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NFL meetings day 1: No more night practices?

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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PALM BEACH, Fla. — Mike McCarthy has his training camp schedule almost set. He’s just waiting to find out whether the Packers will play the New York Giants in the NFL season opener on Wednesday, Sept. 5. That announcement isn’t expected to come this week at the NFL annual meetings, where in the past some of the opening-weekend games have been announced. Either way, expect a radical change from McCarthy. Like he did halfway through camp last summer, McCarthy is expected to virtually eliminate the night practices that were so popular among fans. “If we play in the New York game, it’s going to affect the way we go about training camp,” McCarthy said. “It will most likely be different than any one we’ve ever had because there’s a number of things that being young this long you learn that maybe we can do a better job with more time allocated to the younger players throughout camp. “It’s going to be different, I can tell you that.” McCarthy’s training camp structure has changed significantly since he was hired as head coach in 2006. He began with what he called a 2-1-2 schedule in which there was a two-a-day practice session (morning and night) followed by a single practice day (afternoon) followed by another two-a-day. Changes in the collective bargaining agreement last summer forced some reduction in practice times, but McCarthy did open camp last summer with a modified 2-1-2 schedule. However, midway through camp he called an audible and wiped out the final three night practices, instead opting for a regular-season schedule with one practice that began in the late morning. Though he wouldn’t commit to a final schedule, McCarthy joked that he feels about asking general manager Ted Thompson to install permanent lights on the team’s training camp practice field, indicating the night practices likely are a thing of the past. “I’m Irish Catholic, so I’d feel guilty over paying for those things and not using them,” McCarthy said. “I do want to get some more day practices. That was part of the conversation because too much of one thing isn’t healthy. The one thing I liked about the old schedule, the 2-1-2-1, is you get a night, an afternoon and a morning. But that schedule’s obviously gone.” But Thompson is no fan of the night practices, either. When asked if likes them, he said: "No comment" and then joked that he likes to go to bed early. Speaking of schedules, McCarthy’s offseason program will begin on April 16, the first day allowed by CBA rules. That’s a month later than under the old CBA, and McCarthy said he was fine with that, except for one aspect. Players that work out at team facilities prior to April 16 are not permitted to do anything involving a football. That means his quarterback school that would’ve began in March is on hold and will have to be condensed. “We’ve got Tim Masthay and Mason Crosby (in Green Bay) full time, and they work out at the facility every day, and they can’t kick a football in the Hutson Center,” McCarthy said. “The quarterback school and the kickers and punters, I’d like to see where they can start in March. I mean their skill development is different than other positions. There’s more involved with their particular jobs with handling the football.” McCarthy said he will still hold quarterback school, but he noted: “We’re going to follow the rules. I don’t ever want to get in trouble, especially this year.”  

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Get Green Bay Packers updates as they happen from our reporting team: (from left) Mike Vandermause, Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty.

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