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Inbox: Quality competition is what they want to see

There are a number of ways Brian Gutekunst could go with the 53

Family Night at Lambeau Field
Family Night at Lambeau Field

Grant from Hoopeston, IL

Happy Birthday to the Packers.

It was the hippest party you'll ever see for a 103rd birthday. By the way, we're doing a slight switch-up on Inbox with today being a gameday. I'm tagging in for Spoff and he'll take you through the weekend. Good morning!

TK from Grafton, WI

Why do so many Packers fans (or any fans, really) talk so much about being "worried"? About the roster, about injuries, about outcomes? I'd suggest the following: Get up an hour early each day, sit in a chair, worry as hard as possible for 60 minutes, and then get on with the day. And then notice how much things have (HAVEN'T) improved.

There's no time to worry when you're focused on winning. As I like to say, Packers will either win or lose but worrying accomplishes nothing. Control what you can control, people.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Regarding the 11-on-11s and the individual matchups in camp, there is generally a winner and a loser, and the defense seems to be winning a lot. Will tonight's game answer some of the questions and if so which side of the ball is more likely?

I don't think many questions will be answered in Santa Clara as it relates to the "starting" units. It's likely we'll see 20-plus players sitting out, including Aaron Rodgers. The proving ground may come during next week's joint practices with New Orleans. The Saints have a tough defense, too, but it will be a fresh look for Green Bay's offense. On the other side of the ball, Michael Thomas vs. Jaire Alexander should be worth the price of free admission alone, too.

Jeff from Muskego, WI

What should we watch for in the first preseason game?

I'm watching the trenches. Based on Thursday's practice, I'm guessing we'll see Yosh Nijman, Jon Runyan, Josh Myers, Jake Hanson and Royce Newman starting, left to right. I want to see those guys move the line of scrimmage, open lanes for the backs and give Jordan Love time in the pocket with which to work. I'm also excited to watch these young D-linemen, outside linebackers and safeties, too, with Shawn Davis and Vernon Scott recording INTs Thursday.

Jason from Austin, TX

Insiders, if you're a player whose career is going to ride or die during this time of year and you're relying on getting noticed during the preseason, is there any value in watching preseason film of the opposing team? Most or all teams are playing vanilla offense/defense, and who you line up against might change a few times while you're on the field. What's the "extra credit" a player can do to gain an edge?

If I'm a bubble player wanting to make this roster, I'm doing anything I can to prepare for tonight. If I'm a tackle, I'm studying past tendencies of the edge rushers I'm about to see. If I'm a receiver, I'm getting my hands on as much film and info as possible of the opposing cornerbacks and safeties. Because while the calls may be vanilla, the players on the other side of the line of scrimmage are going to be champing at the bit to compete. They want the same thing you want. Now, who wants it more?

Dwight from Brooklyn, NY

With roster cuts imminent, does Green Bay (or any NFL team, for that matter) have a complement to its draft board? I'll go out on a limb and call it a "cut board." I know GMs and scouts track other teams' rosters to see who gets cut and when. But do they also have a system in place along the lines of a draft board or is it something as simple as "Keep an eye on Player X on Team Y, if he's cut, we pounce"?

That board is already built. It's not like the draft and college free agency end and the Packers throw out all that data. It's catalogued and recorded. With teams now able to carry up to 16 guys on the practice squad, the Packers typically sign one or two players who didn't make the 53 elsewhere.

Max from Arlington, VA

In attempting to predict our 53 for the start of the regular season, I pulled the positional breakdown of the 53-man rosters since Gutey took the reins. Do you think these total/average number of players by position is indicative of how the GM/coach like to build the roster, or is it more influenced by the talent in camp? Are there any positions that you foresee Gute keeping more/less players this year than he typically has in the past?

Gutekunst touched on this topic earlier this week. The roster has never been more fluid with the relaxed rules for the practice squad, including how each player is now eligible for up to three activations to the gameday roster. That could allow the Packers to get more creative with how they build their initial 53 – especially at a loaded position like receiver. There are a number of ways Brian Gutekunst could go with the 53.

Sal from Hailey, ID

This may just be recency bias, but it seems like Rodgers has been picked off more in camp than he has in a while. Yes, it's just camp, and maybe QB1 takes those risks more often than not in practice, but what has he said about the quality of competition on the field this year?

First and foremost, quality competition is what they want to see. Since the first practice, Rodgers has been extremely complimentary of the defense and the looks it's giving him. Rodgers is testing these young receivers. He wants to see what he's working with. He still looks like Rodgers. So, I don't read much into Rodgers' picks. It seems like every summer this question is asked whenever he throws a pick or two.

Russ from Henrico, VA

I've read twice in print that Yosh Nijman deserves to start "somewhere." Somewhere on OUR offensive line or just somewhere?

Somewhere on the Packers' offensive line. Left tackle obviously belongs to David Bakhtiari once he's back in the lineup, but the inside versatility of Elgton Jenkins could leave right tackle open for Nijman. My point was Nijman is in the conversation for the "best starting five."

The Green Bay Packers held a public training-camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022.

David from Janesville, WI

Wes was talking about Allen Lazard's blocking, and it got me thinking about that trait as a whole for the receiver group. I've heard Sammy Watkins is a pretty good blocker, but how have the rookies looked? Most of these guys were more focus points of their offense than supporting blockers (with the possible exception of Christian Watson in that North Dakota State running offense who we haven't seen yet). I don't recall what kind of a blocker Juwann Winfree is, and I'd be curious how Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure look.

Watkins has caught my eye as a downfield blocker, but I haven't noticed the young receivers yet. That's probably more on me than them. That's just not where my focus has been during practice. I'm sure we'll get a better feel for those young receivers' blocking prowess tonight.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

Ken from Dallas suggested putting Christian Watson on IR so they could keep both Doubs and Toure on the 53. Doesn't a player have to be on the initial 53 before they can be put on IR? In that case, regular-season PUP would be the option and he would miss at least six weeks, correct?

I'm sorry. I should've corrected Ken on that one. If Watson is not activated off PUP, he would start the season on regular-season PUP. The NFL made a change there, though. PUP players are now only required to miss the first four games, not six.

Douglas from Binghamton, NY

Good morning, how does your confidence in Jordan Love compare to Brett Hundley, Matt Flynn, and Seneca Wallace? Thank you!

It's high. Flynn is the backup QB I had the most confidence in, given his relationship with Rodgers and knowledge of Mike McCarthy's offense. But Love is getting there, and he's the best athlete Green Bay has had at that position since drafting Rodgers in 2005.

Anthony from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Rodgers stated that Tom Clements offered him the foundation to greatness. We all know Tom returned to the Pack as a support for AR12 as he slowly departs the sport. Might Tom be equally motivated to help build that foundation for one of the potentially next greatest QBs, that being Jordan Love? Talk about cementing your legacy in the QB coaches HOF.

And people forget Clements worked with Kyler Murray, too, after the Cardinals drafted him in 2019. Clements has seen and done it all with quarterbacks but I'm sure it's invigorating to work with an elite prospect like Love at this juncture of his career. He's helped mold some all-time greats at the position.

Eric from Manitowoc, WI

Wes said yesterday Doubs has done everything he can to make the team, except helping with the laundry. He would have really helped his cause if he could have fixed the JUGS machine...Speaking of which, has the JUGS been working properly this past week?

The JUGS machine bounced back nicely after a few rough outings. It learned from its mistakes, made the corrections and really has stepped up over the past week.

Richard from Madison, WI

Former Badger James White retired (Friday) from the New England Patriots with 381 receptions for 3,278 yards and 25 RECEIVING touchdowns to go with 319 carries, 1,278 yards and 11 RUSHING touchdowns. He was listed as a RUNNING back. Do such labels mean anything anymore? I recall that we used to refer to flankers and split ends, but now they're all just wide receivers. And rumor has it that there are still some positions called fullback and outside linebacker but I'm dubious.

Since the turn of the century, running backs have become so much more than just ball-carriers. White was such an integral part to the Patriots' three Super Bowl championships with his pass-catching, protection and all the little things he did to make that New England offense go.

Robert from Sayre, PA

Despite your optimism, I see an inexperienced O-line. I also see AR running for his life the first month of the season. Our defense better be ready to pitch some shutouts.


Derek from Sheboygan, WI

Will the Packers add another veteran offensive lineman, or do you think they like what they have?

Time always tells. But in the past, Gutekunst hasn't been afraid to bring an established vet in. He's done it with Byron Bell, Jared Veldheer, Rick Wagner, and Dennis Kelly. The fact the Packers didn't re-sign Kelly or bring in another veteran seems to suggest the team feels Bakhtiari and Jenkins aren't far away from a return.

Brent from Delano, MN

Gentlemen, one of the newer rule changes I feel will have a significant impact is the clarification on illegal contact on the quarterback. The rule clarified that contact to the helmet or below the knee has to be with force and not a mere brushing or glancing contact. Do you feel that this will allow the edge rushers a little more freedom to finish their rushes?

I feel like it will allow officials to use more common sense.

Jay from Wilmington, NC

So, Wes chose Seattle as a favorite for a game. My wife and I were in Seattle two weeks ago. Absolutely a beautiful city! I drove past CenturyLink, now Lumen Field multiple times. All I could do was picture what happened there in the championship game. I referred to the stadium as the "scene of the crime." That game is still so painful for me! But we will be moving to Oregon soon and obviously will be attending the game there in 2024. Any tips on how to enjoy it without thinking of that game?

Maybe some seafood and a strong IPA?

Kyle from Wallingford, PA

The Packers can't afford to give departing interns a football? Inflation is out of control.

Wes Hodkiewicz can't afford to give departing interns a football. The team gives them a helmet.

Curt from Rochester, MN

Has the point of emphasis identified by the league in training camp ever made it to midseason as a relevant factor?

That's a good question. Like New Year's resolutions, they seem good for a month or so and then go by the wayside. Hey, there's a first for everything, though.

Ed from Windsor, CO

Wes, why is San Jose, one of your favorite NFL cities to visit? Do you have friends in the Silicon Valley? Please don't get a face tattoo, not that there is anything wrong with that, but if you were to get inked what would you get?

If I had friends in Silicon Valley, I would be in Silicon Valley. No, I just like the San Jose area. Since Levi's Stadium was built in Santa Clara, the Packers have stayed in San Jose. I enjoyed San Francisco, too. It had some amazing Italian restaurants in the downtown area, but San Jose is a vibe.

Bil from Stateline, NV

I'm so excited! Being as the 49ers and the Raiders are my "local" teams, I will get to see the game on Friday without paying any extra ransom to the NFL. Oh boy! Is this great!

Stand tall with your chest in the air, Bil. This is your time.

Joel from Chalfont, PA

I'm not sure if Packers Nation can handle another A-Rod tattoo story so soon, but I vote Wes goes for it! Perhaps II should do a poll and let the people decide.

I should've said biceps instead of eyebrow. That was the SoundCloud rapper in me talking.

Stephen from Winchester, VA

When should we expect to see that tattoo? Can you at least get a temporary one as a gag for Three Things?

Maybe after Amari's first punt return for a touchdown.

Gary from Bear Valley, WI

I'd like to hear more about Doubs. Can you tattoo his name above the other eyebrow?

Why would I do that? Everyone knows he's having a great camp. These eyebrows are reserved for the unsung heroes. Happy gameday!