Last year ended for the Packers with defensive players turning on each other. This year is beginning for the Packers with offensive and defensive players turning on each other.
As explaining by Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the first day of padded practice included extensive “shoves, taunts and curse words” as the defense tried to establish more of an edge.
“That’s always the goal for the defense to be more aggressive,” linebacker Dezman Moses said, via Silverstein. ”There’s been a lot of talk about us being soft and this, that and whatever.
“We don’t believe that. That’s never been a question by anyone in this locker room. We’re just trying to up the physicality a little bit. Just make it a way that our defense works and plays.”
The Packers defense carries the scar of giving up 579 yards to the 49ers in the divisional round, as a close game turned into a route.
“The nasty is here and I love it,” defensive end Mike Daniels said. ”Everybody is getting involved. The best part is, we all understand each other. What happens on the field, stays on the field. It’s kind of like Vegas. When we get back on the field we’re all friends.”
Still, there can be too much “nasty” for the coaching staff’s comfort.
“It was great to get that competitive environment established,” coach Mike McCarthy said. ”I thought they definitely practiced with an edge. We had too much extracurricular activities going on. That falls under your category of player safety.”
Player safety is a valid concern. But Packers defenders and their coaches should be even more worried about job security. Based on the first day of practice, they apparently are.