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Inbox: Everyone is ready for Day 2

The expectations are high for Kingsley Keke and he wants to meet them

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QB Aaron Rodgers

Drew from Bloomington, MN

Hey Spoff, no need to get all upset about me merely asking for some feedback on who is mostly likely going to be our future at QB instead of just speaking to stats. I did see your column but I just wanted some honest takes on how you think he looked and what you thought the potential was. Too many times people get their feathers ruffled by small things and we all just need to accept this is a child's game and to enjoy it. Y'all do a great job pumping out stuff for us to read!

Don't mess with the Mike, young man. You'll get the Spoff.

Will from Milwaukee, WI

Good morning Insiders! A few years ago, QB1 made it known he was not a big fan of combined practices. Any word on how the team is responding to suiting up against another NFL team this preseason? Thanks for keeping us informed and entertained during training camp.

It was a good first day. In our "5 things" notebook, I led with Aaron Rodgers' thoughts on the practice. All in all, I think it passed the sniff test for QB1. It was decidedly more competitive and controlled than the Houston practices two years ago. I think part of that is the Packers' staff learning from past mistakes and also having a closer connection to Robert Saleh and his coaches. Everyone is ready for Day 2.

David from Appleton, WI

Hello Insiders! During COVID, player availability was only via scheduled webcast events. Could you explain how this impacted your reporting as compared to years past where you had greater access to players? Maybe share a story of an interview you had with a player who was overlooked by the "greater" media during availability.

When people ask this question, I always like to compare it to talking with a family member over Zoom. Yes, you see the individual and get to talk with the individual but it's not the same as one-on-one interpersonal communication. That's what I miss the most. It's so difficult to get to know players and develop stories through a computer screen. I didn't get to know Allen Lazard, Tyler Lancaster and Robert Tonyan by asking them questions after a big day at practice. I got to know them by walking into the auxiliary locker room and learning about the human being behind the player. That's still missing – but I'll gladly take in-person access in the media auditorium.

Rusty from Eustace, TX

Maybe it's just the perspective during the interview, but is Kingsley Keke the leanest 303-pounder you've ever seen?

Keke looks great. He wanted to put on weight this offseason but emphasized it was "good, lean weight." As Keke joked, he didn't want to come back looking like former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry. The Packers have high expectations for Keke and he wants to meet them.

The Green Bay Packers continued training-camp practice on Ray Nitschke Field with the New York Jets on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. Who else do the Packers have in mind for returning punts if Amari Rodgers doesn't prove to be the guy? Thanks.

Rodgers is going to be just fine as a punt returner but Randall Cobb is the de facto No. 2. The only other guy I've seen return punts for Green Bay this summer (Josh Jackson) has been traded.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

After one preseason game has either Jonathan Garvin or Tipa Galeai outshone the other?

They've both had their moments. There was a play in practice Wednesday where Garvin just ran past Jets left tackle Mekhi Becton for a sack of Zach Wilson. As I tweeted, I don't think I've ever seen anything like that before. Tipa has a nasty spin move but he's still very lean. I concur with Mike Smith's thoughts that he'd do well to add another 10 pounds to his frame. He's an explosive athlete, though.

Steven from Silver Spring, WI

Spoff's comment on the low-block rule is absolutely the biggest rule change. I had only focused on the offensive side of it meaning you cannot cut-block outside the box, but yes the DBs who go low and create a pile can no longer do that. It seems like big implications for running attacks and teams that don't set the edge with bigger players like our defense has changed to do.

My mind naturally gravitated to the offensive side of the ball but it's a salient point Mike raised. DBs swarming to the ball has never been more important.

Bob from Port Saint Lucie, FL

It was reported that 30 players didn't participate in preseason Game 1. Do you expect more to be involved in the next two games? How many won't see any action at all?

Maybe a few more guys will play but not by much. Of those 30 who sat out last Saturday, I'd guess 20 or so won't play at all this preseason.

Austin from Appleton, WI

Well, I guess my question regarding Josh Jackson has been answered. I hope he finds his stride in New York. He seemed like a good locker room personality.

I know I caught a lot of grief from many readers about Josh Jackson over the years…and it was probably warranted. The flashes were there, though. It wasn't like a figment of our imagination. You could see the talent. It just didn't materialize on Sundays. Jackson is a great dude, though. He worked hard for every penny the Packers paid him. I want nothing more than to see him succeed in New York.

Mike from Grovetown, GA

We haven't had a great "get you a yard no matter what" back in a while. Do you expect to see AJ Dillon to give us back what Eddie Lacy briefly gave us?

I think so. He's built for it.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Hi guys! I've been taking fewer Inbox snaps this preseason, trying to stay fresh for the regular season and also give space to II up-and-comers who are fighting for posting spots. That said, it is my observation (while holding the clipboard) that this Packers team is as deep, on paper, as any team in recent memory. Is this the deepest team since Brett and Reggie and Co. way back in 1997? That team had great special teams, which we have yet to see now, but otherwise I'm getting the same vibe.

I don't have good enough recall to compare this team to the 1996-97 Packers. Maybe Spoff does. But I've said a few times this is the most talented team I've covered in my 10 full seasons as a Packers beat writer. Special teams are the question mark. If Mo Drayton can calm those waters, Green Bay is going to be a tough out from now until February.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

As an avid prognosticator of the 53, Isaac Yiadom doesn't have much time to show his stuff. What are coaches looking for knowing he doesn't have a full offseason to showcase himself?

Athleticism and aptitude. Yiadom can't do anything about what he doesn't know right now, but how quickly he picks up the playbook and flashes on the practice field will tell the coaches a lot. He seems like a bright guy. He was traded to the Giants on Sept. 3 last year and still wound up starting 10 games for them.

Dan from Elizabethtown, KY

When Isaac Yiadom was with the Giants, did they play more man or zone pass "D" in New York?

It sounds like they played more zone. I'm not sure whether that's the scheme Patrick Graham wanted to run or it was an adjustment they made to suit Yiadom's playstyle, though.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

What's the "skinny" on the performance of Yiadom on special teams? I noticed that he got 384 snaps in Denver.

I asked him about that on Wednesday. I don't have all the fine details but it sure sounds like he was a core-four player. Yiadom saw fewer snaps on special teams last year but I think that was mainly a product of him being one of the Giants' two perimeter cornerbacks.

Bob from River Falls, WI

Do you think the Packers were showcasing Devin Funchess, Saturday night, to use as trade bait? What does A-Rod think of Funchess?

I think it had more to do with Saturday being the first time Funchess had played in an actual game in nearly two years. Funchess can use all the reps he can get in this offense. That being said, we have to see how everything checks out with Funchess' leg after getting carted off Wednesday.

James from South Bend, IN

It's been said that around five spots are set at the WR position: Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Lazard, Rodgers and Cobb. Is there any chance that with the way Funchess and some of the young guys are playing, that they could steal a spot? Maybe from MVS because of his drops last year?

First, nobody is stealing anything. Jobs are won, not stolen. I think those top five are pretty well locked in but I could see the Packers keeping a sixth, and even seventh, receiver if their play warrants it. There's more flexibility now with the 53-man roster and the 16-man practice squad that it's easier to "load-up" at certain positions than it used to be. But those sixth and seventh guys need to contribute on special teams.

Stan from Jupiter, FL

I am curious as to what would happen if a team/GM flat-out refused to make the required moves on a cutdown day, or was late in doing so. The NFL must have a rule on it. Could the team be fined? The GM suspended? Bonus question: Has it ever happened?

You cut your team…or the NFL will gladly do it for you.

Sal from Mullica Hill, NJ

Hi II, the reference to Joe Barry that "he understands coaches get what they put in," don't all coaches understand that? Or do some coaches offer a more hands-off approach? I couldn't help but feel there was a knock against the previous DC.

That wasn't meant to be a dig on Mike Pettine at all. I was just explaining Joe Barry's coaching philosophy. Nothing more, nothing less. Barry strives to be a high-energy coach who is the same guy Monday through Sunday. Because that's what he wants from his players.

Thomas from Cedar Rapids, IA

On the subject of open practices and not revealing too much of the playbook, how does the NFL keep things in check? What would stop a team from launching a drone with a sophisticated HD camera from a public park a mile away and long distance filming an outdoor closed practice? If the answer is honor or fear of punishment, let me remind you millions of dollars ride on the win/loss outcome of games. Honor won't stop the Belichicks of the league. Am I paranoid?

I would say so. NFL teams can get into deep doo-doo if they get caught spying teams' open practices during training camp. The only way they're allowed is if it's a ticketed event (e.g. Family Night). It's just not worth it.

Andy from Clive, IA

Good morning, Wes. Can you see a path to the final 53 for Jack Heflin? If not, this season would mark an end to a Hawkeye on the roster. I cannot remember the last team without one.

Yes.

Brian from De Pere, WI

Do you think Oren Burks will turn the corner this year and be more than just a special-teams player?

I don't want to overhype Burks' performance against the Texans because it was just one preseason game – but that's the way I expected Burks to play coming out of Vanderbilt. He was fast, aggressive and confident. Krys Barnes and De'Vondre Campbell are the two starters right now but Burks has looked good in camp so far.

Kyle from St. Charles, MO

If we don't draw the line at three pumps, then where does the madness end? I'll give McCringleberry a pass for being a rookie. But what we really need is more established vets like Rodgers leading a program focused on helping newcomers toe that line between reasonableness and recklessness.

Listen, Wednesday was the closest I've come to standing up in a press conference and applauding a player. I nearly came out of my seat when Aaron Rodgers started talking about the subjectiveness of taunting penalties. That was my beef in Inbox earlier this week.

Sawyer from Simpsonville, SC

First, thank you Spoffinator and HotHod for the great COVID coverage; just the facts/expectations, nothing else. The straight shooting is wonderful and refreshing! Second, do y'all have any insight into the expected starting lineup for this week? Any interesting changeups from the first game?

I'm sorry. I lost my focus after "HotHod." What was the question again? Footballing? Yes, they're gonna do more football. A few new guys, but football. More of it. HotHod?

Bob from Oconomowoc, WI

Wes, how amusing is it to see people's opinions posted as if they're speaking for everyone? Just because many in Wisconsin like a piece of questionable quality fish, battered, deep fried, and smothered in condiments, doesn't mean everyone does. It's hard to beat catching a fish and grilling or baking it yourself. Most fish taste great with no need for all that grease and flavor masking. We like what we like. Just one guy's opinion.

Thank you! I like baked fish. I like smoked fish. I don't like pickled fish. I like fish tempura. I like pan-fried fish. Fish does not have to be fried-fried fish to be enjoyed.

Bill from Philadelphia, PA

Wes, do you like cheese wiz?

Bill, let's say you don't like something…why would adding "wiz" to the end suddenly increase the chances of you changing your mind and liking said thing?

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