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Inbox: He earned every bit of this

Consistency will be king for Packers’ special teams this year

WR Malik Taylor

Jeff from Janesville, WI

Almost kickoff time.

I hope you all had a safe and pleasant Labor Day weekend. It is indeed almost kickoff time and I couldn't be more ready for it.

Brandon from Atlanta, GA

There has been way too much kerfuffle this preseason. Cautiously optimistic into Week 1. What are the keys to the game Sunday?

Stay hydrated, protect Aaron Rodgers and know where Alvin Kamara is on the field at all times.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Saints coach Sean Payton and DC Dennis Allen have had all summer to work on a game plan and I suspect multiple ways to confuse the Packers' young OL and rookie center Josh Myers on line calls. I fear that with Myers never having to face an NFL defense in full regular-season game mode this could be a big challenge. What are the coaches doing this week to address that and what do you expect might be Plan B if Myers struggles to decipher what he's seeing from the defense?

It's not what the coaches do this week – it's what they've done since May. I'm sure New Orleans is going to throw the kitchen sink at Myers. Allen is a crafty, experienced coordinator and the Saints have a formidable unit up front. But so did the Seattle Seahawks when Corey Linsley had to make his first NFL start in 2014. In Myers' case, he's taken nearly every first-team rep at center since he was drafted. Every snap Myers has, well, snapped, has been to prepare him for this Sunday. Mistakes will happen, but lessons also will be learned.

Emily from Menasha, WI

Please refresh our memories on how the injury reporting and players' game status is communicated during game weeks.

For Sunday games, the first injury report will be released Wednesday with game-status designations announced Friday afternoon. As Matt LaFleur said, the Packers are relatively healthy at the moment. Za'Darius Smith and Tyler Lancaster both returned to practice on Monday. Only one active player, safety Vernon Scott (hamstring), sat out.

Douglas from Bemidji, MN

With Allen Lazard being the best blocking WR on the team, where does he stack up against the rest of the league? Who are the best blocking WRs in the NFL?

Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Robert Woods have been in that "best WR blocker" for years, but honestly, I'd put Lazard right up there with any of them. He has the body for it but also the mentality. Lazard is a guy who brings his lunch pail every Sunday.

Dale from Aurora, CO

Just how do practice-squad members participate in team practice sessions?

Just like training camp, except they trade in whatever team reps they received in August for scout-team reps against the No. 1 offense/defense.

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, England

Does the late-season break affect how we organize/play the start of the schedule?

I'd imagine it played a role in how many veterans the Packers rested during the preseason. It's going to be a long season – but playing 12 straight games before having a bye week made it even more imperative for Green Bay to go into the opener healthy.

Keith from Wallace, ID

I remember when Mike McCarthy switched the defense to a 3-4 one of his reasons was having more linebacker body types on the roster in order to improve special teams. Not trying to ignite the 3-4 v. 4-3 argument. Just an interesting thought. I don't believe the team has finished in the top 20 in special teams since.

Not to shoot holes in your argument but the Packers actually have. They were 13th in 2011, 12th in 2012, 17th in 2015 and 16th in 2017. The problem is they also have ranked last twice and in the bottom four on four occasions since 2011. Consistency will be king for special teams this year.

Daniel from Waukesha, WI

Wes, in their primes, which Packers kicker would you want to make a 50-yard FG to put GB in the Super Bowl: Chris Jacke, Ryan Longwell or Mason Crosby?

Crosby. I think his track record in the playoffs would back me up on that, too.

Richard from Livermore, CA

Something doesn't some feel right regarding the acquisition of Corey Bojorquez. Last year he leads the NFL in gross punting average (fourth best in history) and fifth in net average. Players are cut for a reason, so why would the Bills let him go? Was it a salary cap issue, or perhaps was he a problem in the locker room? And why would he try to make the Rams squad when they already had an All-Pro punter? Why didn't a punter-starved team sign him in the spring? Or was it just luck that he was available?

The Bills signed Matt Haack as an unrestricted free agent on March 18, and while Haack is making more in new money, his cap number for 2021 was lower than the restricted tender Bojorquez required. In normal years, that difference wouldn't have mattered much…but this obviously isn't normal years. Bojorquez said he had more offers than just Los Angeles but signing with the Rams afforded him the opportunity to punt close to home and also learn from Johnny Hekker. Bojorquez ended up giving the four-time All-Pro a good run for his money. In the end, Bojorquez played well enough to earn a new opportunity.

Dick from Four Oaks, NC

Has JK Scott been picked up by anyone or is he a free agent?

Scott cleared waivers and is currently a free agent.

Jerome from Midland

I am a Ferris State alumnus and glad to see Malik Taylor made the team. Jeff Janis and Taylor are from the same D-II conference. Who is the scout for the area, and do you see more upside in Taylor than what Janis brought to table? I do believe Aaron Rodgers has more confidence in "86" than "83."

Janis was bigger, and probably the more explosive, athlete but just never put it all together as a receiver at this level. Taylor may not be the special-teams player Janis was but he's more well-rounded and continuously improved as a route-runner since he got here. Taylor practically made this decision for the Packers. He earned every bit of this.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

I was very surprised to read a question about the spite being given to Jordan Love. That must be some kind of local issue in Green Bay or Wisconsin. I live in North Carolina and I haven't heard any such comments here or nationally. Like everyone else, we don't know how well Jordan Love will play when he gets his chance, but I don't see anything at all to be concerned about at this point.

Love is exactly where he needs to be in his development. The Packers didn't draft him to be "the man." They drafted him to be the developmental prospect behind "the man." Love has the right perspective on things, too. He knows his job is to do everything possible to help Rodgers this season – and he relishes that responsibility.

Cliff from Alexandria, VA

If a practice-squad player gets an offer from another team after he clears waivers, does his current team get a chance to match that offer, either with a higher practice-squad salary or else with a spot on the 53?

Yes…in most cases. Teams now have the option to protect up to four practice-squad players every week, though. If left unprotected, that player is free to sign to a 53-man roster at any time. Still, players and their agents often give the original team the opportunity to either elevate the player to its active roster or increase that player's salary to what he'd be making on the active roster.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

Any idea why Christian Uphoff wasn't signed to the practice squad? It doesn't appear another team has signed him.

Not sure. That one surprised me, to be honest. I figured the Packers would keep both Innis Gaines and Uphoff on the taxi squad, especially with Scott still out with the hamstring.

Rob from Vernon Center, NY

Why hasn't the depth chart on this website been updated to reflect the current roster moves including David Bakhtiari being on the PUP list?

Because this week's Dope Sheet doesn't come out until this afternoon.

Matt from Burlington, WI

II, did a fan get inducted in the GBP HOF this year?

Yep. George Oudhuis. You can read about it here.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

With the season afoot and new readers flowing into Inbox, it might be time to review II's unwritten rules. Not allowed: Math (mostly), talking about Inbox, gloating, chortling, rants (except by Wes when Mike has PTO), bad puns, gambling, and mention of the number just above "87." Allowed: Math (sometimes), science and technology (lumens, laser goalposts!), famous movie and TV lines, Oxford commas, good journalism, camaraderie, delicious food and drink chat, and smart Packers talk. What did I miss?

I think that pretty much covers it.

Dan from Allen, TX

I think someone asserted the other day that it seemed like we've asked almost any good question there is to be asked prior to the opener. When the question, "Is Aaron Rodgers prepared?" gets published, I think we can see that assertion is correct. That said, thank you for a Labor Day Inbox.

A new season is here…and all the new questions that come with it.


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