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Inbox: The stakes have never been higher

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Bard from Springfield, IL

Good morning Vic, I can't stop laughing. Thank you for publishing this, it made my day so much better.

In three-plus years doing this, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Spoff smile more about an Inbox submission/response. Good morning!

Greg from Glendale Heights, IL

With Luke Getsy calling the plays and Matt LaFleur watching the team, who is slated to call timeouts from the sideline tonight?

Well, Getsy didn’t tear his Achilles tendon and headsets are permitted to communicate, so nothing should really change with this arrangement.

Dennis from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

You've probably gotten this question dozens of times, but, why did Matt LaFleur give Getsy the play-calling duties for the KC game instead of Nathaniel Hackett?

Hackett has been a play-caller multiple times during his coaching career. Getsy hasn’t had a chance to do it at a high level yet. It’s that simple. I also think it’s kind of neat Getsy will call plays for his quarterbacks. I don’t recall that happening before – at least in Green Bay.

Bruce from Appleton, WI

What do you think about the starting linebacker spots for the Packers? Who will be the starters?

That’s up to Ty Summers, James Crawford and Brady Sheldon to decide. All three are going to play a lot tonight, with Blake Martinez sitting and Curtis Bolton and Oren Burks out with injuries. Those three young linebackers aren’t just battling each other, either. They’re competing with every inside linebacker who comes on the market this weekend. It’s not every year a starting job is potentially up for grabs in a preseason finale. The stakes have never been higher for those guys.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Ty Summers is always around the ball, but he had multiple missed tackles in the first two games. He was solid against the Chiefs, and if he has another strong game against the Raiders, should the Packers feel comfortable with Ty as a starter as long as Burks is out?

There’s an old saying about if you’re going to make a mistake, make it fast. That’s Summers. He hasn’t been perfect, but he also hasn’t been hesitant. He took a big step last week in Winnipeg and needs to take another this week.

Meagan from Wausau, WI

Who’s going to be your player to watch in this next game against Kansas City?

You’ll have to watch “Final Thoughts” to find out, but Will Redmond, Natrell Jamerson and Chandon Sullivan are a few other guys I’ll have my eye on. There appears to be a spot open in the secondary with Josh Jones’ release. I’m curious what type of defensive back the Packers are looking for to fill it.

Tim from Normal, IL

Insiders, despite your excellent work, I find myself for the first time in decades not having any feel for this team. It may be because the regulars have not played a preseason down. It may be due to not knowing the new coach yet. Or maybe it’s the anxiety of playing the Bears in eight days. Is this normal (no pun intended)?

Because we’re swimming in a sea of unknowns right now. We can talk as much as we want about all the changes under Matt LaFleur, but we really won’t know specifically what we’re dealing with until the Packers take the field in Chicago. The offense is new and the defensive core is different. We’ll get answers soon enough on how it all fits together.

Cynthia from Asheville, NC

Hello, Insiders! Thanks for all your work during the spring and summer. I've not noticed any recent comments on Ka'dar Hollman, his injury status, playing status, etc. He was shining brightly for a while and his story is a great one. I looked at the depth chart and now wonder what his chances are, especially if he's injured. What have you seen lately?

Unfortunately, Hollman’s strong start to camp was interrupted by the stinger he developed in Baltimore. He’s since returned to practice, though, and should be available to play tonight.

Jimmie from Disco, WI

What do you think the chances are either Sam Ficken or Mason Crosby, whoever loses the kicking job, ends up kicking against the Packers next Thursday?

I don’t know about that, but Ficken is an NFL-caliber kicker. He proved that this summer. When you look around the league, I think both have what it takes to kick in the league this year regardless of the direction the Packers choose to go.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

In virtually every roster prediction, I've seen Marcedes Lewis makes the 53. I haven't noticed him in any preseason games and heard his name mentioned only a couple times in camp practice. What have you seen and is his spot safe on Saturday?

Nobody on the roster can do what Lewis does. He remains one of the NFL’s best blocking tight ends, but this offense also should help him re-emerge in the pass game. The Packers need to re-establish Lewis in that capacity. Otherwise, his presence is a dead giveaway to the defense.

Jason from La Crescent, MN

How would you compare Trevor Davis to Randall Cobb? From what I've seen of Davis, he's a reliable playmaker like Cobb with the small-space quickness and knack for finding soft spots in the middle of the field. If given enough reps with Rodgers, I think Davis could be in line for some special moments and also be a go-to guy when things break down and Rodgers absolutely needs a play. This is when Cobb really shined. Your thoughts?

They’re two entirely different players other than the fact they are both natural returners. They can carry the ball, but Davis does it on jet sweeps whereas Cobb lines up as a running back at times. As far as receivers, Davis plays outside and Cobb predominately lines up in the slot.

Dominic from Chesapeake, VA

It seems there has been little conversation lately about the FB position. Can you share any updates on our FB position and, specifically, Danny Vitale’s injury? Who’s available to play? Who do you see as having the best chance to make the 53-man roster? Thanks.

Vitale was dealing with some calf tightness. The Packers played it safe and held him out the last two games as a precaution. Vitale returned to practice this week and said he planned to play vs. Kansas City (assuming the coaches allow him to). He’s still the leader in the clubhouse at fullback.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

What might surprise us about the Bears in Thursday's game? Last year the first half sure stunned us all.

That one will be hard to top. With any luck, however, the Packers won’t need to. I don’t know if much will surprise me about the Bears other than seeing what kind of impact David Montgomery has on the offense. You can put all the receivers and tight ends you want around Mitchell Trubisky, but nothing helps a young QB more than a healthy, productive run game. Montgomery figures to give Chicago the best of both worlds as a ball-carrier and pass-catcher.

The Green Bay Packers' quarterbacks dressed as characters from 'Happy Gilmore' for the 2019 Welcome Back Packers Luncheon.

Joe from Louisville, KY

With all the injuries always happening during the season do you think there will be a push to expand the practice squad to 12 players in the contract negotiations this year?

This idea has been gaining steam with NFL personnel execs and coaches, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

Erik from Luck, WI

Preseason always brings inspiring stories of young men who have overcome various challenges in life (loss of a parent, living in a car, etc.) to make it to an NFL training camp. Some make it as a pro, some don't. As a member of the media, which of your favorite stories went on to have a solid career, and which of your favorites sadly didn't make the cut? Which stories do you wish you could still tell, but they moved on after not making the team?

It’s funny. That last part of your question is what led to our Mitchell Henry profile earlier this summer. My favorite story who went on to have a solid career was Taysom Hill. I know, I know – but take football and emotions out of it for a second. Hill is a standup guy. I’m happy for not only his success but also how he’s avoided the injuries that plagued him at BYU. My favorite story who didn’t make it was Gilbert Pena. He was a 26-year-old undrafted rookie in 2013 who gave up football for two years to care for his ailing mother.

Marin from West Lawn, PA

Being this year's joint practices appeared to have gone well, do you foresee the Packers scheduling another joint practice for next year? And, if so, who (besides Gute) generally handles all the logistics involved in selecting, contacting and scheduling that team?

Yeah. I could definitely see them becoming a staple under LaFleur, who runs point on lining those practices up.

Dave from St. Michael, MN

Why is there a limit on IR players returning during the season? Isn't it in the best interest of both the team and the player (and the league for that matter, for premium players) for any player to be able to play once he is healthy? I know in the distant past it was feared teams would use IR to stash players, but I believe the current data and scrutiny on injuries and player safety wouldn't allow for that. It seems some players may lose out on experience or opportunity.

And before 2012, teams couldn’t even bring one player back from injured reserve. I think the NFL is just trying to keep the playing field level for all teams and not allow teams to abuse the option. I will say if the NFL sticks with the current format – eligible players must be on the initial 53 and cannot return to game action for at least eight weeks – I don’t see a reason for a limit.

Jon Marc from Columbia, MO

If a player is claimed off waivers this weekend, can the team make room for him by putting one of their original 53 on IR? If so, that would make me feel better about risking the next man up by keeping a guy just to place him on IR.

Yes.

Scott from Martinez, GA

How soon after a player who makes the initial 53 is placed on IR can that position be filled? What is the turnaround time?

That depends. If a team is signing a veteran, then it’s however long it takes for the general manager to pick up the phone. If a team is claiming a player who isn’t a vested veteran, then after that deadline expires at 11 a.m. CT Sunday.

Christopher from Green Bay, WI

Good morning II. Longtime reader, first-time writer. With Greg from Downers Grove, IL, asking if you'd expect more, what's your take on adding more challenges if the two allotted plus the third are correct? I'm not a fan of slowing down the game, but if ML gets two correct in the first half, should he be forced to hold onto his third and final whether he gets it correct or not if it's "too soon"? And has there been a situation where a coach has gotten three correct? Thanks!

If the refs keep getting it wrong and the coach keeps getting it right, why are we penalizing the coach? I don’t get it. I’ve always said let a team challenge until it gets one wrong.

Erik from Sisters, OR

A "Please don't go” chant over booing? Give me a break! In the same token, then why didn't Mr. Luck take a poll of the fans before making his decision? I may offend with this statement but let's all just toughen up a bit and let people have their emotions and reactions without judgment please.

It’s a fan’s right to boo Luck as he leaves the field for retiring early from a game he gave so much to. But that fan also can’t have it both ways. If you want to boo, then boo. But if I want to call you a whiny little baby for booing, then you better react without judgment to that, too. Or toughen up…

Andrew from Cincinnati, OH

Given the new pass interference rules, do you think we will see a shift in how teams manage the last few minutes of a game this year? The defense might play softer to make sure they don't have any reason to be called. Teams that are trying to manage the clock and get out of bounds might be more inclined for the long ball with a higher pass interference chance. In the end I think big plays will increase during the end of close games with both sides trying to push the rules to in their favor.

Possibly. I didn’t learn as much as I thought I would from the new pass interference rules. Based on the little I did see, officials seem have a fairly high bar set to overturn a call.

Braden from Aurora, CO

Do you think the NFL considers the effects on less savory businesses like sports gambling when considering rule changes such as eliminating kickoffs?

They shouldn’t be.

Vince from Flagstaff, AZ

How about 16 games over an 18-week season with two bye weeks? This way, an extra week is added to the TV deal, players stay healthy, and Packer fans get two weekends to rake leaves.

The closer we get to the start of the regular season, the less I care about solving the preseason conundrum. Ask again on a Friday in February.

Matthew from Madison, WI

Wes, for our reference, how well have you done at predicting the final 53 in the past few years?

My memory erases after 365 days, but I got 49 correct last year. I don’t know whether that’s good or bad.

David from Appleton, WI

What do visiting media think of the facilities at Lambeau? And how do other stadiums stack up as far as media conveniences are concerned?

Everyone I’ve talked to considers it to be among the NFL’s best venues. The Packers’ press box is also one of the few that still gives media a midfield view. More and more new stadiums are pushing press boxes to the corner of the field.

Mitch from Moline, IL

Are either of you in a fantasy football league this year? If so, how does your team look?!

We’ll find out Monday night. I have a belt to defend.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

Think anyone would sign Carli Lloyd? I like the kicking confidence, but I think it would be a big wakeup call if she were to get run over during a kick return.

She can kick on my team any day of the week.

Chris from Ontario. CA

Mike and Wes, did my ears deceive me while viewing “Packers Unscripted”? A Cousins Subs sponsor break.

The diapers don’t pay for themselves.

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