The Green Bay Packers will open up Training Camp 2012 today with plenty of familiar faces wearing the green and gold. Green Bay welcomes the return of 19 of 22 players that started against the N.Y. Giants in the NFC Divisional playoff game in January. General Manager Ted Thompson continued his philosophy of building through the draft in the 2012 offseason, but also added some veteran players in free agency.
Seven Packers earned Pro Bowl recognition in 2011, the largest contingent Green Bay had voted into the all-star game since 1967. Six of those players return in 2012, with center Scott Wells departing to St. Louis in free agency.
The Packers filled the void left by Wells through unrestricted free agency when they signed veteran center Jeff Saturday, a five-time Pro Bowler with the Indianapolis Colts.
Green Bay also added to its defensive line with the signing of unrestricted free agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove (Seattle) and a pair of free agents, defensive end Phillip Merling and defensive tackle Daniel Muir.
The continuity extends to the coaching staff, where almost the entire group returns for 2012 with a few changes in duties.
Tom Clements, who tutored the quarterbacks for the past six seasons, moves into the role of offensive coordinator in 2012 after Joe Philbin left to become the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Ben McAdoo, who coached the team's tight ends from 2006-11, will now direct the quarterbacks, while Jerry Fontenot, who tutored the running backs in 2011, will take over as tight ends coach. Alex Van Pelt, a six-year NFL assistant, enters his first season with the club as running backs coach.
Two other coaches will have different duties, with Joel Hilgenberg serving as assistant offensive line coach and John Rushing as offensive assistant/special teams.