GREEN BAY, Wis. – Late in Saturday’s practice, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers joked with receivers Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and former receiver James Jones, now with NFL Network. It was a Receiver Reunion, with Cobb back with the team and Jones in town to talk to Rodgers about moving forward after an offseason of drama
In front of them, receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling was showing running back AJ Dillon the finer points of running a Texas route. (Think of a sideways “V.”)
“The ball didn’t come to me,” Dillon said. “I realized I was taking a couple extra steps. Quez was on the sideline and (I) said, ‘Hey, how do you come out of your breaks?’ We have so many vets on our team, so many guys who can do things at a high level. It’d be a shame to not try to be a sponge and ask for little nuggets here and there. Quez was there. I said, ‘Hey, I ran this Texas route and I felt like I was kind of stuck. When you’re making turns and trying to stop on a dime, what is the process of that?’ Obviously, it’s not going to happen overnight, but he gave me a little tutelage on where you want your foot placed, how you want to come out, how you want to drop your weight.”
So, Valdes-Scantling shared some of his four years of NFL experience and showed Dillon the proper placement of his foot to make the cut.
“I’ve always wanted to be an all-purpose back; I’ve wanted to do it all,” Dillon said. “So, whatever part of my game I can get a little bit better, I’m going to try to do.”
Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon Form Dynamic Duo
Packers backers were spoiled with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, who not only were excellent runners but players who embraced being Packers and interacting with fans.
Williams is off to Detroit with the Lions but last year’s second-round pick, Dillon, is ready to fill the void on both fronts. Talented and engaging in his own way compared to the joy and goofiness of Williams exhibited, Dillon’s got a chance to become a fan favorite.
“My goal when it's all said and done, when I'm done playing football, I want a key to Door County, at least Fish Creek, something like that,” Dillon said. “I just really enjoy it. When I got drafted, I moved straight out here, three days, four days later, a day before my birthday (May 2). I had no furniture, knew nobody out here, but I posted on my Instagram that I was here and I had people offering me lasagna, food, all types of stuff. I'm like, ‘I don't know if I'm going to take people's food,’ but it speaks to the type of people you have here and the type of fans that we have here. They're willing to go above and beyond. They really care. I'll go to the store and people will know who I am, but they're like, ‘Hurry up and pay.’ It's a great culture that we have here. More than just football, and I enjoy being here.”
Play of the Day
Rodgers and Adams ganged up on rookie cornerback Eric Stokes for a 60-yard touchdown. Adams used a double move and Rodgers gave a little twist of the shoulders to dupe Stokes, and Adams was off to the races.
Afterward, Rodgers spoke with his old friend Jones about his return to Green Bay. He brought up the play.
“It was a little strange Day 1 because I was gone for the entire offseason and contemplated my own future and the possibility of playing somewhere else, as well,” Rodgers said after practice. “But when I’m back here, I’m 100 percent all-in. I love my teammates, I love competing. I do love practice. I love to go out and give it to the young corner when I can and get after these guys, talk a little smack. Especially with a new D-coordinator in here, we’ve got to let him know how it goes.”
Packers Injury Report
New Injuries: None.
Old Injuries: None.
Returned to Practice: TE Marcedews Lewis, TE Isaac Nauta, S Henry Black. Black opened the season on the non-football injury list.
Non-Football Injury List: CB Kevin King (hamstring), S Will Redmond (foot), OLB Za’Darius Smith (back), LB Isaiah McDuffie (hamstring), DT Kingsley Keke (ankle).
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Physically Unable to Perform List: RB Patrick Taylor (groin), TE Dominique Dafney (knee), LT David Bakhtiari (knee), TE Josiah Deguara (knee).
Some Quick Reads
– Once again, Elgton Jenkins filled David Bakhtiari’s spot at left tackle and Jon Runyan Jr. and Ben Braden split the first-team reps at left guard. Late in practice, Runyan got a shot at center. For one series, Green Bay lined up with Billy Turner at left tackle, Braden at left guard, Josh Myers at center, Lucas Patrick at right guard and Dennis Kelly at right tackle.
Jenkins, by the way, has been so good that it’s easy to forget he’s not a left tackle.
– In his first field goals of training camp, Mason Crosby split the uprights on all eight attempts ranging from 33 to 53 yards. The 53-yarder had plenty to spare, as it soared over the net attached to the top of the uprights.
– After a series of individual drills focused on helping members of the punt team keep the ball out of the end zone, JK Scott punted seven times from the defense’s 45-yard line. It takes a deft touch, which Scott showed at times. Four of his seven punts were a success, with one out of bounds inside the 10, one spinning backward and out of bounds at the 11, and another out of bounds at the 2. On the fourth, quick-thinking rookie Shemar Jean-Charles overran the ball, stepped in the end zone, stepped out long enough to establish himself back in the field of play and downed the ball at the 5.
– With the caveat that this was a no-pads practice, defensive lineman Dean Lowry had a big day. In a span of three plays, he pushed past Myers and Patrick to create pressure.
– With the same caveat, tight end Marcedes Lewis helped create the hole that Aaron Jones burst through for a big gain. It probably was the best running play of the four days.
– Last season, undrafted rookie linebacker Krys Barnes had a better tackle rate than the NFL’s leading tackler, Zach Cunningham. Barnes has showed why throughout camp. He sees the ball and gets to the ball quickly. He is having an excellent start to camp.
– On a third-and-12, quarterback Jordan Love checked the ball down to running back Dexter Williams about 10 yards short of the first down. Williams turned down the jets and might have picked up the first down. Don’t forget about him in the battle to be the No. 3 back.
Packers Training Camp Schedule
After four consecutive days of practice to open training camp, the Packers are taking a mandatory day off on Sunday. The team will practice at 10:10 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday of next week. The team will put on pads for the first time on Tuesday. Saturday is Family Night.