GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers are about two weeks away from kicking off the season at Minnesota against the Vikings. They’ll need a lot better performance from the offense if they’re going to start the season with a victory.
Here’s how the third sequence of four plays operated by Aaron Rodgers and the No. 1 offense broke down. Literally. On the first, Rodgers turned down wide-open tight end Robert Tonyan until the pocket totally collapsed around him. On the second, Rodgers completed a pass to Allen Lazard but the ball was high. (See Plays of the Day.) On the third, Rodgers was intercepted. (See Plays of the Day.) On the fourth, a series of fakes resulted in a fumble.
Earlier, the No. 2 offense led by Tim Boyle performed just as poorly. On the first, Boyle underthrew receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling. On the second, running back AJ Dillon dropped a toss for a fumble. On the third, Boyle failed to get the snap from Lucas Patrick. That was followed by a false start.
“I don’t think it was up to our standards,” coach Matt LaFleur said. “Certainly, that’s what I talked to the guys about. Every time we step on that field, we’ve got to have that urgency, we’ve got to have attention to detail. It starts with me. It starts with myself, it starts with our coaches and it trickles to our players. We’re all going to be accountable to one another. When it’s not good enough, you can’t be afraid to let everybody know. Again, it starts with myself.”
Missed practice: WR Equanimeous St. Brown (unknown), S Raven Greene (unknown), CB Kabion Ento (foot), CB Will Sunderland (unknown), OLB Randy Ramsey (unknown), TE Marcedes Lewis (perhaps veteran rest), DT Montravius Adams (toe), DT Treyvon Hester (unknown).
Dropped out: LB Oren Burks (unknown).
PUP: LB Curtis Bolton (knee), OLB Greg Roberts.
NFI: RB Patrick Taylor (foot), G Simon Stepaniak (knee).
Of note, without Adams and Hester, Packers GM Brian Gutekunst didn't sound alarmed about his defensive line depth. "We’re hopeful that none of those will be long-term. Certainly we feel like we’ve got enough healthy bodies and talent to compete coming into Week 1."
Plays of the Day
– Aside from the offense’s unforced errors, the defense won the day. Maybe the most impressive play by the No. 1 offense was Lazard’s leaping catch on a deep, in-breaking route. However, safety Adrian Amos was waiting behind Lazard and would have given him a shot from behind to potentially prevent the completion. On the next play, Chandon Sullivan intercepted Rodgers’ deep shot to Davante Adams. Sullivan had inside position and that's where the ball was located on a blustery day.
– The offense badly needs another playmaker. Maybe it will be Valdes-Scantling, who has shown signs of being that guy in his first two seasons but has failed to do it with consistency. He’s had a consistently strong training camp. During a third-down session, he made a lunging catch to convert a third-and-7 against Jaire Alexander.
Links of the Day
– The Packers will practice in Lambeau Field on Sunday. Without a preseason, this will be about as close as it gets to a game before the Week 1 game at Minnesota. Explained LaFleur: “The NFL’s coming in here to help us just with your typical game-day procedures. We’ll have some officials – that’ll be the first time we’ve had officials here (this camp). So, I’m really excited to see how these guys respond to that situation, to hear the call, so they can go out there and play fast and just really excited for that opportunity for these guys.”
– Rosters must be trimmed from 80 to 53 by 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6. At this point in most training camps, Gutekunst would have a pretty good feel for his roster. Instead, he lost four weeks of practices in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, training camp started late and the preseason was eliminated.
The Next Days
After Sunday’s practice in Lambeau Field, the Packers have a scheduled off-day on Monday. LaFleur will turn to an in-season schedule next week. "Although we’ll still have some training camp-type practices in terms of going good on good [starters vs. starters, for instance], we will start implementing some carded periods to start to focus our attention on the Minnesota Vikings."
Last Word of the Day
Here’s center Corey Linsley talking about LaFleur’s hands-on approach to coaching:
“The term ‘players’ coach’ gets thrown around, I feel like, too much. I don’t even know what it means anymore, but Coach LaFleur has always come in with that attitude that he wants the best out of everybody. [He has] kind of a hands-on attitude where kind of played psuedo quarterback in some of the one-on-one drills, stepping up in the pocket and really delivering a throw. I’ve had a ton of respect for him, just the way that he’s carried himself from Day 1, just acknowledging guys, acknowledging the experience that guys have had, understanding that we work hard, and sometimes that kind of gets lost in the fray. He really does a great job of integrating himself day in and day out into meetings, into the offense and into the defense, and into all aspects of this game on the field, off the field, in individual drills. I think that means a lot to guys, and that goes a long way when you’ve got a coach that’s willing to do that.”