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Packers practice news and notes, 8/17: Fights steal the show vs Patriots

Seven — count them seven — fights broke out in joint practice on Thursday.

Syndication: Green Bay Press-Gazette Sarah Kloepping/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK

Thursday marked the final day of joint practices for the Green Bay Packers this summer, who previously had one practice with the New England Patriots and one practice with the Cincinnati Bengals during the preseason. This final practice, easily, was the chippiest of the bunch.

According to Packer Report’s Andy Herman, four fights broke out in a five-play span between the Packers and Patriots today. Per Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the total count of fights on Thursday was seven — leading to an ejection for a Patriots player and an early end to the joint special teams period.

Packers starting right guard Jon Runyan told Wood the following after practice, regarding the fights:

“I think there were rules and parameters that were agreed to by both sides when we first started, and I think at times both sides crossed them. Everything started spiraling from there, and I think it took a lot to try to reel everybody back in.”

In the pre-practice presser today, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said that he hopes to have joint practices with multiple teams again next preseason, but we’ll have to see if today’s scuffles changed his mind. He also wouldn’t commit to Jordan Love playing or not playing against the Patriots on Saturday, for those of you who were hoping to get another look at the quarterback after his performance against the Bengals last week.

On the injury front, the good news today was that left tackle David Bakhtiari, defensive end Kenny Clark and inside linebacker Tariq Carpenter were able to practice today after previously missing time. What is concerning, though, is that inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell’s locker included a scooter and a walking boot after practice, per The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman. Campbell was a new addition to the injury report this week with an ankle designation. Unfortunately, this one appears to be serious.


Beyond the day-to-day tracking of how Love is performing in practice, the big story on the offensive side of the ball this summer is the constantly reshuffling offensive line. With Bakhtiari in the lineup, the starters today were Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Jon Runyan Jr. and Zach Tom, according to Wood — who insinuated that that could be the Week 1 line. That lineup would leave Yosh Nijman, the team’s 2022 starting right tackle, as the odd man out.

Love’s day today was an extremely mixed bag, as Wood had him down for 14 of 30 for 98 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in team drills. In the early red zone period, Love threw two quick touchdowns to number one receiver Christian Watson, per Sports Illustrated’s Bill Huber, but did not connect on the other four throws in the period — including an interception.

Love threw his other interception on an aggressive “hole shot” pass into Cover 2, which we’ve seen him attempt in live action before against the Philadelphia Eagles. Later, in that same two-minute drill, tight end Josiah Deguara dropped a would-be touchdown from Love, according to Herman. On the second two-minute drill, another tight end — rookie Luke Musgrave — dropped another touchdown on fourth down.

To say the least, the Packers’ offense has seen better days. After a solid camp, today is a reminder that Green Bay’s passing game is still very young and is going to need time to grow together to click on all cylinders consistently.


With Campbell out of the lineup, Isaiah McDuffie was the “starting” inside linebacker next to Quay Walker with the first-team defense for the second-straight day of practice. McDuffie was also the first inside linebacker off of the bench in the preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. That’s a change from the Family Night practice, when Eric Wilson — a noted special teamer — played that role.

Jonathan Owens got the start at safety today opposite of Darnell Savage, per’s Wes Hodkiewicz. Owens started against the Bengals, but Wednesday’s practice featured Tarvarius Moore as the number two safety. It seems as though Green Bay has not yet made a decision on who will be Adrian Amos’ replacement.

Defensively, the Packers struggled as much as their offense did on Thursday. According to Chad Graff, who covers the Patriots for The Athletic, today was “the best [he’s] seen [the Patriots offense] look” since he began to cover the team. He added, “They just torched Green Bay’s defense both in a full-field drill and red zone period.”

There’s some debate about whether or not some plays would have resulted in sacks if the Packers and Patriots faced off in a live game, but the Patriots clearly played well today. Yesterday, the Packers dominated the Patriots’ offense — which struggled to block Green Bay up — which might have lit a fire under the group.

In the end, if we’re scoring wins and losses based on practice reps, the Packers and Patriots split this series.