Packers.com’s Vic Ketchman chats with fans: Read the Family Night transcript

Posted by Duke Bobber on August 2, 2014 – 8:53 pm

You can read the transcript of the fan chat with Vic here:

Live Blog Packers Family Night Live Chat with Vic Ketchman

If you don’t see the chat transcript above, click here.


Tags: ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog

Family Night: A tradition dating back to 1933

Posted by Cliff Christl on July 25, 2014 – 9:31 am

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.
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:
Posted in Packers.com Blog

Instant Replay Family Night

Posted by Tyler Gajewski on August 4, 2013 – 1:31 am

Post Game Videos

    • Head Coach Mike McCarthy at the podium
    • McCarthy thanks fans for incredible environment(7:59)

      Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy met with reporters following Saturday night’s annual scrimmage, Packers Family Night. McCarthy thanked Packers fans for creating an exciting atmosphere at Lambeau Field.

    • Quarterback Aaron Rodgers
    • Aaron Rodgers: We have incredible fans(4:36)

      Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers met with reporters in the locker room following Saturday night’s Family Night scrimmage at Lambeau Field. Rodgers talked about his appreciation of Packers fans and looked ahead to the preseason games.

    • Kickers Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio
    • Family Night kicking duel goes to the challenger(2:24)

      Green Bay Packers kickers Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio reacted after Saturday night’s Family Night scrimmage at Lambeau Field. Crosby finished 3-for-8 overall on field goals, while Tavecchio connected on 6-for-7.

    • Locker Room Soundbites
    • Family Night locker room sound bites(3:05)

      The Green Bay Packers held their annual Family Night scrimmage at Lambeau Field Saturday night. Hear post-game comments from CB Tramon Williams, RB Eddie Lacy, DE Datone Jones, CB James Nixon and CB Brandon Smith.

Features


    • Game Day Photos

      Look through the lens of team photographer Jim Biever and Matt Becker. Check out photos from Saturday’s Packers Family Night at Lambeau Field.View photos


Tags: , ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog

Family Night notes: Young DBs shine, Eddie Lacy leads productive ground game

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 4, 2013 – 12:58 am

For the main recap of Saturday’s Family Night scrimmage, including a close look at the kicking competition and the QB play, click here.

Other news & notes from the night:

–Young DBs shine: All the injuries at cornerback for the Packers have led to extra reps for a lot of prospects, and that paid off for two young corners on Saturday.

CB James Nixon

CB James Nixon

James Nixon, a practice-squad holdover from a year ago, and Brandon Smith, a converted receiver, both turned in impressive interceptions, with Nixon returning his 65 yards for a TD.

Nixon, who has been in and out of practice with a troublesome knee, looked full speed as he took off down the sideline. He had jumped a hook route by receiver Jeremy Ross and picked off QB B.J. Coleman’s throw, and from there he said the adrenaline kicked in.

“Once I saw (the receiver) start to break down, I knew to jump and react right then,” Nixon said. “Luckily he threw it.

“It was huge. I’m still a little humbled by it, a little shocked by it.”

Smith, an unknown 26-year-old who was out of football the past two years, shocked everyone with an interception on the first day of practice, but he showed on Saturday that maybe it wasn’t a fluke.

He had tight coverage on Ross in the end zone, spun around at the right moment and snagged Coleman’s underthrown jump ball.

“I just read his eyes,” Smith said. “His eyes got big, so I whipped my head around and jumped up as high as I can to make the play.

“I want to come out here and prove myself.”

Making big plays in front of a big crowd is a start for Nixon and Smith. Their next task is to carry it over to the preseason games.

“Anytime you see your DBs compete in a one-on-one situation and go up and get the football, that’s what it’s about,” Mike McCarthy said. “It’s a one-on-one battle out there in space, and it was a great job by both of those guys, especially scoring with the football.”

–Lacy blasts ahead: Rookie second-round pick Eddie Lacy posted powerful runs of 16, 19 and 8 yards amongst his handful of carries.

The productivity on the ground was spread around the backfield, as James Starks added a pair of 5-yard runs and a 23-yard gain on a screen pass, while Alex Green had rushes of 11 and 6 yards. But it was Lacy’s explosive plays that stood out.

“I think Eddie definitely has picked it up here the last 3-4 days,” McCarthy said. “This is our longest stretch of practices in a row, and it’s important for guys to take that step, and he’s definitely getting more and more comfortable with the things we’re doing.”

Lacy concurred.

“I’m very comfortable, a lot more comfortable than when I first got in. but it’s going to continue to be a progression,” he said. “I still have things I need to learn and make sure I’m not second-guessing myself no matter what they call. There’s still room for improvement.”

–O-line update: McCarthy didn’t rule Don Barclay out of the right tackle competition, but it’s worth noting that the first sub for Marshall Newhouse at the position was rookie fourth-round pick David Bakhtiari.

Equally interesting, Barclay actually took some snaps at right guard in place of T.J. Lang with the No. 1 line.

“I give Don a lot of credit,” McCarthy said. “He’s doing what’s best for the team, and what’s best for the offensive line unit is that he’s versatile. We aren’t just letting him line up and play right tackle.”

–One injury: The only injury from the scrimmage McCarthy mentioned was to TE Ryan Taylor, who left the field, but the injury wasn’t specified.

–Williams’ status uncertain: CB Tramon Williams, who injured his knee earlier this week and hasn’t practiced since, said there is no tear in his knee and the current prescription is for plenty of rest.

He reiterated what McCarthy said earlier this week, that the injury isn’t serious, but his status for the rest of the preseason is uncertain. Williams said he didn’t think this would be something that would sideline him for the season opener, but he wasn’t going to make any guarantees he’d be out there, either.

“We’re definitely going to rest as much as I need it, but at the same time, if I feel I don’t need it and I’m able to go, I’m going to go,” he said. “We’ll be smart with it, though. Docs are smart here with injuries. I’ll let those guys do their jobs.”


Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp

Worthy savors the moment

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 3, 2012 – 11:34 pm

Rookie DL Jerel Worthy, drafted in the second round from Michigan State, said Friday night that when he headed out onto Lambeau Field for the Family Night scrimmage, it was his first time heading down the tunnel to the field. He had intentionally not done so previously so he could savor the moment.

“I tried to save it for as long as possible, and I kind of got a little emotional being out there, like my dream is finally coming true,” Worthy said. “I’m just excited to be here.”

Worthy made one notable play in the scrimmage, stuffing RB Du’ane Bennett for a 5-yard loss when he charged across the line of scrimmage unblocked. The play helped the No. 1 defense hold the No. 2 offense to a field goal on what had been a promising drive.

“My guard pulled, and I got a good jump on the ball,” Worthy said of the play, which was typical of the disruptive plays he made in college. “As soon as he pulled and vacated my area, I just came off the back side and came wide open. Hopefully I can get as many plays like that as possible.”


Tags: , ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp

Family Night Update

Posted by Duke Bobber on August 6, 2011 – 9:05 pm

Storms cancelled the remainder of practice but fans are being patient and sticking around for the fireworks. Stay on Packers.com for updates including post-practice locker room video, player comments regarding fan appreciation, photo galleries and more.


Tags: ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog