Skip to main content
Powered by

Inbox: That's what they're working toward

San Francisco game gave Jordan Love something to build on

WR Christian Watson
WR Christian Watson

Jake from Decatur, GA

We've heard quite a bit from Mike already. I'm looking forward to your thoughts on the game, Wes. Did anything surprise or stand out to you? I'm particularly curious about how the depth chart looked Friday night as compared to what you've been seeing in practice.

Amari Rodgers was my biggest headline coming out of San Fran – and no, not because of the eyebrow tattoo. We've talked about Rodgers' offseason, but he looks like a new man out there. You can tell he's playing with more confidence. Since Day 1, I've felt Rodgers can be a difference-maker because nobody else has his size and skill set. I felt like the 49ers game showed how many ways he can affect a football game.

Paul from Northglenn, CO

How much do the recent PUP list deletions impact their relative position groups? Elgton Jenkins' return is the most gratifying for me. The man's a rock of Gibraltar and seasoned vet of a very young OL.

It was a "shot in the arm" for the entire team, as Matt LaFleur termed it Monday. Jenkins is a Pro Bowl offensive lineman, but his versatility is what makes him elite – and valuable on a young Green Bay offensive line. Individually, it's also huge for Jenkins to come back on the early side of his timeline, too, as he'll be an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

Phil from Marietta, GA

Jenkins, Robert Tonyan, and Christian Watson all returned to practice on Sunday. Great news. The first two are proven commodities and important parts of the team's offensive plans this year. Additionally, there are, of course, high hopes for Watson given his measurables and high draft position. With about a month left before the season opener at MN, what are the reasonable expectations as to whether any or all will be ready to go by that date?

That's what they're working towards, but these guys need to get back out on the field again first – and then play. Mentally and physically, there's work to be done. Even though Monday's practice was a jog-through, Aaron Rodgers was testing Watson with some downfield and no-look throws. There's a ramp-up period for veterans such as Jenkins and Tonyan, too. As Tonyan said after Sunday's practice: "Three more weeks, three more opportunities to progress and get back to playing football."

Andy from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Wes, you and Mike talked in "Unscripted" early in training camp about finding the best five OL until Jenkins and/or David Bakhtiari return, and the weakest link going to the bench when they do. With Jenkins now off PUP and the reality of him being much closer to returning, who do you think is the weakest link at this point? Or are we still trying to find out?

Jenkins lined up at right tackle in practice Monday. If that's where he's going to play, then it likely will be Jon Runyan and Royce Newman competing against Jake Hanson and rookie Zach Tom for the starting guard spots. Hanson came in at right guard when Newman pushed out to right tackle Monday, with Tom working a little at left guard with the No. 1 unit on Sunday.

Jim from Las Vegas, NV

Reading what Spoff wrote about all the submissions favoring Danny Etling over Jordan Love made me think of the rather angry submission a few years ago claiming how the Pack would regret releasing Joe Callahan, the next Bart Starr I believe was the comp. Nothing against Callahan, by the way. He showed some promise, but NFL QB is a tough gig.

I stand by everything Spoff said and just want to add the stark difference in level of competition, too. The 49ers might not have had all their defensive starters on the field in the first half but many of the players Love faced will be on San Francisco's roster a month from now. That wasn't necessarily the case in the second half. Same movie, much different scene.

Matt from Cottage Grove, WI

If Danny Etling continues with two more strong performances this preseason, could you see the Packers signing him to their practice squad?

That's the real (and better) question. Etling isn't competing against Jordan Love. He's competing against himself. Etling bounced around a lot last year and was even in the CFL at one point. His goal right now needs to be showing the Packers he deserves be the No. 3. Friday was a great start.

Lee from Saint Paul, MN

Longtime reader, first-time sender. Some Packers fans are ridiculous. They freaked out from one preseason game and I wonder how they survive the whole season. Love is improving and that's all I care about for now. Wish nothing but the best for Love.

I asked for one thing from Love against the 49ers – play fast and free. The young man did just that. Sure, there were a couple INTs, but Love wasn't solely responsible. What's more, it's a lot easier for Tom Clements to take that film into the QB room and dissect it than Love playing conservatively and not testing the 49ers' secondary vertically. Love was a bit erratic passing into the flat but nothing too alarming. Whatever conclusion you drew from Love's performance, I felt like it gave him something to build on this week.

Tracy from Little Rock, AR

I'm kind of excited about our new look on offense as far as the roster. With Jones, Tonyan and Lazard all as No. 1 options and Watkins, Dillon and the young guys to fill in wherever needed, they have what it takes to be great. Shout out to the OL, as well.

That's what makes this week interesting against New Orleans. I wouldn't expect Tonyan to practice in 11-on-11, but the rest of these skill-position players will be out there with Rodgers. It'll be telling which packages and looks LaFleur and the offensive coaches want to get work at.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. It sounds like Kingsley Enagbare would prefer to be called "JJ." Either way, was his performance against SF sufficiently dominant to be considered "Watt-ish"?

If Enagbare keeps rushing the passer like he has the past week, Packers fans will call him whatever he wants.

Luke from Coral Gables, FL

Where do you think Johnny Garvin ends up? Because there seems to be a narrative that he is a lock to be on the 53 but it seems to me like Tipa Galeai, Kingsley and La'Darius Hamilton are all outplaying him through camp and in the first preseason game.

Garvin has had some nice rushes both in camp and against the 49ers, but I think what LaFleur said was telling when he was asked about Enagbare – special teams will be part of the equation for the backup outside linebackers. So far, Tipa has been the most visible outside linebacker on No. 1 special teams. That's another area Garvin and Enagbare will need to contribute during this march to a roster spot.

Darren from Wakefield, MI

As a Bucky fan, what did Danny D's performance do for him in a very crowded room?

It helps get Davis noticed. The Packers have had some talented receiver rooms during my time on the beat, but I can't think of another year in which Green Bay has had so many different wideouts, top to bottom, make plays. Davis downplayed his game afterward, but his route adjustment was perfect on the TD. He has had some nice practices, too.

Gary from Tompkinsville, KY

How is Mason Crosby's rehab coming along?

It sounds like it's going well. He told Rob Demovsky on Monday that he's kicking footballs again and is hoping to do a pre-game type routine on Friday.

Eric from Mequon, WI

How hard is it for a lineman to switch sides? If someone has played on the right side for seasons, isn't moving sides like trying to write a letter with your left hand? I know they are professionals and all, but they are still humans.

I won't use the Josh Sitton toilet paper analogy, but it's not easy. It's more mental than anything else. Just learning how to do everything opposite. That's what makes Jenkins special. He makes it all look so easy and seamless.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

T.J. Slaton was mentioned, but I also thought Jack Heflin did a good job pushing the pocket around, too. I'm not familiar with 49ers' depth chart, so I don't know what line depth he was going against. This might be a stupid question, but – if the DL even in rotation can consistently affect the opposing OL, does that ease the burden on Enagbare/younger edge rushers if Preston and RG need a breather? Obviously, you want impact players out there all the time, but...?

I think so. In addition to being able to play more defensive linemen, it also can free up the young outside linebackers for more one-on-one opportunities. Just look at what LA has done with Aaron Donald in the middle of its defense. Heflin was critical of his own performance on Monday, but I thought he played well, especially considering the Packers finished the game with only four available defensive linemen. We'll have more on Heflin later this morning.

Adam from Spring Hill, TN

That Chris Slayton dude was a force in the run game, and he continually collapsed the pocket on Friday night. I think he could be a prime practice-squad candidate.

We still have two weeks to go before final cuts, but I foresee a lot of difficult decisions for Brian Gutekunst and his personnel department. That's what you want, though. I've kind of been blown away by how these veteran street free agents the Packers have signed have performed. Slayton, Rico Gafford, Ty Clary and Etling have all made plays.

The Green Bay Packers held training-camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

New Orleans is predicted to be 90-ish degrees all week. Looks like they made a good choice coming to God's country.

Ain't that the truth.

Jason from Austin, TX

Insiders, I just saw that the Packers are the first team to try out the "Seeker." Can you tell us more about that? Looks like someone crossed a JUGS machine with a revolver.

It's quite the contraption. It reminded me of mother asking you to sell Milky-White and coming back with magic beans instead. The Packers' previous JUGS machine was malfunctioning and now they have a super robot. The idea it can release a football at the same velocity and style as an opposing quarterback is fascinating, though. I'm sure there will be plenty more to read about it in the coming days.

Mike from San Diego, CA

I've never been more excited for a JUGS machine, the SEEKER! It can replicate Kirk Cousins (or anyone's) throws down to the mph, which is impressive. Let's all agree though that we're decades away from the technology to recreate Aaron's arm.

Often imitated, never duplicated.

Steve from Colorado Springs, CO

I really enjoyed the live blog during the game. I have to wonder though, how do you watch all the key matchups, track the play itself, and still manage to keep a running text dialogue going? I was trying to keep track of the right side of the O-line while taking in the overall play with my other eye and struggled some.

Because Spoff, too, is a robot.

Lori from Brookfield, OH

Wes, should preseason games be played regionally rather than cross country?

I agree but we also must acknowledge it can be difficult for every team to partner up in the preseason. The NFC West isn't going to play itself in the preseason and only would have Vegas, the LA Chargers and Denver to play if it were restricted to only facing Pacific and Mountain Time teams.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

Spoff, when you are traveling back from a West Coast game late at night, are you at least allowed to partake in a cold beer?

No…but we did get Shake Shack.

Brent from Lafayette, CO

Regarding players passing physicals to be taken off the PUP list and/or any player physical for that matter, what is involved in their physical evaluation? Is it the same as the physicals I had in youth and HS sports? For a pro athlete, I find it hard to believe it's as simple as tapping on their knees with a funny looking hammer and an uncomfortable turn and cough.

It's a little more complicated than that. The Packers' team doctors and trainers are all part of that conversation. Tonyan also mentioned one other key factor was his pregame workout in front of General Manager Brian Gutekunst and Dr. Pat McKenzie in Santa Clara.

Matt from Oshkosh, WI

When a player is released with an injury designation and goes unclaimed, he reverts to the team's IR. Does that player then collect his salary per his contract and count against the salary cap?

Yes, until that player is cleared from the injury or reaches an injury settlement with the team.

Tom from Charlotte, NC

When the three players came off the PUP list Sunday, did three players have to be released? I didn't see that.

No. They were already factored in. PUP players count towards the 90-man roster.

Richard from Madison, WI

Omigod!! Omigod!!!! The Packers haven't won a single preseason game this year!!!!!! Are we doomed???????????

Well, they captured the No. 1 seed in the NFC last year after going 0-3 in the preseason. Maybe they're onto something?

Stephen from Fort Atkinson, WI

I am a bit under the weather, and as I slept in my medicated sleep (thanks Nyquil), I had a really weird Packers dream. I woke up in the middle of the dream, had a great II question, reached for my phone, and fell back asleep. Now I can't remember my great question. Hopefully tonight I sleep better and can remember my dreams better, thus submitting a much better question rather than a story. Stay tuned if I come up with the question. It irks my pain-ridden, foggy brain.

I'll be here waiting, Stephen. Feel better.

Jolie from Columbus, WI

What changes are you going to make in your coaching so that the Packers have the ability to beat any team, including the 49ers and the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

You must have missed the part about the new JUGS machine. Have a great Tuesday, everyone.