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Inbox: The process won't stop just because the games start

No such luck last year

WR Romeo Doubs
WR Romeo Doubs

Barney from Bedrock, AL

I know Norbert and Fred at the local bar. Norbert goes by the nickname Norm because of his liking of Norm from "Cheers." Fred is a bit like my neighbor.

And the Inbox has officially jumped from Boston to the Stone Age in a matter of a few words. Wow.

Dave from Rockford, IL

In the late '70s, the Packers had starting defensive tackle Mike McCoy and starting cornerback Mike McCoy. The size was different, but the names were exactly the same. I recall Jim Irwin calling them big Mike and little Mike, but names may have gotten fuzzy with age.

Several readers mentioned the McCoys. It was for one season in 1976. Chris from Milwaukee also recalled their first and middle initials being included on their jersey nameplates.

CJ from Marshfield, WI

Hey Mike, will practice squad information (e.g., protected, elevated, number of times elevated) be published weekly during the season? Thank you.

Elevations, yes, those transactions are publicized via press releases. Protections are not announced by the organization.

Barry from Hoover, AL

This past week was the first I have heard of the rule allowing four players to be protected on the practice squad. So … not only was Rasul Douglas signed off the Arizona practice squad, he was not one of the four protected by the Cardinals?


Matt from La Crosse, WI

When a coach has to deliver the bad news to a player being cut, do they reveal if the team wants the player on the practice squad? Or is the player left in limbo for a day hoping for a call?

They'll usually inform the player if he's in their practice-squad plans, or at least under consideration. But they have no control over whether he gets claimed.

Barb from Snellville, GA

Watching the developments the last couple days makes me feel like I did watching "The Queen's Gambit." The GM and coaches are playing chess, anticipating many moves in the future. I appreciate it, but don't really get it. I'll just be happy to applaud the win.

As Wes and I discussed on "Unscripted," all the new rules regarding practice squads, roster moves, etc., have changed how teams maneuver their way to the finish, er, starting line these days.

David from Janesville, WI

There has been so much focus on special teams this offseason from coaching changes to roster selection, and for good reason. I really hope Bisaccia and his group have a vastly improved year, but I have to imagine if I'm Maurice Drayton I'm wondering why this personnel focus wasn't there when the duties were his? I'm not saying a change in coaching wasn't warranted, but it would have to sting a bit. I wonder how much if any influence Mo had on the roster. Or Mennenga for that matter.

Gutekunst said it himself at the podium, he went out of his own comfort zone with regard to roster decisions because of the overdue, glaring need to improve on special teams. I think it's obvious the way last season ended pushed him to take a different approach. The special teams were poor in '20, but the team avoided any damage in the playoffs. No such luck last year.

Jay from Woodstock, GA

With all the talk about cutdown day, and Spoff's mention of Chuck Noll's famous line, I was reminded of a comment I read attributed to Ron Wolf: "Welcome to the Green Bay Packers. You're only here 'til I find someone better." Whether he said it or not, it seems to be a brutally accurate illustration of life in the NFL. What do you think?

He also could've added, "…and we never stop looking."

Joseph from Vermillion, SD

Are there certain physical characteristics that lend themselves to a higher ceiling in pass protection for a running back assuming equality in technique? Or is the development of the skill more determined by correctly reading the defense and blocking techniques?

Reads, reactions, assignment-surety, and technique are all paramount. Size and strength are a nice complement to the rest but can't get the job done alone.

Bruce from Jackson, WI

In the last month Aaron Rodgers was doing his best to temper the fans' expectations for how much the rookie receivers were going to contribute this year. He indicated the best receivers would be on the field, mentioning Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins. Considering the fact that none of those three has been able to remain healthy the entire season for years I sure hope he starts breaking the rookies in early and often this year. I think they've proved they're ready … strap yourself in for the ride.

I believe the coaching staff and Rodgers are going to give them what they can handle, and then push them when the opportunities present themselves to expand what they can do. The process won't stop just because the games start.

Drew from Croton on Hudson, NY

"He arrived 21 days ago today – and he made it." You jinxed him.

And I thought about not making him the headline item because of that very possibility. I defied my better judgment.

Matt from Lodi, WI

It's a dog-eat-dog world and I'm wearing milk bone underwear. I know we live the first 53-man roster on our sleeves but how do the players do it? You're on the roster, you're off the roster. Is this the dance all year long for these guys?

Pretty much, and two references to one of the greatest sitcoms, and sitcom characters, of all time in the same column has really made my week.

Keith from Bakersfield, CA

The Packers picked up a player through waivers, signing another Jonathan Ford as a safety. (Thankfully this one goes by Rudy!) I don't recall GB picking up players following cutdown day in the past. When was the last time they added a player like that, and who has been the most impactful cutdown waiver pickup they've had?

To be accurate, Ford was a free-agent signing, not a waiver claim. But two of the most impactful cutdown-day waiver claims I've seen occurred in my first two years on this job: Jarrett Bush ('06) and John Kuhn ('07).

Ralph from Monchengladbach, Germany

Hello II, Ty Summers to Jacksonville and Rudy Ford to GB. Could that have been a trade, without being a trade?

Sort of, except the Packers didn't assume Ford's contract. He was signed to a new one.

George from North Mankato, MN

What's your take on Aaron Donald saying, "It's just a practice," to swinging multiple Bengals helmets at opposing players?

I think the follow-up question should've been, "What were you practicing?"

Sal from Moorestown, NJ

45 of the 53 are active on game day. Do the eight inactive players make less money for being inactive?

Only if their contracts stipulate it.

Tim from Olathe, KS

Mike, last year everyone thought we were ready to roll coming out of training camp and we proceeded to lay an egg on Opening Day. We looked unprepared to start the season. What changes have you noticed in this training camp that gives you confidence a repeat is not in store against the Vikings?

Wednesday's practice, which I don't recall ever being conducted in such a fashion in my time here. It's why I wrote about it.

Matt from Houston, TX

No question here, just a statement: The Rock is a national treasure! One thing? Nah, I got a stream of things! Who needs rules? And watch out Spoff!

That was an all-timer.

Bill from Dickinson, ND

"Oh, to be a fly on the wall in the film room." Which room would you rather be buzzing around in: the film room before final cuts, draft HQ during Day 1/2/3 of the draft, or Coach's office for the game-planning session the week before the Super Bowl?

The draft. For sure.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

Hey guys, just finished watching Gutey's presser. Is it safe to say that when Jenkins is cleared he'll be lining up at RT? I like the sound of our two best linemen keeping the edges of the pocket clean for 12.

Hearing Gutekunst refer to David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins as "those two tackles" wasn't lost on any beat writer at that press conference.

Ann from Menomonee Falls, WI

Is there a specific coach who coaches the practice-squad players to mimic the next team they will face?

The quality control coaches do a lot of that scouting work, preparing the plays/schemes for the scout team to run on both sides of the ball during the week leading up to the game.

Craig from Mendota Heights, MN

The Vikes' announcer and other homer blowhards think the unknowingness (?) of their new and improved (!) offense means surprise to the Pack and a sure win. What say you?

They must believe the Vikings know everything the Packers are going to run in their new Adams-less offense. I wish I could say the same.

Kenton from Rochester, MN

I got a chuckle out of Spoff's answer to Mark on the health and availability of Bakhtiari, Jenkins and Tonyan. Although he pleaded ignorance, I can't believe that you guys don't have some inside dope on what's going on – but, as Packer employees, there's just some things you can't or won't publicly share. Assuming I'm correct, are the things you have to keep on the "down low" mandated by management or do you just use your best judgment on what and what not to reveal?

Keeping management from knowing what I know comes first. Then the rest takes care of itself.

Bob from Rome, NY

Gentlemen, does watching NFL games on mobile devices count towards the ratings? If so, the fact the NFL moved off of Labor Day weekend due to ratings in 2004 may be a little outdated. I liked when the NFL started on Labor Day. Most fans could watch the opening game and not have to worry about work the next day. Thank you!

Interesting thought, but on the other end I do think the league likes how the season now extends further into January and February, when more people are homebound and other sports haven't reached their compelling stages (March Madness, etc.).

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

I've noticed multiple players around the league missing time due to an "undisclosed injury." I assume, if they are still hurt when the official injury reports are released, the injury would be made public. Is that correct?


Israel from Centennial, CO

Mike from Green Bay had an interesting reply to Mike from Somerset Wednesday. While getting three more All-Pros is a lot to ask, the amazing thing might be how many paths there are to that. Bakhtiari, Jenkins, Kenny Clark, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, Jaire Alexander … they have all played elite football and could have an All-Pro year. Others like Douglas aren't far behind, and Stokes' second-year leap could be scary. Kudos to Gutey for putting together a dominant defense on paper; can't wait to see it on the field.

Oh, I don't deny the possibilities exist, but it's still a very tall order when you look at history. Only once since the Holmgren era have the Packers had more than four first- or second-team AP All-Pro selections in a given year. That came in 2020 with six (first-teamers Rodgers, Bakhtiari, Linsley, Adams, plus second-teamers Alexander, Z. Smith). So yes, it happened recently, but I was just recognizing that extensive a list as a rarity.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Approximately 32 teams, at this stage, believe they've "gotten better" since the end of last season. I'd love to have your perspective on a couple emerging teams to watch as well as a couple that have likely declined. Thanks!

Decline is very difficult to forecast, because it's usually due to age and/or injury, the impacts of which aren't evident in advance. Teams on my most improved radar include the Lions, Eagles, Colts and Chargers.

Ron from Cheyenne, WY

I know at this point it's hard to say, but keeping the team healthy with such a late-season bye has me worried. What are your thoughts?

It's the biggest challenge unrelated to any specific opponents the 2022 schedule has put in front of the Packers. Meet that challenge, and it could set the team up nicely.

Dennis from Ottawa, IL

In the QOTD about a team band, 12 said it would be Provolone on guitar. Who is the cheese on the team? I couldn't pick him out, or do we have unlisted participants?

It took me a few days but I got the answer from 12 himself, who confessed it was an inside joke amongst the players. Provolone was a reference to former defensive lineman Willington Previlon, who spent 2020 on the practice squad here and then did not make the team last year. He apparently liked to brag about his (somewhat questionable) musical talents, so Rodgers was putting him on guitar in the team band to prove himself.

Greg from Cherry Valley, IL

We are finally here. Camp is over. Preseason is over. Getting the roster and practice squad set. Upon us for the next six months is Packer football! I just have one question. I don't know about you, Mike and Wes, but is this heaven?!

No, but it's better than Iowa. Happy Friday.