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Harris: It's time to work

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Heatherthepackgirl, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

    Nov 22, 2005
    By Rob Demovsky • June 5, 2008

    When cornerback Al Harris stepped foot inside The Don Hutson Center on Wednesday, it meant every Green Bay Packers player had made at least one appearance during the first three weeks of organized team activities.

    After skipping the first two weeks of the voluntary workouts, Harris left the comfort of his Coral Springs, Fla., home and flew to Green Bay on Tuesday night. His presence, along with that of fellow starting cornerback Charles Woodson, could be construed as a sign two of the team's veteran players feel the need to fill a leadership void created by quarterback Brett Favre's retirement in March.

    Woodson, who like Harris has attended the OTAs sporadically since he signed with the Packers in 2006, has been participating in the OTAs the last two weeks after missing the first week. The OTAs conclude next week, and the team's lone mandatory minicamp takes place June 17-19. Harris and Woodson said they planned to remain in Green Bay through the minicamp, which is the final team activity before players report on July 27 for training camp.

    "It's going to be, of course, a transition period for the Packers without Brett being around, and so I guess we need as many of the vets back as possible," Woodson said after Wednesday's practice. "From a personal standpoint, I'm not back trying to take the role of leader or nothing like that. I just felt like I needed to be here."

    Harris said he planned to attend part of the OTAs but had some "family stuff" to do.

    "It's time to come to work," Harris said. "It's time."

    Though coach Mike McCarthy has stressed the importance of his offseason program since he was hired in 2006, he hasn't seemed concerned about how often Harris, 33, or Woodson, 31, take part in the OTAs. Given their history of being in top physical condition and their workout regimens in Florida (for Harris) and Houston (for Woodson), he probably has little reason to worry about what kind of shape they're in.

    McCarthy said last week Woodson had been in Green Bay early in the offseason to work out before leaving for Houston, and this week he praised Harris for maintaining his conditioning.

    "He's a player we don't concern ourselves with as far as getting out of shape," McCarthy said of Harris. "He has an offseason program that he has stuck to, and it definitely works for him. He is so powerful on the point. His jam technique is as good as I have been around. So, he looks to be in good shape. Just watching him work post-practice with (cornerbacks coach) Lionel Washington, I don't have any concerns."

    Harris said he has followed his regular offseason training routine but wanted to get back to some football work.

    "Just timing," Harris said when asked what he wanted to work on. "Get your timing down, get crisp and get into football shape. You're in shape, but you're not in football shape. You can work as hard as you want, but you still have to get into football shape and football tempo."

    Plus, Harris said, players "get paid for being here, so that's always nice."

    Harris and Woodson would be natural leaders for a team that lost its starting quarterback of the past 16 seasons. The Packers lost another veteran locker-room leader in longtime long-snapper Rob Davis, who retired this offseason. Harris and Woodson aren't extremely vocal, but both appear to have the respect of the younger players.

    "This year, I kind of felt like I just kind of need to be around the team," Woodson said. "So, I let the coaches know that I was coming back up here, and here I am."

    If there are concerns about Harris and Woodson succumbing to age, the Packers aren't showing it. Despite a poor performance by the secondary — especially by Harris — in the NFC championship game loss to the New York Giants, McCarthy and General Manager Ted Thompson appear confident in their veteran cornerback duo.

    Still, McCarthy was pleased to see Harris join Woodson on the field on Wednesday. The two worked extensively with the No. 1 defense and appeared to take a full load of reps while some other veteran players were limited.

    "The offseason is very important," McCarthy said. "We've talked about it a little bit in here already. I've addressed it with the football team. We have a very distorted training camp schedule compared to the ones we have had in the past. I think it will play parallel to our in-season schedule, so there is an amount of work that needs to get done in the offseason. These OTAs are important. Our minicamp in a couple of weeks is important.

    "It's important for Al to be here just like everybody else — to make sure he is getting ready to go because the practices are less than what we have done in the last two years in training camp. So, you only have a certain window to get ready, and it's important for our players to be here. We're smart with our veteran players. We always have been since my time as the head coach, and we'll continue to do so. You've just got to find that happy medium."
  2. TheEngineer

    TheEngineer Cheesehead

    May 18, 2008
    I love the fact that the starting cornerbacks are mentoring the youngsters. It could only be good.
  3. favre2driver

    favre2driver Cheesehead

    Jan 8, 2008
    like above, I like that harris and woodson are positive, and taking over the leadershipp role. The young cbs(Lee, Williams, Blackmon), will learn from them and develop nicely. That's good because 33 is the age when most cbs start to lose speed and abilities.

    And, How do you find all these articles?

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