GREEN BAY, Wis. – Given a day off by coach Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers spent a chunk of Tuesday’s training camp practice alongside general manager Brian Gutekunst. Stationed about 20 yards behind the offense, Rodgers got to see backup Jordan Love endure the same sort of carnage he’s faced since Day 1 of camp.
The first play of the day was a handoff. On the second, Love’s nice pass to tight end Marcedes Lewis was dropped. On the third, Love appeared to lead receiver Sammy Watkins too far, the ball deflecting off Watkins’ fingertips and into the mitts of cornerback Eric Stokes for an interception. On the fourth, Love was “sacked” by Rashan Gary.
There were some good moments, such as a touchdown pass to Romeo Doubs. Doubs got a couple steps beyond Rasul Douglas on a corner route and Love benefited from excellent protection to throw a strike.
But there were a lot more negative plays than positive, which has been the case all summer when it’s been starters vs. starters. The practice ended with six plays meant to simulate the final moments of the game. They ranged from the 6-yard line to a Hail Mary. Love completed only one of those passes – a checkdown to running back Aaron Jones, who got in the end zone but might have been smashed by safety Adrian Amos before getting to the goal line. End zone passes to Amari Rodgers and Jones were smothered by Stokes and safety Dallin Leavitt, respectively. The Hail Mary got to about the goal line and hit the turf, perhaps misjudged by tight end Tyler Davis. It somehow seemed a fitting ending to the day.
Rodgers will run the No. 1 offense again on Wednesday before handing the keys to Love for Friday’s preseason opener at the 49ers.
“A lot of good has happened from me breaking my toe last year,” Rodgers said. “(It) gave him a lot of opportunities to take the (No.) 1 reps in practice. But as much as anything this year, you’ve seen the fundamentals really start to come together. Year 2 to 3 is always an interesting year for development from a quarterback. I know I took a big jump, 1 to 2 and 2 to 3. [Quarterbacks coach] Tom Clements deserves a lot of credit for harping on the fundamentals the way that he always did for me as a young player, and it seems to be sticking for Jordan. He’s been having good practices, and any chance he gets to take the majority of reps like today is always a good opportunity.”
Player of the Day
Jonathan Garvin (USA Today Sports Images)
You could go with Rashan Gary. Working against left tackle, he had a sack and a tackle for loss. You could go with Preston Smith. Getting his chance against Nijman, he stopped running back AJ Dillon for a loss and pushed Nijman into the lap of Love, who completed the pass, anyway. You could go with Jonathan Garvin, who had one sack and set a fantastic edge to help defensive tackle TJ Slaton make a play against the run.
That’s three good days for Green Bay’s outside linebackers. In particular, Garvin was inactive for the playoff game and started camp with the third unit but has made a strong move in the race to be that top backup at the position.
Play of the Day
Juwann Winfree (USA Today Sports Images)
The offense had its moments. One of those was an end-around to Romeo Doubs, that he took for a nice gain up the left sideline. Receiver Juwann Winfree and, especially, tight end Josiah Deguara had outstanding blocks to give Doubs some space. For a guy like Winfree, doing the little things – blocking and his work as a No. 1 on punt and punt return – will be critical in making the 53.
Packers Depth Chart Notes
Chris Slayton, right, and Akial Byers (USA Today Sports Images)
- As was the case on Monday, most of the No. 1 offensive snaps had Yosh Nijman at left tackle, Jon Runyan at left guard, Josh Myers at center, Jake Hanson at right guard and Royce Newman at right tackle. At times, Newman went back to right guard, where he started 16 games as a rookie, and fourth-round pick Zach Tom took over at right tackle.
- The No. 2 line, from left, was Cole Van Lanen, Michal Menet, Hanson, Sean Rhyan and Tom. With the third unit, undrafted rookie Caleb Jones was the left tackle and seventh-round pick Rasheed Walker was the right tackle. Walker has really struggled; he was yanked after a false start.
- Interestingly, Chris Slayton joined Devonte Wyatt and TJ Slaton as the second-team defensive linemen. Jack Heflin had been that sixth man for most of camp, with rookie Jonathan Ford getting some snaps, too. Slayton had a tackle for loss on his second play and a good pressure later.
- On the No. 1 defensive line, sometimes the Packers line up with Kenny Clark at nose tackle and flanked by Jarran Reed and Dean Lowry. Other times, it’s Reed who’s on the nose.
- With starting safety Darnell Savage out with a hamstring injury, Vernon Scott took most of the first-team reps alongside Adrian Amos but Shawn Davis got some chances, too.
- The No. 2 cornerback corps consisted of Rico Gafford and Shemar Jean-Charles at corner and Keisean Nixon in the slot.
Packers Tuesday Injury Report
Elgton Jenkins (USA Today Sports)
Returned to practice: LB Ty Summers (illness).
New Injuries: QB Aaron Rodgers (rest), CB Donte Vaughn (hamstring), OLB Randy Ramsey (ankle).
Old injuries: S Darnell Savage (hamstring), S Innis Gaines (hamstring), C Cole Schneider (ankle), WR Osirus Mitchell (quad).
Physically unable to perform list: K Mason Crosby (knee), WR Christian Watson (knee), RB Kylin Hill (knee), LT David Bakhtiari (knee), OL Elgton Jenkins (knee), TE Robert Tonyan (knee).
Packers Training Camp Schedule
QB Jordan Love (USA Today Sports Images)
Coach Matt LaFleur was apologetic about Tuesday’s practice being closed to fans.
“Initially, this was going to be a jog-through day, but we changed the schedule earlier this week after Family Night. Felt like we needed another day to kind of recover, so we did the jog-through (to) Sunday.”
There are only three practices left that will be open to fans. One of those is Wednesday. Here’s what’s coming up.
Wednesday, Aug. 10: 10:30 a.m.
Friday, Aug. 12: Preseason Game 1: at San Francisco 49ers, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 16: Joint practices against New Orleans Saints, time TBA
Wednesday, Aug. 17: Joint practices against New Orleans Saints, time TBA
Friday, Aug. 19: Preseason Game 2: vs. New Orleans Saints, 7 p.m.
Packers Camp Highlights
- Kicker Mason Crosby spent part of practice doing some kicking. With a soccer ball. Whatever he’s kicking, it’s a good sign to see him doing something that looks like his job.
- Running back Aaron Jones got into the open field a couple times, including a superb cut to get around linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, who was waiting in the backfield.
- A player to watch on Friday will be undrafted running back Tyler Goodson. For the third time in camp, he broke into the clear for a long gain. This one appeared to be triggered by tight end Dominique Dafney and left tackle Cole Van Lanen.
- Defensive tackle TJ Slaton remains one of the best defenders on the field, stopping runs by Goodson and fellow rookie B.J. Baylor on back-to-back plays.
- Jordan Love appeared to have tight end Josiah Deguara open on a checkdown. As soon as Deguara caught the ball, first-round linebacker Quay Walker was on the scene. He has been impressive all summer.
- Receivers Amari Rodgers, Romeo Doubs and Ishmael Hyman were the punt returners.
- Linebacker Isaiah McDuffie, who has really had a good camp, blew through the No. 3 offensive line to “sack” Danny Etling before Etling even had a chance to look at his first read.
- A lengthy punt period – the JUGS machine did the “kicking” – demonstrated GM Brian Gutekunst’s roll of the dice with long snappers Jack Coco and Steven Wirtel. None of the snaps were truly awful but several weren’t great, either. Coco sent one to the left of punter Pat O’Donnell and he had one that was quite high. He lacks consistent velocity. Wirtel, the incumbent, has better velocity but his punt snaps have been routinely low.
After Practice 1 of Green Bay Packers training camp, MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers predicted the offense would get its “butts kicked most days” in training camp by a talented, veteran defense.
That’s exactly what’s happened. So, when will the usually high-flying offense finally turn the tables?