GREEN BAY–A safety made the first interception of training camp, and it wasn’t Micah Hyde, Morgan Burnett or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix that did it. Sean Richardson intercepted an Aaron Rodgers pass in a blitz drill on Monday morning.
It was the first full-pads practice of training camp and it was greeted by cool temperatures and a cloudy sky. The practice was highlighted by spirited half-line drills that were punctuated by a lot of energy, but no scuffles. Linebacker Clay Matthews did not participate in the half-line drills.
Offensive and defensive linemen followed with one-on-one drills, and one of the feature attractions pitted tackle Bryan Bulaga against linebacker/defensive end Julius Peppers. Bulaga gave no ground in two bouts with Peppers.
Aaron Rodgers continues to find rookie tight end Richard Rodgers in the passing game, and second-round wide receiver Davante Adams would seem to be asserting himself more in the pass offense.
Packers.com will update this morning’s practice with a report from Mike McCarthy’s post-practice press conference.
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“There’s always a jump when you go to pads. Practice will look different tomorrow. It’ll be a longer practice. I definitely feel the intensity level will go to a different level tomorrow,” Mike McCarthy said following practice on Sunday morning, the team’s second day of training camp.
McCarthy said he wasn’t ready to begin evaluating individual performances, but offered these words on 2013 first-round draft pick Datone Jones: “Datone is stronger. He looks explosive. Tomorrow is really the first step.”
The Packers head coach also offered positive comments on Micah Hyde’s move from cornerback to safety, referring to it as “seamless. Micah Hyde is a football player. You can line him up anywhere. He’s a playmaker,” McCarthy said.
He also cited his team’s depth on the offensive line.
“It’s a big man’s game. You never have enough big guys and they’re the toughest to find,” he said.
Packers.com has provided a full report from today’s practice.
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GREEN BAY–Wisconsin native Jared Abbrederis earned the biggest cheer of Sunday morning’s practice when he caught a deep pass from quarterback Matt Flynn. Abbrederis, a rookie fifth-round draft pick, made the catch down the right sideline behind cornerback Tramon Williams and in front of safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Packers’ first-round draft pick.
Earlier in the practice, second-year man Micah Hyde made the defensive play of practice when he knocked away an Aaron Rodgers deep pass that was intended for Jordy Nelson. Hyde, who has been moved from cornerback to safety, continues to hold down what appears to be a starting job.
Linebacker Jamari Lattimore was added to the list of players not participating in practice (illness).
Packers.com will update this story following Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s post-practice press conference.
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The Packers announced on Saturday morning that star wide receiver Jordy Nelson has agreed to a long-term contract extension with the team.
“Jordy Nelson is an outstanding football player and ambassador for the Green Bay Packers. I’m glad to see Jordy will be here for some time. I was just made aware of it on the field. He’s the ultimate pro,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said following Saturday morning’s practice, the first of training camp.
Announcement of the new contract helps the Packers avoid a potential distraction. Nelson was seen high-fiving other players in practice this morning, a practice in which he and quarterback Aaron Rodgers combined to produce several big plays.
“If you can avoid (distractions), that’s a good thing for your football team,” McCarthy said. “Jordy had a heckuva day.”
The news of Nelson’s new contract dovetails with Clay Matthews’ return to practice, following an offseason dedicated to rehab from thumb surgery.
Packers.com has updated this story with a full report.
Click here to read the press release.
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GREEN BAY–Training camp began on Saturday morning with the best possible news: Clay Matthews was a full participant.
Wearing a minimal wrap to protect his surgically repaired right thumb, Matthews was back at his familiar right outside linebacker position. He was flanked by Julius Peppers at left outside linebacker. Nick Perry, a starter at left outside linebacker the past two seasons, remained sidelined by an undisclosed injury.
Matthews had missed all of OTAs in the spring, as he rehabbed from a second surgery on the thumb. Perry was also a non-participant in the spring. Until Head Coach Mike McCarthy provides information on Perry’s injury, the former first-round pick’s condition remains a mystery. He missed much of last season with a foot injury.
Tight end Andrew Quarless, who was also sidelined in the spring, joined Matthews as a full participant on Saturday morning. In a two-tight end set with the first-team offense, Quarless was joined by rookie Richard Rodgers at tight end.
Defensive linemen Jerel Worthy and Letroy Guion, linebacker Mike Neal and rookie wide receiver Jeff Janis did not practice. Worthy was a non-participant in the spring.
Packers.com will update this morning’s practice with information from McCarthy’s post-practice press conference.
Check out photos from players riding bikes to Saturday’s practice.
Tags: clay matthews
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GREEN BAY–Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy opened training camp for the media on Friday morning with a press conference in which he echoed the great-expectations theme with which the 2014 Packers would seem to have been anointed.
“We really like our roster. I feel it’s a group we can do a lot of special things with,” McCarthy said. “The competition starts. I’m looking for a lot of competititon and depth. This is our most important time of year. You have to grow. We have to find out about a number of new players.”
It’s one of the “old” players, star linebacker Clay Matthews, who might be of greatest concern. The issue is Matthews’ twice surgically repaired thumb. Is he ready to practice?
“I haven’t seen Clay personally, yet. We have conditioning tests going on now,” McCarthy said.
It was the big picture on which McCarthy was most forthcoming.
“When I look at the big picture, I feel our men are ready. I’ll have a couple points of emphasis I’ll hit the team with tonight at 5:30,” he said.
For the full story from McCarthy’s press conference, click here.
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The Packers unveiled their new G logo at the 1961 intra-squad game played at old City Stadium while new City Stadium was unavailable. The Packers were waiting for new sod to take root at what is now Lambeau.
GREEN BAY—This might only be the 14th year of Packers Family Night, but like almost everything associated with pro football’s most storied franchise, it is much more deeply rooted in tradition than that.
The event has taken on different names and formats and evolved with the changes training camp has undergone over the years, but Family Night is an offshoot of what was once called the team’s annual intrasquad game and first played on Sept. 10, 1933.
Eighty-one years ago, Curly Lambeau matched his veterans against his rookies in a game played before a Sunday afternoon crowd of 2,500 at City Stadium. Adults paid 50 cents to watch, kids paid a quarter, and the Veterans, with future Hall of Fame back Arnie Herber going the distance, beat the Yearlings, 25-6.
Lambeau conceived the idea of playing an intrasquad game because the one exhibition game the Packers were playing back then was turning into an annual rout against the likes of Iron Mountain and Oshkosh and no longer serving a purpose. At the time, the Packers would typically report to Green Bay, practice for a week, usually in Joannes Park, play a non-league opponent from a nearby city and start their NFL schedule the following week.
Over the next 16 years, Lambeau would play six more intrasquad games, the highlight of which was the first American Legion benefit, which drew 14,000 fans to City Stadium in 1946 to see Don Hutson’s Army team beat Walt Kiesling’s Navy team, 14-10. Lambeau’s final intrasquad game was played in Marinette in 1949.
From 1950-57, the Packers trained in Grand Rapids, Minn., or Stevens Point for all but one year under coaches Gene Ronzani and Lisle Blackbourn, and they took their intrasquad games on the road, sometimes playing two a summer.
Under Ronzani, they played in Duluth, Minn., three times in what was billed as the Fish Bowl, and also in Iron Mountain, Elkhart, Ind., Grand Forks, N.D., and Hibbing, Minn. Under Blackbourn, they played in Stevens Point three times and also in Marshfield, Janesville and Menasha.
The first intrasquad game played in what is now Lambeau Field was held on Aug. 9, 1958, in Scooter McLean’s only season as coach. The Greens beat the Whites, 34-16, before 9,381 fans in what was really the last regulation game played between two complete teams of Packers offensive and defensive players.
Vince Lombardi scheduled an intrasquad game every year: offense vs. defense. Tickets were priced at $1 for adults and, in later years, proceeds went to the Police and Fire Benevolent Fund. In 1959, Lombardi’s first season, attendance was 11,566. In 1967, his last season, it was 33,546.
The 1961 game was played at old City Stadium because the sod was being replaced at the new one. The game drew 5,000 fans and unbeknownst to them beforehand, they were treated to a bit of history: The unveiling of the Packers G on the players’ helmets.
The intrasquad tradition continued under coaches Phil Bengtson and Dan Devine from 1968-’74 and actually flourished even more. Two games had to be canceled due to labor disputes: One in 1970 was replaced by a public practice and another one in 1974 by a game between Packers and Bears rookies for the most part.
In 1973, with tickets still priced at $1 for adults and 50 cents for kids, 56,263 fans filled Lambeau and a number of others had to be turned away at the gate. That crowd broke the previous attendance record of 41,137, set in Bengtson’s second season.
Bart Starr retained the same format when he became coach in 1975, but interest declined precipitously. The game before his first season drew 41,372. The next year, attendance dropped to 26,542. In 1977, a scrimmage replaced the intrasquad game and only 12,000 showed up.
Not only were the days of charging admission over, but the scrimmages were moved from Lambeau to either the Oneida Street practice field or homes of other NFL teams. The one exception was 1982 when an estimated 15,000 witnessed a scrimmage against Buffalo at Lambeau Field.
Forrest Gregg’s teams drew roughly 15,000 to two free scrimmages in Lambeau in the mid-1980s, but only 6,000 in 1987. Attendance in the Lindy Infante years plummeted to 2,000 or so.
The arrival of Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren created enough excitement that nearly 22,000 fans attended a practice and controlled scrimmage in Lambeau in 1992. Two years later, the crowd was almost double that or close to 40,000.
Family Night started in 1999 and has created its own tradition. This year it will be strictly a practice for the first time and 73,000 fans will be on hand.
Tags: family night
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Centered on the longstanding Green Bay Packers tradition of players riding kids’ bikes to and from practice during training camp, American Family Insurance will unveil its new DreamDrive program when the Packers open training camp on Saturday, July 26.
A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. CT prior to the Packers’ first practice at 8:20 a.m.
The quarter-mile route between Lambeau Field and Ray Nitschke Field – the team’s practice facility – will officially be known as DreamDrive, on which Packers players will interact with fans as they make their way to and from practice via bicycle.
In addition to the bikes kids bring to training camp, DreamDrive will feature five custom three-wheeler bikes known as “The Dream Fleet,” which kids and Packers players can ride.
Children chosen by a Green Bay area non-profit will be honored as the inaugural DreamDrive participants prior to Saturday’s practice. For the remainder of camp, The Dream Fleet will become part of a bike share program for kids in attendance.
While no one is exactly sure when it started, Packers players have been riding kids’ bikes during training camp for more than half a century. The tradition is believed to have been originated in the early 1960s during Vince Lombardi’s tenure as coach.
DreamDrive is one of the many interactive fan activities that will run during Packers training camp:
• Adjacent to DreamDrive will be the American Family Insurance DreamZone, located inside the revamped Tundra Tailgate Zone. The DreamZone will operate during the first week of training camp and will feature inspirational and engaging activities centered on the pursuit of dreams. Activities inside the DreamZone will include football toss, photo opportunities, the Lambeau Leap, interactive trivia games and more.
• Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy will host a 30-minute question and answer session with fans in the DreamZone at approximately 11:30 a.m. following Saturday morning’s practice. Attendance at the Q&A will be determined on a first-come, first-served basis.
• For a complete list of Packers training camp activities and events, click here.
Tags: training camp
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Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, LB A.J. Hawk and former WR Sterling Sharpe each participated in the opening round of the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Golf Club at Lake Tahoe on Friday.
The three-day, 54-hole tournament – now in its 25th year – is for current and former professional athletes and is scored under a modified Stableford format.
Sharpe is tied for sixth place in the 86-player field after round one, carding a plus-two 74 and accumulating 20 points. The highlight of Sharpe’s day was an eagle three on the par-five fourth hole.
Rodgers (T22) also had a strong showing on Friday, shooting a 77 and scoring 13 points while dropping in a pair of birdies. Hawk (T62) finished the day with a score of 90 (-3 points).
Full leaderboard here.
Friday’s opening round will be re-airing on Golf Channel on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT. Live tournament coverage continues on NBC’s Sports Network on Saturday and Sunday, July 19-20, from 2-5 p.m. CT each day.
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GREEN BAY–Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy reaffirmed the team’s wishes to extend General Manager Ted Thompson’s contract.
“It’s a top priority. Ted’s been instrumental in the run we’ve had. Yeah, so that’s a real priority,” Murphy said.
Murphy made those comments in reply to a question at a media conference on Thursday, during which Murphy revealed the team’s 2014 financial statement. Packers.com reporter Mike Spofford’s story on the Packers financials appears on the site.
Murphy was asked where the Packers rank in the NFL in ticket prices.
“This year, we anticipate we’ll be 17th in the league. We want to be affordable. We want people to be able to bring their family, but we want to be fair to the visiting team share,” Murphy said.
Murphy also said cell phone coverage within Lambeau Field will be enhanced for the 2014 season, and there are long-term plans to provide Wi-Fi throughout the stadium, as part of the Packers’ attempts to enrich the game-day experience.
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