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5 takeaways from Packers Family Night practice

Young players shine in front of big crowd

Anders Carlson
Anders Carlson

GREEN BAY – The Packers conducted their annual Family Night practice Saturday in front of 65,222 fans at Lambeau Field.

Here are five takeaways from the event:

1. Rookie kicker Anders Carlson was the star of the night.

The sixth-round draft pick from Auburn had a lot of eyes on him after several up-and-down kicking sessions during practice over the past week.

But he found his groove and looked completely unfazed by the big crowd and bright lights. Starting at 40 yards and working his way back, Carlson was 8-of-9 on his field goals, the only miss coming from 50 and the result of a bad snap by undrafted rookie Broughton Hatcher.

Carlson finished the night by making three straight from 50-plus (51, 53, 51), all with several yards to spare. The last one closed out the final two-minute drill of the night by the reserves on offense.

"Anytime you get in an environment like that, it can't help but build confidence for him," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "I was super proud with the poise that he showed and the execution. If we can get that, I think he's going to be A-OK, because he's got a big-time leg."

2. QB Jordan Love recovered from a rough start to get things going and finish strong.

Love completed just one pass, and a short dump-off at that, in the first 11-on-11 team period of the night. But the first-team offense was much more competitive against the first-team defense as the night progressed, and then Love ended with a really sharp two-minute drill.

The possession actually started with a poorly timed snap from center Josh Myers. It hit Love in the arm because he wasn't ready for it. LaFleur gave the offense a mulligan and on the restart the offense marched 75 yards in four plays for a touchdown.

Love hit rookie tight end Luke Musgrave for 30 yards on a seam route and found receiver Christian Watson for 20 yards on an in cut, putting the ball on the defense's 25-yard line. Then a short run by Aaron Jones was followed by a great throw and catch from Love to Watson on a back-shoulder throw along the end zone sideline against cornerback Corey Ballentine.

"I'm sure the adrenaline was pumping quite a bit early on," LaFleur said. "He missed a couple throws, but I thought he settled down. He ended it as good as you could have in that two-minute situation.

"We've known that about Jordan in terms of just the resiliency and the poise that he possesses. That's one of those characteristics that you can't coach. That tends to be life for a young quarterback. It's going to be a rollercoaster."

3. Rookie defensive linemen Karl Brooks and Colby Wooden were providing interior pressure.

Wooden, the fourth-rounder from Auburn, got into the backfield early in the 11-on-11 work, and then Brooks, the sixth-rounder from Bowling Green, had what would've been two sacks in the reserve units' two-minute drill at the end of practice.

They've had similar moments in practices throughout the past week and the carryover to Family Night was a positive sign. Next up for them are the preseason games, when they're likely to see the field plenty.

"Those are two guys that give us some juice on the interior D-line," LaFleur said. "They're going to get a lot of minutes, or a lot of snaps. It's going to be a gradual process, but they're two guys that we're going to have to count on."

The Green Bay Packers held their 22nd Family Night practice at Lambeau Field on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023.

4. The tight ends continue to make their presence felt.

Josiah Deguara remains out with a calf injury, but following up a Thursday practice in which Tyler Davis' blocking and Musgrave's and Tucker Kraft's pass catching stood out, that production continued under the lights.

Davis is proving to be the best blocker of the bunch. Musgrave's aforementioned downfield reception in two-minute capped a night that began with standout work in the one-on-ones against the safeties. Kraft hauled in a couple of passes in 11-on-11 as well.

5. Tariq Carpenter is settling in at inside linebacker.

The 2022 seventh-round draft pick from Georgia Tech who began his pro career at safety switched to inside linebacker in Year 2 and showed he's starting to take to the new spot.

He made a leaping interception on a pass over the middle from rookie QB Sean Clifford during a live tackling period, and then later in that same sequence, he snagged another pick on a pass that undrafted rookie safety Benny Sapp III knocked from rookie fifth-round receiver Dontayvion Wicks' hands with a big hit. will have more on Carpenter in a follow-up story Monday morning.

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