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The opportunity of a lifetime is worth the wait

There's no looking back once you set your opening 53


Austin from Atlanta, GA

Can you please pass this along to Matthew from Waukesha – Since you're done with the Green Bay Packers, can I have your season tickets if you're a holder?

I'll be sure to pass that along.

See more of the best photos from Thursday's Packers-Rams game. Photos by Corey Wilson,

Gary from Topeka, KS

On Saturday over a thousand football players are going to be available for all NFL teams. History tells us there are a few future stars within this group of players. What group in the Packers' organization is responsible for keeping track of these players?

Most of it falls on the scouting department. They keep two boards – one for the draft and one for free agents. Once cuts are made, they'll put together a short list of players to keep an eye on for a possible visit or practice-squad opportunity down the road.

Cesar from Homedale, ID

I want to know if you think the Packers would keep four running backs instead of six receivers, since Ty Montgomery can still split out as a WR on plays and Aaron Jones looks like a good pass catcher out the backfield.

I don't think one affects another. Sure, Montgomery could fill in at receiver in a pinch, but they'd still likely promote a receiver from the practice squad if an injury flares up. I see no reason the Packers couldn't keep four or five running backs and five or six receivers if they feel the players have earned the spot.

Jake from Greenville, NC

In my mock cuts, I'm seeing 47 players who are locks and a lot more than six worthy of the bubble. My question is, if you cleared waivers, what would you look for in a practice squad? A team with a lot of talented players and coaches you could learn from over the next year, a team thin at your position to increase your chances of getting promoted, or something else?

I'd actually look at recent history more than depth charts. The Packers didn't have a pressing need at fullback last year but still promoted Joe Kerridge anyway for special-teams depth. If it were me, I'd have my agent scan track records for teams promoting players from the practice squad. Of the 10 players the Packers signed last year, six of them spent time on the active roster. Those are good odds.

Roger from Lambertville, NJ

There has been a lot of talk about the players, coaches, and front office regarding the difficulty of the roster cut to 53. Have you spoken with any agents about how busy they'll be the next few days?

It's a busy time. Some like to use email or text messages to keep their phone lines clear for NFL teams. Others like to talk on the phone, so they can move on to their next order of business. My favorite memory has to be when an agent said he was trying to get his baby out of the bathtub and would call us back. He never answered again. I give him points for the most creative way of getting a reporter off the phone.

Dale from Crook, CO

When they cut down to the 53 on Saturday, can they tell a player that they want to/are going to bring them back to the practice squad if they can? Wouldn't that give a player hope? Just didn't know if that conversation was "legal" or not. Thanks! Love this site and your work.

That's typically something NFL teams will say to players they hope to retain if they clear waivers. It doesn't always work out, but they like to keep those bridges intact. You never know when you'll need to revisit past options (see: Thomas, Joe).

Dante from Fredericksburg, VA

I don't know what the knock is on Joe Thomas but he proved last year he's more than a dime LB. So why isn't he starting over Blake Martinez?

Thomas led all Packers linebackers in snaps in 2016. I assure you playing time and opportunities are the only things he's focused on. I wouldn't read too much into the inside linebacker depth chart – Jake Ryan, Thomas and Martinez are all going to play.

Chuck from Atascadero, CA

With the way players get hurt so often, do you see a time when the league will expand the team or even the practice-squad rosters?

I expect roster and practice-squad sizes to stay constant until the new CBA. I have a hard time seeing a push to 55-player rosters, but you never know what could happen in negotiations.

Jeremy from New Berlin, WI

Tracking rosters cuts right now (2:11 p.m. Friday), it looks like the Browns and Ravens made most or all of their cuts already. All other teams so far made just a few cuts at most. What's the thought process behind making your cuts so quickly?

Some teams prefer to get them out of the way. I've always felt it puts you at a disadvantage, but to each their own. Regardless, Ted Thompson alluded to the fact the Packers may need to do things a little differently this year with one cut from 90 to 53. So it could very easily be a product of managing a barrage of transactions over the next 24-36 hours. I don't envy GMs right now. A lot goes into these decisions. There's no looking back once you set your opening 53.

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

As a reporter, which days are more exciting for you, the days leading up to the draft or the days leading up to cut-downs? The days after the draft or the days after cut-downs?

As a reporter, I have a love-hate relationship with roster reductions. I loved having a chance to break news and compete with my fellow beat writers when I was at the newspaper, but I hated the business side of it. These are real people trying to earn jobs. That was never on lost me. The nice thing is seizing an opportunity of a lifetime is worth the wait. That's why it's always exciting to see the team come back together during the first day of regular-season availability. The work isn't over, but the players who made it are guaranteed at least one paycheck.

Michael from Saint Louis, MO

Would it be crazy if Taysom Hill played on special teams? I would like to see how he develops as a backup QB, but I don't think it's necessary to keep three QBs. Has a QB ever played special teams?

It sounds crazy, but it's not unheard of. Joe Webb (yes, that Joe Webb) has returned a few kickoffs for the Panthers the past few seasons in addition to being their No. 3 quarterback.

Nick from Sturtevant, WI

Readers have posted questions regarding Taysom Hill's age being a 27-year-old rookie. You mention that people take different paths in life. Do you know more about Taysom? His bio states he did two years of mission work in Australia after high school. Let's say he graduated high school at 18, did two years of mission work to put him at 20. Do you know if he was in college for seven years, or was there more to his path?

I think Hill was old for his grade in high school. He then took a two-year mission trip and spent five years at BYU after receiving a medical redshirt his true senior year. Earlier this year, we chronicledhis journey in a post-draft storyon

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

In my crystal ball I see Hill going to the Browns, Jets or Bills if he doesn't make the 53. Do you have a crystal ball? If so, are you seeing the same thing?

Sorry. My crystal ball is getting repaired.

Tom from Omaha, NE

Every time they have shown Vogel on the sidelines during these preseason games he is drinking. Do punters get more dehydrated than another player during a game? Or is it a nervous habit brought on by how he is counted on to deliver?

It's circumstantial. Every player drinks water on the sideline. The Packers emphasize hydration, so I'd say it's a byproduct of that approach, not a nervous tick or anything.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

I've seen speculation on whether Vogel has secured his job through preseason and whether TT would be looking for a punter after final cuts. No. Vogel has punted well and his job in the critical three-step process of the kicking game showed us the Packers aren't looking at other punters. You can't change the holder at the last moment going into the regular season. But the conversation brings a question to my mind. Crosby's the backup punter, but who's the backup holder?

I don't want to do the prediction dance. I'm cutting my losses after dismissing the possibility of signing Ahmad Brooks. I believe Vogel has earned the right to stay. He has a live leg and solid hang time. With more consistency, Vogel has the talent to be an NFL punter. Also, Randall Cobb is the backup holder.

Daniel from Charles Town, WV

What if the NFL were to give everybody a bye in the first eight games, and another bye in the last eight games?

Sounds good, but maybe a little too good to be true. I'm guessing it's more complicated than that. Just a hunch.

Darrell from San Antonio, TX

Aaron and Josh Jones have passed the eye test as far as the rookies go. Anyone else that has impressed you during the preseason?

The three rookie running backs caught my attention for different reasons. I love Jones' explosiveness at the second level, Jamaal Williams' composure in pass protection and Devante Mays' agility in space for a 230-pound running back. I'm not sure how it will sort out on a depth chart, but running backs coach Ben Sirmans has some prospects to work with.

Collin from Mechanicsville, VA

Is it concerning that none of the rookie running backs have scored a rushing touchdown in the preseason, even though they all seem to belong in the NFL?

Not to me.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

When evaluating the success of a punt, is precedence given to hang time over distance? What is good average distance for an NFL punt?

Spoff and I made a new catchphrase last night – "Give me a 43.0 net average and I'll give you a job."

Andy from Brookfield, WI

I was wondering, would the Packers possibly consider going to a 4-3 scheme later in the year if the OLB position gets thin due to injuries? There seem to be a lot of potential impact players on the D-line.

Don't get too caught up in 3-4 versus 4-3. Not in 2017. The lines have blurred with how prevalent nickel defenses have become. Whether it's 4-3 or 3-4 base, you're still showing a four-man front 80 percent of the time on passing downs. The inclusion of the elephant position has helped Green Bay adapt.

Dan from Leland, NC

Insiders, can you remember another time when the Packers had two former Badgers on their roster? My memory isn't ironclad, but I think Lance Kendricks and Vince Biegel are at least the first such pair in many years.

Not meaning to one-up you, but it actually was pretty recent. The Packers had Scott Tolzien and Jared Abbrederis in 2014-15.

Scott from Green Bay, WI

Insiders, I thought Spriggs played better last year as a guard during the regular season than he has so far this year at tackle in the preseason. Are we trying too hard to fit a square peg into a round hole here by making Spriggs a tackle?

Spriggs is a tackle. He started 47 of 48 games at left tackle for Indiana. His place is at tackle.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

I just wanted to say that I agree with Chris from Jackson, WI. We will not see the entire second-string team playing all at once this season (knock on wood) and I believe the Packers coaching staff has proven that they can plug and play guys with confidence. Also, I'm guessing Matthew will be tuning into the game against Seattle.

JC Tretter, Don Barclay, Lane Taylor and Spriggs have all helped the Packers stem the tide when injuries surfaced over the years. There were concerns over the second-team line during my first year on the beat in 2012. Both Evan Smith and Barclay were starting by the end of the year and everything turned out to be fine.

Christopher from Oak Park, IL

Thanks for doing this partial year this last year. It was hard to say goodbye to Ask Vic. I had hoped I would get a question answered in your column, but usually somebody asked it better, so kudos to you on being able to scan 2,000 emails and pick the best questions. Take care of yourself, Vic.

I'm sorry you didn't get your question answered but hope this is some small consolation. It's not always who says it best. It's sometimes just the luck of the draw. Anyway, I liked your comment and wanted to share. Hopefully, it finds its way across Vic's desk.

Ron from Geneva, IL

Listening to "Three Things" it dawned on me what is missing from the Insider Inbox. Larry. He needs to have a day or two to respond to questions. I miss the older, "wiser than thou" perspectives Vic had. Maybe Larry can re-ignite that art.

Larry could do the whole "wiser than thou" thing if he so chose. He has as deep a knowledge bank as anyone I've encountered when it comes to football, but what I respect about him the most is he never does that. He's incredibly humble. I'm trying to say he might not give you what you're asking for.

Jimmy from New Richmond, WI

Just wanted to say thanks for throwing in your "Game of Thrones" references. I can't stand "Seinfeld," and while it doesn't upset me when I see the constant references in here, I am much happier not seeing them. Is it season opener yet?

*Some people can't stand my GOT references, either. I think Spoff and I provide balance with our taste in TV shows. *

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