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Inbox: He checked all the boxes

Packers have ample weapons to attack the middle of the filed


John from Abingdon, UK

Mike, you need a gimmick. Wes has his "Good morning!" The Rock has his pinkie. As the song goes, you gotta have a gimmick, unless you count the "taking care of some sponsor business." That always sounds a bit menacing to me in a Tony Soprano kind of way.

I love how Wes is to "Good Morning!" as Larry is to "pinkie." Good morning!

Chase from Fort Huachuca, AZ

Do Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson spin the ball together next week?

I think Rodgers, Nelson and Randall Cobb all spinning the ball together would make for a special moment.

Phil from Marietta, GA

Spoff said his favorite play from the game might have been the quick slant to Adams. My favorite moment occurred right after a big play. The excitement Jimmy Graham showed in the stands during his post-TD Lambeau Leap told me that he is completely on board with the team. If his head and heart are fully committed to bringing his best to the Pack in 2018, this offense will be dominant and a pleasure to watch.

I personally liked the play where Rodgers caught Pittsburgh with 12 men on the field on the fifth offensive play of the game. Talk about being in midseason form, mentally. Rodgers also made the throws you want to see at the time you want to see them. He checked all the boxes against the Steelers.

Rob from Simpsonville, SC

With this new, young group of wide receivers, the depth of talent at tight end, and Joe Philbin back as OC, do you think Aaron will get back to 2010-11 numbers? It seems to me that on paper, it's possible.

*I don't know how Philbin's return will affect the Packers, but the proof is in the pudding when Mike McCarthy, Philbin and Rodgers are together. *

Nick from Chicago, IL

Insiders, thanks for all your hard work and info you provide for us cheeseheads. Would you be so kind as to provide your take on how Clay Matthews and Nick Perry look halfway through the preseason?

Matthews has participated in every practice this training camp, which is a good sign coming off his offseason knee surgery. Perry remains on the physically unable to perform list, but seems to be ramping things up if his rehab work with the training staff is any indication. He obviously wants to be on the field during the offseason program and training camp, but Perry isn't a rookie anymore. He knows what he needs to be ready.

Terry from Westboro, WI

So after two preseason games, who you keeping? Kizer or Hundley or both?

Ah, shoot. I didn't know the league cut down the preseason schedule to two games.

Matthew from Lenexa, KS

After two games, how is the backup quarterback situation playing out? Does one of Kizer or Hundley look like he has the early edge?

Hundley is the more polished passer, which is to be expected with two extra years in the NFL and his experience in the system. However, I love what Kizer brings to the table with his athleticism, size and arm. That pass he made to Kumerow to set up the 82-yard touchdown was textbook. It's incredible how well all three of these quarterbacks have fared so far this preseason. It doesn't seem that long ago I watched Vince Young and B.J. Coleman play themselves out of the No. 2 job in Kansas City and the Packers had to call in Seneca Wallace off the street to back up Rodgers.

Jeff from Muskego, WI

Tim Boyle isn't getting the publicity the other two backup quarterbacks are getting. When they got him out of Eastern Kentucky, I thought 6-4, 235, he's the right size. Then, he showed his arm strength and game savvy. The third-and-14 throw to the Emanuel Byrd was Rodgers-like. Tim threw him open over the middle for 22 yards and a first down. Please tell me I'm not the only one who noticed this?

You're not. I tweeted about it, too. That was one of the best throws of the evening. What I love about Boyle is he's clearly better than his college numbers suggest and is motivated to prove it. As you point out, he has the frame and arm to play at this level, but it's important to note this game requires more than measureables. Boyle, like any undrafted rookie, needs to keep proving it every time he steps on the field.

Fans visited Lambeau Field and Johnsonville Tailgate for the preseason matchup against the Steelers.

Dave from Comer, GA

I couldn't watch the game. Was there a decrease in penalty flags from last week?

I can't speak for the entire league, but there was a small decrease from last week's Packers-Titans opener. There were 19 combined penalties, down from 24.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

What is the highest number of TEs that the Pack has kept on the active roster? Reality is you can't keep many. I'd like to keep the three vets – Kendricks has proven himself more reliable than last season as he is more comfortable – but I'd like to see at least four. While I love Byrd's story, I see something special (as a highly untrained and naive eye) in Tonyan's game that I've not seen before. And who is this Jennings kid? I did a double-take when I saw that last name.

Everyone focuses so much on the three veterans and rightfully so, but Robert Tonyan and Emanuel Byrd are also a part of the conversation. They've both had their moments in camp and **could contend for a spot**. Tight end has historically been an easy position to keep an extra body because of its utilization on special teams. And Adonis Jennings is an undrafted receiver the Packers signed at the start of training camp.

Stephen from Washington, D.C.

I haven't heard too much about Randall Cobb this preseason. We all know he's shifty in the slot, but it seems like he hasn't been used very much in preseason or even last season. How has he looked in camp? Do you think, with the new addition of Graham and Lewis in the middle of the field, that we should expect a smaller role for him going forward?

I actually believe the presence of Graham and Lewis will make Cobb even more effective in the offense. McCarthy wants to attack the middle of the field and now has ample weapons to do that. Cobb has been limited during the start of training camp with the ankle, but he's been through this before. The goal is Week 1.

Gary from Wrightwood, CA

Players have to think twice about doing the body bump with Graham after a touchdown. He nearly knocks everyone on their keister!

That's a big man. If Graham was running in my direction, I'd probably curl up and offer a small fist bump.

Ken from Wolcott, CT

We all know Aaron loves Jake Kumerow. Do you think he can have a say and tell the GM, "Hey, this kid needs to stay, make room for him on this team"? Would they listen to him? I'm sure I can speak for all us Packer fans that we would love to see him in Week 1 as a Packer.

Rodgers would never do that. How many times have we heard Rodgers reiterate this offseason how it's his job to play? However, I think he's made his feelings clear on Kumerow over the past month. He clearly likes what he sees from the young man. As Tramon Williams said after the game, what Rodgers is saying about Kumerow is the "ultimate compliment."

Chris from Ashland, WI

If you had to make the call on which first-round pick to deal the Raiders for Khalil Mack which would you choose, ours or the Saints'?

That's cute.

Patrick from Beloit, WI

Is it just me or does Jake Kumerow remind you of Jordy Nelson? With more hair, of course.

Kumerow reminds me more of Ruvell Martin. A lengthy, well-traveled undrafted free agent doing everything he can to make this roster. With more hair, of course.

Darren from Alice Springs, Australia

Folks, including myself, cheer for the underdog story. In Kumerow's case, has he improved that much this year since skipping around various practice squads, or a beneficiary of knowing the system a year longer than the WR rookies?

Overall NFL experience undoubtedly has helped Kumerow, but he's pretty much in the same boat as the rookies in regards to Green Bay. He only spent one week on the practice squad and learned the offensive changes like everyone else after McCarthy and Philbin rewrote the playbook. I've been impressed with several of those returning practice-squad players – Kumerow, Reggie Gilbert, Ahmad Thomas, Byrd and Tonyan have all performed this summer.

Big from Rochester, NY

How come no one is talking about Mason Crosby's two big field goals from 53 and 50 yards?

Because that's what he does. That's definitely a good sign for the field-goal operation, though.

Barry from Aberdeen, SD

I only was able to watch pieces of the game on Thursday night. I have it recorded so I can watch it more closely, but statistics don't lie. The running game seemed to be non-existent on Thursday. What seems to be the issue? It seems the leading rushers were the quarterbacks on scrambles – 29 attempts, 77 yards (2.6 yards per carry).

Don't get hung up on rushing averages in the preseason. Johnathan Franklin (21 carries for 47 yards), James Starks (18-56) and Eddie Lacy (18-36) combined to average like 2.4 yards per carry during the 2013 preseason. The Packers finished seventh in rushing that year and Lacy was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. They'll be fine.

Steve from Flagstaff, AZ

I have to say I am glad the Packers decided to still go out and get Davon House again. If the Packers have another year with injury to their CB unit, I will have faith that a guy like House can step in and be the guy for the year.

I thought House re-signing with Green Bay made sense for both team and player. He's a reliable veteran who has a great relationship with a lot of the guys in that locker room, including Kevin King. Each week, you need six healthy defensive backs on the field. House and Tramon Williams are good insurance policies to have with how hard injuries have hit the Packers in the secondary the past two years. Plus, both veterans have had nice camps.

Gene from Midland, GA

If Jimmy Graham continues to produce as he has since 2011, and injury doesn't cut short his remaining time, is he on pace to be part of the Canton discussion?

It probably depends on how long Graham wants to play. I certainly think he's put himself on that trajectory if he can sustain success well into his 30s like Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten and Antonio Gates did.

Neal from Fort Worth, TX

Many teams have initiations rookies must endure. Do Packers rookies have any traditional rituals they must suffer through?

Not any that I know of. It's a different society. As recently as a few years ago, rookies occasionally had to pick up lunch for veterans, but I haven't even noticed that much recently.

Nariah from Chippewa Falls, WI

I've searched everywhere I could think of on the World Wide Web and can't find the answer: Where was Alexander Thursday night? Maybe I saw him in for a couple snaps but did my eyes deceive me?

The Packers were cautious with Alexander, who was coming back from the groin strain. He played 10 defensive snaps over the first three series as a slot cornerback in the nickel.

Bill from Troy, WI

No advertising on the uniforms, you say? What about the Bellin Health patch the Packers used to have on their jerseys?

Training-camp practices are different. I'm talking about what you see on Sundays.

Donny from Elkhorn, WI

I thought it was another very productive preseason game for the Pack. I did notice an audible thump in the Packers' punting game. Was that the sound of expectations on JK Scott crashing back to earth?

I think it was a good reminder we're still dealing with a 21-year-old punter transitioning his game to the NFL.

Garrett from Houston, TX

Thanks for linking that video of Aaron Rodgers' first touchdown. What wasn't mentioned but I found incredible was when the defender took a cheap hit on a receiver after the play was over, Aaron ran up and pushed the defender over. That's the guy I want leading my team.

That's my teammate. That's my quarterback.

Matt from Cudahy, WI

You're using your publication power to put words in my messages that I never used. I never called your writing pathetic. Yet, you went after me in a tantrum.

He wasn't talking about you, Matt.

Kevin from Folsom, CA

Your thoughts on giving Joe Thomas a call if one of our starting tackles will be missing significant time during the regular season?

Have you seen Joe Thomas lately? Maybe if the Packers want to try him at tight end or linebacker.

Luke from Lake Delton, WI

The day the NFL allows ads on jerseys is the day I stop buying them. They look terrible in the NBA and they'll look terrible in the NFL. When I put on a jersey, I want to represent the Packers, not be a billboard for the highest bidder.

To quote Title Town Talk host Wayne Mausser: "Good point."

Bruce from Northford, CT

It's preseason, folks. Let's not get too excited over scoring 51 points. After all, 34 points were surrendered. This is getting the kinks out for the veterans and battles for roster spots for the kids. It's fun to watch and speculate, but as confident I am with this year's offense, the defense needs to step up and show everyone they are for real. Great job Mike and Wes. You've handled the transition beautifully. Although I can relate more to our curmudgeon down in SC, you've both won me over.

Thank you. Points and production get fans through the turnstiles, but preseason football is so much more than that to NFL coaches and personnel executives. It's fulfilling your assignments, limiting mental mistakes and making plays. That's the path to earning a roster spot.

Griffin from Naples, FL

Wes, your mention of Spoff being in the "huddle" gave me a good chuckle. But, it got me thinking. Any chance for the last "Three Things" we can get you, Spoff, and Larry in pads? As a viewer it would really make my day.

I don't think they make NFL pads small enough for my shoulders.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Wes, you forgot the first rule – what happens in the bonus room, stays in the bonus room.

And I didn't even mention how there's a stitched pillow in it.

Richard from Pelham, AL

Stop the preaching. Don't care about your reference to movies, shows, GOT. Most of us don't care. Stick to football questions. Who could possibly care if someone jumped a garbage can?

Dejan from Kitchener, Ontario?