Monday was an enormous day for the Green Bay Packers. The team got Elgton Jenkins back at right tackle with the first-team offensive line and head coach Matt LaFleur put his team through a final walkthrough practice before the arrival of the Recent Orleans Saints for joint practices on Tuesday.
But it surely was a good greater day than that, because of the arrival of a recent toy at training camp. The Seeker, a recent high-tech football launching machine from robotics startup Monarc Sport, showed up on the sector at Monday’s practice and immediately drew the eye of members of the coaching staff and the media alike.
LaFleur’s public displeasure with the Packers’ old JUGS machine dates back almost two weeks to early in camp, when the previous unit — featuring a design that has remained relatively unchanged for many years — had an off day.
“We’re available in the market for a recent JUGS machine,” LaFleur said on August third, following the Packers’ struggles with the unit the day prior. “If anyone has one on the market, they wish to donate, or put whatever price you would like on it, I don’t care. We have now to get a recent JUGS machine. I’ve never seen anything like that. That thing was ridiculous.”
Jugs, Inc. has been around for over 50 years, and that machine seems to have been a reliable staple of football practices for nearly as long. But about two weeks after LaFleur’s rant, the Monarc Seeker has arrived in Green Bay, seemingly to remain.
An organization founded by a pair of mechanical engineering graduates from Northwestern University, Monarc has units installed at several college football programs in addition to in private workout locations for some NFL players. That is the corporate’s first install with an NFL team, nonetheless, so we at Acme Packing Company decided to seek out out more about this recent unit and the corporate behind it to learn more in regards to the recent toy that shall be delivering footballs to members of the Packers’ roster.
Our Jon Meerdink reached out to Monarc on Monday afternoon to debate the corporate’s background and its apparent breakthrough in to the NFL market, exchanging questions with the corporate’s founders, Igor Karlicic and Bhargav Maganti. As a part of the Q&A, APC was also capable of learn which player on the Packers’ roster is most accountable for the unit’s installation in Green Bay, though Monarc has evidently been in discussions with the Packers for a while.
Without further ado, here is an important introduction to Monarc and its flagship product from those that realize it best.
JM: First, what’s a Seeker? I feel we’ve all seen JUGS machines at football practices before, but this looks like something entirely different.
Monarc: The Seeker’s the world’s first and only robotic quarterback, punter, and kicker. It enables teams to create and save ultra-accurate passes that save them time and help automate practice. By pairing this with our “Pulse tag” tracking system, it also enables athletes to coach alone for the primary time in football.
JM: In a previous writeup in The Athletic, it’s mentioned that the Seeker uses ultra-wideband tracking to have a 6-in margin of error. Do the receivers have some form of “tile”-like device?
Monarc: Yes—we call it a Pulse. It’s a pager-sized device athletes place on their hip that communicates position back to the Seeker.
JM: I’ve seen claims which you can replicate different passing styles; can the Seeker replicate spiral RPMs or spiral quality? Should you can try this, wouldn’t it be possible to organize “profiles” and things like that? As an illustration, say a team is facing a directional punter vs. a big-leg guy and needs to practice versus the precise kicks. Or say they’d like to provide receivers practice catching from different QBs without the precise guys having to be there. Would that be possible?
Monarc: We’re doing profiles in the long run, but just for internal team usage to have the option to construct synergy together with your own quarterbacks. Teams are (understandably) private with their data and don’t want their competition getting a head start on preparing for them. What most teams do without delay is save specific plays based on their video data. With the Seeker, you’ll be able to precisely modulate timing, arc, velocity, and body positioning. We’re also looking to copy spiral RPMs in the long run, but that’s not currently offered.
A very powerful point we at all times try to speak is that we aren’t looking to switch quarterbacks, punters, or kickers. There’s no substitute for the chemistry between players on a field but those reps are few in supply. Our goal is to enhance those game-like reps to maintain players healthy and supply quality work to all pass-catchers on a team.
JM: How did the Seeker come into existence? How long was your development process?
Monarc: The Seeker initially got here about as a fun project, an intellectually-stimulating challenge: how can we create a way for receivers to coach alone? Each mechanical engineers by study, we developed a prototype and took it to the University of Iowa, who welcomed the concept of what we were pitching. They realized the potential impact that our initial prototypes could have, and encouraged us to proceed our development. The reactions from the staff and players was compelling enough to persuade us to quit our jobs and commit to this full-time. We spent 4 years developing the Seeker from that time on—two in Iowa city and two in Dallas, which has been our company headquarters since 2018.
JM: How did Monarc get connected with the Packers? You mention in your site that George Kittle uses one, and Packers tight end Robert Tonyan works out with Kittle within the offseason. Did that play an element?
Monarc: We’ve been in communication with the Packers for several years. They saw a demo with one in all our prototypes several years ago and Adrian Amos is one in all the 12 NFL pros to have their very own. While we’re tremendously grateful for the support from pro players (like Rob) all across the country, we’ve been holding off on entering the NFL market until we had the correct partner and the correct set of circumstances. We wish customers using our product very well and we all know we have now that with the Packers.
JM: The Packers are your first NFL client. Have you ever heard from anyone else?
Monarc: As we have now with the Packers, we’ve been in some type of communication with most NFL teams. From the times of our early development, we’ve been sharing iterations of our product to groups at the school and skilled level to gather feedback and develop the technology into what it’s today.
JM: What else does Monarc have within the works? You’ve already got a football launcher available — do you’ve gotten anything on the best way?
Monarc: We have now just a few projects we’re really enthusiastic about but can’t comment on at the moment. Our goal is to totally transform the best way athletes train in the long run and the Seeker is step one in materializing that vision.
We wish to thank Igor and Bhargav for taking the time to reply our questions and can sit up for following their company’s progress and, hopefully, their product’s positive impact on the Green Bay Packers this season as well.