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Inbox: That's really hard to say

Improvement will hinge on young players whose games grow and evolve

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S Vernon Scott

Jim from McLean, VA

Favorite line from LaFleur's presser: "He'd better be ready."

It goes for all 69 who take the practice field next Monday, frankly.

Brian from New Port Richey, FL

Last season Coach LaFleur stressed playing at a faster pace. But we all know Aaron Rodgers likes to use every second on the clock to read the defense and make adjustments. Given that this is the second season with the same offense, everything should run a little smoother. From what you saw on Sunday, how are the logistics between getting the play called and snapping the ball?

I wasn't watching the play clock, but I don't recall any issues. I thought last week offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett made an interesting point about coming up with shorthand names for some of the offensive concepts, which are more easily digestible for everyone. It sounds like some of those shorthand terms have been incorporated in the play calls so the process is faster and more efficient.

Dennis from De Pere, WI

Mike Mike Mike Mike Mike! Will Rashan Gary be allowed to do his hump move on Sundays?

That's actually pretty funny.

Ben from Madison, WI

I'm sorry for being ignorant, but what is a "hump move"?

Google "Reggie White hump move" and check out a highlight.

Kaylin from La Crosse, WI

Who do you think needs to step up the most this year for the Packers, and why?

With the Packers not going gonzo in free agency and making a future investment with their first-round draft pick, improvement mostly will hinge on young players whose games grow and evolve. I think two Wes mentioned yesterday (and whom we discussed on "Unscripted") – Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Rashan Gary – are key to the Packers taking steps forward on both sides of the ball in 2020. Others I would put in the same category are Darnell Savage, Chandon Sullivan, Kingsley Keke, Robert Tonyan and/or Jace Sternberger.

Brian from Chesapeake, VA

Your response to Dennis from De Pere gave me a new perspective on your job and your need to paint us the picture of what you see and getting it right. Do you feel added pressure this year to provide facts, opinion and perspective knowing access is so limited to other reporters? I personally won't hold anything against you should MVS or Gary not blow up the league.

My approach has been no different this year. I've always strived to provide fact-based perspectives and informed opinions based on my knowledge and experience no matter who else is watching or reporting. I don't always get everything right, but if I do steer you wrong you can trust it's an honest mis-assessment with no nefarious intent, such as the desire to produce clickbait.

Michael from Alameda, CA

Earlier this week you made a comment something like "the juice not being worth the squeeze," and today it was "it's baked in with the cake." Looking forward to your next food/sports metaphor...

Wes was even talking about taking bites out of elephants yesterday. I've left his lunch alone for a long time now, honest.

Zach from Delavan, WI

Besides Za'Darius Smith, who on the current roster seems to have the most demonstrative personality?

Jaire Alexander and Jamaal Williams immediately come to mind.

Al from Green Bay, WI

With just a couple practices to go before the roster gets cut to 53, can you articulate what goes through the mind of "bubble players"? Regardless of how the cut line falls, they certainly know their lives will never be the same.

There's plenty of understandable anxiety. I think most guys can be at peace with however it shakes out if they felt they gave it their best and were provided a legitimate shot. This year is very different because there isn't preseason film to attract another team to make a waiver claim. But there are also more spots on the practice squad. Even the ones that make the initial 53 must possess the right perspective – that their fortunes can change in a heartbeat. It's a one-week-at-a-time business.

Ryan from Colfax, WI

In your guys' time with the Packers, who was the biggest surprise cut during or after camp to get to the 53-man roster? For example, a veteran like Mike Daniels or Josh Sitton. Or a standout young guy like Taysom Hill.

I've been doing this long enough that very little surprises me. But the Sitton decision in 2016 more so than any other caught me totally off guard, no pun intended.

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

Statistical achievements Aaron Rodgers *could* reach this season. Easiest is reaching top 10 in career pass completions, which requires 211 (but needs 763 attempts to be top 10 in attempts). He's already top 10 in pass touchdowns but could join the elite 400 club with 36. Passing yards, 4,529 would place him in the top 10. And finally, a measly 164 interceptions would get him to the top 10 in that category. Do you see turnovers being a bigger issue at the start of this season than in years past?

That's an incredibly roundabout way to ask your question, but the stats are noteworthy to be sure. Starters play so little in the preseason these days that I don't think veteran QBs, running backs or receivers will be any more susceptible to ball-security issues early in the season. But I guess we'll find out.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

One possible bonus if Lane Taylor wins RG: It makes me feel better about backup tackle, too, since whoever doesn't win the job between Rick Wagner and Billy Turner would be a real asset in reserve. Has either played LT? Could they be insurance for David Bakhtiari too? And how crazy is it that one of the moves no one was excited about (keeping Taylor) might be the savviest of the offseason?

Turner has one start at left tackle in his pro career. Both Turner and Wagner were multi-year starters at left tackle in college, which was a while ago, but the position wouldn't be totally foreign to either of them. Sometimes quiet offseason moves can wind up being highly effective.

Karen from Kaukauna, WI

Is it at all likely that a running back might be moved to the WR room, something like the reverse of what Montgomery did? I'm thinking Jamaal Williams in particular. That would be a way to keep him on the 53, as well as expand the experienced WR list. I ask this because I read somewhere J Williams was learning WR routes.

Williams is a smooth and reliable pass catcher, but I don't see that move being made. Tyler Ervin is the more likely candidate to be truly multi-positional.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

When you guys heard about regulating the piped-in noise, did either of you think back to when excessive crowd noise was a penalty? I still remember QBs turning and yelling to the head ref that they couldn't hear. Am I recalling correctly that actual penalties were called on teams for too much noise? I simply cannot wait for the sound-gate controversies.

I hope it doesn't come to some sort of scandal this year, but yes, there were crowd noise rules back in the late '80s. I believe home teams could be charged with a timeout if the noise did not allow the other team to hear its signals, and if all the timeouts were gone, a 5-yard penalty could be assessed. On the flip side, if the referee felt the noise level was reasonable, he could force the visiting team to run the play and charge a 5-yard delay of game if it didn't. It was an embarrassing mess and not the league's finest hour. Thank goodness someone figured out how to execute a silent count.

Don from Riverton, UT

Rob D. tweeted defensive one-on-one records in camp and Tipa Galeai led with 11-7, with Z second at 5-4. I don't recall too many II mentions before today. What's the story there?

Galeai showed something, no doubt. But most if not all of his one-on-one reps were against offensive linemen way down the depth chart. In a normal year with preseason games and more practices, I think we would have seen him get more opportunities against higher-level competition.

Elliot from Hopkins, MN

Are there any undrafted free agents that you think will be able to make the team this year?

The aforementioned Galeai and Stanford Samuels have the best shot, in my view.

Bubba from Kenosha, WI

If you had to guess which of the new players will contribute on special teams?

That's really hard to say. There hasn't been the preseason action that makes you say, "That young guy is making the roster because of what he's shown on special teams." Based on their college background, I do think Kamal Martin and Vernon Scott are good candidates there, but it's a lot of guesswork.

Curt from Antioch, IL

Awhile back, BG said his scouts were at practice, evaluating our players. Exactly who is that, and how is their evaluation different from the position coaches' evaluations? Do certain scouts have different responsibilities (e.g., veterans vs. rookies, by position, UFAs, etc.)? How much weight do the scouts' evaluations affect the final cuts? Thanks.

Just like the GMs he learned from, Gutekunst gathers the opinions of the coaches and scouts to help make decisions. When the scouts are at practice, I suspect they're given specific assignments to watch certain players on whom the GM may feel he needs more information. They'll also review the practice film, probably to cross-check what their colleagues saw live. It's a collaborative process, but the final calls are Gutekunst's.

See headshots and action shots of the complete Green Bay Packers 2020 roster. #BuildingOurTeam

Dave from Middletown, CT

As a self-appointed representative of football neophytes who read II, and with roster cuts and practice-squad appointments imminent, I'd like to ask you to please explain what "clearing waivers" means. What process is involved?

When a player subject to waivers (less than four accrued seasons, with other exceptions) is released, he is available for 24 hours for any team to claim and assume his contract. If more than one team puts in a claim on a player, the team with waiver priority gets him. The waiver priority order is the draft order from the previous draft (not including trades) until the first few games of the regular season are played. Then the waiver order reverts to current records, worst is first. If a player is not claimed during the 24-hour waiver period, he has "cleared waivers" and is a free agent.

Eric from Stramproy, Netherlands

Hello Mike. Practicing at Lambeau Field getting a sequel next year you think? Or too early to tell?

If next year Family Night and a home preseason game or two are back on the schedule, then I'd say no.

Alfred from Kingston, Canada

I realize it's game action that will determine reality. What evidence so far has there been that the defense will be better this season to stop the run?

You answered your own question. Game action will determine reality.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

As the students returned to my school this week, I needed to send an all-staff email. I always try to incorporate some humor. I included the quote, "And we're off, so we might as well get started." – Mike Spofford…I couldn't remember your dad's name, but the quote was appreciated by 100-plus teachers in Eau Claire. Thank you Spoff!

You're welcome, and his name is Bill. Happy Wednesday.

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