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Inbox: He's going to be a real challenge for defenses

The longer the offense stays on the field, the more opportunities young players have to prove themselves

TE Luke Musgrave
TE Luke Musgrave

Dave from Waterford, WI

Will Jordan Love play in the last preseason game this week?

According to Matt LaFleur, you better get those “10” jerseys out and leave the "Spofford 88" at home. Good morning!

Michael from Shawano, WI

Gents, preseason or not, vanilla defense or not, I am still impressed with this young offense after two games. I will hold judgment on the defense yet, you know the whole fool-me-once thing from last year's training camp. As usual I'm so impressed with Brian Gutekunst and Co. on stocking this team with football players.

Regardless of the schemes, the goal is still for the offense to push the football downfield in the preseason. Both Jordan Love and Sean Clifford have done that. The Packers didn't play the final 10 minutes of the New England game (and rightfully so) but are still averaging the third most yards (388.5 per game) through the first two weeks of the preseason.

Jerome from Morrow, OH

To me, Clifford's immediate value is running the offense in a way that enables a better evaluation and improvement of the young players on offense rather than his projected roster status. I think he has made himself useful. Please comment.

Absolutely. The longer the offense stays on the field, the more opportunities young players have to prove themselves. While Clifford may take some risks with the football, he's given Grant DuBose, Malik Heath, Cody Chrest and all these young receivers a chance to showcase their talents. That's a lot better than going three-and-out and sitting by the Gatorade cooler for the next 10 minutes. That's also the type of QB teams can win with if pressed into action. Shoot, that's how Gardner Minshew became an NFL household name.

Al from Green Bay, WI

What do we know now about our two rookie tight ends that we didn't before camp began?

There's a lot more to Luke Musgrave than size and speed, and the Packers plan to take advantage of all of it this season based on how he's been utilized at Nitschke Field. I've seen a lot of good from Tucker Kraft. He's a gritty kid who loves football, but Musgrave has lived up to his billing as the highest-drafted tight end the Packers have selected in 23 years. He's going to be a real challenge for defenses.

Jeff from Mesa, AZ

Carrington Valentine often seems to "get in the way" of the receiver when they are running their route. How much are defenders entitled to their real estate when contact occurs between the WR and the CB?

You can jam and bump the receiver inside the first five yards (without holding him) and then cornerbacks must play off. Valentine is entitled to his space on the field, too, but he can't physically disrupt a pass-catcher. Too much contact and the refs are pulling hankies.

Doug from McMinnville, OR

Good morning II, have teams that have been to Lambeau Field for joint practices said anything about the training facilities there vs. their home or other places they have been? I'm sure Lambeau Field is top notch! GPG!

I don't recall any coach coaches comparing and contrasting their facilities with the Packers', but Bill Belichick was very complimentary of the organization last week. Having been around the NFL, I tend to agree. The Packers have a pretty good setup here in Green Bay.

Dan from Kenosha, WI

Insiders, I was blessed to be at the Patriots game. A couple of observations. First, the eye test tells me the Packers won regardless of the score. Two, I have never seen a 52-yard field goal clear the crossbar with more room than Anders Carlson's did. That is a lot of LEG!

And that's why teams practice patience. Many NFL teams are dealing with uncertainty at kicker right now, and some are counting on UFAs and former XFLers to hold down those jobs. The Packers know what they have in Carlson. They just need to give the rookie time and let him grow. If fans need proof of that, look no further than Anders' older sibling.

David from Hahira, GA

Watching Sean Clifford has very much reminded me of watching Don Majkowski in the summer of '87, but he appears to be more polished and intentional. Thinking about drafted rookies it made me ponder, not that it would ever happen, if you felt like there should be a salary cap formula that reduced the hit of a team's drafted player's future contracts, so teams are rewarded for developing talent?

Not really besides this small suggestion: Performance-based escalators should not count towards the salary cap. A Day 3 pick, like Jon Runyan, should get every penny he's earned if he meets the minimum threshold for playing time. However, I don't think that raise should result in his cap number increasing. All that does is shrink the available funds a team can use to sign or extend players. If a team develops a starting-caliber player from Day 3, I think the NFL should give the player a raise without it affecting his cap number. We already do this with individuals playing on the veteran-minimum salary benefit.

Austin from Manassas, VA

Morning! Can you compare Malik Heath's performance this preseason (practice and games) to Jake Kumerow's? Kumerow was a preseason star that didn't make the 53 and never really had an impact for another team. Is Heath different?

With all due respect to Kumerow, you're talking about two completely different levels of athlete. Kumerow might have mastered his responsibilities as a receiver and special-teamer, but the former UW-Whitewater standout also was in Cincinnati for three years before arriving in Green Bay. Malik Heath was a four-star recruit and former No. 1-ranked high-school player in the state of Mississippi by ESPN. He's also just turned 23 in March.

Robert from Verona, WI

Looking beyond the on-field highlight reels of Patrick Taylor and Emanuel Wilson, are there any significant differences between the two that are noteworthy? Specifically, I'm thinking of things like contractual differences, injury history and/or leadership qualities that could impact who gets a roster spot.

Patrick Taylor is a big back; almost built like a safety. That provides value and versatility to special teams. As I talked about on our Tuesday episode of "Unscripted," the Packers were using Taylor as one of their up-blockers on kickoff return due to the injuries at tight end. I don't know if I've ever seen a running back do that before in Green Bay. The third RB has to play teams, especially when the ground game runs through a pair of durable and productive backs like Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.

Ross from Summerville, SC

Gents, the trend league-wide seems to be toward playing the starters more in the preseason. Do you think this will continue being the trend moving forward?

There's no fourth preseason game anymore. This week historically would've been the third preseason game veterans play. If starters don't go this week, they're going almost a month without any in-game action. On the other side of the coin, there's also nearly a month to heal up if a minor injury should occur. I think it makes sense, especially for a very young team.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

What position group still has the most to figure out between now and Week 1?


Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Mike or Wes, with an expanded practice squad, in an average year how many players get on the active game-day roster in a regular season? Thanks!

I don't have time to crunch the numbers now, but remind me after the season. It's a good question, especially in the era of elevations.

Dan from Waupun, WI

Oh, guys, there is so much adversity in the II that I have never written a question. After reading for a few years, I can now handle II adversity much better. This is my first question on the Packer II thread. If defenses advance faster in the beginning of training camp, why do preseason offenses put up so many points?

That depends on the offense, Dan. Five years ago, the Packers blitzed through Pittsburgh, 51-34, in preseason play before grinding out a 13-6 win over Oakland eight days later. It also depends which personnel is available and how deep an offense is at quarterback and the skill positions. This particular squad appears deep in both areas, which sets the table for perhaps the most exciting preseason finale Green Bay has played in a decade.

Randy from Raymond, IA

I was one of those that thought we wasted a pick on Sean Clifford. But what do I know? He can certainly play and has a future in the NFL. There is so much young talent on this team. I hate to think about the difficult job Matt LaFleur and Brian Gutekunst have coming up deciding on a final roster. But I have high hopes for this team this year and in years to come. I think Gutey and staff are great at recognizing talent.

You have to give these things time. We like to dole out grades to draft classes as soon as the picks are made, but it doesn't mean anything until the games actually count. It's a performance-driven business, but you can't forget about the developmental part of this equation. Because you don't really know until you know.

Jeffery from Brooklyn, WI

Hello II, do you think the streak continues for the Packers to keep an UDFA on the roster, and if so, who?

I don't set the roster, but I definitely think the Packers will extend their streak of an undrafted rookie making the Week 1 roster to 19 years. In fact, I'd say there's a good shot Green Bay keeps multiple undrafted rookies for the first time since 2018.

Mike from Pewaukee, WI

In watching GMFB this morning, they really gave the Packers some great press, including Kingsley Enagbare. Jason McCourty even said something about how he loved to say his name! If Enagbare's at all interested in being a guest, the iron is hot. So, my question is regarding interviews and shows (such as GMFB). Are there restrictions on the players? Do they need to seek permission first to appear or be interviewed?

Just like reporters, networks will reach out to the Packers or the player's representation with interview requests. Enagbare is certainly on the rise. Frankly, I'd put him and his locker mate Rasheed Walker as two of the most improved players on the Packers' roster. The face of the Packers' edge rush remains Preston Smith and Rashan Gary, but Enagbare has all the tools to be a difference-maker in this defense.

Jason from Hartselle, AL

A question about player interviews: Maybe goes without saying but transitioning to the NFL from college must be quite the culture shock, particularly for early-round rookies who are suddenly making way more money than they ever have, having to prove themselves weekly against the world's best football athletes. The NFL rookie transition program helps them navigate through some of these big life changes, but are there resources that help these guys in handling themselves in front of a microphone?

The communications staff and player development can help to a certain degree, but it mostly comes down to just getting in the reps. Aaron Jones and Casey Hayward are probably the two best examples of players who grew from quiet and polite rookies to vocal and tone-setting leaders in the locker room.

Louis from Wauwatosa, WI

Thanks for what you do to start our day. Lawrence Guy was drafted by the Packers in 2011, released and played for four different teams including the current Patriots. Can you recall another draft pick released by the Packers that has played close to the number of years Guy has?

Maybe Allen Barbre? He kicked around for a minute before becoming a starter in Philadelphia. Guy is on a different level, though. He's been a staple of the Patriots' defense for the past six years.

Grant from Janesville, WI

I was lucky enough to attend the Patriots game. (I was wearing the Packers shirt, in case you noticed.) One thing I really enjoyed is how Jones and Dillon sprinted to the end zone to celebrate Patrick Taylor's touchdown. Their energy must be infectious in that locker room! Also, I looked around for rare jerseys and came across a Hardy Nickerson No. 56. What jerseys did you find, Wes?

I walked to the press box on Saturday behind a fella with a stitched Martellus Bennett No. 80 jersey.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

How about an "Unscripted" with you two set up in the middle of the field on the 50-yard line at Lambeau? It opens with a long shot from the top of the north end zone and slowly zooms in. Epic! Too much?

I'm pretty much sure I'd get fired.

Todd from Long Island, NY

Mike and Wes, not a question but kudos to John Kuhn. He has really "come into his own" as a TV commentator. It always rubs me the wrong way when ex-players enter the booth and incessantly talk about "how they used to do it." I won't mention any names, but there are big-name/popular players who are regularly guilty of this infraction. John gives insights into the game action by observing and reporting on the players on the field. a class act.

John is fantastic. He's knowledgeable, well-researched and doesn't make it about him. I love the rapport he's built with Kevin Harlan, as well.

Chas from Modena, WI

Only one preseason game left. How does the Packers' training and practicing schedule change from between preseason games and the two weeks prior to the season opener?

We're already in it. The Packers shifted to a regular-season schedule after the Patriots game. Since the preseason finale is on a Saturday, the Packers treated Sunday like an in-season Monday – lifting and reviewing the film. The team took off Monday (like an in-season Tuesday) and now will practice this afternoon. Have a great day, folks.

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