’s not some small school quarterback you’re going against out there. It’s Aaron Rodgers. That’s not some all-conference safety. That’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Obviously, the Packers will have things they do differently and tweaks of their own, but that’s the basic process. It all begins next week and typically goes through June’s minicamp. Then the team will break prior to coming back for training camp, that starts with a brief refresher of everything they covered in the offseason. But the meat and potatoes of the install process starts next week in OTAs.
From Adam Smith:
My comment or question revolves around Kyle Murphy. For the past 3 years, I've taken my boys to the Stanford Spring game.
It's a great event in that it's free as is parking (nothing is free out here). In any event, after the game, the entire team sign autographs for all kids (and adults too). I had a chance to ask the entire offensive line if they think Kyle Murphy can make the transition from RT to RG for GB. Without hesitation, they all said yes. The common theme was he has the strength and mindset to grind inside. I think there also is a west coast PAC 12 stereotype of players being more "soft" than a player from the SEC or Big 10.
I just wanted your take to see if you think after the Evans 1 year stop gap, if you envision Murphy as "the guy."
Funny you should ask about him, Adam. He certainly held his own there during reps last summer, and he started taking regular reps there in practice during the second half of the season once TJ Lang was injured, so he’s got his toes wet at the position after being a tackle in college.
It will certainly be interesting to see how he competes in camp, along with guys like Lucas Patrick and the rookie Kofi Amichia. You have to think the Packers expect one of them to emerge as “the guy” heading into next season.
Will it be Murphy? He’s awfully tall for a guard, standing at 6’ 6” but his tape certainly suggests he's a guy who could make the jump. Only way we’ll find out is when they put on pads this summer and start battling it out.
Also, when it comes to the right guard spot in general, while Jahri Eavns is undoubtedly the leader in the clubhouse to be the opening day starter, don't discount the possibility that one of these young guys could jump and grab the starting gig this summer. Do I expect that to happen? No. Could it? Absolutely.