Monday, July 21, 2003
Training camp started on July 19. I have never gotten the opportunity to attend a training camp but I would love to some day. JS Online's Packers Plus had a great article listing all the activities available to fans, and unfortunately how the Packers have restricted the fans access to the players over the last 10 years. One early bit of good news is that Nick Barnett was signed on the first day of camp and only missed a half-day of practice. That is great news since Barnett has to be a starter at middle or weak-side linebacker and the Packers need to find out which position it will be. All the probably starting linebackers (Hannibal Navies, Na'il Diggs and Barnett) have the speed to play outside but it appears that only Diggs has the size to play inside. The Packers seem to think Barnett can play inside too, but I expect Diggs in the middle, Navies at strong side and Barnett at weak side. In this case, all three players flexibility is a good thing and lets the coaches put each player in a position where they can best succeed as a unit. Kenny Peterson's signing was helpful because he will probably be part of the defensive line mix and he needs the entire camp too. It is amazing how many NFL teams blunder with signing their draft picks each year, and then the rookies miss substantial practice time. Its not that hard to anticipate, the draft picks are slotted meaning the player gets paid just less then the guy drafted before him and just a little more than the guy drafted after him. And the salaries just increase a few percent each year so it is easy to predict what the contract should be worth. The team might save money by holding the line but with the lost practice time factored in the team usually ends up getting what they paid for. Its all about ego, but ego doesn't win as many games as talent and execution in the NFL.