OK, y'all. It's that time. I'm heading out for a training camp tour that will consume more than two weeks of our summer. Let me take you through my schedule, noting that sometimes we have to deal with unexpected curveballs, and then offer up some of my ideas for coverage.
First I'll head to Bourbonnais, Ill., to be in place for the Chicago Bears' opening practice Thursday afternoon. I'll spend three days on the pristine grounds of Olivet Nazarene University before using Sunday's offday (for players) to drive north. I'll catch the Green Bay Packers from July 30-Aug. 1, and thanks to the magic of relatively short travel distances here in the NFC North, I should be able to get in position for three days with the Minnesota Vikings from Aug. 2-4.
The Detroit Lions are my final stop, and in looking at their just-released schedule, it appears I will be with them Aug. 8-9. In all, we're looking at 11 days spent at four camps between July 26 and Aug. 9. A few notes:
My goal each day is to bring you one feature post and a second post of practice observations from my current location. Other posts will depend on news. Keep in mind that some of my reporting will get packed away for future posts. If you have requests, by all means let me know though the mailbag. Look for the catchy "CampTour'12" tagline to keep everything organized.
As a result, daily coverage will be skewed toward the team I'm visiting. I will hit all four camps, so coverage will even out over time. As it always does.
A few days after leaving each camp, we'll post an extensive "Camp Confidential" that will pull together my thoughts and observations about each team. The first, on the Bears, is scheduled to post Monday.
Lest you think I forgot, I did in fact read and compile your thoughts from our May post requesting feedback on blog operations. I'm still considering many of your suggestions and will roll out our full 2012 plans next month. But one idea I've already incorporated, and plan to continue during camp, is the Rookie Buzz post. It's clear there is high interest in rookie progress. Most of them won't make immediate impacts, but I introduced you to four who might earlier this summer. (All four available through this easy link.) During the Camp Tour, I'll check on those rookies and also write about any others that catch my eye.
Alright. As we set off on the first stage of the 2012 season, let's resolve more than anything to have fun. You take your teams, and I take my job, very seriously. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy every second of it. Let's gooooooooooo!