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Highlights From Practice 16 of Packers Training Camp

Will Matt LaFleur give up the play-calling duties? Plus a lot more from Monday at training camp, including Jordan Love's return to action (with video evidence), injury updates and notes from the practice field.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – On Saturday against the New York Jets, Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur handed the play-calling duties to quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy and, later, offensive line coach Adam Stenavich.

“The benefit is you really get a chance to observe everything that’s going on around you whereas, when you’re calling a game, you’re so focused on the adjustments that you’ve got to make,” LaFleur said before Monday’s practice. “It was good to see the perspective of, really, for all three phases. And also it empowers your other people to develop. I thought it was a great opportunity for Luke Getsy and for Adam Stenavich. I thought they did an outstanding job just in terms of getting the play calls in. I know that in my past, when I was given that opportunity, it was beneficial so that the first time when you actually are the coordinator it’s not as big of a deal because you’ve had at least some experience.”

Former Packers coach Mike McCarthy used to give the play-calling duties to his offensive coordinator for the preseason finale. One year, McCarthy gave up play-calling duties altogether. After Green Bay reached the NFC Championship Game and Aaron Rodgers won his second MVP in 2014, Tom Clements took over as the play-caller in 2015. With the offense failing to play to its usual standard, McCarthy took over the play-calling duties down the stretch.

When it’s time to play the games that count, LaFleur will call the plays for a third consecutive season. In 2020, the Packers led the NFL in scoring and Rodgers won his third MVP.

Asked if he’d hand that role to an assistant in “20 years,” LaFleur said, “I think everything’s up for discussion. You know, whatever helps our team the best way, that’s how we’ll always handle it. And if I think that’s best for our football team, then that’s the route we’ll go. But there’s a lot of guys that I have a lot of confidence in that are on our offensive staff that there’s no doubt that they could do probably if not as good, a better job than I can do.”

Jordan Love Returns

A day after Jordan Love sat out the second preseason game, LaFleur said the plan was for Love to throw during individual drills on Monday and potentially progress to 11-on-11 drills on Tuesday.

Step 1 is complete. Love was part of the four-quarterback rotation during drills. Like the rest of the quarterbacks, he threw with some zip to the running backs and into the nets but with more air and less power on the downfield throws.

Later, Love went inside the Don Hutson Center, presumably to do some rehab work. During the second special teams period, Aaron Rodgers, Kurt Benkert and Jake Dolegala went through individual drills without Love.

Check out the video to see Love in action.

Play of the Day

New receiver Damon Hazelton signed on Friday and played 20 snaps on Saturday without being targeted. He was only targeted twice on Monday but one was a sensational connection from Benkert. During an 11-on-11 period, Benkert’s back-shoulder pass to Hazelton was a bit low and to the outside. Hazelton made the catch, anyway, a tremendous all-hands grab that stands in contrast to his senior year at Missouri.

Packers Injury Report

New Injuries: S Will Redmond (toe), LB Ty Summers (hamstring).

Old Injuries: WR Devin Funchess (hamstring), WR Chris Blair (ankle), S Vernon Scott (hamstring), OLB Za’Darius Smith (back), OT Dennis Kelly (knee), WR Juwann Winfree (shoulder).

Returned to Practice: QB Jordan Love (shoulder), OLB Rashan Gary (ankle), DT Tyler Lancaster (elbow).

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Non-Football Injury List: None.

Physically Unable to Perform List: LT David Bakhtiari (knee).

Injured reserve: WR DeAndre Thompkins (shoulder), OLB Randy Ramsey (ankle), TE Isaac Nauta (chest).

Some Quick Reads

– Thursday’s joint practice with the Jets was the final practice open to the fans this summer. With the new convention center open across the street from Armed Forces Drive, big black screens have been set up to block the view. You know, just in case any Detroit Lions scouts are in town to attend the Perfectly Green Bay Craft and Gift Expo on Sept. 18.

– Behind those screens, the Packers will practice on Tuesday morning. With 82 players on the roster, they’ll have to delete two by 3 p.m. Tuesday. “I think these guys understand the ramifications of cuts in this league,” LaFleur said. “Every time that you go out on that field, you’re being evaluated, whether it’s one play or you’re playing 60 plays. So, the guys understand the importance of every play and try to maximize each opportunity that they get to go out there and making sure they continually get better.”

– The Packers worked in helmets on Monday so the practice wasn’t at its typical level of intensity.

The Packers parted ways with two recent draft picks.

– The defense, as has been the case for most of the summer, won a starters-vs.-starters 2-minute drill. Starting at its 30 with 1:14 on the clock, Rodgers pushed the ball near midfield with short completions to Davante Adams and Allen Lazard. However, Kevin King broke up a pass to Equanimeous St. Brown on first down, Rodgers threw it away on second down and Rodgers threw short to tight end Robert Tonyan on third down. The drill ended before the fourth-down play.

– Rookie Royce Newman was the right guard with the No. 1 offense all week last week, including in the game against the Jets. Newman was with the starters again on Monday. First, though, it was at left guard. He was paired with Lucas Patrick, last year’s starting right guard. Other first-team pairings included Patrick at left guard and Newman at right guard, and Jon Runyan at left guard and Ben Braden at right guard. For the 2-minute drill, Patrick was the left guard and Newman the right guard.

– Breaking news: A ball hit Tonyan’s hand but wasn’t caught. Tonyan, who didn’t drop a single pass last season or in training camp this year, was streaking away from first-round cornerback Eric Stokes on a deep route but Rodgers’ pass was thrown just too far and glanced off one of Tonyan’s hands. Even the toughest grader wouldn’t have given Tonyan a drop, though. Later, on a third-and-5, Tonyan caught a deep pass against safety Adrian Amos.

– Receiver Malik Taylor, who is in the hunt for a sixth receiver slot, had a drop against the Jets and another on Monday. Later, Taylor caught a deep ball from Benkert against safety Henry Black. Black remains the No. 3 safety/No. 6 defensive back.

– During a quarterbacks-running backs passing drill, Rodgers extended the play to his left and connected with Kylin Hill at the sideline. That’s not what Rodgers wanted on the play. Rodgers showed a bit of frustration with the rookie, then engaged in a lengthy conversation. Presumably, Rodgers wanted Hill to take his route downfield. Typically, those type of conversations are reserved for players that Rodgers knows will be contributors.

Packers Training Camp Schedule

The Packers will practice on Tuesday and Thursday this week before closing the preseason at Buffalo at noon Saturday. That will be the last chance to impress before the cutdown to 53 next Tuesday.