Packers Tough Opponents More Worrisome than Quirky Early-Season Schedule
I’m one of those people that shows up early to work and tries to get as much done as possible before other people start filing into the office and my phone starts ringing.
Yeah, it’s no fun dragging myself out of bed at 5:15 a.m., but once I get to the office and get rolling, it’s nice to have a few hours of relative quiet time so I can get my busy work out of the way before tackling the tasks that require me to interact with other human beings.
With the Packers first four games starting at 3:15 p.m., 7:20 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 3:15 p.m., rising early is not an option.
The training camp schedule also is a little different. After a week of practices starting at 8:15 a.m., the Packers will have seven consecutive practices at night, followed by a week of practices that start at 11 or 11:15 a.m.
McCarthy originally thought about eliminating night practices this season, but changed his mind once he saw the quirky start times for his team’s first four games. From PackerReport:
“The fact that we come out of the gate and play Sunday afternoon on national TV at home, then play Thursday night at home and then go away 11 days later on a Monday night, and then on a short week here at home, I wanted to make sure our players were challenged from the fact of the regularity is going to be a little up and down to start the season,” McCarthy said.
Many Packers fans might be asking why start times and dates of games are such a big deal. To us, it probably isn’t that big of a deal. And in all likelihood, it probably won’t be that big of a deal to the Packers, either.
But this is the kind of stuff that drives an NFL coach crazy. Coaches want their teams to get into a routine. Players like routine, too. Routine helps coaches control their players and it helps players develop positive work habits and structure.
If the Packers were an unproven team filled with players that had questionable levels of maturity, this lack of an early-season routine might be cause for concern. But they’re not. They’re a team with a lot of talent and very few players that won’t be able to handle a quirky schedule (as far as I know, anyway).
Instead of worrying about practice times and whether the Packers play on Sunday, Monday or Thursday, we should focus all of our worrying on the Packers first four opponents.
San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and New Orleans is a rough way to start the season.
- The 49ers pass rush will test the Packers’ offensive line, especially whomever is at left tackle and new center Jeff Saturday. McCarthy needs to gameplan to make sure Aaron Rodgers escapes with all of his limbs intact.
- Yes, he’s fun to mock and ridicule, but Jay Cutler is an outstanding quarterback. I don’t see the Packers sweeping the Bears again this season. Could this game be a loss?
- After 10 days off, it’ll be time for a trip to Seattle to play Matt Flynn and the Seahawks in one of the loudest stadiums in sports on Monday night. This will likely be one of those road games where the Packers need to find a way to win even when everything isn’t clicking as well as it should (like the Falcons game last season).
- What is New Orleans going to be like? Out of whack and freefalling after Bountygate? Or ticked off and ready to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Roger Goodell’s face to avenge the punishments he handed down?
After a noon game with Indianapolis and another night game with Houston, things settle a bit and it’s mostly noon games the rest of the way.
Obviously, if you had to choose, you’d rather have your team playing well at the end of the season instead of at the beginning. But those early-season games count, too. It’s huge if the Packers can go 4-0 or 3-1 against four conference opponents on a quirky schedule to open the season.
McCarthy and the Packers might not care for the logistics they’ll have to deal with, but once training camp kicks in and the games start counting, logistics will be the least of their concerns.
They’ll be focused on containing Justin Smith, making Jay Cuter pout, reminding Matt Flynn why he was a backup and kicking the Saints while they’re down.
The Packers are more than capable of accomplishing these tasks, whether they’re workday begins at noon, 3:15, 7:20, 7:30 or midnight.——————