Packers 31, Titans 17: 2-minute drill

GREEN BAY — In a game that looked very much like the first preseason contest of the year, the Green Bay Packers earned a 31-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night at Lambeau Field.

Play of the Game

He played just one drive, but Davante Adams still had the play of the game. The clear No. 1 wide receiver on the roster, Adams beat Tennessee offseason addition Malcom Butler down the left sideline and quarterback Brett Hundley laid it right on him for a 44-yard gain. The Packers would score three plays later to take a 7-0 lead.

Game Balls

Offense: WR Marquez Valdez-Scantling

Green Bay has plenty of young wide receivers trying to make an impact, but none performed as well as Valdes-Scantling on Thursday. He led the way with five catches for 101 yards, while also pulling in a ridiculous touchdown catch to in the fourth quarter. The sixth-round pick also accounted for the second-longest play of the night, hauling in a 51-yard pass from quarterback DeShone Kizer on what could have been a score with a better ball.

It’s early, but Valdes-Scantling showed, albeit in a small sample size, that he’s got a chance to be a player for the Packers.

Defense: LB Oren Burks

When Jake Ryan went down for the season with a knee injury during the first week of training camp, many looked to Burks to fill that role. On Thursday, he did just that. The rookie finished with a team-high six tackles, including five solo stops. He showed, at times, the athleticism to shadow running backs out of the backfield and also the willingness to step up and fill a hole.

We only saw a vanilla version of the Packers defense, but it feels like new coordinator Mike Pettine has something to work with in Burks.

Special Teams: P JK Scott

This won’t be the only time Scott earns this honor. He’s been fantastic during camp and he showed his value on Thursday night, completely flipping the field late in the third quarter with a 52-yard punt that pinned the Titans deep in their own territory.

When you take a punter in the fifth round of the draft, he better be really good. So far, Scott has been.

Videos of the game

In Case You Missed It

— As it is the preseason, a large number of players were held out for the Packers. Here’s the list of guys that didn’t play:

Trevor Davis
Aaron Rodgers
Randall Cobb
Kevin King
Jaire Alexander
Devante Mays
Aaron Jones
Tramon Williams
Joe Kerridge
Clay Matthews
Nick Perry
Lane Taylor
David Bakhtiari
Bryan Bulaga
Mike Daniels
Jimmy Graham
Mo Wilkerson

— Jake Kumerow and Tim Boyle have both earned plenty of praise for their work during training camp. The duo carried it over to the game, especially late in the fourth quarter when they hooked up on a pretty 52-yard touchdown.

— At one point in the fourth quarter there were three former Badgers on the field. Linebacker Vince Biegel and defensive tackle Conor Sheehy lined up for the Packers, while Tyler Marz was at left tackle for the Titans. Biegel was credited with recovering a fumble, while Sheehy finished with a pair of tackles.

Inside the Numbers

81.9 — That was the passer rating for Hundley, who is in a battle with Kizer for the backup job to Rodgers

356 — That’s how many yards the Packers threw for on the night

7 — That’s how many targets rookie wide receiver J’Mon Moore had on the night. He caught just three of them and dropped a potential 50-yard touchdown from Boyle.

What’s Next

Green Bay (1-0) will host Pittsburgh (1-0) next Thursday in the second preseason game for both teams.

Packers: Jerry Kramer (finally) enshrined in the Pro Football HOF

He waited much longer than most thought he should have, but Jerry Kramer is officially a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Green Bay Packers great was enshrined Saturday night, nearly 50 years after he played his final game. Kramer, a five-time first-team All-Pro, was one of the men that led the way for Vince Lombardi’s famous power sweep in the 1960s, helping the franchise to five NFL titles. One of the guards on the Hall of Fame’s All-1960s teams, Kramer becomes the 13th, and likely last, player from the Lombardi era to earn a spot in Canton.

Flanked by his daughter, Alicia, who led the charge for her father’s candidacy, the now 82-year-old regaled the crowd with stories from his playing days, including his first contract negotiation where he says he left a few dollars on the table.

The addition of Kramer gives Green Bay 25 players in the HOF, the second-most of any franchise, trailing only the Chicago Bears with 28.

Packers lose LT David Bakhtiari to injury

GREEN BAY — The Green Bay Packers offensive line took a hit Saturday night.

Left tackle David Bakhtiari was injured during a team period midway through the annual Family Night practice at Lambeau Field. The veteran had his left ankle looked at on the sideline and was eventually carted to the locker room.

“I saw him on the ground and didn’t really think that much of it. I thought maybe he got tripped up,” tackle Kyle Murphy said. “Then I looked back and saw him limping and getting up slowly. Thoughts to him. Hopefully it’s all good and nothing too bad.”

A second-team All-Pro the last two years, Bakhtiari missed four games last season due to injury. Prior to that, he had started 62 of 64 games in his career.

Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters right after practice that he didn’t have much information on the injury, but did confirm it was to his ankle.

In the locker room, several teammates were optimistic that the injury wasn’t too serious, including guard Lane Taylor. He told The Athletic’s Michael Cohen that while he wasn’t a 100 percent sure, he believed Bakhtiari would be fine.

When Bakhtiari went out, Murphy replaced him with the first-team offense. Last season, Murphy started three games, including one at left tackle, before a season-ending injury in late September.

“We’ll see what happens with it,” Murphy said. “In any case, the next man has to be ready to go for practice, preseason, regular season or whatever the case may be.”

Bakhtiari wasn’t the only concern. Wide receiver Randall Cobb missed practice with an ankle injury. McCarthy said it’s the same ankle that Cobb had surgery on after minicamp wrapped up in mid-June. Cobb told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky that he wasn’t overly concerned with the injury and that the team was just managing his soreness.

Green Bay will be back on the field for practice on Monday.

Bryan Bulaga cleared to practice with Packers

The Green Bay Packers received good news on Friday as offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga officially passed his physical and was cleared to practice with the team, coach Mike McCarthy announced.

Bulaga began training camp on the Physically Unable to Preform list due to the ACL tear he suffered in his right knee last season on Nov. 6 against the Detroit Lions. He missed the final eight games of the season last year due to the injury.

Green Bay’s expectation is that he will be ready for the team’s regular season opening game on Sept. 9 against the Chicago Bears. For the time being he will be limited in training camp, however.

The Packers open the preseason slate on Thursday Aug. 9 at home against the Tennessee Titans.

Report: Packers lose linebacker for the season

The Green Bay Packers were dealt some tough news on Wednesday morning when it was reported by NFL Network that linebacker Jake Ryan would miss the 2018 season with a torn right ACL.

Ryan, a fourth-year player, went down with an injury on Monday during the team’s fourth practice of training camp. In 2017 Ryan played in 15 games for the Packers totaling 52 tackles and a sack on the year.

The Packers may look to fill the void with younger players on the roster, such as 2018 third-round draft pick Oren Burks. On Tuesday, general manager Brian Gutekunst told reporters that the team planned on being patient with the situation and giving the players in house a chance before looking outside the organization for help.

Green Bay safety Kentrell Brice also went down with a leg injury on Monday at practice. His is not expected to be as serious, however.

Packers: LB Jake Ryan reportedly done for the season

Jake Ryan’s season is over.

The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted Wednesday morning that the Green Bay Packers linebacker suffered a torn ACL in his right knee and will miss the rest of the year.

Ryan started 12 games last season, finishing with 79 tackles. He was slated to be a part of the first-team defense again this year before getting injured during Monday’s practice.

The loss of Ryan means one of Green Bay’s young linebackers will need to step up. Among the candidates is third-round pick Oren Burks. Even before the Ryan injury, the Vanderbilt product was expected to be used in a couple packages to take advantage of his athleticism. Now, that role will likely be expanded.

As for bringing a veteran in from the outside to compete for the spot, general manager Brian Gutekunst said Tuesday that they are always working on plans behind the scenes, but for now they plan to be patient and let some of the young guys battle.

The Packers are off from practice Wednesday. They’ll return to the field on Thursday.

Packers: 2 starters carted off at training camp

Monday was not a good day for the Green Bay Packers.

In just the second padded practice of training camp, the team saw two of its defensive starters carted off with leg injuries.

According to PackerReport.com’s Bill Huber, safety Kentrell Brice was injured during punt drills and stayed down for several minutes before trainers drove him inside the Don Hutson Center. Then, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, fourth-year linebacker Jake Ryan went down in a heap late in practice grabbing his right knee. He was eventually taken inside on a cart as well.

Green Bay also saw defensive tackle Mike Daniels suffer a leg injury, but The Athletic’s Michael Cohen reported he walked through the locker room and was laughing and joking with teammates afterwards.

If the injury to Brice is significant, it’s a big hit for the defense. He had been running with the first-team defense after missing the final two months of last season with an ankle injury. The Packers had big expectations for the former undrafted free agent, and coach Mike McCarthy even mentioned him in his press conference before practice.

As for Ryan, he was also rolling with the first-team defense. Fellow starter, Blake Martinez, told reporters afterwards that Ryan was devastated by the injury, which suggests it’s of a severe nature. Ryan has started 27 games the last three years, including 12 last season when he had 79 tackles and one sack.

Takeaways from the first three days at Packers training camp

GREEN BAY — The Green Bay Packers have held three practices in training camp so far, which means it’s way too early to draw conclusions about what we’ve seen. However, that’s not going to stop us from doing so anyway. So here’s our takeaways from the first three days, including the first practice in pads on Saturday.

1) Working to get on the same page

The free agent tight end was the biggest offseason acquisition for Green Bay on offense, joining the Packers after three seasons in Seattle. Rodgers has looked to Graham a number of times during 11-on-11 work but the two have rarely hooked up. It’s looked, at different times, like Rodgers has tried to force the ball to Graham, including on a goal line snap Saturday. Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix read it and nearly picked the ball off. It’s early, but as Graham said after the third practice, it’s his job to get on the same page as Rodgers and he’s working to do that.

2) Ty Montgomery could still be a factor

Whether Aaron Jones or Jaamal Williams end up being the No. 1 running back this season, it still seems like Ty Montgomery is going to play a role in Green Bay’s offense. He spent Friday working with the first-team offense during the two-minute drill and did so lining up all over the field. The fourth-year back also got time on Saturday with the starters and was more than happy to run right over someone at the goal line. Fans may have given up on Montgomery, but it doesn’t appear the Packers have.

“I don’t remember ever giving up any sacks. I’ve always broken tackles, made guys miss. I’ve had explosive plays. It’s just a matter of being hurt and wearing (No. 88) in the backfield. I think there’s a certain narrative that comes with that. But I’m not going to let that be a distraction.” — Montgomery

3) Vibe around the defense is different

Reporters can’t go into detail on formations and play calls, but it’s safe to say there are significant differences on defense with new coordinator Mike Pettine. That will be clear to fans when they see what Green Bay throws at opponents during the regular season. But they’ll also notice a more intense nature from the players and the sideline. No one on defense is afraid to get in someone’s face, whether it’s another defender or someone on offense. After so many years with much of the same coaching staff, things needed a boost emotionally and they’ve clearly gotten that. Will it matter when the bullets start flying on game days? Who knows, but lack of effort or emotion will not be something the defense will be accused of this season.

4) Young WRs making plays

Green Bay drafted three wide receivers in April after already having several more intriguing young guys on the roster. Seemingly, all of them have made plays in the first three days. Trevor Davis, a 2016 draft pick, had the catch of the day on Thursday, while undrafted free agent Jake Kumerow flashed on Friday. On Saturday, with the pads on for the first time, it was the draft picks turn. Marquez Valdez-Scantling hauled in a beauty of a touchdown in the corner of the end zone during team drills and just a few plays later J’Mon Moore was celebrating a score on a reception in the back of the end zone. It’s clear that Davante Adams and Randall Cobb are the starters, and Geronimo Allison is likely to be the No. 3, but the battle for the other spots is going to be fascinating to watch over the next few weeks.

5) Kyler Fackrell won’t go quietly

It was just one rep in 1-on-1 drills, but because of who was involved it became notable. A third-round pick in 2016, Kyler Fackrell had won exactly one rep in pass rushing drills his first two training camps. Yeah, read that again. We’re not talking about the first two days of this training camp. We’re talking about the entirety of his first two years of training camp. So when he stepped in against one of the best left tackles in the NFL — David Bakhtiari — on Saturday, most were expecting domination. That didn’t happen. Instead, the Utah State product shot up field against Bakhtiari before ripping his arm over the top and getting back inside for what likely would have been a sack. It stunned people watching, and though it means little in the overall perspective, it has to provide confidence for Fackrell, who plays a position where the Packers need multiple people to step up.

https://twitter.com/packers/status/1023360703254724608

6) JK Scott looks the part

Whether you’re a fan of the Packers drafting a punter in the fifth round or not, it’s impossible not to be impressed with what JK Scott has done early in camp. His punts have elicited oohs and aahs from media and fans alike, especially on a couple of the 60-yard boots with impressive hang time on Thursday. We’ll obviously wait to see what how he looks come November and December when winter hits, but he’s been more than the real deal in the small sample size of camp.

7) DBs fighting for reps

On the first two days, the top three cornerbacks were Tramon Williams, Davon House and Kevin King. On Saturday, first-round pick Jaire Alexander moved into the starting nickel unit, replacing House. If that’s the group that takes the field against Chicago in the season opener, it wouldn’t be a surprise. But the Packers have been shuffling a ton of bodies in and out so far, including former second-round pick Quinten Rollins getting time with the No. 1 dime unit. However it ends up, it seems clear that Green Bay has a lot more options to pick from this year. And while many of those options are unproven, it appears the ceiling for the group is much higher than it has been in past seasons.

8) Former Badgers

The Packers have three former Wisconsin players in camp. Two of them — outside linebacker Vince Biegel and tight end Lance Kendricks — are good bets to make the roster, while a third — defensive lineman Conor Sheehy — has his work cut out for him.

Team reps have been hard to come by so far for Sheehy. But he did flash on Saturday when the pads went on for the first time. In his first snap during 1-on-1 pass rushing drills, the Milwaukee native abused the guard he faced, driving him right back into the backfield with a bull rush. For those that watched Sheehy the last four years with Wisconsin, that wasn’t a shock.

With Nick Perry on the physically unable to perform list, Biegel has been rotating with Fackrell at the outside linebacker spot opposite Clay Matthews. Players aren’t allowed to tackle the quarterback, but Biegel likely would have a couple sacks in team drills if they were.

Things have been a little quiet for Kendricks so far, but he did haul in a touchdown from Rodgers late in practice on Saturday.

9) Backup QBs have had their moments

It certainly hasn’t been pretty all of the time, but the backup quarterbacks have made plays. DeShone Kizer had the throw of the day on Friday when he found tight end Robert Tonyan for a touchdown in the corner of the end zone. Brett Hundley threw almost the exact same ball to Valdes-Scantling on Saturday for a score. And despite not getting a ton of team reps, undrafted free agent Tim Boyle has opened some eyes as well with his big arm.

Packers training camp: Day 2

GREEN BAY — Randall Cobb underwent ankle surgery about six weeks ago, but you wouldn’t have known it by looking at him through the first two days of training camp. The veteran wide receiver has looked as quick and as agile as ever while running with the first-team offense.

“[It was] nothing invasive,” Cobb said of the surgery after practice. “They went in and pretty much removed a piece of cartilage that was giving me some problems. Obviously, not that big of a deal. [I’m] feeling a lot better than I did before.”

Cobb had been slated to go to California to train after Green Bay completed its OTAs and minicamps, but instead he stayed in town to have the surgery and then the rehab. He said he’s still working to get his conditioning back to where it was beforehand, but Cobb, one of quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets, has been a full participant in every drill so far.

“I feel like I can move a lot better,” Cobb said. “I’m not having that throbbing pain that I had. [I’m] definitely looking forward to this year.”

Nick Perry anxious to get on the field

Like right tackle Bryan Bulaga, Nick Perry wants to be on the field. Unfortunately, like Bulaga, the outside linebacker is going to have to be patient.

The two veterans started training camp on the physically unable to perform list as they battle back from offseason surgery. Bulaga, who is returning from a torn ACL in his right knee, told reporters Thursday that he’s optimistic he’ll be back in time for the season opener against Chicago. Perry, coming off ankle surgery, said the same when he faced the media on Friday.

“I can’t give any timelines. That decision isn’t on me. I’d love to be out there right now. At the end of the day, they call the shots,” Perry said of the Packers’ training staff. “They’ll come up with a plan when they feel I’m ready. For me, my main thing is just focusing on the playbook and getting into the best shape that I can be in. Then [I’ll] roll from there.”

Perry didn’t want to get into too many details about the injury, but did say it was something that was bothering him last season, and that he felt it was important to get it taken care of. But it’s also limited his on-field work in learning new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s scheme, forcing the sixth-year veteran to learn without doing.

“The main thing for me right now is just engulfing the playbook. Just making sure I understand it in and out from a classroom setting,” said Perry, who had seven sacks last season. “I’ll have my moments and my opportunities to transfer that over to the field.”

Practice notes

** Green Bay worked two-minute drill situations Friday with Aaron Rodgers, Brett Hundley and DeShone Kizer each getting one drive starting from their own 35-yard line.

Rodgers, running the first-team, got all the way down to the 12-yard line before the drive stalled. On fourth down, the two-time MVP threw a pass up for grabs that was intercepted by linebacker Blake Martinez.

Last year’s backup, Hundley, got the second drive and got a couple first downs before linebacker Ahmad Thomas broke up a fourth down pass.

The only successful drive, from an offensive perspective, came with Kizer under center. He led his group right down the field and then dropped a beauty of pass on tight end Robert Tonyan.

** The Packers drafted several wide receivers in April, but it was a former undrafted free agent that really stood out on Friday. UW-Whitewater’s Jake Kumerow had a number of impresses grabs, including pulling in a deep ball from Hundley that looked like it was going to fly over everyone’s head.

Packers’ Ty Montgomery remains confident at RB

GREEN BAY — The Green Bay Packers are expected to start the 2018 season with a running back-by-committee approach. It’s probably not ideal for those involved, though they certainly understand the perceived benefits of it.

“Matchups,” veteran Ty Montgomery said Friday when asked about those benefits. “Depending on game situations, depending on opponents, it could be [any] of us for 90 percent of the game. It could be us getting a third of the reps. It could be 50-50. It could be whatever depending on the game. We each bring something different to the table, so our strengths…will just fit whatever we have going on for that game.”

Montgomery and second-year backs Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones make up the committee that combined to gain 1,734 yards (rushing and receiving) and score 14 touchdowns last season. But Montgomery’s contribution accounted for only 446 of that, a much smaller number than many felt he was capable of coming into the year. The Stanford product had made the move from wide receiver to running back full-time during the offseason, and the Packers were planning to make him a featured part of the offense. But broken ribs early in the season, followed by a wrist injury, ended Montgomery’s year after just eight games.

“I think it was a frustrating misunderstanding,” Montgomery said when asked to label his year. “That’s the way I would put it.”

The misunderstanding, according to Montgomery, comes from the fact that he played through so much before having to shut his season down. Few players, much less a running back, would have broken multiple ribs and stepped back out on the field as quickly as he did. And, prior to the injury, he was being used at a remarkable rate. In less than 13 quarters of action, he had 59 touches and was on the field as much as any of Green Bay’s skill players.

But the injuries, and the fact he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry, changed the perception of Montgomery, at least among fans. The excitement everyone had about him as a running back in 2016 had largely faded as training camp got underway this week. Williams impressed as a rookie and Jones is looked at as the big play back the Packers have been missing. In Montgomery’s mind, though, he’s being overlooked.

“I don’t remember ever giving up any sacks,” the 25-year-old said. “I’ve always broken tackles, made guys miss. I’ve had explosive plays. It’s just a matter of being hurt and wearing (No. 88) in the backfield. I think there’s a certain narrative that comes with that. But I’m not going to let that be a distraction.”

Nor is he necessarily willing to say the injury last year was a bad thing. Montgomery said a teammate sent him the Chinese Farmer parable that makes the point that no one knows if something is good news or bad news. Only time will tell.

“…Obviously, it sucks getting injured, but the positive is before I got injured the younger guys weren’t getting very many reps,” Montgomery said. “I think the positive that comes from it is now we know what we have in these two guys (Williams and Jones) that are to the left and to the right of me. It opened up the conversation of what more can we do with Ty. I think that’s a positive that comes from this. [Montgomery] doesn’t just have to play running back, he can do both.”

That last part was evident on Friday during a two-minute drill when Montgomery lined up in a variety of spots. That versatility, along with the fact Jones is suspended for the first two games of the season, makes it likely that Montgomery will get his chance to shine. When he does, it’ll come with a different mindset. That’s because he became a father for the first time in June. It was a moment that changed him and his views on different aspects of life, including football.

“Obviously, having a son in the picture now…I have a new perspective on a lot of things,” Montgomery said. “Call it motivation, call it whatever you want, but I have a different sense of purpose that feels natural.”