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Hybrid role isn't just talk

No reason to complain about difficult decisions


Jerry from Wichita, KS

Who is your choice in the Packers' secondary to have their breakout year in 2017-18?

I haven't decided yet if it'll be Rollins or Randall, but the Packers need it to be one of them. Rollins**made the play of camp so far**, in my book.

Bill from Lake Nebagamon, WI

Would you agree if Richard Rodgers would've caught the ball at its highest point in the Detroit game he would've gotten seriously injured from the 60-foot fall and would not have gotten a touchdown due to the highest point being around the 30-yard line?

That's exactly what I mean. The saying is not a cliché, because there's a kernel of truth in a cliché. It's just idiocy.

Moose from Seattle, WA

Watching the Mariners pregame and Eddie Lacy was interviewed before throwing out the first pitch. Said he looks forward to playing in Green Bay Week 1 and that's about it. By the way, Scott Servais is the Mariners manager and is a huge Packer fan (think he is from WI).

The media will try incessantly to get Lacy to bite on the vindictive storyline for Week 1, but he'll just laugh it off. That's Eddie, always laughing. And yes, Servais is originally from the La Crosse area.

Tyler from Miami Beach, FL

Where has Josh Jones been lining up so far in training camp? He's always being mentioned as a standout rooking so far this offseason, but how realistic is it for an immediate impact by the rookie?

Jones has been in centerfield, near the line of scrimmage, multiple spots. Shields in '10, Hayward in '12, Clinton-Dix in '14, Randall in '15 – to different degrees, but all defensive backs who would qualify as impact players as rookies.

Paul from Beaver Dam, WI

Insiders, I saw Morgan Burnett working with the middle linebackers. I know you've seen that too. What do you make of it?

Just part of his cross-training, and yet another indication that the talk of expanding his hybrid role from a season ago isn't just talk.

Keith from Lincoln, IL

Any chance you could post that John Anderson video from the shareholders' meeting on

The full episode of "Packers Life" on Anderson from which that video was excerpted can be found**right here**.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Aren't the Rams in a no-win situation with Aaron Donald? A fundamental owner advantage is the ability to draft grade A talent and pay them grade C money for 4-5 years before the balance swings wildly the other way for the star players. If the Rams write him a new contract, then other new stars (e.g., Cowboys Elliott and Prescott) will stage a holdout next. Are the 31 other teams holding their breath hoping the Rams don't cave in?

Not necessarily, depending on the deal they'd give him. The fifth-year option for first-round picks, plus the franchise tag for truly elite players, gives teams a lot of leverage in cases like Donald's. But if a player is willing to sacrifice some of what he might make down the road (when the market for his position inevitably surpasses any deal he'd sign now, because it always does), a new deal can work for both sides. Just to clarify, the CBA stipulates draft-pick contracts cannot be renegotiated or extended until after the players' first three seasons, so a young star entering Year 2 or 3 wouldn't even attempt what Donald is. That aside, the next question is whether the player, if he gets a new deal now, would hold out again later when the market jumps. Perhaps. But to me, doing so with a full-market deal (when signed) is different than being vastly underpaid as a young superstar. Players are slotted their pay when drafted; they make decisions with consequences after that.

Bret from Patch Grove, WI

Dear Mike, I got Walter Payton's last autograph at UW-P. I had just gotten yelled at by Mike Ditka for no reason, but I noticed I had a Packers jersey on. I ran with Walter carrying his bag for him under a helicopter. He smiled and said, "You're nuts," gave me an autograph in his "Sweetness" voice. Thanks for the memory!

I chased down Ditka in a golf cart once for his autograph. He actually looked slightly impressed.

Rick from El Cerrito, CA

While people may be joking about the "Ketchman Reality Tour," whoever actually puts that thing together is going to make some cheese, the metaphorical kind that goes in your pocket. I would love to see the driveway Vic plowed, the lawn he mowed, the mailbox that Bart Starr once used.

Don't forget the lost flip-flop and the Terrible Towel draped on his press-box seat.

Aaron from Sour Lake, TX

How close do you think the Packers are to becoming a Super Bowl team?

They were in 2014 and let it get away. They were one game away last year and the tank hit empty. I believe they'll be knocking on the door again. The question is can they kick it in.

Tom from Phoenix, AZ

This week someone asked a question regarding other Packers who have made midseason position changes when the team needed their versatility. Look no further than Hall of Famer Herb Adderley.

Lombardi admitted his stubbornness originally with Adderley. You wonder if the era might have played out differently.

Malte from Odense, Denmark

Insiders, have the last couple of days given you a clearer picture of how the depth chart at receiver is going to look, behind Jordy, Cobb, and Adams?

Not at all. Barring injuries, the Packers will have difficult decisions to make there, but the brass isn't complaining.

Ralph from Chicago, IL

Insiders, this is in regard to you are never injured unless your quarterback is injured. While I generally agree with you and Vic, there is one point you are missing. There are players in the league who are called blue players. These are men who tilt the field. Next man up does not apply. They are not replaceable. The rest of the players are just space-fillers. When you lose a blue player like Sam Shields, your chances to reach the Super Bowl go down dramatically. When you essentially lose Clay Matthews on top of it, it doesn't matter who your quarterback is, you are not going to the Super Bowl.

And yet the Packers were one of the last four standing. I totally agree with your point about "blue" players and the overused "next man up." Injuries like that can be nearly insurmountable. But what the Packers accomplished the last two years I think speaks very loudly to Vic's point as well, when you have a special quarterback.

Rod from Chugiak, AK

James from Alaska's idea of "stashing" a player on the practice squad and Mike's answer suggests a good topic for a complete tutorial. Naive correspondents that believe GB can "sneak," "hide" or "stash" could be referred to the link, bringing them up to speed that across the league, every team's player personnel execs study minutely every other team's on-the-bubble players for possible upgrades to their 53.

I don't know of a team that doesn't have a pro scouting department as well as a college one.

Shilo from Fallbrook, CA

So, to put it another way, statistics are determined by the back point of the ball, but first downs and touchdowns are determined by the front point of the ball?


Collin from South Haven, MI

Referring to Bart's question about the ILB position, don't forget that on third down and obvious passing downs there is no reason Clay can't move back inside with Jones/Burnett at the other ILB position. Now you would have three pass-rushing LBs on the field with 5-6 DBs depending on the package. Makes it a lot more difficult for a QB to tell where the pressure is coming from and mismatches are.

Confusion can help. Execution will win.

Charlie from Cameron, NC

Hi guys, do you get a chance to mingle with the fans during training camp? If so, do people ever come up and introduce themselves in a similar fashion to this: "Hi, I'm Charlie from Cameron, NC, I love the Insider Inbox!"?

That's more likely to happen at pep rallies on the road than during camp. Plus, we have a little more time to be social then. I sort of have blinders on during camp because there's always so much work to do.

Tom from Grafton, WI

Do journalists who have to work their way up to the big time (such as covering the NFL) ever feel resentment towards former players who get to instantly break in at that level?

That's pretty rare in the writing world, but it happens all the time in TV. I'm sure it would bother me if I were in those shoes, but nobody said life was fair.

Nathan from Minneapolis, MN

How has Davon House looked so far? I know it's early but I am really excited to see him back out there.

In a word, I would say steady, and that's what the Packers need him to be.

Paul from Chicago, IL

To go back to the two-point conversion debate, FiveThirtyEight did a really good, in-depth analysis of when it is strategic to go for two points instead of one. Basically, they find that statistically speaking when you're down two points, you should always go for two in order to maximize the probability of winning the game.

I understand what the stats and probabilities say, and I love math, but I'm always going to lean conservative here. As I've said before … if surrendering a subsequent touchdown wouldn't seal the game for the opponent (based on clock time remaining), I'm not going for two and risking a miss that ultimately puts me down two scores. Other circumstances may apply, but that's my general rule of thumb.

Greg from Saint Helens, OR

With all the moving pieces involved in training camp, at what point do opposing teams' scouts start paying attention to a rival team's preseason processes? When would the Packers' scouts typically start paying attention to their rivals' training camps?

They only have access to preseason game film.

Joe from Oshkosh, WI

How many times since 2010 do you believe the Packers could have gotten to the Super Bowl if they had just stayed HEALTHY?

I thought health played a factor in the playoff exits in the '13, '15 and '16 seasons, but in each case it was one factor of many, so I don't dive too deep into the what-if game. The '14 season showed being healthy provides no guarantee.

Deb from Camarillo, CA

Saw the picture of Davante and Jordy throwing and catching a brick in a Day 2 camp photo. How long has this been a drill? Do all receivers do this drill? Was it inspired by Jerry Rice?

It's a drill receivers coach Luke Getsy implemented when he took over the position last year. He has a number of unusual exercises he has the receivers do related to hand strength, hand-eye coordination, vision, etc., that don't seem to be very common. I think the receivers find the change of pace refreshing.

Jason from Janesville, WI

Mike McCarthy keeps mentioning GPS. What does that mean?

Activity monitors the players wear that collect biomedical workout data.

Josh from Philadelphia, PA

I love the column but take issue with the response that home-field advantage is what will make the difference in a deep playoff run. I don't disagree it's important, but last year specifically, the Packers were running on fumes and were so outplayed by Atlanta it was ridiculous. With our secondary playing the way it was, we overachieved thanks to the greatness of Aaron Rodgers. Let's just call it what it was: a great run that could've ended earlier. We should still expect a Super Bowl this year if all goes right, but it just bothers me that this home-field thing is becoming the "reason" we didn't do it.

I never said it was the reason. If others are taking it that way, they shouldn't. I just want to see the Packers increase their odds. I agree with many of your points, including the Falcons' clear superiority on Jan. 22, but I wouldn't have minded seeing their indoor offense try to function in 10-degree weather, you know what I mean? In the '13 wild-card round, a badly banged-up Packers team with a rusty Rodgers took the defending NFC champion 49ers to the wire in the bitter cold, and that Niners team went on to bury Carolina and come within 20 yards of beating a Seahawks team that obliterated Denver in the Super Bowl. There are times the cold really matters, and this team generally has an advantage. I think home field in January would boost Green Bay's chances, that's all, and the Packers have more control over that part than they do of the "staying healthy" part.

Jon from Minneapolis, MN

What player on the Packers, excluding Aaron Rodgers, has the most detailed, intricate, and strict preparation and study habits?

Rodgers is in a league of his own there, and I don't know whom exactly to peg as the distant second. But I'll admit I gained a whole new appreciation for Nelson's attention to detail when I sat down to interview the QB-WR duo for the Packers Yearbook cover story. So yes, I'll close today with a**shameless sales plug**. There's a first (and last) time for everything.

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