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Barnett,TT, and Jags sound off on camp no-shows!

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by tromadz, Jun 3, 2006.

  1. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    What is with the no shows at camp? Is it a big deal? no deal? What is going on?


    Views on Packers' minicamps vary


    Whether you believe a player making millions of dollars and coming off a 4-12 season should get on the field no matter what or that something that's voluntary really means just that, the Green Bay Packers have their own opinions about these off-season minicamps, most of which are not mandatory.

    Some players have made practices priority No. 1 and have been here for every single one. Others trust the veterans who haven't showed will be in shape when they get here. Others understand that charity commitments, football camps and family obligations are important too.

    No resentment. No judgment. No questions of favoritism.

    But what's the bottom line in a team sport where you simply must count on the other 10 guys on the field to make a play work?

    "If you don't know your (expletive) by the time we get to training camp, you're going to be in trouble," said linebacker Nick Barnett, who has been at every practice. "You're going to be a hindrance on our team. I don't expect that to happen.

    "I mean, the first week of training camp, of course there's going to be a couple of little things to iron out. But if you don't really know your (expletive), there's a problem. We have a problem on our team. You're going to get called out because at that point, you're supposed to know your stuff."

    As the Packers continue their third and final minicamp of the off-season, here's the difference between what's mandatory and what is not:

    The NFL allows only one mandatory minicamp, and the Packers had it right after the draft, with four practices in early May.

    Because the Packers have a new coaching staff, the NFL allowed Green Bay a second, five-practice minicamp, which the Packers had in mid-May. It was completely voluntary.

    In addition, every NFL team is allotted 14 more practices, all voluntary, which the Packers call Organized Team Activities (OTAs). It is up to each team to decide how many they want to use. Former coach Mike Sherman, for example, had an eight-day minicamp in June, spread out over two weeks, with one day designated for team-bonding with golf, bowling or dodge ball.

    New coach Mike McCarthy is using all 14 practices and spreading them out over four weeks - a long haul to most players - with work resuming again on Monday after this weekend break.

    A player can not be fined for not attending the voluntary work. He may only lose some workout bonus money if it was specifically written in to his contract with the team.

    So that means that so far, the Packers have had 12 minicamp practices. It had near perfect attendance by healthy players in the four-practice mandatory camp, with the exception being Donnell Washington.

    For the other eight voluntary practices so far, though, 15 out of the nearly 100 men on the Packers roster have missed at least one practice for personal reasons alone, and not because of injury. That does not include 16th year veteran Brett Favre, who was excused by coaches from the middle camp. It also doesn't include the rookies such as first-round draft pick A.J. Hawk, who is completing his college classes.

    McCarthy has said he hopes for full attendance but has been understanding of some schedule issues.

    "You know what? Here's the deal," said offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski said. "The no shows? Can't worry about who's not here. All we're going to do is worry about which guys are here. OK? That deal is getting way overblown. Our attendance is better than it has been - it's up."

    The Packers agree with that. Though it seems that when Cletidus Hunt skipped a minicamp last season and it was a big deal, these Packers don't see what the fuss is all about.

    If it weren't for the big names no shows like Charles Woodson and Al Harris, the Packers say, no one would even notice. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila missed one camp but is here for the OTAs. Rod Gardner has missed a few practices. Mark Roman, Ahmad Carroll and Ryan Pickett as well. But for guys like Donald Driver and William Henderson missing just one, it means zilch in the big picture.

    But collectively, the roll call questions have raised some red flags in the public's eye. Can't McCarthy get all of his men in camp? Is this an act of defiance by some, or just disrespect? Is the commitment level there from players?

    For his part, Packers general manager Ted Thompson doesn't act one bit concerned about whether the absenteeism looks like an act of disrespect to his staff.

    "I don't think anybody's taking it personally," said Thompson. "Or feel like it's any sort of slight. They're voluntary workouts."

    Well, yes technically, but are they really? Most people, including most of the Packers themselves, believe their performance last year means that they decided they personally just had to be here.

    "It's your job," said tackle Mark Tauscher. "And we're behind. We have a whole new offense and every player needs to learn it, so there's not as much a grace period. It's tough when you're dealing with a new staff. You don't want to come out in a bad light, you want to show them that you're going to work and do what they want you do."

    The no-shows may have potential long-term effects, as well. The Packers all say they are installing plays in the current minicamp that will make training camp easier.

    "Work hard now so we have it a little easier in training camp," said defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins. "I'm all for that."

    Does that mean then the team may have to back up to accommodate others who had less-than-perfect attendance and may have fallen a little behind? Nearly every player at all of the practices sacrificed their personal time with their family and re-arranged other summer plans to be here working. Could they end up resenting the guys who didn't? What does that do for team chemistry?

    "I wouldn't anticipate that happening," said Thompson. "Most, if not all of these fellas, have been here at one time during the off-season, and none of them were big out of shape, or anything like that. So these guys are training, they're professionals. We would like to get to the point where there's 100% participation. We understand that takes time, and people have habits, and nobody is worked up about it. It seems like the public is, but we're not."

    Clearly, though, some leaders of the team are here when they could be somewhere - anywhere - else. Tauscher added that Favre was setting an example of leadership by attending the June practices. Ahman Green and Chad Clifton, like many of the injured players, are out there watching every practice for two hours though they can't do a thing.

    Tight end Bubba Franks was in a contract holdout last season and missed all of the off-season workouts. He plans to make nearly every one this year even though it means he won't spend time with his son back in Miami.

    "I would have been in Miami, but we have a new system, a new offense, and I don't want to go into the season feeling as a rookie again," said Franks. "I hated that feeling. I want to know everything. I want to know what every guy has. I want to know the offense just like Brett knows the offense. If I am going to have to be here from day one, then I will be here.

    "I don't really have any complaints, not coming off the season we had last year. We're not used to that and I don't want to get used to that. I want to get back to the top as fast as I can and if this is the way to do it, then I'm all for it."

    Many guys have re-arranged their schedules to be here for such a long camp.

    "It's brutal," said Barnett. "But we have a philosophy behind what we're doing here. We're going to get a lot of the bulk of the work done right now so when training camp comes, we're not killing ourselves. That's the whole philosophy behind it. We need everybody here participating 100 percent for that to really go over."

    With spotty attendance here and there, there's not an epidemic. Some players are expected later this camp. Everyone needs to be caught up so a problem doesn't develop.

    "Yeah, it could be a little concern maybe with the system," said Jenkins. "You just hope people get the system so everybody will be ready to go."

    Added Franks: "This is a different team and we need to learn to trust each other. That's the main reason most of the guys are here - so you can trust the guy next to you. But if another guy says he can do it, wherever he is, as long as he comes in and does his job, I have no problem with it."

    -JSOnline
    ------------------------------------
    Some different opinions on 'voluntary camp' so far. I think Barnett said it all when he said:

    "I mean, the first week of training camp, of course there's going to be a couple of little things to iron out. But if you don't really know your (expletive), there's a problem. We have a problem on our team. You're going to get called out because at that point, you're supposed to know your stuff."
     
  2. CaliforniaCheez

    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

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    Part of the blame is McCarthy.

    Sherman had training camp pretty well scheduled once the preseason was known. Sherman had a good feel in advance for when a break was likely needed.

    In contrast look how late the dates of the OTA were scheduled. I mean dental apointments and personal things are there when your coach can't get things scheduled in advance. Remember all the posts asking when the OTA's were scheduled?

    Have the dates of training camp been figured out yet?
    Planning ahead and some anticipation is rquired for leadership.

    Players are not on 24 hour call waiting to jump when practice is called.
    It is not all the players fault.

    A rookie coaching staff is learning too.
     
  3. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    yeah if this is the worst of mccarthys 'rookie errors' then thats fine with me.
     
  4. all about da packers

    all about da packers Cheesehead

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    Trom, I believe McCarthy will have a few more "rookie errors" before this season is finished.

    We will find out a LOT of things about MM in the upcoming month.
     
  5. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    i didnt say it would be his only rookie error, i said if this was the worst of them, then thats fine with me.

    "Jesus Christ, open your ******* ears! " - Kim Jong Il (Team America)
     
  6. tabojc03

    tabojc03 Cheesehead

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    I'm sorry but was it just me that knew about the OTAs, because the Packers offseason schedule was released when they announced the other minicamps.. when they signed these guys they already knew that they would miss some time, what MM wants is a well oiled machine going into training camp, unlike Sherman (you forced me to compare, since the comparison was already used), excuse me but Sherman's offseason program was a mess, most of these guys have been involved in MM's organized offseason program. MM stated everyone is going to hit this together, that's why the late minicamp going into training camp, and he is using all 14 days because he knows some aren't going to make it for every practice....where is the mistake anyways, I guess some of you are going through Sherman withdawl and prefer the team to not know its identity until half way through the season...don't hit the panic button yet, when people aren't here for training camp, then maybe get worried.....
     
  7. kmac

    kmac Cheesehead

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    How about just making them manditory?

    I'm sorry, nevermind, that makes too much sense.
     
  8. wils0646

    wils0646 Cheesehead

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    Because you can't have mandatory workouts before training camp. It's in the CBA.
     
  9. kmac

    kmac Cheesehead

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    Ahh.

    Well in that case, who gives a crap whether or not they show up. If they show up on sunday, I could care less.
     
  10. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    Being a new coach and system, it would be nice if they show up. MM is also scheduling lots more OTA's then Sherman did. You can bet the guys that DO show up will score points with the coaching staff.
     
  11. net

    net Cheesehead

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    Several years ago, OTA's didn't exist. You had a mini-camp and training camp.

    Training camp is the real deal. They have on pads and they block, tackle, pass and run for real. This is flag football.

    I keep seeing talk of a "new system". Correct me if I'm wrong, but McCarthy is running the West Coast Offense? Isn't that the basic offense that has been run here since Mike Holmgren? This isn't a new offense as much as tweaking the current system. Brett didn't seem to have any trouble with it, did he? Javon Walker found the Denver offense to be not that far away from Green Bay's....WCO.

    The main difference will be the blocking along the offensive line. Except for a couple guys hurt, they all seem to be there. Seems like they are learning. "Zone" blocking is actually easier than the system the Packers employed last year. It's basically find an area, find a person and block them as opposed to picking an individual as an assignment.

    On defense, isn't it the Bates defense? Seems like all but a few starters and regulars have been pretty well versed in it. For Charles Woodson it's an easier system than he had in Oakland. Find a receiver and play bump-and-run. This isn't rocket science. A. Carroll figured it out for cryin' out loud. No one seems to be too concerned that A.J. Hawk isn't here. Whether "excused' or not, the "sky is falling" crowd seems to think missing flag football practice(contact isn't allowed) is the end of the Green Bay Packers. I guess because A.J. Hawk missed all this time the Packers defense will suck.

    Get a freakin' grip.

    The Packers will have two weeks of two-a-days in July before the FIRST PRE-SEASON GAME.

    The only benefit to this is for younger players to get acquainted with things, and some out-of-shape vets to work toward getting into football shape. Those who attend will have a leg up in come training camp, but it doesn't mean that all is lost Chicken Little.
     
  12. musccy

    musccy Cheesehead

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    net...

    I don't know how difficult it will be for players to adapt to the "new offensive system" but regardless...this was a 4-12 team, with a new coach, and (at least on defense) quite a few new additions. As a professional, or anyone for that matter, you'd think that be plenty of incentive to take advantage of every opportunity you have to speed the learning curve and try to keep from embarassing yourself and the organization again next year.
     
  13. JeffQuery

    JeffQuery Banned Banned

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    Barnett has no room to talk about knowing your ****...that guy is rarely in the "right" position...
     
  14. Cheesehog

    Cheesehog Cheesehead

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    Barnett is maturing and starting to learn more. I just wish he would get out of the club business and concentrate solely on the game.

    By the way jeffquery, I still have a t-shirt still for Jeff Query that had "The White Lightning!" on it. I guess it wouldn't be PC nowadays.
     
  15. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    Hmm. His first three seasons in the NFL he's had to learn a new defense and still posted over 100 tackles a season. I think he is in the right position more than not. That's not saying he's a Pro Bowler because he's not, he has his share of missed tackles for sure. But in order to miss the tackle you have to be in the 'right' position in the first place.
     
  16. JeffQuery

    JeffQuery Banned Banned

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    Why not. If Darryl Dawkins could be called "Chocolate Thunder" why can't Query be "White Lightning"?

    That boy could fly. Used to love to watch him play.

    (Like the Heart song, "White Lightning & Wine)
     
  17. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    I agree........the kid is getting better every year. I think he can end up one of the top LB's in football. He has the tools, just needs more time on the field.
     
  18. net

    net Cheesehead

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    Football is the most physically demanding of the professional sports. That is why they don't play it 9 months out of the year like baseball, or 8 months like basketball.

    The sport is brutal on bodies. Mike Holmgren had a much greater turnaround to do when he came in, sans the OTA's, and ran 9-7 that year.
    This is playtime. I think it's a near waste of time. Anything that is 'voluntary' is not important. These guys can run pass patterns in their jocks and socks until hell freezes over and they aren't going to get any better until the pads come on. Professionals know how to get prepared and if they don't, someone else will. This borders on nannyism by McCarthy.

    I suspect you will see more players opting out next year if he tries to do this again. Sherman only held about 10 calendar days of this nonsense.

    It does help the rookies and FA's, but really, is this going to help Brett Favre? Donald Driver? Nick Barnett?
     
  19. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    it's only 'voluntary' due to the union.
     
  20. musccy

    musccy Cheesehead

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    but there must be some value in them or else Sherman and McCarthy wouldn't hold them. This is an opportunity to go through the playbook, train, learn the new terminology, rotations, get to gel w/ teammates and staff, etc. Will it make or break the season? NO! But blowing off an opportunity to learn more and improve is very telling and concerning to me.
     
  21. pyledriver80

    pyledriver80 Cheesehead

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    I'm with Musccy here. Voluntary or not it gives you the chance to gel with Teammates and could give you time to work on the little things in your game. Barnett has all the tools but seems to overplay everything. Come in and work on you discipline so you can improve a weak spot in your game.
     
  22. 4thand26

    4thand26 Cheesehead

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    I also agree with Musccy. I don't think that these workouts are a big deal, but if you can get 95% of what you need in training camp and 5% in the OTA's, why not take advantage of the OTA's and get the extra 5%?
     
  23. tonytokes

    tonytokes Cheesehead

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    anyone saying these OTAs dont mean anything or contribute to the well being of the team have never played any football beyond 8th grade or played for a high school team, running a wing T while they chunked around at defensive tackle.

    are you kidding?!

    forget about timing and running routes... just to know the actual system, play calls, check downs, assignments, other's assignments, etc... **** is complex.

    football is a game of chess. difference is that there are 11 moves at once instead of one.
     

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