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Inbox: It might be the toughest commodity to find in this league

Nobody has taken it from him


Matt from Kolesin, Poland

Mike, you missed the interception.

Yeah, sorry, I left the live blog early to get a head start on postgame work, but I promise not to do that in the regular season if the outcome of the game still hangs in the balance.

Paula from Apple Valley, MN

I know a win or loss is not supposed to matter in a preseason game, but I cheered as loud for that game-clinching interception as if it "counted." The excitement of this young team celebrating it together on the sideline has me pumped. And now we wait.

Indeed we do. It's a tough couple of days around here because this is not an enjoyable part of the business. But it's an important, and necessary, part.

Ben from Guffey, CO

"But it's on to the regular season now." Well put, and woe that was such a wait. Tuesday is gonna be tough, but we can't get going until that happens.

Hence the necessary.

Jeffery from Brooklyn, WI

Hey guys, it's that time to spoil some young men's dreams. This cutdown seems different not only because it's just a one-time deal but it's all young talent pretty much with the same level of experience, but the ones who earned it get to stay. Our offensive linemen will be coveted if any are cut loose, I can't see many making it back to the PS. More of a statement than a question I suppose. Good luck everyone!

I've always felt if a big guy (offensive or defensive lineman) has put on film he can play, he's far more likely to be claimed than players at other positions. Everyone's always looking for depth in the trenches. Other than a true superstar QB, it might be the toughest commodity to find in this league.

Zak from Huntington Beach, CA

In Saturday's column, Wes replied to Paul from Ledgeview with information about the Inbox. I know it's only preseason, but that kind of mental mistake from a veteran writer is somewhat concerning. Perhaps the Inbox should take a page from the first-team practices by instituting a push-up penalty? My only fear is that 20 push-ups could result in a career-ending injury to our dear Weston.

Oh, he can handle it.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

Someone, anyone, please let John from Jupiter know that the National Football League actually plays a 17-game season!

Those not from this planet are forgiven.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Mike, I did not "see" the role Tyler Davis played on this team, and actually felt he was at risk to make the 53. Now it appears he was a huge part of ST and was going to be a factor for the offense. Are there others like that who may not have a prominent profile, but are core members of the team? I thought Coach LF intonated they may stand pat with the TEs they have rather than add from the waiver wire, and take up the slack at OL and WR. The "initial 53" is going to be very interesting.

Always is. This may not be a direct answer to your question, but it's a good time to give some props to Isaiah McDuffie. He became a prominent special-teams player last year, filled in at times for De'Vondre Campbell in the middle of the defense, and did so again during the home stretch of camp when Campbell hurt his ankle. He's been the proverbial "next man up" at that spot and nobody has taken it from him.

Mark from West Des Moines, IA

Which player has been the biggest surprise standout in the preseason, that you were not expecting going into training camp?

I had an inkling about Carrington Valentine and Malik Heath from what they showed in the spring, but you never know when they're just in shorts and helmets. My best answer to your question would probably be Rasheed Walker. His rise up the depth chart has been impressive, and I didn't see it coming.

John from Madison, WI

So, guys, who nailed the audition? Which player do you think has made the best case for himself?

As far as someone considered a relative longshot at the start of camp, I'd have to say Heath. Like I said last week on "Unscripted," for an undrafted guy, you don't look at him wondering where he came from, but what round he should've been drafted.

Steve from Algoma, WI

Sometimes there has to be math in the Inbox. The 49ers picked Trey Lance No. 3 overall in 2021. The draft value of that pick is 2,443 points. To get it, they gave up 2021 No. 12 (1,741 points), 2022 No. 29 and 101 (1,294 + 661) and 2023 No. 29 (1,294). That's 4,990 points to acquire 2,443 points (net negative 2,547). Friday they traded him for a fourth-round pick (max value 537 points), meaning they essentially squandered the equivalent of No. 7 overall. Worst pick of the modern era?

That's too much math, but in the end the 49ers can be forever grateful they took a flyer on Brock Purdy with that last draft pick. This is a crazy business. It certainly serves as a lesson in investing so much in one pick/player, though. The draft is such an inexact science that so great a sacrifice is rarely justified.

Dave from Hollywood, MD

I don't recall the Packers ever having carried two punters through training camp and the final preseason game. Is the competition really that close?

It would appear so.

Ross from Hudson, WI

What is the record for rushing yards by a Packers quarterback, single game and season? I have a feeling this will be a stat to keep eyes on.

I don't know about single game, but as far as single season, Rodgers' high was 369 rushing yards in 2016. To get higher than that, you have to go back to Tobin Rote, who had 398 in 1956 and 523 in 1951.

Nate from Cedar Falls, IA

Hello again from UNI Panthers country, looking for your thoughts on Benny Sapp's chances on making the practice squad once roster cutdown starts. I'm pretty sure he's not in contention for the 53 given the number above him at safety, but given his game-securing interception during the Seahawks game combined with Coach LaFleur throwing the challenge flag on Sapp's potential interception late in an earlier preseason game has me thinking that the team thinks Sapp might be worth keeping around.

I saw Sapp fitting up against the run pretty well vs. Seattle, too. I have to believe he's part of various discussions of some sort.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Mike. What is the timeline for teams to sign players to their practice squad?

The waiver claim period ends at noon on Wednesday. Teams can begin building their practice squads then.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Besides Campbell's ankle and the Rashan Gary and Eric Stokes recoveries it seems like the rest of the starters and rotational players are healthy heading to Week 1. Is that accurate? If so, not bad considering some of the other injuries around the league.

Losing Tyler Davis was a setback for two phases of the team, and we don't know the severity of Romeo Doubs' hamstring injury. Otherwise, yes, your premise sounds accurate based on available information.

Tim from Olathe, KS

Insiders, though I am thrilled with JL's performance this preseason, I am left wondering about his deep ball continually being underthrown. It's a far easier throw than a 20-yard out, a back-shoulder throw, or even a wheel out of the backfield that he hits consistently. Why do you feel he is underthrowing the deep ball?

I think he needs to be cut some slack here. Every time this criticism of his deep ball has arisen, I recall the throw coming in rather windy conditions, practice or game. Does he need to hit them anyway? Yes, of course he does, and he's said so himself. But he deserves some time. I've seen him throw plenty of deep balls right on the money in the Hutson Center, and he hit one in the Cincinnati joint practice, as well as in the Patriots game. Watson presents a far different calculation on a deep ball than any other receiver he's throwing to as well. Let's allow for this as part of his development, shall we?

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

You're a GM. You're discovering you've got an unexpected surfeit of legit guys at a premium position – OT, for example. Do you keep them all knowing it's a long season and you can never have enough depth, or do you try to get some value out of the surplus and shore up another position or build some draft capital?

Great question. The Packers have almost an embarrassment of riches at offensive tackle, including their versatile pieces they know can play there if called upon. But their five-time All-Pro carries with him some health uncertainty, which can change the depth equation in a hurry. I'm always more inclined to play it safe, but a potential trade would also hinge on the value in return, cap implications, etc. There's a pile of stuff to ponder.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

Last year there were numerous times our D was caught off guard by a hurry-up offense, including several times on key third downs when GB tried to substitute on D. Have you seen anything this year that would suggest that GB is aware of that issue and has taken steps to address it? Do you perhaps see the answer in versatility of the 11 men on the field for the D on second downs (e.g., less need for situational substitution)? Your comment about RG not playing 60 snaps at Chicago brought this to mind.

Keep reading.

Gina from Waukesha, WI

I noticed that Barry was watching the defense from upstairs. Have you heard if he will be doing that during the season?

He's considering it. It sounds like he's able to get the calls (personnel and scheme) in faster from up there, but drawbacks exist to not being down on the field with the players. I'm curious to see what is decided.

Peter from Orland Park, IL

Good morning, I saw the news Sterling will not advance in the HOF process but McMichael will. I am sorry McMichael is dying, but I believe Sterling would have set the standard. Hopefully he and Gale Gillingham will soon get the respect they deserve. Thank you.

Again next year, the HOF senior committee gets to push forward three candidates for the full selection committee to vote upon (instead of the usual one or two), so the window remains open for Sharpe to get in, I believe. If he's not among the final three next year, then it doesn't look good. Gillingham didn't get serious consideration in the expanded Centennial Class of 2020, and that was probably his last shot.

Kenton from Rochester, MN

With roster cutdowns on the near horizon, I have a question: As fans we can watch the practices and games and see what the statistics say. What we don't know are the other things that must factor into the coaches' decisions. Things like work ethic, coachability, character, intelligence, locker room fit, etc. Given how difficult some of these cutdowns may be, which intangibles have the most weight on these decisions?

It's impossible for me to rank them. They're all part of the whole package, and it's the totality that's looked at. I can tell you that statistics are likely given the least weight. It's never really a battle of numbers.

James from Appleton, WI

Maybe every team drafts similar players, but the Packers have a lot of players whose final seasons of college ball were not their best seasons of college ball. Kudos to the scouts who could look past the injuries or coaching changes to see the real potential of those picks. Do you think the Packers are less "What have you done lately?" than other teams?

I honestly have no idea. But again, I know they don't make decisions based on stats.

Scott from Tukwila, WA

Greetings to the II. During spring readiness, you give it your all. You bring everything you have. You even make several splash plays. You're competing for a starting position or to just make the 53. After all the camps you feel you have done enough to earn your spot, but you don't get in. What does this do to your mentality? Are there those that give up believing they just won't cut it? I would think that alone would weed out the dedicated from the not so dedicated. Thoughts?

This profession is all about handling adversity. It can come at all times and from all angles.

TK from Grafton, WI

Here's one for cutdown day: "Repeat after me: I, (state your name) will trust the process and acknowledge how tough these decisions are, and will not flip out if my favorite long shot player gets released." That ought to do it!

As well as recognizing that any player you want kept means someone else would have to go. No one gets to have their cake and eat it, too. Happy Monday.

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