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It's all on the line for players on the roster bubble

What's the future of the preseason?


Josh from Lansing, MI

Since 2010, the Packers have played the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth preseason game five times (this Thursday will make six times). Why is that? Last year was the only year in that stretch we did not play them in preseason.

Don't quote me on this, but I want to say there was some kind of scheduling conflict last year that caused it to not work out. NFL teams are allowed to schedule their own preseason opponents but cannot face their own division. Most teams try to schedule their finale against a relatively close opponent with the regular season on the horizon. I'd imagine that's why you see the Chiefs pop up on the preseason schedule quite often. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but it seems like they've scheduled a lot of games against teams run by former Packers personnel guys (John Dorsey in Kansas City, John Schneider in Seattle and Reggie McKenzie in Oakland).

Jake from Madison, WI

I see a lot of questions about why we can't just sign this guy, or cut this guy, or play this guy. Vic used to say he thought Madden contributed to that mindset. Wes, as a Madden player, do you think the video game has contributed to a lack of awareness on what really goes on in the NFL?

Yes I do. In the game, you can view the attributes of every player in the NFL and sign every free agent you want at any time. It's fun, but it's also fantasy. That's not the real world. I love Madden, but I feel that and fantasy football make everyone believe they can do the job better than actual GMs. It's just a byproduct of having so much information at our fingertips in this era of technology.

Paul from Milwaukee, WI

I've heard Aaron Rodgers did and now Jordy Nelson will play with the scout team. What players are usually designated for the scout team? Is it players on the bubble? Players expected to not make the team? Also, how many players are on this team?

It's just a term used to describe preparing the starting offense or defense for an upcoming opponent. It's often comprised of practice-squad and other young players during the regular season, but Rodgers and some of the veterans handle the duties when they aren't expecting to play much, if at all, in a preseason game. They're just running the offensive or defensive scheme of the next opponent to get the starting units ready.

Andy from Oregon, IL

What will Carl Bradford have to do to get onto the active roster? I really like what I see and I see him becoming better as well. What have you guys seen as you observe him?

*Keep doing what he's doing. I've been so impressed with the tenacity and heart Carl Bradford displayed this summer. I admit I wrote him off after last season. I didn't think it was going to work out, but he's made a believer out of me. I respect how he went about changing his body in the offseason and dedicated himself to learning the nuances of inside linebacker. He's cut down on the mental errors and is playing a lot faster this summer. I don't know if he makes the roster, but Bradford has put it all out there.   *

Kris from Las Vegas, NV

I just read that Peter Mortell has been released. It seems that at the beginning of the season a player that is issued the No. 1 jersey never stays. Has anyone that was issued the No. 1 jersey made the 53-man roster? Thanks guys.

*Curly Lambeau is the only player who wore No. 1. I can't recall whether another player made the roster wearing it in camp and then switching to a different number. *

Jim from Traverse City, MI

Other than retired numbers, which available number is the least used?

Let's stay on the numbers kick. Like Lambeau, Paul Hornung's No. 5 technically isn't retired but no one has worn it since 1988. Other than the few years it was worn in the 80s, Hornung's 5 has mostly been out of circulation since his retirement in 1966. I remember Ed Williams wore it last year during training camp but was given No. 19 when he re-signed to the practice squad after final cuts. Coincidentally, Mason Crosby is only the second player in franchise history to wear No. 2 during the regular season. He's the first since Charlie Mathys in 1925-26.

Kelvin from Stinnett, KY

When do you think we will know who will be the No. 3 receiver?

I guess whoever gets the nod in the first trips package in Jacksonville, but I see the Packers being flexible in how they use that No. 3 receiver spot based on whatever package they're in. No two receivers really are the same on this roster. Nelson is Nelson. Davis and Janis are lightning fast but built differently. Montgomery and Cobb have tweener traits. Abbrederis always finds a way. Allison is tall. Depending on who stays, a lot of different combinations appear possible.

Robby from Tampa, FL

With all of the push back and questions about the preseason, specifically from head coaches such as John Harbaugh, how realistic is it that these preseason games are turned more into scrimmages or 7-on-7 drills? What changes do you foresee happening for preseason games?

I think we're already seeing it with how established starters are playing less and less in the preseason. The league doesn't require teams to play their veterans at all in the preseason, so it's up each coach to determine the best course of action for his team. I don't see it ever becoming a scrimmage or 7-on-7 drill-a-thon, though. As long as the game is played with 11 players on each side, there always will be a need for teams to get a long look at late-round draft picks and undrafted free agents at every position. My favorite part of this time of the year is the natural drama of the pending cuts. It's all on the line this week for players on the roster bubble.

Tom from Fairfield, CT

I'm thinking, comparatively speaking, this preseason has so far been an extraordinary success if only that there have been minimal injuries to key players having gotten through four scheduled games (even though only three were played). What say you?

I say agreed. The Packers have endured some season-altering injuries over the years. Off the top of my head I recall Desmond Bishop in 2012, Bryan Bulaga in 2013, B.J. Raji in 2014 and Jordy Nelson in 2015. That's not to mention Randall Cobb sustained an AC joint sprain in his shoulder that affected him for most of the season. I tend to err on the high side of caution when it comes to injury, so I don't have an issue with how much work Aaron Rodgers and the starting skill-position players have received. Considering most of the veterans likely won't play against Kansas City, I think you'd have to say this training camp has been a success.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

Charles Johnson on the Vikings, can you explain the complex way we twice lost the best draft-and-develop player not still on our roster?

It's pretty simple. The Packers cut him at the end of camp in 2013, re-signed him to the practice squad and then he left to sign onto Cleveland's active roster, which is his prerogative. He eventually found his way to Minnesota where he's spent the past two seasons. Johnson had a rough year in 2015 but also possesses serious play-making potential (see his 49-yard touchdown in the Vikings' opener). You can't keep them all.

Tony from Burbank, CA

What is the more likely scenario? B.J. Raji comes out of "hiatus" or Ted trading players and/or picks to the Chargers for Joey Bosa to help the D-line?

Raji returns and starts at quarterback in Jacksonville.

Micah from Appleton, WI

Through the preseason, according to some stats I found, Mortell is punting ninth best in the league, while Masthay is 34th, implying he's been playing worse than all starting punters, and even a few backups. With that in mind, why was Mortell released and not Masthay?

Punting is one of those positions that you can't judge by just looking at a stat sheet, especially when the Wisconsin temperatures dip late in the season. You really have to watch it and consider the circumstances. Looking at Masthay, he's had two preseason plays – Rollins stepping in the end zone on a goal-line punt against Cleveland and the blocked punt against Oakland – that have hurt his net average. As he'll tell you, Masthay still can punt better than he has and it'll be important to finish on a high note in Kansas City. I thought Mortell punted well all things considered, but it just wasn't enough to unseat Masthay and risk potentially messing up the field-goal operation.

Mark from Fayetteville, NC

With the Hundley injury and no further information coming on that as to a definite return date, do you think the Packers would or could take a chance by keeping Callahan on the roster and maybe Hundley goes on the practice squad? Then when Hundley's healthy they switch? Or maybe there's another option? I know it's only preseason but Callahan looks good. D-III QB or not the boy's got skills.

*Not a chance. First, Hundley appears to be fine. Second, there's no way on earth he'd ever clear waivers to be able to return him to the practice squad. If Hundley's ankle injury was serious, it would require an injury settlement. If you reach an injury settlement with the player, you cannot re-sign him until I believe six weeks after the settlement ends. *

Terry from Temecula, CA

What is the most cowardly act you have ever witnessed in the NFL?

Fourteen years later, I'm still not crazy about Warren Sapp's hit on Chad Clifton.

Travis from Superior, WI

Hod, a big bowl of bear meat chili always tastes great during a Bears game. Do you have any ironic food suggestions for the Jaguars game?

I've sat here for 10 minutes thinking about it and nothing is coming to mind. Maybe black-and-gold cupcakes? Enjoy your chili in October.

Steve from Flagstaff, AZ

Can I assume that the reason the Packers start the season with two road games is partly because the Badgers are playing a game at Lambeau a week before the regular season starts? Or is it just the way the NFL schedule came about?

The Packers requested to play their preseason finale on the road because of the Wisconsin-LSU game, but that's the extent of it. The rest is just how the cookie crumbled…for the first time in 92 years.

Brady from Milwaukee, WI

Wes, thank you for bringing up Uecker's call of Braun's home run last week. After reading that, I spent at least an hour watching highlights from the 2008 and 2011 teams. I live in Milwaukee now, but back in the 2008 and 2011 playoff runs I was a high-schooler living in Duluth, Minn., with no access to watching the Brewers. My days after school included me on my computer using's game tracker and listening to Bob. Thanks for bringing back those memories.

I grew up a huge Brewers fan, though I'll admit my career leaves me with fewer opportunities to follow the team these days. As I mentioned on here before, my dad always lectured to me about how I didn't know what it was like to watch the Packers lose on a yearly basis. At the same time, he was able to see something I've never witnessed – the Brewers in a World Series. Life's little ironies. Hopefully, I'll live to see it happen.

Adrian from Berwickshire, United Kingdom

After the opening question of Aaron Rodgers' press conference last Friday night, he turned to the other side of the room, telling one of the reporters, "OK man, that's enough!" Has Biff been playing "Pokemon Go" in inappropriate situations again?

You caught me. A Pikachu spawned in the media auditorium and I forgot to mute my app.

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