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Inbox: The foundation is in place and the future is bright

The Packers’ receiving corps came to play on Wednesday

Head Coach Matt LaFleur, General Manager Brian Gutekunst
Head Coach Matt LaFleur, General Manager Brian Gutekunst

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Let's remember that when the Packers win a Super Bowl or lose a playoff game sometime in early 2023, it will be totally dependent on how the first few non-padded practices of training camp go.

Just once, I want a head coach to go to the podium at the start of training camp and say, "The season is riding on this practice. It's stretch or go home." Good morning!

Mike from Cascade, ID

I'm wondering what your modus operandi is for the practices that are only open to the media? Do you focus on certain groups, then move around, or get a seat that overlooks it all and put your head on a swivel? Any access to the players? I know it's still considered "work" but must be cool at the same time.

It depends on the day and practice. On Wednesday, I probably watched the offensive line more than any other opening practice during my time on the beat. There are no pads, but I wanted to see A) Who was lining up where and B) How the first-team unit looked. It also wasn't difficult to notice what Allen Lazard, Juwann Winfree, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure were doing. The Packers' receiving corps came to play on Wednesday.

Al from Green Bay, WI

It would be absolutely silly to name a Day 1 camp MVP. With that said, who was the Day 1 MVP?

My vote probably goes to Lazard. As the fans at Nitschke Field can attest, Lazard's catch was pretty sick. Amos had great coverage on the play and Lazard pretty much peeled it off his leg to complete the catch. For as many questions that were asked during the offseason program about Lazard's absence, the guy came to training camp ready to play.

Jerry from Luck, WI

Besides the big catch made by Lazard that went viral, who made the top plays by the offense and defense on Day 1?

The other big catch belonged to Winfree, who hauled in a deep ball from Aaron Rodgers down the right sideline earlier in practice. Winfree has put together two solid offseasons and likely would've been in contention for a roster spot last year had it not been for a hamstring injury that sidelined him for all three preseason games. He's back in the conversation. Doubs and Toure continue to impress, as well. Neither of those rookies has yet to blink.

Kim from Hudson, WI

"The team was debating whether to have him push through his rookie year and have the procedure done after the season…" This was a quote in the article about the PUP list and Watson specifically. How much "say" does the player have in these situations regarding having procedures or waiting? I'm wondering what the process is like. Can the player request a second opinion? This retired nurse is curious.

Absolutely. It happens all the time and the Packers often encourage it. After all, it's their body. The best example of that last year was Jaire Alexander. That was a complicated decision whether to have shoulder surgery and be done for the year or let it heal. But Packers players are in good hands with Dr. McKenzie and the training staff.

Grant from Janesville, WI

Great episode of “Packers Unscripted. You two talked about players looking like guards and tackles. What's the difference in terms in appearance?

Those lines have blurred. You can't just look at a guy's height and weight anymore and peg them as C, G or T. Tackles can be smaller, centers can be taller, and guards can be anything in between.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

If you don't expect something, you are less likely to be disappointed. I have to figure the Packers will be planning to go without David Bakhtiari moving forward but will be entirely pleased if he can play well again. The good news is when Elgton Jenkins returns, he will make a very fine left tackle. Of course, the bad news is when Jenkins returns, he will make a very fine left tackle. The multiple 2022 draft picks on the offensive line are making more sense now.

I wouldn't bet against Bakhtiari. This knee injury has been tricky. The road back has been a little longer than the GPS read. But he's still a five-time All-Pro left tackle who's going to be hungrier than a rottweiler in a butcher shop to prove he's still that same guy. In the meantime, these young guys are going to get a tidal wave of first-team reps.

Alex from Leesburg, VA

If someone is NFI (non-football injury), is it the same as PUP if it turns out to be a long recovery and they never practiced? Also, was surprised to see Bakhtiari's interview. I thought it protocol (unspoken or team policy) that injured players aren't available for media. Am I mistaken or were you surprised too?

Players on injured reserve or PUP rarely address the media during the regular season but it's not uncommon for players coming off an injury to speak during training camp. We talked with Robert Tonyan and Mason Crosby, too. I also think Bakhtiari wanted fans to gain some clarity on everything. Again, all you can do is hope for the best.

Bill from Richmond Hill, GA

I don't know who the breakout star at wide receiver is going to be. But if it ends up being Osirus Mitchell, we're going to need to give some fat contract extensions to our pro personnel group as well as head coach and GM. Definitely someone I'll be watching, after the work they've done the last few seasons.

Every year Brian Gutekunst has been Green Bay's GM, the Packers have discovered an undrafted gem or two whether it's Tonyan, Lazard, Chandon Sullivan, Krys Barnes, Dominique Dafney or Tyler Davis. There's only one way to find those hidden prospects. You gotta bring 'em in and take a look.

Frank from Lake Zurich, IL

Without Adams, do you see defenses having a tougher assignment with on-field game adjustments as they cannot focus on one receiver? Do you see more adjustments in our offensive game-planning or Rodgers' ad lib adjustments to offset the loss of Adams?

That's up to the Packers and their remaining skill-position players to decide. With Adams in Vegas, one of the biggest chess pieces in the entire NFL is off the Packers' board. How will defenses respond and how will Green Bay's offense respond? I believe the Packers have the talent to overcome Adams' loss, but new playmakers will need to emerge. Lazard has his hand raised. Cobb, too. Who's joining them?

Kurt from Traverse City, MI

I'm always struck by how direct, engaged, and personable Matt LaFleur is, communicating with ease, gracious in affirming players and coaches at every turn, even past players such as Lucas Patrick and Billy Turner. Do you witness that same seemingly genuine focus with others when you observe LaFleur in practices or around the building? How do you see those apparent people skills complement his player interactions and obvious coaching ability? Uncommon grace and eloquence for a coach, I'd say.

LaFleur has always been an amiable, forward-facing head coach. Where he's grown the most over the past three years is in his comfortability in front of the podium. He's himself up there now. It's cool watching him interact with players on the practice field, too. Rodgers was playing around with him on Wednesday, jokingly stealing his sunglasses for a minute. It was a collection of football fanatics enjoying a day at the office.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

I hadn't seen any comment on this with the excitement to kick off camp, but the Packers signed another former Raiders DB/ST. I know nothing about this guy, but I'm guessing Rich Bisaccia does. Pretty soon Jen will, too.

Dallin Leavitt, former Aggie. His time at Utah State overlapped with Kyler Fackrell (2015) and Jordan Love (2016-17), too. Like Keisean Nixon, Leavitt is a former undrafted free agent with the Raiders and played four seasons for Bisaccia. He actually led Las Vegas with 348 special-teams snaps (72.9%) last year, which was almost 100 more than the next guy (Foster Moreau, 260). Bisaccia clearly trusts him.

The Green Bay Packers held their first public practice of training camp at Ray Nitschke Field on Wednesday, July 27, 2022.

Jared from Rigby, ID

Do you believe Kenny Clark will get Lucas'd this year? Or will Lucas Patrick get Clark'd? Either way, it's one of my matchups to watch this year.

It'll remind me of when the Packers played T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton after they signed with Detroit and Chicago, respectively. Clark and Patrick came into the league together in 2016 and jousted in nearly every practice since then. The Week 2 battle will be one to watch.

Bruan from Chaska, MN

Great to see the team out there! What are those white helmets that fit over the players' regular helmets for?

Those are the guardian caps, which are intended to minimize contact to the head during the early portion of camp (when concussions are statistically more likely). The linemen and linebackers are required to wear them during the ramp-up period. I believe the skill-position players will be taking them off today, though.

Bob from Honolulu, HI

Hi II, I saw a recent best slot-corner list, a who's who of who(?) on PFF. No usual suspect names. My question, if you have a moment, is what makes a great slot corner, and which current Packer has such traits?

Explosivity, size, toughness and the ability to break down and make an open-field tackle. Packers fans got a chance to see how valuable a slot corner can be when Charles Woodson was the defensive player of the year in 2009. Woodson is a once-in-a-generation talent, but Douglas is similar in stature and has a natural nose for the football. With Jerry Gray's tutelage, I think Douglas will thrive in that role.

Erin from Bettendorf, IA

I was at training camp and lined up for autographs with my kids. Rasul Douglas came over and I asked, "How many INTs are you going to get this year?" His answer? "TEN…Easy" I should have asked how many will be pick sixes.

You may have gotten the same answer.

Bruce from Appleton, WI

With the Packers extending the contracts of the head coach and the GM, what kind of message is it sending to the team?

The foundation is in place and the future is bright.

BJ from Carlisle, IA

Good morning II, are the players on PUP allowed to be on the practice field for camp? Do they go out to the huddles with their teammates or just watch the practice? Are the vets on the PUP list allowed to give pointers to the rookies live on the sidelines? Thanks for all you guys do!

That depends on each player's rehab schedule, but you'll see quite a few of them. Elgton Jenkins, Robert Tonyan and Kylin Hill were all working out with the trainers at practice.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

Wes! How did you get to be Bobby T's "favorite guy"? Inquiring minds need to know.

First and foremost, Tonyan is one of the more easygoing, friendly people in the Packers' locker room. But one thing I'll say is I jumped on the hype train of Tonyan and Allen Lazard pretty much before anyone else and did a few one-on-one interviews with both guys in the auxiliary locker room before either became a household name in GB. Guys remember that, and I think the more you talk to someone, the more comfortable you get. It's as simple as that. Robert also comes from a great family. His mom and dad are two of the finer people you'll ever meet.

Frogger from Marinette, WI

Pack blew it. Let Julio Jones sign with Tampa. WHY?

Six million in unmarked bills with a chance for two million more. Void years or not, that's a lot of cash to be handing out on the eve of training camp.

Craig from Saint Paul, MN

Any chance – even one in a million – the NFL would ever mandate that each team provide a live video feed of training camp? No audio. Kind of like those feeds you can check on of an aerie. It would be awesome.

As long as the wins and losses still matter…less than zero.

Brandon from Kronenwetter, WI

I am not a big Cousins Subs guy but whenever I listen to "Packers Unscripted," I am suddenly in the mood for some golden fries and creamy shakes...

Give the Steak Philly a try. The shakes, for my money, are the best in Wisconsin. It's not a sponsorship. It's a sensation.

Josh from Milwaukee, WI

Wes, what kind of nuggets did you drop at your interview, or did your Press-Gazette portfolio speak for itself? No beer, no cheese, no Packers fandom, still gets hired. I think II readers can agree the Packers made the right decision.

Under "Strengths," I wrote, "I enjoy beer (battered brats) and a good pregame tailgate." So, either that was enough or there weren't any other more attractive candidates.

Steve from Eau Claire, WI

Do I need to rewatch "Con Air" to keep up with the Inbox's one-liners? I just finished watching "Fletch."

That's an odd combination.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Spoff wrote, "My favorite part of the offseason is vacation, but if I have to be working, I prefer to be entertained..." Was there a clause about spending four hours each week reading Inbox-related materials written into the digital reporters' latest contracts?

Only if there is a salary bump commensurate with other contract extensions that include independent study. Have a great Thursday.