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Inbox: He understands coaches get what they put in

It was a good first step for Jordan Love in a long journey

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry

Mike from Plover, WI

Did you like what you saw from Jordan Love?

Yeah. Love played how I expected him to play. He flashed his arm talent and showed what he's capable of when he plays on time with rhythm and tempo. But as Matt LaFleur likes to say, "All gas, no (freakin) brake." You have to keep it going. It was a good first step in a long journey.

Drew from Bloomington, MN

Hi there. So it's obvious you liked to toe around Jordan's performance in Monday's II. I would have thought 50% of the questions would have been about him yet I saw hardly anything about his performance or a personal review. How would you grade his performance out of 10? Given the stakes, players, etc., I thought he showed some promise.

Seven. If he didn't play well Saturday, Love's name would've been plastered on the lower-third of all the major networks on Monday. Given the outside pressure Love was facing, I thought he played well.

Lloyd from Rancho Cordova

I thought going for it on fourth down while on the Green Bay side of the 50-yard line was asking for trouble. Do coaches make preseason decisions like that for some kind of test of the team?

No. They do it because it's the preseason, where everything is made up and the points don't matter.

Blaine from Fennimore, WI

What was your biggest takeaway from the first preseason game?

The Packers will have some tough calls to make at their offensive skill positions.

Alex from Hibbing, MN

Unfortunately, I missed the broadcast of the first preseason game, but caught some limited footage today and a podcast mostly highlighting the bad stuff. Wes, what were some of the positive takeaways you had from that game? Any players on the bubble you thought shined? Thanks for all you guys do.

Devin Funchess had a good night. With the Packers resting four veteran receivers, that was the most reps Funchess has seen and I thought he capitalized. He has great size for the position and his catch radius was evident. I gotta give an honorable mention to Malik Taylor, too. He's an under-the-radar guy who doesn't get his name in many headlines, but I thought he played well, too.

Tom from Walker, TX

Who was the biggest surprise from Saturday?

Oren Burks. Saturday also was probably his finest hour in a Packers uniform. Burks is an intelligent guy but sometimes thinks too much, which neutralizes his superior athleticism for the position. That wasn't a problem against the Texans. He was playing fast and free. As Burks said, though, he must keep stacking those types of strong performances.

Ken from Madison, WI

When evaluating players in preseason, what percentage of your evaluation is based on how they practice versus game time?

It's tied together. There always are some exceptions (e.g. I felt like Dexter Williams flashed a little more Saturday night than he has in camp), but there's often carryover from practices to the preseason. What you all saw from Tim Boyle, Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan the past few summers is also what showed up to us in practice and vice versa. I remember thinking in 2013 Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman weren't exactly where the Packers needed them to be after the first two weeks of training camp.

Samantha from Marion

What's the largest downside to not having any starters take preseason snaps? Are they set back at all if the first few regular season games are essentially the "preseason" for them?

Nope, especially now that the regular season is 17 games.

Will from Milwaukee, WI

Good morning Wes! From the stands on Sunday, the opening of the second half sure seemed like Kurt Benkert brought a lot of energy, and he threw some lasers to finally get the Packers moving down the field. The crowd loved it, and our section was roaring after each of the first three plays. I read that the fumble by the running back on the next play was blamed on the QB, but it sure didn't look like that to me. How did you rate Benkert's performance over all? Think he has a chance to make the 53?

I loved it. Benkert did exactly what he needed to do in that moment. He obviously has things to clean up, especially on the fumbled exchange, but he played fearlessly. It's going to take a lot for Benkert to make the 53 with how much depth the Packers have on this roster, but he has two more chances to show he's worthy of a spot.

Michael from Lee, MA

I'm concerned about our linebackers being able to stop the run. With that said, I think the addition of T.J. Slaton will prove to be a great piece in the formula to stop the run. How many snaps do you think he'll take in his rookie season if he finishes the preseason as well as he's started it?

I was kind of stunned to see Slaton played 46 snaps. That's a lot of work for the big man, but also a very good test. Slaton is green, but he looks the way you want a defensive lineman to look.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Yesterday Spoff mentioned a couple DL appeared gassed. At this point in the preseason, what can be done if guys are out of shape?

It wasn't that the defensive line was out of shape. I think they were short on bodies. The Packers were without their three starters on the defensive line and Tyler Lancaster played just 10 snaps. For now, I'm giving the D-line a pass.

Tim from Greensboro, NC

Good morning! While I agree the OL and DL left a lot to be desired, everyone also needs to realize the Texans had a lot of veterans playing, even on their second and third teams. I thought I heard it referenced they went from a fairly young team last year to a more experienced team through their offseason acquisitions. Made me think of a college team with a bunch of freshman and sophomores going against redshirt juniors and seniors.

I appreciate how the coaches didn't sugarcoat anything. They gotta do better up front, but it's also important to point out that nobody is panicking. The coaches wouldn't push these guys the way they have if they didn't think they were capable of more. I expect the lines to respond accordingly.

Domenick from Hilton Head Island, SC

What do you think of Billy Turner at right guard and Dennis Kelly at right tackle. Then, you would have Josh Myers at 6-5, and 6-5, and 6-8. Bill Parcells always said you can't teach being big.

I really want Turner to just play right tackle. I love what he brings to that spot and felt like he benefited greatly from getting to settle in there last year before injuries hit. Kelly is a great insurance policy, though.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

How many players that you predict as Week 1 starters played against the Texans?

Three? Josh Myers, Lucas Patrick and Krys Barnes. Based on how the Packers have developed cornerbacks, I still think Kevin King starts over Eric Stokes in New Orleans if he's healthy.

John from Sturgeon Bay, WI

You mentioned that Joe Barry has a ton (forget the exact word you used) more talent to work with than his past NFL gigs. What are two or three of the key differences between a JB defense and a MP defense?

I'd say larger defensive-front packages, increased flexibility with the cornerbacks in sub-packages and more pressure packages. More than scheme, however, I think the biggest change is the practice presence. Barry's philosophy is clear and transparent. He understands coaches get what they put in, so he invests the time and energy into his defense.

Todd from Brighton, MI

Biggest disappointment of first preseason game?

I was hoping special teams would make a statement. The core four left something to be desired. But as my friend Aaron Nagler likes to say, "Lotta ballgame left."

Sue from Tomah, WI

How was the "vibe" at Lambeau with all those fans in the stands? Electric?

It was great. Nearly perfect. The only way it could have been better is if the crowd resisted doing the wave when the offense was on the field. Baby steps.

Russ from Henrico, VA

Based on the Rams game and some others, are we sure want fans back in the stands?

Those weren't fans. Those were dudes wearing Rams jerseys. I know people sometimes drink a few too many cocktails and get rowdy from time to time, but when was the last time you saw a video show up on social media where two Packers fans were fighting at Lambeau Field?

Craig from Appleton, WI

In the history of the NFL there are only 22 head coaches in the Hall of Fame. I can only think of three active coaches (Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, Mike Tomlin) that are likely to go in. What are the chances that Mike Holmgren might be among the next Packers to get inducted?

They put Bill Cowher in. That sealed Holmgren as a legitimate Pro Football Hall of Fame coach in my mind.

Lambeau Field hosted a preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021.

Jacob from West Allis, WI

What are your thoughts on this year's emphasis on taunting? I think the line between celebrating and what could be considered taunting is very thin in the NFL.

I don't like using the word "hate," but I really, really dislike it. As long as we're not doing inappropriate gestures or physically crossing the line, I don't get the NFL's infatuation with policing the most innocuous parts of the game. There are much bigger fish to bake.

Aidan from Atlanta, GA

As someone who wears a "23" jersey every Sunday, I am very excited to watch our secondary this year. With that being said, the new taunting rules worry me a bit. It seems like DB more than any other position celebrate after good plays (shaking the finger, flexing, etc.). Are the coaches making it a point with the players to make sure we avoid these penalties during the season?

I have no idea what is going to warrant a taunting penalty – and that terrifies me. There's already enough subjectivity in the NFL. I couldn't care less about the side judge's opinion on whether Hingle McCringleberry thrusted three times. Maybe it's time we worry more about establishing the defensive rules of play, so we're not wondering what's a DPI at a critical point in the NFC Championship Game?

Zach from Moorhead, MN

Exciting to see football back in full swing. Does JK Scott continue as the starting punter this season?

It sure looks that way. Scott's primary competition, Ryan Winslow, was released on Monday.

Bob from Oconomowoc, WI

With Ryan Winslow's release the Packers appear confident in JK Scott's ability. Have you noticed any improvement in his play and consistency during camp? Do you see most or even all teams carrying an emergency kicker and punter on their practice squads this season?

Scott has looked fine, but he's looked good every summer in Green Bay. He may be the most talented punter the Packers have had, but it's a six-month marathon. You gotta do it consistently from September through February.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning. When teams run "seven-on-seven" drills, what four positions do not participate on each side? Thanks.

Most of the offensive and defensive line.

Dick from Hartford, WI

The one guy I saw played hard was Heflin. Where does he stand on the depth chart?

These are my favorite types of questions this time of year. I like what I've seen from Jack Heflin. He's caught my attention and I'm excited to see more these next two games.

Matt from Burlington, WI

II, why is it called "down the seam"?

Because "up the zipper" was taken. That's just what the middle portion of the field by the hashes is called.

Michael from Weston, Ontario

One last team! How about the Weston Ironmen of Weston Collegiate.

You have my undivided attention.


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