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Inbox: It's looking how it's supposed to look

Aaron Jones is quietly having one of his best camps

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QB Aaron Rodgers and RB Aaron Jones

Richard from Menasha, WI

Would you care to speculate what Aaron Rodgers may have noticed about his game from the 2010 season that helped him in training camp this week?

No clue, but I am absolutely fascinated by it. I don't know if it's what he saw on film, the second year in the offense or the fact teammates feel Rodgers is really enjoying himself this summer. Whatever it is, Rodgers has been tremendous the past few practices. His ball placement during team periods has been impeccable. And the offense appears to have taken a big step forward in Year 2 of Matt LaFleur's system. It's looking how it's supposed to look.

Patrick from Folly Beach, SC

It's been awhile since the interview with Jamaal Williams but I have been reflecting on it since then. He made a good point about how teams change from year to year and he used the example of high school. It has eased my concerns about next year's personnel. I had been worrying too much about how many the team can afford to keep next year. Instead, I will focus on and enjoy this year. And I thank you guys for keeping that focus as well.

It was so refreshing to hear Williams' take on the situation last week. Williams isn't interested in 2021 because he's too focused on the present. He wants a ring and this team has a chance to compete for one. What's more, things can change in an instant in this league. All I know is if Williams plays well in 2020, good things will happen for him.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Wes or Mike, which position group has a tougher time getting ready for full game action without a preseason? Thanks for the great coverage of camp!

Listening to Christian Kirksey, Oren Burks and Ty Summers speak the past few days, I think I have to go with inside linebackers. I think young players at that position get a lot from those reps, especially the full process of bringing ball carriers to the ground. I mean Ty Summers solidified his spot on the roster last year with his performance against Kansas City in the finale.

Adam from Minneapolis, MN

Hey Mike and Wes, can you fill me in on former Gopher Kamal Martin? I haven't heard a ton about him in camp. How's he doing? Does he have a chance to make the team?

He's off to a strong start. I was talking with my good friend, Zach Helprin (who covers Wisconsin), and he mentioned how Martin would've been a much higher pick had it not been for the injury. He has good size for the position and some speed to his game.

Tim from Greensboro, NC

"This may sound a bit contradictory now, but the last of my priorities from your list would be inside linebacker, strictly because the spot alongside Kirksey is a part-time role in Pettine's defense." I hope Mike is wrong on this one. Mike Pettine says best 11 will play. I think this defense will be much better if that spot is won by an inside 'backer who can also cover well and is one of those 11.

Mayhap, but I'm still with Spoff on this one. The hybrid safety has become such a staple of Pettine's defenses – and the NFL, in general. I have a hard time seeing it go away unless offenses start going back to more two-TE stuff.

The Green Bay Packers practiced on Ray Nitschke Field on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020.

Zach from Hartsville, SC

When Gutey drafted Jordan Love, I like a lot of the Packers' fandom was rather shocked – not angry but definitely surprised. On Day 2 of the draft, I told my wife that even though Gutey is taking a bunch of (grief) for that pick, he is going to look like a genius if the college season is cancelled and GMs only have '19 tape. Gutey is a genius. My question: How NFL-ready do our rookies look today compared to last year's picks at this time? Is the fear about lack of rookie production overblown?

The 2019 class was ahead and understandably so. Darnell Savage already was running with the starting defense in OTAs and Elgton Jenkins is probably the most NFL-ready rookie I've covered since David Bakhtiari. This year's rookies have had moments in practice but also so many odds stacked against them. Their contributions will grow as the season wears on.

Dave from Las Vegas, NV

AJ Dillon seems pretty fast, but how elusive is he?

He's elusive enough to get to the next level. And once Dillon does that, I have zero desire in being a defensive back.

Josh from Nazareth, PA

Does the policy regarding protecting four practice-squad players apply to initial cuts (e.g. we keep 57 and then sign 12 more after they clear waivers)?

No, NFL teams must cut their rosters to 53. Once that's determined and all those players clear waivers, then teams can start building their 16-player practice squads.

Chris from Bihać, Bosnia

Thanks so much for all the extensive coverage of the team. One thing I haven't noticed or heard much is how the run game is looking. Sounds like it's all just pass work in camp so far, though I know that isn't true. How are Aaron Jones and Williams looking running the ball as well as the rest of the group including the OL for blocking? Thanks and have a good day.

Great. AJ Dillon has received a lot of attention but Aaron Jones is quietly having one of his best camps. He looks fast, decisive and explosive.

Rachel from Appleton, WI

Looking through pictures of practice I saw that Jaire Alexander had his sweatshirt hood up underneath his helmet. Is that allowed during games?

No, but he can practice with it. Alexander does that all the time.

Brian from Menomonee Falls, WI

Gentlemen, thanks for all the great coverage and insight. I noticed in the last "Three Things" with Mike and Larry that there was footage of Davante Adams being covered by a guy wearing boxing gloves. I can't say that I've seen that before. Have you noticed other non-conventional activities in practice, especially with new coaches during last couple of years?

That's a clip from the ball-security period. Coaches wear those to try to punch the ball out. I don't know how many other teams do that drill that way, but it's become a fairly standard drill here.

Josh from Salt Springs, New Brunswick

I am sorry if this has been answered already, but I am wondering about Curtis Bolton. I remember this time last year being very excited about him. We never really got to see him perform when the games matter, and I understand he is still not cleared for practice. If he grows from what he displayed last preseason, he may be a contributor to what hinders our run defense. Is he far off from being able to return to practice?

Bolton has been working every day with the trainers off to the side during practice. He's moving well but remains on PUP. Bolton recently crossed the one-year mark since the injury, so we'll see what the Packers' plans are for him in the next few weeks.

Chris from Chillicothe, OH

Wes, is there much drop off from the starting JUGS machine to the backup JUGS machine punting? More importantly, will you be banned for divulging the JUGS depth chart?

I regretted that tweet the moment I pressed send.

Patrick from Lakewood, IL

I loved your answer to Mike from Pittsfield. It felt to me like a jab-jab-feint-jab-jab-RIGHT HOOK. Boom! That is, I loved, "but the context of your premise is fantasyland."

It was a very good retort. And you guys know there's nothing I love more than the old "Well, if they would've kept Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward" line from fans, many of whom were the same ones holding the door open for both in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

Nate from Amherst, WI

Wow, I've got three follow-ups today! I was also going to suggest Mason Crosby as a possible retired number with the potential longevity and performance. Remember when everyone was trying to move Rashan Gary to MLB? That was fun. You were much kinder to the Micah Hyde/Casey Hayward question than I would have been. Why not try to imagine the defense with Nick Collins and Sam Shields? And the offense with J-Mike and Franklin and Terrence Murphy? And Sterling Sharpe? Laughing face emoji.

I had a good chuckle out of a few of those, too. Gary is in the best shape of his life…and still weighs 277 pounds. I promise he's not a middle linebacker. The guy is a pass rusher and the Packers feel he's gonna be a pretty darn good one, too.

Chris from Bettendorf, IA

Why do we continue to "know" how someone's career will turn out after a team lets them go? Hayward showed flashes of great ability but also had a lot of time lost to injuries. If you sign him to a big contract and he misses half of the next two seasons, fans are apoplectic over signing a player with obvious red flags. Every team has to make a few of those choices every year and live with the results. I'm still waiting for the GM who gets it right every time.

Correct. And he left as an unrestricted free agent. It's not like the Packers cut Hayward. Missing out on a good prospect would stick in my craw more than a player who leaves for a multiyear contract elsewhere in the NFL. That's life.

Brett from Smyrna, CA

Interesting response to the comment about Hayward and Hyde still being here, and how that would have changed the whole drafting and FA targets. That got me thinking of the domino effect of each pick in the draft and the draft order. What if we actually pick Barry Sanders over Tony Mandarich in 1989, or in the previous season, we don't win our last two games to lose the No. 1 pick and end up with Troy Aikman? Do we ever see the Favre era? Funny how these things tend to work out. Let it play out...

And it's an exercise you can do until you're blue in the face. What if the Packers traded for Randy Moss or Marshawn Lynch? What if Bart Starr listened to his scouts and drafted Joe Montana? What if Cecil Isbell didn't retire after the 1942 season? But that's not the world we live in. You have one shot.

Tom from Onalaska, WI

I know that they announced that there will be no fans at Family Night, but have they decided when it will be? Or should I say, will there be a Family Night this year?

Folks, I appreciate the concern about Family Night but this isn't like most years. As of this morning, all I know is the practice schedule through this Sunday – and none of those days are designated as "Family Night." You'll know as soon as I know.

Evan from Durango, CO

The amazing hypocrisy of people voicing their opinion players should stick to football and not voice their own opinions is both disturbing and sad. I'm sure the Inbox deals with vitriolic hate mail directed at both you and the organization, and certain "fans" feel extremely entitled in regard to what product they want the team to put forth. I appreciate that you as writers, the organization as a whole, and all the players want this society to be better. We can all strive for that. Thanks.

Amen.

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