Harrell out with injury; McCarthy promises more aggressive defense
It's Day 2 of the Green Bay Packers' mini-camp and defensive tackle Justin Harrell was one of 10 players sidelined Tuesday for various reasons.
Packers' Head Coach Mike McCarthy says Harrell is recovering faster than expected from a neck injury, but he's in danger of falling behind, as he misses his second straight off-season.
"Justin has really picked up his rehab type schedule and the feedback has been very positive from both Pepper and Rock as far as what he's been able to do, and the level that he's been able to push through the drills and so forth. I anticipate at some point he'll be ready for training camp," said McCarthy.
Harrell, the Packers' first-round draft choice a year ago, missed most of last year's pre-season workouts with a biceps injury from college.
Meanwhile, running back Ryan Grant stayed out of the scrimmages, but did simulated drills.
He's trying to get a long-term contract and his agent has said that things should be worked out by training camp.
As the Green Bay Packers go through mini-camp McCarthy promises a more aggressive defense.
Last year, defensive coordinator Bob Sanders relied mainly on the four-down-linemen to pressure the quarterback.
But at the recent organized team activities, the Packers were showing more blitzes from a host of defenders, both linebackers and defensive backs.
"It's the full onslaught of what our system is capable of doing, with more personnel groups putting on more pressure," McCarthy said.
Last year, the Packers had 32 sacks in their first 11 games, but only eight in their final seven contests including the playoffs. They hurried the quarterback 127 times.
"The most important thing is to put pressure on the quarterback. Whether it comes with four-man, five-man, six-man rushes or pressures, it's irrelevant," McCarthy said.
The defensive line produced all but six of those hurries and not one came from a corner or safety blitz.
McCarthy and his assistants changed the system when they got to Green Bay three years ago and now that the players are more comfortable in it, it's time to get more aggressive.
"The bottom line is to get it done. If you go outside, we're a bump-and-run team. We challenge the receivers as soon as they get off the bus, and that's the mindset I wanted since the day I was hired," he added.
Safety Atari Bigby says the defense will definitely raise the bar and they'll be more flexible this season to do more things.