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Inbox: The biggest obstacle remains embracing the grind

It’s not as though they’re available in abundance

Team huddle
Team huddle

Scott from Green Bay, WI

Now that preseason games have passed, what do you expect to be the most unexpected development in the Packers' season?

The premise of your question suggests my opinion would be so far out of left field it would become, dare I say, clickbait? Nice try.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Two questions, first do you two get some down time next week after roster cuts? Maybe similar to a bye week. Second, has the baloney stopped now or does it stop on the 10th?

It looks like the players are getting a few days off late this week, so we'll probably try to work in a little down time for ourselves, too. But the baloney doesn't officially stop until 3:25 p.m. on the 11th when foot collides with football.

Jim from St. Pete Beach, FL

Best II line of the entire preseason: You can't clock out when it comes to accountability and professionalism.

It's a meaningful standard, for some at least.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

After starting 16 games last season I'm somewhat surprised and disappointed that Royce Newman hasn't shown a second-year jump. Does it take linemen more time to master their craft or is it just different for each individual player regardless of position?

He played both right tackle and right guard in camp and in preseason games this summer, after all his game action came at guard last year. I'd consider that notable progress.

Pete from Hillsborough, NC

Mike, I predict two roster quarterbacks and an above average number of armchair quarterbacks. How about you?

Sounds about right.

Jon from Arlington, TX

Hi Insiders, I'll confess I was a bit surprised by the observation that some players had a lack of legitimate effort on special teams. I would think players fighting for a roster spot on a team known to have special-teams issues would ball out on special teams. Seems like a total lack of awareness. Is it really that hard to motivate players to play special teams?

Apparently. LaFleur's comments Saturday about the special teams floored me. He basically said the film from Thursday showed guys playing their way off the roster due to lack of effort and not using the techniques being coached. I'm with you, it's difficult to fathom with the type of opportunity that exists here.

Isaac from Columbia, TN

Would the same people who are panicking about special teams because of poor preseason performance be riding high if they had dominated? My guess: We would be just as doubtful because it is backups against backups.

I said all along, for various reasons, no conclusions were worth reaching in the preseason.

Marcia from Fond du Lac, WI

Does Coach Bisaccia have the biggest headache this week?

I would think his headache will subside once the roster is down to the players he'll be counting on to get the job done.

Jay from Benton, AR

I understand Rich has been trying out players up and down the 85-man roster and obviously many of them won't make the 53. My question is, has Rich been practicing what he feels will be the starting S/T unit in practice or will he try to find the right mix in the next two weeks?

My best guess is it's a combination of those. I think they know who several of their special-teams regulars will be, and they're going to use these next two weeks to fill in the last couple of holes.

Scott from Milwaukee, WI

What do the Packers' scouts do that seems so different from other teams when it comes to finding high quality offensive linemen? While other teams seem to struggle finding OL the Packers find them all over the draft.

To be fair, not every pick has panned out, but the Packers make regular investments in the position and over the years have had coaches – James Campen, Adam Stenavich, now Luke Butkus – who know how to develop young linemen. The track record speaks for itself.

Larry from Keyser, WV

Who will be the standout receiver in the first game of the regular season?

The one who catches the most passes and/or has the most yards and/or touchdowns.

Jeff from Ogden, UT

I can't suppress this any longer. No. 96 Jack Heflin! Where do I join the fan club? I envision Heflin downing a glass of raw eggs, while the theme from "Rocky" plays in the background. Then hopping in his truck to head to the hardware store on the way to the practice. I understand he's not Kenny Clark or Aaron Donald, but I don't care. He's the underdog that America loves. I can't wait to hear Joe Buck announce the tackle was made by a "trashcan full of dirt"!

The Oneida gate steps become the Philly art museum, right? I'm on board.

Aidan from Atlanta, GA

This may be a dead zone question, so apologies as we are now into regular-season mode! With Miami having to forfeit one of their first-round picks in next year's draft, how does that work for the league? Are there going to be 31 first-round picks next year? Does that pick go into a lottery? Anyway, tick tock let the games begin!

A forfeited pick just reduces the length of the round by one selection.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi all, with all the talk about the NFL increasing the season to an 18-game schedule, and the questions regarding switching to a two-game preseason, I'm wondering how that might affect the teams' and coaches' ability to evaluate players. A two-game preseason would also limit the availability for players fighting for a position to showcase their talents. Is it possible that teams would increase their practices with other teams to make up for the loss of one preseason game?

I would think so, but let's remember, all this speculation is about something that won't happen until the next decade at the earliest.

Tim from Superior, WI

Obviously the opening game against the top divisional rival will be important, but the question remains as to the level of its importance. Considering the game will be played on turf and coincidentally, where Elgton Jenkins tore his ACL last year on a non-contact injury, how much of a factor will the playing surface determine the availability of our two presumptive starting offensive tackles returning in Game 1?

If they're ready to play, they'll play.

Bryce from Lorain, OH

I enjoyed the Marcedes Lewis interview. He said something that I thought was very powerful, "The time is now. It's not next year. Nobody cares about last year. It's right now." That gets me pumped up. What do you think could be an obstacle (or what are some obstacles) that stand before us in making the playoffs and possibly going all the way? Possibly a late bye week?

No one will know the impact of the late bye until the season plays out. I say this every year – the biggest obstacle, when you've been a team on the verge that's suffered disappointing endings, remains embracing the grind. Training camp isn't much of a grind anymore, comparatively speaking. The 17-game regular season certainly is. No one hands out playoff seeds until they're earned, and you have to earn yours one week at a time.

Bob from Saco, ME

This team has serious issues. Lack of depth on defense, offensive line and special teams.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

Ian from Kirkwhelpington, UK

Mike, if Mason Crosby is not looking like being ready for Week 1, is there a high risk the team waives him rather than include two kickers on the 53? My recollection is that he would have to be on the 53 to then go to IR, and IR would mean missing the first four weeks.

The Packers aren't cutting Crosby, which would terminate his contract and instantly make him a free agent, if that's what you're asking. He would have to be on the initial 53 in order to return from IR, as you said. But even if he's not ready for Week 1, that doesn't mean he's going on IR, because he could be ready for Week 2 or 3. As for what they do with Ramiz Ahmed, he was available for anyone to sign until the Packers picked him up two weeks ago, so I don't see a high probability he'll be claimed off waivers.

Joseph from Vermillion, SD

Maybe you'll think this comparison doesn't hold up, but I've been thinking about RB3 like this: Would you rather have two Aaron Joneses and one AJ or two AJs and one Aaron?

Interesting thought. For my money, I'm keeping the guy who's proven to be the more reliable pass protector. Because if one of the top two goes down, and RB3 needs to go in, he must be able to protect 12. That would be the top priority. Who that is, is up to the evaluators.

Robert from Wauwatosa, WI

When is the practice squad set?

Wednesday, after the waiver period expires.

Jimmy from Rockford, IL

So, you're saying that being on the practice squad beats the hell out of working at Sears?

It's still a heck of a weekly check for a 20-something, and the dream remains very much alive.

Mike from Stratford, WI

On one of the Chiefs touchdowns it looked like there was an obvious offensive pass interference call missed against Micah Abernathy. My question is do the coaches take things like that into account when deciding roster spots or does the touchdown count against him because it wasn't called?

They definitely take it into account. I remember several years ago during the preseason finale (also in KC), Lane Taylor got called for multiple holding penalties in the game, and we all thought he was getting cut. The coaches watched the film, didn't agree with the calls, and he stuck around a long while.

Mike from Grovetown, GA

I don't think the Packers will truly know what Jordan Love is until they throw him the keys and say let's go.

That's pretty much what I've been saying all along. The progress is undeniable. The conclusion is unknowable.

Ronald from Panabo, Philippines

Hey Insiders, do you think Gutey will claim a waiver player from another squad this year? If so, what position do you think he would looking for?

Nothing would shock me. I'm still not sure what the Packers really have depth-wise at edge rusher, but that position isn't easy to find on the waiver wire. A true special-teams ace who doesn't quite fit on another roster could always be a possibility, too, but again, it's not as though they're available in abundance.

Kent from Homosassa, FL

Last year the Packers defeated both the Rams and Bengals. Was this the first time they defeated both subsequent Super Bowl participants? Enjoyed the National Anthem all the way to the end with the little wave to her family.

According to my research (which could be wrong), that was the first time the Packers defeated both eventual Super Bowl participants. The closest they'd come previously was in 1975. In back-to-back weeks, Green Bay beat Dallas, 19-17, but lost to Pittsburgh seven days later, 16-13.

Nate from Kellnersville, WI

For us younger fans, what 1970s player that hasn't gotten his due should I learn more about?

I don't know how to judge who has or hasn't gotten his due, but prominent '70s players worth knowing something about if you don't are John Brockington, Willie Buchanon and Gale Gillingham.

Walt from Skandia, MI

During training camp the ones go against the ones, with two weeks till Minnesota. Will they continue that this coming week, then have the ones go against the scout team the next week?

Great question. Starting yesterday, the media is no longer allowed at practice during the team periods (11-on-11), so they may be starting scout-team work on Minnesota already. But I really don't know.

Kerry from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Other than staying healthy what three things need to happen for this Packer team to make it to the SB?

It's not about a list of things. It's about gaining the best possible playoff position and then playing your best football when it matters most. This team has done the former well but hasn't followed through on the latter. That may be a boring answer, but it's true.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

I got nothing today.

Works for me. Happy Monday.