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Inbox: He continues to prove he belongs

Don’t blame the officials

180825-inbox-2560

Scott from Racine, WI

"Say your farewell"? Not cool. As soon as I opened the Inbox I had to Control-F for "farewell" to ease my anxiety. Don't ever leave us.

Flattery will get you nowhere, Scott, except maybe the first post from 30,000 feet on a red-eye charter.

Nate from New Berlin, WI

I can't be the only one wondering how that was not punt-return interference. What did Alexander do that made them pick up the flag?

I didn't understand it and never got a look at a replay.

Tim from Lincoln, NE

I'm going to pray the Rosary five times a day all season long: one for each starting offensive lineman.

It's clearly still a work in progress after a rough night. McCarthy said as much. The backups have performed before in regular-season games, and the expectation is they will reach that level again. This will be a big final week for them.

Doug from Las Vegas, NV

Hard to watch such poor, mistake-prone play but it's preseason. Brett, for the most part, looked much better than last season. What does he need to do to tighten up on his play consistently? Kizer is very lucky not to have two more picks. Your thoughts?

I thought this game would decide QB2, but I honestly don't know how you evaluate the quarterbacks when they're under siege all night. There was no opportunity to find any rhythm.

Erik from Mansfield, TX

I think we might have been a little quick to anoint JK Scott. Punts shouldn't be going for 26 yards. Think this is just rookie jitters from him? On the second field goal it looked like the snap was a bit off, and Scott had to really work to get it in place, but he nailed it. Does one snap impact the LS race or does that still come down to practice mostly?

I thought Scott had a solid night punting until that late letdown. He has to carry it through a whole game, and he will. He still turned in a net of 44.7 yards on seven punts. You'll take that, and hopefully that's the most he'll have to punt in a game. Yes, that was a tough hold he handled, and as far as the competition, every snap counts, with the ones in the games counting more.

Jake from Athens, GA

I genuinely did not recognize Jordy in silver and black.

It certainly was strange. The first familiar face I saw when I walked onto the field pregame was Edgar Bennett's. It was great to say hi and catch up, but he didn't look right in that Raiders gear either.

Ferd from Woodbury, MN

What a thrill to finally get my question posted...even if Spiff decides to change my name! (If I had a nickel for every time....).

Touche, and my apologies.

Brett from Oshkosh, WI

You guys gave a pretty low rating to endurance in regards to SPECIAL, especially Spoff. Is this just because of all the rules protecting quarterbacks now?

Pretty much.

Neal from Fort Worth, TX

Spoff, you suggest Allison as a breakout candidate this year. Please define what you consider a breakout year for him. I expect some solid numbers this year, as the presumed No. 3. What numbers do you project based on what you've seen, to this point?

I'm not crazy about predictions, but let's try to put some logic and past experience behind this. The last time the Packers had a big year from a tight end, in 2011 (Finley), James Jones was the fourth-leading pass catcher on the team with 38 receptions for 635 yards and seven TDs. Graham's presence could make this offense similar, though I don't see it being as pass-reliant as that one, so I'll temper the Allison projection to something around 500 yards and five scores.

Michael from Kaukauna, WI

Please put non-football related questions sprinkled at various places within the Inbox, to keep everyone on their toes and to keep the comments fun and interesting.

Roger that.

Greg from De Pere, WI

Who will the surprise team be in the NFC and AFC?

Oh goody, more predictions. If by surprise team you mean from the group of non-playoff teams from a year ago, I'll say Houston and San Francisco.

Josh from Nicholasville, KY

So could the Packers do a stock sale to purchase a plane?

No.

Todd from Wauwatosa, WI

Assigned seats on the planes? Is that the responsibility of the Assistant to the Traveling Secretary? May I add my name for consideration for the position? I've got some trade ideas for getting Mack and we really wouldn't have to give up that much!

Nicely done.

Richard from Madison, WI

Obviously a lot of Packer fans are interested in seeing Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson get together again, but what about Derek Carr and Davante Adams? You ever wonder if any of these guys wish it had turned out the other way around?

Their bank accounts would indicate they have no regrets. That little pregame flashback moment was pretty cool, though.

Terry from Westboro, WI

Some national media outlets state that the Packers' roster (beyond Rodgers) is just average. I disagree as I believe our OT, TE, DL and potentially DBs make the Packers above average. Your thoughts.

The Packers have an All-Pro left tackle (Bakhtiari), four players who went to a Pro Bowl recently (Graham, Daniels, Adams, Clinton-Dix), five longtime veterans who went to Pro Bowls earlier in their careers (Matthews, Cobb, Williams, Wilkerson, Lewis) and four other starters approaching Pro Bowl-level play (Bulaga, Clark, Martinez, Perry). The young corners have to prove themselves when the games are for real, but otherwise, the primary state of the roster I'm worried about is its health.

Green Bay made its first road trip of the preseason, traveling to Oakland to face the Raiders

Jerry from Des Moines, IA

Good morning. Every team is undefeated at this point, but I'm really optimistic about this year. If we can stay reasonably healthy I think the offense is poised to explode and the defense can be solid. You see the team all the time, is there a position group you are concerned about?

Other than concerns already noted, I would like to see another Reggie Gilbert emerge at the outside linebacker position. I thought Vince Biegel's impact increased a tick in this game, but I still want to see more.

Darren from Kingston, Ontario

On the bright side, J'Mon Moore got back on track with a few nice catches. What other positives can we take away from this loss?

Moore had a very important night, and it was good to see him put it together. I liked the power in Daniels' runs, Gilbert continued to prove he belongs, the two rookie corners obviously look like keepers, and the run defense shored up its struggles from a week ago.

Shawn from Kissimmee, FL

Cornerback went from a weakness to an overabundance of good players. How many corners do you think the Packers are going to keep on the 53?

I'll guess seven.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Mike, I'm curious to your thoughts on how many RBs start the season on the 53 (notwithstanding injuries the next two weeks)? Also among Mays, Bouagnon, Daniels, and Hill, who has practice squad eligibility?

All four of the backs you mentioned are practice-squad eligible. The number of backs on the 53 in Week 1 isn't as relevant to me as how the position looks in Week 3.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Joe Whitt's comments on the safeties indicate Ha Ha, Whitehead, and Brice are the primary safeties in the defense and others are going to be used in "multiple" roles adds some intrigue to what's coming. Joe has a unique way of answering questions that gives you just enough but screams of his high accountability he holds his men to. What is your take away from Joe's comment?

His remark about finding the best way to use Josh Jones' skills suggests Jones won't be playing a traditional role, but more of a specialized, sub-package role. What exactly that is I'm sure they aren't going to tell us.

Joe from Clio, MI

Oren Burks is certainly smaller than the traditional inside linebacker, but with Dalvin Cook, Jordan Howard, and Theo Riddick in the division might he be a key to defending those three players that are very good outside of the tackles?

Perhaps, but Cook and Howard are awfully good between the tackles as well. Hopefully Burks' injury is nothing serious.

Blazer from Eau Claire, WI

If you're an elite quarterback like A-Rod, what incentive do you have signing a long-term contract, knowing that you'll be considered underpaid in a couple years while other QBs are getting bigger deals?

There's only so much guaranteed money that can be packed into a short-term deal because of the cap.

Steve from Wichita, KS

Why is it such a big deal to call out the mike LB when the offense comes to the line?

Because protection assignments are generally made from the inside out, so calling out the mike establishes the midpoint of potential pass rushers, and the linemen count out from there, depending on the protection call. Clear as mud, I know.

Michael from Fredonia, WI

We ask the hard questions here in the Inbox. Is Jordy Nelson a Packers Hall of Famer?

Indubitably.

Erin from Milwaukee, WI

On J'mon Moore's long catch in the fourth quarter, the Raiders defender was penalized for a hit on a defenseless receiver. In that kind of situation, what is the defender supposed to do instead? Wait until the receiver has turned upfield and is ready to juke the defender?

It's becoming painfully obvious those calls aren't being made accurately enough at live speed. I hate to say it, but eventually, they're going to have to be reviewable or games are going to swing on dubious calls. I don't blame the officials. What they're being asked to do is unfair. They're erring on the side of player safety, but there's no way they can see everything correctly at full speed.

Owen from Sandpoint, ID

The refs must distinguish between leading with the head in order to punish, and leading with the head because when you bend down to tackle someone your head naturally comes first.

And I don't know how the refs are supposed to distinguish that correctly with world-class athletes colliding at top speed.

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

James Lofton is awesome to listen to.

He made a point to tell both me and Wes that he watches "Unscripted" and really likes it. I also had my annual elevator encounter with Kevin Harlan. Both happenings made my day.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Mike, I have seen studies where athletes can take up to three days to recover from time zone changes. Do you notice this effect and does it pertain to you as well in the ability to do your job?

The plane landed at 7 a.m. I don't expect to be normal for a couple of days, but enjoy the weekend, everyone. Good night.

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