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Inbox: There's no such thing

Let the best players emerge

CB Josh Jackson
CB Josh Jackson

Chris from Apple Valley, MN

I'm expecting a 20% shorter I.I. tomorrow...

Ha, good one.

Jeanne from Delavan, WA

Please explain how the NFL lets that field in Winnipeg host a game? They surely had to know those goalposts were going to have to be moved and there would be an issue with filling in the holes. I don't see this as a Packers/Raiders issue but an NFL decision. What are they thinking?

I don't know how an issue like that isn't resolved long before the teams get on their planes to fly there. Moving goalposts isn't just something on a checklist. It's a significant undertaking. The Blue Bombers' most recent home game was Aug. 15. Huge, inexcusable oversight.

Michael from Morrison, IL

I can't imagine the NFL offices are too thrilled with the PR mess this game in Winnipeg provided. Do you think any of this will lead to substantive discussions about the structure of the preseason moving forward?

Yes. This game sent the league across the rubicon if it hadn't crossed it already.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Advantage Boyle?

I said at halftime on Twitter while answering some fan questions I thought that second quarter was the best quarter of football by a Packers backup QB in several preseasons. It's a production-based business, and three straight TD drives is production, shortened field or not. I won't declare the No. 2 job decided with one preseason game left, but that performance will factor into the decision-making.

Justin from Adams, WI

Does Lane Taylor not suiting up for preseason game No. 3 signify that he has won the right to keep his starting position?

I don't know. Elgton Jenkins didn't suit up, either.

Mike from Algoma, WI

That was brutal. Ugly game. Ugly injuries. Ugly venue. Is there any silver lining from this game (besides 12 still being healthy)?

My answer to that depends on what we find out about the injuries, particularly the ones to Gary, Bolton and St. Brown.

Kevin from Asbury Park, NJ

I wasn't able to watch the game but I was trying to follow along on Twitter. Did Gary get hurt, return to the game, and get hurt again? It was difficult to tell if it was one injury or multiple. Thanks for the clarity.

Yes, he left and came back, and it didn't look as though the second injury had anything to do with the first.

Quinlan from Mead, NE

I was wondering how Josh Jackson has been coming along in the defense. I know he was notorious for being a little handsy as a DB. I don't get to watch the preseason, besides the highlight reels, but I do check the stats and noticed that he finished the game with two PDs. Continued growth into the second season?

I thought Jackson had a solid preseason debut. It was good to see. There's no such thing as too much depth at corner. Did anyone notice the two guys I mentioned in "Final Thoughts" as my guys to watch were Davis and Jackson? Just making sure I get credit, albeit in preseason. Carry on.

Chas from Phoenix, AZ

This always makes me nervous, when AR12 sits out the whole preseason. Because we all know he isn't going to play next week, so we aren't going to be able to judge his readiness for the season. You gentlemen always tell us fans to relax, but I know that even AR12 needs some prep time. I don't want to see AR12 struggle his way thru the first few weeks.

I'm only going to say this once. If Rodgers struggles in the first few weeks of the regular season, it'll have nothing to do with his lack of preseason snaps. It'll be due to all the unscouted looks defenses are going to throw at him in the early games while he's running a new system, looks a handful of preseason snaps aren't going to help him decipher and defeat. When Rodgers says the best reps he gets are in practice against a Pettine defense that isn't holding back, I believe him.

Matt from Manhattan, KS

All the questions I see about the number of fullbacks LaFleur might keep seem to tie that to the number of tight ends. I'm starting to think that might not be how the equation works, and instead it'll be tied to the number of running backs (2 and 2). What does II think?

Wes and I were discussing this possibility in the press box during the game. I don't rule it out, but my gut says they'll keep three tailbacks.

Rick from Boyd, WI

Good thing the starters didn't play, eh?

Given the injury rate, absolutely.

Jack from Lincoln, NE

Mike, we know that Davante, MVS, Geronimo, and Trevor Davis will make the roster. If you had three roster spots left to choose between EQ, J'Mon Moore, Kumerow, Lazard and Shepherd who would you take and who do you think the Packers will keep?

The Packers need to get a handle on EQ's injury first. Lazard's too, though that didn't look as significant. I don't see how Kumerow doesn't make the roster, but the injury situation will factor into the rest. Davis left no doubt he's a potential playmaker in this offense to go with his special-teams prowess. Impressive night for him.

Andrew from Falls Church, VA

A lot of talk about "late hands" lately when making catches. Is there such a thing as "early hands" to draw a penalty? If a defender has his back turned from the ball and you aren't sure if you'll be able to make the catch, I would think this could be a viable strategy to utilize in order to make the defender reach out/tackle early.

Sounds rather risky to me. A good DB could stick his arm in the way without making the type of contact that would draw a flag.

Mike from Austin, TX

As a well-crafted Inbox reader, I've seen considerable discussion about "late hands" and how it's a ploy to fool DBs into thinking the ball isn't there yet. Given the evolution and craftiness of well-crafted DBs, what other tells might instead provide them information that the ball is arriving? Perhaps a receiver's hip swing or neck swivel could be uncovered via film study.

Defensive backs are usually looking at either a receiver's hands or his eyes. The eyes can give it away sometimes, too.

Jim from McLean, VA

I couldn't agree more with Wes's answer to Mike from Madison. Interestingly, all three mentioned are offensive players. Which three defenders top your list of "please stay healthy"?

Kenny Clark and Blake Martinez are two for sure, and I can't decide who the third should be between Jaire Alexander and Za'Darius Smith.

Tony from Chanhassen, MN

Do you think Gutekunst might use his top 12 waiver priority status to improve the roster on final cut-down day?

I would almost count on it.

Jeff from Athens, WI

Wes, please allow me to compliment you on an excellent piece of work writing the article about Tim Boyle. I was already a fan of Tim's and then I read your article and see that he comes from such a supportive family and has such an admirable work ethic. Ultimately those two things are critical to young people growing up to be successful adults. Congratulations to Kevin and Nancy for a job well done and major props to Tim for all of his accomplishments and his work ethic. I am inspired by him.

Hard not to be, and if you haven't had a chance to check out Wes’s story, please do so.

Richard from Menasha, WI

I know it wouldn't be good for the fans or the community but do you think there would be any strategic advantage to not open training camp practices to the public? Why do the Eagles open only one?

Secrecy and elimination of distractions would be the only two motivations I can think of.

James from Ottawa, Canada

Hey II! Being up North, I thought I would ask a Canada-based question. Ottawa's CFL kicker, Lewis Ward, just ended his record-breaking streak of consecutive made field goals with 69(!). This shattered the previous pro football record of 44, which had been held by Adam Vinatieri. I'm sure this feat is not on many American NFL fans' radar. My question is, how hard do NFL teams look at a guy who went 51-52 last year and is 23-24 this season. Surely he has earned a shot at an NFL roster?

Perhaps the fact that Ward doesn't kick off has limited his looks from the NFL, I don't know. But his incredible accuracy could be worth an extra roster spot if necessary.

Joshua from Houston, TX

Well now that Wes mentioned that he met his wife in Germany, story time...

He loves to create suspense, doesn't he?

Mike from Ames, IA

There's always a lot of talk about undrafted players making the team, but at the same time that means that others won't be on the 53. What do you think it says about the guys behind the scenes when this happens? Is it a bad look because they missed on those picks, or better that they found someone undrafted that's ready to get the call?

The draft is as imperfect a science as there is. The players who get drafted as opposed to go undrafted were deemed better prospects at the time, but everyone coming out of college is still developing, and at different rates. You just never know. The goal every offseason is to build as competitive a 90-man roster as you can and then let the best players emerge.

Joel from Green Bay, WI

Regarding modern-era Division III/NAIA football players, I'd like to submit Dave Krieg, Ken Anderson, and Billy "White Shoes" Johnson for consideration. For an undrafted player like Krieg, 19 seasons in the league is pretty impressive. Anderson could've been a Hall of Famer had Pete Johnson been able to find the end zone on that goal-line stand (perhaps he'll get in next year with the bigger class), and "White Shoes" was a good receiver, great returner, and popularized end-zone dances.

Several readers duly mentioned Anderson, and I agree, he'd be in Canton already if Johnson had been able to get that one yard.

Maddie from Lake Balboa, CA

Who will be Rodgers go-to receiver this year? Is there someone that seems to be on the same brain wave as Rodgers?

Just a guess, but I think he wears No. 17.

Bryce from Westcliffe, CO

How in the world do the coaches grade players in practice and preseason? Is there some kind of checklist they use? It seems like some of the receivers now vying for a job are very close in ability and talent. The article on Davis stated the case that he has the ability to do multiple roles on the offense. Obviously, the more you can help the offense the better chance you have at making the team. How can you possibly evaluate a player's future potential?

Grading players' preseason and practice film and projecting their future potential are two distinctly different things. But collectively, they're part of the puzzle that's pieced together as final decisions are made.

Brandon from East Brunswick, NJ

Under the McCarthy administration there were weekly captains assigned, with the fixtures only coming at the incipience of the postseason. I know ML has assigned different captains thus far in the preseason, but I figure that may be due to the uncertainty of who plays the entirety of the preseason. Has there been any word on how the captains will be designated during the regular season?

No word yet, but I like the word incipience.

Gary from Chippewa Falls, WI

Do you see "pick plays" being challenged for offensive interference?

In the right situation on a high-impact play, absolutely.

Mike from Chicago, IL

Hi II, it was asked where the worst venue was for the press. What is the best? Also, what is the best place for the press box? My guess would be high up on the 50-yard line. Do any venues have that?

View-wise, the best press boxes are the ones at mezzanine level, between decks so to speak, and not in the end zone. Baltimore's last week was one of those. Nashville is another. The Metrodome also had one like that, but it was always painfully crowded and uncomfortable. Winnipeg's was mezz level, but we were off on the corner.

Jeremiah from Madison, WI

I get that if there is concern about the playing surface, then it doesn't make sense to expose top players to injury. But this has to be super frustrating for anyone in Canada wanting to attend. Between everyone sitting and the outrageous starting ticket prices, doesn't this hurt more than help the international brand the NFL hopes to build?


Jason from Morrisville, NY

Not only were the ticket prices a joke, fans only got to see 80% of a field. Think the league is paying close attention to the lack of a kickoff in this game for potential future rule modifications? What are your thoughts on how not having a kickoff is affecting the game play?

I do think the no-kickoff idea will be looked at eventually. I saw no discernible impact, other than action resuming sooner after a score, rather than waiting through a kickoff that two-thirds of the time goes for a touchback now anyway.

Steve from Fergus Falls, MN

Is it safe to say the non-injured players who did not dress make the 53-man roster?

Yes, but I saw no surprise names on that list.

Patrick from Elkhorn, WI

Just when you think you have seen everything now you can say you saw an NFL game on an 80-yard field.

Three years ago it was paint-gate. Now goalpost-gate. I think I'll just beg off any preseason road trips in 2022. Happy Friday.