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Inbox: His words carry weight

Kurt Benkert is all-heart when he’s on the field

WR Davante Adams

Michael from Berrien Springs

Two thumbs up for Spoff's II yesterday. "It's one thing to celebrate. It's another to celebrate in someone else's face. Don't involve the opponent – with the ball, with any gestures, with where words are directed. Do that and I think the refs keep the flags in their pockets." Beautifully and succinctly phased. And a genuine laugh-out-loud reaction to the D-train from leaving the station? "No, as long as they don't use the other guys for track."

Classic. Welcome to the weekend…and gameday.

Kevin from Indianapolis, IN

Davante Adams gave Eric Stokes some high praise by comparing him to Jaire Alexander. I certainly hope Stokes develops into someone like Alexander! From what you've seen, how much of that is accurate praise, and how much of it is a veteran move to boost the confidence of a young, promising player?

It's accurate. Adams doesn't just say stuff for the sake of saying it. His words carry weight. If you recall, Adams also was effusive in his praise of Alexander back in 2018. It's not like he's a soothsayer or anything but Adams is lining up across from these cornerbacks every day and seeing the work the rookie is putting in. Adams could've easily spoken in platitudes when asked about Stokes and moved on with his day, but he chose to praise the rookie. Because he believes it.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

What a great opportunity this week has been and continues to be for the strong-armed Kurt Benkert. Other than he went to Virginia and has been around the league for a few years, I really don't know anything about him. Can you fill in some of the blanks, and from what you've seen in camp, does he have a legitimate chance to make this team? Looking forward to seeing more tonight.

Benkert faces an uphill climb to make this 53-man roster with how deep the Packers are at several spots, but he is eligible for the practice squad with the expanded rules. Either way, this is his moment. You can read more about Benkert’s story here, but it doesn't take much to realize the guy is all-heart. He won't be dinking-and-dunking down the field this afternoon. He's going for it every play.

Matthew from Portland, OR

Greetings Insiders, who will throw the passes if QB Benkert isn't able to finish the game? Thanks for all you do.

The Packers re-signed Jake Dolegala to back up Benkert. He signed with Green Bay in June and had the playbook during the summer break. He'll be ready if called upon.

Dan from Edgerton, WI

Which position battles will you be watching?

Guards. While it's still a four-man race, this is a golden opportunity for Royce Newman. If he plays as well as he did against Houston, Newman could wind up starting at right guard when the Packers open the season in New Orleans. I also can't wait to see Lucas Patrick. The wily, versatile vet slid over to left guard in practice this week and still could end up starting there in Week 1.

Zach from Moorhead, MN

How many safeties do the Packers keep on the roster?

I could see five making it on the 53. There's so much focus on Devin Funchess and the receiving corps, but the Packers have a lot of competition at safety. Will Redmond is a valued special-teamer and can play practically every position in the secondary. Henry Black is working with the ones across from Darnell Savage when Adrian Amos moves up in dime, while former TCU teammates, Vernon Scott and Innis Gaines, might have had the best camp out of all of them.

Al from Green Bay, WI

We get it. Preseason games are about player evaluation, not wins and losses. With that said, is there any carryover in team confidence for teams that dominate during the preseason?


Nick from Plainwell, MI

Good morning! Is there a lot of carryover from what the Packers are running in the joint practices this week into the second preseason game? Will LaFleur throw a couple trick plays in to mix it up for Saleh?

I doubt there will be carryover from the practices given how many starters on both teams will be sitting out, but I'm very much looking forward to this game. Who knows, maybe LaFleur, Saleh, and um, LaFleur, have some fun and mix in a trick play or two?

Michael from Santa Cruz

Do you think it's better for a defense to force the opposing QB to get the ball out too early (quick pass rush) or hang onto it too long (tight initial coverage)? Generally, teams pursue the former and build their defenses front (seven) to back. In the last few years, I've come to believe the better approach in today's NFL (for a number of reasons) is back to front. There are certainly signs the last couple of years that our front office agrees, particularly at the top of recent drafts.

Definitely the former. Defenses want to make life as difficult as possible for the quarterback. That means pressure. And the faster your force the football out of a QB's hand, the higher the probability for a takeaway. You could have six Jaire Alexanders in your secondary, but DBs can only plaster for so long – even if they're good at it. Give me the quick pass rush any day.

Mark from Winona, MN

Hello II, last year it appeared the only thing keeping Kamal Martin from either starting or seeing significant playing time was an untimely injury. This year he is being shuffled around and in danger of not making the final 53. Why, in your opinion, the dramatic drop in production?

*I would be stunned if Martin doesn't make this roster, but he's in an interesting spot after the knee injury. *

Sam from Iowa City, IA

I don't know the statistics, but it feels like the special teams throughout the years have performed better when they have veteran leadership. Guys such as Jarrett Bush and The Janis not only performed well (Janis may be my favorite punt gunner of all time) but also seemed to provide that certain je ne sais quoi for the group. Is there a sense of a current player who could take on a role like that?

Amari Rodgers is where it starts. You need established veterans such as Oren Burks, Will Redmond and Ty Summers who play on all the units, but reliable and dynamic returners are in short supply. Bush and Janis were incredibly underrated players, though. While Bush squeezed every year he could out of his career, I'll forever be surprised Janis didn't get more opportunities after his departure from GB. Janis was never a featured receiver, but he was a darn good special-teams player. Along with being the best gunner I've covered, Janis also was solid on kickoff returns. I figured he'd play longer than he did.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

Slowly but surely taunting behavior has been more notable during NFL games. Using my minimal philosophy education, is the following statement true or false? If an NFL player is a professional, is taunting professional behavior? Philosophy is a difficult subject. I was fortunate to earn a B grade.

If this is the direction the league felt was in the game's best interest, then fine. But I'm calling it right now – at some point, I'm going to be the guy having to answer for why Adams, Aaron Jones or some other skill-position player got flagged for taunting after staring at the defender for a second too long following a big play.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. If you were coaching against your brother's football team, would you rather: A) beat his brains out, B) play to a tie so family reunions are tolerable, C) go for two on the last play of the game when down by one to ensure no tie/overtime, D) something else. Please explain. Thanks.

A. I don't have any siblings but I had some serious knock-down, drag-out wars in the driveway playing whiffle ball against my buddy Dave, who is like a brother to me. We mischievously used his parents' garage door as our back stop and beat the living hell out of that thing.

Trevor from Carmel, NY

Heaviest player? What about the Fridge and the Freezer?

Yes, yes. Many of you were all over this. Dennis Kelly is the heaviest player to catch a touchdown.

Elliot from Hopkins, MN

It seemed Aaron Rodgers took Bob Demovsky's Buffalo Bills comment well. What Packer players could take the NFL record away from Dennis Kelly (321) for heaviest player to score a touchdown in the playoffs?

Based on the roster, Tedarrell Slaton (330) and Ben Braden (329) currently are the only players with a shot at it.

Ryan from Janesville, WI

I just got into town today to enjoy the game/weekend. I've been to the Pick N Save, Woodman's, Festival, and the Kwik Trip for Pete's sake – can't find salted pistachios anywhere. What gives? All joking aside, thank you two for always keeping up the great work.

If this keeps up in the DB room, pistachios are gonna be harder to find in Green Bay than NFL Select cards.

Michael from Weston, Ontario

Wes, since I have your attention and it's a Saturday Inbox can we sneak in a wrasslin' question? Who is the biggest wrestling fan on this year's squad? And can we start the nickname Hacksaw Robert Tonyan?

Hacksaw Bob Tonyan isn't bad. It's not good but definitely not bad. A month ago, I would have said Kenny Clark is the biggest wrestling fan on the current squad but Kelly probably wins the pony. He doesn't just watch wrestling – he dives headfirst into the X's and O's.

Jon from Rockland, WI

Wes, you mentioned at the end of the Thursday II that adding "wiz" to the end of anything you don't like wouldn't suddenly increase your chances of liking said thing. I would challenge you the next time you are in Philly for a game to get a Philly Cheesesteak with Cheese-Wiz. They are wonderful, and you might be surprised how much you like it.

And you, sir, might be surprised how good Philly Steaks are without the cheese!

Richard from Nussbaum, WI

Wes, I went to both combined training camp practices with the Jets and got to see some pretty good football. However, the highlights of those two days were not football related. On Wednesday I ran into "The Rock" after practice and he was kind enough to take a photo with me. On Thursday I ran into Mike Spofford in the general public parking lot on his way into the office. He stopped for a quick hello and a handshake. Very nice. How come you guys don't get to park behind the big green gate?

Because I'm not a big green deal. I'm thankful for the days I'm allowed to park within 200 yards of the stadium.

Robert from Hillsboro

What is the price of beer at Lambeau Field?

You're asking the wrong writer, Robert. For anyone going to the game, I hope you have a fantastic time.


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