Tue. Nov 24th, 2020

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Inbox: We’re almost there

6 min read
Inbox: We’re almost there

With EQ St. Brown injured, and Allen Lazard and Darrius Shepherd looking good, should the Packers put EQ on IR at the start of the regular season and to allow Lazard and Shepherd to show what they can do? Then come midseason, decide what to do with all three receivers?

Perhaps the toughest call the Packers will have to make this week is what to do with Oren Burks and St. Brown. If the Packers want to bring them back this year, both players must be on the initial 53-man roster. That means exposing two others to waivers on cut-down day. That’s where Brian Gutekunst and his scouts must get a read on the market.

Jack C. (an intern from last year) says hello. We were on the same kickball team this summer and he told me some great stories about his time with you and Spoff. Anyway, if Tim Boyle starts this final preseason game does that mean he has the No. 2 job?

Unless the Packers only keep two quarterbacks, I don’t think we’ll know definitively who the No. 2 QB is until the game-day inactives are announced in Chicago. It’s that close. Boyle’s game against the Raiders was noteworthy, though. It was the consistent performance the Packers wanted to see from Boyle. As Spoff has been saying, that second quarter was the best the Packers’ second-team offense has looked in the last five or six preseasons in my opinion.

How well does the offense perform come Week 1? I am a bit nervous. Aaron Rodgers does wonders but we haven’t seen him in action really yet. I’m also wary of LaFleur and his offense in Tennessee. Should we be nervous? Are you confident? Does the defense need to carry the load this year?

If you’re nervous like Brendyn, I implore you to watch Aaron Rodgers’ locker-room video from Monday (or wait for my story this morning when it posts to packers.com). The quarterback seems pretty confident about the state of the Packers’ starting offense based on practice this week. Preseason is for the pundits, but practice is for the players – and Rodgers seems to like the hand he’s holding going in the opener against the Bears.

Steven from Ladysmith, WI

Knowing that drafting players is kind of a crap shoot, how much does it set your roster back having to release two second-round draft picks? I would think that a second-round pick is expected to be a cornerstone on your roster at least through his rookie contract and maybe into his second contract.

It’s not as easy to hit on second-round picks as you might think. Yes, teams expect an impact player when they draft someone that high, but there’s also nothing guaranteeing those players will be perennial Pro Bowlers. The Packers missed on Jerel Worthy in 2012 but succeeded in drafting Mike Daniels in the fourth. Spriggs didn’t work out, but Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Kyler Fackrell and Blake Martinez have contributed to the Packers’ strongest defensive draft class in years. To answer your question, it doesn’t set you back if you hit elsewhere.

Is the hybrid position in Pettine’s system a matter of if you have a certain player with certain skills he’ll be placed in that spot and Pettine will not play that particular scheme if you don’t? Or does he need that kind of player for his defense to be at its best?

Skill sets help, but that hybrid role looks like a permanent fixture in Pettine’s scheme regardless, based on how it was utilized last year. The Packers deployed no fewer than five different guys in that spot last year (Kentrell Brice, Raven Greene, Josh Jones, Ibraheim Campbell and Eddie Pleasant). This is a major opportunity for Greene right now.

Not considering guys that consistently built a strong case for a roster spot each week of preseason, is there anyone that comes to mind that didn’t appear to be making the 53-man roster during the final week of preseason, then put on a once-in-a-lifetime performance in the final game to command a roster spot?

I’d say James Crawford won his job last year in Kansas City. Jake Schum also did enough back in 2016 to stick as the Packers’ punter. It can go the other way, too. Vince Young lost his spot back in 2013 in the very same stadium.

Are you as excited as I am to see how the different positions affect the offensive cuts for LaFleur/Gutekunst in their first year together? In particular, how four tight ends and a fullback will impact how many QBs (two or three), running backs and receivers are kept? It feels like there will be at least three or five players on the offensive side that will be hard to see go.

That’s the game every GM plays this time of year. It’s not “Madden.” There are no do-overs, so every decision must be thoroughly researched. It’s a complicated process. As Gutekunst mentioned, sometimes it comes down to deciding between a fourth tight end and a sixth defensive lineman. By 3 p.m. CT Saturday, you just try to do the best that you can.

How about making kickoffs optional? The kicking team can either waive the kickoff and the opposition gets the ball on the 25-yard line or they can kick off. This would solve the onside kick issue and potentially protect the players from injury.

You might be on to something there. That’s something to think about.

With the inchoate talk of eliminating punts and kickoffs, would you think the game of football would evolve into simply the game of ball?

There will always be a “foot” in football because field goals are a key component of the game and punts aren’t going anywhere. The risk of injury is so much lower on punts than kickoffs because everyone starts on the line of scrimmage. The problem with kickoffs is it features 11 professional athletes clashing with 11 other hard-charging competitors.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Yesterday there was a question on waiver claims after the final cut down to 53 and a corresponding cut to make room for the claimed player. For a bottom-of-the-roster rookie or UDFA and his family that would be a particularly cruel blow to have a spot in your grasp and then have it taken away 24 hours later. Any stories on when you’ve seen this happen in GB or elsewhere?

Myles White spent three summers in Green Bay before finally making the Packers’ initial 53-man roster in 2015…and then was cut the next day to make room for James Jones. That’s the hard part of the business.

Steve from Kansas City, MO

While we all can agree booing Luck showed a certain lack of class, his decision was as poorly timed as possible. The team is being given absolutely no time to work around the loss. Had he quit prior to the draft or free agency, the Colts could have worked some kind of replacement plan to try and save their season for their fans. I’m not saying they could have done much to replace such a talent, but they should have been given that chance.

If only the Colts had a quarterback with knowledge of the system and starting experience on the roster. Oh wait, they do. Jacoby Brissett is the replacement. I also love how everyone is overlooking the fact Luck has seen little to no improvement with his calf and ankle injuries. Even if he didn’t retire, Luck wasn’t coming back next week.


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