GREEN BAY – The Packers held their annual Family Night practice Friday in front of 50,112 fans at Lambeau Field.
There are five things we learned.
1. The No. 1 defense wasn’t making anything easy, and rookie LB Quay Walker was showing plenty of that.
The Packers’ starting offense took over the game at 11-on-11, but the defense didn’t give them much of a down field or in the run game, so it was difficult to find much of a rhythm.
Inside linebacker and first-round draft pick Quai Walker helped set the tone early by beating Aaron Jones on the outside running game. Walker then came close to intercepting a pass on the goal line, but Aaron Rodgers threaded a needle through Mercedes Lewis and Walker just missed the ball with a screamer.
Later, Walker made another good play at the plate, sidestepping to cover AJ Dillon on a check throw and balancing to avoid being hit by Dillon’s inside motion after the catch. It wasn’t a straight fight but Walker wrapped up the big running back in the open.
A stretched Rodgers seemed to get things rolling, throwing three straight completions to Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Dominique Daphne, as the defense again managed to stop the next two plays. Walker had a good cover on Amare Rodgers on an incomplete shallow cross and then didn’t connect with Lazard’s deep ball.
One thing that challenged our defense was just consistency with stopping the run, and then I think they did a pretty good job defending the pass and especially the deep ball. He plays a big role on the field,” head coach Matt Lafleur said.
“Our front seven can be pretty salty, so I hope they make our offense that much better.”
2. The offensive star of the night was rookie WR Samori Toure.
Toure got going early, fine-tuning and sliding catches as Jordan Love faded one-on-one against defensive backs. Then they caught another nice slider in the corner on a pass from Danny Etling near the goal line at 11-on-11.
The biggest highlight came from Love’s deep ball as Toure got behind two defenders and dragged it 50-plus yards for a touchdown.
“I think he has really good body control and movement,” Lafleur said of Toure. “He’s a smart kid who works really hard at it.”
Added Lazard: “He definitely made a step up tonight.”
His teammate Romeo Dobbs made another eye-popping play, as he does every day, this time competing with cornerback Kyondre Thomas on a one-on-one deep ball in the end zone. Later in the 11-on-11, though, Dubs proved to be the man, as he missed a fake deep ball that looked like it was glancing off his fingers.
“Obviously all the starters did a fantastic job in that wide receiver class,” Lafleur said. “They showed a lot of flashes. It will be interesting to see what happens next week in San Francisco.”