5 things learned at Packers training camp – Aug. 18

A good day for the starting DBs, TE Robert Tonyan’s strong start, and the depth on the offensive line

S Adrian Amos

GREEN BAY – The Packers put pads on for the first time in training camp Tuesday.

Here are five things learned from the workout.

1. The defensive backs with the first unit came ready to play.

Jaire Alexander was not easy for Davante Adams to shake in a long, developing route in one-on-ones. In 11-on-11, Adrian Amos made a diving interception in the red zone when Adams and QB Aaron Rodgers weren't on the same page. Amos also knocked away a pass in the back of the end zone intended for tight end Robert Tonyan, and Kevin King picked off a floater toward the corner for Tonyan when a blitz got pressure on Rodgers.

Those were some of the highlights for defensive backs coach Jerry Gray's unit in the first padded practice, and it's a good bet the No. 1 offense will come back Wednesday looking to turn the tide.

"I think we've got a pretty talented defensive back room," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said. "There's a lot of competition there and you look at our starters in particular, I feel as good about that group as any in the National Football League. They've still got to go out there and do it on a daily basis, but I think they're guys that love to compete, they're young and they're hungry."

Third-year corner Josh Jackson, who's looking to climb the depth chart, also had a solid day except for holding Marquez Valdes-Scantling in a one-on-one rep. In team drills, he broke up a couple of passes, nearly getting a pick on the final play of practice.

2. Those pass attempts to Tonyan were no accident. He's made his share of catches early in camp, too.

Coming back from a hip injury that cost him five games last season and left him less than 100 percent in several others, Tonyan is off to a solid start in camp in what's shaping up to be a good competition amongst all the team's young tight ends – Tonyan, Jace Sternberger, Josiah Deguara and Evan Baylis – behind veteran leader Marcedes Lewis.

"He worked extremely hard this offseason," LaFleur said of Tonyan, who had 10 receptions for 100 yards and a TD last season, with most of that production (four catches for 66 yards) coming in the first five games before his injury. "You can tell, his body, he looks in great shape. He's got a much better understanding of what we're trying to do on the offensive side of the football

3. There's reason to feel good about the Packers' interior offensive line depth.

Center Corey Linsley sat out practice as a precautionary measure, which led to both Lucas Patrick and Elgton Jenkins handling snaps with the No. 1 offense. Patrick is a versatile backup at all three interior spots, and it appears the coaches want Jenkins to be an option at center as well after he started there multiple years at Mississippi State.

As for the ongoing competition on the right side of the line, Billy Turner continues to take reps at both guard and tackle, and he expressed no preference with where he ends up. He expected to be asked to play both spots when he signed with Green Bay last year, so he's not sweating any uncertainty that comes with constantly rotating spots.

"I've never played the same position two years in a row," Turner said. "It doesn't really faze me. It doesn't really matter to me which of those positions I'm playing as long as it's the best five out there."

Practice snapshots from Green Bay's Aug. 18, 2020, training-camp practice.

4. The first few in-practice injuries occurred, no surprise in the first day in pads.

LaFleur provided no updates, but Za'Darius Smith, Montravius Adams and David Bakhtiari all left practice.

Smith's absence led to more outside linebacker reps for Tim Williams, Randy Ramsey and rookie seventh-round pick Jonathan Garvin, who are all battling for the No. 4 spot at that position behind the Smiths and Rashan Gary.

Adams, who has been getting some snaps with the first defense in the base package with three linemen, had just provided pressure in Rodgers' face from the interior when he came up limping and bowed out. Alex Light stepped in for Bakhtiari at left tackle when the four-time All-Pro stepped aside to talk to a trainer.

5. Aaron Jones' game-day family tradition will take a different form in 2020.

The Packers' star running back doesn't think he's ever played a football game in his life without at least one, if not both, of his parents in the stands. In basketball, yes, but not football.

That'll obviously change this year with the Packers not allowing any fans for at least the first two home games, and other NFL teams limiting or prohibiting fans this season. But Jones still plans on a game-day connection with his folks.

"I know they'll probably be here driving me up to the game, so I'll be talking to them right before going to the field," he said.

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