No shakeup needed: New year, same approach from Packers' McCarthy
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Mike McCarthy made no grand pronouncements Wednesday.
There was not any sort of guarantee from the 12th-year Green Bay Packers head coach.
Going into training camp, McCarthy said he and his staff were focused on the same steady, focused approach that has sent the team to the postseason each of the past eight years.
With two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers still in his prime, McCarthy believes that will give the Packers a shot at reaching the Super Bowl in Minneapolis in February.
"We have full confidence. The goal here has never changed. It's been the same since Day 1," McCarthy said in his annual pre-camp news conference, in advance of Thursday morning's first practice.
"You obviously have to get in the playoffs to get to the Super Bowl.
"(Training camp is about) trying to find a balance of training your team the right way, being smart, but also getting them ready to win a championship."
The Packers started last season 4-6, but won eight straight games -- including playoff victories over the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys -- to reach their second NFC championship game in three years.
But just as they did at the end of the 2014 season, when they struggled in the final three minutes in Seattle with a Super Bowl berth on the line, they fell short last season, getting blown out by the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome.
While that was quite a wild ride, McCarthy is hoping for a smoother road this season, and the journey started Wednesday when players reported to Lambeau Field at 6 a.m.
They went through physicals with the medical staff and the customary pre-camp conditioning test before administrative meetings began at noon.
"Exciting time, lot of energy in the building," McCarthy said. "It's good to be back."
Although there could be a few players who aren't cleared medically in time for Thursday's practice -- starting center Corey Linsley missed the offseason after ankle surgery, and rookie outside linebacker Vince Biegel had foot surgery in May -- McCarthy said he expects most of the team to be ready to go.
"We're healthy," McCarthy said. "We have a couple guys that I know (the doctors) want to continue to talk about."
McCarthy said the team's eight-year run of playoff appearances -- the longest in franchise history and tied for the second-longest streak in NFL history -- doesn't mean much now, as each team and season is different.
McCarthy said the run is evidence of the success of the Packers' process, even though he makes slight alterations each year.
"Why we're successful is we stay in tune with the practicality," McCarthy said. "The spring football is an education opportunity for our football team. We hit the target there, and now it's getting back to football. We've got a lot of work to do. You do every year."
NOTES: Veteran tight end Martellus Bennett got into town too late on Tuesday night to move into the dorms at St. Norbert College with the rest of his teammates, so he slept in the Packers' locker room at Lambeau Field and shared the experience on his Snapchat account. "I heard all about it," McCarthy said. "I was here late last night, so he must have come after I left. I don't usually check lockers for people sleeping." . . . McCarthy said barring an unexpected injury cropping up during physicals, veteran defensive lineman Letroy Guion, who was arrested for driving under the influence in Hawaii last month, would be on the field for the first practice Thursday morning. . . . Having limited the team's work in the rushing game during the offseason because players can't be in pads, McCarthy said practices will focus more on running the ball once the pads come on.