Biegel tak­ing his cue from Matthews

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Sports - Michael Cohen and Tom Silverstein Mil­wau­kee Jour­nal Sen­tinel and Ryan Wood USA TO­DAY NET­WORK-Wis­con­sin

GREEN BAY - Sec­ond-year out­side line­backer Vince Biegel was look­ing for a place to train this off­sea­son, so when Green Bay Pack­ers team­mate Clay Matthews sug­gested he come and work out with him, Biegel jumped at the chance.

Biegel packed his bags and joined Matthews at Proac­tive Sports Per­for­mance in West­lake, Calif., for some in­tense work­out ses­sions. When Biegel re­turned for the start of the off­sea­son work­out pro­gram in April, it was clear he had made up for time he lost last year due to two foot surg­eries.

“Clay is a guy I’ve taken a lot of ad­vice from since I’ve been here,” Biegel said. “So, it was nice to be able to go out there and train with him, a guy I’ve looked up to for so long.”

Biegel said he ap­pre­ci­ated that Matthews is­sued the in­vi­ta­tion even though Biegel plays the same po­si­tion and would love to steal as much play­ing time away from the vet­eran as pos­si­ble. He said Matthews has taken an in­ter­est in his devel­op­ment and be­come some­thing of a men­tor.

“I think he un­der­stands I’m a young line­backer who wants to get bet­ter,” Biegel said. “I think he en­joys good com­pe­ti­tion, too. So, we’re out there push­ing each other and there’s a good com­pet­i­tive spirit.”

Among the other Pack­ers play­ers who train at Proac­tive Sports are Cal­i­for­nia na­tives Aaron Rodgers, Kenny Clark and David Bakhtiari. Biegel is the lone Wis­con­sin na­tive in the group and while the weather is nice in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, he has no plans of set­tling down out there.

“No, my roots are at home, my roots are in Wis­con­sin,” Biegel said. “I can live in Wis­con­sin. Cal­i­for­nia, I’m not sold quite yet.”

Teach­ing tool: With coach Mike McCarthy ex­cus­ing from mini­camp all vet­er­ans who have six or more years of ex­pe­ri­ence, wide re­ceiver Da­vante Adams missed the cut­off by one. It means that Adams, now en­ter­ing his fifth sea­son, is one of the old­est play­ers on the field this week.

But re­gard­less of age, Adams is the Pack­ers’ most tal­ented wide re­ceiver, a Pro Bowl player whose tal­ents in the air, af­ter the catch and at the line of scrim­mage are dif­fer­ent from any­one else on the team. And for those rea­sons, ac­cord­ing to de­fen­sive pass game co­or­di­na­tor Joe Whitt Jr., this week has been a ma­jor learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for the young cor­ner­backs try­ing to de­fend him.

“Let me tell you, it’s been to­tally dif­fer­ent these last two days with him out there,” Whitt said. “Not tak­ing any­thing away from any of the other re­ceivers, but he’s spe­cial. He has the abil­ity to get in and out of his hips.

“So many peo­ple are so wor­ried about his slant that now you get beat ver­ti­cally. The way he can get out of breaks, the sep­a­ra­tion that he causes. So now, like I told Jaire (Alexan­der) yes­ter­day, his sec­ond play against Da­vante, Da­vante had him over the top (but) the quar­ter­back didn’t throw it. I said, ‘Now you see what a Pro Bowl re­ceiver looks like.’ So I like hav­ing him out there be­cause he’s re­ally that good.”

Keep­ing fit: Un­able to par­tic­i­pate in team reps while re­cov­er­ing from shoul­der surgery, cor­ner­back Kevin King has found other ways to stay busy at prac­tice.

From time to time, the sec­ond-year corner has been seen drop­ping into his push-up stance on the side­line. King will crank out a set of roughly 20, then pop back up. In any given prac­tice this spring, King es­ti­mated, he’ll do be­tween 200 and 300 push-ups.

Usu­ally, push-ups dur­ing prac­tice are a form of pun­ish­ment for play­ers. For a cor­ner­back, 20 push-ups could be the re­sult of a dropped in­ter­cep­tion. King said he’s do­ing his push-ups on his own, us­ing them as a pro­duc­tive way to pass the ex­tra time.

“It’s just ran­dom,” King said. “Just try­ing to make the most out of my time. I’m out there watch­ing, and maybe when a play is over and stuff, I try to get a set in. So just try­ing to bet­ter my­self. Just try­ing to do some­thing.”

This spring hasn’t been easy for King. In the midst of his most im­por­tant off­sea­son – McCarthy reg­u­larly talks about the need for play­ers to im­prove en­ter­ing their sec­ond NFL sea­son – King has been lim­ited to in­di­vid­ual reps. Whitt said dur­ing or­ga­nized team ac­tiv­i­ties that King should be full-go by next month’s train­ing camp.

Un­til then, he’ll stick to his in­di­vid­ual drills and push-ups.

King said he’s done push-ups since he was 5. As a kid, he said, his fa­ther fre­quently told him about how im­por­tant the ex­er­cise was for for­mer NFL run­ning back Her­schel Walker.

“If you’re watch­ing TV, you see a com­mer­cial, hit out 20,” King said. “By the end of the day, you’ve got a few hun­dred in.”

Only re­cently has he found ex­tra time to make them part of his prac­tice rou­tine.

“I do as many sets of 20 or 30,” King said. “So I get to about 18, 19, see how I’m feel­ing. Then I might go to 25, 30. But I don’t re­ally keep count. I end up with prob­a­bly about 200, 300 dur­ing prac­tice, and then I try to go home and do more.”

Tak­ing their chance: The Pack­ers in­vited two try­out play­ers to Wed­nes­day’s mini­camp prac­tice at Ray Nitschke Field, bol­ster­ing a re­ceiv­ing group that is with­out Ran­dall Cobb (ex­empt vet­eran), Trevor Davis (ham­string) and Geron­imo Al­li­son (an­kle).

Ado­nis Jen­nings caught 42 passes for 742 yards and seven touch­downs as a se­nior at Tem­ple last sea­son. He orig­i­nally signed with the Cincin­nati Ben­gals as an un­drafted free agent but was cut in May.

Ma­lik Turner caught 31 passes for 326 yards in 2017 for Illi­nois as he failed to build on a solid ju­nior sea­son. The year prior, in 2016, Turner caught 48 passes for 712 yards and six touch­downs.

Jen­nings wore jersey No. 1 dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s prac­tice, while Turner wore No. 13.

JIM MATTHEWS/USA TO­DAY NET­WORK-WIS­CON­SIN

Line­backer Vince Biegel runs through drills Wed­nes­day dur­ing dur­ing mini­camp.

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