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Inbox: He has the final say

Everyone has to rise up and settle in over the next three weeks

GM Brian Gutekunst
GM Brian Gutekunst

Steve from Colorado Springs, CO

So ready for some football! It feels like it has been forever since we have had a live game, preseason or not. I used my time off well though, as I took a course in speed waiting. Now I can wait an hour in only 10 minutes.

Can you teach me to watch a two-hour practice in 20 minutes? That would make these days in training camp so much easier.

Rex from Laramie, WY

Will there be a blog during Friday's game, or is there another way for those of us out of market to watch?

The game-day live blog will make its season debut Friday night. Coincidentally, it'll be my first time live-blogging a road game from the press box since I was in that same press box in Santa Clara for the 2019 NFC title game.

Tom from Wauwatosa, WI

Does "Ja" rhyme with "Ma" or with "bye" or something else?

"Ja" rhymes with "Ma" just like "Hod" rhymes with "Bod."

Brandan from Wausau, WI

In recent years, are there any players who come to mind that were really hyped up by media, fans, etc., in the preseason but underperformed significantly? On the contrary, what players come to mind that were under-looked and performed very well?

About a decade ago when the Packers were absolutely loaded at receiver, everyone thought Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel were the next stars at the position, and both fizzled out rather quickly. On the contrary, four years ago there was very little hype around an undrafted defensive lineman named Tyler Lancaster, and he stuck around for quite a while.

Isaac from Columbia, TN

Apparently the NFL wants officials to focus on illegal contact. Do you have any ideas why the NFL thinks more of these calls is a good thing?

Any rule, or point of emphasis, that favors offense is never a surprise to me. The NFL didn't get this far by letting its highlight-makers be stymied.

Eric from Mequon, WI

I once heard that in the 2000 season when the Ravens won the Super Bowl, Dilfer would go to Ray Lewis before kickoffs to ask him, "How many points do you need today, Ray?" Ray Lewis would look over at the opponent sideline, take in the atmosphere, then give his QB his answer. I don't know if that is fact or fiction but it is a great story. Let us know if AR ever starts asking JA how many points they need to score in order to pull out the "V."

The Inbox needs to pump the brakes a bit. I've seen references to the 2000 Ravens and '85 Bears in recent days, and this defense hasn't played a game yet, and won't for another month. I'm as bullish on this defense's prospects as anyone, but folks also must remember that less than a month before that stellar playoff performance, the same defense allowed 30 points to a backup QB in Baltimore. I'm not saying that as a knock, just the reality it's difficult in this league to play great defense week after week. It just is.

Samuel from Skokie, IL

You said the GM and personnel department decide the roster and then the head coach and special teams coach decide special teams. Why wouldn't the head coach pick the 53? They know what system they want to implement, are studying the players each day at practice and should know what they want. Then the GM and personnel department can pick the practice squad. Just seems once Gute gets the 90 in camp, the coaches should decide who should stay. Aside from cap management, what am I missing?                          

The head coach definitely has input on the roster and I didn't mean to suggest he didn't. It's definitely a collective effort between the GM and head coach, with opinions solicited from the personnel and coaching staffs. But the buck stops with the GM. He has the final say.

Steve from Hurricane, UT

Was reading Mike Spofford's "No easy task for Runyan" and was amazed he wasn't called for a penalty last year. I knew it was low because I've used that as an argument for him to keep starting. You notice when a guy is jumpy or has to hold. My question however, is about the silent counts. I always thought they just counted in their heads or watched the ball snap. How do they really change it up?

That's a great question, and I wondered the same thing when talking to Runyan, but that's the type of trade secret no one is going to reveal for publication.

Daun from Caledonia, MN

Has a Packer player ever come from Alaska?

Daryn Colledge grew up in North Pole, Alaska.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Did you see the Jamaal Williams' post-practice breakdown speech? 1) The guy has more heart than most. 2) When you are drafted by a team with the caliber of the Packers it could be frustrating to move to a team that doesn't have that same pedigree.

But I really do think the Lions are turning it around, and guys like Williams are a great place to start.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Good morning guys! In your time with the Packers has there ever been a player who initially was especially difficult to interview that became one of your Hall of Fame interviewees?

Nick Collins comes to mind. It wasn't that Nick was standoffish or anything, he just wasn't all that comfortable doing interviews early in his career. I suspect coming from a school like Bethune-Cookman, he wasn't used to the media attention. Over time, he became really helpful explaining some of the X's and O's and other nuances of defense to me. I'll always be thankful to him for that.

Eric from Washington, DC

Do stats really make that big of a difference for QBs in the preseason? Jordan Love will get criticized if he doesn't crush his stats, but I think we need to look at more. What do we need to look for to determine if he's "the man" when everything is subjective?

I'll be watching to see what level of play he can reach and whether he can stay there consistently. Can he get into a rhythm moving the ball, moving the chains, or will it be more fits and starts? It'll be difficult if he's out there with mostly a No. 2 offensive unit against a starting defensive group early in the game, but it's a worthwhile challenge.

Matthias from San Antonio, TX

I love the '50s throwback uniform, might I make a suggestion to Mark Murphy as I know he reads this page? Put numbers on the side of the helmet and/or old-school Packers passer watermark logo with the state of Wisconsin in a football shape?

For a throwback game only, I would love to see that old stationery logo, with the passer and state silhouette, on the helmet. With those current alternate uniforms, that would look really cool once per year in my opinion.

Ted from Las Vegas, NV

Do teams have an alternative to the 53-man roster to save, protect or hide a player from waivers?

Well, there's injured reserve, but putting a player on IR when he's not actually hurt could prompt a grievance and get the union looking into a team's operations, so it's not advisable.

TK from Grafton, WI

The team can carry one more player at position X. Both are rookies. One is an athletic freak but wildly inconsistent, the other is assignment-sure but less gifted. Who makes the 53?

The one with the better preseason film who's more likely to get claimed on waivers.

Michael from Burnsville, MN

Family Night attendance number?

50,112. I don't have the list in front of me, but that's one of the smaller crowds I can recall.

Brad from Montello, WI

What are the Packers' plans with David B. if he can't get healthy?

There are no plans but to get him healthy. As for the offensive line, if David Bakhtiari isn't ready for Week 1, it looks like it'll be Yosh Nijman at left tackle, Jon Runyan at right guard, Josh Myers at center, and some combination of Royce Newman, Jake Hanson or Zach Tom at the two spots on the right side.

Rick from Sarasota, FL

Can you explain something for me? From my perspective, the Packers have been mixing and matching the players and positions, on the O-line, trying to do two things, finding the best combination without Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins and finding depth and versatility for when they return. With players learning and playing different positions problems will occur. So why the concern I see for the line, isn't this what training camp and preseason games are for?

Ding ding ding! That said, the young linemen have to reach a certain standard of play and then stay there. Everyone has to rise up and settle in over the next three weeks.

Tony from Minnetonka, MN

What are you seeing this year that is different from the way they practiced special teams in previous years?

Aside from Bisaccia's personality and a few changed drills, honestly, not much. I think the difference is in how that phase is being taught and treated behind the scenes, and the culture surrounding it, under Bisaccia's leadership.

Cami from Jupiter, FL

Hi II, what's the lowdown on the long snapper position? I keep reading that it's not going well but haven't heard the details of what makes it so.

I haven't seen either candidate perform with enough consistency to feel good about that spot.

Todd from Owasso, OK

During 11-on-11 practice periods, how much information is shared between offensive and defensive coordinators? Do they occasionally tell the other what play is coming, or request certain sets from the other side of the line? That would be a good way to judge a player's or position group's reaction if things aren't going as planned.

Training camp has a combination of scripted and live-call periods. With scripted ones, there can be some advance collaboration amongst coaches about running this call against that one, for example. They can test one another's play designs and schemes. But live call periods are better tests for the individual players because their actions and reactions are all on the fly.

Aaron from Fort Wayne, IN

II gets a lot of questions that seem wildly hopeful that an "unproven" WR group might confuse and confound DCs. The follow-up seems to be, will DCs line up to stop the run and make this WR corps beat them. I think both questions are a bit naïve. I don't think any DC relishes the idea of daring Rodgers to beat him through the air. And to the first question, I'm sure any DC would rather take this young bunch of WRs over a group including Adams. Am I wrong in this thinking?

Not at all. I expect opponents, schematically, to show more respect for Rodgers than the Packers' running game early on, and it'll be on the Packers to earn respect on the ground to force adjustments and have their own counters ready.

Jeff from Lake Forest, CA

Can I get some help? Do you consider preseason part of training camp or to be its own entity? I always thought of training camp as the ramp-up period before the preseason, and once the first practice of the first preseason game week came, that was no longer training camp. Have I been wrong about yet another thing all these years?

In my mind, training camp encompasses everything, including preseason, and doesn't end until the roster decisions are made.

Mark from Big Bear City, CA

Good morning Wes and Mike, so the first preseason game on Friday, what positions are you most interested in watching? JL, O-line and safety should be fun to watch. The rookies on the O-line will be interesting. Can't wait to see what they can really do in live action. GPG!

Love, the right side of the O-line, and the young receivers are the three obvious answers. There should be a lot to watch with all of the reserve DBs as well, because while the starting nickel is clear, the pecking order beyond that is far from decided.

Keith from Lincoln, IL

Greetings, II. What two questions do you want to ask immediately after Friday night's preseason game?

Where's the bus? Am I going to get home before my wife wakes up in the morning? Happy Wednesday.