This week, the Green Packers released its 2013 Training Camp Schedule. It begins on July 26 with a “Back to Football” theme. In a change from last year, the 19 practices will only run in the mornings and will be held at Ray Nitschke Field. This includes its Family Night/scrimmage on Aug. 3, which has activities beginning at 5:30 p.m.
On July 26-28, July 30-31, Aug. 1, 6, 7, and 8 practices will begin at 8:20 a.m. and then move to 11:15 a.m. in mid-August.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the training camp changes come in part from last season’s disappointing 2-3 start. This year’s practices will also include 15 in full pads versus 2012’s 17 of 21 practices.
McCarthy said via Packernews.com, “We’re going to adjust. No different than the way we approach the players. We believe in our program. We believe in the way we go about things. But there’s going to be some clear-cut adjustments, and it’s important that we accomplish that and it pushes us to where we want to go to.”
Other key training camp dates and events include the following:
- Thursday, July 25 – Players report and head coach Mike McCarthy’s season-opening press conference, 10 a.m.
- Friday, July 26 – First practice, 8:20 a.m., Ray Nitschke Field along with
- Packers 1K Kids Run, 6 p.m.; Movie Night at Lambeau Field, 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, July 27 – Packers 5K Run at Lambeau Field, 6:30 p.m.
- Friday, Aug. 2: 7 p.m. – full pads
- Tuesday, Aug. 13 and 14- 11:15 a.m.
- Thursday, Aug. 15 – 11 a.m.
- Monday, Aug. 19 – 11:30 a.m.
- Tuesday, Aug. 20 and Wednesday, Aug. 21 – 11 a.m.
- Sunday, Aug. 25 – 11:30 a.m.
- Monday, Aug. 26 and Tuesday, Aug. 27 – 11 a.m. – Full pads. This the last open public practice at the Ray Nitschke Field.
Here’s Green Bay’s four preseason games:
- Friday, Aug. 9: Arizona Cardinals – 7 p.m. CDT
- Saturday, Aug. 17: At St. Louis Rams – 7 p.m. CDT
- Friday, Aug. 23: Seattle Seahawks 7 p.m. CDT
- Thursday, Aug. 29: At Kansas City Chiefs – 7 p.m. CDT
In addition to the team’s schedule, they will enter training camp with a few storylines. One is the running game.
Last season, Green Bay’s rushing offense ranked 24th in the league and over the last three seasons, its running backs have an average of four touchdowns every season.
There’s also that less than impressive streak of 43 consecutive regular-season games without a 100-yard rushing game, according to TwinCities.com.
McCarthy has been open about the team’s desire to fix its running game and in this year’s draft, it added two running backs: Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin. Veteran Cedric Benson is gone and the team’s experienced running backs now include Alex Green, James Starks and DuJuan Harris.
Let the competition begin on July 26. Will the rookies be one of the answers to the team’s running problems?
A second story is whether or not safety sophomore Sean Richardson is healthy. The player missed the recent OTAs and minicamp practices as he continues recovering from January’s cervical disc herniation surgery. This came after his Nov. 25 injury in the New York Giants game that placed him on injured reserve beginning Dec. 1.
In his five games during his rookie season, he had four tackles with 110 snaps (15 defense, 95 special teams).
Green Bay is looking forward to his return and his “experience” as they lack depth in this position with Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings, Jerron McMillian, Chaz Powell (practice squad) and David Fulton (undrafted rookie) currently on the roster.
And a final story that doesn’t have a lot of legs is the possible return of retired Packers wide receiver Donald Driver. He recently said he’d return to the team if they called. He left in free agency after 2012’s 13 games with 8 receptions and 77 yards; the likelihood of another year isn’t good but hey, you never know what can happen (see New England Patriots tight ends).