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Inbox: The goal is always to build the best team possible

Those fortunate enough to make the 53 today have earned every inch of their spot


Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Thirteen World Championships. Lombardi Avenue. The Hutson Center. Nitschke Field. Hinkle Field. Hallowed ground all. Green Bay, like no place on earth. For those on the 53, the practice squad and those that work there. Never take it for granted.

Undoubtedly, some tough cuts will be made today, but the goal is always to build the best team possible and ultimately bring another championship to Titletown. You can't lose sight of that, as players, personnel and fans.

Eddie from Fort Myers, FL

Terrible, tumultuous, Tuesday. Best of luck moving forward to all of those who don't make the 53. It feels like more hard decisions are being made this year than I can remember in years past.

That was the underlying theme of the story I wrote Monday morning. This is always a difficult day, but I feel many undrafted players and underdogs made this one of the most strenuous cutdown days during my 12 years on the beat. So many guys showed up ready to compete this offseason and they carried that fire with them throughout the summer. Those fortunate enough to make the 53 today have earned every inch of their spot.

Jimmy from West Fargo, ND

With all the preseason games now finished, what are your quick takes thus far, for both the Packers and the rest of the NFL? For me, I love the mix of vet leadership and the young energy of this team. I am confident in QB1 that he'll show to be the next great GB QB, much to chagrin of the other NFC North teams. The poise and professionalism Jordan Love has shown his first few years made him mentally ready for this season. I think the sneak peek of this preseason leads me to believe he's physically ready.

First and foremost, the Packers had a good training camp. There still are a few things to sort out before the plane leaves for Chicago, but most of the lingering questions I had were answered over the last six weeks. Love has been a portrait of professionalism, too. Love's authentic brand of leadership has resonated with this locker room and players have rallied around it.

Jim from Prairie du Chien, WI

How about a positive on this difficult day? It's been a long time since a grave was dug at 1265, but did you see T.J. Slaton's salute to his "numbersake" (is that even a word?) Gilbert Brown? About seven minutes left in first quarter. Absolutely made my day!

Like I tweeted (or X'ed?) on Saturday, T.J. Slaton is coming, y'all. I'm telling you. The big man is coming. I would put it between Slaton and Rasheed Walker for the most improved Packers players this offseason. And the Packers are gonna need him, too, in the heart of Joe Barry's defense.

Paul from Northglenn, CO

Is this the most talented DL we've had in a while?

Talented is a broad term. Athletically, it's up there. I'm very excited to see the rotations this year. We'll have to see how the roster shakes out, but we know the Packers will have at least five men in the trenches who can move.

Bruce from Appleton, WI

Who do think will be the third running back for the Packers?

Patrick Taylor, Lew Nichols, Tyler Goodson, Emanuel Wilson, and Nate McCrary all have something different to offer. Echoing what Matt LaFleur said on Sunday, I'm not getting into player evaluations until we see what Brian Gutekunst is thinking, but I don't think Taylor gets enough credit for the versatility, reliability, and durability he's demonstrated the past two years.

James from Appleton, WI

I'm rooting for Patrick Taylor to make the 53. If the Packers decide to go with just their three young tight ends, Taylor's blocking ability could provide some measure of a security blanket for that decision. Matt LaFleur could find a space in his flexible offense for a back who can run, be a dump-off receiver and pick up a blitzer. Plus, those green-and-gold jerseys look better with some blue collars.

This is Taylor's fourth run at a spot on the initial 53, though Lisfranc surgery sidelined him during his first summer in Green Bay. I offer no predictions other than it would be a great story of resilience if Taylor finally makes his way onto the Week 1 roster. The hardest thing is there are a lot of good humans in Ben Sirmans' RBs room, but only one available spot for a third RB…maybe.

Drew from Croton on Hudson, NY

"Dave from Hollywood, MD: I don't recall the Packers ever having carried two punters through training camp and the final preseason game." Didn't they take two punters into the regular season in B.J. Sanders's rookie year?

Yes, but Bryan Barker wasn't signed until the end of training camp. Meanwhile, Spoff's reply from yesterday seems so prophetic now.

Dave from Middletown, CT

Count me firmly in the soft-hearted, "keep everyone" school of thought, though the only possible way to do that would be the foolhardy policy of having only 69 players in training camp. That said, can you speculate on the thinking behind cutting an experienced and proven punter/holder still performing well, in favor of a rookie? I understand it for a QB, who needs more development time, but for punter? Is there a significant cap consideration at that position?

I'm not going to speak for Gutekunst on why the decision was made other than Daniel Whelan is an intriguing talent with a tremendous leg. Gutekunst will be asked on Wednesday for further explanation on the decision, but the fact Green Bay's punting competition went to the final whistle is a testament to both Whelan and Pat O'Donnell.

Tom from Cork, Ireland

Hi Wes, when Daniel Whelan was signed, I queried if he had a chance of making the roster, but it did not make it to Inbox, perhaps understandably given Pat O'Donnell was the incumbent. Living a few short hours' drive from Wicklow in Ireland, I'm delighted a fellow Irishman has made the squad. One of the stories, if not the story, of camp for me. Congratulations and well done to Daniel Whelan.

On the other side of the coin, I'm also cautious when it comes to dolling out congratulations because of how quickly things can change. As things stand right now, Whelan making the Packers' 53-man roster would be quite the tale. He'd be the first Irish-born player to make an NFL roster since Neil O'Donoghue in 1985.

Ingrid from Superior, WI

I'm sure this question comes around annually this time of year, so I apologize in advance of the repeatability. If a player is released when teams are forming their roster of 53 and are claimed off waivers from another team, do they have to accept that assignment? Or can they decline and be added to the Packers' practice squad (if they were told ahead of time that was the Packers' plan)?

They must accept the assignment, but it only applies to players with fewer than four accrued seasons. A vested veteran, like O'Donnell, is free to sign with any team that calls. That's why, I presume, the Packers let him go on Monday rather than waiting.

Dale from Prescott, WI

After the release of O'Donnell, which Packers player is the elder statesmen now? Our team just got younger again.

Currently, there is just one player (David Bakhtiari) who's seen his 31st birthday on the Packers' roster. This is a young squad.

Nik from Moore, SC

Given the new rules for having an emergency QB active on gameday, do you see more teams keeping a third QB on the 53? According to my research, which could be and usually is wrong, only 12 teams kept a third QB on their 53. What's the big difference to the league whether the QB is a weekly PS promotion or on the 53?

Gutekunst briefly touched on this at the start of training camp. By the letter of the law, the third QB must be on the active roster to be eligible for emergency activation. For that reason, I think you'll see the rule have a greater effect at the end of the season than Week 1. Given the win-or-go home implications of the playoffs, it's more likely teams will add a third QB to their postseason roster since it's a "free" spot on the gameday roster.

Paul from Northglenn, CO

Could an argument be made for defensive third-down efficiency being the most critical stat relative to victory?

I still think turnover differential is a better indicator, but an argument can be made for a defense's ability to get off the field on third down. Not only because that's the money down, but it also says a lot about how a team is performing on early downs, as well. Defending on third-and-1 is a different proposition than third-and-10.

Jay from Altoona, WI

It pains me to say it, but I was embarrassed to be a Packers fan sitting in the stands this past Saturday. Despite numerous pleas by the PA announcer, the fans were loud and raucous when the offense was on the field, but quiet like a library when the defense was on the field. The fans in section 106 kept starting the wave. Even though it was only preseason, we fans need to do a lot better.

I'd like to say it's preseason for everybody, but the Packers fans gotta save the energy and cheering for when the opposing offense is on the field. Alex McGough threw a dime to Jadakis Bonds for 52 yards and then had to deal with crowd noise on the very next snap.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. When looking at QB stats, which do you think is more meaningful … yards per completion or yards per attempt? Thanks.

Yards per attempt. Three of Aaron Rodgers' four MVP seasons came when he averaged more than 8.0 yards per attempt. Rodgers also won a Super Bowl in 2010 when eclipsing that mark (8.3).

Joshua from Milwaukee, WI

Jordan Love is mobile enough to succeed, but I'm annoyed with all the II questions/comments about his running prowess. He ran for a little over 400 yards in his three seasons of college football. Will he run a bit more than Rodgers the last several years? Sure. But he's not a running QB. Can we put that myth to rest?

Yes, except I joked with Spoff on Saturday night about how I kept stressing Love is a pocket quarterback in Inbox and now he's suddenly scrambling everywhere. You can't win.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

Who's your favorite rebound story, of a player getting cut but thriving elsewhere?

I always will be partial to Justin McCray's story of perseverance. He and his twin brother, Jordan, were working as hotel bellmen when Justin earned a second crack at the NFL with the Packers in 2017 and he's still trucking along.

Sean from Springfield, OR

I don't have the list in front of me, but it seemed like there was less churn at the bottom of the camp roster this year. I feel like in past years, there were daily news posts for a few players being shuffled in and out. Did the team get more of what they wanted to see right away?

The Packers had a strong rookie class, which led to a more stable 90-man roster. Of the 12 rookies the Packers signed as undrafted free agents on May 1, nine of them made it to the final preseason game.

John from Fairbanks, AK

As my expiration date is getting visible, I'm going out in style. I'm ticketed for back-to-back games (Lions at Lambeau and Packers at Raiders). Aside from a Cousins Sub, any tips for a free day in GB? We've been to a game before so looking for something off the menu. Any word on the pep rally for the Vegas game? I'm hoping for a chance to meet you and Spoff and (OK, would be really exciting) Larry. Looking forward to two wins. GPG!

Larry has pregame radio prep, but good Lord willing, Spoff and I will be in attendance for the Vegas pep rally at the PKWY Tavern. When in Green Bay, the Heritage Trail is a must if you're a Packers fan and have the time. Cliff and all those folks associated with that project did a remarkable job making the Packers' rich history visible and present.

Roger from McGrath, AK

"Trust the process" ended yesterday's II. For agents representing players on the bubble but not likely on the 53, that process is a black hole to me and probably to most other fans. Can you outline the process? What are the agents doing today?

Agents spend the day working the phones. If their guy makes a roster, it's a celebration. If the player gets cut, then the agent is plotting their client's next move while waiting for the waiver wire on Wednesday. Like college free agency after the draft, it's organized chaos in a room that never stops spinning.

Dan from Waupun, WI

Mike, you answered TK's question with, "No one gets to have their cake and eat it, too." The fall is pie season. Apple pie. Pumpkin pie. Do you get it? What is your favorite pie? Do they make an apple latte? We all know Wes is a pumpkin latte guy. Will you guys do a competition, and the loser gets a pie in the face? Old but good. I will end with Go Brewers Go.

I have never had a pie smashed in my face. I must not be running in the right circles.

Graydon from Menomonie, WI

I can't believe Zak doubted Wes yesterday in the Inbox by writing, "My only fear is that 20 push-ups could result in a career-ending injury to our dear Weston." I have total faith in Wes. Now, if those push-ups are root beer flavored, I will bet Wes could eat 30 of them.

Root beer can be a strong motivator.

Jeff from Albuquerque, NM

But can I have my cake and trade it for a pie to be named later?

Nope. Only cinnamon rolls. Talk to you Wednesday.

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