Green Bay Packers Coach Mike McCarthy Doesn’t Care That His Players Aren’t Practicing Together During The Lockout

June 13, 2011 – 5:30 am by Eric Schmoldt

When the Green Bay Packers get their Super Bowl rings during a private ceremony this week, it will be one of the few times coach Mike McCarthy has had to get together with his players since winning the Super Bowl. It will also be one of the few times the players have all come together as well.

While many NFL teams have coordinated players-only practices during the lockout, the Packers have not, though that hardly seems to be bother McCarthy. Instead, he says in the following interview he’d rather see his players getting together at charity events rather than practicing and risking injury at this point.

I tend to agree with him on this one. You’ll have a hard time convincing me that the Packers will have a better chance to repeat if they all get together and work out as a team. Of course, there will have to be a season for them to have a chance to repeat.

Mike McCarthy joined ESPN Milwaukee with Jason Wilde to discuss why he doesn’t care if players are practicing on their own, who the lockout affects the most, what a Gatorade shower feels like after winning the Super Bowl, how life has changed since then, if the lockout affects chances for a repeat and the oddness of not being able to contact players after winning it all.

Should the Packers players be practicing on their own?:

“I’m more interested in them being together as a group for Greg Jennings’ event or Donald Driver’s event. I think that’s as important as them going onto the field and trying to manufacture a practice. I think anytime you have a group of people, especially professionals, there’s other factors involved that obviously have to deal with risk. Part of our business in the training environment is risk assessment. It’s important for these players when they do come together for the first time that there’s a progression you go through as you get ready as  a group. I know in my heart that every one of them has been taking care of business on an individual basis, and I know some of them have gotten together in small groups. They’ll be ready.”

Who is most affected by the lockout?:
 
“I think clearly the rookies are going to have the biggest challenge. They’re going to be in an environment they haven’t been in before, they’re transitioning into pro football, so I think it’s pretty obvious. You’re used to getting your rookies on May 16 and they have a good six to eight weeks to get ready for training camp, and that’s been lost.”
 
What did the Super Bowl Gatorade shower feel like?:
 
“It feels great. It feels exactly how you’d think it would, man. It’s even better when you don’t expect it. I don’t know why I was so surprised by it, I guess I should’ve been ready for it. It totally caught me off guard. There’s a great picture, I think Doug Collins our security director was even more caught off guard. So it was kind of funny to see those pictures. It was great. People ask me if it was sticky, I really didn’t notice. It was cold, and it was awesome.”
 
How has life changed since winning the Super Bowl?:
 
“It’s different. You’re noticed a lot more, even moreso nationally than just statewide here in Wisconsin. That’s something that was obvious when we traveled as a family down in Texas. I was on a merry-go-round at Sea World in San Antonio, and four firemen and their families about come over the railing – I was on there with (daughter) Gabrielle – and I was a little taken aback by that, because usually I can go pretty much unnoticed down there. It’s different.”
 
If there is a season, does the lockout hurt the team’s chances to repeat?:
 
“I get that question asked a lot, and I don’t really know how you can quantify that. This lockout, it’s tough on everybody. (The offseason is) about improving as a football team. I’ve always felt with the game of football, you’re either improving or you’re going the other way. So no one’s had a chance to do anything because no one’s had a chance to come together as a team. Our last game was in February, and the next one’s supposed to be in September, so that’s a long time to think you’re going to have carryover or to say that you have an advantage. I understand everybody thinks this really is going to help us because what it’s doing to the first-year coaches and so forth, but time will answer that. It’s such an unusual situation. I’ve never been through anything like this. I’ve always believed in growth in the offseason, and now we’re going to have to get that done in the training camp environment.”
 
On how strange it has been not to be able to communicate with players after winning the Super Bowl:
 
“Our whole staff feels the same way. We just talked about it Wednesday night. It’s been very odd. You go through your postseason evaluations and you go through your scheme evaluations. You’re excited to get the new ideas and new thoughts to your quarterback (and offensive players), and it’s no different on defense and special teams. And get them taught and get out on the field and teach it in stages. But more importantly, just the interaction, especially coming off a Super Bowl victory – there’s a lot to talk about. Really, we didn’t have that opportunity to enjoy the victory. Hopefully we’ll have that at ring night. It’s been very odd not seeing the players for this long. Because every year, you’re usually back in the building (together) around March 16.”
 
Listen to Mike McCarthy on ESPN Radio Milwaukee

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