INDIANAPOLIS — The Green Bay Packers will try to reverse their losing struggle against injuries from within.
As head of football operations, general manager Ted Thompson made no apparent changes in the team's medical and training staffs.
As head coach, Mike McCarthy didn't fire any of his three strength coaches, although third-year assistant Zac Woodfin left for a job at his alma mater, Alabama-Birmingham, and was replaced by former Packers linebacker Chris Gizzi.
Much to their credit, the Packers overcame a spate of injuries to win the Super Bowl after the 2010 season.
To their discredit, they have continued to be perhaps the National Football League's most injury-ravaged team over the last four seasons.
"The results need to change," said McCarthy. "There's no doubt. Because it's a challenge that we're having to deal with at a much higher level than our opponents."
Patrick McKenzie, a Green Bay orthopedist, has been team physician since GM Ron Wolf fired Clarence Novotny early in 1992. Associate team physician John Gray, a Green Bay internist, also has been on staff for about two decades.
The head trainer since 1993 has been Pepper Burruss. Kurt Fielding, one of his assistants, has been on staff longer than Burruss, and assistants Bryan "Flea" Engel and Nate Weir are veterans as well.
After firing Rock Gullickson, his first strength coordinator, in January 2009, McCarthy promoted Dave Redding to the top spot. When Redding stepped aside in early 2010, McCarthy moved up Mark Lovat, an assistant since 1999.
Besides Gizzi, Lovat's other assistant is Thadeus Jackson. He arrived in 2010.
Despite four years of endless injury, the Packers haven't changed personnel.
"Let's be honest with this," said McCarthy. "Everybody has a stake in this, these injuries. Everybody needs to be held accountable for it. The individual player, the medical staff, the training staff, the coaching environment."
The Packers have been inundated for years with suggestions from fans and experts alike on ways to stem the flow of injuries.
"You can make the mistake to try to jump out and try everything," McCarthy said. "That looks good. That's a good story. But at the end of the day everybody's involved in that, too."
McCarthy has seemed almost obsessed at times about methods of practicing.
"I know that from a scheduling standpoint we look at everything," he said. "I'm in constant communication with 'Flea.' He's kind of our expert in that area, and Mark Lovat.
"Mark's already taken a trip (this off-season). We're continuing our education. We're aware of the sports science movements in our league and the military.
"Trust me. We're on top of it."
Will the Packers break custom this August and join the increasing number of teams that meet for a few days of joint practice?
"Probably not," McCarthy replied.
Will the Packers incorporate periods of live tackling, as nearly half the NFL does, in the opening two weeks of training camp?
"Well, we'll see," said McCarthy. "We'll talk about it."
McCarthy has taken his share of heat for running a team that's always hurt.
"Trust me," he said. "I'm in the business. I'm never offended. Once you do this long enough, it's part of the deal. Most of it, you deserve. It (2013 season) did not go right."
In the next breath, McCarthy defended how the Packers work and prepare.
"Maybe you need to go start watching other people practice," he said. "The energy, the efficiency, the drill work, the amount of fundamentals . . .
"Some of the best compliments I get are from guys that go to other camps. They say, 'Man, this is the most fundamental work that I see."'
Not since his first or second season has McCarthy used live tackling in August. Officials from teams that use it believe it hardens the bodies of players before exhibition games.
In the past few years, McCarthy has set up collections of cushions and then had almost every position group practice form tackling by wrapping up an opponent at three-quarters speed and depositing him backward into the bags.
The Packers missed 127 tackles on defense in 2013, a significant increase from 2012 but an improvement from 140 misses in 2011.
"At the end of the day, tackling is footwork," said McCarthy. "It's getting yourself in position. If I got guys that aren't more than willing and physically capable of firing their hat across the ball and bite the ball, then we've got the wrong guys in camp."
McCarthy is confident his approach to building a physical, good-tackling, well-prepared team is sound given the threat of injury.
"I think tackling a guy to a pad is no different than tackling a guy to the ground," he said. "The fact of the matter is, it's risk assessment. That's a big part of practice structure.
"Let's cut to the chase here. It's a $130 million player budget. You've got to try to protect your investment. If you lower the risk of a guy getting a hip-pointer going to the ground or clacking knees I think you take that.
"The biggest part of tackling is leverage, angle, approach, breakdown, (bending) your knees, hitting on the rise. And we do that every day."
What McCarthy refers to as "fatigue injuries" concern him and many others in the league.
"We have to do a better job with that," he said. "The numbers speak for themselves. Those are the ones that you continue to work on as far as how you practice your team, how they're trained, the rehab, the prehab, all those components."
For his part, Thompson showed no dissatisfaction with the performance of McCarthy or anyone else regarding injuries.
"We do intensive evaluation with Dr. McKenzie and our medical staff and our strength and conditioning people," said Thompson. "Mike has done a lot of different things in the off-season and during the season trying to work on that.
"It's not an exact science. Things happen. Guys step in a hole. Trip somewhere.
"Some of the injuries we've had, you really can't explain them. It wasn't, like, 'Gosh, we did something wrong here.' It was just bad luck. Sometimes you have that, and you just have to try to keep plugging away."