The Green Bay Packers got approval to kick off training camp after approval from the NFL Players Association for their infectious disease emergency response (IDER) plan.
According to Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Green Bay Packers removed a big barrier to their being able to kick off training camp this week.
The #Packers have had their infectious disease emergency response (IDER) plan approved by the NFLPA.
It was the final hurdle in beginning COVID-19 testing (and therefore any activities at Lambeau Field). The process of ramping up now begins as scheduled.
— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) July 27, 2020
Several players are already in Green Bay and ready to begin preparations for the 2020 season. This training camp is going to look a lot different than what the team and fans are used to seeing.
Obviously, with the concern of COVID-19, players and staff will be tested regularly and the team has a plan in place for how to deal with those who test positive. One measure the league implemented was to reduce the initial camp roster from 90 to 80 players, to aid in efforts to maintain social distancing.
Between the testing periods and gearing up, the players won’t actually don pads for two weeks. With all preseason games scrapped, players are going to have very few live reps to get them ready to play in week one.
Many NFL players loathe training camp, if you ask them. Many veterans through the years have done some creative things with the timing of contracts and even clauses that preclude them from having to take part. The downside is that the first few regular season games could less-than-stellar.
For the first time in 62 years, the Green Bay Packers won’t hold the first part of training camp at nearby St. Norbert College. All team activities will take place near Lambeau Field and there won’t be any fans attending practices. The famous bike rides from Lambeau Field to the practice fields will have to wait another year.
Media coverage of camp, for those who look forward to the constant refresh of their Twitter feeds, will also be limited. Add the medical report to your list of things to look out for each day as we learn which players may not be with the team for awhile if they have a positive COVID test.
A year ago, this situation may have been much more prohibitive for the Green Bay Packers. With a new first-time head coach in Matt LaFleur, trying to install a team culture and his systems would have presented major challenges in this mostly-virtual environment so far.
With a year under his belt and a trip to the NFC championship game, LaFluer and his team have their feet firmly planted underneath them and have been preparing for this week – the start of Packers training camp.
Additionally, the team is returning many of its preferred starters from a year ago. This offers even more continuity for the Packers and a realistic shot at another successful season.
We’ve already seen some of the other professional sports kick off their seasons and other set to resume. It’s not without its hiccups, as players test positive and teams and leagues are having to deal with those moving parts in real time. The Miami Marlins of Major Leauge Baseball had several players and coaches test positive for COVID and the league has postponed a few games this week as a result.
The NFL will surely have to deal with these issues as well in a sport where there’s already a very high rate of injury and attrition. For now, the Green Bay Packers will at least have players in the building and working towards kicking off the 2020 season.