Believe it or not, the football season has done its annual sneak-up on all of us fans as the Green Bay Packers and teams from around the National Football League hit the field for the first training camp practices this weekend.
The Packers players began moving into their living quarters on the St. Norbert College campus mid-week and reported for physicals Friday morning.
This morning, the players are scheduled to hit the Ray Nitschke field at 8:20 a.m.
And as a special treat, we’ve got photographer Jimmy Oxley on the scene this morning to record the occasion.
Oxley, the editor of The Lakeland Times by day, is a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan, but also a great reporter and photographer. He will be capturing the tradition of the bike ride, as well as joining all the other beat reporters and photographers on the sidelines as the Packers begin training camp with their positional drills.
It’s an exciting day for all football fans as the season gets under way.
There are so many questions to be answered over the next month. Who will emerge as the Packers starting safety combination? How will the addition of Mike Neal and Nick Perry to the PUP list affect the competition at outside linebacker? What about tight end? Who will land as the starter at that position? What about the offensive line? How will that shake out? Who will be the Packers third and fourth receiver? Heck, how many receivers will they keep on the roster?
In addition, there are some extraneous issues that also need to be answered, such as will the Packers find a way to re-sign Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb before or during the early weeks of the season?
Mike McCarthy indicated this week that he finally got the offseason right.
These next few weeks should be an indicator as to whether McCarthy and Thompson did indeed get things right.
Here is some pertinent information courtesy of Packers.com:
Important dates to remember (all times CDT):
- Saturday, July 26 – First practice, 8:20 a.m., Nitschke Field
- Saturday, Aug. 2 – Packers Family Night, Presented by Bellin Health, 6:25 p.m., Lambeau Field
- Saturday, Aug. 9 – First preseason game, at Tennessee Titans, 7 p.m., LP Field
- Saturday, Aug. 16 – Preseason game at St. Louis Rams, 3 p.m., Edward Jones Dome
- Friday, Aug. 22 – Preseason game vs. Oakland Raiders, 7 p.m., Lambeau Field (Midwest Shrine Game)
- Tuesday, Aug. 26 – Roster reduction to a maximum of 75 players by 3 p.m.
- Wednesday, Aug. 27 – Final practice open to public, 10:15 a.m.,Nitschke Field
- Thursday, Aug. 28 – Preseason game vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 6 p.m., Lambeau Field (Bishop’s Charities Game)
- Saturday, Aug. 30 – Roster reduction to a maximum of 53 players by 5 p.m.
THE MONTH AHEAD
- Green Bay’s training camp schedule features 17 open practices, including an evening practice, Family Night and four preseason games.
- The first 10 practices of training camp will all be open to the public, with the first six practices taking place at 8:20 a.m. Packers Family Night will be on Saturday, Aug. 2, at 6:25 p.m., and the only other evening session will take place Monday, Aug. 4, at 5:30 p.m. The final two open practices before the first preseason game at Tennessee on Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. will be at 12 p.m. on Aug. 5 and at 11:45 a.m. on Aug. 6.
- The next week the Packers will have two practices open to the public (12 p.m. on Aug. 12 and 11:45 a.m. on Aug. 13) before the second preseason game at St. Louis on Aug. 16 at 3 p.m.
- The three Packers practices before the preseason home opener vs. Oakland on Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. will all be open to the public (12 p.m. on Aug. 18, 11:45 a.m. on Aug. 19 and 10:15 a.m. on Aug. 21).
- The final week of camp will feature two open practices (11:45 a.m. on Aug. 25 and 10:15 a.m. on Aug. 27) prior to the preseason finale vs. Kansas City on Aug. 28 at 6 p.m.
In 40 days the Green Bay Packers will be in Seattle, Wash., to open the NFL regular season by taking on the World Champion Seattle Seahawks. Until then, there’s so much for the team to do.