GREEN BAY – The Packers held their annual Family Night training session for 50,112 fans at Lambeau Field on Friday.
Here are five things we learned.
1. The No. 1 defense didn’t make it easy, and rookie LB Quay Walker showed up a lot in that regard.
The Packers’ start-up attack had its share of the 11-on-11 moves, but it was difficult to find much rhythm as the defense didn’t give up much on the field or in the run game.
Inside linebacker and first round draft pick Quay Walker helped set a tone early on by meeting Aaron Jones in scrimmage on an outdoor running game. Then Walker almost intercepted a pass on the goal line, but Aaron Rodgers drove a needle to the tight end of Marcedes Lewis as Walker whizzed past and just missed the ball.
Later, Walker made another nice play in the flat, stretching sideways to cover AJ Dillon on a checkdown throw and staying balanced so as not to be defeated by Dillon’s inward movement after the flyout. There was no live tackle, but clearly Walker would have packed the big running back into the open space.
One play Rodgers seemed to get things rolling, with three consecutive completions for Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Dominique Dafney, the defense bounced back to halt the next two plays. Walker had decent cover on Amari Rodgers on a shallow cross that was incomplete, then a deep pass for Lazard failed to connect.
“One thing we’ve challenged our defense on a bit is just the consistency with stopping the run, and then I think they did a pretty good job defending the pass and especially the deep balls and not much big pieces on the field,” said Head Coach Matt LaFleur.
“Our front seven can be quite salty, so I hope they make our attack that much better.”
2. The attacking star of the evening was rookie WR Samori Toure.
Toure got off to an early start with a nice adjustment and a sliding catch on an end zone fade from Jordan Love during one-on-one against the defensive backs. He then made a handy sliding into the corner on a pass from Danny Etling during 11-on-11 near the goal line.
The big highlight then came on a deep ball from Love, when Toure got behind two defenders and pulled in the pass for a touchdown of over 50 yards.
“I think he has really good body control and exercise,” LaFleur said of Toure. “He’s a smart guy who’s really working on it.”
Lazard added: “He definitely took a step forward tonight.”
Fellow rookie Romeo Doubs made another dazzling play, as he seems to do every day, this time with a disputed catch on a one-on-one deep ball in the end zone against cornerback Kiondre Thomas. Though later in 11-on-11, Doubs showed that he’s a human being, as he just missed a deep ball that seemed to go off his fingers.
“Really, all the rookies did a great job in that wide reception area,” said LaFleur. “They showed a lot of flashes. It will be interesting to see what happens next week in San Francisco.”