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Inbox: There's no way to tell

Coaches believe in their players

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Packers defensive lineman

Jessi from Sterling, KS

How's the "friction" this morning guys?

Didn't you see me politely defer to Wes yesterday, for the good of the whole?

Steve from Kansas City, MO

Am I the only one who will skip watching the HOF ceremony in sadness? Taking Lynch before Butler is simply too much to stomach! Lynch was a baller, but he took a back seat to Butler – who was selected to the All-Decade Team of the '90s over Lynch. Lynch was selected for the next decade team, but in direct comparison, Butler was better. Did Lynch's post-playing days' front-office notoriety improperly influence the electors?

I sure hope not. He was in the broadcast booth for a while, too, but that shouldn't matter, either. Wes and I have said it often, Butler's time is coming, and it's going to be special when it arrives. As for Sunday night, I'll be tuning in to hear Woodson's speech. I'm sure he won't disappoint.

Murphy from Salt Lake City, UT

Every camp we see the video of Aaron Rodgers throwing 50 yards into a net. For us fans not at camp, how many attempts does this take him?

I wasn't counting Thursday, but from that distance he took probably 6-8 throws.

Travis from Bowie, MD

How does "the net's" 40 time stack up against the other receivers on the team?

Nicely done.

Chuck from Sun Prairie, WI

As a follow-up to the "will AJ Dillon get more rushing yards than Jamaal Williams had last season as a Packer" … I think the most important rushing question is whether AJ can get his rushing yards with the kind of ball security Jamaal provided. Just one turnover negates a lot of yards. Williams could always be counted on to hold onto the football.

Valid point. Dillon's fumble in the playoff game against the Rams last January could have been disastrous. The Packers were up 14 with nine minutes left and the ball near their own 30. A turnover there could've changed everything. Fortunately, Rodgers recovered, and three plays later hit Allen Lazard for the long TD to ice it.

Sal from Hailey, ID

When Rodgers said Barry's defense is showing him things he's never seen in practice, my eyes popped open a little. Seems promising?

It caught my ear, too. That's why I wrote about it.

Chaz from Huntsville, AL

I read the article about QB1 noticing that the defense is definitely different. Everything seemed to relate to the pass defense. Has there been any noticeable difference in our rush defense or is it "too soon"?

Nobody has tackled anybody yet. There's no way to tell.

Bart from Point Roberts, WA

Year after year our tackling has been so inconsistent/shoddy. Has Coach Barry put an emphasis on tackling? I sure hope so.

The first, and probably only, live tackling of camp will occur during a developmental period for younger players on Family Night. Otherwise, the preseason games will be the only gauge, and a poor one at that if the starters don't play much.

Craig from Milwaukee, WI

Do you think the defense can actually be good this year?

Well, I wouldn't consider ninth in yards allowed, 13th in points allowed, and tied for 10th on third down to be bad, but I think it can be better, yes.

Brian from Madison, WI

I remember that there were several years where Mike McCarthy made a "big letters" promise before training camp, like that the running game or defense would be improved. Has Matt LaFleur made any comparable statements about what he'd like to emphasize?

Not in so many words (or letters) but there's definitely a focus on turnovers for the defense. Twenty-one teams generated at least 20 takeaways last season. The Packers, with just 18, weren't one of them.

Snapshots from the Green Bay Packers' training-camp practice on Aug. 5, 2021, at Ray Nitschke Field.

Stan from Batavia, IL

How is Reggie Begelton performing in camp? I've heard almost nothing about him since training camp started. Is he showing any ability to translate his CFL success to the NFL game?

It's an uphill climb to make the team at that position, as we've discussed, but Jordan Love definitely has something going with Begelton based on Thursday's practice. The former CFL receiver had a solid day.

Keith from Fishers, IN

It seems most people are assuming Davante Adams, Lazard, Rodgers, Randall Cobb, Marquez Valdes-Scantling are locks for the first five receiver spots. I would agree with the first four, but I'm wondering about MVS. At his best, he is as fast and dangerous as anyone, but there has been some inconsistency (less in 2020, however). And there is a LOT of hungry talent behind him. Do you see a possibility that MVS could wind up missing the final cut? I hope not because I love his attitude, but performance wins the day. What are your thoughts?

I haven't seen anyone else's performance rise to the level required to usurp his spot. Not even close, actually.

Ralph from Monchangladbach, Germany

Good morning Insiders. Is EQ on the last year of his contract like MVS, or has he one year more because of the season he missed after the injury in preseason?

Equanimeous St. Brown is in the final year of his rookie deal, just like MVS.

Richard from Menasha, WI

I believe the Packers will likely want to keep as many WRs as they can. Would it be more likely that a proven contributor like Devin Funchess makes the 53 and a rising player like Ryan Winslow makes the practice squad even though D. Funchess is on a short-term deal and J. Winfree could be a long-term contributor?

That'll most likely depend on how the decision-makers weigh the waiver claim odds on the young player, which usually depends on the preseason game films.

Jeff from Victorville, CA

Mike, do you feel most professional coaches are glass-half-empty types? A little pessimism to help get the best out of a player. Or glass-half-full types?

In my experience, coaches believe in their players, and that's their perspective in working to get the best out of them.

Derek from La Crosse, WI

We went to the Packer practice on Thursday. I was very unimpressed with the lack of discipline on the start time. Has this been a pattern all camp? Lombardi would not be impressed.

It's like reverse Lombardi time. The public practice starts 15 minutes "late" every day because the opening portion is spent in the Hutson Center.

JD from Madison, WI

Mike and Wes, the preseason is off to a great start. Plenty of topics to discuss. The pressers have been great. So far I have to recognize Marcedes Lewis and his great words of wisdom: "… when guys become dudes and we have a lot of dudes." Any others stick out in your mind?

We mentioned Preston Smith's "T-shirt All-Americans" comment the other day. That was great. LaFleur had another good one Thursday: "Indecisiveness equals ineffectiveness," speaking of QBs.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

The NFC West is a monster and appears to be the NFL's toughest division. Fortunately the Packers only have to play them once (Week 3 at SF). I've tried to figure out how that division plays out this year and feel clueless. At this point your best guess top to bottom? Thanks Mike.

That is a tough one. My gut says the Rams will find a way to win it with Stafford. But that truly is a guess, and beyond that, I'm even less sure.

Michael from Burnsville, MN

Hearing about a lot of this year's rookies, but is there anyone from last year's class you can already see improvement in?

Plenty. I think two guys not discussed much but who definitely look more like they belong this year are the two seventh-round picks from 2020 – Vernon Scott and Jonathan Garvin.

Rick from Trempealeau, WI

Assume the betting window closes tomorrow at midnight. You have to pick the Packers' regular-season record. My money goes on 12-5. North 5-1, West 3-1, Beat NO and Wash and 2-2 AFC North but lose a squeaker at KC. I think most fans would be OK with that (though not jump for joy) because it probably gets you a first-round bye. If you have to pick right now, what are your thoughts?

Gambling is illegal at Bushwood, but I'll just say I doubt 12-5 gets the first-round bye because there's only one available per conference now, remember.

James from Asheville, NC

How serious is the injury to Randy Ramsey and how does it shake up the final roster? He seemed a pretty sure bet to make the team.

LaFleur said it's not good but did not go into detail. Based on that, my assumption is Ramsey starts the season on IR and they'll see what happens. Kamal Martin was shifted to take some reps at OLB, but now he's hurt, too (a minor injury, by all accounts). I'm curious to see Garvin in the preseason games.

Wags from Marinette, WI

Will Josh Myers pick up where Linsley left off or will there be growing pains?

A rookie doesn't step in for an All-Pro without experiencing some growing pains. The key is to minimize them, learn from them, and get through them quickly, which I think Myers has the aptitude to do.

Donny from Green Bay, WI

Allen Lazard has quietly become one of my favorite players. He's a grinder, self-made man who got cut and found his spot. He's very talented, humble and just seems to be a good person that appreciates where he's at. Would it be fair to compare him to Tramon Williams at this stage in his career?

That's a really interesting comparison, and there's a lot about it that fits, yeah.

Brock from West Lafayette, IN

Good morning, gents! You mentioned in "Unscripted" how many great pressers there have been with the players. Do you feel that's a result of 12's real and honest first presser back, setting the standard? Or more so that these feel more like the setting prior to the pandemic pressers?

I don't think it has anything to do with Rodgers. I think it's a partly a function of the players knowing they aren't getting hounded by the media every day in the locker room anymore, so when they get their scheduled day at the podium, they enjoy the interaction more and give a full-fledged effort to answer questions with insight and honesty.

John from Temple City, CA

Who do you feel is this year's most underrated player? Can you give me one other from the past two or three decades?

I see a lot of candidates for that label on this team – Adrian Amos, Dean Lowry, De'Vondre Campbell, Chandon Sullivan. Probably my all-time underrated player in 15 years here would be Ryan Pickett.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

How do cuts work in camp? Does BG make all cuts based on what he sees, does he confer with head coach/coordinators/position coach, do other members of the personnel department watch tape and/or live to help with the decision?

All of the above.

Nick from Plainwell, MI

Hello Insiders, what is the best momentary whipping you saw a player take? A good welcome to the NFL, maybe where someone needed a second to go collect their thoughts.

I want to say it was Mike Daniels (or maybe it was B.J. Raji or Johnny Jolly) I saw whip Lane Taylor pretty good during a one-on-one Taylor's rookie year (2013). Safe to say he recovered just fine.

Ian from San Diego, CA

Do you expect Stokes to start over King, come Game 1?

Kevin King hasn't practiced yet. When he does, we'll all get a better read on it.

Bob from Cortez, CO

Who makes the cut? The player who keeps his position on special teams or the heads-up splash play?

If the splash play is offset by negative plays, the steady Eddie will get the nod. If reliability is interspersed with those splash plays, that makes it easy.

Bruce from Appleton, WI

How sharp does Aaron Rodgers look so far in camp?

Sharp enough for five weeks from the opener.

William from Charleston, WV

If Larry is the Rock, who is paper and who is scissors?

Since I'm the de factor editor, I guess that makes me scissors?

Robert from Harris, MI

Of all the things that have been suggested to go on a T-shirt I think I just read the definitive one. "It's me or the corn nuts bro. Your choice." In any context that is mint.

Wes is gonna write that on his lunch bag one of these days, I just know it. Happy Friday.

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