PALM BEACH, Fla. – If the Green Bay Packers find out this week at the annual NFL Meetings that they are indeed playing in the NFL Kickoff game at the Super Bowl-champion New York Giants, it will factor into coach Mike McCarthy’s game plan for training camp.
And if you enjoyed those night practices, you probably won’t be happy about the new schedule.
McCarthy said at the NFL Meetings at The Breakers resort that he’s waiting for official word on the opener before finalizing his training-camp schedule. The Packers are widely expected to play in the game because it would pit the past two Super Bowl champions and the past two Super Bowl MVPs against each other in the marquee event. Because of a conflict with President Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, the game will be played the night of Wednesday, Sept. 5. The Kickoff game is normally on a Thursday night.
“If we play in the New York game it’s going to affect the way we go about training camp,” McCarthy said in the lobby of the resort. “It will most likely be different than any one we’ve ever had because there’s a number of things that being young this long you learn – that maybe we can do a better job with more time allocated to the younger players throughout camp. It’s going to be different, I can tell you that.”
Camp will also be different because of the rules set forth in the collective bargaining agreement reached with the NFL Players Association last year to end the lockout. Two-a-day in-pads workouts are a thing of the past.
In addition, although the night practices McCarthy instituted upon his arrival in 2006 were very popular with fans, McCarthy said they’re likely a thing of the past. He joked that while general manager Ted Thompson will likely be happy about the night practices ending, he feels bad that the team had to install lights to accommodate the workouts.
“I’m Irish Catholic so I’d feel guilty over paying for those things and not using them,” McCarthy said. “(But) I do want to get some more day practices. That was part of the conversation, because too much of one thing isn’t healthy. The one thing I liked about the old schedule, the 2-1-2-1, is you get a night (practice), an afternoon (practice) and a morning (practice). But that schedule’s obviously gone.”
McCarthy actually went away from the 2-1-2-1 schedule late in camp last year when veteran players expressed their concerns about the amount of time the players were spending in meetings.
“(That schedule) is a challenge meeting wise,” McCarthy acknowledged. “You roll through it, and it’s a great schedule. If I had my preference, I’d do it. But the fact that on your two-a-day, that one practice would have be (a walk through), it doesn’t fit your installation schedule. It’s not conducive of installing, getting a full practice, getting what you put in that day reviewed. … That just won’t work.”
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