Thu. Dec 3rd, 2020

Inbox: He is the difference

5 min read
Inbox: He is the difference

With Danny Vitale still being out, does Tommy Bohanon have the upper hand in the fullback battle? Can Danny come back and slowly get back to full speed without any worry? Vitale has been with GB since LaFleur came on and knows the offense, reaching back to his days in Evanston. It would be sad to see him go.

Before his injury, Vitale didn’t just look like a player capable of making the 53-man roster – he had the makings of a legitimate weapon in the offense. So I don’t think Bohanon necessarily affects Vitale’s chances because they’re just such different players. The key for Vitale right now is getting healthy and reminding the Packers of what he can do.

Caroline from Olympia, WA

Is there any reason for concern with our running back health and depth?

The Packers are as healthy as they’ve been since the start of camp with Jamaal Williams returning to practice Sunday. Aaron Jones also was reinserted into team drills Sunday, so there appears to be a decent chance he plays against the Raiders. Dexter Williams and the rest have to prove they’re worthy of that third spot and keep progressing.

Terry from Sun Prairie, WI

How do you see Tim Boyle progressing so far this year?

I’ve seen a lot of progress, but Boyle also is competing to be the Packers’ No. 2 quarterback. The stakes are higher now. His big thing right now is accuracy and consistency. Boyle looked phenomenal on that scoring drive in Baltimore but the key for any backup is stringing those series together.

The last two years the Packers’ offense appeared to be more scattershot compared to more successful offenses that seemed to perform consistently and smoothly. Have you noticed anything so far this year that suggests the offense will return to its former efficiency?

I do and I think we saw it in practice Monday. That was one of the best days the offense has had, whether it was the ones or the third team. The tempo, energy and efficiency is so much higher with Rodgers suited up. He is the difference. Beyond that, there was a good symmetry between the run and pass. We’ll see how Thursday goes, but practices like Monday are what truly matter the most.

If you were in your first season with the Packers, and “on the bubble,” during the preseason, would you Lambeau Leap knowing this may be your only shot but it doesn’t really count, or take the risk and hold off for your first Leap to be for something that matters during the season?

I would leap. That could be an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But I also get why certain players would have to hold off. Motivation comes in different forms.

How much weight do you put on the first two games? It seems as though going 0-2 versus 2-0 against the Bears and Vikings will have a large impact the rest of the season. 1-1 is bittersweet, and let’s hope the Pack doesn’t tie the Vikings again.

It’s not how a team starts. It’s how it responds to that start regardless of whether it’s 2-0 or 0-2. If it’s 2-0, then how do you handle success and build upon it? If it’s 0-2, how does your team process early-season adversity? I value building towards a long-term goal, not overselling short-term results.

Zach from Stevens Point, WI

How has Billy Turner looked in camp? What position has he been practicing at mostly? I feel like I haven’t heard anything about him all summer.

I’m not an offensive line coach but Turner has passed the eye test for me this summer. I love his size, athleticism and versatility. Turner is not only positioned to be the Packers’ starting right guard, but he’s also looked good when stepping in for Bryan Bulaga at right tackle.

Richard from Whitewater, WI

With Jake Kumerow seeming to be a lock (my opinion only) to make the team, who do you think is the best DIII player to have played in the NFL?

In the modern era? Pierre Garcon.

Am I the only one concerned about our ILB situation? We have Blake Martinez and a group of maybes.

Curtis Bolton is more than a maybe.

Gents, appreciate the column each day. Does Ty Summers or Bolton look like he can fill the ILB position for the duration of the year, if needed?

As I wrote on Saturday, I think Oren Burks’ temporary replacement is on this roster. The ball is in Bolton’s court right now and he’s only helped his cause. Summers is smart, but he has to clean up the missed tackles.

In reference to the question on Rashan Gary, what’s the benefit to having him do things in preseason he wouldn’t be asked to do in season vs. having him hone his technique that he will be asked to do, considering he’s a rookie?

I don’t know the specifics of the Packers’ plan but I’m guessing it’s teaching him how to play the outside linebacker position from the ground up.

Several players around the league have stayed home while the team traveled for their game. Are the Packers leaving anyone behind Wednesday when they go to Winnipeg?

I’m sure they will but that’ll get sorted out Wednesday. While most veterans who aren’t playing stay back, Burks, Josh Jackson and Aaron Jones all attended the Ravens game.

How much do practices change once they are closed to the public?

The offseason program and training camp are for installing a system of offense and defense. Once the practices move behind closed doors (and fences), the team begins working on more opponent-specific material. After Tuesday’s practice, the focus shifts to the Bears.

How many TEs are we looking to keep on our roster?

George, have you ever met Caroline from Olympia, WA? I believe the Packers keep four. I feel as strongly about that prediction as any other position on the roster.

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