Friday, June 24, 2022

The Future of Training Camp

For those of us who make Packers Training Camp a yearly ritual (I've attended camp since 1988 — and in 2019 and 2021 I attended every practice, thanks to retirement), the release of the 2022 Training Camp Schedule (below) was welcomed this week. But there is a trend developing that might leave the long-term future of this tradition in jeopardy. 

The number of public practices has gone down by seven between 2019 and 2022 (no public practices in 2020). There were twelve public practices + Family Night in 2021, and in 2022, there are 11 public practices + Packers Family Night. Here is a breakdown of how camp practices have declined since the Collective Bargaining Agreement of 2011:

2011: 21 public practices + Family Night (*New CBA*)

2012: 20 public practices + Family Night

2013: 19 public practices + Family Night

2014: 16 public practices + Family Night

2015: 16 public practices + Family Night

2016: 15 public practices + Family Night

2017: 14 public practice + Family Night

2018: 14 public practice + Family Night

2019: 18 public practices + Family Night

2020: No public practices due to COVID-19 (*New CBA*)

2021: 12 public practices + Family Night.

2022: 11 public practices + Family Night.

(Note: I separate regular public practices from Packers Family Night because they are two different animals. Family Night is a “practice” but not in the same way that they are handled on Ray Nitschke Field during the day).

If the number of practices is trimmed by one each year, there will be no public practices after the 2032 season. Far-fetched, you say? J.C. Tretter (president of the NFLPA, and former Packers' center) has publicly stated that all offseason practices and mandatory minicamps should be eliminated. The number of OTAs has been trimmed, and the two-a-day practice sessions of training camp have been banned, with teams also having their practice sessions capped during training camp. The fate of training camp itself lies somewhere between “capped practice sessions” and the “elimination of training camp.”

The Packers state in their pre-Training Camp release: “According to the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau and a 2010 study by AECOM, training camp, along with Packers Family Night, presented by Bellin Health, could attract approximately 90,000 visitors from across the nation and as many as 20 foreign countries, with a total economic impact estimated at approximately $9 million. It’s pretty safe to say that the Packers and the city both benefit from training camp.

If you’ve been saying to yourself, “I should go see a camp practice sometime,” now you know what time frame you have left. The interesting thing will be to watch how all offseason workouts (including NFL training camps) will be fought over when the 2030 season nears — the last year of the current CBA, ratified in 2020.

Monday, June 20, 2022

2022 NFL Season Previews

The 2022 NFL Preview magazines are starting to come out (those that are still published on paper), and two of them are shown here. Above, the USA Today’s version, which we actually purchased online because last year they were nowhere to be seen in actual stores.

Here is the Lindy’s Sports preview, which we found in the Milwaukee airport prior to our recent trip to the west coast. We’ll keep our eyes out for others.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Packers Offseason Tracker

Packers Offseason Tracker stands nearly complete with a hair over five weeks to go until 2022 Training Camp. The only player not signed is 2022 draftee WR Christian Watson.

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

2022 Mandatory Minicamp

Today was the first day of the mandatory minicamp before the 2022 season. A great place to be on a beautiful day!

All chalked up and ready to go.

Here comes the team following calisthenics inside the Don Hutson Center.

Here comes the team following calisthenics inside the Don Hutson Center.

The quarterbacks gather.

LS Jack Coco (#56) getting some one-on-one attention.

The offensive linemen.

TE Eli Wolf (#48).

RB Aaron Jones (#33).

RB AJ Dillon (#28).

QB Aaron Rodgers (#12).

K Dominik Eberle (#45) with P Pat O’Donnell on the hold.

QB Jordan Love (#10) handing off.

QB Kurt Benkert (#6).

QB Danny Etling (#19).

CB Jaire Alexander (#23).

Defensive work on the south end.

WR Christian Watson (#9) after a reception.

WR Sammy Watkins (#11).

Head Coach Matt LaFleur joins the pass coverage.

QB Aaron Rodgers (#12) and Head Coach Matt LaFleur conferring.

A good crowd attended practice.

GM Brian Gutekunst talks with QB Aaron Rodgers (#12).

QB Jordan Love (#10) hones his footwork.

Special Teams Coach Rich Bisaccia makes himself heard.

WR Amari Rodgers (#8) after a catch.

QB Aaron Rodgers (#12) at the line of scrimmage.

The offensive huddle.

QB Aaron Rodgers (#12) prepares to hand off.

RB Aaron Jones (#33) getting some advice.

QB Aaron Rodgers (#12) going over things with his position coach, Tom Clements.

More field goals with the special teams.

CB Jaire Alexander (#23) breaks up a pass intended for WR Christian Watson (#9). Also in pursuit is S Darnell Savage (#26).

QB Danny Etling (#19) gets a turn.

WR Samori Toure (#83) can't get ahold of a pass with the coverage of S Innis Gaines (#38) and CB Rico Gafford (#37), who has switched to defense from the WR position this year.

WR Juwann Winfree (#88) is out of luck, reception-wise, as well with the coverage from CB Kiondre Thomas (#43).

Veteran WR Randall Cobb (#18), back for another year.

2022 No. 1 Draft Pick LB Quay Walker (#7) getting plenty of work today.

S Shawn Davis (#30) shows all watching that he is in no way, shape, or form interfering with WR Christian Watson’s (#9) ability to make a reception.

QB Kurt Benkert (#6) looks over the defense and his options.

QB Jordan Love (#10) turns and looks for...?

RB AJ Dillon (#28) has everybody watching him.

WR Juwann Winfree makes a reception in the hole between CB Jaire Alexander (#23) and S Darnell Savage (#26).

Present, but not practicing, was TE Robert Tonyan (#85).

WR Samori Toure (#83) fights for the reception with S Innis Gaines (#38).

WR Romeo Doubs (#87) tangled up with LB Kingsley Enagbare (#55).

That’s it for practice today.

RB Aaron Jones (#33) comes over to talk to his family in the stands.

Green Bay native T/G Cole Van Lanen (#78) also comes over to see his family.

Some after-practice work for the punt team linemen and P Pat O’Donnell (#16).

P Pat O’Donnell (#16) runs some sprints after practice as well.

NOTE: Plans to bring you another day of minicamp photos fell victim to rainy weather, and the practice for Wednesday, June 8th, was moved into the Don Hutson Center, where there is no room for fans.