Joint practices during the meat of the preseason have been a staple of head coach Matt LaFleur’s program-building strategy with the Green Bay Packers. As the NFL values the actual preseason games less and less by year, with the league going as far as to cut out the fourth preseason game during the last collective bargaining agreement, it seems like coaches value the controlled environment of joint practices more to get their starters ready for the season rather than August preseason games.
On Tuesday, LaFleur announced that the Packers were going to host the New Orleans Saints in joint practices in Week 2 of the preseason. This, again, follows a theme of LaFleur teams over his tenure as the top dog in Green Bay. In 2019, the Packers only hosted one preseason game at Lambeau Field over the first three weeks of the preseason, electing to have joint practices with the Houston Texans in Week 1. Due to Covid restrictions, there were no joint practices in 2020 but the team returned to their joint-practice model in Week 2 of 2021’s preseason when they went head-to-head with the New York Jets.
While the majority of starters will likely be held out of preseason games, as the LaFleur administration seems to have no interest in giving their star players an opportunity to get hurt in a game that doesn’t count, your chance to watch good-on-good reps from Packers starters this summer is going to come against the Saints in these joint practices. As a reminder, mandatory minicamp kicks off for the team on June 7th. The team has yet to announce their training camp dates.