Training camp diary: Early heat, who stood out and 'gummy bears'
At Packers training camp practice on Sunday, July 27. Image by Wayne Larrivee
I set an early wake up (6am) fully intending to find a church to attend services before practice. Well, that didn’t happen. I made practice but not the service, so now I’m looking for a late afternoon service somewhere. Early practice times are both a bane and a blessing, as I will explain later.
Training camp opens officially for the football people tomorrow. That, in not so many words, is what coach Mike McCarthy declared today. The first two days of practice have been in helmets and shorts, when they put the pads on “expect a jump in intensity” according to the coach.
Tomorrow’s practice will be the first in pads and it will be a longer practice so if you are planning on coming to Green Bay be ready to stay a while.
Today was much warmer than yesterday and the training staff was handing out what looked like square “gummy bears” to the players during breaks.
In reality they are Gatorade energy squares. They’ve been on the market the past couple of years, but it still looked funny to see the athletic trainers offering the players what appeared to be Tupperware boxes of “gummy bears.”
The biggest ovation from the crowd today came when quarterback Matt Flynn hooked up with former Wisconsin Badger Jared Abbrederis on a long pass play.
Eddie Lacy is getting a workout as a receiver out of the backfield in the third down offense. It certainly appears the Packers are determined not to take Eddie off the field on third downs. Last season as a rookie he caught 35 passes, 4th on the team, for 257 yards a 7.3 average. Lacy looks more and more natural in this role each day.
In the deep secondary Micah Hyde made a great play breaking up an Aaron Rodgers pass to Jordy Nelson on the post. Hyde isn’t supposed to have the speed to keep up with a number one receiver but when it comes to coverage—functional football speed is what it’s all about.
Hyde has plenty of functional football speed to cover in the deep middle. Furthermore in this day and age, you must have one safety with cornerback skills and Hyde appears to be that man for the Packers. The switch from corner to safety has been seamless according to coach McCarthy; “He’s a football player. You can play him anywhere."
Punt return auditions today included veteran stalwarts Randall Cobb, Tramon Williams, Micah Hyde, along with Myles White and Abbrederis.
These early practices, 8:20 am, leave plenty of time after work for activities for fans and media alike.
Late yesterday afternoon I snuck over to the Brown County Golf Course. This is one of the unsung jewels of Wisconsin golf. They played temporary greens last year because they had to rebuild all of their putting surfaces. This year, with the new greens this is a “must play” course if you are a golfer visiting training camp. It cost me $30.00 including a bucket of balls to warm up with to walk this beautiful track. I don’t believe there is a better golf value in the state.
Remember, for the football people, camp finally begins tomorrow as the pads come on and we begin to see what we have. See you tomorrow 8:20 sharp! (8:05 Lombardi time)