The Green Bay Packers will begin training camp practices in the next few days. With it, the team will work gradually towards full-length padded practices under protocols required by the NFL and NFLPA.
According to LaFleur, that means that the team will not put pads on until a few days in. “The first padded practice is probably going to be practice three or practice four,” he said in a Zoom call with the media on Thursday. With the team starting on-field work on Saturday, August 15th, that would mean that the first potential day for full pads will be on Monday or Tuesday.
When that happens, there will also be a ramp-up period in terms of the length of practice as well. LaFleur revealed the protocol, saying “our first practice has got to be 90 minutes and then it increases by 15 minutes every day.” He added that the team can only increase the time up to a maximum of two and a half hours, and only on consecutive days; if the team has an off day, their next practice cannot be longer than the last one before that day off.
LaFleur also reinforced the plan to have rookies and younger players work longer in practice than their veteran counterparts. He said that the team “will stay out there with our younger players the full two and a half hours” when they work their way up to the maximum practice time. The veterans, however, will likely get a maximum of two hours on the field in any one day’s practice.
Another intriguing item for NFL teams in the age of COVID is the idea of players wearing face shields or other protective equipment. The Packers, however, are not going to mandate anything different for their players in 2020.
“That’s nothing that we’re gonna push on these guys — that’s their own individual choice,” LaFleur said. “Guys are going to have to go through and experiment and decide on the protection that they feel is safe, but that’s all on an individual basis.”
That experimentation should begin on Saturday.