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He breaks a defense's spirit

In a long season, it's all about seeing progression


Steve from Lake Stevens, WA

Is it reasonable to assume Damarious Randall can overcome his second season struggles much as Davante Adams did?

You don't assume anything, but there's no reason to believe it can't happen, not for someone with Randall's athletic ability as a former baseball star and safety, and given what he showed as a rookie when healthy. I love watching young talent with something to prove.

Justin from Centerville, UT

"I'm just the guy who put it on the T-shirt and sold it at the mall kiosk." Wait, I thought it was a pillow?

Wes has me confused, too. It's part of his charm.

Matt from Hartford, WI

The 40-yard dash tends to be more about sprinting technique than actual land speed. Some players who have great times in the 40 just can't match playing speed with track speed. Do scouts bring radar guns to workouts to gauge top speed and acceleration points?

Not really. At the combine, they have 10-yard splits and all that, but the scouts try to see if the 40 time matches the game tape. They watch when a receiver or DB is tracking a ball in the air … is he slowing down when his brain isn't focused solely on the sprint? Or is he maintaining speed, maybe even speeding up, as the adrenaline kicks in to make a play? It's still subjective, but that's game speed.

Keith from Bend, OR

Without any humor at all, do you believe there will still be an NFL in 2045? Basing this question on concussion issues and decisions made by mothers of young sons.

I believe the league will still be around then, but with even more safety precautions in place. Everyone might be standing up at the line of scrimmage. No more three- and four-point stances, for example. Additional changes to minimize high-speed collisions. I realize the game would lose some measure of violence, which is a popular element and helped bring the game to prominence. But the fantasy football stat craze, which has helped the game soar to new heights of popularity, will be enough to overcome that loss.

Christopher from Houston, TX

Insiders, would John Kuhn make the Packers Hall of Fame, even if he was only a fullback?

I would think he's got a shot. You don't get your name chanted for nearly a decade at Lambeau Field, and be held in that high a regard by teammates and coaches, without at least getting in the conversation. William Henderson is in as "only a fullback." He's the Green Bay standard at the position for the current era, and while Kuhn's career doesn't match his, a compelling case for inclusion could be made.

Decoda from Memphis, TN

I read about the tenacious method the coaches took this year updating the playbook where they critiqued one another without reserve and each acted accordingly. Do you think we're going to see a greater diversity this year in how our offense and defense is run?

I'm not sure what you mean exactly by diversity, but I think the exercise you're referring to was intended to give offensive coaches a sense of how defensive coaches think, and vice versa. It will get the coaches to think about that additional perspective as they work on game plans. I don't know if we, or anyone, will be able to pinpoint specific effects, but adding another layer to the process can benefit both sides, just so long as you don't reach paralysis by analysis.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Mike, Vic said, "If you need to patch, you patch, but I favor youth. In my opinion, if you don't favor youth, you'll be forever patching." Did you take that as a bit of personal encouragement?

I'm not so young anymore. What if I'm just a patch?

Brett from Lakewood, CO

I loved Vic's answer about the current head coach he would pick if he were a GM. I loved it because he used his words about those men to build up rather than to tear down. What's the point of tearing down? There's always something nice to say about someone. We can all do that more. It's refreshing.

I always told Vic he should have gone into politics.

Kyle from Albany, NY

Jered from Baton Rouge asked if Aaron Rodgers had any flaws and got answered no. I feel he has one flaw. Sometimes it seems like he tries to do too much. He might not throw the checkdown in hopes a receiver downfield gets open. Sometimes he holds the ball too long and takes unnecessary sacks.

I've always said you have to take the good with the bad here. How many incredible, game-changing plays has Rodgers made by holding the ball, buying time, and keeping his eyes downfield? Does he get sacked on those occasions sometimes? Of course. But he wouldn't make even half the big plays he makes if he were wired to focus on the checkdown. You can't have it both ways. I'll take a few extra sacks here and there because when he does hold the ball and make something happen, he breaks a defense's spirit. A sack doesn't break his.

Robby from Loma Rica, CA

This year's roster is already taking a unique shape. I love the combination of big-time players, big-time personalities, and young rising stars. Were there ever times where you could look at a team and just tell that they had it right from the beginning?

I've learned to never look at it that way. The season is too long, and too many things change. It's all about seeing progression. If a team looks like world beaters in September but doesn't evolve, it's not winning in the playoffs, if it even gets there.

Gary from Wrightwood, CA

I recently read an article in which the writer was putting down Ty Montgomery for having lots of passing yards in his first few games at RB, but later having very few. To me, what the stats didn't show as teams having to give extra attention to Ty, thereby opening up more middle and deep targets. Do you think this is a case where a player has a massive impact without his efforts showing a tangible result?

If I've heard this exchange once, I've heard it a thousand times. Reporter: "Who's your favorite target?" Rodgers: "The open guy."

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

In response to Mark from Mount Prospect, IL, Wes said, "Analytics have started to make their way into the NFL in recent years. Some outlets like Pro Football Focus are readily available to the public, but teams are also generating a lot of their own analysis behind the scenes. That's been a focal point in Green Bay for years now." What does "teams are also generating their own analysis behind the scenes" mean?

I think it means they're deciding which analytics have the most value, or which they're giving the most credence to. I get the sense because these football analytics have not yet reached the mainstream, there isn't much consensus on what matters most.

Jim from Westboro, WI

Why would you come to Green Bay as an undrafted free agent quarterback? Your chances of making the roster or even the practice squad seem like those of winning the lottery. It makes no sense.

I don't view getting an opportunity to work with Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers as a losing ticket, necessarily. There's no guarantee it'll lead to another opportunity elsewhere, but the appeal seems sensible to me.

Ashley from Dallas, TX

As a Packer fan of 24 years (I'm only 26) who was born and raised in Wisconsin, do you gentlemen think we have what it takes this season to win the Super Bowl? If so or not, what has changed or what do we still need to improve on? The Patriots walk into every season knowing they will be in the Bowl. How do we get there? I love my team, I'm loyal to my team, but I need us to believe in ourselves.

It doesn't sound like you believed from birth to age 2, so your love and loyalty will never be pure. Bummer for you.

Noor from Jakarta, Indonesia

Hi Vic, Mike or Wes. House said due to injuries in the Packers' secondary, if he or Casey were part of last year's team, the Packers would have reached the Super Bowl. I felt the same way, too. What do you think?

If Matthews' shoulder hadn't been a mess, if Nelson's ribs weren't broken, if Adams' ankle, Allison's hamstring, and Burnett's quad had all been good, if Crosby had made the kick, if Ripkowski hadn't fumbled in the red zone, if Ryan had recovered the Gabriel fumble, if Gunter had picked off the pass in the end zone, if … do I need to go on? The Falcons were far healthier and played way better. One player wasn't going to change that.

David from Helena, MT

Aren't you just a bit embarrassed about the winsome-losesome comment? I like a bad punt as much as the next guy, but sheesh!

Sorry, couldn't resist, but your reaction was exactly what I was after.

Thomas from Milwaukee, WI

I love watching Walter Payton's highlights, and I love Mike's stories about seeing him during summer training in his hometown back when he was a kid. But can you explain why there is a Walter Payton Man of the Year award? How did that award come into existence?

I don't know the origins of it, but it was called the NFL Man of the Year award beginning in 1970 and was named for Payton after he died in 1999.

Josh from Brandon, MS

I remember one of you mentioning that you didn't know whether TT or MM read the Insider Inbox. My question is if you know of any players who read the Inbox?

No one has ever said anything to me.

Paul from La Quinta, CA

The ultimate overtime experience will always belong to the National Hockey League. Even if the NFL were to revert back to the sudden death rule, which it should, it still wouldn't hold a candle to what I saw last Thursday night.

Hockey is built for sudden death. You know, my golf coach in high school was such a relentlessly positive person that he never referred to a playoff in golf as sudden death. He always called it sudden victory. As a teenager I just laughed, but I get it now.

Scott from Little Rock, AR

Spoff, I saw the "we want the ball and we're gonna score" highlight the other day. It never gets old. I think it's my favorite football highlight of all time. Can you guys think of anything funnier than that?

As classic as it is, the Harris pick-six has gone down in folklore as occurring in the opening moments of overtime, right after the coin toss and Hasselbeck's proclamation. Not true. People forget the Seahawks and Packers both punted on their first OT possessions and the ending came on Seattle's second drive.

Lou from Verona, NJ

What do you think of a rule change that if a receiver catches the ball on a defensive pass interference penalty, the offensive team gets 5 more yards? Almost like a three-point play in basketball.

I don't think the NFL needs any more rules, certainly not in the area of penalties.

Alex from Sheboygan Falls, WI

I have never really followed the offseason much in the past but am learning to like it. At what point in the offseason does raw talent in the new players begin to stand out? What is the most exciting part of the offseason to follow for a person to get a real idea for who is exceeding expectations?

The raw talent will stand out in OTAs, but it's all for show until the pads go on. Players make the roster, or don't, in training camp and the preseason.

Brad from Marion, IA

Spoff’s article on Evans mentioned the adjustment needed to AR's cadence. AR's ability to control the line of scrimmage and draw encroachment penalties is a weapon, in my mind. Is there anything special the Packers' offensive line does to adjust and prepare for this? I have to believe it is incredibly difficult to hold all of your fast-twitch fibers in place while someone is barking orders and another guy is across from you drooling to get after you.

We don't get to watch 11-on-11 work in practice during the regular season, but I can tell you in training camp, as soon as an offensive lineman false starts, he leaves the line and is replaced for that play. That can't be a good feeling. Last summer I recall one practice when Hundley was working on his hard count, and his own guys on the No. 2 line kept jumping early. It was a reminder of how easy the first unit makes it look sometimes.

Barrett from Lubbock, TX

For all the people who still want a veteran running back, why? We have an idea of the kind of player Montgomery is, and we have three young drafted talents plus some UDFAs. What if one of those guys turns out to be a huge hit? What if two turn out? All we can do is wait and watch.

It'll have my attention.

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