Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke with media after the team’s first practice of rookie orientation Friday afternoon. Here are some highlights.
On getting a baseline for new players in first practice: Really, the weekend is an orientation. That’s why we call it rookie orientation, we don’t call it rookie minicamp. It’s getting everybody acclimated to the environment they’re working in. we’re also getting a look at tryout guys and making sure we have a competitive 90-man roster.
On how quickly players transition: That’s a good question. Yesterday is a long day. They travel, they go through all the physicals, getting fitted for equipment, a lot of introductions. Then you have extended physicals, some players have more information that others. Then you have night meetings and meetings with coaches. So they’re put through a lot. Today, in the team meeting Mark Murphy spoke and shared his experiences. The same with Ted Thompson. And then you saw practice today.
On what tryout guys need to accomplish: The first thing is really probably confirm what the belief is of them as prospects, as far as their evaluation coming in here. Hopefully they jump out and show more. You take that and compare it to the other players. It’s really about creating the most competitive 90-man roster that you can.
On vets: It’s tremendous, and really it’s more in the classroom than the football part of it on the field. What we’re doing in the education is really centered to the new players. When it comes to the classroom and what we’re trying to do, they play a huge role.
I’d say we’re way ahead of the game. We’ve been doing orientation now for I don’t know how many years. We tweak it every years, particularly for the tryout players. There’s always an adjustment in each one of our rookie orientations based on the numbers. What we do on the field is really a small part of what we’re
On Matt Rotheram on center: Yes, it’s something. It’s his opportunity to create more value, increase his opportunity. We definitely want to look at him at center and probably will keep doing so when we get into OTAs.
On big players: Yes, they’re as big as we thought they were. So it’s confirmed.
On what to expect from players in second year back from torn ACL like Kyler Fackrell and tackle Don Barclay: I think when you look at joint injuries, the first year is a huge hurdle. So much goes into that rehab, from the injury to the time they’re ready to play. There’s always that first practice, first game, getting back into it. Getting into that second year, I think that’s clearly a threshold.
On bringing another punter in the fold: Just trying to create as much competition as we can. Peter punted the ball well today, and we’ll see how it goes.
On whether he’s spoken with individual drafted players yet: I have not. I’ll spend some time with the drafted rookies in the near future. We’ve been spending most of our time in the group setting.
On QB Callahan: He’s the most prolific quarterback coming out of Division III at Wesley, and you can’t ignore his production. Anybody who has as much production as he does deserves an opportunity.
On players transitioning: Well, we’ve got to get out of the huddle better tomorrow. I’ll tell you that. We need to improve there, but they’ll be fine. Really, it’s the speed. It’s the speed of the game from high school to college, college to here. It’s never the same for two people.
On importance of four-down linebackers: Well, necessary? Preferred. Any time you have four-down players, it improves your football team. But you do what you have to do. We’re ready to play a game today with the men who have been here the past three weeks. Whether they play two or three or four, it’s all part of that opportunity to increase your value to the team.