Steve from La Crosse, WI
How big of an impact do you think Cook will play in the passing game? Who do you think will be the bigger impact, Cook or Nelson?
If forced to pick one, I’ll go with Nelson based on his past production in the offense and how difficult it was to replace him last season. I look at Cook’s addition as more like extra credit for the passing game. The Packers had success without Jermichael Finley in 2013 and 2014, but Cook should provide a nice reminder of what’s possible with a difference-maker in the middle of the field. We got a taste of that in the preseason. Cook caught the ball well, especially in the red zone. This much is certain – the Packers’ offense will be in good hands this season if Cook and Nelson both make their presence felt.
Kevin from Neptune, NJ
Are three inside linebackers really enough, especially with the inexperience those three individuals have?
I don’t really have a problem with it. I thought the Packers were fortunate to get Carl Bradford back on the practice squad after a strong preseason. While I was surprised they parted ways with Sam Barrington, the Packers obviously felt confident enough in Blake Martinez, Jake Ryan and Joe Thomas to proceed without Barrington. The real key will be whether Ryan and Thomas can stay healthy for the long haul after both have battled hamstring injuries this summer. Let’s also not discount the wide array of packages defensive coordinator Dom Capers likes to employ, either. There will be wrinkles.
Pat from Altoona, WI
Insiders, do you see Jhurell Pressley cast in a role similar to what Johnathan Franklin played before his unfortunate injury?
I think you can see some similarities in the two running backs. Franklin’s resume was a little longer coming into the NFL, but Pressley certainly possesses a skill set that should complement Eddie Lacy and James Starks nicely. He embraces pass protection and seems like a natural pass-catcher out of the backfield, so Pressley meets all the benchmarks the Packers set for their running backs. I’m sure his 106-yard kickoff return in the Vikings’ preseason finale was icing on the cake.
Landon from Coon Rapids, MN
Insiders, when an established veteran is surprisingly (at least to fans and the media) let go, such as Sitton’s release this weekend, is it as much of a surprise to the player as well? Or do they usually see the proverbial "writing on the wall"? Does the team handle an established veteran's release notification process any differently than for, say, an undrafted rookie?
I haven’t spoken to Josh Sitton, but it sounds like it came as a surprise to him based on the testimonials of T.J. Lang, Bryan Bulaga and others. I think sometimes the writing is on the wall, but Sitton still seemed to be near the peak of his power at 30 years old. The Packers try to handle all cuts with dignity and respect, though I’m sure they take a little extra care when it comes to letting an established veteran go. I think back to 2015 when they coordinated with A.J. Hawk to announce his release on his podcast rather than a traditional press notification. Every situation is different, though.
Greg from Ann Arbor, MI
I'd like to thank Wes for scolding me (and a bunch of other folks) about wanting all the answers regarding Sitton’s release right away. It helped me find a little perspective. The other thing that helped was going back and watching Lane Taylor's snaps at LG in Week 17 last year. Taylor went up against Sharrif Floyd, one of the better DTs in the league, and more than held his own. I still don't have all the answers, but at least part of me is looking forward to watching a young player develop this year.
I definitely didn’t intend to scold anyone. I’ve only been doing this for a little more than a month, but I’d never seen so many of the same questions. So I just lumped them all together until my fingers got tired of writing. As I said to someone on Twitter, that list could’ve been three times as long as it was. It’s only natural to want answers, but the truth is no one seems to have any at the moment. There will be plenty of time to determine whether cutting Sitton was the right move. My suggestion was to give it time and try to take the emotion out of it.
Caleb from Eau Claire, WI
Insiders, what do you view as Lane Taylor's forte: run-blocking or pass-blocking?
Based on what I’ve heard over the years, it sounds like Taylor’s calling card is his run-blocking, but he’s worked hard the past two years to refine his pass-blocking ability. He had some ups-and-downs against New Orleans in 2014, but I thought he played well in his two starts last season. The Packers know what Taylor can do when called upon. Now, it’s up to him to put it all together on a week-to-week basis.
Alexander from Superior, WI
It's no mystery, just a little history – Mike McCarthy always talks about availability. Josh Sitton missed so many practices over the past two years, it's really no surprise that he was released. Furthermore, Ron Wolf always said it is better to let a guy go too soon rather than a year too late.
I’ll leave all the speculation to the forum, but Wolf made a good point with that remark. There’s no better example of that than when the Packers released Charles Woodson after the 2012 season. Was the Packers’ secondary better in 2013? No, but the move put them on the path to drafting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round in 2014. Two years later, the Packers are six deep at the safety position.
Matt from Minocqua, WI
Any chance the release of Sitton could disturb a locker room's chemistry and even (create) angst amongst the locker room, whether it be toward one another or management? Was this considered? Or doesn't a guard garnish that much of a wave?
Only time will tell what effect Sitton’s release has on the team in the long run. The Packers take into account locker-room chemistry with every transaction they make. So I can assure you Ted Thompson was not oblivious to the domino effect Sitton’s release may have. At the same time, this is a business and everyone in that locker room is a professional. The offensive line is a tight-knit group, but Lang was spot on in saying it’s up to the line to support Taylor and get ready for Jacksonville.
Daniel from Kanwal, Australia
Hi gents. One of Vic’s favorite beliefs is "jars on the shelf" on both lines. Do the Packers have enough jars on the shelf? And have they sacrificed quality for youth with the release of Sitton?
I think there’s enough jars on the offensive line considering Jason Spriggs is a second-round pick who looks like he belongs and Barclay has experience playing at all five positions. All indications are Corey Linsley will be back at some point this season, as well. The defensive line is more of a question mark because there are so many unknown variables outside of Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion. However, I like how that position group sets up once Mike Pennel returns next month.
Aaron from Omaha, NE
I know everyone is talking about Sitton and TT keeping seven receivers, but what about keeping six safeties? It seems like our roster overall has gotten smaller. Is this a special-teams move?
It reflects the emphasis the Packers have placed on the safety position in recent years. The two safety spots obviously are critical to the success of the defense, but the position also seems to translate well to production on special teams. Marwin Evans and Kentrell Brice made the roster on the back of strong performances in the preseason, but their body types – 6-1, 208 (Evans) and 5-11, 200 (Brice) – could be useful for Ron Zook’s unit. I’ve been particularly impressed by Brice’s combination of speed and tackling over the last four months.
Jack from New York, NY
Jordy Nelson's first game in over a year is this Sunday. Do you see Jacksonville's corners being aggressive and trying to jam him in his first game back? What do you think we'll see out of the Jags’ secondary covering Jordy?
All eyes will be on Jordy Nelson on Sunday afternoon in Jacksonville. It seems like Gus Bradley prefers to use press-man coverage with his cornerbacks based on the personnel decisions the Jaguars have made in recent years. Former Packers CB Davon House, who set a Jaguars record for passes defensed (23) in his first season in Jacksonville, falls into that category. Regardless of who lines up across from Nelson, you can be sure that Jacksonville will know where Nelson is at all times, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That’s a weapon opposing defenses didn’t have to account for last season. Nelson’s back to keep defenses honest again.
Adam from Hillsboro, KS
Hey Wes, do you anticipate a more methodical approach on offense this Sunday to control the clock and keep the defense fresh? Or will we see up-tempo?
I’d tend to side with the more methodical approach given how deliberately the Packers have run the ball this summer. It just seems like Green Bay wants to get the ground game established to help set up the downfield passing game. If you can get some rhythm established early, that should force a safety into the box and possibly open up the deep passing game. The Packers want to push the tempo, but last year was a reminder of how important the running game and favorable down-and-distance is to making that happen.
Curt from York, PA
Insiders, a question for you and most of your readers who think TT must have lost his mind when he made the final roster cuts. Looking at the Packers’ success over the past six years, what more does TT need to do to convince everyone that HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING?
A 19-0 season in which the Packers win the Super Bowl, don’t allow a single point defensively and lead all major offensive categories. It also probably wouldn’t hurt if the kickoff and punt-return teams brought back five or six touchdowns by Christmas.
Andrew from Huxley, IA
Like Bill Belichick would say, "We are onto Jacksonville." How do you think the Packers corners’ match up against Hurns and Robinson?
They’re two exciting young receivers and it’s going to be an interesting matchup for Sam Shields and whichever second-year cornerback is stationed at the other boundary spot. If last season was any indication, the Jaguars likely will flip Robinson and Hurns throughout the game. Their body types mirror one another with Hurns listed at 6-3, 205 and Robinson the same height, but 10 pounds heavier. Shields and Damarious Randall are native Floridians, so I don’t expect the weather to be a factor. It just comes down to being able to contain the two young receivers.
Greg from Clatskanie, OR
I see the active roster only has one one-year player. Does that mean last year's rookies were basically a bunch of washouts?
Not at all. The reason there’s only one first-year player on the active roster (defensive lineman Christian Ringo) is because he’s the only non-rookie who doesn’t have an accrued season to his name. A sixth-round pick in 2015, Ringo spent all of last season on the Packers’ practice squad. The remaining six members of last year’s rookie class have a “2” listed in the experience category because they established one accredited NFL season, making them second-year players.
James from Salt Lake City, UT
Along with the Packers, I'm a Utah Jazz fan. But it honestly drives me nuts that the Jazz have 10 retired numbers to zero championships. I respect Green Bay's lack of chest pounding despite their long-term success. Is there something to be said about quiet confidence and prolonged prosperity?
I’m not familiar with how Utah has handled honoring its greats, but I like the approach the Packers have taken. Green Bay does a nice job of honoring its 24 Pro Football Hall of Famers in the Lambeau Field Ring of Honor, but there’s some added exclusivity to the Packers having only six retired numbers. There’s also a couple – Curly Lambeau’s No. 1 and Paul Hornung’s No. 5 – that haven’t been worn in the regular season for decades. I think the approach raises the profile of the distinction and only adds to the luster of the achievement.
Dan from Torrance, CA
Will Brett Hundley be ready for the Jacksonville game? Haven't heard much about him for a couple of weeks.
Although Hundley sat out against Kansas City, the Packers’ No. 2 quarterback returned to practice last week. Mike McCarthy reiterated he’s healthy when the head coach stated on Monday that Joe Callahan’s inclusion on the 53-man roster was made independently of Hundley’s situation. All three quarterbacks practiced on Tuesday.
Derk from Chippewa Falls, WI
Do you think you'll be able to hear the sighs all the way from Wisconsin after Jordy's first back-shoulder catch?
I have no doubt the collective gasp and subsequent cheering the first time Nelson touches the ball will be audible from EverBank Stadium all the way back to Lambeau.
Jim from Bonita Springs, FL
What color jersey are the Packers wearing in Jacksonville?
The Packers are wearing their home green uniforms like they did against Miami in 2014.
Ryan from Noblesville, IN
"Everybody can change!" We need more Rocky quotes in everyday life.
Ain’t gonna be no rematch.
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