Go outside and play

Staying inside to practice in May and June is ridiculous, PackerReport.com's Steve Lawrence says. What's next? Practicing inside during training camp because it's too hot or there are too many gnats?

You can only imagine what Vince Lombardi would be thinking.

When the Packers announced their offseason schedule, four organized team activities practices and the three days of minicamp were to be held outside and open to the public.

On Wednesday, however, coach Mike McCarthy held the OTA inside and announced all OTA practices, as well as the June 17-19 minicamp, would be held inside the dank but comfy Don Hutson Center.

"We're going to stay inside throughout the OTAs," McCarthy said. "It just gives us a constant practice environment, just from things that work a little better for us from a mechanic standpoint. We're not going to go out on the grass until training camp, like we did last year."

There's some logic to practicing inside during those frigid December and January days. From playing and coaching experience, whatever is gained in getting acclimated to the cold is probably lost from a lack of concentration as players' teeth chatter while they daydream about such extravagances as a furnace and fuzzy slippers. Not that 15 minutes of playing catch in the not-so-great outdoors would have killed Frozen Favre and Co. leading into the NFC championship game.

But staying inside in May and June is ridiculous.

Sorry, Mike, but football games aren't played in "constant" environments. What's next? Practicing inside during training camp because it's too hot or too humid or too high of pollen levels or there are too many gnats? Why not just build a dome over Lambeau Field, so the mercury doesn't dip one degree past a "constant" 68?

It was sunny and about 60, though breezy, on Wednesday, and the next scheduled open practice, this coming Thursday, is forecasted to be sunny and 70.

Part of the Lombardi legacy is legendary toughness, Like the U.S. Postal Serivce, his teams delivered in the rain, snow or bone-chilling cold. Now, McCarthy has the players heading inside because it's too … something.

If his team can't handle 60 and a little breezy, lord help it on a stormy Sunday afternoon.

As long as it's not raining (a safety issue) or too windy (that would disrupt the quarterbacks and receivers at this stage, when learning the offense is more important than execution), what's the harm in going outside?

How will rookie quarterback Matt Flynn, who sank to the seventh round because of questionable arm strength, fare throwing it into the breeze? How will the young receivers adjust to passes thrown into and with the wind?

There's probably no harm in waiting until the start of training camp at the end of July to determine those things. There's also no harm in starting the evaluation process now, either.

Football in Green Bay is played outdoors. The players should practice outdoors, especially if they don't have to wear parkas over their uniforms and galoshes over their cleats.

Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com

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