Thursday, July 26, 2012

Training Camp Opens!

After the bitter way in which last season ended, it feels as if we have been waiting forever for football to start back up again.  Normally, I might watch the Packers' last game around this time of year, just to get me ready for the season.  But I am having trouble summoning up the courage to watch that disaster again.

But this week, football really is back.  I attended my first Shareholders' Meeting on Tuesday, via webcast.  I have been a Shareholder since 1997, but it has never seemed worthwhile to take a trip from California for the Shareholders' Meeting, and I never just happened to be in the midwest anyway around the time of the meeting.  So I was excited to find that the Packers were webcasting it this year, presumably because of the huge influx of new Shareholders from the recent stock sale. The webcast seemed to do the trick, because the figures released at the time showed that more people attended by webcast than were physically present in the stands.

The meeting itself was about as interesting as I expected (meaning, not very).  Most of it was very dry, and Ted Thompson certainly did not break any real news, after making it clear when he started that he would not.  I did learn that Ed Policy is the new General Counsel.  Upon checking, as I assumed, he is the son of the famous Carmen Policy, former President of the 49ers and Browns.  He thus joins Eliot Wolf as a second generation football guy on the Packers' staff.

More information was provided about what they are calling the Titletown District, on and around Lombardi Avenue, where the Packers have purchased additional land.  Although it was not clear from what was said at the meeting, my understanding is that the idea is to create a sports and entertainment complex in the surrounding area, resulting in additional revenue streams for the Packers, along the lines of Patriot Place, the shopping complex adjacent to Gillette Stadium.  I also learned a little about the Packers' Heritage Trail, a walking tour of Packer-related historical sites in Green Bay, which I must check out when I get a chance.

But meanwhile, training camp starts today, and as I said, it feels like it is about time.  The biggest news before the first practice was the release of Safety Charlie Peprah.  He had a tough 2011 (I don't know if anybody had a worse game in the playoff loss to the Giants), and he has had some injury problems, but he was also a significant contributor at times, especially in the Super Bowl season.  Since the release took place before the first practice in training camp, it is hard to believe that the Packers already have his replacement assigned.  But my assumption is that it will be either second-year player M.D. Jennings, or maybe 4th round draft choice Jerron McMillian, and of course it has been speculated for some time that Charles Woodson may spend more time at safety this year.  Right on cue comes word that in the first training camp practice, Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson lined up at safety, with Morgan Burnett and Jarrett Bush lining up at corner.  An article on the Packers' website makes it sound as if this is not just a fluke, but rather a plan to move Woodson to safety and see who makes a splash at cornerback.  Let the teeth-gnashing begin.