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.
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Due to the rainy weather, Monday’s training-camp practice scheduled for 11:30 a.m. will be moved indoors to the Don Hutson Center and be closed to the public. Players will not be riding bikes to practice.
The Packers have one more practice open to the public, scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Ray Nitschke Field.
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Public practice times have been adjusted for Sunday and Monday’s training camp practices. Below are the updated times of the final three practices scheduled to be open to the public. All practice dates, locations and times are subject to change.
Sunday, Aug. 25 at 12 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 26 at 11:30 a.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 11 a.m.
Practices are scheduled to be held at Ray Nitschke Field.
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On a beautiful summer evening in front of an overflow crowd at Ray Nitschke Field, the Packers began their first of two night practices of the 2013 training camp.
Fans packed the bleachers and were lined up multiple folks deep behind each end zone fence to watch the Packers prepare for Saturday’s Family Night Scrimmage.
The team’s injury list got a little longer, as WR Jordy Nelson, TE Andrew Quarless and LB Jamari Lattimore were sitting out. Returning to practice after missing a few days was LB Nate Palmer (shoulder).
In a last-play-of-the-game scenario from just inside the 20-yard line, QB B.J. Coleman scrambled to his right and found WR James Jones for a TD. QB Graham Harrell’s desperation pass into heavy traffic, however, was picked off by CB Loyce Means, who was one of the standouts in Thursday’s practice.
Packers.com will have a full report on practice, including comments from Coach Mike McCarthy, later tonight.
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Here are a few news items and notes from Day 1 of training camp:
–Runnin’ with the ones: No real surprises as far as the depth chart goes. In the battle for the starting safety spot alongside Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings took the majority of the snaps with the first unit, but Jerron McMillian was rotated in as well. Same arrangement at right tackle, starting with Marshall Newhouse and followed by Don Barclay.
Sam Shields was the starter at cornerback opposite Tramon Williams, and he could hold down that spot for awhile with Casey Hayward (hamstring) and Davon House (illness) missing practice. At running back, there was a steady rotation of work amongst Alex Green, James Starks, Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin and Angelo Pease.
–No first-day jitters: The Packers’ three highest-profile draft picks said they didn’t have any first-day nerves to deal with on the practice field. Neither Datone Jones, Lacy nor Franklin did anything particularly eye-catching, but their enthusiasm for their first pro training camp was evident.
“It was exciting,” Franklin said. “We went through OTAs, so the nervousness got out then, and in rookie minicamp. Today was just learning and understanding the scheme of things, putting things together.”
Jones brushed off even the idea of being nervous.
“I prepare very hard, so I’m very confident in myself,” he said. “I believe in myself that I can get the job done. I’m able to play fast because I know my assignments. I study a lot.”
Friday’s practice was in shells, and Saturday’s will be, too. The first day in full pads will be Sunday.
“Practice without pads is always tough,” Lacy said. “You can’t really run through them, they’re just tagging off. When we get the pads on, it’ll be different. I think I’ll do pretty good with the pads on.”
–Sherrod hopeful: Former first-round pick Derek Sherrod says he feels “a heck of a lot better than at this point last year” in his recovery from a surgically repaired broken leg that cost him all of last season. He reiterated Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s hope that he can return to the field soon, but he’s not putting a timetable on it.
“Just taking it a day at a time,” said Sherrod, who is thought to be a contender in the battle for the right tackle job should he return soon. “It could be tomorrow, it could be whenever, but I’m working very hard and making sure that I am doing everything I can to get out there as soon as possible with my teammates.”
–Neal lighter, but waiting: Defensive end Mike Neal has been dogged by injuries throughout his career, but he called this latest abdomen injury that is keeping him out of training camp a “minor setback.”
Neal worked extensively at outside linebacker during OTAs and has slimmed down to help make the transition. He said he now weighs 275 pounds, down nearly 20 from his playing weight of a year ago.
“It’s more natural for me to be at this weight,” said Neal, a stalwart in the weight room throughout his football life. “I feel better at this weight.”
Neal said the coaches didn’t ask him to lose any weight but left the issue up to him. When he gets on the field, which McCarthy said could be a couple of weeks, it will be interesting to see if the Packers employ him more as an inside or outside pass rusher. Neal had 4 1/2 sacks last season as an inside rusher.
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Packers players started to move their personal belongings into the dorms at St. Norbert College in De Pere Wednesday afternoon. A tradition started under Packers coach Scooter McLean in 1958, the Green Bay Packers will call the college home for a 56th consecutive training camp this summer. Watch the video below to see what RB Eddie Lacy and DE C.J. Wilson had to say about training camp and life in the dorms.
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Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy made these comments during his welcome-to-training-camp press conference on Wednesday:
- “I think everybody would be happy with 15-1 in the regular season, but I think everybody knows the postseason is what counts.”
- “The (preseason) games are very important for Graham (Harrell). He has very good command of the offense. He needs to play. He needs the live reps. I want to see him play tough in the pocket, transition and make plays.”
- “It’s clearly a different defense and it’s going to be a different offense, too, frankly.”
- “These young guys have added a lot of energy. It’ll be exciting to see them in pads,” McCarthy said of the team’s draft picks, the first six of which are defensive players.
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The Packers will wrap up their offseason program with a three-day minicamp, Tuesday through Thursday (June 12-14). All three practices will be held at 10:45 a.m. at Ray Nitschke Field (weather permitting), but only the Tuesday practice will be open to the public.
The Wednesday and Thursday workouts will be open only to the media, so we’ll have full coverage all three days on packers.com. After Tuesday’s practice, the next one for public viewing will be the opening practice of training camp, slated for Thursday, July 26.
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