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Inbox: There's no need to overwork him

They aren’t interested in putting their whole playbook out there for all to see

CB Eric Stokes

Dale from Port Washington, WI

I don't want to get flagged for taunting, but can someone inform Wes this is Wisconsin? We don't bake fish, just beer batter and deep fry. But a tip of the cap for "up the zipper."

And this from a Wisconsinite who won't eat cheese unless it's deep fried.

Sean from Boulder, CO

Good morning. Regarding interceptions, it's not necessarily that easy to "just catch the ball." If every ball was a complete misthrow that the D-back could line up, sure. But, often times the play involves a midstride change of direction, last-second adjustment or a contending receiver. In other words, more often than not the interception is harder than the catch and the first step, breaking up the pass, is still the most important. There's a reason the league leaders usually only have 6-7.

There's also a big difference for the DB between getting those opportunities in man coverage vs. zone. In man, the defender often sees the ball only at the last second. In zone, he's got his eyes on it for a lot longer.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Why would the NBA schedule a Bucks' home game to overlap a Packers' home game on Christmas Day?

The basketball game starts two hours earlier, so from a TV perspective there shouldn't be much overlap.

Zach from Kathleen, GA

Why did the Packers trade away Josh Jackson? I know he had a rocky game on Saturday but he seems to be a solid special-teams player for us at least.

Who's to say Isaac Yiadom can't be the same? This strikes me as a pair of 2018 Day 2 draft picks in need of a fresh start and change of scenery. It's the second such move for Yiadom and hopefully it turns into a win-win for both clubs. Jackson's a good dude. It's disappointing it didn't work out for him in Green Bay, but I wish him the best.

Steve from Smithfield, NC

What impressed me most about JL was his ability to hit check-down receivers. Most rookies on their first start will look at the primary receiver and if not open, start to run. He clearly is ahead of the curve. I'm a glass-half-full guy and I liked what I saw in the first preseason game.

Some young quarterbacks can turn into Check-down Charlie, but I didn't see that, either, which was promising. Oh, and for Drew from Bloomington who didn't appreciate the lack of Jordan Love focus in Monday's Inbox, I did write roughly 800 words almost solely focused on Love's performance after the game Saturday night. Please forgive me for deciding not to overdo it.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

Do you both have your own banned lists or do you share banishments? I couldn't watch the preseason game but I did look over the box score. The most concerning thing to me is the big punt returns we gave up. Was there anything that stood out on those plays that need more attention? Staying in lanes was a problem last year.

Regarding bans, the answer is both. On the punt returns, LaFleur explained multiple issues. First, poor protection prevented the punt's direction from being on point. Then, coverage players lost lane integrity and overran the play. I know everyone's annoyed with the underwhelming special teams debut, so I'll just say this: The guys who are messing up are fighting for their lives to make this roster. They're going to get some more chances. If they can't get it done, they won't be on the team.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

It wasn't social media, but Season 7, Episode 14 of "That '70s Show" has two Packers fans throwing down in the stands. GO Eric Forman!

Well, back then the fans were justifiably frustrated with what they were watching.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Heading into camp I assumed Lucas Patrick was a lock for the 53 and a good bet to start week one at RG. After an awful game Saturday night I'm not so sure. With his ability to play all three interior positions do you think his spot is a given? Also have there been any updates on what percentage of Packer players are vaccinated at this point?

We've received no updates on vax numbers. As for the interior O-linemen, I could be proven wrong, but I see all four guys competing at those guard spots – Patrick, Jon Runyan, Ben Braden, Royce Newman – on the 53. The pecking order just needs to be established.

Julius from Providence, RI

I don't think you made up that line about the preseason, but I can't quite remember whose line it is. Anyway, I was wondering how you are able to write five things we learned from Monday's practice, which was not open to the public. Did you say you don't attend those practices?

That's a solid follow-up to Wes's well-played salvo yesterday, which generated a substantial reaction from the readership. Some practices closed to the public have been open to the media. Not all.

Ross from Roswell, GA

Gents, let's hear about the local guy. How is Cole Van Lanen faring in camp? Does he look the part?

The athleticism to play tackle is there. I can't believe I'm going to say this about someone listed at 6-4, 305, but I think getting bigger will help him. That's not meant as a major knock. I say it because he looks like he can get bigger, like he hasn't fully grown into his frame, which isn't unusual for a rookie. I'm intrigued.

Lambeau Field hosted a preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021.

Monty from Hazen, ND

I am really rooting for T.J. Slaton and Tyler Lancaster to play well in the preseason so Kenny Clark can play more five-technique. How many more sacks do you think KC could get from that spot?

I think you're simplifying things a little too much. If Slaton and Lancaster are both on the field in the regular season, it's most likely a run front. Kingsley Keke's presence in the pass rush and the success of the big three at outside 'backer will determine more of the matchups/alignments Clark will get in passing situations.

Zach from Moorhead, MN

Just saw the news out of Las Vegas requiring vaccination for game attendance. Do you anticipate that other stadiums/clubs will follow suit?

I expect those decisions to be made based on the medical statistics within a given locale at the time.

Chase from Fort Leonard Wood, MO

Good morning team. What would you say is the max number of WR/TE/RB we could realistically keep on the 53? As you said, there are going to be some tough decisions there.

I'm anticipating the total there to be 13, but maybe it gets pushed to 14. Maybe.

Derek from Norton, KS

An excuse for poor line play in the opener was that the group hadn't practiced together. Does this mean the starters need to play together, or none of the starters should be playing? I understand that we have young players that need game experience, but it seems counterproductive to play with different line combinations if they aren't expected to perform as well.

The gist I've gotten from listening to the coaches the past few days is the failures were less about cohesion and more about the one-on-ones and assignment execution.

Emily from Menasha, WI

When you look out the window closest to your desk, what do you see?

One of the painted fences along Lombardi Ave.

Heather from Racine, WI

Is AJ Dillon going to make a difference this year?

That's the plan, Stan. I mean, Heather.

Dennis from Appleton, WI

During a typical weekday training camp day, when do players arrive and what is the structure of their day? For example, in what order do they have breakfast, view film, attend position meetings, work out in the training/weight room, practice skills or plays, etc.?

They typically arrive anytime from 6-7:30 a.m. for breakfast, with meetings and weight room workouts beginning at 8 a.m. Practice starts around 10, followed by lunch, afternoon meetings, dinner, and evening meetings on some days until 7-8 p.m.

Tyler from Green Bay, WI

Did Wes put the question about fan fights after his opinion regarding the wave on purpose?


Nick from Charlottesville, VA

How did Eric Stokes look against the Texans, and do you expect him to get more snaps in the rest of the preseason?

He only played 13 snaps, plus seven more on special teams. There's no need to overwork him. He's not going to face anybody in the preseason that will challenge him the way Davante Adams and Aaron Rodgers have in practice.

Tom from Cottage Grove, MN

In the Houston game I don't think I saw the Packers' offense do any jet motion. I would have thought that was something the coaches would want to see Amari Rodgers doing in a preseason game and also good practice for Jordan Love with the snap count timing. Any idea why we didn't see any jet motion?

I'm pretty sure I saw a few snaps of it, but they aren't interested in putting their whole playbook out there for all to see.

Gordon from Newport Beach, CA

Would it be fair to say on a play, the offensive lineman has two satisfactory outcomes against his assignment: Win or draw, just don't lose?

In pass protection maybe. In the running game, a draw doesn't help much.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Mike. It looked like Henry Black and Vernon Scott got the bulk of the snaps at safety on Saturday night. How did they do? Could we see more playing time for Innis Gaines and Christian Uphoff in the next two preseason games?

I thought Scott stood out the most in the game, but that doesn't necessarily define anything at that position, because often Adrian Amos doesn't stand out yet we all know how solid he is. The defensive snap counts were as follows: Scott 64, Black 41, Gaines 34, Uphoff 11. I think it's likely Uphoff gets more at least in the final game if not this week's.

Dwight from Brooklyn, NY

The question from Chris of Chaska, MN, got me thinking (yes, a dangerous thing). Of all the new rule changes for this season, which one, or several, of them do you think are the most significant/consequential?

The taunting rule is getting the most attention, but the prohibition on low contact beyond five yards or outside the tight end box will have the bigger impact. I think it puts the defense at a bigger disadvantage, frankly. Smaller DBs against bigger O-linemen in space would often muck things up by going low to get that blocker off his feet. They can't do that now.

Jeff from Lake Forest, CA

It seems coaches and veteran players alike like the joint practice format and the "security" it provides, and the dreamers need games. Is there a path where instead of preseason games, there is a scheduled joint practice for starters, with fans, TVs etc., then a shortened game after for the young guys? Is that too far out there? The more starters sit preseason games, the less interesting it will become to casual fans and ticket holders.

Once you bring live broadcasts into the equation, both teams shrink their playbooks. In these settings, coaches who trust each other appreciate the chance to scheme up some stuff that won't get out.

Dave from Middletown, CT

At joint practices is it hard for coaches to keep their players "practicing like a professional"? I would image players feel a slight incentive to hit guys "just a little bit" harder than they would their own teammates.

The tackling still isn't live and no one should be aiming to lay out a receiver coming across the middle. True pros will practice like pros.

Matt from Burlington, WI

What is the one overused cliché for the Packers during the regular season?

I always get a chuckle out of the "frozen tundra" references prior to Thanksgiving. That said, I'm going to enjoy this weather while it lasts. Happy Wednesday.