GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Week one of training camp is coming to an end for the Packers and if you are still kind of feeling like it hasn’t really started, then join the rest of us football fans as we all adjust to the 2020 version of NFL training camp. If you’re confused about what training camp looks like now, what exactly is going on, who spoke this week, and more, never fear, Local 5 Sports is here to break that down for you.
NEW COVID-19 Protocols for Training Camp
- Players had to undergo three days of COVID-19 testing before they could even enter the building
- Packers rookies began on Sunday, July 26, while veterans did not begin reporting for COVID-19 testing until Tuesday, July 28
- Players tested for two days straight, isolated on the third day, and then came back for their final COVID-19 test on the fourth day
Adding to the COVID-19 testing that players had to undergo, masks are now required inside the facilities. We saw on a few rookies’ social media that plexiglass is now installed in the locker rooms to allow for social distancing between players. But it’s something that many within the organization, not just players, are understanding will fall on the individual to remain healthy for themselves and for the organization as a whole.
“It’s gonna take a lot of self-discipline. Anyone who comes in contact with our players, they have to be very mindful of what they’re doing outside of the building,” head coach Matt LaFleur told members of the media on August 2. He also touched on how meetings have changed this year, with the need to spread out more so than they’ve ever had to before.
“There’s been a lot of adjusting. Unfortunately we can’t use all the meeting space,” LaFleur said. “We are lucky we have a lot of space in this building to move things around and have team meetings.”
General manager Brian Gutekunst was confident about the choices players in the organization will make this season in order for the Packers to accomplish the goals they want to this season.
“Around here we’ve always put a lot on the reliability factor. For us to accomplish what we want to accomplish guys are going to have to stay smart away from the building,” Gutekunst said. “Football’s the ultimate team game, this year more than others. We’re going to have positive tests. The dependability and availability of players is a big part of who’s going to have success this year.”
Devin Funchess opts out of 2020 season
Devin Funchess was supposed to be the wide receiver help that Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, and Allen Lazard needed. But with the new clause that allows NFL players to voluntarily opt-out ahead of the season due to concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, the wideout decided to not play in the best interest of his family.
It’s a decision that all of his teammates respect and understand. For Aaron Rodgers, there was never a doubt in his mind about whether he would suit up this season.
“I was always gonna play. I respect any person who decides to opt-out. There’s a lot of different circumstances around, I’m sure, each individual case,” said Rodgers. “I respect all those guys who decided to make that decision, even Devin.”
The veteran QB said Funchess had a discussion with him about his decision before it became public.
Aaron Rodgers addresses the 2020 NFL Draft, the weirdness of this year, and his WR’s
The man everyone has been waiting to really talk to since the draft was composed and calm when asked about his team drafting a quarterback in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft instead of the wide receiver everyone thought they would go for. For Rodgers, he put it pretty plainly on how he felt about finishing his career with the Green and Gold:
“I think if I retire on the team’s timeline, then all is well. If they’re looking to move on before I’m done playing, there becomes an impasse at that point. I can control my play and my performance and my approach and my leadership, but at some point, there’s other factors involved.”
Number 12 is going into his 16th season with the Packers, so he’s seen a lot as far as what can happen before, during, and after an NFL season. But this year, his usual off-season routine was derailed by the pandemic.
“I didn’t get the chemistry and bonding with my teammates that I usually get,” Rodgers said. “This is the time where you go to Bucks games, Brewers, down to Madison, you get that chemistry with the guys heading into the training camp.”
Packers’ veterans are of the same mindset: This year, it’s on us to be accountable for our goals
If you ask Davante Adams, Aaron Rodgers, or any of the veterans, the message is clear throughout: What you do outside of Lambeau this year will affect the rest of the season more so than ever before.
Davante Adams summed it up quite nicely when asked if he had a problem with staying home during his downtime this season.
“I have no problem being a hermit, man,” he said with a laugh. “There’s not a whole lot out there that could drive me to put my family or my team in danger.”
Rodgers was of the same mindset.
“At this point, all we can do is try and educate guys and try and be smart about what you’re doing outside the facility. There’s some things that are out of our control, some things that are in our control. I think there’s a responsibility that goes with it but there’s some things that are really out of your control,” Rodgers said.