Football purists shudder at the thought of an energetic but dull practice under the lights. But this was no ordinary practice. A Family Night record crowd of 67,336 turned out on a beautiful evening to watch the 2014 Green Bay Packers go through pre-game warmups, head back into the locker room so hundreds of young dancers bounded across the tundra and even BMX bikers launched into tricks. When the squad returned with position group by position group introductions, the fans were treated to a couple of group drills, special teams work and a handful of team periods of move the ball, pressure passing and a two minute drill. There was no live tackling and while the session lacked a certain punch from years past, it did not deter Mike McCarthy's enthusiasm for the enthusiastic way the crowd said hello:
Audio: Mike McCarthy.
There really weren't any standout plays, no big touchdowns or takeaways. It was a rather routine, even for practice, kind of night.
But there were injuries. Colt Lyerla caught a short pass and turned upfield and hurdled Jumal Rolle after about a 10 yard game. The Oregon free agent came down hard and hurt his leg. He was carted to the locker room and didn't return. He didn't want to talk about how severe the injury was after practice but he did have crutches to help him along. B.J. Raji got his ankle rolled up in one team period and dropped out of practice but said later he'll be OK.
The worst injury news was tweeted by Jared Abbrederis himself,, confirming he has a season ending ACL injury. It happened in practice on Thursday and there were whispers Friday it was bad. Abbrederis said it's only a small setback and he'll do whatever he can to get back with his team as soon as possible. The former Badger was on the field for the practice. McCarthy said a roster move hasn't been made yet.
The drill that got the most cheers was a quarterback session with a raised net in the deep corner of the end zone. The QB's drop back and fire away from 20, 30 and 35 yards. The crowd roared when the ball plunked into the net. Aaron Rodgers got one in and free agent Chase Rettig tossed in a pair. I know how competitive Rodgers is even with this kind of drill but when I caught up with Rettig afterwards, he told me it's a game of 2 on 2 and the winning team had a pretty good evening.
Audio: Chase Rettig.
The team will have Sunday off and return to Ray Nitschke Field Monday night at 5:30 PM for the final installation practice of training camp.