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Inbox: The puzzle has been cut into different pieces

The pitfalls are coming; they’re inevitable


Jeff from Round Rock, TX

You keep referencing the best throw you ever saw was one virtually no one else has. Can it be released?

Back in the saddle and we've reverted to this again? All right then.

You will not find it on the net.

You will not find it, that's a sure bet.

No one will find it, not you, not me.

It is simply not available, don't you see?

James from Warwick, RI

Do you know who initiated the Pipkins/Morrison trade? Just curious if our GM picked up the phone to check on a player's availability first, or if an opposing GM will see injuries happen and actively shop a player?

It was interesting how Gutekunst described the pro scouts amongst different teams having ongoing conversations, and at some point those conversations reach the GM's ears. It reminded me of the constant phone chatter during the draft, just not crammed into three days.

Mike from Carolina Beach, NC

I say no to the 18-game season, but for a different reason than keep the records in perspective. All of a sudden 2,000 yards rushing, 4,000 yards passing or 50 touchdown passes aren't so special anymore. Add games, inflate records.

This is the Packers' 100th season, and they haven't even played half of them with a 16-game schedule, so we'd all get over it. To me, an 18-game season would just make the league an even greater battle of attrition than it already is. It looks to me like an answer to a revenue problem that, frankly, doesn't exist.

Jamie from Fort Collins, CO

Do you have to be butt-free to walk like Wes? And who has the best non-Gomer Pyle strut on the team?

This is really getting out of hand.

Doug from Lafayette, OH

I know there have been plenty of instances in MLB, but has there ever been a father and son playing at the same time in the NFL?

According to Wiki, Ted and Charlie Nesser in 1921.

Dustin from Dexterville, WI

I have the answer everyone is looking for. Instead of penalizing a team yardage and having too much of an impact on the game, penalize the player. Players want to play. Making them sit out a few plays is going to make them think twice before committing another foul. Then replay the down. It's simple. Hockey got this one right, now the NFL should follow.

If you're talking about 11-on-10 "power plays," the impact on the game would be even greater. And if you're simply talking about giving violators a "timeout," you really need to consider the potential ramifications. When you do, you'll see it's not a good idea.

Brett from Oshkosh, WI

Every team could be better. If our biggest concerns as fans right now are not having enough depth at a couple positions, I'm very confident in where this team can go.

The pitfalls are coming; they're inevitable. To weather them, it's not solely about the players. It's about the men.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

Pro Football Focus says Josh Jackson was best in the league in the first two weeks with less than 17 percent completions of passes thrown near him. On top of the picks he grabbed. How's that grab you?

I hope this is the last we will be talking about Jackson's preseason exploits.

Mark from Greendale, WI

Since I don't see many others looking at this logically, I'll be the one to say it. It is impossible to make professional football safe without fundamentally changing the game, e.g., flag football. It's not a safe game, period. When even the refs don't know what a catch or a tackle is, there's a massive problem. It's hubris to think we can make the most violent game of our era "safe." Give players accurate facts about the dangers and let them decide if the risk is worth it.

I think some folks are misinterpreting the "player safety" movement. The league wants to protect brains and quarterbacks and take unnecessary violence out of the game. That's not going to make the entire game safe, and no one is trying to. The effort being undertaken is in the best interests of the game's future, but it may need its methods adjusted here or there. This will continue to evolve as the most workable answers are found. But injury reports aren't going away.

Nate from Marshfield, WI

When will "packin' the egg" T-shirts become available?

Put me down for a stitched pillow.

David from San Francisco, CA

While the INT was nice, I didn't need it to see that Jaire belonged. I was at the Oakland game, and I watched him start it off with 5 yards of separation already between him and Cooper on the first-play bomb. He regained ground on the route and had his head turned in time to make a play on the ball. He didn't, but it was clear he will in his career. His eventual INT reminded me of a certain highlight between Louisville and Clemson.

If Alexander can shake off a play like the Cooper one in a regular-season game as easily as in a preseason game, he could have a long career in this league.

Dave from Long Beach, CA

Could you please post only the non-football questions I like, in alphabetical order so I know when I am getting near the end? Also by size so I can read the quick ones first. Oh, and the funny ones on the left.

Now we're talking.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

Do you think everyone who will be on the Packers' opening day 53-man roster is already in Green Bay?

The odds are better now than they were just a few days ago, but I'm still going to say no.

Craig from Regina, Saskatchewan

With the less-than-satisfactory performance from the backup tackles, with an injury, would Lane Taylor move over and one of the backups take his spot? Seems he did that for a game or two last year.

Taylor did that once, and it would be an option. Not the most attractive one necessarily, but yes, an option.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

For all the angst and hand-wringing going on about OL play, let's remember that we acquired the perfect band-aid for bad tackle play – a top-tier blocking TE. M. Lewis is a rare TE that can go solo against a DE if needed. That is a big difference-maker if MM has to start scheming to hide line weaknesses.

He can do more than chip-block.

Theologos from Athens, Greece

If you had to guess, which player(s) do you think will be a surprise presence on the 53-man roster?

If I tell you now, it wouldn't be a surprise.

Roger from Gillette, WY

Are players on IR or PUP included in the 53-man roster?

Nope, nor are suspended players.

Kary from Sheboygan, WI

To follow up Walt's question, how many of the players on the opening-day 53 were also on the final 53?

In 2017, that number was 41.

Owen from Oakland, CA

How much does Gute have to balance the future and current roster when making his roster decisions? Because while you want to choose the best 53 players, it's important to continue to build for the future as well.

That's the nature of the job. It's vital. If roster-building were only about picking the best players to help you right now, this season, the gig might be easy enough for me to do.

Robert from Dresden, Germany

Follow-up question on the waiver process: Team X wants to add one player of a particular position to its roster. Prior to cut-down day, it has identified two players from other teams playing that position that it would claim, if these are waived by their current teams. Of course, Team X wants to claim only one (but not both) of these players. How does Team X make sure to claim only one of these players? Can it make its claim on Player B contingent upon unsuccessfully claiming Player A?

Claims are submitted with priorities. Whether contingencies can also be included or are just worked out along the way (e.g., declining a player you're awarded because of other occurrences in the process), I'm not sure. But the league has a way of sorting it all out.

LJ from Chicago, IL

What do you think about the league allowing each team to set the 10-man practice squad immediately after the 53 cut-down, without have having to expose the 10 to waivers? It would be up to the individual if he wanted to sign right away to the PS or be subject to waivers.

I think you're treading into far too complicated territory. Teams would start asking players in advance if they'd skip waivers and sign a practice-squad contract, and you'd have agents bluffing and all sorts of other nonsense. I don't think so.

Corey from Whitehall, PA

Can we skip this last preseason game and just get into season already? I know this last game will help shape the roster and depth chart. Is there anyone in particular who needs to have a big game to stay around?

A lot of guys, but I always feel it's difficult to gauge different players' roster chances from here. Regardless, as I say in today's "Final Thoughts," two players I will keep a keen eye on are Trevor Davis and Devante Mays. Davis has accomplished far more, of course, but for any young player, only getting one preseason game is a tough spot to be in.

Jesse from Darwin, Australia

So Kumerow is everyone's Cinderella story this year to make the 53-man roster. Who is your favorite Cinderella story to ever make the Packers' roster through the years?

There are a lot of them, but I'd rank Andy Mulumba right up there, given his background.

Jeff from Cedarburg, WI

With limited expectations and all, do you feel this WR group is capable of playing well enough to make the Jordy transition seem seamless?

I'm not being evasive, but I don't look at it that way. Graham is a different style of weapon. Allison is a different body type moving into a more prominent role. The puzzle has been cut into different pieces, and the plan for fitting them together will reflect that.

Gabriel from Appleton, WI

Does this mean that Odell Beckham Jr. can now afford to pay for the visiting team locker room and kicking net repairs?

I don't think they were out of his budget before, but you still made me laugh.

Gladdys from Rolling Meadows, IL

Is new inside linebacker Antonio Morrison a "chaser" or a "thumper"?

Definitely a thumper.

Dan from Toledo, OH

Per ESPN, guaranteed money from the 2014 WR draft class's new contracts: Allen Robinson $25.2 million, Sammy Watkins $30 million, Jarvis Landry $47 million, Brandin Cooks $50.5 million, Mike Evans $55 million, Beckham Jr. $65 million. Davante Adams $18 million. How crazy is that? I'd say Adams has to be the best combination of talent and cost from this draft class, wouldn't you think?

It's a great example of the benefit of working those deals out in advance of free agency with the players you've targeted to keep, as the Packers did with Adams last December. It's the best way to get a deal that works for both sides.

Timothy from Colbert, WA

Is one series really enough for the offense to come out firing on all cylinders? I can't imagine a baseball pitcher throwing three innings of a spring training game and being ready, or a batter taking a couple at-bats and being ready for opening day.

If the pitchers never saw an opponent swing and the hitters never saw a curveball or slider, they wouldn't be ready, either. But that's what preseason football is like for established, veteran players. It's a week-to-week league, and it starts with Week 1.

Lisa from Plymouth, MN

Hi, Mike. Do you plan to do the halftime chat and midweek chat this season? If so, will you be using Twitter again for the halftime chat?

Yes and yes, at this point.

Shawn from Kissimmee, FL

I watched a "Packers Unscripted" for the first time and I honestly can say that I would watch that on ESPN. You guys have a great chemistry. I suppose there lacks an edge or a competitive banter that gets more viewers across the country, but it exemplifies Wisconsin for me.

I guess I'll have to start finding some reasons to insult Wes.

Mark from West Bend, WI

When the heck did Lori from Brookfield move to Costa Rica?

Good one. Enjoy your Wednesday.