Korth Training Camp BLOG

Thoughts on practice at City Stadium; two-minute offense; Donald Driver

An overview of practice.

July 31, 2007
Re-visiting Old City Stadium
If the Packers were expecting a Family Night-type atmosphere in front of an NFL Network audience for Tuesday night's practice at Old City Stadium (Green Bay East High School), it was nowhere to be found.

The Packers public relations department said that about 3,500 fans attended the practice, though, it seemed far fewer. In fact, by the end of the 2 1/2 hour practice, most of the bleacher sections were nearly empty.

Still, it is a good idea, and one that might grow, much in the same way Family Night has grown over the years.

The smaller than expected turnout may have trickled down to the players, who struggled at times in the scrimmage sessions. Coach Mike McCarthy said the offense was "sloppy" in the two-minute drills, and he is concerned about the ragged play at times.

"I'm a little disappointed in a fragment of our players," said McCarthy afterward. "We had tremendous energy in the locker room before we came over here. I thought it was a spirited practice, but we're having these lulls that we need to get rid of. I know everybody goes through them in training camp, but I'm not happy with the way the practice ended."

Remedy? Make the team practice tomorrow, the scheduled day off. Maybe in future practices, the young team will learn to play hard till the end of practice.

Too cautious?
I was chatting with Harry Sydney along the sideline at Old City Stadium and we both agreed that the Packers seem to be tackling less in practice than ever before. On Tuesday night, there were only a few occasions when a runner or receiver was tackled to the ground. Otherwise, plays ended when players were either touched (two hands) or with 'thud' tackles (hit but no wrap-up.

While lack of tackling might reduce the risk of injuries, does it make it tougher. Sydney, a former fullback, along with former Packers safety Johnnie Gray both say there is no comparison to the hitting and tackling in practices in the 1970s and '80s compared to nowadays.

Each year, there seems to be less and less tackling, and this year, less practices in training camp. Is less more? We'll see during the regular season.

Two-minute offense
The Packers practiced their two-minute offense for the first time in training camp. Without Brett Favre, who is attending a funeral this week in Mississippi, the offense sputtered. The line especially blew it with false starts that caused McCarthy to be short-tempered after practice.

"I thought it was sloppy," McCarthy said. "I thought the false starts on the offense was way too many. The two minute mechanics is always a little rugged the first time out, if you look back at the spring and look back at last year we experienced that. But there's no excuse for false starts."

The first-team offense, led by Aaron Rodgers, moved 57 yards to the 3, but was unable to get the ball into the end zone. The second- and third-team offenses never moved the ball past mid-field.

Is this alarming? Not at this point. It is very early in training camp, but if this turns into a continuous thing over the next week or two, be alarmed.

Why take the risk with Driver?
I don't get it. On Friday, Driver was held from practice because of his ailing right shoulder. He passed his physical on Sunday and was back in uniform, practicing in pads for the first time Tuesday night.

While it's great to see Driver on the field, the Packers have got to be holding their breath with each hit he takes. If his shoulder was weak enough to fail a physical less than a week ago, why take the risk of losing your best play-maker so early in camp? Have him wear a red uniform (no tackles), but try to protect him. If the Packers lose Driver due to a big hit by some defensive back trying to make an impression in camp, they lose a major cog in the offense.

Pump up the volume
The Packers practiced with artificial crowd noise during the morning practice Tuesday. Good idea because it gets loud at outdoor stadiums, too, like Arrowhead Stadium, where the Packers play on Nov. 4.

The Packers usually practice with artificial crowd noise inside the Hutson Center in preparation for games in a dome on the road, but this is the first time that they brought the speakers outside to enable the offense to practice its silent counts.

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