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Inbox: It's a little bit of everything 

Marquez Valdes-Scantling wants to be the receiver everyone knows he can be

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WR Allen Lazard

Peter from Gulf Shores, AL

Could it be that bringing back the WRs from last year has contributed more to Aaron Rodgers's hot preseason than had Gute satisfied the masses and drafted high or jumped on a big-name FA? I think it's going to pay off sticking with Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, and Equanimeous St. Brown. After all, these young guys are past making the leap from college. That's hard. Learning a completely new system. That's hard. Building trust and chemistry with Rodgers. Even harder.

I think it's a little bit of everything. Rodgers told reporters Wednesday he's in a good place right now and enjoying himself at practice. The offense looks a lot smoother in Year 2 under Matt LaFleur. And quite a few young players have stepped up throughout these last 2½ weeks in practice. At some point, I just think we need to shift this conversation from constantly pontificating on what the Packers don't have to what they actually do. For the 1,143rd time, Davante Adams, Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling aren't bad receivers. That's a solid start to an NFL depth chart.

Justin from Ivins, UT

Aaron Rodgers is the free-play king, but I don't remember him getting as many last year as he has in seasons past. Am I just remembering wrong or are defenses finally starting to catch on to his trickery after over a decade getting the best of them?

I wouldn't say defenses are catching on to it as much as officials have been blowing more of those plays dead in recent years and just giving the Packers the five yards. Rodgers still gets quite a few of them, though. There's no one better.

Dan from Morehead City, NC

With cut-downs coming up this weekend, I was wondering if there might be a different priority to keeping the last guy or two on the 53 and the guys on the practice squad. It seems the team has kept a guy with more upside over a guy who performed slightly better and is more NFL-ready. Do you think they will be more likely to keep the more NFL-ready player this year since they will have a greater chance of being needed?

On average, I don't think it'll change all that much. If anything, it's possible teams would be more likely to hold onto their rookie draft picks this year and use those extra practice-squad spots on one or two special-team stalwarts who could be activated for games.

Jarle from Oslo, Norway

Last year, four players cut at final roster reductions eventually wound up spending time on the active roster (Allen Lazard, Evan Baylis, Tra Carson, and Adam Pankey). Can we assume that number will be higher this year with expanded practice squads and special rules for promotion to the active roster? Over/under at 6½ players cut on Saturday spending time on the active roster later in the season?

I'd say that's a safe bet.

Myles from Phoenix, AZ

Hello II, LaFleur recently mentioned that it's the responsibility of the coaches to build the offense around the unique strengths of each tight end on the roster. With that being said, do you see Robert Tonyan or Jace Sternberger being more involved in the passing game at this point?

All four tight ends will have a role but Tonyan is the guy I still have my eye on for all the reasons I outlined in this column last month. This has been a three-year apprenticeship at tight end, from all the work Tonyan has done in Green Bay to the offseasons spent with George Kittle. LaFleur trusts him. Rodgers trusts him. This is his chance to be a staple in this offense.

Elliot from Hopkins, MN

How strict is the depth chart? For example, would the Packers put Boyle in if Rodgers had gotten hurt in a close game vs. putting Jordan Love in if the Packers are up by 40 with five minutes left?

The depth chart isn't strict but the Packers don't often keep three quarterbacks active on gamedays. Whoever is the primary backup that day would be who goes in either of the situations you outlined.

Jonathan from Madison, WI

Hi II. Do you two think the Packers look as ready for their first game as they did at this time last year?

We're still another week away from that being a pressing question but I felt like training camp went relatively smoothly given everything that was working against the NFL. Judging on a curve, I'd say the Packers look more prepared for the regular season than a year ago (relative to the competition).

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

Can the team with waiver priority claim more than one player before other teams get a chance?

Yes. The Cincinnati Bengals can claim 10 players as long as they make 10 corresponding roster moves. It's not like a fantasy football league, where they go to the end of the list after submitting their first claim.

David from Las Vegas, NV

How does the injury to Kamal Martin affect the Packers' plans at inside linebacker?

Unfortunately, the Packers have been in this spot before with Oren Burks' injuries the past two years. Previously, Green Bay has swung trades at cut-downs to replace him but now has two veterans who are familiar with the defense (Burks and Ty Summers) depending on how much time Martin misses. Hybrid safety Raven Greene also could factor into the equation, but he's been out with an injury, as well.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

We have seen MVS use his speed to blow the top off the defense. What are his other strengths?

He's smart, confident and a better route-runner than given credit for. MVS knows how big this year is for him and he's not backing down from that. Rodgers has taken notice of that this summer. You can tell MVS wants to be the receiver everyone knows he can be.

Andrew from Eau Claire, WI

First, a shout-out to Derek from Eau Claire. Two of my sons are back to school this week. This is in no small part thanks to the many amazing teachers, such as you, in the Eau Claire Area School District. So thank you from the bottom of my heart. As for my question, what offensive position group are you most looking forward to seeing in Year 2 of this offense? I'm excited to see how the receivers have progressed. I think we have a better group than many fans want to believe. Thanks!

Running backs. Week 1 can't come soon enough. I cannot wait to see how LaFleur goes about building an offensive game plan around Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, AJ Dillon and Tyler Ervin. Rodgers went out of his way Wednesday to commend Williams for how he's performed, adding he made the "biggest leap" this offseason.

Al from Green Bay, WI

For better or worse, our expectations have been elevated for MVS and Rashan Gary. If they stay healthy, what level of "production" do you expect from these players in the season ahead?

I'll echo what I said a couple weeks ago – if MVS, Gary and Tonyan can stay healthy and carry over their momentum from camp, this will be a fun Packers team to watch.

Sean from Arverne, NY

II, how does John Lovett look? He's a local guy for me and was wondering what chances he has for making the 53.

I like him. He's a fun player. Lovett is a former Ivy League QB who converted to fullback but he looks the part. I have no idea what this weekend holds for him but Brian Gutekunst and his scouts knew what they were doing when they submitted the waiver claim.

Griffin from Belmont, NC

Typically, we hear about the team pumping in noise or music during practice to get ready for an opponent. Is it the opposite this year?

The Packers have pumped in music during practices throughout camp, but they only utilized the ambient crowd noise those three times inside Lambeau Field. They may do it more now, though, in preparing for the Vikings and regular season.

Tod from Carpinteria, CA

I thought Kirk Cousins' comments on COVID-19 were spot-on. Your thoughts?

I don't have much to say other than I wish Cousins would've been a bit more careful with the words. I got the feeling from his follow-up interview Wednesday that the message he was trying to convey wasn't the one postmarked for delivery.

Todd from Brighton, MI

It still isn't going to be easy, but I am starting to have hope it can be done, albeit with a few bumps.

Be smart, be safe and disciplined, and we may be able to have a full NFL season.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

Bold prediction for the season: With little to no fans, second year of the offense, loaded backfield, and improvement amongst the receivers, Aaron Rodgers will play 16 games and throw zero interceptions. NONE.

You heard it here first.

Gordon from Rancho Mission Viejo, CA

2020 Packers football technique: Cobra Kai or Miyagi-Do?

Cobra Kai never dies. Come on, Gordon.

David from Hilliard, OH

With no fans and "fake" crowd noise being pumped into NFL stadiums this season, will there be cheerleaders on the sidelines this season?

No cheerleaders, sideline reporters or mascots will be allowed on the sideline this season.

Packers K Mason Crosby celebrates his birthday on September 3. Check out photos of him from training camp and his 2019 season.

Rod from Chugiak, AK

If the II site had something like a masthead, Mike's response to Brian from Chesapeake could be placed right up there. It encapsulates why so many of us have a confidence we can hang our hat on what's provided and hardly, if at all, need to go anywhere else for solid Packers info and opinion.

Mike's a gentleman and a scholar.

Steve from Land O Lakes, FL

I know it's getting down to crunch time before the start of the season, but to add some amusement and levity to the mix have either of you had the opportunity to interview Charlie Berens? I think it would be a hoot to get his views on the Packers.

No, but we follow each other on the Twitter machine. The guy is brilliant…and hilarious.

Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

So how are you doing with the "new normal"? What has surprised you the most? Anything that seemed like a big deal at first but now is no big deal?

Work has helped me regain some sense of normalcy but I'm still not willing to accept this as my "new" normal. This is me surviving a crappy year (and remaining eternally grateful to still be collecting a paycheck). There weren't too many surprises other than how much I enjoyed golfing again with not much else going on.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Big shout-out to our eyes and ears at training camp. Wes, Mike, Rob D, Bill H, Ryan W, Tom S, Oliva R, Jim O, Matt S and any I missed. Thanks for the tweets to keep us informed. Much appreciated with no preseason this year. Without you guys, it would be a lot tougher to second guess the cut-down to 53.

Yeah, a lot of very fine people on the beat. I've learned something from all of them. Well, except for Demovsky.

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