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Inbox: Now, the long wait begins

The potential for misdirection is intriguing with Amari Rodgers in the backfield

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C Michal Menet

Rich from Hayward, WI

Mike, Wes: Do either of you consider yourself on the bubble?

I was born on the bubble, Rich.

Megan from Minnetonka, MN

Jordan Love seemed to not have the best game Thursday stats-wise, but he still looked more poised than last year in KC. Do you chalk that up to not being out there with other starters?

That's how it goes in the preseason. You have to make the most with what you have. While Love didn't have the full arsenal of offensive weaponry, he has come a long way over the past two years. Love still needs to curtail the preventable turnovers. I get where fans are coming from there. But otherwise, I think people need to cool it with the critiques somewhat. Love played his style of football this summer and gave the Packers plenty of film to assess his progress. That's all anybody was asking for.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

To piggyback on Jason from Woodbury's question about Jordan Love's gradually improving accuracy, is it fair to say that a quarterback becomes more accurate when his receivers run better, more precise routes?

That's part of it. That's why Aaron Rodgers is so high on receivers' attention to detail. QB mechanics matter a lot, too. Everything in the operation needs to be lined up, so when the quarterback throws the ball, it's finding the intended target. If something is off, that's when you see a ball sail high or out of the receiver's range. That's where Love has been better this camp.

John from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Too bad no PI call on Danny Etling's last pass. He was playing quickly and making good throws. Where does he end up? Do the Packers keep three QBs?

We don't play the roster prediction game here (but have no fear, everyone else on the internet has no problem doing it). I will say Etling has put himself in the conversation with how he played. For a guy who had so much trouble sticking with one team for an entire offseason, Etling proved the Packers correct for their belief in him as a viable third-string option. He made the plays that were there to be made all summer.

Bart from La Crosse, WI

I'm guessing we'll once again be told that the stats don't tell the whole story regarding Love's play. What my eyes tell me from the preseason is that Etling is more decisive, quicker, more accurate, and throws a better ball. What do your eyes tell you?

My eyes tell me that you need to stop comparing Jordan Love, who played two series against Kansas City's starters, and Danny Etling, who mostly played in the fourth quarter. Again, Etling had a great preseason, but so many of you are trying to solve the puzzle with two letters on the board.

Damien from Perth, Australia

Now that the preseason games are over, which position do think will be the hardest to cut down for the 53?

I mean, take your pick. I don't think there's any combination of running backs, receivers, offensive line, defensive line, outside linebacker or defensive backs that would surprise me. Now, the long wait begins.

See scenes from the Thursday night matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Aug. 25, 2022.

Tom from Walker, MI

What is the over/under on UDFAs making the team/practice squad?

I assume you're referring to undrafted rookies. Maybe 1.5?

Arleen from Antigo, WI

How many rookies will make the team?

Significantly more.

Chad from Germantown Hills, IL

If Amari Rodgers is going to line up a running back, are they not required to add an "8" to his jersey?

If Juwann Winfree makes the roster, then crisis averted. But jokes aside, I enjoyed that wrinkle with Rodgers in the backfield this summer. The potential for misdirection is intriguing with Rodgers in the backfield.

Pat from Kennesaw, GA

I am encouraged by the group of receivers that will be suited up on Sundays. Davante Adams is a loss, but I look at it more of a chance to spread the ball around and not fixate on one guy. There were numerous times it looked the ball was forced to Adams with other guys open. I think there are a couple good rookies that are going to make an impact in that room.

The offense will lean on its proven production and experience early on, but I look forward to seeing which prospects emerge as playmakers in this offense this season. Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Amari Rodgers all have something to offer. Their success and maturation likely will determine how high this offense's ceiling is this year.

Clem from La Crosse, WI

It seems last year run blocking was a bit suspect. Given a four-time MVP QB that the Packers need to keep healthy, is run blocking a lower priority? Can an offensive lineman excel at both?

Offensive lines can excel in both areas, but run blocking is going to be paramount this year. The Packers must give Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon room with which to work. A great example of that happened Thursday night when Jake Hanson opened a lane for Goodson and Josh Myers dug out the linebacker to spring his running back for the touchdown. If you lend Jones or Dillon that kind of real estate in the open field, those two backs will make defenses pay.

Jeff from Waukesha, WI

Not a question but an observation – every time I looked at the Packers' sideline against the Chiefs, I saw Jack Coco and Pat O'Donnell working on snaps. You can't ask much more of that from a guy at a position we desperately need solidified... Here's to a long tenure for Jack Coco!

Coco summed it up better than I ever could after the game: "I'm excited to find out (what happens) Tuesday. One thing happens, great. If the other thing happens, it is what it is. But I'm excited for the opportunity no matter what it is." Coco has proven he has what it takes to snap in this league, and whatever happens, he can hold his head high knowing he made the most of this improbable opportunity.

Glen from Leesburg, VA

After three preseason games my biggest observation is that the Packers still seem to have some major holes in special teams. They have consistently given up big returns on both punts and kickoffs and our starting kicker hasn't attempted as much as an extra point this entire preseason. Is there something I'm not seeing that should make me think differently?

It's OK to have healthy skepticism. I don't blame you after what happened last season. But I'm not ready to sound the alarm yet based on a few preseason games with many players who won't be on the Week 1 roster. Rich Bisaccia mixed and matched a lot of personnel, especially these past two games, to test guys competing for roster spots. In addition to the core guys barely taking any reps, the established veterans who will play some on teams this season weren't suited up at all in the preseason. I'm waiting for that to happen before I start drawing conclusions.

Sam from La Mesa, CA

Has there been much camp buzz about Caleb Jones? He seems to be an absolute wall in pass protection. I thought I saw the Packers' future with Zach Tom and Jones on the left side. Tom has been awesome from Day 1!

Tom has my attention. He reminds me a lot of Elgton Jenkins – and not just the versatility. Jenkins didn't start out of the gate as a rookie, but it took him all of two games to become the starting left guard when Lane Taylor tore his biceps. With how well he's played, Tom could be the next man up at several spots. I'm also interested to see what the Packers do with Jones. My overall assessment hasn't changed. He has great feet for a man his size.

Bill from Graniteville, SC

What are the chances the Packers keep four running backs on the 53 this year? It would be a shame for either Tyler Goodson or Patrick Taylor not to be playing for the Packers this year, but I don't see either of them surviving long on the waiver wire should they be cut.

I said almost the same thing, word for word, to Spoff after the game. They're two very different types of backs who are both deserving. I just don't see the Packers keeping four – especially with Rodgers being a backfield option. So, whom do you keep? In Goodson, the Packers have an explosive and shifty running back, while Taylor is a bigger-bodied power back who's a natural in pass pro.

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

I see a possibility that the Packers keep just Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon on the final 53 and see which of the other three RBs do not get picked up and then they sign one or two to the PS so they can keep more WRs and OLs. Do you see that as a possibility? After all those three RBs are very similar.

That also is possible, though it would be unprecedented in the modern era. The last time the Packers went into Week 1 with only two halfbacks was 2010 (Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson) but they also carried three fullbacks (John Kuhn, Korey Hall and Quinn Johnson) on the 53.

Walt from Skandia, MI

When the NFL changed to three preseason games, why didn't they start camp a week later to avoid this 17-day period with no games?

The point was to give players more time off before the start of the regular season. If you really need your NFL fix, there still are quite a few preseason games this weekend. Maybe DVR a couple of 'em.

Tom from Douglassville, PA

I didn't get to see the game. Did Watson play, and if so, how'd he do?

Watson suited up and went through pregame warmups again, but the coaches held him out. The Packers' rookie second-round pick's debut will come in the regular season.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. Would you please explain the roughing the kicker rules? Does it involve the plant leg vs. the swing leg? Thanks.

Correct, though it shouldn't matter which leg the defender strikes if it was done in a reckless or malicious manner. Fortunately, Ramiz Ahmed was OK.

Michael from Morrison, IL

Mike/Wes, one under-the-radar individual I thought performed very well over the last two weeks is Ramiz Ahmed, especially considering he wasn't in Green Bay two weeks ago. Do you think he may have played himself into a P-squad spot either with the Packers or somewhere else?

I think so. Ahmed has been the best of all these kickers the Packers have brought in behind Mason Crosby since the pandemic started. He has a live leg, too. With practice squads now at 16, more and more NFL teams are keeping a developmental kicker on the practice squad.

Thomas from Madison, WI

In your mind, does the longevity of the upcoming season following the somewhat recent conclusion of the USFL have any impact on deciding whom to keep on the final 53 (or promote from the PS after the IR shuffle)? Seems like Micah Abernathy and Ahmed both could have the tools if called upon, but dang that's a lot of football to cram into less than 12 months.

Both played a lot of football in 2022 but barring a rash of injuries at their respective positions, I don't see either player being on the field that often for it to matter. So, I guess it doesn't concern me too much.

Karl from Hendersonville, NC

Is part of the punt coverage challenge that O'Donnell is out-kicking the coverage? Does more hangtime compensate?

It depends on the hangtime. I didn't have a stopwatch on it. The Packers said they'd look into it. The general rule is one-tenth of a second for every yard (e.g. 5.0 for 50 yards).

Matty from Durango, CO

Can you explain what it means to "clear waivers"? Thanks

It means none of the other 31 teams claimed the player's contract and he's now free to sign a new deal anywhere.

Brian from Fort Atkinson, WI

Good morning II, I would be interested to hear both of your takes on this. It appears Aaron Donald used a helmet as a weapon in joint practice with the Bengals. The last I read, the NFL lets teams discipline in practice situations on their own. Just because it didn't happen on TV in a game, there are photos out there with a Bengals helmet in his hand swinging it at a Bengals player. Practice or not, shouldn't he be subject to the same one-year suspension Myles Garrett received?

I'm not sure what punishment fits the crime. While I understand why the NFL doesn't want to get involved, it probably is something it needs to look at. Just because it didn't happen in a game doesn't mean it didn't happen during work hours. In my opinion, you can't clock out when it comes to accountability and professionalism.

Erik from Mansfield, TX

On the long KC touchdown pass it looked like the safety first made the wrong read, but then just jogged the rest of the play when he might have been able to recover and make the tackle. I didn't catch who it was back there, and he may well not have been able to make it, but he didn't try. Is that the sort of thing that bugs coaches the way it bugs me?

Well, I didn't see anyone uncorking party poppers afterward, if that's your question.

Sandy from Green Bay, WI

A huge thank you to everyone involved in providing all the training camp/preseason coverage and content as we prepare for the kickoff to the regular season. It seems that things may be returning to like they were pre-Covid as far as access, etc. How has it been on your end as you "do your thing" so far this season? I'm looking forward to enjoying Packer football Inbox style!

It's great being in the locker room again and introducing myself to players I've covered on a computer the past two years. The past two years taught me to live one day a time. With that, I wish you all a safe and happy weekend.

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