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A fast start could go a long way

We're about to learn a lot more about this backfield


Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

These first two practices have been fun, but now it gets real. What are you most looking forward to watching, now that the pads are coming on?

I like to watch the one-on-one drills between the offensive line and the defense because you start to get a feel for what tools these young players bring to the party. I'm also going to be keeping an eye on the half-line drills to see what these young running backs have to offer. We're about to learn a lot more about this backfield once the pads go on.

Doug from Union Grove, WI

I love our offense, but because it all starts up front, I have my concerns. Regardless of how you shake it, this unit will not have played together enough to play cohesively by the first game. I like the individuals, but what about them as a unit for early in the season?

There are some new faces, but the good news is everybody is healthy for the start of camp. Getting Corey Linsley back on the field was big for this offense. Linsley has proven he can roll with the punches and adjust quickly, but those early reps with Jahri Evans and Lane Taylor should help the cohesion. This is the time when camaraderie is forged.

Jon from Towanda, PA

I think the O-line is good because of who they line up against on any given day. Mike Daniels and company give about as good a look as any D-line they would face in the league. Assuming the starters face off on a regular basis, is Daniels as nasty in practice as he is in games? He's my favorite player to watch.

The O-line is good for many reasons, but I remember T.J. Lang talking about how going up against Daniels in practice brings the best out of the interior linemen. If you've ever watched a padded practice in training camp, you've seen how Daniels brings the same energy to Nitschke Field that he carries with him on game days.

Brian from Stanley, WI

With the uncertainty around the defense this year, do you think that we could be a top-10 defense if we took a season-ending injury to any major position, DL, LB, or CB?

You don't want to see anyone suffer a season-ending injury, but what strikes me about this particular team is how deep the Packers are on both sides of the ball. They have options at several key positions, including cornerback.

Tim from La Crosse, WI

For the Packers to get back to the NFC Championship and be a legitimate contender, what do they need to improve on from last year?

*I think Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy hit it on the head at the start of the offseason – a fast start could go a long way for this team. The Packers made a historic late-season comeback but still had to take the long road in the postseason. Getting home-field advantage throughout the playoffs doesn't guarantee a Super Bowl, but it makes life a lot easier. The Packers started fast in 2015 and finished on a high note in 2016. Now, they want to put it all together.   *

Mike from Wells, MN

I felt Micah Hyde was an extremely underrated punt returner the last couple of years. Davante Adams looked shaky at best his rookie season in his brief stint at returning punts. Is Trevor Davis getting the first chance to return punts and if not, who will get the first crack as punt returner?


Davis is going to get **every opportunity to show he can handle the job**, but the Packers always have Randall Cobb in their back pocket. Cobb and Micah Hyde are two of the steadiest returners I've seen.** Lori from Brookfield, WI

What happened to Martellus Bennett in training camp on Friday?

Bennett appeared to get up slowly after catching a pass early in practice. He went inside the Hutson Center with a trainer, returned a few minutes later and then caught a touchdown from Aaron Rodgers in a two-minute period. I think he's OK.

John from Austin, TX

While looking over the Packers' roster, I noticed the amount of jersey numbers available is almost topped out with the retired numbers being not available. I'm wondering what NFL teams did in the lazy crazy days of summers past when teams would bring in over 100 to camp?

It's not too big of an issue. Offensive and defensive players are allowed to wear the same number during training camp.

Scott from Menomonee Falls, WI

As I watch these huge football players riding these tiny bicycles, I wonder if anyone has ever been injured doing this. I imagine the bike rides would end quickly if that happened.

I can't think of a player who was ever injured riding a bike to practice. The only time I remember it even being an issue was when Jared Abbrederis was told to take it easy after tearing his ACL in 2014. He wanted to accompany his bike girl down to practice one last time, though.

Blaine from Bagley, WI

Are PUP players allowed to be at practice and just not participate physically?

PUP players aren't allowed to practice or participate physically. Once they do, they're no longer physically unable to perform. Make sense?

Mike from McFarland, WI

At some point this season, an out-of-state reporter will ask Montgomery if he ever plans on changing his number. Will you chuckle to yourself?

An in-state reporter asked Montgomery on Thursday if he's sticking with No. 88 (I didn't chuckle).

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

If No. 88 lines up in a run-heavy formation, will teams load the box? Is that some of his appeal at RB? Because it can turn into pass-heavy pretty quick.

Definitely. We've seen how slippery Montgomery can be out of the backfield. If teams are going to sell out against the run, they better be prepared to defend the flat. If Montgomery gets into the open field, good luck to you.

Phil from Marietta, GA

Can you please give some detail, including perhaps what we'd see on the field, in an effort to clarify what Mike McCarthy means when he says a player is "instinctive"? He frequently uses that term to describe players at many positions, and I truly have no idea.

It's a general term McCarthy likes to use to describe a player who does things naturally, without thinking too much about a particular call or assignment.

Ted from Crystal Falls, MI

If the OL line stays intact all year, will Jason Spriggs stay on the shelf?

That probably would be the case outside of jumbo packages calling for a sixth offensive linemen. Spriggs is a great insurance policy for the Packers after what happened in 2015. It's their hope Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari play all 16 games, but you need a Plan B.

Josh from New Berlin, WI

How did Kyler Fackrell look out there? I heard he gained weight, but does he look springy? If there is one player the Packers need to take the leap, he's it.

It's difficult to say at this point because it's all been unpadded work, but these upcoming practices and preseason games should give us a better idea of where Fackrell is. From a physical perspective, he looks bigger than last year. There's definitely more meat on the bones.

John from Flanders, NJ

On Thursday, you referenced defenses respecting the run game. I ask again what would it have taken to keep Eddie Lacy? If Montgomery goes down, we have a group of rookies left. I wish them all the best, but it could take some time to earn that "respect."

I don't get why so many fans fear change, particularly at running back where you've seen the likes of Lacy, Montgomery, Ryan Grant and Samkon Gado become reliable first- and second-year contributors. You can worry all you want about the backfield, but I assure you the Packers aren't losing any sleep over it.

Joe from Cumberland, MD

Will Aaron Rodgers throw a Hail Mary this season?

If recent history has been any indication, I'm guessing we'll see another one at some point this year.

John from Whitewater, WI

Insiders, how receptive will the Packers be to trade offers for Brett Hundley during this season? If he is in the last year of his rookie contract, wouldn't this be the time to try to get something in return?

Anything can obviously happen, but if Brett Hundley is on the roster now, it stands to reason he'll stay there this year. The 2013 season proved how valuable a steady backup quarterback can be.

Nick from Chicago, IL

With Vogel being from Miami, how do coaches prepare him for kicking the "rock" in December/January?

First things first, Vogel needs to make the 53-man roster. If he accomplishes that, he has three months to prepare for punting in Green Bay's winter. He also has a good resource available in Mason Crosby.

Darren from Kingston, Ontario

Not including professionals you've previously interviewed, which players or coaches would you really enjoy interviewing from teams we face this year, and why?

Michael Bennett. I missed his conference call last year and heard it was a riot. I could imagine the frenzy it will be this year with Marty now in Green Bay.

Ryan from Okinawa, Japan

Reading all of the submissions about meeting fellow Packers fans abroad compelled me to throw my hat into the ring. I'm in the military and recently deployed to the Middle East. Being over there for months on end can get a bit lonely, but when I arrived at my base I quickly discovered that one of my co-workers was a fellow cheesehead. It goes without saying we developed a bond, one that I don't think fans of other teams share and it made the desert a little less...sucky.

That's awesome to hear, Ryan. Thank you for your service.

Jonathan from Paducah, KY

Has anyone ever approached you about "changing teams"? Of course, I am talking about the Packers. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

I changed teams last year and it was the hardest month of my life. I'm not going anywhere for a while…assuming Spoff doesn't throw me out.

Jordan from Elgin, IL

Has there ever been any discussion around streaming the training-camp practices on so those that could not make it to camp that day could watch? I would assume that the team sessions of practice cannot be filmed, but can we get some position drills or something?

Live streaming is not permitted at the Packers' practices, but has started streaming the bike riders this year. Check that out if you haven't already.

Lee from Green Bay, WI

Whatever happened to the kid from Green Bay that tried out last year from Minnesota college?

*Peter Mortell is still a free agent. He participated in the Jacksonville Jaguars' minicamp last month on an invite. He's still trying to make the NFL dream come true. *

Andrew from Memphis, TN

As far as best autographed memorabilia, I have a cheesehead autographed by Reggie White. My dad bought it for me before a flight from Milwaukee. When he was boarding, an enormous man rushed past to the lavatory. As my dad took his seat, it just so happens that none other than Reggie White walks out of the bathroom and takes the seat next to him. My dad asked him to sign the cheesehead, and it serendipitously became the most prized piece of memorabilia I will ever own.

I have an autographed foam "Pinkie" from Larry McCarren and Keith Jackson at my parents' house. My dad got it for me when I was too sick to attend Larry's show.

Kenneth from Greenfield, WI

Why do the Packers and their management and fans seem to be allergic to changing the uniforms? Their unis are 19th century, and this is the 21st. Is Packer Nation so stuck in the past, or are they just ignorant?

When it comes to tradition, is it so bad to be stuck in the past when the past is what paved the way to your present?

David from San Francisco, CA

Without being rude, I'd like to see responses to, "Why should I believe it will be different this year?" questions with answers like, "Who honestly cares what you believe?" They're going to play 16 games whether or not fans have confidence.

Why will this year be different? All I'll say is watch and find out. That's all you can do, really.

Jason from Johnston, IA

On the "Ketchman Reality Tour," can each member have 30 seconds in his old office to try and find the last "thing"?

It's like a carnival attraction. Spoff, Larry and I could take tickets at the door.

Elliott from Schererville, IN

Wes, you never skip leg day, right bro?

Never. I'm glad somebody finally noticed.

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