McCarthy hopes Packers redeem themselves from disappointing 2011
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers open training camp today and Coach Mike McCarthy aims for his team to improve on a historic 2011 regular season that ended with a playoff loss.
He said he has put in more work in Green Bay this off-season than in any of his previous six as Packers coach.
"It's the goal to be a better team this year, regardless of the record, and the goal is to win the Super Bowl." said McCarthy in a Wednesday news conference in Green Bay.
The Packers are starting camp at St. Norbert College tonight coming off the second greatest regular season in NFL history - 15-1 - but a season that finished with an early postseason exit, 37-20 to the New York Giants in the NFC Divisional Playoff.
"I think everybody would be happy with 15-1 in the regular season, but as we all know, it's the postseason that counts."
So McCarthy has put in an off-season designed for his team to redeem itself from such unfulfilled promise in 2011.
"I'm anxious," admitted McCarthy.
"I've stayed in Green Bay the whole summer. This is probably the most prepared I've been for a training camp."
He says he will put particular focus on improving a defense that was the worst in the NFL in 2011.
The Packers' lack of pass rush and failures in the secondary proved to be their biggest downfalls.
"We need to play better on defense in certain areas and improve on the things that didn't go so well in the past."
McCarthy added, "It's clearly a different defense."
He's correct, particularly in the area of newly-infused talent from the most recent draft.
The Packers made three defensive picks in the first two rounds, with first-rounder Nick Perry (LB, USC) and second-rounders Jerel Worthy (DL, Michigan State) and Casey Heyward (DB, Vanderbilt).
For them, the whole defense and the whole team, McCarthy says nailing down the basics will be his first key to success.
"It's important for us to stay in tune with the fundamentals. We'll start with the fundamentals with the first meeting today," said McCarthy.
"We're going to do it more than we've done it in the past."