How the Packers are Preparing for the Season During a Pandemic

It's a strange offseason around the NFL.

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions in most states has made offseason preparations a bit unusual for NFL players this year. Considering the rules are different from state to state (and often city to city), there are quite a few challenges to conducting a "business as usual" sort of offseason training regimen.

That being said, the Packers are finding creative ways to prepare as much as possible in these unusual circumstances. Here is a quick snapshot of the steps the team is taking to get in some practice and study time this offseason:

  • Pre-recorded presentations: Coach Matt LaFleur said each player has received pre-recorded presentations from coaches about the team's vision and expectations for the season. There are also pre-recorded, voice-over presentations from coaches to help players adapt to the playbook and some of the tweaks that have been made.
  • Virtual instruction: In addition to the pre-recorded presentations, coaches and players have also met virtually through video conference for playbook instruction and installs.
  • Independent work and study: According to Aaron Rodgers, many players actually have more time to get in some work and playbook study because of the lack of other commitments on their schedules at the moment. Much of this work has to happen independently, given the circumstances.

Many players likely have access to private training facilities where they can get in some of their workouts. Rodgers says he has been throwing to some other professionals around the Los Angeles area.

At the moment, with everything being so fluid regarding pandemic restrictions, it is difficult to say exactly what the remainder of the summer will look like with regard to OTAs and training camp. But for now, it's likely to be a whole lot of zoom calls and hopes that players are staying on top of their physical training the best way they can.

In one sense, it's good the Packers aren't relying too heavily on rookie contributions this season, because those rookies are going to be behind the curve with their preparation and on-field instruction.

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Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (33)

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Since'61's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:06 pm

Currently it is a very difficult situation. With 90,000+ deaths plus significant increases in new cases in states liked Texas, that have recently reopened it is difficult to see how teams can come together to practice and then play games even in empty stadiums.

A few hundred non-players will still be needed to produce a professional game, not including coaches and team staffs. Do we keep all of these people from their families for an entire season?

Germany has tried to reopen their soccer league and almost immediately a few players tested positive for Covid19 and one of the coaches had to be quarantined for 2 weeks for leaving the team hotel to go to a store and buy toothpaste.

I’d rather wait until it is safe for players, coaches and support personnel before games are played. Whether that means canceling the season or waiting for a vaccine whichever comes first. Football players risk injury on every play, they should not need to risk their lives and their families lives as well. Not to mention the same exposure for all of the non-players who would need to involved.

Football can wait if necessary. Thanks, Since ‘61

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nostradanus's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:15 pm

Unfortunately it’s not going to be safe we can’t hide from this thing. It is going to be ongoing people will get sick we just have to learn how treat it properly keep the death toll down. It’s time for our country to come out of hiding.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 18, 2020 at 02:24 pm

Freedom is better than safety. Forcing people into bankruptcy so people can feel safer is wrong. Stay home if you wish. Wear a mask, if you wish. You have that freedom.

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Since'61's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:38 pm

Forcing people to go to work and risk their lives and the lives of their families is neither freedom or safety. It also puts first responders, nurses and doctors at unnecessary risks as well as the rest of the public.

How many people should get sick and/or die to prevent bankruptcies? People can recover from bankruptcy but they don’t recover from death. As a nation we have the resources to support people and businesses in need. We don’t have the resources to bring people back from the dead. Forcing people back to work is stupid and unnecessary. But it’s fine if we don’t care about people or families.

Since March 1st we are losing people at four and a half times the rate that we lost troops in WW2. At this rate we will lose more citizens in one year than we lost in WW2. That is over 400,000 Americans. Is that enough? Or should we keep sending people to work to die?

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Leatherhead's picture

May 18, 2020 at 11:23 pm

Over 99% of the people who get this survive. And nobody is being forced to work. People are being forced to not work so you'll feel safer. When they close their business , lay off workers, and file bankruptcy so you'll feel safer.....doesn't that bother you at all?

I can't believe so many of you would trade freedom for safety. You deserve neither..

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Bure9620's picture

May 20, 2020 at 01:37 am

Leatherhead, medical personnel are not being forced not to work. Staffing and turnover has become one of the biggest issues facilities face from Level 1 trauma centers to post acute rehab facilities and skilled nursing facilities. They are terrified of contracting the virus and bringing it home to their families and ultimately not being able to work themselves. In fact many are considering career changes they are now so burned out from the hours and watching people die. Yes the short term financial ramifications are tough but they could be worse later if we do not get this under control.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 20, 2020 at 04:43 am

Freedom is messy, sometimes costly and sometimes one has to fight for it. If we are talking about the NFL, then canceling the season isn't unreasonable. If the players don't want to play, they can apply for unemployment compensation. I'd have to think about giving back guaranteed money and signing bonuses. That probably can't be done.

In my own bubble, I find a high correlation between people who are wealthy and retired or can work remotely and those who support stay-at-home orders. Or even more stringent measures. Some of the poorer people also support stay-at-home, but usually they have calculated their UC benefit versus their current paychecks. The poor have no faith that the rich will transfer money to them indefinitely. People who live in hot spots like NYC or get their news from outlets located there also support stay at home.

We are going to force people to work and risk their lives if they work as nurses and doctors, but also as truck drivers, grocery store employees, folks who produce food and manufacture medicine, masks, swabs and a host of other occupations.

The US is wealthy enough to continue and even increase federal spending to meet the needs of the populace for a time. Note that the current aid is missing lots of people - it looks like it took longer to physically write the legislation and stay-at-home orders than was put into thought about what words should be used.

The US is not wealthy enough to continue this spending indefinitely but we can do so for a while and fix the legislation that has missed too many as well. The only issues is how long a while is, and what price should be paid for refraining from infringing on fundamental freedoms.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 18, 2020 at 11:23 pm

Over 99% of the people who get this survive. And nobody is being forced to work. People are being forced to not work so you'll feel safer. When they close their business , lay off workers, and file bankruptcy so you'll feel safer.....doesn't that bother you at all?

I can't believe so many of you would trade freedom for safety. You deserve neither..

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 20, 2020 at 04:31 am

BTW, I haven't missed a minute of work. I am deemed essential. No one is giving me the option to stay at home. I come into contact with 25 people or more per day. I am in a higher risk category. I don't begrudge whatever risk I am taking.

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NickPerry's picture

May 21, 2020 at 07:13 am

I've really grown to like and appreciate many of your posts LH...BUT your posts about Covid-19 and more specifically weather or not YOU should wear a mask is dead wrong.

Yes, we have many freedoms but you wear the mask not only to protect yourself, but to protect others from YOU.....You DON'T have the right to pass it onto someone else. Right now with tests being about 70% accurate, you can test yourself every week and it could be wrong at any given time 3 out of 10 times. Hell I just got back my test from 10 days ago and was negative. How in the hell do I know I haven't touched something and become infected in the last 10 days again?

What has happened and will happen to many businesses is a shame. I don't have the answers but getting away from what has slowed down the spread of this virus isn't the way. Wear a friggen mask!

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Bure9620's picture

May 20, 2020 at 01:28 am

Yes the Budesliga is a troubling sign..... I do not see how fans are present early in the season.

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nostradanus's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:13 pm

It will surely be a memorable NFL season indeed.
*No Fans in the stands to start?
*Hand sanitizer in players waste pouches?
*Players wearing masks?
*Reporters in locker room wearing masks
*Social distancing in locker rooms and meetings?
*Season possibly starting later than scheduled?
*Half filled stadiums with fans wearing masks?
*Loud stadiums that usually have a home field advantage losing their edge due to half empty stadiums and fans wearing masks?

The Packers will have an early season advantage as they have a veteran team and aren’t expecting rookies to fill a big role. Teams with many new players and big rookie classes will be at a disadvantage early (IE: Lions & Vikings)

“Whooped em again didn’t we Josie!”

Go Pack!

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Amy Berk's picture

May 18, 2020 at 11:49 pm

80% of people who get the virus survive ..it's the 20% that have pre existing conditions or older..60+ that risk dying. We need a treatment first because the vaccine, if we get one , needs to get tested on alot of people before they seem it safe. Not sure where you are getting your stats saying that 99%of people who get the virus are fine? One writer got a moderate case of COVID and it's taking her 6-8 weeks of feeling better and she still feels sluggish.

If one player tests positive, then how many other players have to go into self quarantine for 14 days?

It's too risky...but the owners aren't risking their lives now are they? Just their pocketbook.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 20, 2020 at 05:32 am

Of the people who get Covid, 80% get a mild case. 20% get a more severe case.

On March 6, the death rate (confirmed cases/deaths) was 5.9% in the US. It dropped to 1.7% by March 17. [I can't find more recent data.]

The death rate by age:
0.00% 0-19
0.1% 20-44 - same as the flue
0.5% 45-54
1.40% 55-64
2.70% 65-74
4.30% 75-84
10.40% 85+

Stay-at-home orders based on age could be a possibility. However, Covid is more contagious than the regular flu, (R0 of 2.0 to 2.5 to 1.3 for the flu) so that 1/10th of one percent for the 20-44 group would lead to a larger number of fatalities and it is still five times the death rate associated with the flu for that age group.

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PatrickGB's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:18 pm

The issue is about “what’s the right thing to do”? How much of a risk is this nation willing to take in order to bring about more happiness and prosperity? Football and other sports are nice to have but they are not as important as lives that could be lost. I am itching for football to come back. It’s hard to wait. Yet, I also know that I am not willing to put lives at risk if I don’t have to. I see a measured and reasonable response from the NFL. I am ok with that.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 18, 2020 at 04:57 pm

I’m kinda in favor of freedom. Let people make choices. If I think it’s too dangerous to go outside then that’s my choice. If I force you to stay inside so it’s safer for me......that’s not freedom.

As for the Packers, having the vets makes a big difference in practices and in the huddle. We don’t have to master 150 plays.....we just have to be able to run 20 plays well. Our starters in the opener on offense are all vets. And only Wagner wasn’t here last year. And we’ve got a smart, veteran QB to run the show. I

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Since'61's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:39 pm

Absolutely correct and I agree completely Patrick GB.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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packerbackerjim's picture

May 18, 2020 at 12:47 pm

As much as I would like to see football, a player testing positive would sideline the team for 2 weeks. Too much uncertainty isn’t conducive to playing a season of any length.

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Since91's picture

May 18, 2020 at 01:33 pm

One spot is as good as the next!
Let’s play ball!

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gkarl's picture

May 18, 2020 at 02:11 pm

Tough topic, a classic no win. Politicians and scientists are both making it up on the fly, they don't have any answer either....yet.

It's time for people to decide what is right for them and how much risk they are willing to accept, not have it forced upon them. Let people get back to work, social distancing and other safety procedures have worked and need to remain for now but some will ignore them, count on it. Employers need to due their part to keep the workplace as safe as possible but forced closures/stay home orders need to end.

The sooner we get a vaccine the better. Until then use your common sense and stay safe out there everyone.

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nostradanus's picture

May 18, 2020 at 02:13 pm

Exactly

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stockholder's picture

May 18, 2020 at 05:27 pm

Staying Safe=. You can get a Gas Mask on Bay. I Sure wouldn't get on a plane without one. In the mean time; If the gov't really wants their people to survive, The Gov't should issue them.

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packerbackerjim's picture

May 19, 2020 at 05:24 am

Scientists don’t make things up on the fly. Ever. If they did, they wouldn’t be scientists.

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gkarl's picture

May 19, 2020 at 01:03 pm

Don't wear a mask they don't protect you from Covid19...........on second thought maybe that mask wasn't such a bad idea. I was talking about safety policy it seemed to change daily for awhile.

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mnbadger's picture

May 18, 2020 at 03:45 pm

If the season does occur, it will clearly be won by teams with both established coaches and veteran rosters. Think Seattle, KC, Baltimore and maybe Philly.

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nostradanus's picture

May 18, 2020 at 03:48 pm

Green Bay

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Jonathan Spader's picture

May 18, 2020 at 04:33 pm

Test players before each game for Covid19. They test positive they can't play they test negative they can. Players all wear gloves. They already have helmets and mouth guards. I don't see anything stopping the cash cow that is the NFL. The virtual draft had higher #s than ever before. NFL ratings will be record high when the season starts.

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dobber's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:35 pm

"The virtual draft had higher #s than ever before. ."

What else were people going to do?

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Since'61's picture

May 18, 2020 at 07:47 pm

The problem is that if a player tests positive he and his teammates needs to go into quarantine for 14 days. You can’t play a season under those circumstances. Thanks, Since ‘61

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 18, 2020 at 10:25 pm

The security of this Country will be based on sound science and the duty of Americans to tow the line and look out for their neighbors. Two months of relative downtime is not too great a sacrifice. The government must provide leadership ,not derision. Be thankful for the advances in genetics and the breakthroughs with the Genome studies. The virologists and microbiologists have been on this pathogen since early January. There is Global cooperation with the advancement for a cure, not scapegoating, nor jingoism. Hopefully,
a vaccine will be viable by 2021. In the meantime practice the protocols established by Public Health Departments.
Stay vigilant, this is not going away. Help the Medical personnel by keeping the case loads low. The NFL is just a sideshow, a non-essential good.

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optimisticfan's picture

May 19, 2020 at 08:06 am

Current facts from virologists:

1) The death rate for this virus is projected = 0.5%
2) A vaccine could take 1-2 years to mass supply a vaccine that is safe AND effective enough (likely closer to 2 years but who knows)
3) Before a vaccine is given it would take herd immunity (>70% of the population getting the virus) for it to stop spreading significantly. This would cause ~ 1 million US deaths
4) The prospect of a depression, or even just 25 -30% unemployment is also devastating.

So yes we cannot shelter at home forever. Taking gradual necessary risks is warranted (opening up businesses with safe operating practices, masks, distancing, ordering carry out food more, interacting with a few relatives or kids playing with neighbor kids etc)

But for all those advocating freedom above all else, that is exposing everyone to unnecessary risks. If we all are a TEAM, looking out for the greater good then people throwing caution to the wind are like a player deciding to run whatever route they choose not caring about their teammates. If our habits need to change some to continue to slow the spread down then so be it. If football games cannot be played safely for all the people that essentially have to be at the stadium then don’t play them. Football is not essential, owners could take the hit. But yeah hope they can figure it out.

Here’s a podcast on herd immunity/ statistics above if anyone is interested:
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-close-are-we-to-herd-immunity/

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 19, 2020 at 01:22 pm

They can look at the statistics coming out of Sweden.

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ZacharyC's picture

May 20, 2020 at 04:35 am

I hope this pandemic will end soon.

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