In his early years, Mike McCarthy preferred his teams spend their preseasons playing games on grass.
Nothing causes a coach to wince more than seeing a player slammed to the turf during a game that doesn't count. McCarthy used to hope for a softer surface, something to help shield against injuries.
The Packers will play on turf 3 p.m. Saturday when they travel to the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis for their second preseason game against the Rams. Last week, in a downpour at Tennessee, the Packers were tested by the elements in their first preseason game.
Their second game will present another challenge.
McCarthy's opinion on field turf has since changed. For one, it is inevitable. The Packers share a division with two teams that play on turf – the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions.
Knowing his Green Bay teams would play on enemy turf every season, McCarthy said he now prefers getting the experience of an indoor game during the preseason.
"Really, what I've learned is, it's been good to go down and play St. Louis because obviously you have to go to Minnesota – you used to – and then obviously in Detroit," McCarthy said. "I think it's good that we get inside for one game, and obviously the other three are grass."
For young players, the transition from grass to turf fields has gotten easier. As technology improved, turf become more common. Most major colleges quit playing on grass years ago. Almost half of NFL stadiums will have turf fields in 2014.
Rookie tight end Richard Rodgers played on field turf at Cal. The field turf in St. Louis – or Minnesota and Detroit later in the year – would be a more familiar surface. Still, the Edward Jones Dome offers another obstacle McCarthy wants his young players to face before the regular season begins.
"It's the preseason, so it might not be that loud," Rodgers said. "I've heard it's loud in domes. So we'll just have to see."