The Green Bay Packers welcomed the New England Patriots to Ray Nitschke Field on Wednesday in the first of two joint practices.
Here’s everything you need to know from the session.
Attendance/injuries – Two new injuries
De’Vondre Campbell was a new absentee, missing out with an ankle injury. Bo Melton also missed out with a hamstring.
Matt LaFleur confirmed David Bakhtiari would sit out practice, but the plan was for the star left tackle to participate on Thursday.
Jaire Alexander continued to take part in individual drills and also took some team reps later in practice.
Still not practicing were Tariq Carpenter, Kenny Clark, Tyler Davis, Innis Gaines, Tyler Goodson, Caleb Jones, Lew Nichols, Eric Stokes, and Luke Tenuta.
Depth chart – Heath gets starting reps
The starting offense on Wednesday: Jordan Love, Aaron Jones, Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson, Luke Musgrave, Josiah Deguara, Yosh Nijman, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Jon Runyan, Zach Tom.
On defense: Devonte Wyatt, T.J. Slaton, Colby Wooden, Preston Smith, Lukas Van Ness, Quay Walker, Rasul Douglas, Keisean Nixon, Carrington Valentine, Darnell Savage, Tarvarius Moore.
Isaiah McDuffie filled in for Campbell with the starters in base. Malik Heath got some reps with the ones during team, as did Justin Hollins on defense.
Team period – Defense dominates
Green Bay’s offense struggled to move the ball early, as the New England defense proved a stiff test. Runs from Jones, A.J. Dillon, Patrick Taylor, and Nate McCrary were regularly shut down for little to no gain.
Love was ‘sacked’ early on by Matthew Judon, and Sean Clifford and Alex McGough were ‘sacked’ as well. Jabril Peppers beat Musgrave in pass pro, while Myers and Royce Newman were also beaten for pressures.
The offense warmed up soon after though, with Love completing a slant to Watson and then a checkdown to Dillon for around five yards. He tossed an excellent deep ball to Watson between a cornerback and safety, but it went through the receiver’s hands.
Jayden Reed caught a pass for what would’ve been a sizeable gain over the middle, and Love did well to dump the ball off to Jones in space in the flat just before being sacked. Dillon picked up a blitz and allowed Love to hit Doubs for about seven.
Jones found some running room to the left, showing great vision and juking a defender in the backfield. Emmanuel Wilson picked up yardage, cutting a run back inside.
With the twos, Heath hauled in a pass from Clifford which was slightly behind him while McGough unleashed a deep pass on the money to Tucker Kraft for a big gain, rolling to his left and finding his tight end on the sideline.
New England’s offensive lines struggled versus Green Bay’s fronts, whether it be the starters or backups. Karl Brooks had an effective pass rush and Brenton Cox had what likely would’ve been a sack, while Arron Mosby bull rushed his way into the backfield.
Coverage was tight on the back end too, as Valentine shut down DeVante Parker on a deep route. Douglas almost intercepted Mac Jones after undercutting a route by Hunter Henry but couldn’t come down with it.
The backup defense forced a coverage sack as William Hooper, Shemar Jean-Charles, Dallin Leavitt, Benny Sapp, and Kiondre Thomas locked up the Patriots’ pass catchers.
There was some success for the Patriots though, as Rhamondre Stevenson ran through a big hole, before receiver Demario Douglas ran the ball for a nice gain.
Jean-Charles and Thomas were beaten in coverage at different times and New England just missed a deep pass to Tyquan Thornton who had got the better of Moore.
Red zone – Musgrave finds paydirt
The connection between Love and Musgrave continued to blossom, as the QB hit his big tight end for a 25-yard touchdown, after Musgrave got up the right seam to beat Kyle Dugger and make a leaping grab. Love threw another touchdown to Doubs, who made a great catch.
Green Bay also ran a pop pass to Musgrave, who used his speed to pick up around seven yards. New England’s defense covered up Deguara on another throw which wouldn’t have made it to the end zone anyway.
The second-team offense had less success, as McGough and Clifford were both sacked and Deguara had a false start. A couple of Packers runs went nowhere and McGough saw a pass tipped, which then fell incomplete.
Heath continued to flash though, catching a pass from Clifford for decent yardage after a bootleg by the QB.
The Packers first-team defense prevented the Patriots offense from scoring in the first five reps from the 10-yard line, with Alexander quickly making his presence known, breaking up a pass intended for Parker.
Walker had tight coverage to force an incompletion and then combined with McDuffie to prevent a run to the outside from getting loose. McDuffie effectively plugged a running lane later, while Smith and Hollins were a handful as pass rushers.
In the second set of reps, the Patriots had more success, picking up yardage on a couple of runs. Jones fired a touchdown to his tight end from 10 yards out.
With the second team, Mosby put a stop to an end around before a fade towards the end zone was overthrown with Valentine in coverage. The Patriots scored on the next play from the five with a quick out.
Move the ball period – Love hits Watson for huge TD
Love uncorked some brilliant passes during the move the ball period, headlined by a 75-yard bomb to Watson for a score. Watson beat two Patriots defenders to get open on a corner route on the left sideline.
Earlier, Love sent a nice deep towards Doubs off play action, with Jones picking up a blitz, but the two couldn’t quite connect. He also hit Samori Toure for around 15 yards later.
With the twos, Wilson found yardage hard to come by on the ground, but Clifford hit Deuce Watts for a first down and later connected with Cody Chrest for a few yards.
Douglas was active versus the Patriots offense, almost bringing in another pick on a pass breakup and contesting another pass.
Smith and Wyatt chased Jones from the pocket, with the quarterback scrambling for a first down which was then brought back due to offensive holding.
New England also had a false start and had difficulty moving the ball generally, with Walker sniffing out a screen and Green Bay’s defense shutting down a draw play.
Kingsley Enagbare and Jonathan Ford stood out with the twos, with the former getting a ‘sack’ and a run stop, and the latter having two stuffs in the backfield. Elsewhere, passes were completed against Hooper and Rudy Ford.
Two-minute – Carlson misses game-winner
In Wednesday’s two-minute drill, the offenses faced a tie game with around 1 minute and 30 seconds left, with the ball at their own 25 and one timeout.
On the first play for the Packers’ ones, Love hit Doubs on a slant for 20 yards to get the drive started. He then threw incomplete deep to Doubs, overthrowing him with coverage tight.
Love followed that up with two completions to Watson and Toure as the clock ticked, before a defensive penalty by the Patriots and another slant to Doubs for a big gain.
With 11 seconds left at the Pats’ 25 and having burned the timeout, Love hit Doubs once again on a quick out for around five yards, with the receiver getting out of bounds.
An intentional throwaway burned a few seconds off the clock so the Packers could attempt a game-winning field goal, but Anders Carlson missed from 40.
With the twos, Clifford marched the Packers down the field on a drive which featured completions to Watts, Taylor, Wilson, and Chrest, as well as a scramble by the quarterback which picked up around 10.
Clifford gunned a touchdown to Heath from around 30 yards out in the front right corner of the end zone to win the drill.
Against the Patriots offense, Enagbare would’ve had a sack of Jones on the first snap, but it wasn’t called. Wyatt and Brooks then combined to get to him on the next play.
Jones then settled in and hit two big completions, followed by a scramble for more yardage and then a spike, setting up a 43-yard field goal which Nick Folk nailed for the win.
Special teams – Mystifying field goal miss
Carlson crushed all his kicks in the field goal period, making from 33, 42, 44, 49, and 51, but missed two 40-yarders in competitive periods, including one which was knocked down by the wind, coming up short and wide left.
Daniel Whelan impressed with a monster punt as he competes with Pat O’Donnell for the starting job.
Valentine and Dontayvion Wicks got work on the punt unit, while Reed took most of the punt return reps, with Nixon then taking a few.