Green Bay – The Packers held their annual Family Night rehearsal Friday in front of 50,112 fans at Lambeau Field.
Here are five things we learned.
1. The #1 defense wasn’t making anything easy, and rookie LB Quay Walker was showing off a lot in this regard.
The starting attack made the players its share of play in 11v11, but it was hard to find a lot of rhythm because the defense wasn’t giving up much on the field or in the running game.
Indoor quarterback and draft picker Kwai Walker helped set the tone early by meeting Aaron Jones at the line of scrimmage at an outfield play. Walker then nearly intercepted a pass at the goal line, but Aaron Rodgers made a needle to seal the end of the Mercedes Lewis with Walker buzzing and missing the ball.
Later, Walker made another nice flat play, extending laterally to cover A.J. Dillon in the checking layup and staying in a balanced position so as not to overpower Dillon’s inner movement after the catch. There was no direct involvement but it was clear that Walker would have wrapped up the big run back in an open space.
Rodgers’ only stretch seemed to make things spin, with completing three games in a row for Allen Lazard, Randall Cope and Dominic Daphne, the defense bounced back to stop the next two games. Walker had good coverage for Amary Rodgers on a shallow cross that was incomplete and then a deep ball didn’t make contact with Lazard.
“The only thing our defense has been a bit challenging is just the consistency with stopping the run, and then I think they did a great job defending the pass and especially the deep balls and not giving up a lot of big playing on the field,” said coach Matt LaFleur.
“Our seven offensive streak can be quite salty, so I hope they make our attack that much better.”
2. The star of the night was the rookie WR Samori Toure.
Toure started early with a nice tweak and a slip capture on the end zone fade from Jordan Love during the head-to-head against the defensive linebacker. Then during 11-on-11 near the goal line, he made another neat slip into the corner on a pass from Danny Ettling.
Then the big highlight came on Love’s deep ball, as Toure stood behind two defenders and pulled it into the pass to land over 50 yards.
“I think he has a good ability to control his body and his body movement,” LaFleur said of Toure. “He’s a smart kid who really works at it.”
“He definitely made a move tonight,” Lazard added.
Fellow rookie Romeo Dobbs once again made an eye-catching play, as he seems to do every day, this time by grabbing a deep ball one-on-one in the end zone against cornerback Keunder Thomas. Although later on 11-on-11, Doubs showed himself to be a human, as he just mistook a deep ball that looked like it was looking out of his fingers.
Really, all the freshmen did a great job in that spacious reception room,” LaFleur said. “They showed a lot of flashes. It will be interesting to see what happens next week in San Francisco.”