GREEN BAY – The Packers held 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 make anything easy, and rookie LB Quay Walker showed plenty in that regard.
The Packers’ starting offense made its share of plays in 11-on-11, but it was hard to find much rhythm because the defense didn’t give up much ground or in the run game.
Inside linebacker and first-round draft pick Quay Walker helped set a tone early by meeting Aaron Jones at the line of scrimmage on an outside run. Then Walker almost caught a pass at the goal line, but Aaron Rodgers threaded a needle to tight end Marcedes Lewis with Walker passing and just missing the ball.
Later, Walker made another nice play in the flat, stretching laterally to cover AJ Dillon on a checkdown throw and staying in a balanced position to not get hit by Dillon’s inside motion after the catch. There was no live tackle but Walker would have clearly wrapped the big running back in open space.
The one stretch Rodgers did seem to get things rolling, with three straight completions to Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Dominique Dafney, the defense rebounded to shut down the next two plays. Walker had decent coverage on Amari Rodgers on a shallow cross that was incomplete, and then a deep ball for Lazard didn’t connect.
“One thing we’ve challenged our defense on is just the consistency of stopping the run, and then I think they’ve done a pretty nice job of defending the pass and especially the deep balls and not giving up a lot of big plays down the field,” Head coach Matt LaFleur said.
“Our front seven can be pretty salty, so I hope they improve our offense a lot.”
2. The 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 by Jordan Love during a one-on-one against the defensive backs. Then during an 11-on-11 near the goal line, he made another nice sliding catch in 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 hauled in the pass for a touchdown from 50-plus yards.
“I think he has really good body control and body movement,” LaFleur said of Toure. “He’s a smart kid who really works at it.”
Added Lazard: “He definitely took a step tonight.”
Fellow rookie Romeo Doubs made a flashy play again, 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. Although later in 11-on-11, Doubs showed he’s human as he just missed squeezing a deep ball that seemed to be glancing off his fingers.
“Really, all the rookies did an outstanding job in that wide receiver room,” LaFleur said. “They showed a lot of flashes. It will be interesting to see what happens next week in San Francisco.”