GREEN BAY, Wis. – With no joint practices and no preseason games, teams around the NFL are trying to create the competitive scenarios to get ready for a season that will start in less than three weeks.
On Tuesday, the Green Bay Packers went through their longest and most physical practice of training camp. It had a little of everything, from unscripted periods to red zone, live tackling in another young players period, and extensive kicking and punting sessions.
“I felt like the flow was pretty good,” coach Matt LaFleur said afterward. “Definitely have to get back in the flow of calling plays, both myself and (defensive coordinator Mike) Pettine, just to make sure our tempo is on point and the guys are getting the calls in and are able to communicate at the best of their ability so we can have success. But, overall, I thought the competition was great. We presented out teams with a number of different scenarios from backed-up situations to red zone to two-minute to third downs, so I was pretty pleased overall.”
– It was mostly an excellent day by punter JK Scott. Of his 11 punts, five went at least 55 yards and two topped 60. He had only one awful punt (35 yards, 3.46 seconds of hang time).
– Sticking with special teams, Mason Crosby made all four kicks in the flow of the action but went 1-for-4 during a field-goal period. On the first, an extra-point attempt of 33 yards, Hunter Bradley’s snap traveled 7 of the required 8 yards.
– On a third-and-7, Rodgers found Allen Lazard streaking up the field for a gain of at least 30 and a potential touchdown of 75-plus yards had he beaten the last line of defense, safety Adrian Amos.
– Only one of four red-zone sequences found the end zone. The first was a Rodgers-to-Davante Adams touchdown that’s among our plays of the day. On the second, piloted by Tim Boyle, a second-down drop by running back A.J. Dillon ultimately meant a34-yard field goal. On the third, Rodgers underthrew Marquez Valdes-Scantling for what should have been a touchdown on third down. On the fourth, rookie quarterback Jordan Love scrambled and threw incomplete on second down and should have been intercepted by cornerback Stanford Samuels on third down.
– There were two 2-minute drills, both starting from the 25 with 1:20 on the clock. On the first, Boyle maneuvered the offense past midfield but, on third-and-2, his pass was deflected at the line and picked off by Samuels. On the second, Rodgers got the offense past midfield but the drive stalled on breakups by Amos and linebacker Christian Kirksey.
– Love looked good to start the final period, a session dedicated to the team’s younger players that featured live tackling. He threw strong passes to tight end Jace Sternberger for 28 yards and Malik Taylor for 11. On third-and-7, he hit tight end Josiah Deguara in stride for a big gain up the sideline. Later, however, he threw a bad ball in the face of pressure and was intercepted by rookie safety Vernon Scott. One play later, linebacker Oren Burks almost intercepted Love.
Missed practice: S Raven Greene (unknown), RT Rick Wagner (unknown), DT Montravius Adams (toe).
Dropped out: None.
PUP: LB Curtis Bolton (knee), OLB Greg Roberts, OT Yosh Nijman (elbow).
NFI: RB Patrick Taylor (foot), G Simon Stepaniak (knee).
Plays of the Day
Rodgers and Adams were part of two of the best plays of the day. The first came on third-and-11 from the defense’s 19. Adams made a leaping grab in the corner of the end zone of a pass thrown over cornerback Jaire Alexander. Adams celebrated by chucking the ball into the empty stands.
Later, in a starters-vs.-starters two-minute drill, Rodgers got the Packers rolling with gains of 14 yards to Valdes-Scantling and 18 yards on a screen to Aaron Jones to get the ball to the defense’s 43. The defense slammed on the brakes, though. After Amos dropped an interception on first down, the offense faced a third-and-10. Rodgers looked for Adams across the middle but Kirksey’s deep drop allowed him to break up the pass. Rodgers had nowhere to go on fourth down to end the drill.
Links of the Day
– Injured for the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine and unable to show his stuff to scouts at pro day because of the pandemic, linebacker Kamal Martin’s agents at Athletes First had him video his workouts to be sent to teams. The Packers selected him in the fifth round. Despite the long layoff and lack of offseason practices, Martin has thrown himself squarely into the battle to join Kirksey as the team’s starting linebackers.
Jim Nagy, who runs the Senior Bowl, chimed in via Twitter:
– Our Packers season preview is part of a 32-team preview at SI.com. After going 13-3 last season, what will be their record this season?
– Speaking of games without fans, the Packers probably aren’t grumbling about the prospects of playing in empty stadiums in Minnesota and New Orleans in September.
- In the SI.com Daily Cover, professional sports are back, but are they safe? Leagues, including the NFL, say yes. The overwhelming majority of athletes have decided to compete, with only receiver Devin Funchess opting out for the Packers. But doctors surveyed by SI tell a more complex story. Only 8.3 percent of doctors said they would “definitely” play in the NFL if their full income depended on it.
The Next Days
After four consecutive days on the field, the team will not practice on Wednesday. Then, it’s back at it with another four-day stretch of practices at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday on Ray Nitschke Field and noon Sunday in Lambeau Field.
Last Word of the Day
Here’s LaFleur on the goal for the season:
“Like I’ve said repeatedly, it’s about going 1-0 every week. I know that gets old and boring but that’s kind of our approach, that’s our mentality. I think every year in the National Football League, everybody starts with a clean slate. We’re all 0-0 and we’ve got to put that work in, and I’m proud of the efforts our guys have been giving on a daily basis throughout training camp, but you’ve got to go earn everything that you get. We know it’s going to be a tough, competitive season. There’s definitely going to be some motivation for some teams that we’re playing within our division to really come after us. I think our guys have embraced that and are just going to take it one day at a time.”