Friday, June 30, 2017

Former Packers TE Mitchell Henry dies at 24

Former Packers TE Mitchell Henry died Friday morning after a seven-month battle with leukemia. He was 24 years old. Henry signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2015 out of Western Kentucky, where he had more than 1,000 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns over four seasons. Henry didn’t make Green Bay’s opening-day roster as a rookie but was claimed on waivers by Denver. He played two games for the Broncos before being released and returning to the Packers’ practice squad. During his second training camp in Green Bay in 2016, Henry broke his hand and was placed on injured reserve before eventually being released.

After a brief stint on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad in November, Henry returned home to Kentucky and began experiencing pain in his shoulder. An MRI and other tests led to a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the same disease that afflicted the late Craig Sager. A longtime NBA sideline reporter, Sager had been raising awareness of the disease in the sports community since his diagnosis in 2014.

“We were very saddened to learn of the passing of Mitchell Henry,” Packers GM Ted Thompson said in a statement. “During his time with the Packers, he quickly became a beloved member of our family and made a terrific impression on everyone in our organization. We were fortunate to have had him in our lives. On behalf of the Packers family, we offer our condolences to Mitchell's wife, Madison, and his family and friends.”

Funeral arrangements for Henry are pending.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Invasion of the Robots

From today’s Green Bay-Press-Gazette:

Coach Mike McCarthy hasn’t yet added robotic tackling dummies into the Packers’ practice regimen, but don’t be surprised if he does in the next year or two. The Packers are among the NFL teams that have contacted the company that manufactures the dummies, Mobile Virtual Player, though only the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Rams have placed orders. The Steelers are the lone NFL club that has used the robots in an open practice setting and talked publicly about them.

The robots offer a way for teams to practice tackling without subjecting ball carriers to hits. They can cover 40 yards in 5.0 seconds, change direction well enough to zig zag through cones, and they can spin. They weigh between 160 pounds and 180 pounds and cost about $8,000 each. “It didn’t work out this year,” McCarthy said, “but it’s a good product. You never really want to be first on things, you never want to be last. I think any new product there’s some hiccups you work through. But I think it’s an excellent, excellent product.”

“The people I’ve talked to, I haven’t heard anything negative about them,” McCarthy said. “It’s more about the drill work, how you incorporate. But I think it’s an excellent product. At the end of the day it’s about footwork. You have to work your feet. Guys don’t miss a tackle if you have to get your feet right first.”

• • • • • • • •

The next step — robotic players? That would erase the problems of concussions and life-altering permanent injuries.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Brett Hundley at Road America

Leading up to the KOHLER Grand Prix at Wisconsin’s Road America track, Green Bay Packers QB Brett Hundley spent some time with Team Penske’s driver Will Power and racing legend Mario Andretti. After touring the team’s garage, Hundley was treated to some time on the track in a modified two-seat Indy car. Topping off the experience, Hundley took a few attempts to throw a football through the window of a moving Corvette. Enjoy the video.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

After The Show

Seen here via the Lambeau Cam on a rainy day in Green Bay, it looks like the field’s turf survived last Saturday’s Billy Joel concert pretty well. Compare the photo above to the turf after the last Kenny Chesney show in 2015 (the two images below). The Packers are pushed by the city to have more concerts, but the Packers say that there is only a short window to do them for the turf to be revived before the season.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Training Camp Schedule

The 2017 Green Bay Packers Training Camp schedule has been released, so make your travel plans accordingly. If you have never been to camp, you owe it to yourself to go at least once. You can look back through the Blog Archive in the column at right to last year and view some photos of what camp looks like. As we get closer to camp, we will post some things we’ve learned from a couple of decades of camp-watching to help those who are perhaps coming for the first time.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Mini-Camp — Day 3

It was a bright sunny day in Green Bay as the final session of the 2017 mini-camp got underway at 11:30 a.m. Yesterday was also a sunny day until a beast of a storm rolled through northeast Wisconsin about 4:15 p.m., producing no less than ten tornadoes in the immediate area.

Running backs running through the apparatus designed to cause fumbles.

A quarterbacks meeting.

While he was the top dog in this mini-camp, QB Brett Hundley (#7) will still get a lot of work in Training Camp as the team will control QB Aaron Rodgers’ activity.

Wide receivers working through their fundamental position drills.

QB Brett Huntley eyes the Packerville, U.S.A. camera.

Matt Klein, the Packers’ Football Administration Coordinator, is the guy with the voice that you hear booming at practices, letting the players know what is coming next.

Double QBs, a concept the NFL does not allow in games.

WR Davante Adams also eyes the Packerville, U.S.A. camera.

We had heard that it would be a short practice (coach McCarthy thought they accomplished a lot in the last two days), so we thought the practice was over when he called the team together.

But McCarthy had another idea up his sleeve when the players and coaches were told that there would be an egg tossing contest to end the session. Players picked a partner, and then those whose eggs did not break would move back one yard on both sides after each toss.

McCarthy watches to make sure the contest is going as he wanted.

Each time, there would be players eliminated when their eggs broke while a catch was attempted.

The players were really getting into it.

S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (#21) has an egg malfunction.
Green Bay Packers Photo

In the end, the winner was LB Jordan Tripp (#58).

When McCarthy had the players gather again at midfield, T David Bakhtiari (#68) and C Corey Linsley (#63) executed a Gatorade™ bath...

... not on Coach McCarthy, as anticipated, but on the egg toss winner, LB Jordan Tripp.

After they broke the team huddle, all of the players came over to thank the fans that showed up to watch mini-camp practices.

Green Bay Packers Photo

Green Bay Packers Photo

Green Bay Packers Photo
Now, players, coaches, and staff have some vacation time until the first 2017 Training Camp practice on July 27.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mini-Camp — Day 2

We now bring you Day 2 of the 2017 Green Bay Packers mini-camp, starting with the brightest shoes on the field, worn by DT Christian Ringo (#99).

Big boys — offensive linemen — moving down the field.

WR’s Jeff Janis (#83) and Malachi Dupre (#19), a 2017 seventh-round draft choice.

Working on the kickoffs...

... and on the kickoff returns.

A variety of players observing special teams play. This is the only image we’ve taken so far depicting 2017 third-round draft choice DT Montravius Adams (#60).

LB Jake Ryan (#47) awaiting instruction.

Along with Ryan, we see LB Blake Martinez (#50), and LB Jordan Tripp (#58).

It’s giant donuts time!

QB’s Joe Callahan (#6) and Brett Hundley play catch.

Rookie wide receivers: Malachi Dupre (#19), DeAngelo Yancey (#16), and Max McCaffrey (#13).

WR DeAngelo Yancey makes a nice catch in front of his coach.

WR Max McCaffrey also grabbing a pass.

Wide receivers getting the plans for the next set of drills.

WR DeAngelo Yancey getting away from a defender.

This is what they do on a “T.V. Time Out” during practice. It is designed to get players conditioned to the length of a T.V. commercial break during a game.

Scrimmage time.

Scrimmage time.

Rookie QB Taysom Hill gets off a pass against the rush.

Quarterbacks during a break.

RB Ty Montgomery (#88), QB Brett Hundley (#7), and QB Joe Callahan (#6) move to the next drill.

Offensive Line Coach James Campen walks with his boss, Mike McCarthy.

T David Bakhtiari (#69) walks with T Jason Spriggs, logical successor to T.J. Lang’s spot on the line.

FB Aaron Ripkowski (#22), who has successfully replaced John Kuhn.

The only shot we have so far of 2017 sixth-round pick G Kofi Amichia (#79).

Near the end of practice, a group of veterans rest along the near sideline: G Lane Taylor (#65), FB Aaron Ripkowski (#22), T David Bakhtiari (#69), and RB Ty Montgomery (#88).

The team gathers at midfield at the end of practice, centered around Head Coach Mike McCarthy.