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Inbox: There's a lot to be excited about

That’s the name of the game if you’re a young offensive lineman


Joel from Nairobi, Kenya

Guys, I'm currently on a business trip in Africa and was catching up on "Three Things" and I have to tell's the cold season here in Kenya. So Africa hot is only 70 degrees, but it was nice hearing an Africa reference while here.

The reach of Packers football never ceases to amaze me. I've always wanted to go to Africa. Thanks for taking me for the ride, Joel. Safe travels. Good morning!

Benjamín from Monterrey, México

It's been such a blessing to see Aaron Rodgers play all this time, but I also feel the need to praise his amazing encounters with the media as well, and how wise he has proven to be. From his remarkable comments after Monday's practice, I'd like to highlight his words on Davante Adams' natural confidence and swag. I quickly remembered how often he referred to him as a Pro Bowl-caliber player, despite a bad season and every fan wanting him gone. Quite an eye for talent, right?

Rodgers has been doing this for a long time. He knows what he's looking at. He's been on the Adams' bandwagon through thick and thin. As both Rodgers and Mike McCarthy have stated in the past, everyone knew what Adams could do. They've seen it for years on the practice field. It was only a matter of time.

Andrew from Melrose, WI

Just realized I'm more excited about this year's crop of rookies than I've ever been about those in past years. I just get the feeling that nearly all of them cannot only succeed but excel in the NFL. I realize this is a trite and unrealistic expectation, but there is just something about this year's guys.

It's hard to say whether there's more excitement than in the past. I remember fans were through the moon when the Packers drafted Datone Jones and Eddie Lacy in 2013, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix after all the safety issues in 2014. However, there's a lot to be excited about this summer. Jaire Alexander and Oren Burks are exciting young players with hybrid attributes that fit today's defenses. Offensively, a trio of rookie receivers naturally creates buzz.

Josh from Eau Claire, WI

So I just caught up on four days' worth of Inbox I think that's three Inboxes after the preseason game and I saw one – one mention of Oren Burks. How is that possible with our situation at ILB? He looked great to me, for a first game. It looks like he could be a serious impact player for us. Your take on Oren?

He looked natural in coverage, which is to be expected given his history as a defensive back. The key for him, as McCarthy mentioned, is working in the box and getting off the blocks. That's an area Jake Ryan excelled in and the Packers need Burks to close that gap.

Justin from Philadelphia, PA

Typical fan overreaction here after one game, but Kendall Donnerson just seems to have the "look" of an edge playmaker. I know it was one game, but has his preseason performance impressed you guys, as well? Feels like a draft steal in the making.

I thought Donnerson has turned a corner over the past week. He forced the fumble against the Titans and then had a couple nice one-on-one reps during Monday's practice. He's a legit athlete. His numbers show that. Now, it's just channeling those gifts into a consistent rush.

Willie from Boise, ID

How does the need for an offensive lineman to play multiple positions reflect the game's trend toward specialization?

That's the name of the game if you're a young offensive lineman trying to earn a starting job in the NFL. Just look at all the positions Justin McCray played last year. To some extent, it's always been that way. When you only have 46 players on a game-day roster, teams need reserve linemen who can step in at any of the starting five spots at any given time.

The Packers continued practice Monday afternoon at Ray Nitschke Field.

Jeff from Waukesha, WI

Which defender has matched up best in coverage against Jimmy Graham during training camp practices? 

We haven't seen it often, but I feel Ha Ha Clinton-Dix's size and athleticism matches up well with Graham. Josh Jones has had some competitive reps with the Pro Bowl tight end.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Jason Spriggs has always looked the part to me, and even more so this year. What has been the opinion of his play so far?

Spriggs looked good to me during one-on-one drills Monday. I'll be interested to see if he gets some early work at right tackle against Pittsburgh Thursday. He did the work this offseason. He added the weight he needs to anchor. Now, he just needs snaps.

Julian from Las Cruces, NM

What's the report on the running back competition? Who is healthy? Who is standing out? Are they capturing their blocking assignments well?

Aaron Jones returned to practice this week, which is good. As a second-year running back, Jones can use all the work he can get this summer with him missing the first two games of the regular season. I think the Packers have three solid pass-blocking options in Jamaal Williams, Ty Montgomery and Aaron Ripkowski. They're all ready, willing and able.

Jeff from Victorville, CA

Good morning back atcha Wes! I'm out here in California and there wasn't any telecast of the preseason game. I looked at the box score and noticed that Quinten Rollins was returning punts, which was a bit of a shocker. But not as big of a shocker as seeing he lost 13 yards on a punt return! How did that happen? And how did he look outside of that?

Rollins muffed a punt, but managed to recover his own fumble. That was uncharacteristic of Rollins, who's been sure-handed in practice. That's why he was the first up when the Packers needed a punt returner with Trevor Davis currently nursing a hamstring injury.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

If/when Cole Madison returns, are the Packers required to remove him off the "did not report" list assuming he passes his physical? It just seems like he's missed too much time and practice to be seriously evaluated for the 53-man roster.

Brian Gutekunst said there are some PUP-like measures in place to reintroduce players off reserve/did not report once they're back, so teams aren't required to put them directly on the 53-man roster without any preparation. I know some fans lamented on social media about how Monday's update wasn't much of an update. If you felt that way, you clearly weren't listening. I thought it was very important to establish Madison plans to return to football. That's the only "news" that matters. Whatever is happening in his personal life is his business until he wants to let the world in on it.

Cindy from Los Angeles, CA

Regarding Antonio Callaway's "punishment" of having to play most of the game – if you are a young player in a position battle, isn't maximum playing time exactly what you'd want in a preseason game? You aren't winning a roster spot on the bench.

I guess. The whole situation is strange to me. What makes it even more bizarre is it happened the same week Jacksonville suspended Jalen Ramsey from camp after a disagreement with a reporter.

Peter from Milwaukee, WI

I've been curious for a while now about the process used to decide what backups are where on the depth chart. For instance, Reggie Gilbert has played really well, especially in comparison to Kyler Fackrell and Vince Biegel. Yet, he is behind both of them on the depth chart. Is it just because he was undrafted and they used picks on the other two? It seems like the same kind of deal with Jake Kumerow right now with the other drafted receivers ahead of him.

Pay more attention to rotations in the preseason games than depth charts. There's a reason it reads "unofficial" in the top corner of the game notes.

Richard from Madison, WI

In scheduling preseason games, do the Packers (or any other team, for that matter) try to avoid playing teams they'll meet again in the regular season? Why or why not?

That's usually frowned upon, but it's sometimes unavoidable. For example, the Packers were booked to play the Colts in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game despite playing them in the 2016 regular season. Teams often avoid playing teams they see in the regular season, if possible.

Eric from Goodhue, MN

Khalil Mack will be a Packer this season. Yes, no, maybe?

So does this mean we've officially moved on from Dez Bryant?

Tim from Normal, IL

Insiders, the Packers are being touted as the front runner in the Khalil Mack sweepstakes. Short of a John Hadl-type deal, I feel you have to strike when a player of that extraordinary caliber in his prime is within reach. It would create a seismic shift in the NFC and the timing is perfect with both draft capital and expiring contracts on the roster next year. Go for it, Gute!

Touted by whom? I don't want to throw a wet blanket on all of this, but anything written on the wall of a bathroom stall seems to pass for a report these days. It's getting silly. I'm not saying the Packers wouldn't have interest in Mack, but show me something credible. Otherwise, if this is what it takes to create a "report" today, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

Dan from Leland, NC

I know teams can face difficult decisions in forming their roster, but some players will have choices, too. In your experience, how do players decide whether to accept a spot on the practice squad or seek opportunities with other teams?

They'll talk to their agents and make the best decision for their careers. My only advice is to take the emotion out of it. Chasing practice-squad signings during my time at the Press-Gazette, I can think of specific examples where players and agents made an emotional decision that wasn't in the best interest of the player. That's what I respect about Reggie Gilbert and his representation. Nobody would have blamed him for moving on last year, but everyone agreed Green Bay was the best fit for him in the long run. Gilbert had to be patient, but his work was rewarded in the end.

Kevin from Asbury Park, NJ

Would you be able to explain the Geronimo Allison catch (the one that got him shaken up)? Everyone seemed to have been very impressed by it.

It was a hell of a catch on the east side of Nitschke Field by the crowd. He just got his wind knocked out of him. It was funny how Allison said he knew he caught the ball based on the fans' applause. His second-best play in camp.

Mark from Racine, WI

Where did Justin Vogel end up?

Fun times in Cleveland today.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, Davon House said, "You're going against A-Rod, Davante (Adams), Jimmy Graham, and then you see other teams and it's not even close to what we go through in practice, which makes it easier." What is your response to that statement?

I agree with House. Every day in practice, the Packers' defense and secondary match wits with arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. Of course, that's going to change your perspective on game day.

Kyle from Baldwin, WI

I got to take my 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter to the opening of training camp this year, their first time. We were lucky enough to get inside the Don Hutson Center for autographs. Kumerow was one of them. Last week, I showed the kids the video of Kumerow catching that touchdown and reminded them that they had gotten his autograph. Immediately, their eyes got huge, in awe, filled with excitement, realizing that they had met this awesome football player. A memory I will always cherish.     

This is what I love about little kids who bring their bikes to practice. My nephew came out for the first time last summer. On one day, he had Damarious Randall ride his bike. A week later, Harold Spears rode with him. He was just as excited for an undrafted tight end like Spears to ride his bike as a former first-round pick like Randall. They both made his day. That's what it's all about.

Doug from Las Vegas, NV

A suggestion for the NFL and NFLPA at their next CBA meetings in 2021. Change the number of games to three preseason and 17 regular season. Each of the 32 teams would have eight home/away games. The 17th game would be played at a neutral site like London, Mexico City, Tokyo, Paris, (outside the U.S.) and any place else the NFL would like to expand to. This would give 16 games per season involving every team. I am sure that the NFL would have no problem scheduling those 16 games.

With the emphasis on player safety, I just don't see how the NFL can expand past 16 regular-season games anytime soon. There's minimal risk with that fourth preseason game since few starters play. The league already has found a way to weave in international games. I don't think you need to carve out an extra week to include them.

The Packers rode kid's bikes down DreamDrive on their way to practice Monday.

Griffin from Naples, FL

You think Vince Biegel and Clay Matthews share best practices for proper mane maintenance?

I don't know if Biegel has asked for any pointers yet, but he has some serious flow going on.

Steve from Land O' Lakes, FL

I see Jay from Land O' Lakes, FL, fairly often in the Inbox. Does he know a good Packers bar nearby?

Jay from Land O' Lakes, Steve from Land O' Lakes has a question for you.

Jim from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

I was just about to ask when the Packers Everywhere event schedule would be announced when I thought I would check one more time. I was hoping for months that LA would be included, I mean how could it not? Thanks for remembering us West Coasters! I can't wait to see how much green and gold will be at the game and the Packers Everywhere event. Have you ever been to the Coliseum for any sports event?

I have not been there, but it's a venue that's been on my bucket list. I'm excited for the pep rally. It should be a great environment.

Terri from Newport News, VA

I am so glad you posted the Packers Everywhere schedule. I have had my tickets for the Washington game for several weeks but now I can also join the Packers Everywhere rally. What goes on at the rally?

You're going to have to wait to find out…or just read this **press release**.