The Packers opened training camp with 88 players, 52 of them are 24 years old or younger. Head coach Mike McCarthy has never began a season this early, but he is in favor of it with his young team needs as much on-field experience as it can get.
"I think it's going to be really good for our younger players because that's primarily who's going to play in the extra games. I think it definitely helps our evaluation process, without a doubt," McCarthy said.
"They can learn a lot, it's just about them staying mentally in to it. Obviously, we have a lot of meetings, more so than practice, so just making sure they understand the importance of every meeting, every rep they get on the field and being able to communicate that throughout the building," said veteran receiver Randall Cobb.
With extra practices comes an increased chance of injury, or for many of the team's young players, fatigue. Rookie linebacker Kyler Fackrell thinks that responsibility goes beyond the team's physicians.
"The staff here, they do a great job of taking care of us, so I think we'll be fine, but it's on the players a lot, when we do have that free time to get in an ice tub, do whatever we need to do to make sure our body's right," Fackrell said.
Six players did not participate in Tuesday's first practice, including Jordy Nelson. Nelson called his injury to his left knee a minor "hiccup" and that the goal is still for him to be ready for the season opener September 11. It is not the same knee as the one he had surgery on last year after he tore his ACL. McCarthy doesn't have any long term concerns about any of six players put on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and expects them to re-join the team relatively soon.