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Inbox: So it's time to respond

And training camp rolls on

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Packers offensive lineman

Dave from Waterford, OH

There is a town named Poca not too far from me in West Virginia and their high school nickname is the Dots. And, how can you not love the Arkansas School for the Deaf Leopards.

Time to Armageddon it. I've enjoyed all the submissions on this topic, truly. You folks entertained me through a long week of training camp. On to a new week.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

Not having been able to watch from out of market, it seems like there is one possible cause for concern coming from Saturday's game – the lack of running game. Our starting interior – Jon Runyan, Josh Myers, and Lucas Patrick – are hypothetically our opening-day starters, correct? Overreaction or something to keep an eye on? Other than that it seems there's a lot to like, most importantly, no major injuries (knocks furiously on wood).

The running game was a major disappointment, and it has to be better. The only slack I'll give it is the unit that played the bulk of the first half was not a unit I've seen practice together. As you mentioned, it was the interior starters but with reserve tackles. Combo blocks in the ground game take chemistry and timing, and they didn't have it. But the execution still should've been better, and the coaches said as much Sunday.

George from North Mankato, MN

Do you think it is safe to say the 30 players who didn't suit up vs. the Texans are on the final 53?

Not necessarily. I counted about 6-7 guys on that list who weren't suited up due to injury and aren't absolute roster locks in my book.

Ryan from Ripon, WI

Who is an undrafted player with the best chance of making the team this year?

Among the undrafted rookies, I'd say safety Innis Gaines tops the list at the moment.

Rachel from Minneapolis, MN

With the collective under-performance of the offensive line, how does that affect the coaches' evaluation of the running backs?

Great question. LaFleur practically admitted after the game there wasn't much to evaluate with the backs on the running plays. He was clearly frustrated the offense couldn't run the ball better.

Gerald from Santa Fe, NM

Asked during the live blog but filtered. With all the talk about GB's depth, does it change your assessment watching the Packers' 2-3s get manhandled by Houston's 2-3s? Or is it's just one preseason practice?

The Packers' reserves got beat in the trenches for the most part, but it was one outing. So it's time to respond, and O-line coach Adam Stenavich said he hopes it "will light a little fire under some guys." We shall see.

Nathan from New York, NY

Why didn't Love play at all in the second half?

Because there was concern about his shoulder when he got hit on the strip-sack. But it sounds like everything checked out fine and Jordan Love might have to just rest it a few days.

Jack from Wauwatosa, WI

Hey Mike, considering the roster is pretty large right now, do bottom-roster players realize that just putting good "film out there" can be their ticket to the NFL? Evaluating 90 guys seems like a difficult task overall for coaches and staff but just being there is an honor!

Players know the scouts of every team are reviewing these preseason games, looking for upgrades. One team's extra corner is another squad's special-teams demon. It's why bottom-roster guys who feel like they have a good shot to stick here can't ever get comfortable.

Austin from Appleton, WI

That looked like a tough night for Josh Jackson. I really feel for him and have always hoped for him to turn things around. With Kabion Ento's play and potential upside, is Jackson in danger of missing this team?

I wouldn't say that just yet. Jackson had some good plays, too, but certainly more completions against him than you'd like to see. They're going to keep six if not seven corners on the 53 so he's still squarely in the mix. Again, the response is the interesting part now.

Steve from Toronto, Canada

Gotta love the preseason! As soon as we begin forgetting about someone like Oren Burks, he comes right out with a "Not so fast!" kind of performance. It seems every time he starts to hit his stride, he ends up getting snagged by an injury. Could this be the season he finally puts it all together and stays on the field? Four inside 'backers seems like an awful lot to keep.

Not to me. Not if a couple of those guys are core special-teamers.

Tony from Vulcan, MI

Just a thank you to Spoff for the Terdell Middleton mention in the RB/WR combinations. In 1978, Terdell became only the fourth 1,000-yard rusher in Packer history while making the Pro Bowl. He still ranks in the team all-time top 20 in career yards, yet somehow has been overlooked for induction in the Packer Hall of Fame. Anything we as fans can do to help rectify this?

I suspect that ship has sailed. Middleton played just five seasons in Green Bay, with only one noteworthy year, when he topped 1,000 yards and made the Pro Bowl. I realize he broke a rather ignominious franchise streak of years without a 1,000-yard rusher, but if every guy who made one Pro Bowl got in they'd never keep up. For the record, he also is no longer in the team's all-time top 20 for rushing yards. He had 2,044, and No. 20 is Tom Moore with 2,069.

Bob from New Britain, CT

Hi Mike, you've mentioned the need for the defense to create more turnovers. I think the answer is very simple – catch the stupid ball! So many times this past year our defenders dropped passes that they had right in their hands. In contrast, players like Woodson not only caught balls thrown their direction, they frequently made great catches. To your knowledge, does the defense participate in drills designed specifically to improve ball-catching skills? If not, do you think they should?

They do, all the time.

Lambeau Field hosted a preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021.

Brian from De Pere, WI

It seems there is a lot of excitement when it comes to Joe Barry. When I look at his pedigree it seems rather unremarkable. Fired as a DC in Detroit. Yikes. All that aside, what is your impression of whether he will be a good DC versus not so much?

We have to wait and see. But I've said it before and I'll say it again, the talent on this defense absolutely dwarfs what Barry had to work with as coordinator in Detroit (2007-08) and Washington (2015-16). There's no comparison.

Chris from Chaska, MN

I know we all love the 2-for-1 block Josiah Deguara put on the Vikings in Week 1 last year. Is that block legal this year?

Nope. He went low while outside the tight end box (and more than five yards downfield, too). That block would be a 15-yard penalty this season.

Ronald from Panabo, Philippines

Insiders, during the Matt LaFleur presser he mentioned that they normally don't do "cards" for preseason games. Can you please elaborate?

When the offense practices against a scout-team defense, a coach holds up a "card" in the defensive huddle that shows a scheme/play from the opposition that the scout team will run on that particular snap. LaFleur said the majority of the work against "cards" in training camp would take place in walk-throughs. When they get to the regular season, both first units go against scout teams all the time.

Joe from Dells, WI

So you said there are pros and cons to a Hall of Famer being the next NFL commissioner. What are the pros? What are the cons?

Well, the commissioner essentially works for the owners, so a potential positive would be engendering more good will between the owners and players. Then again, the owners might be leery of having someone too close to the players as their front man if there are contentious issues to negotiate.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

With the benefit of hindsight (and seeing this year's training camp), do you think not sliding Elgton Jenkins to LT in the NFCCG might've been the biggest mistake of that game?

In a word, no. As aligned without David Bakhtiari, the offense had functioned very well against both the Bears and Rams the previous two games. Also, it's not as though the interior guys the guards had to deal with in that last game – Ndamukong Suh, plus inside 'backers Devin White and Lavonte David – would have been easy assignments for a substitute.

Paul from Beaver Dam, WI

Mike, during your time employed by the Packers you've had quite an amazing opportunity to speak with many players/coaches/staff that many fans would be gushing over doing it for one day. Have you ever met someone who, from the moment you met them you knew they were a special human? I'm not talking most athletic/best player but something just different? Who stuck out to you? For me it's Tramon Williams and Kevin Greene but for different reasons.

Boy, that's a long list after 15 years, but various names that stick out whom I haven't mentioned much in the past would include, for different reasons, Samkon Gado, Aaron Kampman, Brandon Miree, Morgan Burnett, Micah Hyde, Andy Mulumba, Edgar Bennett, Joe Philbin, James Campen, John Dorsey, John Schneider … too many to keep going, frankly.

A behind-the-scenes look inside the Green Bay Packers' locker room ahead of Saturday's preseason opener against the Houston Texans.

Carroll from Madison, WI

Perhaps asked (and answered), but in reviewing Dusty Evelyn's great analysis of the Lombardi Sweep, I'm led to wonder about the difference between that iconic play and "zone blocking." Thanks for any light you can shed on this.

The most succinct explanation is this: In a zone scheme, the entire offensive line moves in unison and the running back picks the best hole or crease he can find, while in a gap scheme (like a sweep), one or two linemen pull out from the traditional sequence to lead the back on a (more or less) pre-selected path.

Cody from Round Lake, IL

Preseason should always be taken with a grain of salt. With that said Love played well and here's where I go off the rails: FUNCHESS looks like he absolutely should not only make the team but get a fair amount of playing time. On defense who surprised/lived up to your expectations?

I think it's going to be an interesting call on Devin Funchess, based on where he'd be on the depth chart as a proven, veteran player. We shall see. Defensively, other than those already mentioned, I thought T.J. Slaton and Tyler Lancaster did pretty well in the middle of the defensive line until they appeared to run out of gas in the second half.

Michael from Los Angeles, CA

I was impressed with Devin Funchess and disappointed with the running game in general. I was hoping to see more from Kylin Hill, but thought he showed great burst on his touchdown reception. Who were the standouts for you? Any disappointments?

Hill sure looks dangerous with any kind of open space. He didn't have much of it, but he had some on that screen pass and made it count. Among the letdowns was the special teams. There's still clearly a lot of work to do there.

Chuck from Gold Canyon, AZ

Good morning, Mike. There is now a lot of tape on second- and third-string players to learn from Obviously, ST, rushing O and D need cleaning up. My question is in regards to PUP and IR rules. With last year's IR rules being carried over, can the Packers put Bakhtiari on the initial 53 then place on IR if he is deemed not quite ready? This would decrease the time from six to three weeks if he is close to being ready. This would expose another player but would be worth it in my opinion.

That is an option, yes.

Becky from Mill Valley, CA

This may be a really dumb question, but does the NFL use "second-string" referees during preseason for learning experience?

No, they're the real McCoys getting back into game mode, too.

Tom from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Conclusion from the game: some good, some bad and some ugly. It is preseason and what would one expect from the twos, threes and above. Can't wait for the ones to play in a few weeks. GO PACK GO!

And training camp rolls on. Happy Monday.