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 didn’t do anything easy, and rookie LB Quay Walker showed up a lot in that regard.
The Packers’ starting offense made its share of plays in the 11-on-11, but it was difficult to find much of a rhythm because the defense didn’t give up much downfield or during the game.
Inside linebacker and first-round draft pick Quay Walker helped set the tone early by meeting Aaron Jones at the line of scrimmage on an outside running play. Then Walker almost caught a pass at the goal line, but Aaron Rodgers threaded a needle to tight end Marcedes Lewis with Walker whizzing by and just missing the ball.
Later, Walker made another nice play in the flat, extending laterally to cover AJ Dillon on a checkdown throw and staying in balanced position to avoid being hit by Dillon’s inside motion after the catch. There was no direct tackle, but Walker would clearly have packed the big back in open space.
The one stretch Rodgers seemed to get things rolling, with three straight completions to Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Dominique Dafney, the defense came back to shut down the next two games. Walker had decent coverage on Amari Rodgers on a shallow cross that was incomplete, and then a deep ball for Lazard didn’t happen.
“One thing that we’ve challenged our defense on is just the consistency of stopping the run, and then I think they’ve done a pretty good job of defending the pass and especially the deep balls and not giving up a ton of big plays down the field,” head coach Matt said LaFleur.
“Our front seven can be pretty salty, so I hope they make our offense that much better.”
2. Offensive star of the night was rookie WR Samori Toure.
Toure got going early with a nice adjustment and sliding catch on an end-zone fade from Jordan Love during one-on-one against the defensive backs. Then during 11-on-11 near the goal line, he made another smart sliding catch in the corner on a pass from Danny Etling.
The big highlight then came on a deep ball from Love, when Toure got behind two defenders and hauled in the pass for a 50-plus yard touchdown.
“I think he has very good body control and body movement,” LaFleur said of Toure. “He’s a smart kid who really works at it.”
Lazard added: “He definitely stepped up tonight.”
Fellow rookie Romeo Doubs once again made a standout play, as he seems to do every day, this time with a contested catch on a one-on-one deep ball in the end zone against cornerback Kiondre Thomas. Though later in the 11-on-11, Doubs showed he’s human as he just missed collecting a deep ball that seemed to glance off his fingers.
“Really, all the starters have done an outstanding job in the wide receiver space,” LaFleur said. “They’ve shown a lot of flashes. It will be interesting to see what happens next week in San Francisco.”