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- Dec 12, 2004
- Reaction score
- Green Bay, WI
JSOnline.com - Source
Posted: June 13, 2006
Green Bay - Although it technically was a volunteer workout, one of several extra off-season practices granted by the National Football League to teams with new coaches, the activity level was at a frenetic pace Tuesday.
That is the most obvious stamp Mike McCarthy has placed on the Green Bay Packers so far.
"He feels like if you're flying around on the practice field at a fever pitch, when we get into the game things will slow down and it will make it easier to recognize things," center Scott Wells said. "Any time you practice with that high intensity the spirit of the team is going to be up, too, to maintain that tempo."
Less apparent is the field presence the 42-year-old rookie head coach is beginning to bring to a franchise in desperate need of an esteem makeover, but if you look hard enough, signs of its formation are there. It was not noticeable five months ago when the relative unknown was introduced as the surprise hire over Jim Bates, because on that day McCarthy was all about humility and gratitude. It was actually hard to envision McCarthy, who won over Ted Thompson with his "Pittsburgh macho," as a serious leader of men.
Now, although no one knows at this early date whether McCarthy will get the Packers back into the Super Bowl or be fired before the expiration of his three-year contract, it is safe to say he has that commanding air that demands respect. Somewhat edgy and exceedingly direct, McCarthy doesn't leave anyone guessing as to who's in charge.
Still, these bonus practices are not just for the benefit of the players. They are for McCarthy to learn what it will take to be a head coach at the highest level.
"I'll say one thing, I'll never be just a head coach because I'd be bored to death out here if I didn't coach a position on offense or defense," he said. "I know some people do it. It's been a learning experience. You have to manage the whole practice. It's all the little things. Our business is the details, details, details. Because any time the little things get away from you, they turn into big things. So that's been the biggest learning experience, just keeping your finger on everything and holding everybody accountable for it."
For example, McCarthy lectured his players on the Ben Roethlisberger situation.
"Obviously, we're all men," he said. "I'm not a fan of motorcycles, but that's just me. I know they're very popular in this part of the country. The biggest part of the message was (to) just be smart."
He talked to Nick Barnett about the linebacker's dispute with City Council over a liquor license for his nightclub.
"I didn't get into specifics because I'm not rehearsed in law, but my father was a bar owner, which I'm sure you're aware of," McCarthy said. "I just told him it's a tough business."
McCarthy also learned the specifics of team President John Jones' heart surgery during his own physical Monday.
"Actually, my blood pressure was excellent," McCarthy said. "With all the caffeine I've been drinking I was shocked with that."
Details, details, details, all without the benefit of regular sleep.
"He's very approachable as far as the players," Wells said. "I think they made a good decision in hiring him. I think he'll do an excellent job here."
It's not yet clear which direction McCarthy's career will take, but it's a good bet it will get there in a hurry.
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