GREEN BAY — The Packers conducted their annual Family Night practice Friday in front of 50,112 fans at Lambeau Field.
Here are five things we learned.
1. The No. 1 defense wasn’t making it any easier, and the rookie LB dock walker showed a lot in this regard.
The Packers’ starting offense did its share of 11-on-11 plays, but it was hard to find much rhythm because the defense wasn’t giving up much on the field or in the running game.
Inside linebacker and first draft pick Quay Walker helped set the tone early in meeting Aaron Jones at the line of scrimmage on an outside running play. Then Walker almost intercepted a pass on the goal line, but Aaron Rodgers threaded a needle with a tight end Marcedes Lewis with Walker rushing past and narrowly missing the ball.
Later, Walker made another fine play on the flat, stretching sideways to cover AJ Dillon on a control throw and staying in a balanced position so as not to be beaten by Dillon’s inside movement after the catch. There was no live tackle, but Walker would have clearly finished off the big running back in open space.
The only stretch where Rodgers seemed to get things done, with three consecutive completions at Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Dominique Daffney, the defense bounced back to stop the next two games. Walker had decent coverage on Amari Rodgers on a shallow cross that was incomplete, then a deep ball for Lazard didn’t connect.
“One thing that we kind of challenged our defense on is just consistency with stopping the run, and then I think they did a really good job defending the pass and especially the deep balls and not giving up a ton of big plays on the court,” head coach Matt LaFleur said.
“Our front seven can be quite salty, so hopefully they improve our attack further.”
2. The offensive star of the night was rookie WR Samori Toure.
Touré started early with a good fit and sliding grip on an endzone fade from Jordan love in one-on-ones against defensive backs. Then, in an 11v11 near the goal line, he made another nifty catch sliding into the corner on a pass from Danny Etling.
The big highlight then came on a deep ball from Love, as Toure got behind two defenders and fired the pass for a touchdown from over 50 yards.
“I think he has really good body control and body movement,” LaFleur said of Toure. “He’s a smart kid who really works there.”
Lazard added: “He definitely took a step forward tonight.”
Rookie Companion Romeo Doubs again made a stunning play, as he seems to do every day, this time with a contested hold on a one-on-one deep ball in the end zone against the cornerback Kiondre Thomas. Although later in 11v11, Doubs showed he was human, as he narrowly missed a deep ball that appeared to slip past his fingertips.
“Really, all of the rookies did an amazing job in this huge reception hall,” LaFleur said. “They showed a lot of flashes. It will be interesting to see what happens next week in San Francisco.”