Packers Ready for Family Night Saturday

Packers Ready for Family Night Saturday

It's a new format for Family Night this year, with the intrasquad scrimmaged taken away and replaced by a mostly normal practice
(WFRV-TV) - In less than 10 years Packers Family Night has gone from a scrimmage against another team, to an intrasquad scrimmage, to a normal practice in front of a sold out Lambeau Field Saturday night.

"It's an install practice," said Mike McCarthy.  "It's install number 7."

McCarthy says despite it looking like a normal practice, it's good to go through some things you can't do at training camp at Ray Nitschke Field.

"The first part will look like it always has," said McCarthy of the team introductions.  "We'll do the pre-game.  It's our first opportunity as a football team to go out in front of the crowd and warm up and know where you go on the field."

So what went into the decision to go from a scrimmage to practice?

"It's just the way the whole schedule laid out for Mike and his staff," said Packers GM Ted Thompson.  "We just needed that day as a normal practice day to be able to get everything accomplished that we want to get accomplished.  Quite frankly I don't know that it will look a whole lot different, still have some really good fireworks."

And players understand it's a great opportunity for more than 70,000 fans, who may not otherwise get to experience Lambeau Field.

"It's a chance for a lot more fans to come out and watch us," said Eddie Lacy who announced his presence with a productive Family Night performance last year.  "We still have to do what we have to do, but it's for the fans to come out and our families as well to come out and watch us."

"I'm sure we'll add some different, real competitive stuff in there to make sure there's a lot going on," said quarterback Aaron Rodgers who joked he hasn't had very many good Family Night's.  "I know the stadium usually puts on some exciting pre and post game performances as well.  As long as it doesn't rain, which it usually does, it will be a real good night."

If there was someone you wouldn't fault for not liking the previous Family Night format it's Bryan Bulaga, who blew out his knee at last year's scrimmage.  The Packers right tackle didn't really want to discuss how his injury may have impacted the change, but did talk about his long road back from his knee injury.

"Obviously a year and a half of something you love doing taken away, it mentally wears on you a little bit," said Bulaga.  "It was good to have my wife and family around to help me get through it.  In the end it has to be you to mentally push through it and want to get better and get back.  It was a long year especially with an ACL rehab, it's a difficult rehab.  It was tough, but it was all worth it, everything feels great."

Some vets in the locker room look back at their Lambeau debuts at Family Night as a great springboard for their career.

"It was a really big night for me," said CB Tramon Williams.  "I think it was one of the nights that I kind of opened some coaches eyes.  As a young guy it's definitely a good night to come out and see what the town is about, what Green Bay is about , how many fans show up to see us practice against each other.  It's an amazing feeling."

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