GREEN BAY — This wasn’t about Damarious Randall exacting revenge on Derek Carr, Amari Cooper or anyone else on the Oakland Raiders’ offense.
The only thing the Packers’ second-year cornerback had on his mind was getting his hands on the football during Green Bay’s second preseason game on Thursday night.
Randall, who lined up against Cooper during his two-touchdown performance in December, turned the tables on the Pro Bowl receiver with a brilliant leaping second-quarter pick off Carr.
It was a meaningful play for Randall, but not because it came on a Carr pass intended for Cooper.
“That was my first interception throughout the whole camp in 11-on-11 because you know Aaron (Rodgers) doesn’t throw many of those,” Randall said. “Just to feel the ball up in my hand and to just track the ball down like that just felt great, just know that I can still catch.”
Randall actually returned the pick for a sizeable gain, but he was ruled down by contact at the spot of the interception upon further review.
As a whole, the Packers’ secondary played well against the Raiders’ starting offense despite not having Morgan Burnett (back), and having Sam Shields (10 snaps) and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (nine snaps) play sparingly.
Aside from a 20-yard pass to Cooper on Oakland’s first series, the Packers neutralized Carr and the Raiders’ potent passing attack with a promising, yet inexperienced, secondary.
Carr threw for only 36 yards on 9-of-13 passing (40.2 passer rating) in the first half. Oakland’s three quarterbacks combined to go 17-of-27 for 141 yards and two interceptions (45.4 passer rating).
Undrafted rookie Josh Hawkins was responsible for the Packers’ second interception and returned it 47 yards to set up a Mason Crosby 34-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
“I feel like we’re taking a step forward,” said Randall, who continued to rotate with Quinten Rollins in working the perimeter and slot in the defense’s sub-packages.
“Pursuing the football is our No. 1 focus and that’s what we’re going to continue to do week-in and week-out. We want to establish that going into every game. If we have 11 guys pursuing the football, good things will happen.”
Martinez works longer shift: The Packers succeeded in their bid to increase rookie fourth-round pick Blake Martinez’s workload.
Martinez played the entire first half against the Raiders. During his 26 defensive snaps, he lined up next to Sam Barrington for the first time in a game since the veteran linebacker was activated from the physically unable to perform list last week.
Assistant linebackers coach Scott McCurley voiced some regret this past week about Martinez only getting 11 snaps in the Packers’ preseason opener against Cleveland.
“It’s great and it kind of helps out understanding what it’s going to be like when the season comes around,” said Martinez, who finished with five tackles (four defense, one special teams).
“Just understanding what to do before that happens, to make sure I’m ready to go for all four quarters or whatever role I end up being in.”
Green Bay-area native Kyle Steuck saw 12 snaps at right guard after signing with the Packers earlier this week. Feeling at home:
A graduate of nearby West De Pere High School, Steuck felt a few nerves during the national anthem but was comfortable by the time his number was called in the fourth quarter.
It was a surreal moment for an area kid who used to get to a game or two at Lambeau Field each year with his family growing up.
“I was talking with a few of my teammates, and they were like, ‘How is it? How is it?’” Steuck said. “I was like, ‘This is so sweet. I remember sitting over there, up there, way over there.’ Now, I was actually on the field and living out the dream.”
New territory: Thursday night marked not only Kyle Murphy’s professional debut but also the first time the Packers’ sixth-round pick had ever been to an NFL game.
Murphy hoped to watch last week’s game against Cleveland from the sidelines, but he wasn’t cleared to be on the sidelines due to being in the concussion protocol.
Instead of going home, Murphy watched the game from the player lounge and chatted with whoever trickled into the locker room.
Murphy took 36 snaps at right tackle against the Raiders, capping an unforgettable night of firsts.
“It’s surreal,” Murphy said. “Family Night kind of set the stage a little bit, but to actually be able to go in the tunnel with my teammates and go (play) another team …
“You get the jams bumping in the tunnel and the fans going wild and all that stuff, you can never simulate a game-day experience. That was something that I was smiling ear-to-ear.”