GREEN BAY, Wis. – Day 1 in pads was a day for the defense.
While it wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard at Ray Nitschke Field, the defense walked off the field following the third practice of Green Bay Packers training camp having scored a decisive victory.
That point was driven home at the end of practice, when coach Matt LaFleur split the team up for a pair of 11-on-11 battles. On the north side of the field, it was 1s against 1s. Aaron Rodgers and Co. had five snaps in the red zone but never got close to scoring. After a short completion to tight end Robert Tonyan:
- Rodgers threw incomplete to receiver/running back Tyler Ervin.
- Rodgers threw incomplete to Tonyan in the back of the end zone, with safety Adrian Amos racing across to almost intercept the ball.
- Rodgers threw incomplete to receiver Davante Adams, with nickel corner Chandon Sullivan jarring the ball loose.
- Rodgers threw incomplete to Adams. With nobody open and Rodgers buying a moment of time, his pass was almost intercepted at the front pylon by Josh Jackson.
On the day, Rodgers threw interceptions to Amos (a miscommunication between Rodgers and Adams) and cornerback Kevin King (an underthrown pass).
Even during one-on-ones, Rodgers had a hard time connecting with his receivers. Cornerback Jaire Alexander and Jackson broke up passes, and Jackson’s physicality prevented Marquez Valdes-Scantling from getting open.
“I think we’ve got a pretty talented defensive back room,” coach Matt LaFleur said afterward. “There’s a lot of competition there. You look at our starters in particular, I feel as good about that group as any in the National Football League. They’ve still got to go out there and do it on a daily basis, but I think they’re guys that love to compete, they’re young and they’re hungry.”
Some of the offense’s wounds were self-inflicted. Tim Boyle should have had a touchdown pass to tight end Jace Sternberger, who got free on a corner route but dropped the pass in the end zone. Fellow tight end Marcedes Lewis dropped a pass from Rodgers.
Missed practice: C Corey Linsley (precautionary).
Dropped out: LT David Bakhtiari, OLB Za’Darius Smith, DT Montravius Adams.
Packers Score 36 vs. Rams But ‘Should’ve’ Scored 40
Even their season-high scoring output left the Green Bay Packers wanting more following their 36-28 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
Packers Poised to Push for No. 1 Seed in NFC Playoffs
The Green Bay Packers have survived an onslaught of injuries to take a 9-3 record into the bye. Here's what's ahead for Green Bay and the other top NFC contenders.
COVID-19: LS Hunter Bradley, OLB Greg Roberts.
PUP: LB Curtis Bolton (knee), OT Yosh Nijman (elbow).
NFI: RB Patrick Taylor (foot), G Simon Stepaniak (knee).
Of note, Bolton took part in an extensive on-field workout. An undrafted free agent last year, he appeared to be on his way to making the roster last summer until suffering a torn ACL during a preseason game in Winnipeg.
Plays of the Day
During 11-on-11, Rodgers felt pressure from Preston Smith but saw Tonyan breaking clear on a corner route. Rodgers tried to lob the ball over King but the 6-foot-3 cornerback is too tall and can jump too high. King picked off the ball in the end zone to give the defense a third interception of Rodgers in training camp.
An honorable mention goes to rookie tight end Josiah Deguara. On a run-game drill, he delivered a pancake block. Later in practice, he made his first play as a receiver when he caught a pass from Boyle, ran through rookie linebacker Kamal Martin’s diving tackling attempt and raced into the end zone.
Links of the Day
- Will Billy Turner start at right guard, like last season? Will he replace Bryan Bulaga at right tackle? Or will he not start at all? Turner shared his thoughts about his training camp as well as social justice. “It’s been 600 years and it seems like we’ve made no strides forward.”
- Speaking of injuries, linebacker Oren Burks and receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling had their second NFL seasons derailed by injuries. Now, they’re healthy and eager to be major contributors. As Burks put it: “It’s just going to be the culmination of putting all the preparation in place, and just playing fast and confident.”
The Next Day
The Packers again will practice in pads at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. This practice, the third in a stretch of four practices in four days, will be lighter than Tuesday’s.
“We’ll cut back a little bit in terms of the intensity level,” LaFleur said. “We’re still going to have two live periods, but then we’re going to jog through the back half of the practice similarly to how we operate on a typical in-season Friday, just to try to limit some of the wear and tear on our guys, going four days in a row.”
Last Word of the Day
Because there will be no fans in the stands for at least the first two home games, running back Aaron Jones will miss out on playing in front of his parents. “I don’t think I’ve probably ever played a game without them in the stands. That’s something that’s special and you really can’t take for granted because of something like this. I know they’ll probably be here driving me up to the game, so I’ll be talking to them right before going to the field.”