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He passed his first big test

Plus lots of other thoughts on the Packers' preseason opener


Larry from Carney, MI

I thought reviews were going to be faster and handled by the league in New York. What's up with going behind the curtain? I would've thought preseason would be a good time to work out any bugs.

I'm not sure where the tablet was. McCarthy said after the game there were headset issues, so maybe that was related to not trying the new replay procedure. Speaking of procedures, after games, Insider Inbox will be posted a little later than normal, in the 11 a.m. CT range. I won't bore you with the details, but please understand Vic's day-after-game schedule was not the same as mine. Sorry I didn't give you a heads-up before today, but I appreciate your patience.

Tadhg from Portland, OR

Dear Insiders, I think Taysom Hill looked very impressive. He showed great elusiveness, some strong throws and, of course, the back-shoulder TD. I also have to say, seeing the starters being so amped up in the last 15 seconds of a preseason game for those rookies getting their first NFL touchdown was something special. Rodgers went and gave both Hill and Clark a big hug afterwards on the sideline. I'm sure it's a night they will remember for the rest of their lives.


Ben from Hilo, HI

Did Trevor Davis lock down a roster spot?

I have a hard time envisioning him not being on this team. His speed is a legitimate weapon.

Greg from Perkasie, PA

In the spirit of three things of training camp, what were your top three thoughts of preseason game No. 1?

Tackling drills only go so far; you have to do it in a game. It's unfortunate Kevin King was forced to miss so much of the work in the spring. And the rookie punter passed his first big test.

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

The league isn't taking player safety seriously until these terrible hits to the head and neck get flagged and the players who commit the errors are benched. Two gifted young players cut down tonight unnecessarily with no consequences to the player who committed the illegal hit. This is terribly disturbing.

The consequences will come later, when the plays are studied, but I wonder if the league is going to consider in-game reviews of these types of hits for penalties, ejections or other discipline, like in basketball with the flagrant fouls. It's difficult for the officials to see everything at live speed, and your point about how seriously the league wants to take this is a valid question.

Vincent from San Jose, CA

I know this team is loaded at receiver and there are many quality-looking players at the position. If Michael Clark has a nice preseason, how likely do you think it is that he makes the final 53? It would be hard to think someone else doesn't pick him up with his size/speed combo.

I've already seen questions about keeping eight receivers, worries about the waiver wire, practice squad, etc. Let's remember there's an abundance of receiver prospects all across the NFL. The college game is turning out receivers like Pez dispensers pop out candy. This will sort itself out just fine.

Larry from Green Bay, WI

I see the Pack still cannot tackle on the edge – Eagles' first touchdown, arm reaches, who the hell is teaching these guys? Great running game too – just a joke. You will not publish this, you never do, nothing but apologists. If they are 8-8 they will be lucky.

Preseason rants are the best.

The Green Bay Packers faced off against the Philadelphia Eagles in a preseason matchup. Photos by Evan Siegle,

Adam from Fond du Lac, WI

Hey Mike, did you notice the irony of No. 93 for the Packers? His name is Gilbert, but he doesn't resemble "Big Old Gilbert Brown" in the least!

Wes and I were discussing the possibility of someone having fun with assigning jersey numbers. I did like what Gilbert showed in the pass rush.

Peter from Gaborone, Botswana

The folks fantasizing about helmet cams, etc., seem to be forgetting that a microphone likely caused the lung injury that took Cobb out of the divisional playoff against the Cardinals in 2015. Players take enough risks, we don't need to make it worse just to make the game look more like Madden.

Amen to that.

Kevin from Tucson, AZ

Mike, acknowledging that preseason playbooks are pretty generic, how do head coaches still appear to be in such a high state of concentration? Are they doing quite a bit of player assessment and calling plays accordingly?

They leave most of the assessment for the film room, but they are focusing on calling certain plays to put certain players in a situation they want to see. They're creating what they feel will give them the best evaluation.

Brent from Dubuque, IA

Can a coach switch from field to press box or vice versa midseason, or even game to game?

Even within the same game. It's up to each individual team where its coaches reside.

Stephen from Chicago, IL

Mike, why do teams put out depth charts now or at all during the season? I'm guessing it is league-mandated. But if so, my real question is why does the league mandate something so pointless? If they are going to ask teams to write down players' names on a piece of paper, wouldn't it be more interesting to write down which 11 players on offense and which 11 on defense will play the most snaps?

There's no way to predict that, and no way coaches want to provide that information in a matchup league. To your initial point, it is pointless. Wait, huh?

Joel from Elk River, MN

Could a player theoretically line up in a one-point stance (Karate Kid style)?

Only if he paints a fence and waxes a car first.

Steve from New Britain, CT

Baseball players are well-known for having odd superstitions to help them play better and to break out of batting slumps. Can you tell us about any superstitions of past or current Packers players?

One of the athletic trainers, Kurt Fielding, used to write numbers on the bottom of Favre's foot after he finished taping his ankles. They served as a prediction for his stats that day. Kurt told me once the closest he ever came to being right on was the Monday night game in Oakland in 2003, right after Favre's dad died. "I had the numbers pegged pretty good," he said, "for the first half."

Dan from Leland, NC

Insiders, what's an STAA day? I don't often come across an acronym that stumps me, but that one is new for me.

Soft Tissue Activation and Application. It's a treat-the-body-right day.

Salvador from Marbella, Spain

Do you really think AR doesn't have to play more during the preseason? I know there's an injury risk but I think one of our common problems during recent years is starting the real season too slow. I do believe that, as good as he is, No. 12 needs quality reps to get to Week 1 on fire.

Rodgers said this week there's "no correlation" for him between preseason action and how he starts the season, and I believe him. Defenses are too vanilla for a 13-year veteran QB to see a close enough simulation of an actual game to make it worth the injury risk.

Chris from De Pere, WI

Insiders, we all know Ted makes the final call on draft day, but who chooses the final 53-man roster? Is it Mike and Ted with Ted making the final decision? Are the pro scouts included?

It's a collaborative process, and having seen this operation for a dozen years now, I believe McCarthy has considerably more say in roster decisions than draft choices, but the final calls are still Thompson's.

Jeff from Wausau, WI

I get my mind ready for the football season by starting my morning with homemade Packer lattes. Jordy Nelson latte has the milk warmed for 87 seconds in the microwave. Reggie White latte is often too hot for me, but the Jermichael Finley latte is pretty good, too. Do you have any non-Packer item/task that you randomly relate to the Packers?

I remember four-digit pin numbers by associating them with pairs of jerseys, but if 88 is involved, I think Finley instead of Montgomery so I don't get confused.

Erik from Clarkston, WA

Thank you for the story on Linsley. I remember reading about it in his first camp and really pulled for him making the team. Just a great story and makes my hearty swell with pride for being a Packer fan.

That was a tremendous piece of work by Wes. If you haven't checked it out, please take the time to do so.

Rod from Longwood, FL

Hi, Mike. Your parents extracted you at halftime in the '83 shootout. As a 12-year-old, despite my protests on Rose Bowl day, I was forced by mom and stepfather to go see "West Side Story" instead of staying home with babysitter girl to watch Wisconsin-Southern Cal in the '63 Rose Bowl. Somehow, we got back just in time for the fourth-quarter fireworks. To date, there is very minimal footage, especially of the fourth quarter, on YouTube. Such trauma.

When you're a fan, you're a fan all the way, from your first football game to your last dyin' day.

Jerome from Wichita, WI

Which team member, in your opinion, has come to camp with the most improved "body" to take on the new season?

Dean Lowry and Geronimo Allison have stood out to me the most.

Dave from Des Moines, IA

I get that some people are ga-ga over throwback jerseys. I'm not a fan. I would think quarterbacks making split-second decisions might be thrown off by the different look. Do they get to practice with the throwbacks on? What is the Packers' recent record when they wear them?

They don't practice with them, at least not in practices open to the media. To my knowledge, the Packers are 5-1 wearing throwbacks, losing only to Dallas last October.

Roy from Las Vegas, NV

We had a 15-technique last year. Ringo rushing from the sideline versus the Seahawks!

Nicely done.

Sean from Portland, ME

Greg Jennings is probably still my favorite WR to come through GB. Talent-wise, he was special. When he left GB did his physical ability deteriorate quickly? Or was it as simple as playing for bad QBs?

Jennings had a significant core muscle surgery his final season in Green Bay, his seventh year in the league, so I suspect that was a factor. Going from Favre for two years to Rodgers for five to anyone else means an inevitable dropoff, too.

Michael from Des Moines, IA

I couldn't watch the Packers game here unfortunately (just wasn't on TV but I appreciated the online updates from you guys). But Trubisky for the Bears looked really impressive and the stats don't say it all, even though they lost. My question is, is it wrong that I got excited? I miss the old Packers vs. Bears rivalry that has been lacking in recent years.

It's one preseason game. Boy, people really missed football, didn't they?

Dale from Kettering, OH

Anything there to give you new insights into the year?

I expect the running game to be a major focus the rest of the preseason. Its lack of emphasis in OTAs was evident last night. If the field-goal operation is truly smoothed out, that would be good, too. And did you see the move by Devante Mays in the open field on the short fourth-and-2 pass, and the hit he absorbed without going down? Show me more.

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