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Inbox: It's one of the best nights of the year

Who’s gonna step into the spotlight during Family Night?

WR Samori Toure
WR Samori Toure

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

"In the shadow of their own expectations." Well done, can I use that, Weston?

Language is a free currency, my friend. Just be careful how you spend it.

Linda from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, Wes. What are you most looking forward to seeing at Family Night? The fireworks display is not acceptable answer.

My favorite part of Family Night is two-minute. Packing 70,000 into Lambeau Field is the closest it gets to an actual game setting. There's a natural energy and enthusiasm that comes with that. It also means we're one step closer to the 2023 Packers season. It's one of the best nights of the year.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Family Night is in Lambeau, under the bright lights with many thousands of fans. With that as a backdrop, will the coaches learn anything new about their players that they can't during the regular padded practices?

Who's gonna step into the spotlight. The first Family Night practice – previously a scrimmage – was when (now Packers scout) Brandian Ross picked off Aaron Rodgers. In 2013, Family Night marked the first time David Bakhtiari worked his way into the starting five. Coincidentally enough, it actually came at right tackle. The following day, reports surfaced that Bryan Bulaga had torn his anterior cruciate ligament and the rest was history.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

To this point in the season is there ever any clear indication of what the Packers might be?

I can think of only two seasons where I had Green Bay pegged correctly – 2011 and 2014. During both of those training camps, I felt like the Packers were the best team in the NFL. Coincidentally, that coincides with Rodgers' first two MVPs. I'd love for Spoff to answer this question regarding the 2007 season. Maybe some foresaw a strong season for the Packers in Year 2 under Mike McCarthy but 13-3 surpassed my expectations.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, thank you for the story on Yosh Nijman. He said, "Every day finding a way to get better at something..." Coach LaFleur stated, "We need to pull out the best of everybody." When you are surrounded by people with these great attitudes, how does this impact your job and your life?

It makes you work harder and that applies to all walks of life. Yosh is a gentle giant and very thoughtful. He's the type of guy you root for.

Steve from Middletown, KY

Good day II. A lot has been said about seeing more jet sweeps, which is fine, but I love a good screen. Do you expect Jordan Love will, or should, utilize more screens as defenses try to pressure him?

I don't know what the full plan will entail, but if it's me, I'm throwing the kitchen sink at teams early in the season and see what works best for Love and the Packers' offense. I will say there is big-play potential with the screen as a means to gash aggressive defensive fronts with Aaron Jones' burst in the open field.

Ross from Summerville, SC

Gents, Caleb Jones. The man is a mountain. How has he looked so far in camp?

By default, I love watching offensive linemen in pads – and Caleb Jones has been one of my favorites this training camp. Jones is big man but he's also worked incredibly hard to get in the best shape of career.

Dan from Waupun, WI

Could you give us some insight on how the GPS sensors are used? Speed? Proper cut on a rout? RBs using the proper lane? Proper space of linemen? Thanks.

I'm not aware if it has an X's and O's purpose. My assumption has always been all GPS technology on the jerseys is utilized in the name of player safety, including exhaustion and possible soft-tissue injuries. The Packers have video of anything and everything that happens on their practice field to coach from.

John from Jupiter, FL

Morning Wes. In the past training camps you've been a part of, which player looked most like a lock to make it big and didn't and vice versa? Thanks.

Not counting Micah Abernathy – who signed with Green Bay midway through training camp last year – my biggest longshot to make the team was Chris Banjo in 2013. He was still a rookie that year because he never signed an NFL contract after going undrafted in 2012. He came out of nowhere to have one heck of an NFL career. Josh Sitton (2016) and Allen Lazard (2019) were my biggest surprise cuts at the end of training camp.

JVC from Chandler, AZ

Not a question but a compliment. Wes, you truly have a gift for storytelling, and helping others tell their story. I look forward to them during camp. Your piece on Derrick Coleman was fantastic! You have a way of tugging the emotions just the right amount. Your piece is inspiring to me because I also enjoy helping and inspiring others, especially kids. Sometimes we need a reminder that our problems are small compared to what others have endured, and persevered to still achieve their goals.

I loved Grey Ruegamer's quote at the end of the introductory paragraph: "If you think that you have it hard, here's a young man who came up through football and had to overcome a hell of a lot more." It's a good reminder for the writer, as well. Staying present and having gratitude for health, family and happiness is something I personally struggle with.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

Well, it looks like "Big Dog" will get his chance to play another season and also get back together with his former TE buddy Robert Tonyan. I am happy for him but also sad to see him go...especially to a division foe. Looks like stopping the run against the Bears just got a little harder. Such is the NFL life.

If it wasn't going to be here, I'm just glad Marcedes will get a chance to play an unprecedented 18th season for an NFL tight end. In a day and age where teams are constantly trying to get younger, Lewis was a reminder that you can teach old(er) dogs new tricks. Now, Lewis always could block, but the way he adapted his game to last at the highest level of football is something NFL teams should study for years to come. I can't wait to see him in Chicago Week 1.

George from North Mankato, MN

As entertaining as it would be to watch Elgton line up as the extra lineman and catch a pass, the suggestion brought back a not so fond memory for me. I remember Julius Peppers running a slant and Rodgers throwing him a fastball that he dropped (he was wide open). A blocking tight end doesn't tip the offense's hand as much as an extra O or D lineman would? Who would you like to see catch a TD pass as an "extra" lineman?

Caleb Jones or Nijman would be fun to watch. Also, a quick story – I'd heard back in my Press-Gazette days that the Packers ran that red-zone play to Peppers quite a bit in practice and he'd caught it every time. Must have been something about the Superdome.

The Green Bay Packers continued training camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field.

Geoff from Encinitas, CA

I will preface my question with the note that I am an internal optimist. Last year, the general consensus was that the offense was struggling during training camp because the defense was playing lights out. Given the issues the offense had in-season, one could argue the consensus was off. Do you have a sense of which way things are shaking out this year or will time only tell?

After last year, I am no longer making predictions coming out of training camp. I'm waiting for knowledge to present itself instead of acting like I know everything when none of us do. I will let you know on Sept. 11.

Dustin from Kansas City, MO

I love all the features on the players and learning about their backgrounds and all the adversity they have had to overcome on their way to the NFL. These have always been some of my favorite articles on the site. However, it makes it really hard when people leave the team. I find myself getting attached to them all and hoping they will be Packers through retirement, even though I know that isn't feasible. So, when they leave it's a real bummer. On a related note, I would make a horrible GM.

The job is not for the faint of heart. If I was the Packers' GM, Jayrone Elliott would be entering his 10th NFL season regardless of whether he'd had a sack in the past five years. It is fun when they come back as featured alumni, though.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

If we put Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Cleveland in our division, then we wouldn't be so friendly with those fans. We don't see their teams twice a year, so their fans are a nice treat for us. Besides, if that was our division, then we'd have to be nice to Lions, Bears and Vikings (oh my!) fans? Fat chance! Midwest nice has limits, you know.

True statement. I personally wouldn't want to get on the bad side of Buffalo fans.

Randy from Westminster, CO

Whoever is doing the “Meet the Rookies” videos needs a raise! I'm enjoying hearing from these young men and seeing them smile while answering the questions. I'd love to see the unedited segments for each of them someday, as they answer all the questions.

They're great. It's fun seeing the rookies' personalities.

Randy from Bayfield, WI

There's always a team that surprises everyone. Which team out of the NFC has the best chance this year?

The Green Bay Packers. Have a great time at Family Night, everyone.

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