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Fresh approach to conditioning

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Heatherthepackgirl, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

    Nov 22, 2005
    Posted: Feb. 19, 2007

    Green Bay - Perhaps never before in team history have the Green Bay Packers placed as much emphasis on a football off-season as they will in 2007.

    The Packers plan to give players, such as quarterback Brett Favre, a more individualized off-season workout program.

    Coach wants to get so much done this spring so that the training camp is a little bit easier.

    Stung by slow starts in recent seasons, coach Mike McCarthy intends to maximize returns from the voluntary program from March to June and then conduct what figures to be a less-physical training camp targeted almost strictly on reversing the trend.

    "Frankly, I'm going into a new approach," McCarthy said. "I'm going to get more out of them in the spring. I've really spent a lot of time on it . . . because we've got to come out of training camp better."

    Last year, the Packers came out of the gate and were blasted, 26-0, by the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. After a 3-5 first half, their 5-3 second half included a 4-0 finish.

    In their last 25 full seasons, the Packers had a better second-half record 16 times and the same record in each half six times. They were 121-77 (.611) in the second halves compared with 90-107-1 (.457) in the first halves.

    As McCarthy reviewed his first year, he found himself going back to the Aug. 28 exhibition game in Cincinnati. With eight days between their second and third exhibition games, the Packers practiced exceptionally hard and then looked dead in a 48-17 defeat.

    "Being critical of myself, I think the workload of the Bengals game affected our team," McCarthy said. "We didn't play with a real lot of energy. I had some guys that were leg-weary. Most importantly, I think it kind of dented our confidence."

    Depending on the dates of the exhibition games, McCarthy already has completed his August schedule.

    "I've spent a lot of time maximizing the amount of reps and trying to build in rest and recovery time and being smarter with our team," he said. "Right, wrong or indifferent, I'm just really looking at things trying to improve."

    To that end, McCarthy has made some subtle changes in how the team does business.

    When their off-season workout program begins March 19, the Packers have decided to put players through a battery of physical tests and then design specific exercises to shore up individual deficiencies.

    The Packers, like most teams, pay players for working out a minimum of four days each week at their facility. For the first time, one of the four days (Tuesday) will be spent out of the weight room and in the Hutson Center for movement drills such as sled pushes and pulls, medicine ball work and various jumps.

    "Just make things more specific by position to the game of football," strength coach Rock Gullickson said.

    The off-season program for returning players will be culminated by the one allowed mandatory minicamp May 18-20, which is two weeks later than usual.

    "How good is that?" Gullickson said. "We get to train those guys for nine full weeks before they go to minicamp."

    For the final five weeks of the nine-week period, Gullickson said coaches would be involved. They will work with their players on the field for 45 minutes on 10 days (twice a week for five weeks).

    Rookies and first-year candidates will be the only players at the post-draft minicamp May 4-6.

    After shutting down from May 21-29, the Packers will commence May 30 with their 14 allowable days of organized team activities. Those sessions will be spread over four weeks and won't end until June 19 or 20.

    During those sessions, players are able to spend no more than four hours each day lifting, meeting and practicing. Training camp then will open about July 27.

    Throughout the off-season, the Packers for the first time will offer a sit-down breakfast at the facility for players free of charge. Other teams have done it in the past.

    "The guys asked for it and Coach and Ted (Thompson) decided that's a good idea," Gullickson said. "So many of the guys get up and come to work without even thinking about eating. It's easily 50% what you eat and 50% what you do physically as to how you progress in this game. If we can get some nourishment in them and make it a good quality meal, by all means we're a step ahead of where we were."

    Last spring, the only two players who didn't take part in any voluntary workouts were cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Al Harris. However, about 20 of the nearly 100 players on the roster missed at least one of the organized team activities days.

    "Right now, the energy and focus is so much better than last year," Gullickson said. "With a brand-new coaching staff, there's always a lot of questions. The fact that Brett's coming back has everybody geared up."

    In his first season, Gullickson rated the Packers' collective strength level as "average, probably."

    "Coach wants to get so much done this spring so that the training camp is a little bit easier," he said. "He's talked to me about the schedule. I can't tell you the schedule but, physically, the guys should be in great shape going into the pre-season."
  2. retiredgrampa

    retiredgrampa Cheesehead

    Sep 21, 2005
    This all sounds fine but my main concern is, as always, the OL. Moll, Spitz, and our LG, (damn old age and memory) vowed to each other to work out together at GB during the whole off-season on weights to improve strength. But are they doing it? I haven't been able to find out. I'm sure Hawk is working hard. He wants to surpass Urlacher in talent. MM is dead on re: our slow starts to the season. We can't afford another one.
  3. longtimefan

    longtimefan Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    Mar 6, 2005
    This makes perfect sense to me..lets just hope it pays off for the team in all phases
  4. CaliforniaCheez

    CaliforniaCheez Cheesehead

    Apr 13, 2005
    This was one of my concerns last year with a "rookie" coaching staff.
    Learning on the job. Will the new approaches be improved approaches?
    At least McCarthy is evaluating himself.
    He should be an even better coach next season.

    Sherman always had rest and practice in camp mapped out early.

    I'm glad to see advance planning.
  5. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

    Aug 15, 2005
    GB has had slow starts since Sherman and it was always so frustrating. At least McCarthy isn't gonna sit on his hands about it. Will this new approach work? who knows, but A for effort.
  6. paxvogel

    paxvogel Cheesehead

    Jun 9, 2005
    I will say that this team is very young and if practicing hard for the 8 days between games wears them out then we need a lot better conditioning program the rest of the year.

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