Starter Pack: To tackle or not to tackle

August, 29, 2013
8/29/13
8:30
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The daily roundup of what’s happening on the Packers beat.

Since he took over as Green Bay Packers coach in 2006, Mike McCarthy has tried all different kinds of training-camp schedules: morning practices, afternoon practices, night practices and even combinations of all three.

But one thing has always been constant. There has never, ever been any live tackling.

Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel believes next summer McCarthy should end that practice. He began his most recent column this way:
In the off-season, Mike McCarthy declared war on injuries. This war was lost. Another season is in jeopardy.

Year after year, the Packers fail August. As usual, the flood of injuries was the story of the summer. Another training camp has been disrupted.

Obviously, McCarthy and his many advisers inside and outside the organization have not found an answer. Buzzard's luck is not an excuse, not after this much time.

Before they wave the white flag, the Packers ought to think outside the box. McCarthy and his people have nothing to lose a year from now. It can't get any worse than this.

If it were me, I'd put the players in pads more often. And then many of the practices, at least in the first two weeks of camp, would feature 11-on-11 periods of live tackling in which everyone except the quarterback could and would be brought to the ground.

McGinn, who after last season’s playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers called the Packers a soft team, went on to note that this is the eighth consecutive preseason in which the Packers have had more players ruled out than their opponents.

Whichever side of this you come down on, it is worth noting that the Packers have lost only two projected starters -- left tackle Bryan Bulaga and running back DuJuan Harris -- to season-ending injuries this summer. While Bulaga was to be the cornerstone of the revamped offensive line, Harris likely would have given way to rookie Eddie Lacy anyway.

Elsewhere:
  • It was a busy day on Wednesday here at ESPN.com with the official launch of NFL Nation, which will feature 32 individual team reporters. To mark the occasion, writers covering each of the 32 teams conducted simultaneous live online chats. You can read mine here.
  • Also, we’ve broken away from the division format and from now on, you can find all of the Packers’ coverage in one place. That’s the site to bookmark.
  • Among the most recent entries was a look at safety Chris Banjo, who is in position to make the team even though he doesn’t meet the Packers’ unofficial height requirements for a defensive back.
  • In a Q&A with the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Packers general manager Ted Thompson answered a wide array of questions from Mike Vandermause. The Press-Gazette also had coverage of the annual Welcome Back Packers Luncheon. Aaron Rodgers’ attire was a topic of conversation. There are photos to go along with the story.
  • At ESPNMilwaukee.com, Jason Wilde put together a list of all the songs that were played during the water breaks during training-camp practices. It’s a ready-made playlist.
  • And finally, Rich Cimini, ESPN.com’s New York Jets reporter, wrote about the Jets’ decision to sign former Packers backup quarterback Graham Harrell.

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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