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Inbox: It sure doesn't hurt

The rest will come in time

G/T Billy Turner & G Lucas Patrick

Dwight from Brooklyn, NY

Prior to the game, do you guys get a briefing from the coaches? And if you do, how does it differ from the one they give the broadcast network team?

Ha, no. No briefing. I appreciate you thinking we rate that highly around here, though.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

Spoff, did the players walking out of the cornfield give you chills or was it just me?

I didn't get chills, but it did make me smile. I visited there once when my son was really little, and now I obviously have to go back.

Nick from Plainwell, MI

Good morning! When watching the preseason games, do your eyes see the game differently compared to a regular-season one? Do you watch for specific players instead of the whole play?

On occasion, yeah, if there's an offensive or defensive lineman I'm particularly curious about.

Paul from West Allis, WI

Good day Insiders, in years past we've heard of scrapes between OL vs. DL in drills. It seems fairly quiet – is there something I missed – or might the quiet be an indication of more mental discipline?

It's about being a pro, knowing how to practice like a pro, and respecting your teammates.

John from Elgin, IL

Which QB holds the record for most conference championship game losses?

I believe there are five who have lost four – Aaron Rodgers, McNabb, Stabler, Brady and Young, though one of the losses on Young's ledger was not as a starter, but when he appeared in the game off the bench.

Tom from Grafton, WI

I heard on the radio somebody talking about Peyton Manning's HOF induction and how he is so well-spoken and knowledgeable that he can do anything. They even suggested he could be the next NFL commissioner. I found it interesting. Do you think the owners would even consider such a high-profile player for that role? I imagine it lends credibility when dealing with the NFLPA if the commissioner was the face of the league for well over a decade.

I think Manning could definitely handle the job of commissioner someday, but you raise an interesting point about whether the owners would want a Hall of Fame player in that role. There are plusses and minuses to it I think.

James from Appleton, WI

Thinking about Davante Adams and Aaron Jones made me wonder who were the best RB/WR combinations in Packers history? Eddie Lacy/Jordy Nelson had a couple of great seasons. Ahman Green/Donald Driver. Jim Taylor/Boyd Dowler. We may be seeing the best duo right now. What do you think?

Canadeo/Hutson would have to be the best. Middleton or Ivery or Ellis with Lofton wasn't bad, nor was Grant/Jennings. All those you mentioned, no slouches. The current one is as good as or better than any except the two HOFers from the '40s.

Hal from Lanesboro, MN

Wes, how do you keep Spoff from stealing the post it if you sandwich it between the banned list and your monitor?

Nicely done.

Scott from Palos Park, IL

I would believe that having some OL "Jars on the shelf" is key to being a good football team. Is having jars that can be moved around like Elgton Jenkins, Billy Turner and Lucas Patrick needed to make a championship-caliber team?

It sure doesn't hurt. In all my years covering football at all levels, I've heard an endless number of coaches talk about getting their best five linemen on the field at any given time. LaFleur doesn't just pay it lip service. He truly believes in that approach and this team is constructed for him to operate that way when injuries hit the unit.

Craig from Bonduel, WI

Hi guys, over the years, who is the one player that you have seen make the biggest strides at training camp, to go from a "no one really knows who I am" to "now everyone knows who I am"?

On offense, Jarrett Boykin. When you make a big splash like he did at receiver, the attention you attract is over the top. On defense, guys like Vic So'oto and Dezman Moses come to mind. Racking up sacks in preseason games is a great way to get noticed.

Emily from Menasha, WI

How many roster spots can the WRs and TEs take up? If the Packers carry extra players at these positions which position gets shorted?

My best guess is they'll keep six receivers and four tight ends. I don't see a need to go beyond that with such a large practice squad for developmental players.

Tom from Kennesaw, GA

I've been reading Inbox for years. Thanks for all you do to keep us in the loop and entertain all of us followers. The Pack is loaded with talent, especially WR, TE, DB, O-Line groups. Some excellent players will not make this team. I am excited to watch "preseason" football more than ever before. Yes, preseason. Do you think personnel decisions will be made 60% games vs. 40% practice, or vice versa? 50/50?

It's always about the whole body of work. The games show performance under pressure. Practice reveals consistency. The decision-makers don't really look at it as a percentage formula.

Tom from Green Lake, WI

Good morning. Preseason games will be a breaking point for many of the players. On average, how many roster spots are pretty much already guaranteed? I would imagine most teams might have up to 85% or more of their roster already in place (barring injuries). Also, how many are allowed on the practice squad this year? I give a lot of credit to the coaches and the management team to develop the best team possible. The Packers have an excellent track record!

Realistically, there are probably 8-10 spots up for grabs on this roster. With less accomplished/established teams, you'll have more. The practice squad will have 16 again.

Marty from Fort Myers, FL

I recognize this is outside of the Packers, but it affects the Packers: Are there certain second- or third-year players in the other teams in the NFC North that you are expecting to take massive leaps in production or talent and give the Packers difficulty?

For the Vikings, I'd say the guys to watch in that regard are WR Justin Jefferson, CB Cameron Dantzler and TE Irv Smith Jr. For the Bears: TE Cole Kmet, WR Darnell Mooney, CB Jaylon Johnson. For the Lions: TE T.J. Hockenson, WR Quintez Cephus, RB D'Andre Swift.

Dan from Rothschild, WI

Mike or Wes, this may have been asked before, but is Mason Crosby a HOFer? I know not now, but potentially?

I think we're a long way from really assessing his chances, which is a good thing.

Julius from Providence, RI

For HOFers, how about Tony Boselli? Five consecutive Pro Bowls, three consecutive All-Pro, All-Decade, plus being the founding face of a franchise. Was his career too short?

Boselli has been a finalist five straight years but has not gotten over the hump. His best chance could be next year, just like Butler.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

Yes, the true measure will come only in real games. But are you seeing large gaps between Rodgers and Jordan Love in basic camp drills? Velocity, accuracy, etc.? Do you have any insights on how big the difference was in practice between Favre and Rodgers when it was clear a change was nigh?

Nobody is as good as Rodgers in those camp drills, and I don't know how to measure the gap, but a considerable one between a future Hall of Famer and a top prospect who hasn't played an NFL game yet is to be expected. I wasn't in this job for Rodgers' rookie season, but in '06 he looked like a young QB still finding his way. Then he came back in '07 with what looked like a different arm, velocity-wise, and a bigger presence. You could start to see the QB he'd become.

Scott from New Orleans, LA

Short of Jordan Love, what are you most excited to watch or evaluate during Saturday's preseason game with the Texans?

I'm with Wes on being excited to see the running backs. As I mentioned on "Unscripted," I'm also intrigued to see De'Vondre Campbell.

Richard from Nussbaum, WI

When we watch the game on Saturday can we assume the running back who starts the game has the inside track to be RB3?

It sounds like AJ Dillon might start the game and play a series. Whoever goes in next is the preliminary leader, but with two more games awaiting I wouldn't call it an inside track yet.

Brian from Alta Vista, IA

Who/whom is the third safety when Darnell Savage plays the star role?

It's who, and it's a highly competitive situation. Who's filling the star notwithstanding, when the defense has gone dime with a third safety as the sixth DB, we've seen Vernon Scott and Henry Black get their shots, while Christian Uphoff and Innis Gaines have made plays with the second unit. And Will Redmond hasn't practiced yet.

Bill from Clive, IA

Good morning Insiders! I keep hearing phrases applied to T.J. Slaton like "massive human being" and "biggest guy on the roster," but aren't several on the OL at least an inch taller than, and within 10-15 pounds of, Slaton? Maybe it's the eye test (and I haven't been to a practice to see) but what is it that makes him seem like the biggest specimen around when several others are taller?

It's the girth combined with the height and weight. When he stood at the podium earlier this week, it looked like his whole body just engulfed the thing.

Paul from Beaver Dam, WI

What makes it so difficult to judge quarterbacks? Often times it seems even the best scouts really don't have a clue. Sometimes there are clear-cut first overall guys like P. Manning and A. Luck but then there are guys like TB12 and P. Mahomes. I know Mahomes was a first-rounder but it seemed only John Dorsey knew what he was.

It's difficult because it's the hardest position to play in all of sports, and the difference between the college and pro games is monumental.

Josh from Newhall, CA

I know the national media, and a decent number of fans, will be lining up after these preseason games to instantly declare Jordan Love either the next Packers Hall of Fame QB, or a complete bust and embarrassment to the front office. From what you've been able to observe, does Love seem to have the mental makeup to be able to quiet all that outside noise he must be aware is going to come?

I think he does, yes.

Thomas from Rowlett, TX

What is the main thing you are going to be looking for as we get out first look at Jordan Love in a live game setting?

Command of the offense and command of the situation. He's not going to execute everything perfectly, and neither will his teammates, which will impact him as well. But if he shows poise and control, and hits most of the throws that are there, the rest will come in time.

Andy from Hastings, MN

Hello II, seems like we have two (Hill and Taylor) if not three (Williams) capable young backs vying for that third running back. I realize Aaron Jones is a stud, but do you think they could have run with Dillon, Kylin Hill and Malik Taylor, and better used the money for Jones' extension on Davante Adams or Jaire Alexander? We can't pay everyone and I feel like running back is a position that would have taken a hit but stayed effective, versus the receiver or corner position without those two guys.

I believe the Packers will make every effort to keep Adams and Alexander here long-term, and if the timing of the big contracts is staggered, the cap ramifications can be, too. Jones is a special talent who makes this offense more dangerous, period. It's not the same without him. You don't sacrifice that when your team is built to win now.

Joseph from Salt Lake City, UT

How do you know of the Beetdiggers? This past spring I coached pole vault in their district and was unimpressed with their attire for such an eccentric name. They are missing out on an opportunity for an iconic look.

The internet is a wonderful thing. I read that "back in the day" classes were canceled so all the kids could grab their shovels and help with the beet harvest. Some days I long for simpler times.

Pete from Caledonia, MI

Your neck of the woods, the U.P., has three great nicknames: Watersmeet Nimrods (biblical character), Ishpeming Hematites (mineral), and the Kingsford Flivvers (an antiquated car).

God bless the U.P. It's been too long since I've visited. And a shout-out to Dave from Huntsville, AL, for making me aware of the Rocket City Trash Pandas. I'm rearranging my top-five list as we speak.

Paul from Dummer, IN

As an avid fan of high school sports history, I'd like to give Wes an interesting fact on the Freeport Pretzels. Hall of Fame coach Adolph Rupp got his first basketball head coaching position at Freeport in 1926. He led the Pretzels to a third-place finish in the single class Illinois state tournament in 1929. After four years of head coaching experience in high school, Rupp was hired as the head coach at Kentucky.

To coach the Wildcats. How boring. Happy Friday.


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