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Inbox: It's going to come down right to the wire

David Bakhtiari’s footwork, fundamentals and technique are unparalleled

S Shawn Davis

Jarrod from Enterprise, AL

Bakh is back! What is the energy level like three weeks from kickoff?


Matt from Cottage Grove, WI

After nearly two years out of the league and now nearly 31 years old, could you see David Bakhtiari returning to his All-Pro normal form or do you expect there to be a lot of regression?

I expect David Bakhtiari, the five-time All-Pro. Now, it won't happen overnight, but I believe Bakhtiari can get to the summit again at his position. The consistency he displayed with his footwork, fundamentals and technique are unparalleled. You could see it during individuals this week. That should all come back to him in games, too. What's more, Bakhtiari plays a position where longevity reigns. Keep in mind, Andrew Whitworth just retired at 40.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Great to see Bakh back on Sunday. My question, is there enough time for him to get in "game shape" for Week 1? Particularly to get his legs in game shape considering his long layoff. Packers prefer to keep starting OL on the field for the whole game if possible. That's a tough ask.

I'm confident the game-shape part won't be an issue. Bakhtiari is a professional. He'll be ready. My main thing is making sure Bakhtiari feels comfortable out there and the knee is pain-free. It's not about timelines. It's about making sure that No. 69 is available for the long haul.

Jason from Austin, TX

Insiders, can our "1A and 1A" running backs get 1,000 yards each this season? I'd be tempted to bet that they get 1,000 yards rushing before any receiver gets 1,000 yards receiving.

One of my favorite locker-room stories came courtesy of James Jones in 2013 when Jones stated he thought the Packers could have three 1,000-yard receivers. Unfortunately, they fell short of that, but I loved the optimism. That's how I feel about Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon each eclipsing 1,000 rushing yards. Is it possible? Absolutely. But the more important thing is how effective the two backs are with the ball in their hands and how that opens up the rest of the offense.

Lee from Saint Paul, MN

Micah Abernathy's first Packer game vs. Saints reminds me of Rasul Douglas' first Packer game vs. the Bears. Hope Packers found another very good player, wish nothing but the best for Micah and Packers.

Abernathy is a great story. The guy had 71 tackles and two INTs during the USFL season, goes home for a few weeks and gets the call back to the NFL. With Tariq Carpenter and Innis Gaines back, the Packers have some decisions to make with who plays and for how long in KC.

Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

Hey Wes, I keep getting Christian Watson and Sammy Watkins confused. How do you remember their names? I need some sort of phrase to help me keep them straight. Any tips?

I'm a work in progress, too. I accidentally tweeted Watkins when I was referring to Watson's catch over the middle during practice Sunday.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

Because of one of my prior comments regarding the DL depth, I'm more concerned about corner depth than OLB depth. Now, obviously none of the main three played this preseason. So, like, the fourth-eighth (or however many are on the 90) made a few plays but then, also, gave up a few chunk plays. I was concerned when it was someone like Rico Gafford that gave up one of the big plays. Rewatching film, though, it does seem like OG can fix those with those players. Side note – not concerned about safety depth.

I think we're already seeing Jerry Gray's impact. Shemar Jean-Charles has had a good camp and been solid in the preseason, while Keisean Nixon is a gritty, versatile player who can plug-and-play at several spots. I'd feel good about the depth at the position if that's how No. 4/5 shake out. The real question is which developmental DBs do you want to hold onto and where? Gafford, Kiondre Thomas, Kabion Ento, and this whole lot of safeties have all had their moments, too. There won't be many easy decisions on cutdown day. This is one of the Packers' deepest camp rosters from my time on the beat. It's going to come down to the wire.

Jeff from Lake Forest, CA

Love the idea of all players going through pre-game warmups this week for mental prep. Would ML withhold who's NOT playing until they've gone through all the prep, to make it seem as though they might actually play? Or do these guys take it serious enough to not need that?

LaFleur won't do that. It wouldn't be fair to the guys who are playing. The preparation is equally as important as the preseason game itself. Players must know what's expected of them to be placed in a situation to succeed.

Dick from Four Oaks, NC

How about a big shoutout to all the Packers' scouts! Yes, Gutey does a tremendous job, but the scouts must contribute a lot of "intelligence" for him to work his magic. Are they assigned to different conferences, different parts of the country, big schools, small schools? I would assume there's a good deal of relationship building with college coaches as well but are they actually able to talk with the players? Any insight on the whole process?

College scouts are regionally based but the directors and national guys fly coast to coast getting to know players and building relationships with college coaches. The way scouts can project a player's trajectory is incredible. It doesn't have to be an MVP quarterback or All-Pro receiver, either. Spoff and I talked in the locker room this past week about Isaiah McDuffie, and how remarkable it is watching a player develop from a rookie who barely played to the leading tackler in the preseason who appears to be on all the No. 1 special teams.

Ken from Plano, TX

In the last II, you mentioned that outside linebacker is the position with the greatest depth concerns. Similarly, it was also mentioned that inside linebacker has great proven depth. Could the Packers solve the outside linebacker depth concern by having Quay Walker take a few snaps at edge when Rashan Gary or Preston Smith are out? I believe the Packers lined Quay up at edge for a few plays during the joint practices, and the results seemed promising.

Quay Walker is an inside linebacker. While that position blitzes occasionally in Joe Barry's scheme, I highly doubt he'll just line up outside with another ILB replacing him next to De'Vondre Campbell. There are depth concerns at outside linebacker but it's not that dire. Jack Heflin had a great quote last week about the high ceiling of the defensive line and it's his job to raise the floor. The same goes for Kingsley Enagbare, Kobe Jones and Co.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

So, Wes, Mike highlighted OLB depth. That had not been an area of interest for me, now it is. The final roster for safety and RB have had my attention. Injuries can change the equation so quickly. And we-fense, as a unit, remains a work in progress. Where do you see questions to be answered before the regular season?

It's probably who's starting on the offensive line Week 1 and what form will special teams take. Who is/are the returner(s)? How is Mason Crosby doing? Who are the core-four guys on kickoffs and punts? What'll happen with Dallin Leavitt and his shoulder injury? Will Jack Coco be the long snapper? I don't know if we'll get all those answers but those are the thoughts rattling around in my head right now.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

Does Devonte Wyatt look like he belongs or is it too early to tell?

I think so but we've also only seen him in one half of a preseason game. Wyatt has the size and strength to win inside and push the pocket. I know Wyatt is an older prospect, but the Packers didn't draft him to be a Day 1 starter. He's going to be in the rotation behind Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry and Jarran Reed.

Dustin from Kansas City, MO

When the league inevitably goes to an 18-game season, do you think they'll add an extra bye week for each team? Or would doing so make the season drag on entirely too long? Seems like they'd have to do something to help keep the players fresh and healthy, but each game is too important in the NFL for players to take rest games off like they do in other sports. Seems like an extra bye would be the logical step.

There won't be a bye week added. The season is already long enough. The season starts in July and could run until Valentine's Day for two teams by 2032. And the NFL wonders why veterans no longer want to report for the start of the offseason program in April. At some point, guys want to go home.

Kevin from Indianapolis, IN

Good morning! I couldn't catch the game on Friday, so when I opened the box score up on Saturday morning, my stomach dropped when I saw A. Rodgers had a rushing attempt in a preseason game. It only took a few seconds to remember we have two A. Rodgers on the roster, but golly jeepers that was alarming!

I like what I've seen from Amari Rodgers on the jet sweeps. He looks more explosive this year and you can tell that's probably where he feels most comfortable right now.

Sal from Hailey, ID

Our defense seems to be cleaning up in practice. I've gotta believe iron sharpens iron, and the offense will similarly improve against these guys, even in limited reps. I'm hoping that's exactly what you've seen occur, but I'd love some reassurance! I know it's not their main job, but is this defense helping the offense prepare for September and beyond?

The Packers' offense has taken its lumps in practice, but I'd bet there won't be many gamedays Green Bay is matched up against a defense better than its own. At least, that's how it's looked this summer.

David from San Antonio, TX

So, Mike responds to a question about why he didn't answer it last week and notes the question and his reasoning for avoiding it. This is Aaron Rodgers-like II recall. I guess it's throughout the building.

I also didn't have an opportunity to respond to the question, Dennis from Beavercreek. Thankfully, I'm allowed to see my family for a few hours every now and then, and don't have to answer Inbox questions on loop.

William from Scranton, PA

Hi Insiders, a kind good day to you, sir. (In my best British accent as we all should start practicing.) Speaking of players who remade their bodies from the eye test, I feel Royce Newman is a candidate on that list. Do you have any other examples of players that physically made a jump with a professional fitness and diet program? Additionally, I agree it will be hard to expose Caleb Jones to waivers. He's got really good feet for a mountain of a man.

Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley are the two best examples. Bakhtiari put more good weight on during his second NFL season, while an already naturally strong Linsley grew more into his body.

Steve from Ankeny, IA

I'm starting to feel like Zach Tom is going to be a rookie starting on the offensive line. The guy can pass block AND run block!

His technique, balance and footwork are solid. I've also been impressed by how well he's juggled the two tackle positions and left guard. A full year in an NFL strength and conditioning program should do wonders for him, too.

Gary from Engadine, MI

It's first-and-goal from the 3 and ML calls for the jumbo package, AJ Dillon with lead blocker Caleb Jones! Does the defense have a chance? Intriguing possibility.

Every day, I grow more intrigued by Caleb Jones.

Jacob from West Allis, WI

Looking at the Packers' schedule for this season, which non-playoff team from last year looks most improved on paper? What matchup looks toughest?

Miami is my most improved non-playoff team on this year's schedule. Tyreek Hill should make Tua's life easier and those receivers will be scary for defenses to prepare for. The toughest matchup is the Rams. It'll be December and the Packers will be at home, as the Nature Boy once said, "To be the man, you gotta beat the man." That's going to be a measuring-stick game.

Jessica from Spirit Lake, IA

After a couple of years without Packers pep rallies at away games, will that tradition be coming back this year? My husband and I are going to the game in Tampa and would love to make our experience complete with a pep rally!

They're back. We'll have pep rallies in Tampa, Washington D.C. and London. I'm still working on raising the funds for the Spofford dunk tank in Florida.

John from McHenry, IL

I just want to say thank you to Wes and Mike. On the last day of training camp, I was fortunate to run into you gentlemen and you both took the time to take a picture with me and shake my hand. I want you both to know you made my day and that photo is going on the wall in my house. Thanks again for taking the time for one of your fans. Your writing makes being a Packers fan even better with your daily insights into Packers-land. Keep up the good work, boys.

Absolutely, John. We appreciate you saying hello. I didn't realize you were from McHenry. You got the double-double of fandom with Robert Tonyan up here.


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