GREEN BAY - The normally-packed stands eyeing the Packers every move during training camp sat silent on Monday. The team closed their practice to fans as they worked on Ray Nitschke Field.
"Just things that we would rather work on in private,” said head coach Mike McCarthy.
With the practice field’s fences wrapped with dark green tarps, a few enterprising fans crouched low and snuck a peak at the team through any small gaps.
"It's unfortunate, it stinks,” said Rhinelander’s Nikki Steffes, who said she knew practice was closed, but wanted to try anyway. “It would be nice to be able to see them, but not the best way to watch practice."
So what did the Packers work on?
“All the secret plays we've got,” joked wide receiver James Jones.
Coach McCarthy says it wasn’t quite so interesting. He used the time without prying eyes to work on concepts, he says, the Packers didn’t get to work on enough, or execute well enough, during earlier installation sessions.
“Today there isn't anything that we have not done,” said McCarthy. “I think when you isolate it the way you do in these periods…our media is very intelligent and on top of their game. You write too much stuff, we just don't want it written.”
Photos or video were not allowed during of many of the periods at Monday’s practice. The team asked reporters to not report many specific details of the periods, mostly 11-on-11 work, they were not allowed to get pictures or video of.
The players noticed the bare bleachers. It was a reminder that the regular season is closing in, as well as several months of time on the practice field sans onlookers.
"It's weird, not having all the people out there,” said defensive lineman Ryan Pickett. “You have to get used to it, so it felt like an in-season practice.”
Practice is open to fans on Tuesday, weather permitting. The session is scheduled to start at 11:15am.
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