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Inbox: Someone looks ready for the season to start

Upside and age are two very different things 


Dean from Leavenworth, IN

I agree with Mike on eliminating intentional grounding. Seemingly every week in every game the QB intentionally grounds a pass to avoid a sack. The most common is when they throw the ball into the ground at the feet of a nearby "receiver." Fans howl and the ref explains "receiver in the area." Eliminate the call, eliminate the hypocrisy, and improve QB safety. Wes, talk to Roger Goodell and get it done.

It sounds like madness on the surface, but there's a method to the logic. As I often said last year, nobody benefits from Aaron Rodgers not being on the field. As a league, you want your stars doing what they do best. I don't know what the answer is, but I've heard worse ideas than that one. Good morning!

Nick from Chicago, IL

Not much talk about Clay Matthews. I feel like he's still a disturbance to this defense but isn't getting any light. I guess no news is good news, but what changes are you seeing from Clay that will elevate his game this season?

Matthews is a true pro. He knows what he needs to be ready for the regular season and gets his work in every day at practice. The best thing for Matthews is he's been healthy and active throughout training camp.

Jonnie from Garden City, MI

Three things about Tuesday's "Three Things": One, it is really good to hear about the RBs coming off of injuries and getting in some practice. Two, I'm really excited for Daniels to make an impact this year and from all indications, he's not going to disappoint. Three, Rock: "EverReady Bunny"? Wes: "Everlasting Bunny"? C'mon man! It's the Energizer Bunny! Hope you're having a fantastic day!

Hey, cut me some slack. It's a recorded segment, but we shoot in real time. To your other two points, it would be phenomenal if Aaron Jones could get some work in this game. Whether that happens remains to be seen. Daniels looked no worse for wear in his return to one-on-ones Tuesday. The guy was bulldozing through everyone. Someone looks ready for the season to start.

Tyrus from South Range, WI

Does Reggie Gilbert know how to do the grave digger? It would be great to see that sack celebration brought back by another No. 93.

I don't take Gilbert as the "grave-digging" type. He seems more like the "go-back-to-the-huddle-and-line-up-for-the-next-play" kind of player.

John from Cedar Rapids, IA

Three potential starters – Bryan Bulaga, Daniels, and Josh Jackson – are all from the University of Iowa, as is LeShun Daniels. What colleges have had the most starters and/or players on the Packers rosters over the years? Guessing that Notre Dame would be a leader.

It might actually be Iowa – or California. Brian Gutekunst made a point a week or so ago about Ted Thompson's penchant for players from that program. Micah Hyde also was a good find for the Packers from the land of Hawkeyes.

Brett from Oshkosh, WI

I've been hearing that the Packers are high on DeShone Kizer, and I'm starting to see why. He has all the physical attributes, plus it looks like he plays with a sense of urgency. I think we forget how quick everything goes on the field because of how easy 12 makes it look, but I think there's something to be said for a QB that tries to play quick. Does Kizer have that kind of look to you guys? How does he look up close?

You can see why Kizer was a four-star recruit out of high school and a second-round pick coming out of Notre Dame. If you draw a quarterback up from scratch, he looks like DeShone Kizer. He has size and arm strength to be a legit playmaker in this league. At the same time, Kizer is only 22 years old. He still has a lot of growing to do, but his potential is real.

Matthew from Allentown, PA

You are creating a quarterback prospect. You have 40 points to distribute among S.P.E.C.I.A.L. (yes, this is a Fallout game reference): Strength, Precision, Endurance, Competitiveness, Intelligence, Athleticism, Leadership. The quarterback can still develop these traits over time. How do you allocate these points to make a top quarterback prospect?

Hmm…good question. I'll go 4-7-3-7-7-4-8. What say you, Spofford?

Sam from Janesville, WI

Reading the explanation of blocking scheme for RPOs made my head hurt. Which made me realize how much information the QB needs to process in a split second. It's easy to sit back on Sunday and say, "That guy stinks," but the truth is even the worst QB who doesn't make the roster on cut-down day is probably smarter than me, which puts Rodgers on an other-worldly level.

He is not human.

Kyle from Los Angeles, CA

Great piece on Marcedes Lewis, Wes. Outside of Gronk, Lewis is probably the best blocking TE and Jimmy Graham is the best receiving TE, right? How much do you think Emanuel Byrd and Robert Tonyan have benefited from having Lewis and Graham in the room with them, though the latter two may ultimately take the former two's roster spots?

You never know what's going to happen and how the roster is going to shake out. I mean, Byrd nearly took a teaching job last year before coming back to play big snaps in the finale against Detroit after Richard Rodgers' injury. That's why it's so important to pick the brain of Lewis and Graham now. They've done it at a high level for so long and have so much knowledge to give. Talking with Byrd and Tonyan this week, both guys see the long game. Like young players at any position, they just need to ball out.

Nate from Sioux City, IA

Gimmie Jimmy! I know I should have more reasonable expectations for Jimmy Graham this season, but it's hard not to get excited for that big target in the middle of the field drawing all sorts of attention. Is it reasonable to think that Jimmy's presence alone will improve the whole offense?

If Graham is healthy, I think you'll see the trickle-down effect at every level of the offense. He's that kind of special.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

I've heard several people predicting Jake Kumerow won't make the team based on his age (26). I don't understand their logic. The man has taken every opportunity "thrown" his way. Do you feel that at 26 years young it really could play into the decision to keep or cut him?

Not at all. Upside and age are two very different things. If the Packers feel the talent is there, they shouldn't be deterred by Kumerow's age.

Sam from Greendale, WI

With all of the questions regarding the new helmet contact rule, can't we just assume the easiest explanation? Everyone is adjusting to the rules, refs are going to make the calls as they see, the film will be reviewed, and clarity will come with volume. There are going to be calls that are missed and calls that should have been let go. It's a learning process. Let us all learn.

Call me naïve, but I'm not going to get bent out of shape about the new helmet rules until we get into the regular season. The emphases always get over-emphasized in the preseason. Stick a pin in it and we can talk after Week 1.

Rick from Harrisburg, PA

How about some fun facts about the Lambeau Leap? Who was the first? How high must a player jump to perform a successful leap? Has any player ever been hurt leaping?

I don't know when it started. To be honest, I don't know if anyone knows who started it anymore. Scholars maintain the name of the originator was lost hundreds of years ago. Anyway, a player attempting the leap must clear 6 feet, 4 inches to make it to the top. I don't recall anyone ever getting hurt.

John from Houghton, MI

Please put non-football related questions at the beginning or end of the Inbox so I can get to the real questions that interest me.


Eddie from La Crosse, WI

Wes, I honestly saw a case of Pumpkin Spice Frosted Flakes the other day. Would Tony the Tiger approve? Good morning to ya!

Does this work for you, John?

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

How many offensive linemen does the team like to have active on game day?

If the offensive line is healthy, it's typically seven or eight. If some O-linemen are banged up or there are a lot of players inactive due to injury, I've seen it run nine or 10 deep.

Jack from Elk Grove, WI

Per J'Mon Moore's drops, I seem to recall James Jones worked his way through by repeating the phrase "catch the ball" constantly while in his route to the point that the defenders could hear him. I do a similar trick when I'm trying to stay focused and keep calm.

Jones is the perfect example of a player who had a problem with drops at one point in his career and wound up being one of the most sure-handed receivers in modern Packers history. To branch off what Spoff said Wednesday, Moore just needs a big play to find his rhythm. I tell you what I liked seeing from Moore – his working the JUGS machine by himself before and after Tuesday's practice. He gets it.

Scotty from Lombard, IL

Quinten Rollins was very impressive returning punts against the Steelers. Jake Kumerow is the talk of training camp. I always liked Trevor Davis but am wondering what are his chances of making the 53-man roster?

The Packers would love to have Davis on the field and he obviously wants to be out there, but he's also not a rookie. Listening to Ron Zook, you can tell how much he values Davis' work on special teams. After all, Davis was one of the league-leaders on punt returns last season. There is a track record with Davis you have to consider.

Dan from Saint Louis, MO

Hey Wes, do you remember when Travis Jervey and LeShon Johnson bought a lion?

Best. Story. Ever.

Spencer from Rockford, IL

In response to Scotty from Lombard's question, would we want to sacrifice the flexibility of Aaron Ripkowski for four total TEs? I'd rather take three TEs and Ripkowski. Unless we count Ripkowski as a FB/TE, in which case I'll take four TEs.

I think Spoff was just saying all options are on the table. However, I'd personally be weary going into the season without a fullback, especially with Aaron Jones missing the first two games. Along with his fullback and special-teams exploits, Ripkowski has stepped up in a pinch over the years in that capacity. Like his mentor, Rip is a blue-collar guy who will do anything for the team.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

As mentioned by the Insiders, teams pick the preseason matchups, which makes me wonder why GB agreed to a game at Oakland. Seems like a far trip for a preseason game. The KC game makes sense but not sure why they don't try to schedule closer road preseason games instead of California.

Oakland came to Green Bay for the third preseason game in both 2014 and 2016. I don't know for certain, but it could be the Packers repaying the favor.

Benjamin from Bear, DE

Simple, to-the-point question here. Is there reason to be concerned about the depth of the O-line behind the starters?

I don't think so. Last year was the worst-case scenario and the offensive line still found a way to navigate the season.

Domenick from Kenosha, WI

Wes, what a fascinating article on the Lambeau Field remodel. It was very cool to read about the process and look at the photos. I was also struck by the "microclimate" term used for the inside of Lambeau Field. It makes me ask – how much does that microclimate change on game day with 75,000 people in the stands?

The number of spectators doesn't affect it all that much. The bigger issue was the south end zone expansion blocked a portion of the field from the sun, which changed the growing pattern. Think about what happens when you park a boat over your grass. The new growth lights and irrigation system are intended to help offset that.

George from North Mankato, MN

We are coming into the last two weeks before roster cut-downs. Can you think of a player who seemed to be a "lock" heading into the final stretch who didn't make the team? How about the other side of the coin, someone who jumped to the head of the class in the last two weeks?

My biggest surprise was Josh Sitton in 2016. On the other side of the coin, I don't know if I can remember a player who accomplished what Chris Banjo did in 2013 when he made the 53-man roster after signing with the Packers a week into training camp. That was incredible.

Rick from Kenosha, WI

I have learned a lot of Packer history from this site over the years (thank you and everyone at for the excellent work!), and the one thing that continues to amaze is how dominant Don Hutson was in his era. Can you think of any other players that were so head and shoulders above their peers in their era in any sport? Wayne Gretzky perhaps?

Gretzky is a good one. Serena Williams and Tiger Woods might fit into that category in their prime. Michael Jordan and Babe Ruth. What Hutson did with Arnie Herber in the '30s and Cecil Isbell in the '40s is special. The fact he still sits atop the record books in several categories tells you everything you need to know about his dominance.

Andy from Cadillac, MI

Is playground tackle football no longer a thing? When I was a boy, we played tackle football every recess as much as we could. We taught ourselves to lead with our shoulder when tackling so we didn't cripple ourselves. Maybe the idea of less pads is the way to go. I know parents would never approve.

I wouldn't know. Once the kids starting tackling on the playground, I darted for the soccer ball. I knew my limits.

Bálint from Budapest, Hungary

There's a clip from "Hard Knocks" going around on Twitter where the OL coach is saying how stretching is unnecessary because soldiers never stretched during WW1 and WW2. Why is the overall reaction to this mostly positive, even though what he's saying is obviously nonsense?

Because it's amazing. I seriously watched that clip of Bob Wylie like 25 times today.

Chris from Providence, RI

I find it ridiculous to expect a defender to tackle someone and not "lead with the helmet." You must lean forward, and the helmet extends about one foot above the shoulders.

Bobby Boucher's drop-kick tackle begs to differ.