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Inbox: They've earned trust to make it work

That’s quite the trio

Offensive line coach Luke Butkus
Offensive line coach Luke Butkus

Greg from Keller, TX

"So we're there and almost there at the same time." So its Schrödinger's training camp?

Something like that.

Bill from Fort Worth, TX

I just woke from a dream. I was a walk-on for training camp, but I lost too much time looking for the lid to my water bottle and missed my chance to follow the herd of players to the field. You know, following those who seem to know where they're going. I never found the field. I didn't expect to make the team, but I knew my talents at 50 were going to raise some eyebrows.

This submission admittedly made me smile. One of my recurring work-related dreams/nightmares is covering a road game and not being able to find the interview room or locker room after the game. You'd think not being able to find the team bus to get to the charter plane and get home would be the greater fear, but no. Not being able to do my job haunts me more.

Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

Do tell. What happens on the not-so-fun administrative days the players had on Tuesday?

Physicals, conditioning tests, plus lots (and lots) of meetings.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

Do you know if Christian Watson had a knee issue when he was drafted or did something happen to his knee this summer?

He told reporters Thursday it started bothering him toward the end of OTAs in June.

William from Fairhope, AL

Here's a challenge to the NFL stats lovers (especially Jason from Hartselle, AL). The Packers haven't returned a punt for a TD since Micah Hyde's 55-yarder against the Lions at the end of the 2014 season. It has been even longer since their last kickoff returned for a TD, Randall Cobb's against the New Orleans Saints in his first NFL game, the 2011 season opener. How many punts and kickoffs have the Packers received since those two special-teams miracles? Hope lightning strikes twice this year.

In regular-season games, not counting fair catches, touchbacks, etc., the Packers have returned 378 kickoffs and 170 punts since the respective touchdowns you referenced. But let's not kid ourselves. Those streaks can continue for another full season each and the Packers can still be much improved on special teams. Snapping those streaks won't be a meaningful measuring stick, at least not for me.

Andrew from Chicago, IL

Can we, as a collective of readers and submitters, place a moratorium on wide receiver questions? I get the sense that a lot of us are trying to write the post-Davante story before it actually happens. Is it not enough to say we're certainly going to miss a receiver of Davante's talent, but are all interested in how it all unfolds, without skipping chapters or resorting to the same type of hyperbole many of us claim to despise? Answers are never late when you're patient.

Well said, though I don't think a blanket moratorium would serve the readers well.

Derek from Sheboygan, WI

When do we see what this Packers receiving corps can do?

Sept. 11 in Minneapolis. Does that work, Andrew?

The Green Bay Packers held their second public practice of training camp at Ray Nitschke Field on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

Keith from Springfield, MO

Can someone please explain to me what a "2-4 Nickel" and "3-3 Penny" are with respect to GB's defensive formations? I have grown too old too fast to keep up with this one. I am sure both formations include six defensive backs. Thanks so much for your help.

They're both with five DBs and the numbers refer to the front. The 2-4 is two down linemen and four linebackers (two inside, two outside). The 3-3 is three down linemen and three linebackers (one inside, two outside), with the "penny" referring to the single inside 'backer.

Alex from Duluth, MN

So when will Bakh be bakh? They're saying the same things about him this year as last year. Not going to lie, the No 1 unit Spoff reported doesn't have me confident in establishing the run against light boxes, which was the Achilles heel last year. Please bring me off the ledge here, guys. How can this team get better in the trenches without 69?

Nobody's saying it's going to get better without a five-time All-Pro, and as I've noted before, the playoffs the past two seasons have proven the Packers need their best for the biggest games. But I'll just say this: If someone had said last year at this time that David Bakhtiari would miss essentially the entire season, Jenkins would go down for the year in mid-November, Yosh Nijman would start eight games at left tackle, a rookie fourth-round pick would start 16 games at right guard, and the rookie center plugged in to start from Day 1 would only play six games, yet the Packers were going to post 13 wins, would you have believed it? We have to let these players, coaches and personnel execs do their thing. With this position group in particular, they've earned trust to make it work.

Randy from Mora, MN

Do you think the Packers will consider moving David Bakhtiari to RT? Take the pressure off his repaired left knee that is obviously not healing. The drop step he does with the left leg looks like it puts extra strain on the knee.

I can't imagine this is under consideration.

Paula from Apple Valley, MN

Always exciting to see the bike riding tradition continue! I grew up near Lambeau with the original "bike kids." We rode our bikes to practice from the neighborhood, with no parents/adults in sight. It was fun seeing Coach LaFleur hop on a bike. Is that a first?

I've been around in some capacity during the Holmgren, Rhodes, Sherman, McCarthy and LaFleur eras, and I don't ever recall seeing that before.

Nik from Moore, SC

Is the team back at St. Norbert for camp or is that tradition over? I know the public practices are at Nitschke Field, but do they still stay in the dorms and have meetings at the campus?

No part of camp is at St. Norbert this year, for the third straight summer. What that means for the future of the tradition, I don't know.

Jason from Austin, TX

Insiders, NFL rosters before the season are like a magic trick. You think you see what's going on and what positions have holes and weaknesses and then BAM you see that there is no weakness at that position after all! It was somewhere else. I see the first half of this trick happening a lot with the WR group. It looks like an obvious weakness, but I wouldn't be surprised if no one is talking about it by midseason. The million-dollar question is where will we be looking instead?

If anyone knew when and where injuries were going to strike, maybe we'd never have anywhere to look.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Since Aaron Rodgers did the "Con Air – Nicolas Cage" thing, should we expect something similar from blockbuster movies out of the "Three Things" team? Give Larry a brown fedora and a whip and he's Indiana Jones. Wes needs a forehead scar and a wand to become Harry Potter. Mike needs dark sunglasses and biker gear and there's your Terminator. I will see myself out now but...I'll be back.

That's quite the trio. If only we didn't have actual jobs to do, like cover the football team.

Al from Green Bay, WI

During your "Three Guys with three things" segment, Spoff discussed the shuffling O-line. My question: What can be learned about the effectiveness of the linemen without the pads on?

Proper alignment, assignment and technique can all be judged on film, even if the non-padded evaluation is incomplete.

Randall from Chicago, IL

I think the decline of live tackling in camp has led to what I see, league-wide, as dreadful tackling when it counts. Thoughts?

Live tackling hasn't been a part of training camp for I don't know how long. Tacklers know how to tackle, even if it might take a few game reps to settle in. The other guys are trying not to get tackled, and they're pro football players, too.

George from North Mankato, MN

I'm surprised that no one has signed JC Tretter yet. That said, the news of Ryan Jensen having to be carted off the field in Tampa leads me to believe his phone is about to ring if it hasn't already. Are there any unsigned players right now that surprise you?

Trey Flowers and Anthony Barr are two NFC North foes who come to mind as somewhat surprisingly available, though they'll probably find a home once injuries start to pile up across the league over the next month. Yes, Tretter is an obvious option for the Bucs should they get bad news on Jensen.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Could a prolonged absence by Watkins in training camp and continued development of Winfree, Doubs, and Toure lead to Watkins being the odd man out? His history of injuries vs. young guys with something to prove. Plus, Watkins' guaranteed money is fairly low.

For the record, Gutekunst said he expects Watkins to be back on the field in rather short order. But I said from the beginning Watkins' contract does not make him a roster lock. He's going to have to earn his spot.

Will from Milwaukee, WI

Good morning Insiders! Is it just me, or do these players all seem to be really enjoying themselves? The locker room reports from Wednesday really seemed to be very upbeat and positive, including from those players continuing to work through injuries. The electricity and buzz seemed palpable. Could you feel that too?

It's always that way at the start of camp when the players come back from their breaks, full of energy and (mostly) healthy. When the pads go on and the practices get longer and more physical, the grind starts to set in.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Mike, why do so few USFL players successfully transition to the NFL? Is the disparity in talent the fundamental reason?


Joe from Swansea, IL

I'm stunned the Cardinals have to put in writing the minimal hours of film study for Murray to earn a quarter of a billion dollars. My question: At what point in the week does Aaron Rodgers hit his fourth hour of film study? Sometime Monday? Do fans realize how many nights a week are spent by elite players with an iPod in their hands?

They listen to the film, too? Sorry, couldn't resist. I'd say your Monday projection is about right for Rodgers.

Steve from Phoenix, AZ

Is it me or are the Packers churning the roster even more than usual this time of year? (I acknowledge the likelihood of a two-word response.)

I asked Gutekunst about this Wednesday, and he confirmed my suspicion it's being driven by the number of players on PUP and NFI to start camp.

Adam from Wausau, WI

I thought they changed the rules this year with the PUP list, with players only missing the first four games instead of six. Is that correct? If that's the case, do you see the Packers being even more cautious with Jenkins, Tonyan, and Hill? Thanks.

Gutekunst was asked about this as well and seemed to downplay the possibility, emphasizing that when they feel a player is ready, or on the verge, they'll want him active, the changed time frame notwithstanding. Remember, going on regular-season PUP precludes being able to practice as well. That said, given all three of those ACLs you referenced were torn on Oct. 28 or later, I wouldn't be surprised if all three of those guys stayed on PUP after roster cuts.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

With the WRs off to a blazing start in training camp, has anyone started asking about the fabled six-WR formation yet? A collection of talent so formidable, even the "Ketchman prevent" defense can't stop it...

Though perhaps the officials and their yellow flags could, no?

Matt from Cedar Rapids, IA

"Lazard has his hand raised. Cobb, too. Who's joining them?" I can think of two running backs who might be hoping for a few of those plays to go their way...

Oh, that's a given. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are already on the dance floor. Wes was asking who else the DJ can cajole to stroll under the mirror ball.

JD from Madison, WI

Hi II. It's been 185 days since I last looked at Insider Inbox. After that devastating loss, I needed to pause. Please forgive me. But it's a new year and a new training camp is upon us. What one player on each of the three phases of the team are you looking to make a difference in camp? GPG

New players? For now I'll go with Romeo Doubs, Quay Walker and Pat O'Donnell.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

It seems Mike and Wes tend to agree on most things Packers. I'm wondering if there is a topic or two where you two are diametrically opposed to one another.

He watches UFC and collects strange trading cards. I eat cheese and drink beer.

Scott from Muir Beach, CA

If you were Coach, would you read II?

If, in his shoes, I had that much time on my hands, I doubt I'd be employed for long. Happy Friday.