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Inbox: Every year is a new one

The beauty of this game is you just never know

Offensive huddle

Matt from Waunakee, WI

Finally, it's game week.

Hard to believe it's actually here, but yes.

Jerad from Verona, WI

Fun fact: I used to think that the phrase was dually noted. As in, it's so important that I noted it twice.

That made me laugh. Twice.

Matt from Fort Worth, TX

Biggest roster surprise?

As far as who made the 53? Nothing floored me, but I'd probably say Kabion Ento, because this is the second straight year the Packers are sticking with the young receiver-turned-corner through a training camp injury. Last year they brought him back to the practice squad and he spent his entire rookie season there. This year, the unlimited returnees from IR (assuming his injury lands him there shortly) would appear to have created a different opportunity for him.

Tyler from Dallas, TX

Two fringe players I was glad to see make the 53: Yosh Nijman and Kabion Ento. The former because of his incredible size and the latter because I remember him flashing in last year's training camp/preseason. What should we know about them this year?

Nijman missed a lot of camp due to injury, so we haven't seen him much and I don't really have a read on his development. Obviously, the Packers have seen enough to not let 6-7, 314 walk out the door, assuming he could fit.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Who is Malik Taylor?

Corey from Henderson, NV

Considering the need for experience at WR that will be needed this year, I was quite surprised to see Kumerow get cut on Saturday. Was he really having that bad of camp to warrant this move? Or was he just not fitting with LaFleur's vision at the position? Also, what cut surprised you the most?

A lot of questions about Kumerow. I look at Taylor over Kumerow as an upside decision. They know exactly what Kumerow is, and they got 12 catches for 219 yards last season. Taylor has a less defined ceiling and they believe he deserves an opportunity. Surprise cut? I'd say Stanford Samuels, though I think he only got cut because with no preseason film they were confident no one would claim him. In a normal year, if he performs in the preseason games the way he was trending, I'd bet he makes the 53.

See headshots and action shots of the complete Green Bay Packers 2020 roster. #BuildingOurTeam

Jimmy from Farmington, MO

Do you see Kumerow's release as a dig at Rodgers? After him calling it a lock that Kumerow makes the team, and no WR being drafted, they decide to release someone Aaron Rodgers wanted.

I don't see the Kumerow decision in that vein at all. I just think the personnel department and the quarterback had different opinions. Not the first time, won't be the last.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

If you look specifically at how the roster was constructed, it is pretty OBVIOUS that the Packers truly believe in the "practice squad " as a tool to build a team! Also, last offseason you heard a lot about Marquez Valdes-Scantling working out with Randy Moss. This year being obviously different, do you know if Randy helped him in 2020?

The Packers have always used the practice squad for developmental players. They've never really wavered from that, and it doesn't appear they are this year even with the expansion and veteran exemptions. The fact that nine former practice-squadders are on the 53 speaks volumes, and it sends a message to all those guys on the practice squad now. As for MVS, he told reporters he did not have a chance to work out with Moss this past year.

Page from Havre de Grace, MD

Hi Mike and Wes, before the season kicks off, could you give a brief scouting report on the other teams in the NFC North? Namely, key departures and additions to position groups, and whether you feel the other three teams have gotten objectively better or worse.

I'll let the results speak for the latter, but here's my thumbnail sketch on the three division rivals. Whether or not Minnesota's defense maintains its long-established level of play will depend on the young cornerbacks stepping into major roles. The Vikings' offense will be formidable if they keep it built around Cook and if Jefferson is the real deal right away. In Chicago, it all hinges on the quarterback. Defensively, pairing Quinn with Mack for the pass rush is an upgrade for the Bears. The Lions are still searching for answers in the backfield, but Golladay and Hockenson could have huge years with Stafford. It's hard for me to see Detroit's defense being better without Slay, though.

Evan from Durango, CO

I'm so happy we have Gutey as our fiscally concerned and responsible GM. Can you imagine guaranteeing 21M to your back-up QB while at the same time passing on Newton or Winston at a fraction of the cost? Asking for a Bears fan...

Just because Foles isn't starting Week 1 doesn't mean he isn't going to earn some of that guaranteed money.

Ian from Kirkwhelpington, England

I noticed half a dozen ex-Packers players were released by other teams – Clinton-Dix, Damarious Randall, J'Mon Moore, Datone Jones, Kentrell Brice, Richard Rodgers and maybe more. Should we armchair GMs be reassured that our GM is getting these decisions correct?

That's up to you. All I know is this game can pass people by quickly.

Geoff from Janesville, WI

Is Josh Rosen a victim of circumstance with two bad teams? I suppose it was on him to prove to those teams that they had their long-term solution at QB. His fall seems greater than JaMarcus Russell's.

I wouldn't go that far yet. There's still time. But his story to this point reinforces a lot of common sayings. It's the hardest position to play in sports. The draft is a crapshoot. Circumstances matter. I wish him the best, honestly.

Bubba from Kenosha, WI

Slots: Defensively in the nickel, is Chandon Sullivan first on depth chart? Or with Pettine saying Josh Jackson will get a lot of snaps (outside) will Jaire Alexander or Kevin King move inside? Offensively, how do you see the depth chart? Is Taylor in the mix inside?

Sullivan is the nickel. I don't recall Pettine promising Jackson will play a lot, but he certainly has to be ready. I'm not sure if Taylor has a preferred spot. At 216 pounds, he's more likely a boundary target, but I don't rule anything out with LaFleur's system.

Markus from Sea Ranch, CA

Referring to the Packers' secondary Mike Pettine said, "We're going to lean on them heavily." I took this to mean he plans on being very aggressive pressuring the QB while also limiting the run, which is only possible when you have an elite secondary. This goes beyond putting a CB on an island, but more accurately puts the secondary on several individual islands…the archipelago defense. Hemingway might have referred to it as "Islands in the Stream."

I think Pettine really likes his top three corners, and he's going to rely on them to give him flexibility with packages and calls.

Matt from Irvine, CA

I remember Danny Vitale was the "first off the bus" nominee last year. Is there a clear cut "first off the bus" player this year based on their imposing physical presence?

You can never go wrong with Marcedes Lewis.

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

Here is an observation. The average age of the NFC South's starting QBs is 36, the same age as Rodgers.

How 'bout that, and the Packers are facing every team in that division this year.

Brian from Sussex, WI

Saw an article noting there is an order of coaches who would call plays in case of play caller(s) getting COVID-19. How far down that list do you think Rodgers calling plays himself is?

It's certainly a fallback option at any time.

Dave from Kaukauna, WI

Teams are allowed to protect four players on the practice squad. I would not want to be one of those four players because you could be stuck on the practice squad, at a practice-squad salary, for the whole season. I would rather be one of the other 12 players on the practice squad with a chance to be claimed by a team onto a regular roster at full salary. Did the players' union agree to this? Isn't this unfair to those four players?

Not when those four extra spots only exist because of the pandemic anyway. In addition, teams can change week to week which players are protected, so it's not a given four guys will be "stuck" on the practice squad all season.

Kyle from Sun Prairie, WI

Apart from a cancelled season and praying for the health of all players/staff, what are you most afraid of this year from a football perspective? My (current) fear is the Packers will be a better team this year but have a worse record, given their performances in crunch time last year.

I don't think that's something to be afraid of, frankly. It's going to be incredibly difficult to repeat 13-3 regardless, but I do think there are areas this Packers team can be better than it was a year ago. That's not to say their best areas will be able to stay at last year's levels, though. Every year is a new one.

Packers LB Randy Ramsey celebrates his birthday on September 7. Check out photos of him from his time with the Packers.

Roger from Hewitt, WI

Insiders, how are they going to do the TV broadcasting of games? Are they going to broadcast like baseball at the studio? Will Rock and Wayne be at the game or at a studio? Thanks for all the work and time.

I haven't heard definitive answers to those questions yet. I'm just as curious.

Howard from Sarasota, FL

Mike and Wes, will you be able to travel with the team to Minnesota and sit in the press box for the game?

No. Wes and I will not be traveling this year due to the league-mandated reductions in the size of travel parties. With all the postgame media access via Zoom, we will still be providing all the stories and other coverage we normally do, just not in-person for road games.

Steve from Richland, WI

Good morning. So, who is tasked with ensuring the decibels don't go beyond 70 in Minnesota?

The league will have to monitor the artificial noise, I would imagine. Right?

Lori from Brookfield, WI

What will be the Packers' first play call against the Vikings and who will carry or receive the ball?

The natural choice, given all the discussions about LaFleur's offense in Year 2, would be to hand it off to Aaron Jones. But the beauty of this game is you just never know.

Bob from Winneconne, WI

No question, just taking a few moments to relax and reflect. We've walked a long, trying road this year. A special thanks to Hod and Spof for making it a little easier. Many days I shifted from reading II right away to "saving" it (like dessert) for later on the day when I knew it'd bring comfort. Finally, we're a week away from football. Thanks again for helping keep us sane.

All we've done is tried our best. T-minus six days and counting.

Ryan from Atlanta, GA

Oh man, I can't believe they kept Spofford. How can BG keep his job? They should have kept Vic instead!

Happy Monday to you, too.