GREEN BAY - This being the Green Bay Packers, there is no shortage of primetime kickoffs. They will play five night games this season, almost a third of their schedule.
But this week is a little bit different. The Packers are playing a night game on the West Coast in the preseason, an exhibition that can’t capture the nation’s interest. So instead of adjusting the kickoff time for the East Coast, the San Francisco 49ers are free to appease their hometown fans.
That means a 7 p.m. local time kickoff. Or, for Packers fans – and players – who don’t mind staying up late, a 9 p.m. CT start.
“I’m normally in bed by 9 o’clock,” left guard Josh Sitton said. “So it’s going to be a little different, for sure.”
The Packers will have to adjust. They’re scheduled to arrive in San Francisco before dinnertime Thursday, then wait all day Friday to play.
This week is just the start of a grueling stretch for the Packers. They will play four road games over the next month – two of the preseason variety – before their next kickoff at Lambeau Field. In the next seven days, they travel to San Francisco and Kansas City.
It’s not ideal to start that stretch with a road trip to the West Coast. Inside linebacker Sam Barrington said hydration will be even more important than usual with the long flight to San Francisco.
“With this flight,” Barrington said, “you really have to make sure you’re hydrating. Because what a lot of people don’t know, being in the air on a plane, you become dehydrated because you’re breathing in dry air. So with that being said, that’s probably the most important thing. You’re sitting on the plane, you’re kind of in a prone position. So you have to make sure you hydrate, make sure you’re stretched out before it’s time to play.
“But outside that, we’ll get out there, and we’ll be in the environment. We’ll play, and then we’ll have a short day the next day, being that we get back so late. That’s always an adjustment, but they do a great job here of making sure we’re prepared for that.”
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