Mike McCarthy officially opened his 9th training camp as Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers today. Wow, nearly a decade. Time sure does fly. Winning helps. A Super Bowl XLV Title, four NFC North Championships and a half dozen playoff appearances since he arrived in January of 2006. Just days after getting a Village of Ashwaubenon street named after him, McCarthy met the media to launch the 2014 training camp.
The nearly 30 minute session covered a lot of topics, his opening statement, the start of roster competition and season opening message to the team is condensed here:
Audio: Mike McCarthy
McCarthy isn't a huge fan of the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL Players' Association. It has greatly reduced the amount of on-field contact time with players during the off-season program including mini-camps and organized team activities and has eliminated two-a-day training camp sessions (which was barbaric in any era) along with cutting down the number of practice days. There will be 21 practices prior to the regular season along with the usual four pre-season games. McCarthy wished there was more time to evaluate players now that the competition kicks into high gear. He feels the groundwork of system installation was laid during the OSP period this spring.
He offered just a few specifics about his roster heading into camp. Known to carry just two quarterbacks on the final 53 in the past, McCarthy had to start four different quarterbacks last year. Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn will almost surely make two, whether Scott Tolzien plays well enough in camp and the pre-season to take away a roster spot at another position is the determining factor in retaining three.
Jermichael Fiinley's status is still up in the air. McCarthy said the Packers still consider him a part of the team, it remains a medical question. There's no deadline looming for the unrestricted free agent to get medically cleared and under contract. McCarthy also felt the remaining tight ends on the roster probably improved the most as a group over the course of the spring.
McCarthy also likes the veteran depth afforded on the offensive line, especially with Bryan Bulaga back, Don Barclay proven and David Bahktiari gaining a season's worth of experience. He's confident second year pro J.C. Tretter will be able to seize the starting center position.
There will be plenty to watch once the team hits the field Saturday morning, bright and early at 8:20 AM. Come back for daily blog updates on the 2014 Training Camp or follow me on twitter for notes and impressions as they happen during practices @markdanielsWNFL.