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The pieces are now in place

Ahmad Brooks' experience makes him tailor-made for Packers' defense


Chad from Port Douglas, Australia

The Packers began regular season practice Monday afternoon for Sunday's Week 1 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Photos by Evan Siegle,

Wow. Pretty eventful few days. Three draft picks not making the 53, Barclay on IR, Elliott traded to the Cowboys, Brooks signed, no third QB on the roster, waiver claim of a LB from Atlanta. A lot to digest and discuss. Your thoughts on the last few days?

Eventful is a good word for it. I'm still trying to catch my breath. Let's see if I can gather my thoughts and coherently summarize it all for you. The pieces are now in place with the roster at 53. Let's see how it all fits together.

Denny from Alexandria, VA

What is the rationale for keeping four tailbacks on the roster? You only play one at a time. OK, occasionally two, but sometimes none. This is a passing team.

Depth. How soon we forget the Packers ran through their top three running backs by Week 5 last season. Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones and Devante Mays all showed something during the preseason. There's also some flexibility with all three taking some reps on special teams. So there's value there even if they aren't getting a ton of offensive snaps right off the bat.

Seth from Holcomb, KS

Am I the only one that is glad we got Bazooka Joe Callahan back over Hill? Maybe I just fell for his story last year, but I still think he might have more upside. From my limited knowledge it doesn't seem like many rookies who are older when they enter the NFL like Hill do as well. As far as the comment about Hill being the Saints' replacement, won't he be like 30 or 31 at that point more than likely? Seems awful old to be starting for the first time.

If you've been reading, you know my thoughts by now on this year's No. 3 quarterback battle. I don't think the Packers could've gone wrong with either player. Callahan didn't get as many snaps as last year when Brett Hundley was nursing the ankle injury, but he has a full year of experience in this system. He's a grinder. As for Hill, I wouldn't use his age against him. He's playing the position with the most longevity besides kicker.

Mike from Whitefish, MT

Lots to like about this roster and some concerns about the depth of our OL, especially with Barclay gone for a minimum of eight weeks. One potential weakness no one is talking about is TE. One serious injury leaves us with two only and no one on the practice squad to call up. Thoughts?

The Packers played the final two months of the season with only two tight ends on the active roster. Their practice-squad tight end, Beau Sandland, didn't join the team until November. They'll be fine.

Mike from Valemount, BC

Who do you see on the roster that could be considered "glue guys?" There's the obvious one, Aaron Rodgers, anyone else?

I'd say Jordy Nelson, Morgan Burnett and Clay Matthews come immediately to mind.

Courtney from Butte, MT

Assume the Packers' 53-man roster is loaded at a position and they have a great up-and-comer on the practice squad. Another team has an injury to a starter at that position and are looking to fill it. Do the Packers contact the other team? Does the player? I recall a situation several years ago when the Packers did just that for the financial benefit of the player. Is that common?

Every player on the practice squad is technically a free agent. They're free to sign elsewhere if a better offer surfaces. If a new offer comes in, the Packers have the option to either promote the player to the 53 or give him a raise to stay on the practice squad. I think it's occurred at least once per season during my time on the beat. On a side note, I stayed in Butte earlier this summer. Beautiful city.

Patrick from Ashland, WI

If a team claims a player off waivers, then a few days later cuts him, does he revert back to the original waiving team for possible signing to the practice squad?

If a team cuts a player it previously claimed on waivers, he goes back on waivers for all 31 teams to claim. If he clears, then he's free to sign onto the roster of any NFL team – active or practice squad.

Loren from Fillmore, CA

Ahmad Brooks was a good pickup, but don't we need another OLB for depth?


The Packers also claimed Chris Odom off waivers from Atlanta, so they'll enter the season with five outside linebackers on the roster. If anything should arise during the season, they also have Reggie Gilbert on the practice squad and Vince Biegel on PUP.**

Michael from Wausau, WI

If you can't beat him, wait until he's released by his former team, and slide him on to your 53-man roster. Ahmad Brooks was always such a tough opponent for the Packers. What roles do you think he will fill on Dom Capers' defense?

Once he catches up on the defense, I think you'll see Brooks play all over the front. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Monday he'll be an "elephant" rusher, meaning he'll take reps as an outside linebacker at times and rush with his hand down from a three-technique in the dime sub-package. His experience in Vic Fangio's defense is tailor-made for what the Packers run.

Kary from Sheboygan, WI

During the year, a team can sign a player from any other team's practice squad. How do they know anything about that player's development after the season starts? Say someone really liked Gilbert, but couldn't slot him on their roster right now. A few days down the line, they try to check in on his progress. How do they do that? Can they do that?

There's no practice film, so a lot is based on pre-draft work and projections. In some cases, they're able to see some game action if a player like Brian Price spent time on the active roster during the season.

Bruce from Arbor Vitae, WI

Just wondering how many of the players the Packers cut were picked up by other teams, either on their 53-man roster or their practice squad.

*Dallas claimed Brian Price and New Orleans claimed Taysom Hill. To the best of my knowledge, Max McCaffrey (New Orleans) and Geoff Gray (New York Jets) are the only two players the Packers released who signed to a practice squad other than their own. *

Gary from Roberts, WI

If the Packers thought so much of Hill as QB, why did they let him go?

Third-string quarterbacks are a luxury. It's not to say you can't have one, but you'll then have to sacrifice depth at other positions. Those extra players not only provide secondary options at their respective positions, but also contributions on special teams. Tough decisions have to be made. That's how cut-down day goes.

Brandon from Helsingborg, Sweden

So happy football is back! Bold analysis time: Did the Packers do enough to address the lack of balance on both sides of the ball that we saw at the end of last year?

I think so. The area where the Packers were a tad green was at outside linebacker and Brooks' arrival adds a veteran presence to the position. They also have sufficient options at running back and offensive line. Everyone besides Bryan Bulaga practiced on Monday, a good sign heading into the regular season.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

Wes stated that Brooks was a third-round pick in the 2006 supplemental draft. I knew there was a supplemental draft, but how are there three rounds of it? How many players are really available and draft-worthy in the supplemental draft?

The supplemental draft has seven rounds like the normal one except teams aren't obligated to take anyone. If you take a player in the third round, you have to forfeit a third-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. So it's kind of like a silent auction in that way.

Dennis from Naples, FL

I know everybody had wide-receiver fever this year, me included. Looking back on it though, Geronimo Allison closed the door on the whole thing by looking like a top 50 wide receiver all preseason. There are about 18 teams right now where he would be a WR2! Keep grinding Geronimo!

Allison put together a nice camp. He'll miss this week due to suspension, but he looks like a second-year receiver ready to make a jump in his game. He had arguably the catch of training camp two weeks ago when he pulled down that leaping pass from Aaron Rodgers in the heart of the defense. He's putting it together.

Lawrence from Onalaska, WI

Let's say that a raw talent like Michael Clark defies the odds and becomes a superstar WR for the Packers. How great of a story is that for you and other football reporters? How do you rank a story like that compared to all the other stories you cover?

It would be quite the story. It probably would go right up there with Tramon Williams walking on at Louisiana Tech to becoming a Pro Bowler and Sam Shields converting from receiver to do the same. Only time will tell with Clark. He has intriguing tools, though.

Niklas from Stockholm, Sweden

Does this mean that Barclay is out for the entire season or can he be reactivated?

He can be reactivated after eight weeks and practice again after six.

Phil from Marietta, GA

Seattle has a formidable DL. Will we have an indication of the health of our OL before Wednesday? If Bryan Bulaga is out, how do you see the line-up taking shape? (Thanks for your excellent work BTW)

The starting offensive line is in good shape going into the opener. Monday's practice was kind of an extra practice day for the Packers, so it wasn't a surprise for Bulaga to not be out there. I think we'll get a better idea of where he is after practice Wednesday and Thursday. If he doesn't go, the Packers will have to make the call on whether to go with Kyle Murphy or Jason Spriggs. Murphy, whose primary spot is right tackle, had a good camp in my opinion.

Brian from Iron Mountain, MI

If Hundley is as good as fans seem to think, why are they so eager to play against him?

They gotta fever and the only thing that's going to cure it is more draft picks.

Shawn from Marinette, WI

Packers got a conditional seventh-round pick for Jayrone Elliott. Do you know the terms for which that pick could be higher and how high might it be?

Conditional seventh-rounder usually means the Packers will get a seventh-round pick if Elliott stays on the Cowboys' roster for a predetermined number of games or weeks. Nothing more, nothing less.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

I haven't read much on Ricky Jean-Francois' play in camp and haven't seen much of him in preseason. What role do you see him playing this year? Also what's your take on Seattle acquiring Sheldon Richardson in relation to Sunday's game?

Jean Francois is a good fit for this defense. He's experienced and can play anywhere on the line. He's a great resource to have for those first- and second-year defensive linemen. Richardson is a player who's still in the prime of his career. The Seahawks have done a phenomenal job of reviving veterans with a fresh start. I'm curious how much he plays against Green Bay given he just landed in Seattle. Early reports have been positive.

Jessi from Sterling, KS

What were some of the reasons we parted ways with Jayrone Elliott? Do things like back spasms come into a coach's decisions in keeping a player, especially when Perry and Matthews are nursing some minor injuries as well?

The Packers liked Chris Odom coming out of Arkansas State and found a taker for Elliott. I'll miss Jayrone in the locker room. It was great watching him go from the quiet undrafted rookie, nervous to approach Julius Peppers, to the Packers' Man of the Year nominee last year. A truly humble guy. He'll be missed by the media corps.

Calvin from Jacksonville, FL

Doug Pederson was the Packers holder for many years. It used to be quite common for the backup QB to be holder, and some teams still do that.

No teams do that anymore from what I understand. Every team has its punter do it now.

Jerome from Wichita, KS

If Eddie Lacy has a banner day against the Packers this Sunday, who should shoulder the blame: defensive coordinator, defensive line coach or the linebacker coach?

*If Eddie Lacy is held in check against the Packers this Sunday, who should shoulder the credit: defensive coordinator, defensive line coach or the linebacker coach? Only the game can provide you with the answer you seek. *

Wes from South St Paul, MN

Silverstein thought I was nuts when I suggested the Packers consider Osweiler as a backup to Rodgers. It would allow the Packers to trade Hundley now for draft picks next year. Denver just signed Osweiler for the league minimum because Cleveland is on the hook for the rest of his salary. Too late now.

I'm sorry, Wes, but Spoon was right. Hundley is under contract through the 2018 season and Osweiler will be a free agent again after this season. The Packers can be flexible with how they choose to approach Hundley's situation.

Robert from Marco Island, FL

I believe this happened at a Bears/Packers game back in the 1960s. The Packers punted to the Bears as time was running out and the Bears did a fair catch. The Bears then opted for an uncontested field goal to win the game. Was this a legal rule at one time?

I think it still is.

Paul from Escanaba, MI

I think they should have put Spriggs, Mathews and Huntley on waiver list.


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