Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has never been afraid to think outside the box to help his team to a championship. His use of BJ Raji in the offensive backfield during the 2010 run was unforgettable and this year, his multiple sets now include wide receiver Ty Montgomery gaining 60 yards out of the backfield.
One of the big story lines of this year’s Packers team has been the injuries. With Chris Banjo and Jared Abbrederis heading to I.R. this Monday to join Sam Shields and Eddie Lacy, Packer Nation has concerns about how this team can hold up. But not to worry, this week, McCarthy tipped his hand on yet another creative way to put his team in a position to be successful…especially when it matters. In a press conference on Wednesday, McCarthy revealed that resting starters on the injury list is all just part of the plan.
“We have a plan, we know what we have to and we will get it done,” said McCarthy in a press conference Wednesday. It is always important to have a solid rotation of starters on the injury list for short term rest and on I.R. for the long term to manage those players bodies so they can be healthy.” When asked how the plan is coming along, he said, “It’s coming along nicely, we took some reps off Randall and Rollins and of course we all know that Jared Cook…and, really James Starks looks really fresh right now. I just stopped by the training room and Randall and Rollins were kicking the strength and conditioning staff’s butt’s in Madden on a long lunch.
The plan is a proven one as McCarthy used it during the 2010 season, in which the Packers won the Super Bowl.
“Yes, we’ve had success with this approach in the past so we like to think it’s tried and true. I mean look at last week’s matchup against Chicago, when Hoyer went out with a broken arm…to us that’s just mis-management. Get him knocked out in week one and he would be ready to go .But to your question, yes, 2010 was special and we’d like to duplicate that kind of success.”
But it seems McCarthy has more in mind than just resting starters, “It’s not just resting starters, it’s also part of the development of the younger players. I mean these guys can take mental reps all season and then you’re gonna throw them into live action during the big game? We like to be a little more forward thinking than that. Look at Hawkins, what were his chances to get any live game time?
So with the Packers on track for a second half of the season in which their starters come back healthy and refreshed, Packers fans in Wisconsin and around the world can rest assured that team management is in good hands.
“It all starts with proper de-hydration,” said Mark Lovat, Packers strength and conditioning coach. “If we have a player that we want to rest for a few weeks, say, with a hammy, we first have to limit his intake of fluids and electrolytes. After that, we manipulate the pre-game warm up based on the potential injury which, again, is based on how many weeks of rest we are shooting for. In the case of a hammy which, incidentally is part of the reason Clay Matthews was so dominant in the 2010 season, we would have him start with a cold ice pack and some iso-lateral torque movements. Then we would have him warm up with the kickers to pre-fatigue the hamstring. Last, we’d have him take several laps around Lambeau and do ladder drills with the other leg tied up…we call it the Flamingo Drill…after that, he’d be ready to go. We have it down to a science really.”
When McCarthy was asked if Lovat and the strength and conditioning staff would spend extra time with Packers walking wounded, he replied, “I would ask them but they are out to lunch.”