We now have a quorum of NFC North training camp schedules, allowing us to compare how each coach has laid out initial plans for the 2010 season. We're still awaiting the Detroit Lions' schedule, but the chart below displays details for the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings:
A few thoughts:
More than anything, we see there are always different ways to peel the same apple. The Bears have 23 practices in 17 days. The Packers will spread 25 practices over 30 days, of which 18 will be spent on the practice field. The Vikings will squeeze 23 practices into 12 days, although at least three of those practices will be limited to special teams work.
The Packers technically refer to all of their preseason practice as training camp. Like most other NFL teams, however, their practice schedule transitions into more of a regular-season approach after the second preseason game. But the scheduling quirk explains why the Packers have more practices.
The "days on the field" category obviously doesn't include days off. The Bears will have two days off, not counting travel, between July 30 and Aug. 19. The Packers will have 11 days off, or at least with no public practice, between July 31 and Aug. 31. The Vikings have one day off between July 30 and Aug. 12.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy is a big believer in regular rest during camp. He alternates two-a-day practice days with a single practice in between. He also gives players Wednesday off.
The Vikings will be the first team to break camp, in part because of their agreement with Minnesota State University, Mankato. They'll pack up prior to their first preseason game and then gather at their Twin Cities practice facility starting the week of Aug. 15. So if you're wondering when quarterback Brett Favre might report, circle Aug. 16 as a likely possibility on your calendar.
The Bears' technically have six sets of two-a-days, but the morning session isn't open to the public on those days and are usually geared toward half-speed installation reviews.
When it comes my way, I'll add the Lions' information to this chart and republish it.