Annnnddddddd they're off! The 2012 Green Bay Packers training camp opened this morning on Ray Nitschke Field as Mike McCarthy put the boys through a two and a half hour workout in shells. The weather was very cooperative. With rain early in the morning, giving way to partly cloudy skies and just enough of a breeze to keep things cool. The fans were certainly ready. The Nitschke Field stands on the east sideline were full by the first period, the bike brigade was back and the enthusiasm was contagious.
There were a few roster announcements of the eve of camp. Seven players were placed on the active, phsyically unable to peform list after failing their physicals on Wednesday. The list included guys coming off serious injuries like Andrew Quarless and Derrick Sherrod, but Desmond Bishop was also on the list after suffering a calf strain working out on his own just before camp began. Veterans John Kuhn and Frank Zombo, along with rookies Johnny Jones and Jaymes Brooks are also on the PUP list. They can come off it as soon as the physical gets passed.
Also failing his physical with even more dire consequences was seven year veteran safety Charlie Peprah who was released by the team on the eve of camp. Peprah was the understudy starter for Morgan Burnett in 2010 and Nick Collins last year. He had 94 tackles and five interceptions last season, solid numbers, but his marginal athletic ability was magnified trying to man Collins' position in 2011. His departure clears the way for young safeties to get into the mix very early. Charles Woodson opens camp as the strong safety starter alongside Burnett, but only when the team is in base defense. McCarthy estimates that about 6-8 percent of the time. In nickel and dime, Woodson handles the slot and moves around the box. That will allow either M.D. Jennings or possibly rookie Jerron McMillan to cover the back end of the secondary on a regular basis. Jennings has a leg up on that battle after getting reps with starters during the spring. At right cornerback, Jarrett Bush opened with the one's on defense, ahead of Sam Shields, a battle to keep an eye on. Bush had a nice first practice with a couple of pass break ups. D.J. Smith took the reps of Bishop at inside linebacker.
On offense, it was encouraging to see Alex Green on the practice field. As a rookie out of Hawaii last year, Green showed promise to help in the backfield before he blew out his knee late in the year. 8 months removed from reconstructive ACL surgery, Green was cleared to practice although his reps will be limited. With Ryan Grant out of the picture, a running mate to James Starks will be needed.
After the practice, McCathy was pleased with the tempo, finishing six minutes ahead of schedule. The team then corrected the practice video in the afternoon and they'll meet for the second installation of camp which will be taken to the field on Friday morning. On the link below, our first installment of Camp Quotes, a collection of comments from the pertinent stories of the day, including McCarthy's news conference and tour through the locker room.