GREEN BAY — The Packers conducted their annual Family Night practice Friday in front of 50,112 fans at Lambeau Field.
Here are five things we learned.
1. The No. 1 defense wasn’t making it any easier, and LB rookie Quay Walker was showing up a lot in that regard.
The Packers’ starting offense did its share of 11-on-11 plays, but it was hard to find much rhythm because the defense wasn’t giving up much on the field or in the running game.
Inside linebacker and first draft pick Quay Walker helped set the tone early when he met Aaron Jones at the line of scrimmage on an outside run play. Then, Walker almost intercepted a pass on the goal line, but Aaron Rodgers threaded a needle at tight end Marcedes Lewis with Walker rushing past and narrowly missing the ball.
Later, Walker made another fine play in the flat, stretching laterally to cover AJ Dillon on a control throw and staying in a balanced position not to be beaten by Dillon’s inside movement after the catch. There was no live tackle, but Walker would have clearly finished the big running back in open space.
The one stretch where Rodgers seemed to get things done, with three straight assists for Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Dominique Dafney, the defense bounced back to stop the next two plays. Walker had decent coverage on Amari Rodgers on a shallow cross that was incomplete, then a deep ball for Lazard didn’t connect.
“One thing that we kind of challenged our defense on is just consistency with stopping the run, and then I think they did a really good job defending the pass and especially the deep balls and not giving up a ton of big plays on the court,” head coach Matt LaFleur said.
“Our front seven can be quite salty, so hopefully they improve our attack further.”
2. The offensive star of the evening was rookie WR Samori Touré.
Toure started early with a good fit and a slippery grip on a fade from Jordan Love’s end zone during a one-on-one against the defensive backs. Then, in an 11-on-11 near the goal line, he made another nifty sliding catch in the corner on a pass from Danny Etling.
The big highlight then came on a deep ball from Love, as Toure got behind two defenders and fired the pass for a touchdown from over 50 yards.
“I think he has really good body control and body movement,” LaFleur said of Toure. “He’s a smart kid who really works there.”
Lazard added: “He definitely took a step forward tonight.”
Fellow rookie Romeo Doubs once again put on a stunning play, as he seems to do every day, this time with a contested hold on a one-on-one deep ball into the end zone against cornerback Kiondre Thomas. Although later in 11v11, Doubs showed he was human, as he narrowly missed a deep ball that appeared to slip past his fingertips.
“Really, all of the rookies did an amazing job in this huge reception hall,” LaFleur said. “They showed a lot of flashes. It will be interesting to see what happens next week in San Francisco.”