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Inbox: As a leader in this business, authenticity rules

He’s held his newfound place to this point

Head Coach Matt LaFleur
Head Coach Matt LaFleur

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Mike. Is it a coincidence all three preseason games are against teams the Packers lost to last season?

As far as I know.

Steve from Bloomington, IL

Attended my first practice Tuesday. Holy cow (in my best Harry Caray) there's a lot going on. Do you go into each day with a plan on who/what you're going to focus on? BTW, I thought "JJ" Enagbare looked great today.

If that was your first practice, what you saw wasn't normal. With the two teams, the units were split at opposite ends of Nitschke Field, so Wes and I went with the divide-and-conquer method. He watched the Packers' offense, I watched the Packers' defense. I thought Green Bay's first and second units on defense looked pretty stout all day. With the twos, Kingsley Enagbare and safety Shawn Davis definitely stood out.

John from Cedarville, MI

Always love the "Three Things" segments. You all make it look so natural and the segments flow together. But will we ever get to see the blooper reels? I've got to believe you all make the inevitable mistake or take the opportunity to tease one another about a comment. Might be a great way to fill next year's Dead Zone.

This will jinx it for sure, but I think we've only had one retake on "Three Things" through camp so far. For whatever reason, we'll botch things more often in the studio than when we're down on the field. I guess when it feels more like a true "live" shot we're just better at powering through and staying on point.

Baron from Wrightstown, WI

Looking at the NFL's cut tracker, I some players listed as waived and others as released. What is the difference of the designation?

Waived players are subject to waivers based on their limited number of accrued service years, and they must clear waivers before becoming free agents. Released players are free agents immediately.

Steve from Colorado Springs, CO

Do you know if the coaches give individual player grades for preseason games? Seems like that would be a whole lot of report cards.

The position coaches grade every play involving every player they're responsible for. When we get on the plane after the game, we see them already with their tablets and grade sheets out, reviewing the film.

Rob from Prospect, KY

Good morning! I was curious about how, as reporters, your game prep differs from the preseason to the regular season.

In the preseason, I don't spend an ounce of time looking at stats or lineups or matchups regarding the opponent. In the regular season, it's much more important to have a working knowledge of the other team.

Guilherme from Americana, Brazil

I was just curious about all the refs in the highlight from earlier (Tuesday). Is it normal to have (any) officials during training camp or is that just because of the joint practice?

An NFL crew visits every team during training camp at some point, and the league sent two crews for this week's joint practices with the Saints.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Mike or Wes, would the Packers keep a lineman on the 53 if he was only good at one position or is it more that backup offensive lineman needs to be versatile?

Versatility is a definite plus, but even if a one-position guy shows the long-term payoff could be worth it (like Yosh Nijman at tackle), they'll study it long and hard.

Kurt from Waterloo, IA

Is Rashan Gary our second-best player?

At this point, I'd rank him second on a list of players the Packers could least afford to lose this season.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

More of a comment than a question but it bears mentioning that many mock drafts had Kingsley Enagbare going in the third round. A steal? I hope so and time will tell.

If he can make me change my previous answer, that could do wonders for this defense.

Max from St. Paul, MN

For a young backup like Love, how many preseason snaps are devoted to developing specific traits versus seeing "what works" in case he's needed to play?

Skills and fundamentals are the focus during drills. For 11-on-11, in practice or a preseason contest, it's about playing the game.

Andrew from Chicago, IL

I get that some of our fans want Jordan Love to fail for no good reason. That narrative needs adjustment, to say the least. However, even if we had won a meaningless game with Jordan Love throwing another TD, there still wouldn't be enough evidence to suggest he's "the next coming." I think the friction you all experience (as writers of this column) comes largely from those who are too eager to cut bait and those who are too eager to anoint Love. The "undecideds" aren't as vocal.

Fair enough, but the problem is even seeking for the so-called evidence he's "the next coming" right now, in the preseason. No one's going to find it unless and until he plays a handful (or more) of real games. That evidence can fail to exist, yet he can still be showing progress to warrant more development time before conclusions are drawn. The two perspectives might seem like they clash, but both can be, and are, true.

Patrick from Marvin, NC

I saw that the Chicago and Las Vegas fields were a complete mess this past weekend! Raiders field had actual bare spots that looked to be dangerous. Does the NFL fine teams for field conditions, or do they send them warning letters to improve the fields?

I don't know the procedure, but the league approved the fields as they were for hosting those preseason games, which prompted dismay from NFLPA president (and former Packers center) JC Tretter.

Nik from Moore, SC

On average, how many players do the Packers "lose" to other teams after the cutdown to 53? How many are claimed off waivers, not those that are FA and sign with other teams' PS?

I've never gotten a good feel for that in any given year. There are times I thought the Packers would have three or four guys claimed, and nobody was. Other times I questioned whether anyone would get claimed, and a few did. I've quit trying to predict.

Sue from Three Lakes, WI

So happy to see big names returning off PUP. Can't help but feel even more concerned about DBak's return. Do you guys ever watch him at practice? How does he look in rehab group? Have you talked to him? I would think he must be frustrated when he sees other guys w/ACL injuries so far ahead of him in their rehab.

We see him doing his rehab work every day, but I have zero knowledge as to how to judge anything in that realm. He has not spoken to reporters since the first day of training camp.

Chris from Kennesaw, GA

During their rehab we occasionally heard about the progress of David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins and Robert Tonyan. We've heard very little about Kylin Hill. With the return of Jenkins Tonyan and Watson, is there any indication that Hill might be coming off the PUP soon?

We see Hill doing rehab every day, too, but we've received no updates on him.

Chuck from Gold Canyon, AZ

Good morning, Mike. The Packers have regularly kept at least one UDFA on the initial 53-man roster. Whom among this current group should we be watching to make a push to make the team?

Right now, Tyler Goodson is the No. 3 running back, with Hill still on PUP and B.J. Baylor getting released, and Goodson was solid in his preseason debut. So he's as good a bet as any at the moment.

The Green Bay Packers held a joint training-camp practice with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

All other measurables being equal, does an undrafted rookie or an undrafted second-year player (e.g. Jack Heflin) have the advantage in making a team? I would think the second-year player, having had a full offseason to train and whatever number of pro snaps under his belt, would always be the lead dog in that race.

On paper, yes, but that second-year player has to show the growth and development they were counting on, because that potential is at least partly how he made the roster as a rookie in the first place. If the second-year guy levels off and the undrafted rookie has the higher ceiling, they might stick with the latter instead, even if he is behind in some respects.

Lincoln from Birmingham, AL

When I was young, I played the piano, so, being right-handed, I know that the left-handed parts of playing are difficult. I noted that accomplished pianists were more often left-handed. I took from that that there is something about being left-handed that perhaps physiologically or psychologically makes one closer to being ambidextrous, or, perhaps it is just that a left-hander tries harder and so progresses to higher levels. Is Jenkins left-handed?

I can't speak to whether your hypothesis has any merit, but out of curiosity I had intern Jen find me a photo of Jenkins signing an autograph, and we confirmed he's right-handed.

Jeremy from Red Deer, Canada

Mike, as much as I'm enjoying Dan Campbell on "Hard Knocks," I'm left wondering how much pep talks and attitude really matter in the final analysis. How important is personality compared to smart game planning, selecting and managing staff well, coaching players up, and so on?

You have to be able to do it all to succeed in this league, but there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to leadership style. As a leader in this business, authenticity rules. It's most important to be yourself. Because grown men aren't going to follow a phony, and aren't going to believe in the game plans, coaching tips, etc., from someone who's not genuine. They'll tune that out in an instant.

Dan from Algonquin, IL

Hi Mike, these next two weeks will be crucial in shaping the final roster. WR seems to be a wild and wooly competition for the last couple spots on the 53 and the practice squad. Which other position group rooms are most difficult to predict as we careen toward the start of the season?

Outside linebacker remains pretty wide open as far as I can tell, and it'll be interesting to see how many are kept on the defensive line, too.

Jay from Benton, AR

I didn't see Quay Walker show up in the box score against the Niners. Did he play?

He only played the first dozen snaps on defense and four on special teams. There wasn't a chance to see much.

Richard from Lake Geneva, WI

Hey Mike! After watching last week's preseason game, I noticed the Packers' staff on the sideline seemed to be wearing matching coaching outfits (shirts, shoes, hats, etc.) with the exception of Matt LaFleur and the coordinators. Could you go into detail how the staff "uniform" gets chosen per game and why certain colors get chosen to be worn by the coordinators? Is it simply logistics for players to identify certain coaches quicker on the sideline?

That's my understanding.

Kerry from Lakewood Ranch, FL

The Packers lost two really good offensive coaches from last year's staff. Have you seen some discernible differences in the way their replacements have tried to put their footprints on the offense?

I don't think we'll be able to tell anything until the regular season gets here, and even then I doubt we'll know what differences to ascribe to the coaches versus the changed personnel on offense.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Gutey seems to bring in a lot of talented competition each year. His biggest asset, in my mind, though, is patience. Is that easier with a winning team, or harder?

It's easier for an entire organization to be patient when the team has been winning and key leadership jobs aren't imminently on the line.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Now that we're on the "back nine" of training camp, which players have surprised you and moved up the depth chart?

I didn't foresee Jake Hanson's early rise on the offensive line, and he's held his newfound place to this point. I also think inside linebackers Isaiah McDuffie and Ray Wilborn are two players we weren't talking about at the start of camp who have made strides and held their own.

Adrian from North Bergen, NJ

The venom that Vikings fans have for the Packers just seems so more intense and disproportionate than other rivalries. Why do you think this is?

Some people prefer to hate what they don't like more than love what they do. It's a sad commentary on our society, actually, but I'll leave it at that.

Steve from Toronto, Canada

After facing the Vikings' potent pass-rush in Week 1, the Packers won't see another with quite the amount of overall talent across the board until Week 7 against Washington. So, it seems safe to say that if the offensive line can hold their own at U.S. Bank, the next handful of games won't be as daunting rush-wise, giving the OL a bit of a lighter path to gel and grow. Fair to say?

Assumptions are dangerous animals in this league. Happy Wednesday.