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Inbox: The Packers have some sorting out to do

It’s starting to look the way LaFleur wants it to look


Chris from Marshall, IL

You know you opened a can of worms with that "Insiders Suggestion Box," right? What did you do to Wes for him to set you up like that?

It's OK. It was worth it.

Dale from Kettering, OH

Am I the 100th reader to suggest "Needs more cowbell" in the noisemaker controversy?

Then again, maybe not.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

What will you look for in the younger receivers as we continue to go through preseason to maybe understand if they have a future in the league/on the team?

It really comes down to, if the ball comes their way, do they make the play? LaFleur also mentioned wanting to see the receivers more involved in the run game as helpful blockers. So that's worth watching for. But the coaches and personnel staff also know who got open most consistently whether or not they got the ball, so that factors in as well.

Ross from Hudson, WI

So any repercussions for a "non-score" Lambeau Leap?

I'll give a rookie in his first NFL preseason some latitude.

DA from Brighton, IL

Insiders, it seems the Packers have been especially active in the running back market this offseason and into camp, with another waiver claim over the weekend. In your opinion, is it because they feel the depth chart is lacking something or is it more to do with having enough bodies for camp?

The latter, in my view. Jamaal Williams hasn't practiced yet, Aaron Jones is back but still very limited, and both fullbacks have gone down with injuries. No one wants to wear out the guys who are healthy.

Tom from Roseville, CA

Where does the word "tilt" come from when referring to a contest or game?


Steve from Ellenton, FL

A number of teams now have a Roku channel so fans can view video and info on their favorite teams. Are the Packers digital gurus looking into this venue?

Yes. A TV app is in the works but is not yet ready for launch. Stay tuned.

Gary from Bear Valley, WI

At this stage of the preseason, is the lack of good tackling a concern?

You'd like to see better, of course, but if it gets cleaned up in the second game, all should be fine. Including OTAs, minicamp and the first two weeks of training camp, that's six weeks of playing "football" without tackling anybody. I'm OK allowing for a short adjustment period.

Paul from De Pere, WI

What's the over/under on the number of guys not currently on the roster who make the final 53? Given the injury to Oren Burks, is our other starting ILB currently on the roster?

That's up to the other inside linebackers currently on the roster, a group I wrote about yesterday. Curtis Bolton and Ty Summers are the leaders of the rest of the pack now, from what I've seen. Their goal is to keep that job in-house, and their play in Baltimore on Thursday will go a long way in determining whether they achieve that.

Jake from Athens, GA

In practice, how often is the defense playing a two-ILB personnel package in the 11-on-11 work?

I couldn't put a percentage on it, but they use it a fair amount. Base and regular nickel use two inside 'backers. If you go with the hybrid DB in that spot in normal down-and-distance situations, you're begging the offense to run the ball.

Chris from Portage, WI

Who are the key players to watch at this week's preseason game against Baltimore?

Aside from the ILBs, I'll have my eye on the backup offensive tackles – Alex Light, Gerhard de Beer, Adam Pankey and Yosh Nijman. The Packers have some sorting out to do there.

Josh from Houston, TX

I didn't see the game, so I don't know if it was overturned, but the highlight of Ka'dar Hollman's interception ends with a call of blind-side block on No. 25 (Will Redmond). In the replay, you can clearly see that No. 25 and No. 17 were face-to-face, chest-to-chest, during the block. How the heck is that blind-siding someone? What was Redmond supposed to do?

Hitting the guy head-on was irrelevant to the penalty being called. A blind-side block is when the blocker is running toward his own end line (the one his team is defending) and makes forcible contact with an opponent. It's a point of emphasis for the officials this year, and Redmond's block was a perfect example of something that was legal for years but is no longer. As Hollman began returning the interception, Redmond ran the opposite direction and leveled a trailing player. You can get in the way of that player, run interference, etc., but you can't forcibly block him if you're running the opposite direction of the ball.

William from Greenville, SC

After watching John Kuhn interview Darrius Shepherd I came way so impressed with the rookie WR. Most notably, Darrius spoke very well, ending the session with "thank you John." It was refreshing to see this kind of interaction. What new player has impressed you with a classy persona?

Several, frankly. I talked with Bolton for the first time yesterday and enjoyed getting a sense of his attitude and approach. Same with Summers during rookie minicamp. Wes mentioned to me a really good chat he had with Allen Lazard after practice. Everyone's got a story in this business and most young players appreciate anyone's interest in it.

The Green Bay Packers practiced on Ray Nitschke Field on Sunday, Aug. 11, the team's 100th birthday.

Joe from Louisville, KY

When comparing Kizer and Boyle's play during the game, does it seem like Kizer is a little apprehensive after the ball is snapped compared to Boyle? It seems to me he hesitates just a bit longer before committing to his throw, like it takes him longer to make a read and all the mental calculations that go with it. Is it just me or have others seen this too?

I'm no quarterback expert, but if it was on the film, I guarantee it's been reviewed. LaFleur said before the game his top priority was to see the QBs play decisively. "Indecisiveness equals ineffectiveness." We'll see where it goes from here. I thought Kizer's outing was a solid if unspectacular start to the preseason. Now he has to build on it.

Scott from Greensburg, IN

What's the "early word" on the quality of the field in Winnipeg? If tradition holds, the most extensive time our key players will see in games the entire preseason will be on that field. Canton's field a few years back, and the one in Mexico causing a change in venue late last season, immediately come to mind. The hope, obviously, is there are no reasons for concern.

Obviously. I honestly don't know, but I have to believe if there are legitimate risks, the Packers will adjust plans accordingly.

Cheryl from Glens Falls, NY

Hi Mike and Wes, if the special teams look as improved to my untrained eye as they did at the first preseason game, I will be super hopeful that not only will they NOT finish towards the bottom of the stat lists this year, but that special-teams play will significantly impact games in our favor. EQ having a special-teams TD? That was a thing of beauty!

An occasional impact play or fortuitous bounce is great, no complaints. But mainly I want to see clean, sound play that wins field position. The fewer times Rodgers has to start drives inside his own 20, and the more times the Packers' revamped defense gets that advantage, the more the impact will add up, big plays or not.

Tony from River Falls, WI

What do you guys look for when watching a preseason game?

If I'm not too busy with the ongoing website updates, I try to focus for several plays in a row on a young player fighting for a roster spot and see if to my untrained eye he looks like he belongs. But I won't consider my two-bit analysis the be-all, end-all when I admit I don't know much about the specific opponent or matchup the player is facing.

Steve from Neenah, WI

Will more of the starters play in the second game?

I anticipate that's the plan.

Dan from Indianapolis, IN

I seem to recall that James Jones had a number of dropped passes in his first year, but he eventually got past it, and look what! I hope the Packers give J'Mon Moore a good chance to overcome these jitters. He's got size, speed, and talent, though I also realize they might not have the luxury this year of roster space.

The recollections on Jones have gotten a bit skewed. He actually battled the drops for a stretch in 2010, after he was an established pro, and the Packers stuck with him much like they have other proven players who have gone through slumps. That said, aside from the physical attributes, Moore has the self-awareness that gives him a chance, but the Packers also have other options at the position that have outperformed him to this point. Wes has a story on Moore going up later this morning, by the way. It's going to be an interesting three weeks.

Ryan from Chicago, IL

Depth seems to be the name of the game entering the season, as well as avoiding injuries. Which position group is looking the deepest right now?

I like the way the cornerback group is coming along, even without King at the moment. Brown and Hollman are showing they belong, and Jackson is just getting back in the swing of practice.

Josh from Melbourne, Australia

Talking about St. Brown performing as a gunner, it's not often you see someone with his size and wingspan playing that role. Obviously anything you can add to your repertoire gives you a leg up in making the roster, but is there a tangible difference that extra wingspan and size make for him?

It helps him beat the jam at the line of scrimmage, much like as a receiver. But as a gunner, he's got even more space to work with to use that size to get leverage on his opponent to get downfield. Unfortunately, St. Brown dropped out of Sunday's practice because his knee was bothering him, so we may be seeing some other gunners Thursday night in Baltimore.

Deanna from Oregon

Lazard looks like a real find. Thoughts?

I see him getting more snaps in the upcoming preseason games. He's making some noise and needs to keep it up.

Jeff from South Bend, IN

Has it been established yet whether LaFleur will do weekly captains or if he'll have set captains the whole season?

Haven't heard.

Keith from Lincoln, IL

After seeing the photos of Tim Boyle biking back to Lambeau, I think the Insider Inbox community needs to have some kids there this week with bikes and with T-shirts that read "Michael 'Freaking' Spofford" and "Wesley 'Freaking' Hodkiewicz!"

I think you're going a little overboard. The shirts didn't say Timothy.

Nick from Portland, OR

It's interesting watching the constant changes to the bottom of the roster. Do teams assemble a list of players they'd like from across the NFL and then rank them to make these decisions if they become available, or do you feel they're more basing it off of seeing a player struggling at practice and just hoping for an upgrade from somewhere else?

Most roster moves at this stage are in response to injuries, and if the injured players aren't going to be back soon enough to take a realistic shot at making the team, the personnel department would rather get a look-see at someone else. They have pre-draft scouting files on everyone and those files are updated with preseason film, which they have access to. Once a player is on the waiver wire, a claim must be put in within 24 hours, so the scouts work to stay updated on players throughout the league as best they can.

Eric from Stramproy, Netherlands

100! Congrats y'all.

I'm sure the franchise doesn't feel a day older than 99.

Sandy from Green Bay, WI

During early training camp practices Coach LaFleur expressed concerns regarding the energy the players brought to the field. Do you think they improved in that area and put his concerns to rest during the first preseason game?

Yes, and I think the team as a whole followed it up with, collectively, its best practice thus far on Sunday. I think it's starting to look the way LaFleur wants it to look as far as effort, energy, intensity, etc.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

"Three Things" could use a Larry McCarren fun fact.

We other three will have to put our heads together. Happy Monday.