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More than 67,000 enjoy Packers' Family Night practice at Lambeau Field

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GREEN BAY, Wisconsin — The Green Bay Packers accomplished two goals with their annual Family Night practice.

The Packers entertained 67,191 fans for 90 minutes, and none of the players got hurt on Saturday night.

"It's a win every single practice when you walk off the field and you don't have a major injury. And that's really how I view it," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

"Injuries are a part of the game, you do everything you can from a risk-assessment focus to try to minimize those big injuries. Because the big injuries obviously change things — change starting lineups, change opportunities and maybe even change your direction."

The Packers were already without a number of key players for practice, including inside linebacker Clay Matthews, who has been out since Monday with knee soreness.

At Friday's practice, Matthews said he should be back to practice next week.

Also sitting out Family Night were key contributors defensive tackle Mike Pennel, linebackers Jayrone Elliott (shoulder soreness), Nick Perry (groin), Mike Neal (hernia surgery, physically unable to perform list) and Adrian Hubbard (groin).

"It's definitely good. This is just another practice," cornerback Demetri Goodson said about the injury-free night.

"This is great for the fans, but each and every time that's what we shoot for is to have clean practice, everybody play hard and fast. But the most important thing is for everybody to stay healthy out there. We have a really long season."

Wrapping up the first full week of training camp, the Packers players were energized by the crowd filled with young and old fans.

"It's nice to kind of feel that energy and get the crowd roaring in there a little bit, and you just kind of get back into it," kicker Mason Crosby said.

"Obviously, we were very fortunate that we could have a Family Night practice and have 67,000 people in the stands. In that aspect, we were very fortunate in that. We get to kind of work on what to expect whenever we go play other places."

PHOTO: Green Bay Packers’ Jean Fanor, right, tries to defend a pass intended for Adrian Coxson during the NFL football team's Family Fun Night as part of raining camp, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Green Bay Packers’ Jean Fanor, right, tries to defend a pass intended for Adrian Coxson during the NFL football team's Family Fun Night as part of raining camp, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

Early in practice, the No. 1 defense showed it was up to the task to take on the offense's top unit.

On a third-and-5, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix stepped in front of an Aaron Rodgers pass intended for wide receiver Davante Adams.

"For a veteran like Ha Ha can get one, it kind of gives us motivation on the back end," cornerback Casey Hayward said.

"Just the defense to get a turnover early, and he got it on 12 (Rodgers), so that's definitely a big thing as well. Ha Ha has been doing a great job, and hopefully we can continue that trend."

Rodgers told reporters earlier in the week that he's throwing more "50-50" balls during training camp to see if his receivers can go up and get the ball. In the first week of camp, Rodgers threw five interceptions — the same number he threw all of last season.

"We know 12 is very careful with that ball, so we kind of know what he's doing, he's testing all his wide receivers," Hayward said.

"Hopefully they can come down with those balls, and if not, breaking up the balls from us. He has to trust those guys as well, but we're also doing a great job of coming out with the ball."

It wasn't long after the Clinton-Dix interception that Scott Tolzien was inserted at quarterback and rookie cornerback Tay Glover-Wright found a deflected pass in the air and hauled it in.

Despite the interception, Tolzien, who is vying for the No. 2 quarterback job with rookie Brett Hundley and Matt Blanchard, had a solid night.

That was evident in his time in the two-minute drill late in practice. With the hypothetical setting of 1:42 showing on the clock, the Packers down by four points and starting at their 35, Tolzien led the team inside the red zone with three straight complete passes.

"There's a lot to learn in every drill," McCarthy said. "Every drill has things that go on for a player, whether it's a fundamental or technique. I think any time you're in a game situation, particularly two minute, which is probably in my view the most important situation because so many games each year to that situation. I thought Scott did a very good job with his individual responsibility."

With the Packers' Family Night just five days prior to their preseason opener at New England, Hayward thought the game-like atmosphere was what the players needed.

"They're timing it just perfect," Hayward said. "We're getting tired of beating up on each other, so hopefully we can go out there and beat up New England a little bit."


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