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OTA practices still a work in progress

May 29, 2013 -- 12:58am
Photo/Associated Press via 
Mike McCarthy has altered the schedule for offseason practices.

GREEN BAY – Mike McCarthy didn’t sound like a man happy with his team’s performance Tuesday – even the Green Bay Packers coach has presided over enough organized team activity practices to know that things aren’t always going to operate smoothly.

“We’re trying to get better as a football team. We’re installing offense, defense and special teams. This is the installation phase, so it’s disjointed,” McCarthy said after the second open-to-the-media practice ended Tuesday afternoon. “You have some mental errors. You have some, particularly in the team period, some things that don’t look very good, but there’s definitely a new emphasis in a couple of different areas, which happens every year.

“You’re trying to maintain the success that you’ve had in the past and continue to build off them with variation but also identifying the things you need to work on. So I think our practice reflects that.”

McCarthy has said on multiple occasions that he was unhappy with last year’s OTA work, which he felt led to a poor mandatory minicamp, which he felt led to a poor training camp, which he insists factored into the Packers’ 2-3 start.

This year, McCarthy moved the Packers’ three-day mandatory full-squad minicamp to the middle of OTAs, scheduling it for next week. Because minicamp practices are no different than OTA practices, McCarthy said he wanted to alter the schedule and not end offseason work with the minicamp because he wants to have four practices the week of June 10.

The Packers have traditionally ended their offseason program with the mandatory minicamp, but the three-day camp is usually cut to two days of actual practice because McCarthy likes to have the players do a team-building exercise on one of the days instead of practicing. Last year, McCarthy took the players skeet shooting on the middle day of the three-day camp.

“The reason why the minicamp went to the third week is really more of a product of what we're accomplishing the following week,” McCarthy said. “The only difference for us in minicamp and an OTA day is (the minicamp is) mandatory. The schedule is exactly the same.

“Our coaches spent a lot of time in February, March and April to make sure their afternoons are free for the one-on-one teaching time, which is so important this time of year. We felt that’s where we were able to gain an edge and get our young guys ready to play. Really, (having) minicamp going into Week 3 (of Phase III) is really the product of having the four practices at the end. (That) is why I did it.”

It will be interesting to see which players are cleared to participate in the minicamp practices. Not participating in practice Tuesday were running back DuJuan Harris (unknown), safety Sean Richardson (neck), cornerback Davon House (shoulder), cornerback Sam Shields (unsigned), outside linebacker Dezman Moses (unknown), inside linebacker Desmond Bishop (hamstring), rookie offensive lineman JC Tretter (ankle), offensive tackle Derek Sherrod (leg), veteran defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (unknown), defensive end Jerel Worthy (knee) and rookie wide receivers Kevin Dorsey (unknown) and Charles Johnson (unknown). McCarthy won’t discuss injuries keeping players out of action during the offseason.

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