Mike McCarthy mixing it up in Packers camp
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels is looking for any edge to beat an opposing lineman.
His offensive-minded head coach is sharing some tips that Daniels may not have necessarily received before this offseason.
Coach Mike McCarthy is relinquishing offensive play-calling duties this year to spend more time working with the defense and special teams.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has even gone so far as to joke that McCarthy is sharing trade secrets with the defense.
Not quite, but any little tidbit helps. McCarthy likes to keep things fresh for his team and coaching staff, after arriving in Green Bay in 2006.
''Well, a big focus for our whole team this year is just to raise the football IQ, so we've had coaches spend more time together, offense and defense,'' McCarthy said Tuesday after the first day of the Packers' three-day mandatory minicamp.
This is still a work in progress for McCarthy. He appears to be spending more time away from the offense during open practices, but he doesn't have a routine down yet.
''I'm still kind of working through job responsibility. I've got a lot of ideas that won't be applied until training camp and in-season,'' McCarthy said. ''But this is probably the busiest offseason for me personally, certainly since my first year here.''
Daniels, the Packers' high-energy leader on the line, has seen a difference. The defense already has veteran Dom Capers as its coordinator; now McCarthy is offering more insights to that side of the ball.
''I know being a defensive player, we're getting the offensive perspective. We're getting in their minds, pre-snap during a play,'' Daniels said about McCarthy's input.
One time this offseason when players were watching film, McCarthy pointed out differences in blocking schemes on back-to-back plays. The schemes looked exactly the same, but the offensive line, McCarthy noted, was trying to accomplish different goals on each play.
''As Coach McCarthy pointed out, I think (it was) the guard (with) how he opened up his hips ... it's so subtle,'' Daniels said. ''But if you can get that subtle difference, you'll be able to read a play that much quicker.''
Not to say that McCarthy is completely divesting himself of the offense. This is his scheme, after all, even if Tom Clements is taking over calling plays. It sure helps that Rodgers, 31, is in the prime of his career.
Receiver Randall Cobb said he hasn't really noticed that much of a difference on the field.
''He's more of the head man overseeing everything else. I'm working with the same guys on a day-to-day basis,'' Cobb said.
The bigger adjustment is in meeting rooms, Cobb said. Besides Clements' promotion from offensive coordinator to associate head coach, McCarthy also promoted receivers coach Edgar Bennett to offensive coordinator.
Quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt will add receivers coach to his responsibilities. Those position groups now meet in the same room.
''Who's running what in meetings,'' Cobb said. ''It's just a difference that we're still working out the kinks to. I think it's been good so far just being able to be on the same page so far with the quarterback and understand what they're thinking and what they're seeing when they're watching film.''
Notes: Third-round draft pick Ty Montgomery didn't participate in his first workout until Thursday because the receiver was finishing school at Stanford. The workout Tuesday was just his third of the offseason, though McCarthy likes what he has seen so far. Playing catch-up, Montgomery said he had three goals. ''It was to play fast, play with confidence ... and then to finish every play. I still fell behind,'' he said. ... The Packers have an offsite team-bonding event on Wednesday and will not practice. It's a tradition under McCarthy. ''The opportunity that our players will have tomorrow, they'll be in groups of four, maybe five, and there'll be guys that ride in a (golf) cart with Aaron Rodgers or with someone they've never really had a conversation with,'' McCarthy said. ''This is about culture, it's about developing the bonding between your players and coaches and support staff. So it's very important.''
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