GREEN BAY – The Packers put on the shoulder pads for the first time this training camp on Tuesday during a practice that went almost two hours at Ray Nitschke Field.
Here are five things we learned:
1. Aaron Rodgers had a special message for Eric Stokes.
The Packers' rookie first-round pick has been thrown directly into the fire during the first week of training camp, with veteran Kevin King currently on the non-football injury list.
On a few occasions during team periods, that's required the 22-year-old to line up across from All-Pro receiver and route-running guru Davante Adams.
Perhaps the biggest eye-opener came last Friday when reigning MVP quarterback Rodgers fired a nearly unstoppable fade to Adams by the end-zone pylon. Head Coach Matt LaFleur credited Adams for the "freaky move" he made on the ball.
Afterward, Rodgers went out of his way to talk with the rookie.
"He was just pretty much telling me that he was gonna make me better day in, day out," Stokes said. "If I got any questions, please don't be hesitant to ask him anything. We all got one goal in mind. It doesn't matter. He's just trying to make me the best person I can be."
Echoing the remarks Jaire Alexander made as a rookie in 2018, Stokes said he maintains a short memory and enjoys learning from every first-team snap he takes – especially against a player like Adams, who earned the coveted "99" rating on latest edition of "Madden."
"The first time I was going against him, I was like, 'Yeah, man, I'm going to see what this '99' on 'Madden' is talking about," said Stokes. "So, when him and Rodgers beat me, I just looked at him like, 'Hey, he's a '99' for a reason,' and just moved on. I'm learning, I'm going to try to get up there with him, because hey, that's a big-man score. I need that big-time."
2. Stokes bought a house for his grandma…and a bunch of snacks for the defensive backs.
When Stokes was only 14 years old, he made a promise to get his grandmother out of the area she lived in Atlanta for more than 30 years and buy her the house of her dreams.
A month after he was drafted in the first round by the Packers, Stokes lived up to his word.
The 6-foot, 194-pound cornerback was crafty about it, too. Stokes bought the home but waited a month to surprise his grandma, who originally thought it went off the market. He documented the unveiling in an Instagram video in July.
"I can't even put words," Stokes said. "She thought somebody else already had the house. I still had her looking at different houses, not knowing that I had got her house. I had it for like a month and finally when I was able to come back after OTAs, I was able to give it to her. It was just a feeling I can never forget."
While Stokes might have been the 29th overall pick in April's NFL Draft, he's still the rookie responsible for obtaining snacks in the defensive backs room.
After Alexander joked this past week about how the first-round pick had been slacking in his duties, Stokes made a run to Target during the players' mandatory day off on Sunday to fill up the DBs' snack drawer for the week.
"They keep saying, 'Oh, man. What is your signing bonus?'" Stokes said. "I say, 'Ay, man. I love my money. I love to keep my money.' I'm not trying to keep spending this amount on snacks every week, so I'm trying to keep all I can."
3. T.J. Slaton shows he's more than just a big body.
The monstrous rookie defensive tackle showed he is more than just a 6-foot-4, 330-pound gap-filler.
Slaton made one of the biggest plays in Tuesday's practice when he deflected, and then intercepted, a pass from backup quarterback Jordan Love during a two-minute drill pitting the No. 2 offense against the No. 2 defense.
Slaton, who previously had an INT during his sophomore year at Florida, wasn't happy with just picking off Love. He rumbled downfield for an attempted pick-six.
"He had a great day," defensive lineman Dean Lowry said. "Even in the defensive meeting, he was dunking in flipflops in our team meeting room and he brought it into practice. He's had some good days. He's someone who definitely passes the eye test and moves very well. It was fun to see him make a big play today."
Alexander grabbed the defense's only other INT of the day, when he sniped a Rodgers pass intended for Adams during a team period.
4. Josh Myers is strengthening his hold on the starting center job.
If it wasn't obvious enough on the practice field, LaFleur confirmed the rookie second-round pick "more than likely" will be the Packers' starting center this season.
Myers, who drew rave reviews from Rodgers in a recent interview with the NFL Network's James Jones, has taken nearly every first-team rep at center since the start of OTAs.
Finally in pads, Myers took his first two one-on-one reps against Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kenny Clark. While Clark got the better of the rookie, Myers improved on the second rep and continues to command the offense in team periods.
"He's attacking it the right way," left tackle David Bakhtiari said. "He's a big man. I remember early on when he first walked in, I was like, 'What's your deal? You're either a terrible athlete or a bad football player, because why are you playing center being 6-foot-5?' And he kind of proved me wrong on both. I think he's got a good makeup to be a good football player for a long time."
5. LaFleur feels for Randy Ramsey after ankle injury on Monday.
LaFleur also confirmed that the injury Ramsey suffered in practice on Monday is serious, though he held out hope for the second-year linebacker returning to the team "at some point."
Ramsey, 25, had 11 tackles in 12 games last season, while finishing fourth on special teams with 204 coverage snaps.
"Yeah, that was not a good injury," LaFleur said. "It's a shame because he's done so much in terms of bringing that special-teams value, but also he's reliable when we've been putting him in there on defense as well and brings so much needed depth to that position.
"Other guys are going to have to pick up the slack. That's just the way the National Football League works unfortunately. I feel bad for him. He's worked really hard."
With Za'Darius Smith (back) still on NFI, the Packers rotated inside linebacker Kamal Martin with the outside linebackers on Tuesday. Martin suffered a brief injury scare of his own during one-on-ones, but later returned to practice.