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Inbox: Rookie QB debuts aren't normally like that

He’s just plain fun to watch

QB Sean Clifford
QB Sean Clifford

Matt from Fitchburg, WI

I think Mike really showed his age when he tried using pop slang to prove his point, but the slang was from the '90s.

I go all out.

Gary from Manchester, UK

Learning NFL terminology all the time but snot bubbler is the best I've heard yet from TK (Grafton, WI). That made me laugh out loud. Surely that should be an official listed position/role on the roster.

I like that idea.

George from North Mankato, MN

What do you think of a few established veterans playing in the preseason this year? Do you think it's worth the risk of losing a QB1?

I understand what LaFleur is doing. He believes Love needs at least some preseason reps, and if he's going to play then he needs to be protected and have his weapons for the work to be worthwhile. Sure there's risk, but I get it in this case.

Jacob from Superior, WI

Well, Jordan Love was what you described as up and down. I would even say more up but yeesh that missed pass to the wide-open TE made me think, "That can't happen in a regular-season game." I'm just wondering your thoughts on if he should get more playing time? I believe the more snaps in the preseason the better it will be for him.

LaFleur suggested he would play more in the preseason but did not specify.

Josh from Newhall, CA

Is that what Sean Clifford has been looking like? He came as advertised. Even with the few mistakes he made, his moxie was fully evident. He looked supremely confident; almost unflappable. Like he's been there before. There was a lot of criticism from the national media over him being drafted over other prospects so I have to admit it makes me smile a little bigger that he played well.

I loved seeing him play with no fear, no hesitation, and almost no conscience. Rookie QB debuts aren't normally like that. Yeah, he made a couple huge mistakes, but he didn't change his approach. That's how you learn what you're capable of, and what you're not.

Janet from Auburn, WA

I haven't had the chance to watch Sean Clifford play until Friday's game. As my husband would say, he's a "gamer." I really liked the way he attacked the defense and didn't let up even after his interceptions. Did his play tonight epitomize the way he practices?

LaFleur called him a "gamer" earlier this week, too.

Peter from Madison, WI

Mel Kiper was right.

Sure seems so. Carrington Valentine showed he's not just a practice player. He can turn it up when the lights go on, too. He's just plain fun to watch.

Tony from San Juan Capistrano, CA

II, Fort Valley State? What is that?

It's a Division II HBCU with an enrollment around 2,500 students located in Peach County, Georgia, but that's not important right now.

Jamie from Marietta, OH

Did Emanuel Wilson make a case for RB3 tonight? I thought he looked very decisive when he had the ball.

He threw himself more squarely into the mix for that job than he had been up until now.

Tom from Iron River, WI

Has Emanuel Wilson been as impressive in camp as he looked Friday night?

He had one play during the first live tackling/young developmental period of camp where he proved tough to bring down and broke off a long run. That was his only real notable moment until Friday night. With Nichols and Goodson both hurt, he'll likely get into next week's game sooner.

Greg from Perkasie, PA

I watched some other games after the Packers' game ended. I saw, at least, five missed field goals/extra points. It wasn't just Anders Carlson. He'll get it figured out.

He bounced back from some rough moments in practice to have a great Family Night. He was in a groove in Cincy and then suddenly lost it. It's on him to bounce back again. I know what/who everyone is wondering about. It's not my decision to make.

Robert from Wausaukee, WI

Great to see a number of guys showing out in preseason. My favorite was Brenton Cox Jr. with the forced INT and a few other QB hurries/pressures. He could turn out to be an absolute steal for us!

Now he has to keep it up.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

A challenge flag? In the first preseason game, with less than two minutes left and you're up by 17? C'mon man!

Ha, LaFleur apologized to the media right after his presser for making the game take too long.

Keith from Austin, TX

The QBs played very well at Cincinnati. QB whisperer Tom Clements is having a really good second act with the Packers. Is he the most important assistant coach for the team this year?

Well, he's coaching the game's most important position in a year the Packers are changing starters, so yeah, you could easily make that argument.

Keith from Lincoln, IL

One word to describe last night's game? Fun. The young QBs, the young receivers, the young cornerbacks, even the young special teams. This is going to be a fun team to cheer for. What's your one word for last night?

Productive. But it was terrible to hear LaFleur's bad news update on Tyler Davis' knee injury right after the game. That really stinks.

Bill from Clive, IA

Editors, there is so much said by coaches (and written in II) about the desire for player consistency, it feels like it's the Packers' word of the year. I have to think that when making roster choices a young player's upside has to also enter the equation, even if he's not all that consistent – yet. I mean, you can have perfect consistency, but if it's at a level of mediocrity, might you opt for a young player that has more splash plays, but also some goofs?

Sure, that's why I mentioned yesterday how decisions on young players incorporate so many angles. Deciding who's going to start on offense or defense versus who's going to take the final few roster spots are completely different evaluations.

Grant from Janesville, WI

How has Karl Brooks looked in practice, and how is he being used? I watched some of his college tape, and he typically rushed from an upright stance despite his 300-pound frame. Is he down in a more typical DE stance or still getting reps as an upright edge?

He's got a hand in the dirt.

Steven from Balsam Lake, WI

My question is regarding Eric Stokes. Was it ever revealed what his injury actually was last season other than just "lower leg"? Was it torn Achilles, broken ankle, something else? I know it's not a big deal, I'm just curious as I'd love to see Stokes back at full strength sooner rather than later! A healthy Stokes on this defense would be trouble for opposing offenses.

When he spoke to reporters this spring, he clarified he had both knee and foot injuries. The way he described it, the knee was not all that serious. The foot required a much more significant surgery and recovery.

Robert from Weston, WI

Gentlemen, our defense wasn't the same last year without our leader, in my opinion, De'Vondre Campbell. I was excited when he said he's feeling 100% again. Have you seen any indication during camp that he can get back to the All-Pro 2021 version of himself? GPG!

I can't say I've seen anything jump out at me, but I doubt I'd be able to make such a proclamation regardless. He hasn't said much to reporters, but his social media post about his health, last year and this, is certainly an indication of his confidence he's on the track you reference.

Jeff from Ripon, WI

Who was the last Packer to win rookie of the year?

Eddie Lacy won the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2013. The last defensive rookie to win the comparable award was Willie Buchanon in 1972.

Steve from De Pere, WI

From what I remember there used to be more of an emphasis on strong safety vs. free safety and the different roles they play. Now it just seems like they are interchangeable. Has there been a shift in the roles by just having two safeties instead of a SS or FS?

For the most part. Many teams, including the Packers, have packages and alignments that move one safety or the other closer to the line of scrimmage at times (a version of strong) with the other deep (free), but who does which can depend on offensive personnel, down and distance, etc. So to play safety, you've got to know it all.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

I have a silly question. What actually happens in a "walk-through?" What, exactly, are they walking through? This non-athlete has let his mind wander. I just envision ML taking the team through the tunnel. "Here's the field. Sideline's over there. End zone, down there. The plan is to take the ball, and end with it there. Anders, there are the uprights. Don't repeat the last game here." The players aren't running plays on the field. What's the purpose of these practices?

They're walking through the plays and calls as a mental exercise to learn/reinforce the playbook.

Dan from Cross Plains, WI

In Thursday's "Unscripted," it was mentioned that the CIN defensive line is built much differently than ours. Where our line seems to have more twitchy and speedy guys, CIN was built for power. What are some of the pros and cons of these two different team philosophies? Which way would you go if you were a GM?

I think a mix is best for any pass rush. Against the run, it depends on what the scheme is asking them to do. If the requirement is to two-gap, I'd prefer power. More freedom to shoot gaps? Give me quickness.

Darryl from Schroon Lake, NY

I was talking with a friend who lives in Cincy, and he mentioned that the "reports" coming out of Bengals camp is that one of their defensive linemen had seven sacks during the joint practice. Was there anything?

Seven? No, not if the QB is allowed to step up in the pocket and/or maneuver to get a throw off. Hendrickson is a heckuva player, and he got his share of penetration into the backfield, but I didn't see seven sacks.

Jim from St. Pete Beach, FL

What did you learn about this Packers team that you didn't know before their first preseason game?

I saw more speed from some of the rookies than I expected to, from Wilson and Dontayvion Wicks in particular.

Michelle from Watertown, WI

Which player's performance surprised you the most in the game against Cincinnati?

I won't say I was surprised, but it was good to see Malik Heath continue to not look like an undrafted rookie. He has stood out in practice, but you never know if guys can carry it over to the game, and he did that. The intrigue for those last couple of receiver spots continues.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Looking at the "official" Packers depth chart the first and second teams total 48 players and with three specialists there are only two spots left for the entire team from the third-string column. There are some very notable names on that list: Malik Heath, Caleb Jones, Tucker Kraft, Grant DuBose, Patrick Taylor, Tyler Goodson, Lew Nichols, Kingsley Enagbare, Brenton Cox Jr., Shemar Jean-Charles, Anthony Johnson Jr., Dallin Leavitt. Granted a couple from second won't make it, but there are some tough calls coming.

Always are.

Mitch from Eagle River, WI

Just to follow up on remarks from Julian from Gastonia. I think the last thing that any team wants is a game manager at QB. That's just a term for a QB who is not elite nor field-tilting dynamic. It's like wanting a RB who pounds between the tackles because he lacks the speed to go outside. We just want and need Love to be the best version of himself that he can be, regardless of what style of play.

Works for me.

Jeff from Puyallup, WA

Would it be considered breaking a rule to ask what you would say is the average time it takes to write the Inbox?


Robin from Ideal Township, MN

My next II T-shirt will read: "It's not badminton." Maybe with a classic photo of Nitschke on the flip side. Who do I see about mass production? Thanks for the insights, perspective, education, and giggles.

If he'd said "racquetball," I would've had to stop him right there. Have a great weekend, everybody.

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