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Inbox: The opportunity is there for everyone to shine

The Packers have experience at the positions it matters most

WR Jayden Reed
WR Jayden Reed

Kenton from Rochester, MN

"Every play is a moving chessboard." That's beautiful, Wes. I've never heard that one before. Did you make that up yourself or is it from some other source?

A lot of things pop into my head. A few of them make sense.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Here we go. It's officially Bears Week! Why does it feel that, despite the rich history between these two teams, the slate is blank, and it's aching for the next chapter to be written?

There's a reason this game got picked for America's Game of the Week, right? It's a fresh coat of paint on the NFL's oldest rivalry. In addition to Jordan Love making his first start against Chicago, you also have the Bears vying for their first win in nine tries against the Matt LaFleur-led Packers. I'm expecting a hard-fought battle from beginning to end.

Bruce from Jackson, WI

Morning Wes, early last year our defensive line had problems with containment whether it was all our speed or rookies. This year straight out of the gate we get Justin Fields, who ran for over 1,100 yards when flushed out of the pocket last year. Did you see anything in training camp that gives you confidence we won't have the same problem again this year? Our DL is even younger this year with more speed.

I did. I believe the athleticism and depth of the defensive linemen make that position one of the most exciting parts of this year's team. There's boundless potential with the maturation of Devonte Wyatt and T.J. Slaton, and the addition of Colby Wooden and Karl Brooks. Behind them, De'Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker could easily be considered one of the top ILB units in the league. Preston Smith is one of the most assignment-sure edge rushers and Rashan Gary is a powerhouse. The Packers have the speed and strength to compete with anyone up front.

Eric from Kenosha, WI

Happy real football week Monday! In poring over the 53, I count 16 players who are at least in their fifth season. There is seemingly a nice blend of youth and experience on this team, despite their reported youngest average age in the league. It will be fun to watch how it all comes together.

The Packers are young but have experience at the positions it matters most. With a new starting quarterback, it's good to have a five-time All-Pro left tackle and two-time Pro Bowl left guard blocking his blindside. As young as Green Bay is on the perimeter, it has two experienced veterans in Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon to help with Love out of the backfield.

Etienne from Saint Joachim de Tourelle, Canada

Good morning II. What is your take on four cornerbacks on the roster? It's kind of thin and unexpected. Is the back end of the defense versatile like some of our multitaskers on the O-line? It seems to me that safeties will have to put on their Elgton Jenkins/Zach Tom tuxedos here and there and fill CB shoes at times. I'm glad we retained all the practice-squad players and that Emanuel Wilson made it. Baloney goes freezer now.

It's a little light until Eric Stokes comes off physically unable to perform, but like you said, the Packers went heavy with six safeties and most of them can play the slot. Green Bay also has the option of elevating fifth-year veteran Corey Ballentine off the practice squad, if needed.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning. What were rookie quarterback Sean Cliffords final preseason passing stats?

It was a strong debut for Clifford, who went 41-of-57 passing (71.9%) for 391 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions (81.8 passer rating). His job is now to help Love prepare, but I felt like Clifford showed enough to feel good about his ability to lead this offense if a shoelace snaps.

Kevin from Rockton, IL

To Wes's point about not caring about WR rankings, what I find most intriguing about this year's offense is seeing from whence the passing production comes from week to week. Defenses aren't going to be able to focus on one area of the field. There are options everywhere. We saw it during preseason. If JL has time (which he will), somebody will get open somewhere. The hope is WR1 will be a revolving door.

Production will come from everywhere, which is what makes the game-planning for Green Bay so interesting the first month of the season. Defensive coordinators know the threats looming with Aaron Jones, Christian Watson, and Co., but not necessarily which playmaker will be featured most on a given week. When New England was at its peak with Tom Brady, the Patriots were a matchup nightmare for opposing teams on both sides of the ball because of how many players they featured. The way the Packers have structured this thing offensively, the opportunity is there for everyone to shine.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Mike's Cinderfella story on Daniel Whelan was amazing. When a man goes from folding towels at a spa eight hours a day and taking snaps from his mom in the kitchen to part of the Green Bay roster, the changes are colossal on so many levels. How does he seem to be adjusting to the pressures of performing and living in the Packers public eye?

The regular season is a different monster, but Daniel Whelan has gotten a taste of what NFL life is like. He was in hotly contested battle with a 10-year veteran, punted in three preseason games and played twice inside Lambeau Field. This all came after playing a full XFL season in the spring. He's ready for it.

Andy from Madison, WI

Morning, Gents! Listening to some national talking heads this past week, I heard a recounting of an interview with none other than Packer HOFer and QB Whisperer Mike Holmgren. Asked how many starts it took for him to know his QB was "The guy," Coach Holmgren reportedly replied, "32," or nearly two full seasons of starts. Being a survivor of the desolate green-and-gold wasteland that was the '70s and '80s, I say, "Patience, Packer Nation!"

Believe it or not, it took time for Brett Favre. Matt Hasselbeck wasn't an overnight success for Holmgren in Seattle, either. He worked through some early inconsistency before leading the Seahawks to a Super Bowl. This team believes in Jordan Love, though. That's a huge part of developing a franchise QB.

Charlie from Lowell, IN

Now that we are fast approaching the age of the Jetsons, what kind of future do you see for AI in professional sports? Do you see a time in football where plays and schemes are developed as a result of AI? I think it is only a matter of time before some coach figures out how to use it to his advantage.

Technology and evolution are omnipresent in our society. As Artificial Intelligence further develops, I'm sure analytic departments across the NFL will be researching how AI can be leveraged to help in the win column. You can't stand in the way of progress.

Pete from North Caldwell, NJ

Do you think the Packers' five primetime games are ultimately a net positive or negative, given how young the team (and QB) is?

It's always a privilege to play in primetime. I just wish there were fewer holiday games. We've been hit pretty hard the past few years with games on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day, and New Year's Eve/Day.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

When is the depth chart updated? Do you have a solid grasp on the all the changes between the initial 53 and PS and where we landed today? From the outside it would appear some of the transactions were meant to protect players from the waiver wire.

The unofficial depth chart is part of the weekly dope sheet, which comes out Tuesday. There could always be changes, but I think the roster is set for the most part.

Barbara from Snellville, GA

With all the young players, does this help with the salary cap? Always good to have some room for in-season maneuvers.

This is a minor reset. The Packers have some dead money on this year's cap because of Aaron Rodgers' prior deal and voided years on other contracts, but that'll be cleared after this season.

Jim from Bruce, WI

The Packers have 19 years in a row of keeping at least one undrafted free agent. Is there any other NFL team with more consecutive years than the Packers? Thanks for all you guys do.

I'm not exactly sure where 19-in-a-row ranks, but it's gotta be pretty high up there. It took a lot of work to get the Packers' streak straight, so I'll leave it up to other beat writers to figure out the other 31 teams.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

If a team decides to cut one of the international players, and another team signs him to the practice squad, does the signing team receive the 17th roster spot? Or is that only for the team the player was originally assigned to? If the Packers were to sign one of the cut players, could they receive an 18th spot as long as both international players remained on the practice squad?

The exemption only applies to the team the player was assigned. If the original team would cut an international player, I believe another team could sign him but that would count against its 16-player practice squad.

William from Evergreen, CO

Mike, in the last "Unscripted" you mentioned that Daniel Whelan attended a "small college in California." UC-Davis is by no means a small school. It is a part of the massive University of California system. Unto itself it is as large as most of the classic Big Ten schools, including my alma mater, Purdue. UC-Davis is almost as large as the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

You're getting too caught up on the literal. UC-Davis may have a big campus, but it's still a part of the Football Championship Subdivision. It's been 21 years since UC-Davis has had a player drafted into the NFL. In the football realm, that qualifies as a small school.

Jessi from Sterling, KS

The highlight of my Packer week has been seeing Emanuel Wilson make the RB room and one of my favorite players of all time, Jordy Nelson, be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame. It was moving to see him so touched by so many in this organization. Rich memories! What was the highlight to report on the past seven days?

Simple. Seeing James Campen.

John from Fort Myers, FL

Did Tariq Carpenter end up on a team? If so, which one?

Carpenter signed to Pittsburgh's practice squad.

John from Topeka, KS

Obstreperous, perseverate, plethora, obtuse – could we just say "sesquipedalian" and be done with it? Better yet, a real, live, NFL football game next week. Other than the Packers (a given) and the KC/Detroit game (starting gun to the season), which matchup intrigues you the most, and why? Not that you'll have the time to WATCH it, but, you know, hypothetically.

Buffalo and New York Jets at the Meadowlands on Monday Night Football…and I should have a chance to watch it. Buffalo poses a stiff test for Rodgers and the Jets' offensive line, but also a huge opportunity. That's a tone-setter for the season.

Colleen from Blair, NE

Who is Sherry? Jordy mentioned in his speech and her role in the organization. One of the many unspoken heroes we staff.

Sherry Schuldes, who's another unsung hero behind the scenes in the Packers organization. She's the director of family programs and the key contact for families of Packers players and coaches. The creation and development of that position in 1996 was one of the first in the NFL.

Edward from Yorba Linda, CA

Thanks for an opportunity to ask questions and get quality answers. Is there a standard fixed amount paid to players in an injury settlement or is every case different?

It depends on the severity of the injury and when doctors believe a player could pass a physical. If that isn't possible, then that player will remain on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. For example, in 2013, undrafted receiver Sederrik Cunningham dislocated his wrist on the first day of training camp and stayed with the Packers until the following April.

Pete from Hillsborough, NC

It's sad to see the PAC-12 disappear. Once more money trumps common sense, even with supposedly highly intelligent/educated college administrators. Big money college football is destroying collegiate sports. What do you think about the idea of spinning off college football into its own league with regional divisions and revenue sharing, like the NFL, and leave the other sports in their old original conferences? It seems to make a lot of sense, which means it probably doesn't have a chance.

That kind of sounds like what Rick Pitino was saying last month and just having college football be its own deal – leave the other college sports alone and allow them to compete in more traditional, region-based conferences. College re-alignment has spun out of control in recent years. Now, maybe that slows down with the disintegration of the PAC-12, but it's still wild to me how a once-proud conference fell apart.

Gary from Nashville, TN

Good morning, Wes, in Friday's Insider Inbox, Mike said all Packers games on radio can be picked up by anyone who has a desktop. Well, I'm 87 years old and not computer savvy so will you please give me a little more information on how I go about doing it?

There's a link on our website before every game. I'd suggest bookmarking this page*.*

Steve from Wauwatosa, WI

It happens every year. End of season happens, and I swear off football. By March, I am reading the Inbox daily. April has me reading everything I can find on the Packers. Right about now, I am whipped up into a frenzy anticipating Week 1. I am sixty-flipping-four years old and fall into this pattern every-single-flogging year. What am I, a kid? Is there no cure? I mean besides the Week 1 results of the last two years.

That's the beauty of football once September rolls around.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Have you tried the Jordy Nelson cinnamon roll dipped in chili delicacy?

Some things are best left to the imagination. Have a great week.

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