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Inbox: Here we go

WR Davante Adams
WR Davante Adams

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Back from a two-week end-of-summer road trip that at one point ended up at Lake Spofford in Spofford, NH. It was a beautiful lake with crystal clear water and a sand bottom that reminded you of Door County. The sounds of hawks in the distance were only broken by splashing and a brother who it turns out had eaten from his brother’s bag of Fritos after finishing his own. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!

Week 1 is here, everybody, and it’s not even a full week. T-minus three days and counting … here we go.

Chistow from Dallas, TX

Looking down the cut lists from all the teams across the league, it’s incredible how much turnover there is year to year. I can look down almost every team’s cut list and find a player or two who was on Green Bay in recent years. The number is even larger of players who aren’t even in football anymore. You just never know who is going to make it and who isn’t.

Nope, which is why I’m always very hesitant to make predictions when it comes to roster moves. There’s always more behind each decision than we’ll ever know.

Kevin from Holmen, WI

Did Kizer being forced to play early in his rookie year and doing so poorly ultimately derail his chances at being a serviceable quarterback in the league?

I don’t think the ship has sailed on his career, but we’ll never really know whether the winless rookie season with the Browns was a net positive or negative for his career. I don’t think trying to learn three offensive systems in his first three years in the NFL helped, though.

Steven from Charleston, WV

So ESB’s season is over? He’s not eligible to return because he wasn’t on the original 53? Does he get his full salary? Does he remain a Packer or can he be picked up by anyone else? Can the Packers cut him at any given time? Please help me understand this.

His season is over and he is not eligible to return this year. He does remain with the Packers and is not available to other teams. His salary for this year will depend on whether or not he has a split contract (active vs. inactive/IR pay). The Packers could reach an injury settlement with him if they decide to move on, but Gutekunst said on Sunday “he’s part of our future.”

Matthew from Marshfield, WI

Well, I got 50/53. My surprises: keeping only two QBs, trading away McCray at the last minute, and EQ heading to the IR before the 53 rendering him out the entire year. What were your biggest surprises from cut-down day?

Madison over McCray surprised me a little, for the experience factor, but I suspect that was at least partially scheme-fit-related. Congrats are in order for Madison for the road he took and the way he persevered. I would say Shepherd was the biggest surprise for me, not because he hadn’t earned a roster spot, but because the odds seemed remote to me that anyone would claim a 5-9 receiver from the FCS who wasn’t signed by anyone as a college free agent (he originally came to Green Bay as a tryout player for the rookie minicamp and then was signed). So I thought they could easily get him back on the practice squad if they wanted him to stick around. In any event, his story is a great one. First rookie tryout player to make the 53 right away since Jarrett Boykin in 2012, but even Boykin was signed by Jacksonville and then released before coming to Green Bay for his tryout.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

It appears BG isn't afraid to admit he made a mistake.

I’d phrase it as recognizing things aren’t working out as intended and aren’t going to.

Travis from Bremerton, WA

I had a good feeling about Boyle from the beginning. Glad he's No. 2.

He won the job in Winnipeg in my book. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times, that’s the most productive I’ve seen a second-string offense around here in several years. It wasn’t hyperbole.

Zach from Virginia Beach, VA

Guys, I'm happy with the initial 53, but a bit surprised it held. The Pack was sitting at 12 on the waiver wire and would seem to have a need at ILB. Perhaps Burks’ injury isn't as bad as initially thought, or the org is high on Ty Summers. What are your guys’ thoughts?

I thought we’d see a claim, too, but Gutekunst on Sunday once again expressed optimism regarding Burks’ health and reiterated a point I’ve made a few times that there aren’t that many snaps with two inside linebackers on the field anymore.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

The II regular season is finally here, starting today! Sure, there will be questions about rules, filling out the roster, last night's game...yadda yadda. But as of today, questions about "the next game" are the real deal. Huzzah! It's on like Donkey Kong. That said, the Packers know some of the Bears' tendencies (despite a changed Chicago roster), while the Bears…and Packers…don't yet have a feel for what the Packers like to do. Does either team have an advantage on this point?

Both teams will have looks up their sleeve on both sides of the ball that will serve as surprises. It’s like that the first few weeks of every season, whether a team has new coaches or not.

Ellen from Menominee, MI

Will the Wisconsin Badger band be playing during halftime of a game for the 2019 season?

Yes, I believe it’s the Oakland game on Oct. 20.

Tom from Douglassville, PA

There are a lot of good matchups in Week 1. Besides Packers-Bears what game are you looking forward to the most?

Rams-Panthers and Falcons-Vikings jump out at me.

John from Woodbridge, VA

Since 2007 (when I first started watching the Pack), we seem to have had a number of great receivers who each had one trait that they really excelled at. In my opinion, for Donald Driver I remember it being his toughness, Greg Jennings his route running, Jordy his sideline ability and speed, Randall Cobb his run after the catch, and Davante his release. My question is this: Over the past 12 years, which of the great Packer receivers has been the best blocker?

In my opinion, Nelson, but Driver and James Jones are close seconds.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Mike, it seems like forever the MLBs have been called the Will and Mike. Any idea when and how those names came about? Thanks for the clarity.

The names derive from the traditional 4-3 with linebackers in the middle, on the strong side (where the tight end is), and on the weak side. The first letter of those alignments are names for simplicity of communication – Mike, Will and Sam.

Jim from McLean, VA

Hats off to Evan Siegle’s portrait work!

I left the Green Bay Press-Gazette 15 years ago wondering if I’d ever again work with a photographer as talented as Evan. Now I work with an even better version of him.

Diane from Hot Springs, AR

How's the health of Bryan Bulaga? Would love to see him play all season!

The Packers had a plan throughout the spring and summer to limit Bulaga’s reps and get him to the start of the long haul as fresh and healthy as possible. Based on what he said at his locker this past week, it has worked and the 10th-year veteran is feeling better at this stage than he has in a long time.

Thomas from Evansville, IN

MVS or Geronimo? Who's going to take the bigger step this year?

I’ll say MVS because Allison was already making his big step last year before he got hurt.

Nolan from Rochester, MN

Does a practice-squad player salary count against the cap? And, if they are brought up to the 53-man roster do they get a new contract? And also, has a team ever used up the entirety of their salary cap so they were unable to sign a player that they needed?

I’m not aware of the latter happening because teams can always restructure contracts to create immediate cap relief if needed. Practice-squad salaries do count against the cap, and an active-roster contract is a new deal.

The Packers held their first official practice of the regular season in preparation for Thursday’s opener in Chicago.

Craig from Milwaukee, WI

How critical is winning at least one of the first two games being they are division games?

0-2 would not be a death knell for the season, but playing uphill from mid-September on makes for a long, tough road.

Dan from Morehead City, NC

Since Curtis Bolton was waived injured, if he isn't claimed by another team he reverts to the Packers’ injured reserve. Since he didn't make the final roster I take it he would not be eligible to play again this year unless he gets an injury settlement and is re-signed after that expires. Is that right?

Correct, after a settlement (if they do one) and the six-week waiting period.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

Why are traded draft picks often "undisclosed"? Why the secrecy?

Undetermined is probably a better word. Trade stipulations, such as how many games a player is on the active roster, can determine what the draft pick compensation actually is in some cases. With the McCray trade, it sounds like the Packers get the better seventh-round pick between theirs and the Browns’.

Dan from Toledo, OH

I’m old enough to remember when Jachai Polite was mocked as a potential first-round pick for Green Bay. I know you guys aren’t surprised by cuts anymore but in your opinion what was the most shocking cut from around the league?

Polite definitely ranks up there. He went from a top 10 pick in February to the waiver wire on the last day of August. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen someone fall so hard, so fast.

James from Mount Pleasant, WI

Have the Packers provided Aaron Rodgers with enough passing weapons?

Yes.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Mike, if Corey Linsley gets injured on Thursday who's the next man up? I can't believe it would be Cole Madison like the depth chart would indicate.

Madison stopped taking reps at center part way through camp. Patrick and Jenkins are the backup centers as far as I know.

Chris from New Richmond, IN

I am interested in your take on the Packers keeping Mason Crosby and releasing Ficken. I like Crosby and having veterans on the team, but was somewhat surprised given his ups and downs last year and believing the new guy outperformed the veteran in the preseason. Thank you in advance for your insights.

Crosby won the competition outright. I believe the missed PAT the other night was only his second missed kick all summer, practice or games. Ficken had a chance to make a serious run at the job when Crosby was out with the calf injury, but he was too inconsistent during that stretch.

James from Ottawa, Ontario

Seven cornerbacks is a number that jumped out at me, although they are seven guys who deserve to be part of that 53. Hats off to both Hollman and Sullivan especially – great preseason showings that would have made trying to sneak them onto the practice squad virtually impossible. I really love the depth at this position.

You can never have enough corners, and Sullivan could play some safety in a pinch, too. The Packers’ depth at that position is necessary to me for several reasons – the way the game is played now, King’s injury history and Williams’ age. I love Tramon and sure hope he keeps holding off Father Time, but that guy was undefeated last I checked.

Nicole from Trempealeau, WI

When the roster is set, will any players be changing numbers?

Darnell Savage switched from No. 26 to 21.

Cami from Jupiter, FL

Hi guys, I saw a couple non-QBs wearing red jerseys in the practice pictures from Sunday. What’s the purpose behind that? I would assume it’s a designation to not hit them, but I’ve never seen it before.

They’re non-contact designations, protecting a player as he practices in a limited fashion. It is new around here. Ka’dar Hollman and James Crawford were the non-QBs wearing them. We’ll see when the injury report is released later today exactly what’s up.

Brian from Menominee, MI

It's finally here, and I'm not sure I've ever been more excited for a season. I keep reminding myself, specifically with regards to Week 1, about perspective. Beating your most hated division rival in epic fashion in Week 1 does not guarantee a playoff berth, and losing in heartbreaking fashion is not a death sentence for your season.

Worth remembering to be sure. Enjoy Labor Day, everyone.

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