5 things learned at Packers training camp – Aug. 25

Notes on empty stadiums, Billy Turner, Allen Lazard and Jon Runyan

Lambeau Field

GREEN BAY – In full pads, the Packers practiced inside Lambeau Field on Tuesday for the second of three times in training camp.

Here are five things learned from the day.

1. Playing in an empty stadium will be the norm for a while.

The Packers had already announced there will be no fans at Lambeau Field for at least the first two home games (Weeks 2 and 4). The Minnesota Vikings, who are hosting the Packers in Week 1, have now made the same announcement.

With the New Orleans Saints, the Packers' Week 3 road opponent, previously saying it's "unlikely" they'll be able to have fans when the Packers come to town (for their second home game, already canceling fans for their first), that points toward empty stadiums for at least the first four games on Green Bay's schedule.

While players have said it will definitely be odd, most who have commented on the issue don't think it'll take that much getting used to.

"It might look a little bit different when we get out there going through warm-ups and jogging out of the tunnel … but when we're in the huddle, I'm locked into '12' trying to hear the play call and making sure I know my assignment," receiver Jake Kumerow said after Tuesday's practice, speaking specifically about opening the season at an empty U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis that's notoriously loud. "I'm focused on the ball or the snap count. A lot of the times, you don't even really notice the crowd there, anyway."

It appears the first possible game for the Packers with fans would be following their Week 5 bye, at Tampa Bay in Week 6. At this point, the Buccaneers have said they plan to host fans this season but haven't said how many.

2. If the Packers want Billy Turner to play right tackle, he continues to look the part.

Turner took multiple reps in the one-on-one pass-rush drill Tuesday against edge rusher Za'Darius Smith, who was back in pads for the first time in several days, and held his own just fine. In 11-on-11, Turner took his share of reps against Rashan Gary as well.

Turner has been taking a lot more snaps at right tackle in recent days with Rick Wagner currently sidelined. Head Coach Matt LaFleur said earlier this week that Wagner's injury doesn't mean anything has been decided on the right side of the offensive line among Turner, Wagner and guard Lane Taylor, but he didn't know when Wagner would be cleared to return to action.

The Green Bay Packers practiced inside Lambeau Field on Tuesday, Aug. 25, for the second of three scheduled times in this training camp.

3. Allen Lazard might be starting to heat up.

Lazard hadn't gotten the ball much in 11-on-11 action through the first week of camp. Then over the weekend, he ran a post route in 7-on-7 red-zone work for a smooth, easy pitch-and-catch from QB Aaron Rodgers.

On Tuesday, Lazard made the biggest play of the day, finding a seam on a deep post when the defense appeared to bust a coverage in the middle of the field, and Rodgers put it right on the money. It likely would have gone for a nearly 80-yard touchdown.

Combine that with a few other 11-on-11 receptions in the workout, and Lazard had his best day of camp so far as the competition at wide receiver rolls on.

4. The young players appreciate their opportunities to actually tackle.

LaFleur ended Tuesday's practice similarly to Sunday's, by excusing the veterans and having the younger players go live, with full tackling, for the final period.

Linebacker Oren Burks had the most notable hit, standing up rookie running back AJ Dillon in the hole on a running play and eliciting some howls from his defensive teammates.

"These live periods have been huge," said rookie linebacker Kamal Martin, who has strung together multiple strong practices of late. "It's fun getting out there and cracking our pads a little bit."

5. Jon Runyan has seen his name above an NFL locker before, but it feels different now.

Runyan spent plenty of his childhood in the Philadelphia Eagles' locker room during his dad's pro career, but it still hit him to see his own nameplate inside Lambeau Field's locker room when he arrived in Green Bay late last month.

"That's really surreal, seeing my name in an NFL locker room, after being around my dad's for my whole life up until I was about 13-14 years old," said Runyan, a sixth-round pick from Michigan, where his dad also played. "I'm kind of living out my dream, and I'm sure he's excited to see me and how I've gone from going to his alma mater and making it all the way to the NFL."

Runyan has transitioned from playing tackle for the Wolverines to working at left guard for the Packers, and he feels like he's settling in. The adjustment to the speed of the game has been more significant than the position switch for him.

"I noticed right when I got here the first couple team periods that this definitely isn't college ball," he said. "You have to be really fast with your hands and feet, and what you could get away with in college I'm not getting away with here."

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