Mother Nature has their number.
Two years after severe thunderstorms wiped out the Family Night scrimmage, Saturday night's Lambeau Field showcase was cut short after three series by the Aaron Rodgers-led offense.
"Unfortunately, we've had some practice at it," Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said of weather issues. "All week, it looked like it was going to be clear on Saturday. We haven't had any problems with practice this week. The storm came in pretty quickly. The public safety officials were right on when they saw it was coming. Initially, we thought it might veer off but it came right at us. We got everybody out of the bowl just in time. It's a shame."
"We need to look at the Farmer's Almanac or something," coach Mike McCarthy said. "This is unbelievable. You really feel bad for the fans. This is such a special evening for the families, the kids, the fireworks, the whole deal. Everybody looks forward to it. I don't know what to say. It's unbelievable."
A crowd of 43,048 saw some fireworks on the field. On the first play of the night, Rodgers' pass to James Jones was intercepted by undrafted rookie Brandian Ross, who raced the other way for a touchdown for a defense made up of second- and third-teamers. The No. 1 offense stayed on the field, with Rodgers' 40-yard pass to Randall Cobb against Ross getting it into scoring position, but Rodgers' pass to Donald Driver on third-and-13 was deflected by rookie safety Anthony Bratton.
Finally, on its third drive, the offense – with backups now playing the skill positions and some shuffling of the line – got into the end zone. Rodgers converted a third-and-6 with an 8-yard pass to Brett Swain, hit Jones for 21 yards and connected with Jordy Nelson for a 5-yard touchdown.
With the storm closing in on the stadium, the No. 1 punt return unit got one rep before the fans were told to head to the concourse for safety.
"I really didn't think it was over," Cobb said. "I thought everybody was joking with me. I got back in here, I'm sitting and drinking a Gatorade, and I see everybody taking their pads off. I'm like, ‘What are you doing?' And then they told me it was over, and I didn't believe them for like five minutes."
Shortly before 9:30 p.m., the fans who hung around got to watch the fireworks. For the players, though, it was another lost opportunity, with the lockout having taken away the offseason practices and Friday's session canceled because of the champions' trip to the White House. Sunday was a scheduled off day and will remain so, McCarthy said.
"Frankly, when I did the total number of reps for the training camp, I don't count Family Night because it varies, and I never had even going back to the first year," McCarthy said. "All of our targets will be hit, as far as the different situations, how much we spend on normal down and distance, all of the way through. We'll get our work done. This won't factor in our training camp preparation as far as the reps that we lost tonight."
New injuries: In the abbreviated scrimmage, the only injury was sustained by safety Brandon Underwood, who was injured during a 5-yard run by Ryan Grant. McCarthy, who hadn't talked to trainer Pepper Burruss for an update, said the injury was "above his knee" to either his hamstring or quad.
Out of the lineup: kicker Mason Crosby (ankle), cornerbacks Charles Woodson (precautionary), Davon House (hamstring) and Tramon Williams (hip), linebackers Clay Matthews (glute) and Diyral Briggs (hamstring), linemen Adrian Battles (Achilles) and Chris Campbell (unknown), nose tackle Eli Joseph (hamstring and hip flexor), tight end Jermichael Finley (precautionary) and defensive end Lawrence Guy (concussion). Crosby warmed up before the practice but on the only kicking play, a kickoff to open the night, the ball was sent flying from the JUGS machine.
Back in action: Tight end Tom Crabtree (hip flexor), tackle Theo Sherman (ankle) and receiver Kerry Taylor (concussion) were suited up but didn't get in the practice because of its abbreviated nature.
Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.