After going through testing and a strength and conditioning ramp-up period, the Packers will hold their first practice of the 2020 training camp today. This year's camp is different then any other camp in numerous ways.
- 2020 marks the 12th summer that Green Bay will practice at Nitschke Field, just a short walk or ride away from the team facility. But due to safety protocols and precautions, the Packers' tradional mode of transportation to and from practice, children's bicycles, will not be happening this year.
- Due to the fluid situation, practices will be announced as camp proceeds.
- Also due to safety concerns, Green Bay will not have any fans at training camp and only a limited number of media are allowed at each practice.
- All media availability will continue to be conducted via Zoom.
- The NFL has canceled all preseason games. To give the players some experience of playing on Lambeau Field, the Packers are scheduled to practice in the stadium a few times during camp, dates TBD.
- Green Bay has also announced that it will not have fans at the first two regular-season games at Lambeau Field.
SAVE THE DATE
Important dates to remember (all times CDT):
- Saturday, Aug. 15 – First practice, 10:10 a.m., Nitschke Field
- Monday, Aug. 17 – Second practice, 10:10 a.m., Nitschke Field
- Saturday, Sept. 5 – Roster reduction to a maximum of 53 players by 3 p.m.
- Sunday, Sept. 13 – Regular-season opener at Minnesota Vikings, U.S. Bank Stadium, 12 p.m.
Throughout the offseason, the Packers explored various avenues to improve the coaching staff, personnel staff and medical staff, including bringing in new people and also promoting some from the 2019 staff.
- Back in May, Head Coach Matt LaFleur established a minority coaching fellowship, a yearlong, full-time position for young and aspiring minority coaches. The first hire for the fellowship is former NFL wide receiver Ruvell Martin (first name pronounced ROO-vell). Martin, who will work with the offense and assist with the wide receivers during his yearlong fellowship, played in the NFL for seven seasons for the Green Bay Packers (2006-08), St. Louis Rams (2009), Seattle Seahawks (2010) and Buffalo Bills (2011-12). He saw action in 82 regular-season games with nine starts and registered 76 receptions for 1,129 yards (14.9 avg.) and seven touchdowns. Martin also played in two postseason contests with one start for the Seahawks, recording two catches for 28 yards (14.0 avg.). He originally was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Saginaw Valley State in 2004 by the San Diego Chargers.
- Jerry Gray, who is entering his 33rd season in the NFL (nine as a player and 23 as a coach) was added as the defensive backs coach. He joins the Packers after spending the previous six years coaching defensive backs for the Minnesota Vikings, where he tutored All-Pro CB Xavier Rhodes and S Harrison Smith. From 2014-19, Gray's defensive backfield was part of a unit that ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in opponent passer rating (84.7, No. 7 in the NFL) and points per game allowed (19.3, No. 2 in the league). They also allowed only 123 passing touchdowns, the third fewest in the NFL since 2014. Gray has contributed to a top-10 scoring defense seven times during his coaching career, including this past season when Minnesota ranked No. 6 in the NFL in points per game allowed (18.9). He was a defensive coordinator twice in the NFL, first with the Buffalo Bills (2001-05) and then the Tennessee Titans (2011-13). Gray also coached defensive backs for the Seattle Seahawks (2010), Washington Redskins (2006-09) and Titans (1999-2000). Prior to coaching, he played cornerback, making four Pro Bowls (1986-89) and earning second-team All-Pro honors from The Associated Press two times (1986 and 1989).
- Luke Getsy, who coached the quarterbacks in 2019, added passing game coordinator to his duties. He returned to the Packers last season after spending the 2018 season as the offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach for Mississippi State. In 2019, Getsy helped QB Aaron Rodgers earn his eighth career Pro Bowl selection after registering his seventh season with 4,000-plus passing yards, 25-plus passing TDs and 10 or fewer interceptions, the most by an NFL player since 1920, according to pro-football-reference.com. He worked as the wide receivers coach for Green Bay in 2016-17 after originally joining the Packers in 2014 as the offensive quality control coach.
- Jason Vrable was promoted to wide receivers coach. He enters his eighth season as an assistant coach in the NFL and second with the Packers. He joined Green Bay last season as an offensive assistant after working in the same position for the New York Jets in 2017-18. Prior to his time with New York, Vrable spent four seasons with the Buffalo Bills, working as an offensive quality control coach from 2013-15 and then as an assistant quarterbacks coach in 2016. After Week 3 of the 2016 season when Anthony Lynn was promoted to offensive coordinator, Vrable added the duties of interim running backs coach.
- Butch Barry enters his 18th season coaching in college or the NFL and joins the Packers as a senior analyst. In 2019, he served as the offensive line coach at the University of Miami (Fla.). From 2015-18, the Sturgeon Bay, Wis., native was the assistant offensive line coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In three of his four seasons, Tampa Bay finished in the top 10 in total offense, including a No. 3 ranking in 2018 (415.5 yards per game). Prior to his time in Tampa, Barry coached for five seasons at Central Michigan, spending his first four years (2010-13) as the tight ends coach and his final season (2014) as the offensive line coach. It was his second stint as a coach for Central Michigan, having worked as a graduate assistant (2002-03) after playing on the offensive line for the Chippewas.
- Connor Lewis enters his fifth season with Green Bay and was promoted to offensive quality control coach. He originally joined the Packers in 2016 as a football technology analyst intern before being elevated to football technology analyst in 2017. Over the past four seasons, he has assisted the offensive coaching staff in data analysis, playing rules and game management. Prior to joining Green Bay, Lewis was an independent consultant for the Oakland Raiders (2015) and worked in the football analytics and information department for the New York Giants (2014).
- Brandian Ross (first name pronounced Brandon), who spent the last two years as a college scout covering the Midlands region for Green Bay, will now scout the Southwest region. He joined the Packers' personnel department in 2017 as a scouting intern and then was a scouting assistant before being promoted to college scout in May 2018. The former defensive back originally signed with Green Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2011 and spent time on the Packers' practice squad during the 2011-12 seasons. From 2012-15, Ross played in 45 games with 24 starts for the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins.
- Demetri Goodson, was promoted to college scout covering the Midlands region after spending last season as a scouting intern for the Packers. He was originally drafted by Green Bay in the sixth round (No. 197 overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Baylor. In four seasons with the Packers, Goodson played in 26 regular-season games with three starts and appeared in two postseason contests. The former basketball player at Gonzaga (2008-11) also spent some time on the New Orleans Saints' roster in 2018.
- The Packers named Dr. Chris Carr director of performance psychology and team behavioral health clinician. Carr, who has worked as a consultant for the Packers since 2018, joins the team after working as a sports and performance psychologist at St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis since 2006. During his time at SVSP, Carr coordinated training, supervision, research and applied practice in sport and performance psychology. He also provided individual counseling and consultation services. Carr has worked as a consultant for numerous professional organizations including the Packers, Indiana Pacers (2011- 2020), Indiana Fever (2001-13), Oklahoma City Thunder (2008-2011), Kansas City Royals (1999-2005), Columbus Crew (1996-2000), Tasman Motorsports (1996-98) and the Arizona Cardinals (1994-95).
Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst and his staff made numerous moves to strengthen the roster this offseason including signing:
- LB Christian Kirksey, who played in 73 games with 54 starts for the Cleveland Browns over six seasons (2014-19) and registered 463 tackles (288 solo), 11½ sacks, two interceptions, 17 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. The former three-time defensive captain (2017-19) registered the most solo tackles (171) and the second-most tackles (281) in the NFL from 2016-17 (Seattle LB Bobby Wagner, 300), according to Sportradar. He was the only player in the NFL to rank in the top five in the league in tackles in both 2016 and 2017 (Sportradar).
- Gutekunst also added to both lines, signing Wisconsin native T Rick Wagner, who appeared in 102 games with 87 starts during his first seven years in the NFL, playing for the Baltimore Ravens for four seasons (2013-16) and the Detroit Lions for three seasons (2017-19), and also DL Treyvon Hester, who played for the Raiders in 2017 (14 games, one start), the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 (12 games, one start) and the Washington Redskins in 2019 (15 games).
- The search for talent went north of the border as well, as the Packers signed WR Reggie Begelton, who played for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League for the past three seasons. In 2019, he recorded 102 receptions for 1,444 yards (14.2 avg.) and 10 TDs, ranking in the top five in the CFL in each category.
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 talented roster with a nine-man draft class.
- QB Jordan Love was selected by the Packers with the 26th overall selection in the first round out of Utah State, a pick obtained from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for Green Bay's first-round pick (No. 30 overall) and its fourth-round selection (No. 136). He finished his career ranked No. 2 in school history in passing yards (8,600), completions (689) and attempts (1,125), tied for No. 2 in TD passes (60) and No. 3 in completion percentage (61.2) despite playing just three seasons. Love also set school career records for total offense (9,003 yards), 300-yard passing games (12) and completions of 80-plus yards (four). The Bakersfield, Calif. native earned honorable mention All-Mountain West recognition as a junior in 2019 after setting a single-season school record with 293 completions and posting 3,402 passing yards, the second most in a season in school history.
- The Packers selected RB AJ Dillon out of Boston College in the second round (No. 62 overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft. The three-time All-ACC first-team selection finished his career as Boston College's all-time leader in rushing yards (4,238), rushing TDs (38) and all-purpose yards (4,618). Dillon was one of only two FBS players (Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor) to finish in the top 15 in the country in rushing yards per game each of the last three seasons (2017-19). He registered 14 career 150-yard rushing games, the most by any ACC player over the last 20 seasons (Lamar Jackson, 13; Dalvin Cook, 12). Despite playing just three seasons, Dillon finished his career ranked No. 4 in ACC history in rushing yards. He posted the fourth-best (1,685 yards in 2019) and the fifth-best (1,589 in 2017) single-season rushing totals in school history.
- TE Josiah Deguara (duh-gwa-rah) became the highest-drafted player from the University of Cincinnati since Chiefs TE Travis Kelce in 2013 (No. 61 overall) when the Packers selected him in the third round (No. 94 overall). He registered 92 career receptions, the most in school history by a tight end, with 77 of those catches coming in his final two seasons. Deguara posted 1,117 receiving yards, joining Brent Celek (1,135 yards) as the only tight ends in school history to post 1,000-plus receiving yards. He earned first-team All-American Conference honors as a senior and second-team All-AAC accolades as a junior. Deguara led the Bearcats with 39 receptions for 504 yards (12.9 avg.) and seven TDs in 2019. His 504 receiving yards were the second most in a season by a TE in school annals, trailing only Kelce's 722 yards in 2012.
- In the fifth round (No. 175 overall), the Packers selected LB Kamal (kuh-MALL) Martin out of the University of Minnesota. Dating back to 2000, he is one of only of six Big Ten players to register at least three interceptions (four), three forced fumbles (four), three fumble recoveries (three) and three sacks (3½), according to sports-reference.com. Martin also recorded 177 tackles (106 solo), 13 tackles for a loss and nine passes defensed in his career. The former high school quarterback from Burnsville, Minn. was named All-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches and the media despite missing five games due to injury and won the Gary Tinsley Award as a senior, given to the player who best embraced Tinsley's underdog persona.
- G Jon Runyan was selected by Green Bay in the sixth round (No. 192 overall) out of the University of Michigan, the first of three offensive lineman drafted by the Packers in the round. He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the conference's coaches as both a junior and a senior, also taking home first-team recognition from the media as a senior in 2019. Runyan was a two-time recipient (2018-19) of the Hugh R. Radar Award as the University of Michigan's top offensive lineman and was named to the watch list for the Outland Trophy in 2019. His father, Jon, was an All-Big Ten selection at Michigan in 1995 and went on to play 14 seasons in the NFL as an offensive tackle (1996-2009).
- C Jake Hanson became the fifth center from the University of Oregon to be picked in the NFL draft when Green Bay selected him in the sixth round (No. 208 overall). He started 49 games at center over four years at Oregon, earning second-team All-Pacific-12 honors from The Associated Press his final two seasons and honorable mention from the conference's coaches all four seasons. As a senior, Hanson started all 12 games and committed just one penalty for a team that ranked No. 16 in the country in scoring offense (35.4 ppg). The California native did not allow a sack over his first three seasons while starting 37 games and playing 2,738 snaps.
- Rounding out the trio of offensive linemen selected by the Packers in the sixth round was University of Indiana G Simon Stepaniak (step-uh-nack) with the 209th overall pick. He appeared in 41 career games with 31 starts, opening 30 contests at right guard and one at left guard. In 2019, Stepaniak was selected as a team captain and earned third-team All-Big Ten honors from the media in after helping the Hoosiers set a single-season school record with 3,931 passing yards, an average of 302.4 yards per game that ranked No. 15 in the nation. Also in 2019, the Hoosiers posted 5,626 total yards and 413 points, ranking No. 3 in school history in both categories.
- With the first of two picks in the seventh round, Green Bay selected S Vernon Scott from TCU (No. 236 overall), marking the second consecutive year that the Packers drafted a player from the school in the seventh round (LB Ty Summers, No. 226 overall). Scott saw action in 46 games with 12 starts in four seasons for the Horned Frogs and posted 88 tackles (58 solo), two tackles for a loss, a sack, two interceptions, a fumble recovery, two forced fumbles and 12 passes defensed. As a senior in 2019, he started all 10 games he played in and ranked No. 4 on the team with 44 tackles (29 solo) and No. 3 with eight passes defended.
- Green Bay's final selection in the draft was LB Jonathan Garvin out of the University of Miami (Fla.) in the seventh round (No. 242 overall), a pick obtained from Baltimore in 2018 in exchange for RB Ty Montgomery. Garvin appeared in 38 games with 24 starts at defensive end during his three seasons at Miami, recording 106 tackles (46 solo), 29 tackles for a loss, 12½ sacks, four fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles and five passes defensed. He played in 12 games with 11 starts as a junior in 2019 and posted 37 tackles (21 solo), nine tackles for a loss, five sacks and two forced fumbles.
ST. NORBERT AND THE PACKERS
- This year will also see the end of a streak that started under Packers coach Scooter McLean in 1958. Due to NFL rules, the players will not stay in dorms at St. Norbert College. It brings a pause to a 62-year streak, which was the longest continual use of any training-camp facility by an NFL team.
- St. Norbert, founded in 1898 by Abbot Bernard Pennings, borders the Fox River, enrolls around 2,000 students, and was a 6.62-mile commute that took an estimated 11 minutes each way.
- While the Packers used their own practice and team-meeting facilities at Lambeau Field during training camp, the college served as housing headquarters.