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His first two season openers told us a lot

Which young receiver can make the biggest contribution?


Reid from Bangkok

I think we should acknowledge Mitchell Henry and take a moment for him.

**Indeed we should**. So sad. He was very well-liked and his catfish tales will live on in the locker room.

Paul from Littleton, CO

The bike rides to/from training camp definitely precede 1969. When they held training camp in Stevens Point, my brother (who'll probably also write in) and I shared our bikes with players, probably as early as 1960 or so. I graduated from high school in '66, and I know I was in grade school at the time of the bike sharing.

Cool. If you've got any pictures and a way to verify the dates, I'm sure Cliff would revisit the topic in a history column.

Josh from St. Cloud, MN

Hey Insiders, Damarious Randall recently appeared on NFL Network and said something unexpected. The interviewer asked him how much better practicing against Aaron Rodgers made him. Damarious responded "I think it kind of hurts us practicing against him, to be honest." Any ideas what he meant?

A lot of folks asking about this. It's a curious comment, and it's unfortunate there was no follow-up question. Maybe he meant it doesn't make for the best practice for the defense because Rodgers doesn't play the game like a "normal" quarterback, or something like that. In any event, I wouldn't put much stock in it, because once the regular-season rolls around, the bulk of practice for both starting units is against the scout team. They go ones vs. ones only sparingly.

Rod from Peoria, IL

Really, Spoff! How can it be possible that you have a son going to college? You are too young for that.

I know, right? But thanks.

Mike from Hartland, WI

Mike, I think a lot of fans, and especially casual fans, look at Super Bowls I and II as great achievements in Packers history; however, those games weren't even the crowning achievements of their respective seasons. Those teams won back-to-back NFL Championships against the Dallas Cowboys, each won in the final seconds on the goal lines. I know it's hard to argue the Ice Bowl is underrated, but do you think those games are overshadowed by the less-significant Super Bowls that followed them?

I think the '66 title game in Dallas definitely is, but the first Super Bowl was so historically significant – even if the Packers were expected to, and did, win in a landslide – that I can understand how it happens. I'd love to see a good highlight film of that shootout at the Cotton Bowl sometime. From what I've read over the years, sounds like it was a whale of a game.

Patrick from Ashland, WI

I will never forget where I was when I first saw Brett Favre throw preseason game passes – L and G's sports bar. I told people that man is going to be great. Wow, what an arm. The only thing I can remember about Aaron is saying, "They must know something I don't, but the guy looks good." What was your first awareness about Rodgers' potential greatness?

His first two season openers told us a lot. To play as flawlessly as he did on that Monday night against Minnesota, after everything that had gone on during the summer of '08, spoke volumes about Rodgers' abilities under pressure. Then, after hearing all offseason about never engineering a game-winning drive, he opened on a Sunday night in 2009 by hitting Jennings for a 50-yard TD pass with a minute left to beat the Bears. I didn't know then Rodgers was on his way to being this good, but it was clear the Packers were in great hands.

Paul from Ellensburg, WA

Hey fella, I saw an article today that quoted Brett Favre, who apparently said he's considered returning to Green Bay in some capacity such as coach. My initial thought was "not during the Rodgers era after how things 'reportedly' went between you guys." I was later challenged to reflect on a question, are Packers fans ready to forgive and forget his late career choices?

That July night in 2015 at Lambeau Field said everything about the fans, and I think a lot of the stuff with Rodgers is water under the bridge now, too.

Jeriah from Las Cruces, NM

It's a sad day gentlemen. All the computers at my place of employment will now be "white-listed." Which basically means no more "third-party" websites. So unfortunately I will need to find another way to make it through the work day (like working). I appreciate you guys getting me through countless days and weeks! I guess I'll be seeing you guys after work from now on. Thanks again!

Somebody get Jeriah a phone with a good data plan.

Courtney from Butte, MT

Looks like Matthews will get to play outside consistently this year. I see him playing injury-free and with a vengeance. It will elevate the play of other LBs.

As I said earlier this spring,**hearing Matthews talk about this year**feeling like 2014 when he came back from the twice-broken thumb caught my attention.

Joe from Greenfield, WI

Which receiver do you believe has the tools to be the biggest contributor (on offense) this year in a crowded pass catching group, Geronimo, Trevor Davis, Janis, or one of the rooks? What makes you think that person? For me it is Geronimo just due to his football IQ.

I honestly can't make a prediction there. I think it's totally wide open for somebody to grab that No. 4 WR spot. It's one of many races to watch closely in training camp.

Monty from Hazen, ND

Just a thought on 4-3 defense vs. 3-4 defense. With the amount of sub-packages used now, does it really matter which one you use? Secondly, aren't rush linebackers easier to find than good pass-rushing DEs?

Nickel is practically everyone's base now, so the traditional run-stopping fronts don't really define the scheme anymore. True rush linebackers might be easier to find, but can they set the edge against the run? The ones that can are the higher draft picks, just as the classic DEs in the 270-290 range who can get after the QB are also high picks.

Chris from Allentown, PA

Me and some friends are renting an RV and driving out to Green Bay for a game this season. After the game, we plan to drive around and visit some good local breweries throughout Wisconsin. Since you're a beer guy, any suggestions?

There are plenty of good ones right here in Green Bay – Hinterland, Titletown, Stillmank, Badger State. From there, it depends which direction you want to travel, but you will have no shortage of options.

Timmy from Chicago, IL

Is the Al Harris interception remembered as fondly if not for Hasselbeck's infamous prediction?

It was the first NFL postseason game to end on a defensive score, but Hasselbeck's playful comment amongst former teammates in the coin-toss circle certainly added to the moment, and the lore.

Matt from Suamico, WI

When I was a kid my uncle told me if you are going to be dumb you have to be tough (after I hit him with a snowball in the face). I still remember this when people say or do dumb things. Do you have any sayings that have stuck with you from your youth?

Who said life was fair?

Derek from Milwaukee, WI

Even though he's still technically a free agent, it's looking likely that a neck injury has effectively ended Sean Richardson's young career. Signed as an undrafted rookie in 2012, he played safety and special teams, but also stepped into the hybrid linebacker role that Morgan Burnett played last season. The Packers seemed high on his potential, and it's unfortunate that he may never see the field again.

No question. You feel especially bad for guys like Richardson who made it the hard way as an undrafted player but never got a chance for that second contract and the financial security that comes with it.

Dave from East Burke, VT

Have we ever had three running backs in the same draft before?

If you count fullbacks, the Packers drafted three in 2007 – Brandon Jackson, DeShawn Wynn and Korey Hall, a linebacker who was pegged to transition to fullback from Day 1. Otherwise, I had to go all the way back to 1974 to find a three-RB draft – Barty Smith, Don Woods and Eric Torkelson.

Adam from Trempeleau, WI

Hey Spoff, the game Brian from Sussex, WI, recently mentioned (regarding the refs flagging Majkowski for being over the line, but replay overturned the penalty for GB to win) is probably the earliest memory I have of being a Packer fan. That game is so nostalgic for me. I remember my whole family anticipating the replay call as everyone was on the edge of their chair. I was only 10 years old but that game made me a super-fan of the game and I'll never forget it. I remember a linebacker by the name of Ron Rivera creating chaos earlier in the game, Mike Singletary comforting Majik after the penalty but before the call was reversed, Ditka wearing a ridiculous-looking beret, and of course Jacke sealing the win at the end. I was so proud to be part of the Packer family. What's your earliest football memory?

Coincidentally, also a Packers-Bears game. The 1980 opener, when Chester Marcol caught the blocked field goal in overtime and ran it in for the winning score. I was watching the game all by myself, strangely, but I'll never forget it. To think that I'd be writing about it 37 years later is even stranger.

Kim from Muskegon, MI

What stands out for you while attending a baseball game that seemed surreal? For me, it was watching Gates Brown during batting practice, at Tiger Stadium in '68. My brother and I were chasing balls in the upper deck in right field. Gates hit a rocket that would've had to been surgically removed if my brother hadn't bent down at the last second. The crowd got quiet, Gates' shoulders were up around his ears as if to say "no" until the ball slammed into the seat behind him. Everyone, including Gates, burst out in laughter. My brother never knew what happened. Enjoy your vacation as much as I enjoy the column!

I covered the 2002 All-Star Game and Home Run Derby at Miller Park in Milwaukee, and the auxiliary press seating was in the lower right-field bleachers. I was on the phone with my wife during the Derby when Jason Giambi hit a screaming mimi right at me. My wife actually saw me duck under the table on TV and heard the crash of the ball through the phone.

Jeff from Boulder, CO

Mike, just an observation. We have been so fortunate as fans to have a consistently strong team watching future HOFers that it is almost expected. This year it feels different. It looks to me (and from what I hear) that we hit a home run in the draft with both talent and players with the character to be additive to a locker room. We filled big holes in key areas with big-time free-agent signings for "cheap," in my opinion. We added volume to big-need areas like CB and brought back House. When I listen to coaches, players, and writers, it feels like there is a special feeling that this just might me a special mix of players and just maybe the right mix. I am forever an optimist, but having played another sport with wonderful teams, I believe there is a chemistry that has to exist to create belief that it will happen, not just hope that it might. Hope is great and important. Belief is powerful. It just feels different this year.

Sounds like as good a note as any on which to sign off and disappear for a week. After Vic on Monday, Wes is all yours for a few days. Take care, everyone.

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