Defense is the focus for Wes Hodkiewicz and Ryan Wood in analyzing the 2015 Packers for this week's organized team activities. (May 26, 2015)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy met with reporters after Thursday's organized team activities practice, which was open to media and fans. Some of his comments:
On offensive lineman Don Barclay, wide receiver Jared Abbrederis and linebacker Andy Mulumba practicing after missing last season with knee injuries:
I would say all the guys have been doing well and really have been for a long time. I don't think they've really missed a beat. Feel good about the progress everybody is making. As far as the whole group, I have no long-term concerns.
On the first day of OTAs, which was Wednesday:
This is a fun time of the year. The support here is always tremendous. Felt good yesterday and felt good today. You go and watch the film. There are a lot of similarities year to year. Felt good coming out of Phase 2, the amount of work we were able to get done. Really how the young guys have picked it up. Mental errors were way too high. We need to learn how to practice. Veterans do a good job of getting young guys going. New drills. New coaches working different combinations. It was great to be out there.
On how his job has changed:
I enjoy coaching. Coaching is still coaching. Regardless of what position you work with. Coaching that's where I want to be. I think the frustrations every head coach goes through is when he's pulled away from the field. This has been a very fun year for me, personally. To be in there with defense and special teams, offense has been doing a great job. It's been great.
On new special teams coordinator Ron Zook:
Just like every coordinator. Ron Zook is an accomplished coach. You want your unit to take on your personality. That's where some of the adjustments we've made on special teams is the focus. Ron is an excellent teacher. He has a passion for coaching. When players came back, we didn't feel there was a lot of things we needed to change. A lot of little adjustments. We're off to a very good start.
On quarterback Aaron Rodgers at OTAs:
The biggest thing with Aaron is he loves football. He's in such a comfortable place on the football field. The guy loves to compete. He's obviously a great player. Good communicator. The first day we arrived here, the offense is about making the quarterback successful. Huge part of how we operate on offense. We'll continue to make tweaks. We have a good veteran base here. This could be our best veteran base for our football team. We're leaning on each other.
On the turnout for OTAs:
It's a big part of our program. It's something we've done for a number of years. Go back to our first year. We had about 80 percent attendance and I had to do recall with the media every day. It's changed. It was an emphasis back then. Players know how important it is. They know when they come back here, they're going to get better.
On having that veteran base:
Experience, the people. I think the way we operate. Our group interaction, I don't know if we can get any higher. We do a lot of things. Position groups are together a lot. It's not as individualized at this point in our offseason program. Teaching philosophy, you always teach to the oldest guy. Challenging older guys to bring younger guys up. Finding as many different ways as you can to motivate and continue to grow.
On playing linebacker Clay Matthews inside:
Clay Matthews is a great pass-rusher. He's going to continue to play as many different positions as we can get out of him. He's a great player. Need to give him opportunities to make plays. I've talked to Clay a couple times earlier in the offseason program and the meetings he goes to. He's moving around. He wants to make sure he has a clear understanding of what we're doing and from every perspective.
On linebacker Nick Perry, slowed last year by a shoulder injury:
The way people represent it sometimes away from work from inside. Nick Perry is a tough, physical football player. What he's played through this past year was significant. He's had some tough moments in the early part of his career. I have a lot of respect for him.