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Inbox: The expected progress is being made

There’s a lot of information yet to be gathered


Ross from Hudson, WI

Well, what did we learn?

That preseason games still take too long.

Josh from Waukesha, WI

Overreaction and underreaction for the game?

The overreaction is everyone sees Jordan Love's stats and wants to pile on. Underreaction? How big this night might've been for Amari Rodgers.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

Three picks was not what we wanted to see. At what point will the Packers look to bring in a veteran backup for insurance should Rodgers not make it through a full season?

You saw three picks but I'm not sure you were watching the game. I said in the live blog the first two weren't on Love and LaFleur confirmed it, both at halftime and after the game. The third one Love admitted was a poor throw, but I had also said poor decision in the moment, while LaFleur clarified two guys ran the wrong route and he was forced to throw it where he did. Some of his passes were a tad off target, and he'd like to (and needs to) sharpen those up. But it was the first game action of '22 and I saw a poised, confident guy who wasn't hesitating and was holding it together when things went a little haywire around him. If Tyler Davis catches the slant in the red zone and Romeo Doubs can hang onto that sideline ball, the perception of Love's performance changes. The reality is the stats don't define how he played.

Ethan from Holly Springs, NC

What do you think about the decision to split time half and half between Love and Etling? Seems to me it would be much more important for Love to get reps than Etling.

I think when LaFleur decided to get the No. 1 offensive line out of the game, that was the time to get Love out, too.

Barry from Pike Road, AL

What have you seen in Danny Davis? He made two great plays in the game and appears to have some skills to be at least a jar on the shelf.

His touchdown was outstanding. Lining up offside on fourth down in the red zone was not. But Davis has me more curious than ever what we see from him this next week.

Tom from Reedsville, WI

Packers have a lot of tough decisions to make for the final roster. I was impressed by some of the lesser-known players. I think Slaton, Heflin, and Danny Davis made the biggest impression on me and don't think the Pack can release any of them. Danny D. is an NFL receiver. Have the Pack been looking at him as punt and kick returner at all?

I haven't seen him take regular reps at returner but I guess I wouldn't rule it out. Slaton is such a big dude, and following our extended absence from the locker room, seeing him in person for the first time I have a greater appreciation for his size. I think the expected progress is being made. Heflin really balled out. Played a ton of snaps and just battled like mad. Some up-and-down moments but more up than down.

Ross from Summerville, SC

Gents, do players like Amari Rodgers and other starters that don't play in this preseason game even make the trip to CA for the game?

Most healthy players who aren't playing still travel to be part of meetings and such, and that was the case with this trip.

Jake from Orem, UT

Hey Insiders! Appreciate the work you guys do. What does the joint practice schedule with the Saints look like next week ahead of the game on Friday?

Two full workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. each day. They're the last two public practices of the year.

Ian from Sherman Oaks, CA

Who are your top three players who benefited the most from the preseason game?

Amari Rodgers, Danny Davis and Isaiah McDuffie. To the naked eye, McDuffie was a presence against the run.

Cassandra from Beacon, NY

Doubs looked great in the first preseason game. Thoughts on keeping him safe on the bench for the rest of preseason?

I think he needs to keep playing. The drop on the wide-open crosser showed that. He'll also be a big help to Love the rest of the preseason, too.

Jeffery from Brooklyn, WI

Hello II, are the 33 players who didn't suit up this game shoo-ins for the final 53?

Not at all. Several of them were injured.

Chris from Marshall, WI

Name a positive takeaway for offense, defense, and special teams.

It was great to see each of the running backs have at least one really good moment, and I thought the No. 1 offensive line held up well, minus the two penalties on Hanson. The run defense was solid for three quarters before some of the guys logging a high snap count wore down late in the game. The two coverage busts early were tough to watch, but the 49ers didn't do much offensively aside from those, really. Rodgers' 50-yard kickoff return was a nice boost for the special teams.

George from North Mankato, MN

Good morning, Mike. Who was it that leveled Amari Rodgers on his great kickoff return? I thought he'd be safe on his own sideline after delivering a blow to Robbie Gould.

That apparently was Rashan Gary. Hopefully Rodgers had enough adrenaline flowing to cushion the blow.

Ryan from Sun Prairie, WIg

When Bakhtiari and Jenkins are healthy can Nijman play guard? Obviously Jenkins can, but if they want their best two on the outside just curious if Nijman has practiced at guard before.

He hasn't taken any snaps at guard that I can recall. I wouldn't say the plan is necessarily putting Jenkins at tackle when he returns.

Michael from Santa Cruz, CA

Gutes has shown he's not afraid to sign a veteran OL during camp, but I just don't see the need this year. Do you think (like I do) that our GM has hit on the perfect formula to maximize asset allocation value as it pertains to drafting OL? Use mid-round picks on Power 5 starters with positional versatility, don't expect too much in Year 1, restock the pantry year after year and let pure competition decide the victors (starters). Also, I think Nijman is our starting RT of the future.

I don't think there's a perfect formula or that Gutekunst is adhering to a specific philosophy, other than sticking to his draft board. He drafted Jenkins and Myers in the second round, at Nos. 44 and 62 overall. Those aren't "mid-round" picks. Versatility is definitely a coveted trait, and I think he's been pressed to constantly think about re-stocking due to the combination of his own picks at the position who haven't worked out (Cole Madison, Simon Stepaniak) and free-agent departures on his watch (Bryan Bulaga, Corey Linsley).

See scenes from the Friday night matchup between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on Aug. 12, 2022.

Jim from Eau Claire, WI

I know the Packers are tight-lipped about injured players but I have a bad feeling that Bakhtiari, Jenkins and Watson are all going to start on the PUP and miss the first four games. Please tell me I am wrong.

I can't, but I'm also not going to say you're right because I don't know and you don't know. Final roster decisions are still 17 days away. Training camp started 18 days ago. A lot has been learned in that time, and there's a lot of information yet to be gathered.

Gary from Cross Plains, WI

That's so cool that the team gives your departing interns a helmet. What a great commemorative. But is it game-used? Autographed? Now that would be a story if you get one with all kinds of scuff marks signed by Bak.

It's not game-used. It's a new one from the Pro Shop and it's signed, with parting messages, by all sorts of people.

Greg from Downers Grove, IL

Watched the Field of Dreams game last evening and it was pretty cool. The mystique of the field and surroundings reminded me of the mystique of Lambeau. The hologram of Harry Caray was incredible. We need a hologram of Vince Lombardi giving a pregame speech. If we had one, what do you think Vince would say to today's players and fans?

I think he'd look at one-a-days, practice time limits, padded practice regulations, guardian caps, emphases on illegal contact and roughing the passer, interminable replay delays, electronic tablets on the sidelines, 300-plus-pound men all across every front, and laminated game-plan sheets that look like a half dozen restaurant menus crammed onto one double-sided page, … and be rendered speechless.

Morgan from Mason, MI

Hello! As many of us can see in the videos from training camp Jaire is recovering well from his shoulder injury last year. Which means we have three (Alexander, Stokes, Douglas) very good cornerbacks fighting to go against the WR1 on the opposite side of the ball. In your opinion who do you think deserves/earns that spot? Or is it something that doesn't have to be permanent? Thanks!

I suspect it mostly will go to Alexander, but I could see the deployment of certain packages/alignments and the desire for particular matchups to change that as well.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

With all the talk about how "great" this defense will/can be, and assuming Campbell will have the green dot when he is on the field, who has it when he's off? Or will he play every snap? I could see Barnes (most likely to fill his spot on the field), Amos or Savage (if his injury is as light as reported) having that role. Is this something you can see during camp or do we have to wait until Week 1?

Campbell is an every-down player, and when he's healthy he's rarely if ever coming off the field. I'd surmise Barnes and Amos would be the green-dot backups, though Walker was wearing it against the Niners.

Josh from Adams, WI

Do you think the Packers will prioritize "we-fensive" contributions over potential on O or D to a greater degree this year in bottom-of-the-roster cuts? I think it's time to designate specific roster spots for special-teams aces at the expense of losing long-term developmental talent for the other two phases.

I could see that for one or two roster spots, but I don't think they'll go overboard. They also haven't regularly had veteran players who fall into that category, so both the roster-building and decision-making feel a little different this year.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Yesterday Wes said the new rule about touching the QB helmet is no longer a penalty, and he responded it would allow officials to use common sense. Was the intent that officials were not using common sense and calling that touching a penalty, or was it that the rule was not explicit enough and officials had to call that as a penalty since that is how the rule indicated?

"Forcible contact" is the way the rule has been written for a long time, but many officials lost sight of applying that standard. It's been very inconsistently called and the league is reminding the crews of the rule's language.

CJ from Marshfield, WI

Mike, barring a FA WR, would you agree Vic's edgy and often misunderstood "dime a dozen" comment will be put to the ultimate test this year? The two most seasoned vets are years removed from 1,000-yard seasons and have had injury issues in recent years. The breakout potential is in an undrafted fifth-year guy who barely eclipsed 500 in '21. The rest have potential but haven't done anything yet (and no first-rounders, haha). It would be hard to assemble a more unheralded group, but I like it.

I've said in this space more times than I can count that the college game these days churns out receivers at a faster rate than any other position. It's made me think it's possible for an NFL team to revamp its receiving corps as quickly as an MLB team can remake a bullpen. This year will reveal if there's any truth to it.

Kevin from Charlotte, NC

J.J. Jansen has been a mainstay for the Panthers as long snapper and I believe even made the Pro Bowl – I think he is in the top five all time in the franchise for games played. Who did we keep in favor of J.J. and what did we receive for him in the trade? It would be nice to have had him for all these years.

Jansen, as a rookie in 2008, blew out his knee in the final preseason game, forcing the Packers to sign Brett Goode off the street to take over as long snapper on ultra-short notice. The following spring, the Packers went with the proven commodity over the unknown and traded Jansen to the Panthers for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2011, which was then used as part of a four-pick draft-day trade with the Broncos. Goode went on to play more than 150 games for the Packers (2008-17), so it worked out for both teams in the end.

Graydon from Menomonie, WI

In an earlier column, this comment was made about the long snapper position... "I haven't seen either candidate perform with enough consistency to feel good about that spot." Does this mean that the long snapper for Week 1 could be in another team's training camp today?

It can't be ruled out. Or he could be pouring concrete foundations in Fort Smith, Ark., as Goode was doing at this time 14 years ago.

Steve from Venice, FL

How different would your jobs be if you were covering a franchise that was not a perennial contender?

They wouldn't be nearly as entertaining.

Scott from Hamlin, NY

Of course the GM has the final say. He's looking at a player's ceiling, planning for the future. The coach is looking at what the player can contribute immediately. Their conversations lead to the perfect mix of immediate impact and protecting the future.

That's the idea. Easier said than done, but that's the idea.

Jeff from Janesville, WI

Almost time for the baloney to stop.

Does four more weeks qualify as "almost"? Whatever works. Have a good weekend, everyone.