Offseason program crucial for young Packers team

At the end of last season, the Packers were playing as good as any team in the league, earning wins over the Super Bowl champion Chiefs in early December and the Cowboys in the playoffs. We were the youngest team in the league, and the youngest team to win a playoff game since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, so it’s easy to assume we would do better this year. However, in the NFL, each year holds its own identity, and nothing is taken for granted. With such a young team, this year’s offseason program is especially important to us. Fortunately, our attendance in the offseason program has been great so far. We are currently in Phase 3 of our OTAs (Organized Team Activities).

Our nine-week voluntary offseason program began on April 15. This program is designed to allow players to transition smoothly into football activities and reduce the number of injuries. The first part of the offseason program consists of strength and conditioning and meetings. We held a rookie minicamp after the draft and have been participating in rookie OTAs since then. We will hold OTA offseason practices until June 6, with our mandatory minicamp from June 11-13. Then all players will rest until the start of training camp. Rookies and selected players will report on July 17 and veteran players on July 21.

Now let’s come to your questions.

I read that the NFLPA is proposing changes to the off-season program. What do you think of their proposal?

I’m glad you brought this up, John. It’s not a formal proposal, but NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero recently reported that the NFLPA is working to finalize a proposal to change the offseason program starting in 2025. Pelissero reported that the NFLPA has consulted with medical and performance experts to create a solution to minimize injuries and maximize players’ recovery time. Under the potential proposal, meetings would be allowed in the spring, but there could be no practices until training camp. The NFLPA’s training camp would begin in late June (not mid-to-late July). There would be a significant ramp-up period that could prove helpful in avoiding the soft tissue injuries that some players suffer during training camp.

Any changes to the offseason program or training camp would have to be negotiated collectively by the NFLPA and the league. I really need to know more details in terms of what I think of the proposal and would love to see research that supports the proposed change. It is interesting to note that the NFL is actually different in terms of offseason programs compared to other sports. No other sport has organized workouts in their offseason. They have a ramp-up period before the start of the season. However, football is much more physical than baseball or basketball, and having five to six weeks off before training camp begins is very beneficial to players. This should be a topic you will hear a lot more about next year.

Christine Luedke, from Parts Unknown

I’m sure you’re happy to leave the Packers, since you let Green Package ticket holders miss out on home division games. The double talk about giving all home division games to Gold ticket holders is just nonsense because… Packer management can distribute those games any way they want. In this case you screwed over 50 years of Green Package season ticket holders. Got rid of you and your management style.

I’m glad you raised this concern, Christine, because I’ve heard similar comments (although not as scathing) from other Green package season ticket holders. For years, our policy has been that the Gold package would get the second and fifth home games. I think this policy has served us well, and over time, it has been fair to both Gold and Green ticket holders. If we started giving the second and fifth games to Green ticket holders, we would leave ourselves open to criticism from both Gold and Green ticket holders for favoritism. With the move to 17 games in 2022, we decided that we would rotate the ninth home game between the two packages, starting with the Gold package. We were slotted to start the 17th game rotation in 2022, but that game was designated as an international game. Since we played that game in London in 2022, this is our first year we get a ninth home game and, as a result, we are starting the rotation with the Gold package. The Green package will get seven games in 2026, unless we are selected to play another international game. So, this year the Gold package has three regular-season games and no preseason games. I know you are upset with our policy and schedule, which is set annually by the NFL, but you have several attractive games, including games against the NFC champion 49ers and the rising Texans.

Paul Miller, Brookfield

The Packers have won the NFL championship 13 times, more than any other team. We will open the season at Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This stadium was the host venue for the 2014 World Cup. Brazil is the only country to have played in every World Cup final. The men’s team has won the World Cup five times, more than any other country in the world. Brazil often wears green and gold when they take the field. I look forward to seeing the traditions of excellence in two different forms of soccer continue when the Packers play there.

This stadium is the home of Corinthians. Their arch rival is Palmeiras (think Packers vs. Bears). Palmeiras wears green. Therefore, there is a rule that green cannot be worn at Arena Corinthians. Given the colors of the Packers and Eagles, there may need to be some discussion about this when the Packers visit Sao Paulo.

Thanks for bringing this up, Paul. I’ve heard from several others about Corinthians fans’ disdain for the color green. Unfortunately, the game in Brazil is a home game for the Eagles, so they will be able to choose what color jerseys they wear. Maybe we can convince them to wear their black jerseys so we don’t have to wear green! We’re looking forward to being a part of this historic game, no matter what color jerseys we wear.

Hi Mark, I hope this message finds you and your family well. My intention is not to upset you, but I have not been able to find an answer. Scott and I would like to attend this summer’s stockholders meeting. We did this a few years ago and loved the experience. We would like to travel to Green Bay again this summer. However, I have not been able to find the date of the stockholders meeting. The website says it has not yet been set. This was a little surprising, but I thought maybe the site had not been updated yet. We would like to work on our travel arrangements now.

Can you please tell me the date of the shareholder meeting? If I remember correctly it was tied to the opening of the training camp. Again, I apologize for bothering you, as I can only imagine how busy you are, but I would appreciate any information you can provide.

Thanks, Sue. No need to worry at all. Breaking news, our annual meeting of stockholders will be on Monday, July 22, at 3 p.m. Our first training camp practice will be at 10:30 a.m. that day, and we are hoping that many stockholders will be in town for the weekend and stop by to watch practice and attend the meeting. Thanks again. I have very fond memories of your father when he was the athletic director at Clarence Central High School when I was a student there.

Mark, as a lifelong Packer fan, I believe most of us are willing to do anything to work for the Packer organization. I’m not criticizing other NFL teams, but to me there are 31 other teams and then there are the Green Bay Packers. As you get closer to retirement, do you get that great feeling every time you walk into the building there? From the time you got there to now, the transformation of Lambeau is unreal, and every addition is really cool.

Being the president of the Green Bay Packers just has to feel great and never become routine. My second question is related to your story about George Allen. Was his coaching really that great, and if so, you should have an opinion between great and mediocre coaching and recognize it when you see it. (By the way, when I was growing up in Watertown and Monroe, we would all pay for football in the neighborhood and when we played we would always pick one player. This one kid was always Mark Murphy. He had a football card of yours that he kept in his room and the thing was he wasn’t a Washington fan at all. I knew who you were when I was a little kid.)

As a lifelong Packer, I’m grateful for your continued outstanding stewardship of the Packers. Just play football the right way. I’m very hopeful that you’ll have a lot of say in who comes after you. That’s going to be very important.

Randy, there is no doubt that the Green Bay Packers are a unique and special organization. Lambeau Field is a big part of what makes the Packers special and I feel great every time I walk into the stadium. Regarding George Allen, yes, he was a great coach. What really set him apart was his work ethic and his passion for the game. He would do anything to help the team win. (He was a little old school, though, as he didn’t believe in water breaks. He thought they weakened you. Our trainers would give the players ice cubes hidden in towels.) When I look back on my playing career, I was fortunate to play for two head coaches in the Pro Football Hall of Fame – George Allen and Joe Gibbs.


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