100 days till opener? 'That's an eternity'
When the Green Bay Packers wrapped up their second three-day session of organized team activities Friday afternoon, they were 100 days from the 2016 opener at the Jacksonville Jaguars.
For some, that might feel like football is just around the corner. For others?
“That’s an eternity, it feels like,” Packers guard T.J. Lang said.
When the Packers’ schedule was released in April, there was much consternation over what was perceived as an imbalanced slate.
The Packers will play their first two games on the road, followed by four straight home games. Their bye will come Week 4, the earliest possible date.
Beginning in Week 8, the Packers have a stretch of four road games in a five-week span. They finish the season with three straight games against their NFC North rivals, trips to Chicago and Detroit sandwiched around a Christmas Eve home game against Minnesota.
Lang said he doesn’t care which teams the Packers play or when they play them.
“Really, the only thing I look at is the bye week,” Lang said. “In a perfect world you’d like to have it probably around Week 9 or 10, kind of break the season in half. But I’m not going to sit here and complain. It is what it is.”
The Packers certainly can’t complain about a schedule that ranks as the NFL’s softest, based on the 2015 combined winning percentage of their opponents (.457). But Lang pays that no mind.
“There’s so much change in this league, every single year,” the eighth-year veteran said. “A team last year that won four games is probably going to make the playoffs this year and a team that was in the playoffs probably won’t be in the playoffs this year. So I don’t really pay attention to our opponents as much as – selfishly – I pay attention to the bye week.
“It feels like when you get it later in the season, you start getting beat down a little bit and it gives you a chance to refresh and group up for a final run. We don’t have that opportunity this year, we’re just going to – I don’t want to say suck it up because it’s not really a negative – but we’re just going to have to deal with it.”
This will be the second time in four seasons the Packers have had a Week 4 bye (in 2013, they finished 8-7-1 but still won the division).