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Inbox: That set the tone for a pretty good year

Everyone knows what’s at stake

CB Jaire Alexander

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

I picture Vic in the swimming pool area of the Jacksonville stadium, sunscreen on his nose, waving a terrible towel and trying to start the wave while the Packers are on offense.

Don't forget the flip-flops.

Eric from Hubertus, WI

Hey II! With the move of the Packers-Saints opener to Jacksonville, it was noted in the Around the NFL post that "teams are [also] required to play the game in an NFL stadium..." Is that a new rule? When U.S. Bank Stadium was being built for the Vikings, wasn't TCF Bank Stadium of the Gophers considered their home field? Regardless of the game in question, hearts and prayers go out to all those affected by Ida.

That's a good question, and I'm not familiar with all the regulations. You're right about TCF Bank, and after Katrina the Saints played home games in San Antonio and at LSU. I really don't know.

Kevin from San Francisco, CA

Now that Jameis Winston has been named the starter for the Saints in Week 1, I'm hoping he throws an early interception. That will create this amazing statistic. Winston, 89 career interceptions in 77 games. Aaron Rodgers, 89 in 198 games.

Careful. That could be construed as chortling. I'm just hoping Jaire Alexander gets a Week 1 interception again, because in 2020 that set the tone for a pretty good year. Though if he does, I doubt it'll be his only one in the regular season this time.

Kevin from Des Moines, IA

Wes, you stated that not playing in the Superdome was trading noise for the heat as the Superdome and Seattle were the two loudest stadiums. I say nay nay. Being close to KC I have seen several Packer games and Chief fans would be upset that you didn't include Arrowhead in that comment. The atmosphere and noise level in that stadium is off the chart, just check Guinness World Records. And if that doesn't convince anyone, just wait until Nov. 7 when Aaron Rodgers and Mahomes shoot it out.

Hopefully we get to see that matchup this year, after being robbed of it in 2019. No one's trying to diss Arrowhead, but I've covered games there and to my ear it's not as loud as Seattle. It's just not. Seattle is the loudest outdoor stadium I've been in, and the Superdome is the loudest indoor one (with the old Metrodome a close second).

Harry from Chandler, AZ

Hello II. Yesterday Pete of MJS posted his first chat of the new season. When does Mike plan on starting his Mid-Week Chat?

Next Wednesday.

Anne from San Jose, CA

Hello Insiders! What is role of the practice squad on the team? Do the starting players practice against the practice squad? Do practice-squad players ever fill in for the starters during practice? What do the Packers look for when signing players to the practice squad and is this generally the same across the league? I have to add a note to say thank you so much for this forum. I learn a lot from everyone's posts and all of your answers and so appreciate having this space on the internet.

For the most part, the practice-squad players combine with other reserves to make up the scout team that mimics the upcoming opponent against the Packers' main units. Otherwise, when not in 11-on-11, they do all the same drills as the others in their position group during practice. Mainly the team looks for young prospects to develop as well as players who could fill in on the active roster when injuries strike.

Scott from Grovetown, GA

Greetings, Grovetown Scott is back, despite moving. Is there still the ability for teams to designate practice-squad players as protected? If so, how many? Also, if so, do teams release who's protected? If so, who have the Packers protected? Thanks.

Up to four practice-squadders can be protected each week, but from what I understand it's an option the Packers used very sparingly last year. They aren't keen on telling the rest of the league which players they covet the most if they don't feel compelled to.

Rob from Appleton, WI

I noticed Mike Daniels was cut by Cincinnati. When I saw that, I paused to reflect on his several good seasons with GB. Do you have a favorite MD story to share with us to put a smile on our faces?

Following Mike D.'s tenure here, Cheerios just aren't the same for breakfast anymore.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

Will the Packers turn on the heat in the Hutson Center to simulate Jacksonville?

I'm not sure that's an option, and even if it were, you might do more harm than good by wearing your players out in the effort to get acclimated.

Doug from Lafayette, OH

Are we that shocked the Saints made accommodations surrounding the game as difficult as possible for GB's players and fans? If I'm them, I'm doing the exact same thing.

Who wouldn't?

Mark from Naperville, IL

With all this talk of playing in Jacksonville and the heat, both teams will be playing in it, and the Saints probably aren't as used to it either. But I see this as a home game away from home. I'd bet my left arm there will be more Packers fans there than Saints. So we've got that going for us, which is nice.

I'll be curious to see how it shakes out. Tickets go on sale this morning, I believe.

Peter from Scharf, Victoria/Australia

Until Wes's article on past Week 1 rosters, I was aware of the Packers' reputation as a team that gave full consideration to undrafted rookies, but didn't realize how few have had a lasting impact with the Packers...all for the last 12 years were listed, but only Sam Shields and Lane Taylor really hit me in the eyeballs. Obviously the Packers' personnel department realized this before I did. I guess having a cheap but solid contributor for a few years is a solid move in today's NFL?

Especially when that undrafted find plays a premier position, like cornerback. The cap savings for the Packers, relative to his level of performance, before Shields got to his second contract were substantial.

The Green Bay Packers practiced on Ray Nitschke Field on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.

Alan from Mount Auburn, IL

It would be nice if this question is never answered in a game, but is Corey Bojorquez a better tackler than JK Scott?

I don't see how he couldn't be.

Rod from Chugiak, AK

Bojorquez losing out in LA to their trusted All-Pro and thus becoming available makes sense and I'm sure BG anticipated it. But a lot of Inboxers must be wondering, why was he even trying out there in the first place? What prompted Buffalo to move on from him fresh off his dazzling performance there? I'm probably missing something in being puzzled that if Buffalo cut him, why did so many teams above LA in the waiver picking order pass on him?

He wasn't on waivers after last season. He was a restricted free agent, and the RFA tender was higher than Buffalo was interested in offering, so he became unrestricted. I'm guessing the depressed cap made it a tough market for him, so he took an offer that allowed him to compete against and learn from one of the best, and hopefully now that's all to the Packers' benefit.

Salongo from Hailey, ID

Good morning, Spoff. As you probably know, left-footed punts spin counterclockwise, and are therefore more difficult to catch. And, as in baseball, lefty balls tend to fade left instead of the standard right. When NFL statisticians looked into it, they found that left-footed punts have a muff rate of 3.32%, compared to 2.55% for right-footed punters. Unsurprisingly, Belichick has used more lefties than any other coach in the NFL.

A lot of readers brought up Donny Anderson from the Lombardi days, too. Statistically, that sounds like one extra muff every two seasons, or thereabouts.

Ryan from Baldwin, WI

Insiders, am I the only one slightly concerned about the carousel of the specialists? Cutting JK Scott, signing a new LS to the practice squad. I'm all about competition, but the biggest thing concerning me is the moving parts around Mason Crosby. Am I overthinking it?

Yes. The Packers have to improve their special teams as a whole. They can't do that by standing pat. Crosby's a true pro. He'll be fine.

Matthias from San Antonio, TX

I want to get a historical create-my-own jersey from the new alternative jersey. Two questions, who should I consider other than Bobby Dillon and when will the Packers Pro Shop allow me to order one?

You'll have to contact the Pro Shop yourself on the timeline, but Billy Howton or Tobin Rote wouldn't be bad picks from the '50s.

Bob from Birchwood, WI

I was surprised to see that Chris Blair made it onto the practice squad. What can you tell us about him?

He's got a solid frame (6-2, 198 is the listing) with a lot of tools from what I saw in the spring. He just wasn't healthy during camp.

Paul from Johannesburg, South Africa

I know Chris Blair is on the practice squad not "the 53" but is he the first Alcorn State alumnus to make an NFL roster in some form since Donald Driver?

Driver is still the last player drafted from Alcorn State (seventh round, 1999). Since he retired after the 2012 season, the only Alcorn State alum to play in an NFL game, according to Pro Football Reference, is running back De'Lance Turner, who was with Baltimore in 2018 and Miami in 2019.

Michael from Somerset, WI

Is it realistic for Packer fans to be patient early knowing the best left tackle in the NFL on the bench until Week 7 and three offensive linemen will be settling into their new positions in the NFL?

Aaron Rodgers said last week there's no grace period. There's a standard that has to be met, and it's on them all to meet it. This offense is built to go. That said, Matt LaFleur did acknowledge he expects growing pains. The key is for none of those growing pains to create a catastrophic mistake, or to linger. Everyone knows what's at stake.

Scot from West Palm Beach, FL

Gentlemen, I think the Packers have a very talented roster. My concern is with the defensive backfield. Three great players, two unproven rookies and the rest are all rated as replacement-level players and frankly just don't pass the eye test. What are your thoughts on the D-backs?

In my view, this is the best top six in that unit (Alexander, Kevin King, Eric Stokes, Chandon Sullivan, Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage) the Packers have had since 2009 (Woodson, Harris, Williams, Bush, Collins, Bigby). I'd take it without complaint.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

How much did McVay's relationship with LaFleur help get the deal for our new punter done? I think there were multiple conversations about his work ethic and ability, and I hope McVay was honest with his good friend. Do you see a split in coaching philosophy causing more deals to get done between the younger, new-school coaches' teams while old-school coaches will trust other likeminded leaders when evaluating talent on the "trade block"?

In this case, I don't think the coaches had anything to do with the trade. This was the Packers' personnel department monitoring a situation and acting at a certain time.

Randy from Raymond, IA

Do you know the percentage of players on the roster that have been vaccinated? And with JK Scott being cut, how many punters has Mason Crosby played with in his 15 seasons?

LaFleur said there are a handful of unvaccinated players. Bojorquez will be the eighth Packers punter in Crosby's career. Ryan, Frost, Kapinos, Masthay, Schum, Vogel and Scott are the others, with Masthay possessing the longest tenure (six seasons).

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Hi Mike, what is your No. 1 concern going into New Orleans (Jacksonville)?

I have a 1 and 1A. The state of the special teams, and how the young O-linemen handle the Saints' blitz packages.

Todd from Brighton, MI

So how many different players are on the 53 versus the Lions on Jan. 9?

Great question, and no way to predict it. Let's ask that one again when the time comes.

Donna from Darien, WI

When Charles Woodson speaks, everyone listens.

It was great to see Charles again, and Al, too. What a pair. It was a kick to write one more story about the two of them together.

Scott from Salem, OR

Clearly Spoff identifies with the ping-pong ball, helplessly volleyed between fans wanting inside information and a quarterback who doesn't wish to divulge that information. On a side note, this Monday-morning psychologist thinks that it may be too early to project toddler Hod as a fullback; we don't yet know if he can sustain his pre-K stats at an NFL level. (T-minus nine days!)

Happy Friday.


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