When the time for mandatory minicamp rolled around last year, Packers coach Mike McCarthy excused all players with five or more years of experience from those practices.
With the Packers set to play in the Hall of Fame Game last year, McCarthy cited the longer than usual training camp as the reason why the veterans wouldn’t be on the field. The Packers aren’t scheduled to play a fifth preseason game this year (they never actually played in it last year), but McCarthy said Monday that he is handling minicamp the same way.
“We had a practice [last Friday] with all the players under six years,” McCarthy said on ESPN 540 Milwaukee. “To me, Friday and these three practices in front of us are the most important practices of the offseason because the reps go up for everybody. You look for those first-, second-, third-, fourth-, fifth-year [players], you look for guys to step up and take a little bit of a leadership role on the practice field. I think this is the second or third year we’ve done this, and I feel like we’ve gotten a lot of out of it. I’m looking forward to these three practices.”
Sixteen Packers will be excused this week, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers, wide receiver Jordy Nelson, linebacker Clay Matthews and safety Morgan Burnett. Younger players will get increased snaps and cornerback Kevin King, the team’s top pick in April, will get his first work since rookie minicamp as the NFL bars him and other incoming rookies from practicing until their schools are out of session.