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TRAINING CAMP SET TO BEGIN IN GREEN BAY
- A day circled on the calendar of every sports fan – the official beginning of the NFL season – will arrive this Thursday when the Green Bay Packers kick off the 2015 campaign at Ray Nitschke Field.
- Coming off a 2014 season that saw Green Bay post its sixth straight winning season and its franchise-best fourth consecutive NFC North title, the Packers will begin to write this season’s story in front of fans at Nitschke Field.
- A tradition first started under Curly Lambeau in 1946, training camp in Green Bay remains one of the most intimate settings in all of professional sports. 2015 marks the seventh summer at Nitschke Field, just a short bike ride away from the team facility.
- Nitschke boasts the same playing surface as Lambeau Field and seating for 1,500 fans with unobstructed views and sideline access to their favorite players.
- Just as it does at Lambeau Field, new traditions blend with historic ones at Packers training camp, as players continue to ride children’s bicycles to practice, a tradition first started under the legendary Vince Lombardi. Players continue to stay in the dorms at St. Norbert College, the NFL’s longest training-camp relationship between a team and school.
- According to the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau, training camp, along with Packers Family Night, will attract nearly 90,000 visitors from across the nation and as many as 20 foreign countries from July 30 through the final open practice on Aug. 31. With an economic impact estimated at $9 million, training camp is a financial boost to many area businesses.
- Media and fans can visit www.packers.com for the most up-to-date information regarding the practice schedule, events, dining and accommodation options, activities and more throughout training camp.
SAVE THE DATE
Important dates to remember (all times CDT):
- Wednesday, July 29 – Players report to training camp
- Thursday, July 30 – First practice, 8:20 a.m., Nitschke Field
- Saturday, Aug. 8 – Packers Family Night, Presented by Bellin Health, 6:25 p.m., Lambeau Field
- Thursday, Aug. 13 – First preseason game, at New England Patriots, 6:30 p.m., Gillette Stadium
- Sunday, Aug. 23 – Preseason game at Pittsburgh Steelers, 12 p.m., Heinz Field
- Saturday, Aug. 29 – Preseason game vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 7 p.m., Lambeau Field (Midwest Shrine Game)
- Monday, Aug. 31 – Final practice open to public, 11:45 a.m., Nitschke Field
- Tuesday, Sept. 1 – Roster reduction to a maximum of 75 players by 3 p.m.
- Thursday, Sept. 3 – Preseason game vs. New Orleans Saints, 6 p.m., Lambeau Field (Bishop’s Charities Game)
- Saturday, Sept. 5 – Roster reduction to a maximum of 53 players by 3 p.m.
THE MONTH AHEAD
- Green Bay’s training camp schedule features 17 open practices, including Family Night and four preseason games.
- The first 10 practices of training camp will all be open to the public, with the first seven practices taking place at 8:20 a.m. Packers Family Night will be on Saturday, Aug. 8, at 6:25 p.m. The final two open practices before the first preseason game at New England on Aug. 13 will be at 12:15 p.m. on Aug. 10 and at 11:45 a.m. on Aug. 11.
- The Packers will have four practices open to the public (12:45 p.m. on Aug. 15, 12:15 p.m. on Aug. 17 and Aug. 19, and 11:45 a.m. on Aug. 20) before the second preseason game at Pittsburgh on Aug. 23.
- The Packers’ two open practices before the preseason home opener vs. Philadelphia on Aug. 29 will be at 12:15 p.m. on Aug. 25 and 11:45 a.m. on Aug. 26.
- The final week will have one open practice (11:45 a.m. on Aug. 31) prior to the preseason finale vs. New Orleans on Sept. 3.
BREAKING DOWN THE ROSTER
- The Packers enter training camp with an 88-man roster that is composed of 44 offensive players, 40 defensive players and four specialists.
- Of the 88 players on Green Bay’s roster, 41 of them (46.6 percent) were draft picks of the Packers. Dating back to 2009, Green Bay has selected eight players in the first round, seven of which are still on the team.
- Green Bay has 45 players on the roster that began their careers as non-drafted free agents, with 31 of those originally signed by Green Bay.
- More than 60 percent of the players (54 of 88, 61.4 percent) on Green Bay’s roster entered the league as a sixth-round or seventh-round pick or as a non-drafted player.
- The Packers have six players on the roster that played in the NFL prior to the 2009 season. Four of those players were draft picks of the Packers (QB Aaron Rodgers, K Mason Crosby, WR Jordy Nelson and G Josh Sitton) and five have made at least one Pro Bowl (FB John Kuhn, Rodgers, Nelson, LB Julius Peppers and Sitton).
- Of the 88 players on the roster, 72 began their pro careers with the Packers (81.8 percent).
- Only 20 of the 88 players on the roster (22.7 percent) were selected in the first three rounds of the draft, with 19 being drafted by the Packers.
- Of the 88 players on the roster, 78 of them (88.6 percent) are 28 years old or younger (as of Aug. 1) and 53 players (60.2 percent) are 24 years old or younger.
MEET THE DRAFT PICKS
- Training-camp storylines always hover around new players and just how they figure into the depth chart. The Packers added to an already deep and talented roster with an eight-man draft class.
- CB Damarious Randall, the first defensive back from Arizona State to be picked in the first round since S Adam Archuleta (St. Louis Rams, No. 20 overall) in 2001, earned first-team All-Pacific-12 honors at safety as a senior. He led the Sun Devils in tackles (106) and passes defensed (12), and tied for the team lead with three interceptions in 2014. Randall posted double-digit tackles in five games last season and finished fourth on the team with 9½ tackles for a loss on the season. He started 22 of 25 games played in two seasons for the Sun Devils. The Pensacola, Fla. native, joined ASU in 2013 after one year at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College, where he was named NJCAA first-team All-American after recording nine interceptions, and one year at Butler Community College (Kan.), where he was a shortstop on the baseball team.
- The Packers selected CB Quinten Rollins out of Miami (Ohio) in the second round, making him the fifth player in school history selected in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft and the first defensive player since LB Bob Babich in 1969 (San Diego Chargers, No. 18 overall, first round). In his only season playing college football, Rollins started all 12 games and was named Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-MAC. He tied the school single-season record for most interceptions with seven, which also led the conference and ranked No. 3 in the nation. He finished No. 2 on the team with 53 solo tackles and tied for No. 1 with nine pass breakups. Rollins played basketball for four seasons at Miami (Ohio) and ranked No. 2 in school history and No. 12 in conference history in steals (214).
- Green Bay drafted WR Ty Montgomery with their third-round selection. He became the first WR from Stanford to be selected in the first three rounds of the draft since Ed McCaffrey in 1991 (third round, N.Y. Giants). Montgomery finished his career at Stanford as the school’s all-time leader in kickoff return yards with 2,493 and posted 5,190 all-purpose yards (334 rushing, 2,125 receiving, 238 PR), the fourth most in school history behind Darrin Nelson, Glyn Milburn and Troy Walters. The Dallas, Texas, native earned second-team All-Pacific-12 honors as a return specialist and honorable mention All-Pac-12 recognition as a wide receiver as a senior.
- In the fourth round, the Packers selected LB Jake Ryan out of the University of Michigan. He started 41 of 46 games he played in, appearing at inside linebacker as a senior after spending his first three seasons at outside linebacker and defensive end. Ryan served as a team captain for his final two seasons and was a three-time winner (2012-14) of the Roger Zatkoff Award, given to Michigan’s top linebacker. He is the only player to win the award, which was established in 1991, three times. As a senior, Ryan earned the Bo Schembechler Award, given to the team’s most valuable player.
- Green Bay moved up in the fifth round in exchange for their fifth-and seventh-round selections to select QB Brett Hundley out of UCLA. The former Bruin finished his career ranked No. 1 in school history in passing TDs (75), total offense (11,713 yards) and completions (837) despite playing just three seasons. He ranks No. 2 in school annals in passing yards (9,966), 300-yard passing games (10), rushing yards by a QB (1,747) and rushing touchdowns by a QB (30).
- With the first of three sixth-round picks, the Packers selected FB Aaron Ripkowski out of Oklahoma, one of five fullbacks chosen in the 2015 NFL Draft. The former walk-on played in 47 games, starting 17 contests in four seasons, and won the Don Key Award, presented annually to an Oklahoma Sooner senior who exemplifies all-around excellence in the classroom and on the field. Ripkowski was named first-team All-Big 12 by 247Sports.com and second-team All-Big 12 by the league’s coaches after the 2014 season.
- Green Bay drafted DT Christian Ringo out of Louisiana-Lafayette with its second selection in the sixth round, the first of two compensatory picks. He was named the state’s Defensive Player of the Year by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association in 2014 after ranking No. 7 in the nation in tackles for a loss (20) and No. 12 in the country in sacks (11½). Ringo’s 11½ sacks tied the school single-season record.
- The Packers selected TE Kennard Backman out of University of Alabama-Birmingham with their final choice of the sixth round and of the draft. He finished his career with 96 receptions for 979 yards (10.2 avg.) and seven touchdowns, registering at least one catch in 25 of his final 26 games. Backman started 37 of 48 games played in his four-year career at UAB.
ST. NORBERT AND THE PACKERS
- Continuing a tradition started under Packers coach Scooter McLean in 1958, the Green Bay Packers will call St. Norbert College home for a 58th consecutive training camp this summer. The relationship between the private college in De Pere, Wis., and the Green Bay Packers marks the longest continual use of any training-camp facility by an NFL team.
- Players will take up residence in Victor McCormick Hall, a 60-room coed dormitory used to house 225 students during the academic year.
- St. Norbert, founded in 1898 by Abbot Bernard Pennings, borders the Fox River and enrolls around 2,000 students.
- The Packers use their own practice and team-meeting facilities at Lambeau Field during training camp, with the college serving as housing headquarters.
- Players return to St. Norbert via cars and vans every evening for team dinner.
- The 6.62-mile commute is estimated at 11 minutes each way.
- A look at the longest active training-camp tenures in the NFL:
Team, Training Camp, Years
Green Bay, St. Norbert College, 58
Minnesota, Minnesota State, Mankato, 50
Pittsburgh , St. Vincent College, 50
A LOOK AT THE SCHEDULE
- The Green Bay Packers’ 95th NFL regular-season schedule is headlined by five prime-time games (subject to flexible scheduling), including a Thanksgiving night game at Lambeau Field against the Chicago Bears, the first home Thanksgiving game since 1923.
- Green Bay’s schedule includes seven games against 2014 playoff teams. Three of those games (Dallas, Detroit, Seattle) will be at Lambeau Field, while four (Arizona, Carolina, Denver, Detroit) will come on the road.
- For the third year in a row and just the fourth time in 10 seasons under Head Coach Mike McCarthy (2010), the Packers will open the season on the road, traveling to Chicago to play the Bears in Week 1 for the first time since 1981 and on the road against a division opponent for the first time since playing at Detroit in 2005.
- Dating back to 2001, the Packers have always played against an NFC team in Week 1. The last AFC team Green Bay faced in Week 1 was the New York Jets in 2000.
- Green Bay will spend the following two weeks at home, playing a Sunday night game against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 and facing the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football in Week 3. It is the first time since 2008 that the Packers will play their first two home games in primetime. It is the 23rd consecutive season (1993-2015) that the Packers are appearing on MNF. Green Bay is 14-8-1 at home on MNF, including 4-1 under McCarthy.
- After a trip to take on San Francisco in Week 4, the fifth time the Packers and 49ers will meet in the regular or postseason since 2012, Green Bay returns home for two games before its Week 7 bye.
- The St. Louis Rams visit Lambeau for the first time since 2011 in Week 5, and in Week 6 the Packers host the San Diego Chargers for the first time since 2007 and only the fifth time overall. Green Bay is 7-2 against the Rams at Lambeau Field (dating back to 1990) and has won nine of the 10 all-time meetings versus the Chargers.
- Following Green Bay’s first Week 7 bye since 2007, the Packers travel to play the Broncos in Denver for the first time on a Sunday night. It will be Green Bay’s seventh visit to the Mile High City during the regular season and first since a 19-13 overtime victory in 2007. It is a matchup of two of three NFL teams (New England) that have won their division each of the last four years. Under McCarthy, Green Bay is 8-1 (.889) in the game after the bye. It will be the first of a three-game stretch the Packers will play against 2014 playoff teams.
- The Packers stay on the road for a Week 9 game at Carolina, facing the Panthers in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2007-08. Green Bay is 8-4 against the Panthers during the regular season, including 5-2 at Carolina. The Packers have scored 30-plus points in all four games against the Panthers under McCarthy.
- The second half of the regular season will see Green Bay face division opponents in four consecutive weeks. The Packers will face the Lions at home in Week 10, travel to play Minnesota in Week 11, come home to play the Bears on Thanksgiving in Week 12 and play at Detroit in another Thursday night game in Week 13. It will be the first time Green Bay has played division opponents in four consecutive weeks since 2000 (Weeks 14-17) and the first time the Packers have played on consecutive Thursdays since 2007 (Weeks 12-13).
- The Packers’ final four regular-season games will be bookended by two home contests, starting with Dallas returning to Green Bay in Week 14. Including the postseason, the Packers have won four consecutive games against the Cowboys.
- In Weeks 15-16, Green Bay travels west to play the Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals. The Packers have won six consecutive games against the Raiders, including two on the road. In those six games, Green Bay has outscored the Raiders, 210-70. The Packers have won seven of the last eight regular-season matchups against the Cardinals, including each of the past three.
- Green Bay will host the Vikings at Lambeau to close out the regular season, marking the sixth time the two have met in the regular-season finale and first at Lambeau since 1996.