Sunday, July 31, 2011

First Training Camp Practice

“Back to Football” is the theme of this year’s Training Camp, and that’s what it was time for today in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Saturday morning was the second annual Lambeau Field 5K run, and Packers’ president Mark Murphy is seen here (in hat at left) about to cross the finish line after taking a lap around the inside of the stadium.

This week, all practices are scheduled for 7:00 p.m., with the Ray Nitschke Field gates opening at 5:30 p.m. Today, that happened to come at the tail end of a thunderstorm that swept through the area. But fans were lined up in the rain to get a good seat anyway.

It cleared up nicely and was about 15 degrees cooler after the storm, setting up an evening of perfect weather to enjoy some football practice. The players had to love the cooler temperatures, which is why over half of the Training Camp practices in 2011 will be in the evening.

Players entering the field go through a gauntlet of fans cheering them on and seeking autographs.

Some stretching before practice.

Helmets ready to go.

The first appearance of Super Bowl XLV M.V.P. Aaron Rodgers.

The QB’s go through some of their own agility drills before practice formally starts.

Defensive players chatting before practice.

It was good to see the players on the field after a miserable offseason of uncertainty.

Where else would you rather be on the last day of July?

RB Ryan Grant (#25) is back and ready to go.

Defensive players doing some warming up.

TE Jermichael Finley (#88) is also back and raring to go.

Rodgers doing some ball-handling drills.

A great summer job, if you can get it.

WR Donald Driver (#80) is back for season #13.

The first offensive huddle of the season.

Time to run some plays!

Rodgers in charge.

RB Ryan Grant (#25) making some yardage.

The defense organizes for the next play.

Even though they’re in shorts and no pads, there is still contact.

Head Coach and new father Mike McCarthy watches his team on Day One.

LB Clay Matthews (#52) trying his best to get into the backfield.

Back-up QB Matt Flynn (#10) gives it his best shot.

Back from his Super Bowl injury is CB Charles Woodson (#21).

Packer QBs — in triplicate.

Rodgers shares a laugh on the field between drills.

Time for some offensive line drills — up close.

T Derek Sherrod, Green Bay’s first round pick in 2011, gets acclimated to the N.F.L.

Longtime veteran T Chad Clifton (#76) goes through yet another camp.

The offensive linemen working against each other.

Aaron Rodgers and friends in the late evening northern Wisconsin sunlight.

More offensive linemen drills.

Rookie free agent T Theo Sherman gets some taping work done during practice. Guys trying to make the team can’t afford to miss any time on the field.

A more up-close shot of Finley.

The defense working at the other end.

Packers president Mark Murphy (in dark shirt) and General Manager Ted Thompson watch the team they built on the field.

Packers fans are excited for another year of football.

Offensive and defensive linemen do some drills against each other.

As the sun sets, the players are seen against a summer sky in Green Bay.

Some seven-on-seven drills as practice nears the end.

Rodgers acknowledges the cheers of the crowd.

Thompson and McCarthy check out the drills together. Wouldn’t you love to hear their conversation?

The darker it gets, the harder it gets to photograph practice — the drawback of nighttime football.

Practice is over, and the team gathers for a final talk by McCarthy.

As the evening ends, we hope you’ve enjoyed this look at 2011 Training Camp practice #1. It’s our pleasure to let Packer fans far and wide see what goes on this time of year, especially if they’ve never been here. Come back for more this week!