Alex from South Milwaukee, WI (and Matt from Janesville, WI; Jeff from Brooklyn, WI; Terry from McHenry, IL; Alex from Bartlett, IL; Mark from Iron Mountain, MI; Dominick from Berwyn, IL; Aaron from Seymour, IN; Zach from Delavan, WI; Helen from Ankeny, IA; Sok from Stockton, CA; James from Dallas, TX; Dave from Saint Peters, MO; Logan from Marion, IA; Ryan from Minneapolis, MN; Taylor from Des Moines, IA; Chuck from Madison, WI; Tim from Madison, WI; Bob from Racine, WI; Jed from Santa Fe, NM; Terry from Watertown, SD; Chris from Lexington, KY; Greg from Ann Arbor, MI; Pat from Collierville, TN; Jay from Land O Lakes, FL (seven times over); David from Louisville, KY; Chris from Wisconsin Rapids, WI; Frank from Wake Forest, NC; Holger from Guayaquil, Ecuador; Callan from Rotterdam, Netherlands; Mani from Milwaukee, WI; Greg from Perkasie, PA; Darrin from Las Vegas, NV; Bill from Tampa, FL; Paul from Machesney Park, IL; and everyone else who asked over the last roughly 40 hours since the news broke)
I need an answer about Josh Sitton and I need it NOW.
I’m like all of you. I don’t know why the Packers cut Josh Sitton. I could speculate on the factors that might have led to his departure but I’m not going to do that. What I will say is football sometimes can be like a hand of Texas Hold ’Em. You might think you know what cards someone is holding based on how he or she plays the hand, but only that individual knows for sure what they have. Ted Thompson didn’t just roll out of bed on Saturday morning and say, “Well, I think I’ll cut a three-time Pro Bowl guard today.” He’s not out to make this team worse. The Packers know Sitton better than anyone. They drafted and developed him into an All-Pro guard over his eight seasons here. It may seem like insanity to let him go, but sometimes you have to see past the sunset. Let’s see what Mike McCarthy says this week and proceed from there. Rushing to judgment never gets you anywhere.
Hendrik from Euskirchen, Germany
What is the impact the loss of a player of Sitton's caliber has not only on the O-line, but the whole offense? I'm sure a lot of guys have to step up now.
No question. Sitton and T.J. Lang set the tempo for the offensive line both on and off the field. Offensive line coach James Campen recently talked about how their leadership style helped new leaders emerge on the line in recent years. This isn’t just about who replaces Sitton at left guard, but how the entire group overcomes his departure. As Lang said last month, offensive linemen often are only as good as the two guys next to you. Let’s see who steps up.
Tristan from Aurora, CO
Wow, Josh Sitton has been released. Based on the depth chart, Lane Taylor is set to become the starter. As sad as I am to see Sitton go, I'm really interested to watch Taylor play, since Thompson wouldn't have cut Sitton without what he thought was a quality starter. What can you tell me about Lane Taylor?
Taylor seems to make the most sense. He’s usually been the first offensive lineman off the bench whenever Sitton or Lang isn’t on the field. He fits the pass-blocking prototype the Packers look for in their guards, but can he put it all together over the long haul? He had an up-and-down preseason, but he has plenty of experience operating in this offense. Don Barclay also has worked at guard and I suppose it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Bulaga, Tretter or Linsley (once he returns) could move there, either. There are a number of scenarios that could play out here. It also wouldn’t surprise me if the Packers get all the way to Jacksonville without announcing a new starter.
Tim from Madison, WI
Cutting Sitton now instead of letting him walk as a free agent next year means we do not get a compensation pick for him, correct?
That’s correct. The only way you get compensation for a veteran with more than four accrued NFL seasons is if he leaves following the expiration of his contract (aka unrestricted free agent). Otherwise, you get zilch.
Paul from Sheboygan Falls, WI
There's a lot of emotion attached to Josh Sitton's release. The rational explanation has been that it's related to the salary cap. With the team currently under the cap, it's immaterial this year. So is there a benefit in future years, such as unused cap money carrying over to next year?
You are allowed to carry over unused cap space to the following season. So the Packers could use whatever salary they cleared with Sitton’s release toward this season or put it toward the 2017 cap.
Kurt from Phoenix, AZ
Wow! Shocked at Sitton's release. I think Kyle Murphy is the reason they were ready to move forward. Any thoughts?
I don’t know if there’s a connection there. Murphy is a tackle by trade and played mostly on the right side during camp. The Packers like to cross-train their reserve linemen, but throwing Jason Spriggs or Murphy into the fire inside seems farfetched at the moment. We’ll no longer get to watch full practices during the season, so how much either rookie reps at guard going forward is anyone’s guess.
Jerry from Harlingen, TX
Is it possible for the Packers to re-sign Sitton at a lower one-year contract if he clears waivers? If not, what would you do to address the left guard position?
As a vested veteran, Sitton is not subject to waivers. He’s free to sign with any team in the NFL since the Packers terminated his contract. That's why he was immediately able to join the Bears. Yes, it was possible to re-sign him still, but it rarely happens. The ship usually has sailed at that point.
Patrick from Tampa, FL
I have enjoyed our long running success under Ted, but sometimes I have to wonder if he might be focusing so hard on the future that he is missing the opportunities of the present. In the end however, I will take the playoffs eight out of 10, the division five out of 10, the conference title one out of 10 (with two other appearances) and the Super Bowl one out of 10 during any 10-year period. Here is to hoping all of those numbers go up by one at the end of this season.
There is a delicate balance between readying for the future and looking to win now. Thompson has done a fairly good job over the years of straddling that line. If you disagree, point out to me the last time the Packers went into a season without an outside shot at winning a Super Bowl. It’s impossible for a GM to make the right call 100 percent of the time, but batting average is important. Thompson has hit at a pretty high percentage when it comes to determining whom to re-sign and let go.
Kelly from Kaneohe, HI
How difficult is it for a tackle to transition into a guard?
It depends on the player, but it worked out pretty well for Sitton, Lang and Tretter after all three played tackle in college. It comes down to footwork, pad level and communication. Each position has its own quirks, which is why the Packers like rotating their young linemen as much as possible to ready them for emergency situations. Since the best college offensive linemen typically are left tackles, it seems like the tackle-to-guard transition is a smooth transition for most in Green Bay.
Dave from Lake Zurich, IL
How does a team let the other 31 teams know a player is available for trade before the releases are announced?
Pick up the phone, type an email or send a raven – everyone seems to know everyone in NFL front offices. It’s often as simple as putting some fliers out and seeing who bites.
Alan from Albuquerque, NM
Is all seven draft picks and six undrafted the most true freshmen to make an NFL roster? Seems like the Packers have great scouting.
It is a lot but it’s nowhere near a record. Cleveland kept 16 rookies during this year’s cuts and Seattle is carrying 14 at the moment (eight draft picks, six college free agents). It seems like everyone is trying to go young.
Perry from Carrollton, GA
I think it was wise to keep Joe Callahan. He would have been picked up by another team. This pick might prove worthwhile in a trade.
I’ll admit this one surprised me. I figured the Packers would proceed with only two quarterbacks on the active roster like they did from 2009-2013. Callahan certainly earned his keep, though. The former Division III standout steadily improved throughout the summer and fashioned an impressive resume in the preseason (54-of-88 for 499 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover). Considering Hundley’s ankle issues, it makes senses Thompson and McCarthy opted for the third QB on the 53.
Zack from Radford, VA
What else could Carl Bradford do to make the roster? It seems like he was destined to be cut from the start.
Carl Bradford has nothing to be ashamed of. Here’s a player who could have given up after two unsuccessful bids at getting on the field in his first two NFL seasons. Instead, he rededicated himself this offseason and made a lot of strides as an inside linebacker in his third camp. I’m not a scout, but his play this preseason convinced me he could play in this league. Bradford has overcome a lot of adversity in his first two NFL seasons and should be proud of what he put on tape this preseason. I hope it works out for him.
Jon from Eden Prairie, MN
I am a bit confused by some of the cuts this weekend. Sam Barrington? Rick Lovato? Josh Sitton? That's quite a few established starters that seemed sure bets for the 53. TT sure does work in mysterious ways. At least we have seven receivers going for us though, which is nice.
There’s always surprises during cut-down weekend. I fully expected Daniel Muir to make the roster in 2012 and then the Packers went with Phillip Merling instead. I figured Rajion Neal was a lock last summer and then Alonzo Harris was chosen as the No. 3 running back. That’s just the nature of the business. Yes, there were some stunning moves made, but I’d argue Sitton was the only true shocker. Barrington and Lovato were far from locks.
Courtney from Butte, MT
What happened to John Crockett?
Crockett sustained a shoulder injury in the Packers’ third preseason game in San Francisco that landed him on injured reserve going into last week’s roster reduction to 75 players. It was unfortunate timing for Crockett, who seemed to be turning a corner at the time of his injury. In need of another running back, the Packers claimed Jhurell Pressley off waivers from Minnesota on Sunday, according to the NFL transaction report.
Doug from Wausau, WI
“No way Ted Thompson keeps seven receivers on the active roster.” I stand corrected.
Thompson’s mantra always has been similar to that old Roddy Piper line: “Just when they think they got the answers, I change the questions.”
MJ from Dedham, MA
I was born a Packer Backer, playing football in Wisconsin and even though that was 40 years ago, I can't remember ever having more than two or three coaches. With all the coaches, scouts, recruiters, film and data to review, how many staff members make up a team's coaching staff? Are these actual team members or is certain data contracted out? Does the NFL limit the number of staff or limit monies spent like salary cap?
There’s no salary cap for how much you’re allowed to pay coaches or personnel. It simply depends on your franchise structure and what ownership is willing to pay. In Green Bay, we’ve heard Mike McCarthy praise President/CEO Mark Murphy countless times for the upgrades the Packers have made to their facilities over the years and the resources the coaching staff has been given to properly train the football team. While player acquisition has certain boundaries and parameters, the resources invested in the infrastructure of an organization are limitless.
Donn from Lomira, WI
Sitton maybe I can see but TWO proven ILB's cut. Is TT looking at just being in the playoffs every year or really trying to be in a great position to win the ultimate prize? These cuts have me really confused on his real direction.
I’m sure all moves the Packers made on Saturday were done in the interest of making the playoffs without any consideration whatsoever of winning the ultimate prize.
Ed from Fort Bragg, CA
The Vikings just made a costly move acquiring Sam Bradford. This certainly changes things for the all-important Week 2 game against them. Will Bradford make a huge difference for them?
It seems like the initial reaction has been mostly negative to the trade, but the Vikings obviously felt it was the move they needed to make. There were astronomically high expectations for Minnesota this year. Did they pay too much for Sam Bradford? I’d say so, but he has the ability to operate Minnesota’s offense effectively assuming he can stay healthy. I’m sure the Vikings intended to open up the passing game more this year, but the structure they’ve put in place enables a quarterback to manage the game. They’re not going to ask Bradford to win every game with his arm. At the end of the day, Minnesota is going to go as far as Adrian Peterson and Zimmer’s defense take them.
Gretchen from Dousman, WI
In light of the cancelled Hall of Fame Game and now the Wisconsin/LSU college game being played at Lambeau Field, it would be interesting to hear from the grounds crew regarding how they keep the field so pristine.
The Packers’ grounds crew does a fantastic job of keeping Lambeau Field in pristine shape despite some pretty severe seasonal weather. I remember how well it bounced back after the Kenny Chesney concert in 2015. The month-long break between Packers home games should allow Lambeau the necessary time to heal. I’d imagine it’ll be good to go once Detroit strolls into town for the home opener on Sept. 25.
Mike from Clinton, WI
If Packers Unscripted is to be seen as video, I don't see it!
We run it as a podcast on packers.com and downloadable on iTunes. The TV show runs daily on Time Warner Cable Sports 32 in Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay markets.
David from New Berlin, WI
First off, Wes was joking about Janis healing like “average humans,” and before anyone gets offended, Spoff was joking about the “helicopter ride.” Can we stop having thin skin and start having fun again?
If I can change and you can change, everybody can change…
Stan from Menomonie, WI
What do you think of this scenario? They will cut Dorleant and Callahan to sign another DT and a LS. After the suspensions, Goodson and one of the DT will be gone to add Pennel. TT is hoping to increase the chances of getting Callahan onto the practice squad by not cutting him right away.
Class dismissed. I have an enormous headache in my eye.
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