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Monday, July 25, 2011
Packers back-to-work FYI

By Kevin Seifert

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Readiness factor: Players felt confident enough to avoid any known group workouts during the lockout. Several players suggested they wouldn't go public with any grand plans even if they had them, but all indications are that most Packers worked out on their own this offseason. Coach Mike McCarthy supported that decision, saying conditioning and avoiding mishaps should be players' highest offseason priorities. It makes sense. The Packers are entering their sixth season in McCarthy's offense and their third in Dom Capers' defense.

Biggest challenge: The Packers are in pretty good shape. Their biggest challenge is the same whether or not they had a full offseason: Putting their Super Bowl victory in the proverbial rearview mirror and dedicating themselves to the kind of long-term success they appear built for. Players and coaches had every right to enjoy a celebratory offseason. Now it's time to flip the switch.

A true backfield rotation? When Ryan Grant has been healthy, McCarthy has strongly preferred a one-back system as opposed to rotating multiple runners into the game. Grant's season-ending ankle injury has healed, but is McCarthy planning to break the mold this summer? The Packers have a number of viable options to use either alongside or in place of Grant if and when they want, including 2010 postseason star James Starks. This Packers backfield arrangement will be one of the more closely watched areas of their training camp, especially by fantasy football players.

Key players without contracts for 2011: Guard Daryn Colledge, place-kicker Mason Crosby, running back Brandon Jackson, running back John Kuhn, defensive end Cullen Jenkins, receiver James Jones.