Wednesday’s practice in Green Bay was a day that many had circled on their calendar for weeks now, as the Packers took on the New York Jets for the first day of two joint practices at Nitschke Field. With Matt LaFleur’s close connections to the Jets via head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator/brother Mike LaFleur, the hope is that this week the two sides can communicate effectively across sidelines about what they hope to work on in specific periods to make both teams better coming out than they were coming in.
Pre-practice presser: head coach Matt LaFleur
- LaFleur stated that quarterback Jordan Love (shoulder) will not practice, but is throwing. The team continues to play the situation conservatively, but he has a chance to suit up on Saturday against the Jets.
- LaFleur’s message to Robert Saleh, who LaFleur was once a best man for? “Don’t hold back, man.”
- Quarterback Jordan Love, receivers Chris Blair and Juwann Winfree, and safety Vernon Scott were the only active roster Packers today who were not healthy enough to practice. Scott’s injury is a hamstring issue.
- The Packers started guards Jon Runyan Jr. and Lucas Patrick at guard in Week 1 of the preseason but shifted to giving Ben Braden and rookie Royce Newman first-team looks earlier this week. For the first day of joint practice against the Jets, the team sent out Runyan and Newman as the starters.
- With Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon (calf) only participating in individual drills, rookie Kylin Hill took over as the starting running back in team periods.
- Cornerback Kevin King was also held out of team periods, giving rookie first-rounder Eric Stokes the opportunity to “start” in the joint practice.
- In the third down period, the Packers' defense beat the Jets’ offense 10 of 16 times, with sacks from Preston Smith, Eric Stokes, and Kingsley Keke, per Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber.
- Last week’s offensive standout wide receiver Devin Funchess was carted off the field in practice for what appeared to be a hamstring injury. There has been no update on the situation.
- Swing tackle Dennis Kelly also sustained an injury but was able to walk under his own weight afterward.
It’s getting heated. Jets LB Jarred Davis just laid out #Packers TE Josiah Deguara on the right sideline. The type of hit that shouldn’t happen in practice. Davante Adams followed Davis back to the Jets defensive huddle, letting him know the whole way.— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) August 18, 2021
- More on Jarrad Davis later, as Aaron Rodgers had comments on the former Detroit Lions linebacker in his post-practice availability.
- Green Bay scored on a 3rd and long in a two-minute period against the Jets with an Aaron Rodgers deep shot to speed demon Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
- The Jets offense lost to the Packers defense in their two-minute period, as the team didn’t want to attempt a Hail Mary. A good reminder that camp is just camp. Everyone is holding a little back for live games.
- Lucas Patrick, who started at right guard against the Texans, actually saw center snaps with the second team and pushed Jake Hanson, a center in college, to right guard. If you’re reading between the lines here, Green Bay’s trying to figure out if Patrick can play center and guard off the bench, if needed, putting Hanson’s roster spot at risk.
- The joint session was the longest practice of the summer for the Packers.
Post-practice presser: QB Aaron Rodgers
- Rodgers doesn’t seem to be a big fan of joint practices, as he explained that when the team had joint practices with Houston in 2019 that the squad gave them unrealistic defenses in situational football. Here are his thoughts on Day 1 against the Jets: “I’ve never been a huge fan of joint practices...It is nice to see this defense, which has been going around the league now a little bit more...Good defense. One person who has inflicted a lot of concussions on our guys, so that’s probably the only thing I was worried about. Mr. [Jarrad] Davis has one of the hardest heads I think in NFL history.”
- “Up front, you know, we have some things we have to clean up though for sure. There’s definitely jobs to be won,” said Rodgers. The pressure is on at guard.
- When asked about his expectation to be more involved in the construction of the team, Rodgers stated, “Conversation is the most important thing. I pride myself on being reasonable and rational. Sometimes what I think is best might not be best based on gathering all of the evidence and all the opinions and hearing thoughts from a bunch of different people. Just being in the conversation would be a great start and that’s kind of what I expressed since February.”
- QB1 also mentioned that there is no pressure coming from him, David Bakhtiari, or Randall Cobb to actually sign former Packer Clay Matthews. Their posts on social media stemmed from a night when the three of them were together and called Matthews, who is allegedly a farmer now.
- There has been a lot of talk about the issues at guard following the Texans matchup in Week 1 of the preseason, but Rodgers took the time to re-evaluate rookie center Josh Myers, who he had previously praised: “Today, mentally, I don’t think he was as sharp as he has been in the past. Expect him to bounce back tomorrow. Overall, he’s done a really nice job...We need to see the consistency...We got to get him to think as fast as I can think.”
- “I don’t want a farewell tour. I don’t know what’s going to happen at the end of the season, but I’m going to enjoy it with the right perspective for sure,” claimed Rodgers.