All it takes is a roster spot and a dream

Good day, gentlemen. Can you please explain the advantages of a young player being on the practice squad vs. the developmental league(s) that have existed (e.g. USFL, NFL Europe, etc.)? Is the pay comparable but by being on a practice squad, I assume your team has a relationship and knows your skillset better? Thank you for considering my question and keep up the great work.

Practice squad is still preferable because it keeps players in NFL playbooks and meeting rooms, while also getting them used to the league’s daily grind. Yet, there are only so many jobs out there and the void the USFL and XFL fill is giving players an expanded opportunity to showcase their talent in a way that might not be possible on the bottom of an NFL roster. Daniel Whelan is a great example of that. Cut by New Orleans last year, Whelan put a ton of good film out there that led to his signing with the Packers in May.

John from Fond du Lac, WI

What happened with Kenneth Odumegwu?

Odumegwu is back on the practice squad. As part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway program, the Packers get a roster exemption for an extra 17th player on the p-squad.

Good morning, Wes. Regarding the release of Pat O’Donnell and his duty as the FG holder, what is the downside of using a skill-position player handling that role (e.g. WR or DB, or even a TE?) All would have very good ball-handling skills.

Punters already are used to handling snaps from their long snapper. They also have more time on their hands (no pun intended) in practice to dedicate to the field-goal operation. I can’t tell you how many times we’ll see the Packers’ long snapper go up to the punter in practice and just start flicking snaps on the sideline. The No. 2 QB and other skill-position players are being pulled in so many other directions.

Can you please explain the reasoning behind keeping Tariq Carpenter and Jonathan Ford on the initial 53 and then releasing them the next day?

The Packers were awarded two players off waivers on Wednesday and needed to clear space pending those new acquisitions’ physicals.

When a young man like Jonathan Ford or Tariq Carpenter makes the initial 53 on cut day, then is released the very next day, are they given a hint that their survival is only for a day?

Most players understand the harsh reality that this is a day-to-day league. Micah Abernathy was one of the best stories of training camp last summer. In less than a month, he went from playing in the USFL to making the Packers’ 53. However, Abernathy was cut the next day when Green Bay signed Rudy Ford. That’s just the nature of the beast, unfortunately.

Can Tyler Goodson still make his way back on the team?

Yes, but Goodson would have to reach an injury settlement first. At the end of the settlement, the Packers then have to wait three additional weeks until they can re-sign him. It has happened before with Joe Thomas, Brett Goode, and Innis Gaines.

The number of free-agent rookies that have made the Packers’ roster for 19 straight years (more than 40 players) shows that scouting matters. With fewer rounds in the draft, the Packers bring in players to increase the competition, fill the 90-man roster and truly believe in putting them on equal footing. Who would be your top free-agent rookies over those 19 years? Thanks!

And that’s not even counting Tramon Williams, Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan and all the other players who started their Packers careers on the practice squad. I probably perseverate on undrafted free agency more than the average beat writer but that’s only because it is a pivotal part of team building, because GMs only have so many draft picks and teams can’t sign every veteran free agent. They must find those hidden prospects to fill roles and build a championship squad. The best example is probably the 2010 Packers with the plethora of players, including Sam Shields, they unearthed over the course of an injury-ravaged season.

What was the atmosphere like in Tuesday’s practice? With the players that made the roster having to say goodbye to those who didn’t, I can imagine some somber attitudes, but at the same time, rejoicing for the opportunity to continue. Has to be a tough emotional balancing act. I mean, of course they’re professionals, but…

Tuesday’s practice was closed. But with 70 guys back on the field Wednesday, it really didn’t feel much different than the final week of camp. Many of the guys who were cut signed back to the practice squad. Patrick Taylor was still giving high fives like he has the past three years.

When is the last time the Packers had a rookie punter and kicker starting on their team?

The best I came up with was 1983 (punter Bucky Scribner and kicker Eddie Garcia). Jan Stenerud still was the Packers’ kicker that season, though. To clarify, however, Whelan isn’t a true rookie. He’s a first-year player after first signing with the New Orleans Saints in 2022.

Good morning, Wes. Being the phonetician that you are and for the record, how does new punter Daniel Whelan pronounce the first syllable of his last name? Is it “we” or “way”? Thanks.

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