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Best player applies at cutdown time, too

Packers have plenty of uses for their salary cap room


Jocelyn from Dallas, TX

I find it interesting that drafting is done with a BAP mindset while setting the 53-man roster is done with a focus on needs. For instance, you most certainly need more than three defensive linemen on your roster even though you might lose a player or two from the defensive back group which seems to be more talented and deeper.

You need certain minimums on your roster at some positions, yes, but after that the Packers have always tried to keep the best players, too. That's why some years there have been five tight ends or 11 offensive linemen on the 53-man roster, while other years there are only three tight ends or seven O-linemen. Those last few roster spots usually come down to a BAP mentality.

Todd from Knoxville, TN

If a player on defense is caught for the 12th man penalty while running off the field, can he run back on and play? Can anyone from the sidelines come back in to play?

If he's on the field at the snap of the ball, he's in the play. I don't know if I've ever seen that guy come back in, but he might as well, right? If anyone else were to enter the field from the sideline, that would be another penalty.

Patrick from Solway, MN

How many concussions happen with the initial contact of defensive linemen hitting offensive linemen? If there aren't many, would eliminating the three- and four-point stances really do much for concussion prevention, Spoff? But I guess you aren't wrong. That would happen before ludicrous Vic's idea of getting rid of the facemask. Nice safe answer.

From what I've read, research is beginning to indicate it's not all about concussions, per se. Repetitive and constant blows to the head, even if they don't cause diagnosable concussions, can lead to similar types of brain problems down the road. The elimination of three- and four-point stances would reduce the repetitive head-banging.

Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

Morgan Burnett has missed extended time this preseason because of his back. Do you think this will this put a damper on possible plans to use him more as an in-the-box safety/dime linebacker hybrid during the regular season?

If he's healthy, it's in the playbook and they'll use it if the matchup dictates. The more pertinent question is if he's not healthy, is there someone capable of replacing him in that package, or is it temporarily scrapped? I don't know the answer to that.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Do you anticipate the Pack signing a veteran D-lineman to compensate for Pennel's absence to open the season?

If there's someone available who the Packers feel is better than their current options, then yes, absolutely.

Tim from Madison, WI

Spiff and Biff, what advice did Vic give you before you starting the Inbox?

None, but he knew he didn't have to because I'm always going to be myself, and you don't put in 20 years in this business without the skin getting a little thicker.

Ian from Kirkwhelpington, England

Gents, when the roster cuts are made, are all of the players in attendance or are there a core of 35 or 40 who know they are "safe" and who don't need to attend?

It's not a team meeting. Players are called individually and told to head upstairs to the offices. On cutdown day, the bubble players are simply praying their phone doesn't ring, and it drives them nuts when friends and family keep calling to see if there's any news.

Ben from Chicago, IL

A player has to clear waivers. If a team picks that player up, does the team go to end of the line, so to speak, for the next player that they are interested in?

No. Waiver priority doesn't change once a player is claimed. But the claiming team must make room for any players it claims on its 53-man roster.

Maggie from Kenosha, WI

How likely is it that players make the 53-man roster one year, then regress back to the practice squad the next?

It's more common than it used to be because of the practice-squad eligibility rules changing in 2014. Before then, once a player was on a 46-man gameday roster nine times, he became ineligible for the practice squad. Chris Banjo played in all 16 games as a rookie in 2013 and was cut in 2014. He was re-signed to the practice squad that year and eventually made it back to the active roster, but he would not have been eligible for the practice squad in '14 without the changes. Now, each team has up to four veteran exemptions to the old rule, provided the player has no more than two accrued seasons.

Del from Sterling, IL

What does a coach say to a guy he has to cut because of the numbers game that's done everything he's asked and done it well?

Stay in shape. You never know.

Brad from Tucson, AZ

Since the Packers still have some cap money left, wouldn't it be feasible to circumvent the 53-man roster limit by signing guys to the same minimum salary and remain on the practice squad? The practice-squad player would then make as much as if he were on another team's 53-man roster.

You're going to spend cap money on that when you have four starting offensive linemen, four other 2013 draft picks who are regulars in the playing rotation, two of your top three outside linebackers, and your new No. 1 tight end all in the final year of their contracts?

Kabir from Ponte Vedra, FL

Now that Vic answers questions only once a week, has the bar been raised for the quality of questions?

Apparently not.

Paul from Grayslake, IL

Do you guys have any stats for us on teams that have gone undefeated in the preseason?

All anyone needs to know in that regard is the 2008 Lions went undefeated in the preseason.

Penny from Vassalboro, ME

Please tell me what my beloved Packers would do if one of their team members refused to stand for the national anthem.

They'd have to cut him. There's no room for freedom of expression on this team, no matter how many might disagree with the exercising of constitutionally protected rights. Every Packers player must be universally liked.

Josh from Milwaukee, WI

Do you think there will ever come a time when the naming rights to Lambeau are sold?

If it was going to happen, it would have happened as part of the 2003 renovation. The Packers got a referendum on the ballot asking for $160 million from a half-cent sales tax in Brown Co. to help fund the $295 million renovation. It was a contentious issue. The Packers could have cut the public responsibility at least in half, and likely secured more votes, by offering to sell the naming rights, but Bob Harlan insisted on preserving the Lambeau Field name. The referendum passed by a fairly narrow 53-47 margin. Harlan took a risk, and Packers fans can thank him that it worked out.

Julie from Ontonagon, MI

Is it harder to sneak a player with a distinctive name like Geronimo Allison on to the practice squad?

Only if the film is just as distinctive.

Sherman from Blue Lake, CA

Eddie Lacey's hair appears to cost him some yardage. Do you think the coach will talk to him about it?

A ton of questions about this. Maybe if he cuts it, everyone will be able to read the back of his jersey and spell his name right. You weren't the only one.

David from Evansville, IN

Do you think the strength of schedule affects the cultivation of a tough team? I'm almost rooting for our divisional opponents to be good so we're battle-tested come playoff time.

Being battle-tested at playoff time has merit. Being healthy at playoff time is paramount.

Aaron from Lawton, OK

When a team has a schedule like the Packers face this year (nine out of first 10 opponents with losing records a year ago), how will the coaching staff avoid looking past the Jaguars or other teams when the division-stealing Vikings lay in wait for Week 2?

This is the NFL, man. Coaches look past nobody in this business, and if their players are looking ahead, then the coaches don't have the necessary command of their team.

Dan from Livermore, CA

OK guys, give us a glimpse into the postgame press conference. Someone or something was bothering Aaron Rodgers enough on Friday night during his time with the media that he stopped for a moment and said, "Alright man, that's enough." Normally cucumber-cool, what had gotten under Rodgers' skin in that interview?

A photographer in the front row with a still camera and extended lens was standing up and firing off countless pictures of Rodgers at the podium. The shutter was clicking, loudly, non-stop. I think Rodgers felt the man had enough pictures, and he wanted to be able to think.

Mike from Stillwater, MN

Mike or Wes, I know it's only the preseason and the Packers are only going to show vanilla on offense and defense, but one thing kind of disturbs me and it showed the way the defense played against Gabbert and Kaepernick. The defense still seems to have a lot of trouble handling the misdirection plays. The poor tackling at times doesn't help either. Am I overacting or did you see the same thing I did?

The defense lost contain on one cutback run that went for 27 yards and set up a TD. On the 49ers' other six possessions through the first three quarters, the Packers allowed two first downs and 40 total yards. Sorry, I don't get the angst.

Jim from Charleston, SC

Hey Insiders, Vic seemed confident Callahan can safely make it to the practice squad (and presumably stay there for a worthwhile period of time). Not so sure, your thoughts?

A lot of questions like this one. I think people are being a little presumptuous that another team would snatch up a D-III QB who has spent no time running its offense, with very little film against starting NFL defenders to go on. Maybe I'm wrong.

Greg from Cuenca, Ecuador

Insiders, if it's "not who you play, but when you play them," then I'm glad the Packers are playing the Jaguars early. They look young, fast, and well-coached in pre-season action, particularly their first-string groups. Nonetheless, they do not appear to have quite gelled yet. It's not difficult envisioning rapid improvement as Jacksonville's season progresses.

To me, the "when you play 'em" is more about a team's health and what's at stake at the time. Sometimes a good team will be in more desperate need of a win at a given stage of the season, for example, and it'll play like it. In the Jaguars' case, this is a game they can use to "announce their presence with authority," and they've had all offseason to think about doing so. That and the potential weather factor make me not like the timing of the matchup, but they're why the schedule maker did like it.

Keith from St. Cloud, FL

With Brett Hundley's obvious talent and no chance he would stay around another 7-8 years waiting for Aaron to retire, what would be the prognosis on that situation in the future?

Assuming Hundley doesn't sign a second contract here, you either trade him with a year left on his rookie contract (which would be after the 2017 season) to get a player or draft pick in return, or you let him walk in free agency after 2018 and recoup a compensatory pick.

Ronald from Tama, IA

Who do you feel will be the surprise player(s) to make this year's 53-man roster?

As far as a guy who was just a name when he arrived, Kentrell Brice has jumped out for me.

The Green Bay Packers faced the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium for a preseason game. Photos by Evan Siegle, packers.com.

Dan from Houston, TX

Burks responded to Crockett's big game last week. Banjo gets injured and Evans makes an interception. Allison and Abbrederis both with big plays. Which positions are going to come down to this last game?

All of the ones you mention, for sure.

Anthony from Richmond, VA

Insiders, I keep reading how Davante Adams keeps making mistakes and that he should be cut for a guy who wasn't even drafted. Can we all let the kid have time to learn his craft, like Vic always says? Nelson had time, Jennings had time, Jones had an awful case of the drops during the Super Bowl run and he turned into a catch machine through last year. Let's stop putting so much pressure on Adams and let him turn into what we all hope he will.

You have the floor.

Joseph from East Moline, IL

Insiders, I'm curious. If Packers had a 4-3 defense, what position would Clay play and how would he be utilized? He seems too small to be a defensive end, but he seems a bit bigger than most 4-3 linebackers. I always though 4-3 linebackers were more for run support but maybe I am wrong. Another question I have is why is Dallas in the NFC East, instead of having Dallas in the NFC South and Carolina in the NFC East from a geography standpoint?

I could see Matthews playing any linebacker spot in a 4-3, and a defensive coordinator coming up with creative ways to get him involved in the pass rush. As for the NFC's geography, the Cowboys' rivalries with the Eagles, Giants and Redskins were well-established by the time the Panthers arrived in 1995 and the divisions were re-aligned in 2002. Breaking up those NFC East rivalries would have been bad business for the league and those teams.

Perry from DeCastri, IL

I'm an avid Packers fan living in Bear country. But here's an interesting event that happen during the Bears game this past Saturday. The Chiefs' RB scored a touchdown but was later flagged for a dead-ball personal foul. The ref immediately said the penalty would be enforced on the kickoff. I would have made the Chiefs attempt a 48-yard extra point. Is that option available?

Not to my knowledge, but you raise a good point. Maybe it should be.

Austan from Spooner, WI

Is it just me or does Spoff look a lot like the guy sitting in the box next to Uecker while he delivers the iconic line in "Major League,"…"Just a bit outside, tried the corner and missed"?

They don't call me the best color man in the league for nothing.

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