Green-House Effect in store for Packers
By Lori Nickel, Journal-Sentinel
~GREEN BAY – Robbed of the opportunity to work out with the team in the offseason a year ago because of the NFL lockout, a couple of young Packers were determined to spend their winters in Green Bay this year.
Green Bay. Cold, gray skies in February. Quiet nightlife scene. Not exactly the place most 23- and 22-year-olds from Hawaii and California would choose.
But second-year cornerback Davon House and second-year running back Alex Green did.
“It’s realizing this is a business,” said House. “You’ve got to start treating it like work. Last year I treated it like, ‘I’m in the NFL and this is fun.’ This year, different mind-set.
“I mean, my father works every day, so I should work every day.”
A father working in waste management in Los Angeles wasn’t the only motivation for House. It was the need to get bigger. So he became a weight-room warrior and worked on the squats and power cleans, strengthening his hamstrings. It’s not often that head coach Mike McCarthy singles out one of his players publicly, but he did last week:
“Davon House has done an excellent job in the weight room,” said McCarthy. “He’s a different young man today than he was last year.”
And if House was impressive in the weight room, Green might be more so.
“He’s on a different level than me,” said House.
Green said he’s stronger than ever. Rehabilitating after a knee injury ended his rookie season in Week 7 after only three carries for 11 yards, about all he could do was work out. It wasn’t just that he could power clean more weight, he could do it more rapidly.
That’s remarkable because for the first three or four months after his surgery, Green just started walking, then jogging, in the Packers pool.
He went home for two weeks after the season-ending loss to the New York Giants and then returned to Green Bay for work. That was difficult, because he has two children back home and he wanted to stay with them.
“But I had to get healthy.”
The one thing he will test in training camp – his goal for a full return – is a full run.
“I haven’t really sprinted full speed yet,” said Green.
But with all the off-season work, he has jumped up from his playing weight of 218 pounds last year to around 225 to 228.
McCarthy said last week it was too early to assess the running back position. He’ll get another look at everyone except Green on Tuesday through Thursday in the mandatory minicamp. It is hard for Green not to try to make out a depth chart.
“It’s something that’s on my mind, but at the same time, it’s not really important right now,” said Green. “It’s the beginning of June, I’m still trying to get over this ACL thing. My focus is on that, being 100%. It’s a nine- to 12-month process, and I have to be patient.”
Same goes for House. While he said he was the only defensive back to stay in Green Bay all offseason – really only Green, House, tackle Bryan Bulaga and punter Tim Masthay remained – the Packers drafted Vanderbilt cornerback Casey Hayward in April.
Injuries, including one to his ankle, dogged House all last season, and he played in only two games.
“With Casey coming in, people are like, ‘Oh, are you nervous Casey is here?’ ” said House. “He’s a second-round draft pick. No. I feel like it’s going to bring out the best in me.”
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