GREEN BAY, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – First full practice slated for Saturday, Aug 15
This is a Packers training camp like none other.
No preseason games. No fans at training camp. No staying at St. Norbert College. COVID-19 testing for players on a regular basis.
What it boils down to is three weeks of on-field preparation to be ready to open the Coronavirus-ravaged 2020 NFL season at the home of arch-nemesis Minnesota on September 13th.
That game will be televised exclusively in Western Wisconsin at 12 noon on FOX 25/48—most likely with no fans in the stands at typically raucous U.S. Bank Stadium. This is a distinct advantage for visiting Green Bay’s offense and quarterback Aaron Rodgers to not have to deal with the deafening decibel levels produced by Vikings fans on critical downs.
The Packers announced yesterday that Lambeau Field will be fanless for the first two home games against Detroit on September 20 and Atlanta on October 5. A determination will be made if fans (possibly 10-12,000 maximum) can attend the rematch with Minnesota on November 1.
Second-year head coach Matt LaFleur and his staff will be cramming in playbook installations, roster evaluations, and physical conditioning into a schedule he deemed “very fluid” to the Wisconsin media in a conference call earlier this week.
Linebackers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, in back-to-back media interviews via Zoom on Friday afternoon, said the players completed grueling conditioning workouts.
Coming off a 13-3 regular season, NFC North Division title, and a disappointing performance in a NFC Championship loss in San Francisco, the Smiths are ready to compete and go one step further.
“We have a lot of guys returning, a lot of key weapons that helped in our success last year,” Preston Smith said. “We have a lot of young guys coming up with bigger roles this year.”
Za’Darius, with his gregarious personality, and the laid-back Preston formed one of the NFL’s best pass-rushing duo last season.
“When he makes a big play, I want to make a big play,” Za’Darius said. “For us to go into year two together, it’s even going to be bigger and even better this year.”