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Inbox: The eyes are immediately drawn to …

He has an impact on seemingly every play

LB Rashan Gary
LB Rashan Gary

John from Livermore, CA

What would be your "bold" prediction for the year?

That Wes and I will avoid wearing the same shirt on the same day all season long, for once.

Alex from Chicago, IL

Paucity? PAUCITY?? Outstanding. Being the senior writer has its perks, I see. Has there ever been a time Wes tried to throw an uncommon word or phrase in a story and Mike had to say, "Not yet, kid … not yet"?

I appreciate a detailed reader. I also put no limitations on Wes. It helps keep me young.

Brian from Urbana, IL

Hey guys, someone mentioned that our Achilles heel last year was not establishing the run against a light box. I didn't get the sense that was a consistent issue, did you?

In my mind it was more the lack of explosive runs to make teams pay for going light up front. The Packers just didn't gash defenses on the ground when those opportunities were there. The offense had a lot more explosive runs in 2020, and that's why the collective average per carry that year was 4.8 as opposed to 4.3 last year. A half-yard drop is significant.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

When the Packers have joint practices with another team, are there four sets of team periods (ones on offense, ones on defense, twos on offense, and twos on defense)? Will those happen simultaneously or one after the other?

During joint practices in the past, all the 11-on-11 work happened simultaneously. Ones vs. ones for both sides were at opposite ends of Nitschke Field, and all the reserves moved over to Hinkle Field.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Mike. With all of the shuffling going on in the offensive line, where does 2022 third-round pick Sean Rhyan fit in these days? We haven't heard much about him so far as either guard or tackle. Thanks.

Thus far, Rhyan has taken most of his reps at right guard with the No. 2 line.

Mark from Geneva, IL

My wife and I had the pleasure to attend camp on Thursday. Romeo Doubs was certainly impressive. I also thought Tyler Davis stood out in the red-zone drills. Also interesting to watch Jaire Alexander with all of the stretching he does prior to practice and the drills he was doing on the side with the tennis balls working on his hands. The man definitely pays attention to the details in order to perfect his craft.

I don't know if Jaire would ever say it publicly, but I get the feeling he's determined not to let a single INT opportunity get away from him this year. As elite a corner as he is, only five career interceptions (plus two in the postseason) is hard to fathom. I know QBs shy away from him at times, but he'll be the first to say he's had plenty of chances for more picks. Stay tuned.

Tom from Walker, MI

When is the first practice with pads?

Shoulder pads today, full pads Tuesday.

Roger from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning. Mike. We start out the new week with pads. When will we see real tackling?

It's possible, though nothing's been said, there could be a live tackling period with the twos and threes on Family Night, as that's happened occasionally in the past. Otherwise, it'll be Aug. 12 in San Fran.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Mike, when was the last time Aaron Rodgers played in a preseason game and who was the opponent?

Week 2 of the 2018 preseason vs. Pittsburgh.

The Green Bay Packers held a public training-camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field on Saturday, July 30, 2022.

Michael from Hammond, IN

Do you believe the team will win the division this season?

Barring a debilitating rash of injuries, or long-term injuries to the wrong people, yes.

Dave from Huntsville, AL

So Mike, when does the mid-week chat return? Even though I usually can't participate live, I do enjoy reading the transcript.

Appreciate your interest. It'll be back during the regular season. It's just impossible to find a consistent day/time to do it during training camp.

Jeff from Kennewick, WA

Without dorms at St. Norbert, where do players stay that aren't established veterans with homes or apartments in the Green Bay area?

At a local hotel.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Does a rookie WR really have a chance to "start" Game 1 this year due to position scrutiny, pressure, etc., or will one who shines during camp (and outplays others) just come in the game sooner and play more total plays, at least initially?

Well, I'm not sure it matters. But I've never seen LaFleur worry about ceremonial starters, if that's what you're asking. He wants his best guys on the field as much as possible. The guys who are featured in the game plan will play the most. That's all there is to it.

Brian from Chaska, MN

Rasul Douglas and De'Vondre Campbell made the most of their opportunities last year, and were deservedly rewarded in return by the front office. Of the two, which one has the highest probability to repeat last year's performance in this defense?

Douglas, but that's no disrespect to Campbell. That's just a reflection of how difficult it'll be for Campbell to repeat as All-Pro in a league with an impressive list of top-flight inside linebackers like Micah Parsons, Shaquille (formerly Darius) Leonard, Demario Davis, Roquan Smith, Bobby Wagner, etc.

Michelle from Watertown, WI

Who do each of you think will be the "sleeper" breakout defensive player this season – the bigger the shock value the better, guys!

Well, first, I'm not into shock value. Second, I'm not saying this arrogantly, but I don't think anyone on this defense qualifies as a "sleeper." The unit is loaded with experience, with been-there-done-that players, and its youngest regulars are a trio of first-round picks. I think what you're asking for only emerges if injuries strike, so let's hope there is no such discussion.

Bryce from Kenosha, WI

Are tells such as Stokes' "heavy eyes" a common coverage giveaway for CBs? I imagine players spend a lot of time working on their poker faces when quirks like that are brought to their attention. How does one practice not having "heavy eyes" when in man coverage? Acting class?

Ha. Any corner will want to lock in visually when it's man-to-man, it's just a matter of getting comfortable doing so as late in the pre-snap process as possible. More timing than acting, to be honest.

Matt from Cottage Grove, WI

If Lazard produces a WR1 stat line this season, what could you see his next contract looking like after the market for WRs just exploded this offseason?

I'm sure he'd love to find out, and the Packers wouldn't mind either.

Jon from Minneapolis, MN

Who is the single most important position player we need to make the next step this season?

If it's not Lazard, I'll say AJ Dillon or Eric Stokes.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

While the Packers may never entertain an alternate helmet, they did use a retro "leather" helmet about 10 years ago. I'm sure most of us remember Donald Driver's spectacular catch and run in that retro uniform. The navy and gold with the brown helmet wasn't a personal favorite, but that play sure was.

That and the Rodgers-to-Nelson 93-yarder vs. the Rams in 2011 – the Packers' longest TD pass in the history of Lambeau Field – are the most memorable plays in the short-lived brown helmets.

Jeff from Mesa, AZ

With all the questions asking for a helmet change, how about making a slightly meaner "G". Like the Cardinals and Eagles did?

Goodness, no. For all the sanity needed in the world right now, please no.

Matt from La Crosse, WI

How has Jordan Love looked so far? A few short months ago he was expected to be the "must watch" player in camp but now all the chatter is about receivers and linemen.

I thought Love had his best day of camp so far on Saturday. I feel like I'm seeing more zip on this throws than I recall last summer, or even this spring when we got very limited looks at practice.

Paul from Andover, KS

In response your constitutional amendment to ban Astroturf I find it interesting that it was born out of necessity. When they built the Astrodome they tried to have real turf but it died and had to quickly develop "Astroturf" so the story goes. Has there ever been a stadium during regular season to start with grass and switch to turf, or vice versa?

I've never heard of a switch during the season, but I know stadiums like Soldier Field in Chicago and Arrowhead in Kansas City had artificial surfaces for a long time before switching to grass.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

We've seen a lot of offensive line combinations in camp so far as they search for the best starting five. When was the last time the starting five was already set going into camp?

It was pretty well set in 2019, but even then it changed quickly when Lane Taylor got hurt early in the season and Elgton Jenkins stepped in. This year definitely features unusual circumstances, though, with two Pro Bowlers sidelined at the outset.

Paul from Johannesburg, South Africa

Sawubona! ("hello" in Zulu). My training camp tradition is to rewatch the prior season games. Being overseas, it isn't possible for me to attend practices so this must suffice. It hasn't taken long to remember the Packers need to improve upon third- or fourth-and-short, especially on goal-to-go situations. I think we all believe having David Bakhtiari and Jenkins back on the OL would cause immediate improvement, but until that happens what are the keys to getting better in these situations?

Is there a fancy Zulu word for "win blocks"?

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

What do you see as strengths of our NFC North foes?

Minnesota's offensive trio of Cook, Jefferson and Thielen is as good as it gets. In Chicago, it all hinges on Fields' development at QB. Detroit has hungry players on a roster being built the right way.

John from Kaukauna, WI

Who are the players you are intently watching in training camp? Seems like many of the positions are held by veterans, but any FA or rookies looking to take over key positions?

The guys I wrote about from Friday's practice, Sammy Watkins and Randy Ramsey, are definitely two I'll be keeping an eye on once they're cleared for 11-on-11 work.

Jim from Green Bay, WI

Coach Matt's teams appear to me to be characterized by having a lot of positive chemistry. He has talked about building a "player-led" team, which I'm guessing helps create that sort of environment. Have you seen this as well? Have you seen other Packer teams that had a particularly high sense of unity/chemistry?

There were plenty in the McCarthy era, and it's mostly a function of two things – the players brought into the locker room, and winning. If the players have the right make-up, the team can be player-led, and winning reinforces the leadership as worth following.

Michelle from Ringgold, GA

Who was the biggest addition to the Packers' offense this year?

We don't know yet. We're waiting to find out.

Duane from Oak Creek, WI

I know it's only a few days into camp, but who has made an immediate positive impression on you so far?

Romeo Doubs was unquestionably the MVP of the first week as far as the highlight reel goes. But when you watch the defense, the eyes are immediately drawn to Rashan Gary. He has an impact on seemingly every play.

George from North Mankato, MN

Good morning, Mike. Although I do collect the weird trading cards Wes does, I find myself in your culinary world. I prefer a nice, aged cheddar with a double IPA or a spicy jack cheese with an IPA. What's your go-to cheese and beer pairing?

I'm not overly fussy, but a smoked cheese with an amber or Vienna-style lager is a rock-solid combo in my book.

Bette from Chamberlain, SD

Who will be your toughest opponent this year?

Stamina. After covering practice for four straight days, I was wiped out and the day off was a much-needed respite. Happy Monday.