The Green Bay Packers still have yet to formally announce their training camp schedule, but coach Mike McCarthy let some tidbits slip Thursday before his team’s final minicamp practice.
Players will report for the start of Packers training camp Monday, July 25, McCarthy indicated. Their first practice will be the next day, Tuesday, July 26.
It is four days earlier than the Packers' first training camp practice of 2015, which came Thursday, July 30. Players reported to 2015 training camp Wednesday, July 29.
McCarthy said the practice structure and approach will “look similar” to a year ago. The biggest difference, and the reason for an earlier start date, is the Packers' appearance in the Hall of Fame game. The Packers will have five preseason games instead of the customary four.
“Starting a little early,” McCarthy said. “Starting on a Monday. The flow is not the best, frankly. When you play Sunday, Friday, Thursday, Friday, Thursday – that’s not what you’re looking for as a head coach as far as how you’d like to train the team as far as the periods of time between each game. It will have a little different flow to it. They’ll be more night practices this year than we’ve had in quite some time.”
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The Packers started preparing for a longer training camp this week. McCarthy excused 15 veterans from mandatory minicamp, allowing them to start their summer vacation early. Only players with fewer than five accrued NFL seasons participate in minicamp.
McCarthy decided to send the vets home after realizing their volume of offseason work would still be higher than past seasons even without minicamp. The “new opportunities,” as McCarthy called it, that come with an extra preseason game and four extra practices will be tailored to teaching the younger players, he said.
Without the veterans, McCarthy said, this week has been beneficial for narrowing the focus to young players on the Packers roster.
“Very beneficial,” McCarthy said. “I’ve spent a lot of time during individual drills and the group periods focusing on the younger players just to watch how they’re integrating, and obviously watch how they’re moving and see how they’re taking to the techniques and fundamentals that we’re asking them to use. Really to see these guys get more reps in the team periods Tuesday, Wednesday and then again today, is great video not only for them but for us.
“As we get ready for training camp and just update our cutups and things like that, it’s always good to have the young players in there for the things they did well and the things they need to improve on.”