Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/28/12

Perhaps it's a good thing the Packers won't see the Detroit Lions for the first time next season until Week 11 of the league schedule, which falls on the third weekend of November.

What's become a chippy rivalry between the longtime division foes added a new layer for potentially fueling more friction. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz indirectly may have taken a shot at counterpart Mike McCarthy's approach to the end of the Packers' offseason program.

McCarthy canceled practice on the second day of a three-day minicamp in mid-June to take the team to a range outside Green Bay for clay shooting.

Based on comments he later made, Schwartz seemingly had an issue with the likes of the Packers and other teams in the league that sacrificed a couple hours of work on the football field for a team-building exercise.

"We had no sporting clays today or no amusement parks or water parks. (It was a) work day of minicamp," Schwartz said as the Lions wrapped up their offseason workouts. "We take a lot of pride in the fact that we play for a blue-collar town, and we try to reflect that kind of work ethic."

Meanwhile, those associated with the Packers haven't uttered so much as a peep about the preponderance of off-the-field trouble met by Lions players the last several weeks.

A low-key disposition has been the Green Bay way since the team gathered in April.

In some ways humbled by how last season abruptly ended -- a 37-20 home loss as the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs against the New York Giants after going 15-1 in the regular season -- the Packers refrained from doing anything bold this offseason.

About the only attention given to Green Bay players was veteran receiver Donald Driver for winning the latest season of the "Dancing with the Stars" reality TV show and defensive end Anthony Hargrove, a team newcomer, for denouncing the NFL for the eight-game suspension he received for his alleged involvement in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scheme.

When the Packers reconvene July 25 for training camp and take to the field the next morning for the first practice, a quiet confidence will course through them.

Green Bay has quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP who recently received validation as best player in the league by a vote of his peers.

What's more, the team is driven to make up for the January disappointment and return to the Super Bowl after winning it in the 2010 season.

Whether the Packers are able to fulfill the tag of "favorite" that is again assigned to them likely will hinge considerably on a defense that proved to be Green Bay's undoing at the end of last season.

Veteran cornerback Charles Woodson withheld predictions on whether the unit can bounce back in a big way after general manager Ted Thompson looked to address its shortcomings with a defensive-minded approach in the spring. Thompson made moderate free-agent signings with Hargrove, tackle Daniel Muir and end Phillip Merling and used the team's first six draft picks on defensive players, led by end-turned-linebacker Nick Perry in Round 1.

"I know just looking at the film I've seen some good things. I know the coaches have seen some good things," said Woodson, who missed most of the offseason workouts. "But, you really never know until the season gets here and you start playing games.

"But, I'm excited," he added. "I think we've got some good young guys in here with good energy, some high-motor guys that can hopefully help us get to the quarterback and get back to playing an aggressive style of football that we like to play."

The Packers had all of their installations in by the minicamp and then used those two practice days as a review.

McCarthy is hopeful the spirited nature of the time spent on the field in the offseason will carry over to the start of training camp and percolate throughout the preseason.

"What I like is the energy of the newly acquired players, (what they) bring to camp," McCarthy said. "That's every year. (But) this is a little different because there's a lot of 'em on defense. So, you can definitely see the competition has really heightened from Day 1 over there."

McCarthy is looking forward to seeing further development out of a slew of younger players who weren't major contributors as rookies last season. They include linebacker D.J. Smith, cornerback Davon House, running back Alex Green, receivers Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel, safety M.D. Jennings and Derek Sherrod, a first-round draft pick who's coming back from a broken leg sustained last December and could challenge Marshall Newhouse for the starting job at left tackle.

Gurley and Borel, who spent all of last season on Green Bay's practice squad, face what Rodgers calls "a numbers game" as they try to win a roster spot at a position that is already chock full of talented players.

"The most important thing for those young guys (on the team) to understand, whether they're drafted or undrafted, is they can make this football team on special teams," Rodgers said. "They're going to get an opportunity in training camp. They're going to get an opportunity in preseason. And, if they prove that they're excellent special-teams players and can make the most of their reps on offense or defense, they're probably going to make the team."

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tickets for ‘Monday Night Football’ game in Mexico sell out

Kevin Durant says he never told Russell Westbrook he was staying in OKC

God Shammgod hired by Mavericks as player development assistant

Soccer player terminates contract after being attacked by stray dogs

Todd Bowles confirms Ryan Fitzpatrick is Jets starting QB: ‘It’s his job’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Carmelo Anthony shocked Dwyane Wade left Miami for Chicago

Report: David Lee signs with the Spurs

Craig Sager to miss Olympics while undergoing bone marrow transplant

Jarryd Hayne wouldn’t have retired if NFL had minor league system

Draymond Green: ‘Me and LeBron are friends’

Pierre-Paul won't need to wear club on hand this season

Report: Seahawks DE Chris Clemons retiring

Denard Robinson blames falling asleep at stoplight for pond crash

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Hue Jackson: Browns will give Josh Gordon a fresh start

Diamondbacks nearing Daniel Hudson trade

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

What would George Costanza have traded to get Bonds and Griffey?

Gabby Douglas can make USA Gymnastics history at Olympics

Week 3 will determine the Big Ten's reputation this season

Cam Talbot thinks the Oilers are close to making the playoffs

The new era of WWE SmackDown has liftoff

Vlade Divac: Cousins ‘most dominant player in the world’

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker