Biegel taking his cue from Matthews
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.
Linebacker Vince Biegel runs through drills Wednesday during during minicamp.