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A decade in, only two remain

No one should rush to judgment


Sean from Baltimore, MD

OK, let's knock it off with all this sentimental nonsense. It's a game of replacement so time to move on.

And we're off, with a backhanded compliment that would make Vic smile.

Anton from Green Bay, WI

What do you think about the possibility to designate two practice-squad players as not eligible to sign to an active roster from another team?

Sounds like a great deal for the team, not for the players.

Shilo from Fallbrook, CA

Mike, has Vic's retirement made you think about your retirement someday? And have you considered how different the game will be at that point, how different your technology will be, and how different life in general will be?

Hey, this summer I'm just focused on getting my first-born off to college safe and sound. One step at a time.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

Guys, at corner we're counting on a new draft pick that missed all the OTAs and a corner that was cut by his previous team. Plus we let this same corner leave in free agency a couple years back. And we have two three-year corners that got toasted most of last year. Plus we lost a solid four-year DB to free agency. Can you help me paint a pretty 2017 picture with this canvas?

The picture isn't clear. It needs time to form. Let's see how it comes into focus.

Joe from Milwaukee, WI

The bologna stops here. Randall and Rollins are going to have a great year. The haters will soon be talking about extending their contracts.

Or we can have a hot take at the other end of the spectrum. Look, folks, the defensive backfield won't be defined by what happens in training camp, or even the first month of the season. It's an evolving situation that will attract our constant attention, but we can't fall into the rush-to-judgment trap, positive or negative. It's a long season. I'm willing to wait and see.

Jared from Kenosha, WI

Wes said that safety is one of the most dangerous positions to play. Does anyone else appreciate that irony?

Wes's innocence is refreshing.

Jacob from Madison, WI

"It's so important to protect yourself on the back end." [Cue Beavis & Butthead laughter.]

See what I mean?

Adilson from Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Which stadiums have the best press boxes, then? ESPN's Rob Demovsky once tweeted a pic of the press box view in Carolina. That one has to be at or near the top of the list, right?

Carolina's is pretty good. Nashville's is great. The previous wave of stadiums, before the latest new wave, still has decent views from the press box, except Washington, which Wes mentioned yesterday. That one, along with Chicago, are what I call half-n-half games. When the action is on one half of the field, I'm watching through the windows. On the other half, I'm watching the TV. It is what it is.

Andy from Tomahawk, WI

Kirk Cousins has been franchise-tagged again. Is there a limit to the number of times you can use it on one player?

Technically no, but the CBA language escalates the tag when used multiple times on a player in such a way that a team would be certifiably cap crazy to use it on a non-QB more than twice, and on a QB more than three times.

Tom from Dunkerton, IA

Crockett may have run "angry" but my favorite description was when Hayden Fry of Iowa called his fullback, Richard Bass, a "rolling ball of butcher knives." Do you have a favorite nickname?

I always loved Keith Jackson describing Ron Dayne as the Badgers' "big 18-wheeler" as the game intro showed Wisconsin's equipment semi rumbling down the highway. Jackson was one of a kind.

Don from Cedar Rapids, IA

Which NFL playing fields are the best and which are the worst? How does the surface at Lambeau Field compare to others?

There aren't many with truly bad reputations anymore, not with the old-style artificial turf having been replaced everywhere by now. I recall Rodgers complaining about the grass in Tampa, I believe, but I can't remember the specifics. Soldier Field was pretty bad for a while, but the city of Chicago has definitely improved its care of the field in recent years.

Matt from Lansing, MI

When it comes to training camp, why do some teams start their rookies and veterans on different dates, while other teams start them on the same date? Also, is there a set of rules that defines how early a team can start their camp?

Having rookies report early is an option that some exercise and others decline. I've never asked McCarthy why he doesn't do it, but I would surmise his answer would be two-pronged – rookie orientation weekend accomplishes what he wants it to, and the year is long enough for rookies anyway with everything that goes into the pre-draft process after their last college season. The CBA stipulates veterans can be required to report for camp no sooner than 15 days prior to the first preseason game.

Michael from Anchorage, AK

So what will Vic's first question or comment be as a reader and fan?

If it isn't about his flip-flops, then he's trying too hard.

John from Las Vegas, NV

After Aaron Rodgers and Charles Woodson, who would you consider to be Ted Thompson's most impactful acquisition? Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson … Sam Shields and Tramon Williams were certainly impressive players considering they were undrafted.

Rodgers is the face of the franchise and Woodson is his biggest free-agent signing, so they're at the top. Matthews would be next for me, though Nick Collins would rank right there if his career hadn't been cut short. Clinton-Dix bears watching, but it's a tad early yet. If you factor into the impact equation players who succeeded at a premier position as a salary-cap bargain initially – acquired in the late rounds or undrafted – then Williams, Shields, Bakhtiari and Daniels would make the list.

Rob from Washington, DC

To those low on Spriggs' rookie season I would have them remember Bakhtiari's rookie season and the inboxes Vic had to manage calling for him to be benched. He also was called on to switch positions and is now arguably one of the best LTs in the league and one of the Packers' best draft picks since Aaron Rodgers.

I don't recall the switch positions part, but otherwise I concur. Spriggs isn't even full size yet. Let him get there.

Mike from Dubuque, IA

So, who gets Mondays?

Season 1 goes to me. I'll see if I can hack it.

Stan from Jupiter, FL

Mike, please explain your choice of baseball over football as more "prudent" for a top-notch high schooler with both options in front of him. Less chance of injury? Better odds to make it big? On the latter, I would think it would be football if you go with a big-time college program.

The question said the player was selected in the first or second round of the baseball draft. High draft picks in baseball get seven-figure signing bonuses right away to enter the minors. That's huge. The game is easier on the body, careers are longer. I think it's a no-brainer, but again, as I said the other day, if there's a true passion to play one sport over the other, that should be the overriding factor. Passion ultimately will dictate the best chance for long-term success.

Chris from Rochester, NY

In regards to the question about the fastest QB to beat the other 31 teams, the record went to Brady when he beat the Redskins in his seventh year as a starter in '07. Roethlisberger did it in 11 years by beating the Falcons in '14, and Manning did it in '10 when he beat the Panthers in '07. As a bonus, Favre did it in 16 years when he beat the Chiefs in '07. Rodgers has yet to beat the Bengals, and Brees has yet to beat the Ravens. Finally, Favre became the first to beat all 32 teams with a W against the Packers as a Viking in '09, and Manning became the fastest to do the same with a win against the Colts as a Bronco in '14.

There you have it. Thank you, and to others who provided similar research.

Andrew from Los Angeles, CA

If Rodgers does play in Green Bay another 10 years (which seems plausible) who else on the current roster might also still be around? How often does a DB or WR usually last in the NFL? Seems to me Rodgers might not even have a Trevor Davis to throw balls to anymore, or even a Kevin King to make picks and get Old Man 12 back on the field. Just curious.

It's entirely possible none will still be around, or no more than one or two. This is Rodgers' 10th year as a starter. Looking back at his first, in 2008, only two players from that team remain – Nelson and Crosby.

Steve from Fergus Falls, MN

Mike/Wes, did either of you pull a Steve Young and pull the "monkey off your back" when Vic officially retired? Love your column.

I never looked at it that way. It's more of an Ellis Boyd Redding thing for me. I guess I just miss my friend.

Dale from Indianapolis, IN

Help is not on the way. This is my favorite quote and learning from Vic. As it applies to this Inbox, the meaning is once again clear. We are moving forward with Wes and Mike. I like our chances as long as we win our one-on-ones.

I get it. I think.

Nathan from Oconomowoc, WI

I'm 26 and none of my friends have cable. I actually have cable because it cost 1-2 dollars more to add it to our internet and my roommate and I haven't taken the cable box out yet. We've had it for months. If I watch a game at home, I stream it online, and so does everyone else my age. When will we be able to do pay per view for games? The future of media in this country is on the internet, not cable. Ratings for games aren't going down because less people are watching, it's because more people are streaming games online. The NFL has to know this, right?

It knows, but I don't see the NFL pulling the majority of its games from the free broadcast networks anytime soon. As the league figures out the optimum monetization model for pay per view, perhaps an incremental transition for out-of-market games is coming.

Simon from Odense, Denmark

Hi Insiders. Thanks for a great Inbox. I know that it is players not plays, but do you see any of our current linebackers/ends filling the oft-mentioned elephant role, now that Peppers and Jones are gone?

I could see Dean Lowry possibly lining up in a two-point stance on a rare occasion, but it wouldn't become his normal gig.

Joe from St. Paul, MN

Mike, change is strange, but you can always look to be new in small, positive ways. Why not look into a few little tweaks like you did with WYMM last season? Those articles were outstanding!

Last year was more than a tweak with WYMM, but I appreciate the audience that stuck with it. Hopefully we can put more polish on the new format in 2017.

David from Ocala, FL

The Hail Mary from Aaron Rodgers I enjoyed watching the most this past season was the TD pass to Randall Cobb right before halftime against the Giants in the playoff game. I enjoyed this most because it was bittersweet revenge from the Hail Mary they completed against us in the 2011 divisional playoff game. What was the best "bittersweet revenge" moment you remember covering for any team?

I was at Lambeau in my Daily Herald days in the 1997 regular season when the Packers demolished the Cowboys. After an early Deion Sanders pick-six, it was all Green Bay, and the energy in the stadium was legitimate. It didn't really make up for the three straight playoff losses, but it clearly meant something to the fans to finally get Dallas at Lambeau and take it to 'em.

Todd from Appleton, WI

What will my eyes tell me about a 4.46 athlete that is different from a 4.55 athlete on the football field? I understand the difference in timing, but I don't know what that means on the field.

It's what happens when he finds himself a step behind. The 4.46 guy has the extra gear to catch up. The 4.55 guy doesn't.

George from Hutchinson, MI

Insiders, are we there yet? How 'bout now? Or even now? How many more times do I have to catch and eat walleyes on Sunday nights? I'm ready to be new again! I don't care if you guys have to wear grass skirts while playing the ukulele at pep rallies. I just need a sign that it's really here!

First practice one week from today. I love walleye. Can I get some?

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