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Depth feeds into unpredictability on defense

Sunday is the first step toward a fast start


Ben from Denver, CO

This is a pre-emptive post. Hopefully it helps the Insiders out. I very strongly believe the defense improved this offseason. I find it hard to say otherwise. That said, there will be growing pains! Fans, don't freak out if there are errors, mental and physical, to start the season. I think to Weeks 12 and on, when "the rookies aren't rookies anymore," and guys like Josh Jones are playing faster and hopefully flying around the field. Enjoy the ride, and know, the season won't be perfect. As always, Go Pack Go!

There will be highs this season and there will be lows. The important thing is to stay calm and not let your emotions get the best of you. When things aren't going your way, just remember the 2016 season and how quickly everything can change. Good morning, everyone.

Ben from Northbrook, IL

So many defensive players added in the last few days. How is it possible for the coaching staff to integrate these guys into the defense in time for Seattle? Can we expect missed assignments and other confusion?

I don't think Ahmad Brooks or Quinton Dial will have trouble adapting to the Packers' defense because of the carryover from San Francisco's previous 3-4 scheme. The biggest obstacle will be Chris Odom learning to rush from a two-point stance, but I doubt he'll be thrown into the fire right away with Brooks and Kyler Fackrell spelling Clay Matthews and Nick Perry.

Joe from Pittsburgh, PA

I look back with gratitude that McCarthy stuck it out with Mason Crosby a few seasons back when he was really struggling. At this point, do you put him at the top of the Pack's best kickers ever, considering we had the pleasure of guys like Stenerud and Jacke?

Pound-for pound, Jan Stenerud has to be considered as the best kicker to play for the Packers, but Crosby has built a nice legacy. McCarthy and Ted Thompson were tested in 2012, but Crosby has paid them back for their faith. They realized it's not easy to find a steady kicker in this league. McCarthy has had only two kickers in his 11-plus years as head coach. That's incredible.

Mariano from Cerritos, CA

Are we actually going to see the No. 5 on the field for the first time since the '60s come Sunday?

No, and even if we had, it would've only been for the first time since the 1980s.

Scotty from Lombard, IL

I am glad Vogel was assigned No. 8.

Me, too. It would've been a long week otherwise.

Dan from Houston, TX

It's Week 1, let's talk real football! Rodgers wants a home championship game. The Seahawks are our first stop on the #trektotitletown. With the addition of veteran talent in the receiving corps and fresh legs in the backfield, does Aaron Rodgers have the extra ammo he needs to put the first pelt on the wall in his hunt for a second Lombardi trophy? Or will it depend more on the defense to come up with a stop this early in the year when offenses haven't had a chance to gel yet?

The offense is geared up for a big year with how healthy and deep the Packers are at the skill positions, but it takes two to tango. While the offense needs to hit the ground running, the defense must contain the litany of powerful offenses Green Bay will see in the first seven weeks of the season.

Matt from Roanoke, VA

What position group are you looking forward to seeing in the Seattle game? I am very excited to see how a healthy group of corners play.

I'm with you. Davon House, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins are all attacking this season with something to prove. I expect it'll be fun to watch.

Tou from Eau Claire, WI

Who will be the Packers' fourth receiver this year? Last year it was Geronimo Allison, but Trevor Davis just looked so natural and fast this preseason. I feel like he has Odell Beckham Jr-like potential.

Both receivers put together solid camps. My gut says Allison probably gets a shot at it when he's cleared from his concussion. He wowed me in camp with some of the catches he made and appears to have taken a step forward in his route-running. Like many positions, the receiver depth chart could very well depend on matchups this season.

Adam from St. Hubert, Canada

The 2-4-5 nickel has replaced the base, but I think that the Packers will be more of a 3-2-6 (2 DT, 1 DE, 1 OLB, 1ILB, 3 CB, 3 S). Sometimes the DE will more inside instead of a DT and an OLB replaces him and an ILB takes the third safety spot, but that combination could easily be used for over 75 percent of the time.

That's very observant of you. While I'm not sure we'll see such a package as often as you predict, it very well could be in play this season. We spend so much time talking about the "Nitro" nickel package, but the "Sooner" base defense is also in play with a hybrid LB/third S working next to an inside linebacker. With Quinton Dial now in the fold, I don't know what the breakdowns will be, but I expect Dom Capers to be creative putting all those defensive linemen and safeties to work. Depth feeds into unpredictability on defense.

Ken from Fitchburg, WI

How strict are the "eligible to practice" rules for PUP and IR players? I'm thinking about Biegel, who seemed to be close to returning to practice but was stashed on the PUP – probably because he could not have been ready for games without significant practice. Obviously, these players can lift weights and participate in meetings, but can they do some one-on-one unofficial practicing outside of the team practice structure?

Biegel, Demetri Goodson and Don Barclay are allowed to be around the team and sit in meetings, but are prohibited from doing any on-field work. They can observe practice, but their activity is restricted to working with the training staff. After six weeks, they're allowed to start practicing again and doing drills with teammates.

Peter from Szeged, Hungary

Who are you and what have you done with Ted Thompson? Is it you, Arya?

Ha. Nice.

Jay from Land O Lakes, FL

Do you believe that the Packers have modified their approach to free agency? They are picking up pieces, almost reminiscent of the Pats. Why do you think they are changing approach?

No. I think it's more a product of the 49ers restructuring their defense and letting go of proven veterans who are better suited for a 3-4. Regarding Odom, it's just the Packers circling back to claim an undrafted rookie they liked in the pre-draft process. Plus, none of these players count against the compensatory formula.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Since the schedule came out, I've been trying to downplay the importance of the first two games. The outcome of Sunday's game will not define either team's season. But I just can't help feeling these two teams will meet again in January and Sunday's outcome will determine where that game is played. What's your feeling on how big this game is in the locker room?

*The Packers keep things in perspective. Win or lose, you can't get too worked up over the first game. Yet, history will tell you one game usually separates the first-round byes from the division champions playing in the NFC Wild Card playoffs. The game is big because it's the first game. Sunday is the first step toward a fast start.  *

Justin from Philadelphia, PA

My player to watch this season is Josh Jones. I'm so excited for this guy. He flies across the field and looks to be a menace in many facets of the game on defense. What are your expectations for his usage on the field?

I like how Jones fits into the Packers' defense, but it remains to be seen what his workload will be early in the season with Kentrell Brice still the first safety up when Morgan Burnett moves into the box. Jones has a bright future, though.

Anton from Green Bay, WI

So James Jones officially retired today. I liked him a lot. Farewell Hoodie.

It was fitting Jones played his last meaningful game in a Packers uniform. He was total pro and a heck of a football player. I remember myself, Rob Demovsky and Kaitlin Sharkey waiting for his plane to arrive when he was meeting with the Packers after final cuts in 2015. He couldn't have been more professional when we ambushed him in the lobby. He played a big role in some prolific passing offenses.

Blaine from Bagley, WI

Speaking of bye weeks, what do you think of the Dolphins and Bucs switching their schedule to play Week 11 instead of getting a bye?

There's no easy solution. This probably was the best of many unfavorable options. I also wouldn't be high on playing the game elsewhere and taking players away from their families. If anything, this probably could be used as an argument for two bye weeks.

Austin from Schuylerville, NY

The Bucs will be heading to Lambeau after playing 11 straight games instead of a game removed from their bye. Do you think this will affect their level of play, or are athletes at this level in good enough shape for this to not make a difference?

It won't be easy. I know many Packers players had strong feelings about having to overcome a Week 4 bye in both 2013 and 2016. We'll have to wait and see how the Buccaneers respond.

Jeremy from Edinburgh, UK

What is the simplest overview of the West Coast offense?

Take a football and use short passing routes to move it downfield. Keep completing the passes – don't drop it – to wear a defense down and run the ball occasionally. As the game progresses, the offense hopes to increase the potential for a big play.

Donovan from Moore, SC

Based on Mike McCarthy's press conference on Sept. 4, how much actual dialogue is there between the coaching staff and the personnel department on which players to cut and which players to claim off of waivers? And does the final decision rest with the personnel department?

The coaches have their say, but the decision ultimately rests with the personnel department at the end of the day.

Joseph from Dillon, MT

I guess Jennifer from Kenosha, WI, does not understand how much work goes into writing an article. I just wanted to say thank you for all of the articles that the insiders write.

It takes hours to write and seconds to read, but I assure you Spoff and I are grinding. I've already worn out a few fingernails on the keyboard this week.

Tom from Iron River, WI

What would Max McCaffrey have done in camp/preseason to make the active roster?

McCaffrey has nothing to hang his head about. He did everything in his power to make the 53, but there's more that goes into selecting a roster than just the camp and the preseason.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Adrian Peterson seemed to be very complimentary of Ty Montgomery's offseason workout habits. An Adrian Peterson and Mike McCarthy endorsement has me believing Ty put in the necessary work to be ready for a full season. What should we expect from Ty Montgomery this season?

I asked Montgomery about his time working out with Peterson at the start of training camp. He quickly understood why everyone calls Peterson "All Day." Montgomery put everything into his training for this season. As McCarthy said this week, the development is over. It's time to play. If Denver was any indication, Montgomery appears to be ready for a breakthrough year.

Luke from Oconomowoc, WI

The only jersey I ever owned was a retro Eddie Lacy jersey. Needless to say that won't work anymore. What would you say is the safest jersey to buy as we head into the 2017 season and beyond?

Lane Taylor might be a pretty sound investment.

Tony from Menasha, WI

Has J.J. Watt basically wrapped up the Man of the Year honor? More than $20 million and counting.

I'm sure it's not the first thing on everyone's mind right now, but it has been unbelievable to watch the movement grow. Hopefully, that's a question we can revisit once Houston has rebounded and everyone is safe in their homes.

Nick from Lima, OH

I think we have won this offseason, but at the same time, we fed the wolves.

That should keep the wolves happy for a few hours.

Jerry from Wausau, WI

Apparently trading Rodgers for nine draft choices didn't make sense to many who don't understand business. And Wes, I didn't suggest the trade would be an "in case he gets hurt" thing! I've read a thousand plus questions/comments that were not from "football people," but probably soccer wimps. Yes, I do like the roster as it stands and the PS is fine, also! That said, Aaron is great. I hope he plays forever! I thought the same about Brett Favre, but what do I know? I've been a fervent Packers fan since before you were pooping your diapers. However, I've never watched an episode of GOT, never will, so you have that on me!

If trading Rodgers for nine draft choices is good business, then I'm glad I majored in communications.

Peter from Providence, RI

When is the NFL going to give it up with having four glorified practices...excuse me, "preseason games," and make it two games?

When the sun rises in the West and sets in the East.

Jon from Tallahassee, FL

I was checking over the depth chart and I noticed something. Ty Montgomery, he's a running back now, but his number is still 88. That's crazy! Are they going to change it or what? I've never seen anything like it.

Big, if true.

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