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If players are ready, they need to play

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Gary from Minneapolis, MN

Someone asked what the difference is between rebuilding and retooling. The best I've heard that explained is you're rebuilding if you don't have a quarterback, and you're retooling if you do.

Well said.

Paul from Gorham, ME

Good morning, do you have, or do you plan to write, any stories about Wilkerson? Here’s hoping he plays as well as he’s able, which I think will have many of us wanting to know more about him.

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With once-per-week media access to OTAs starting next Tuesday, our coverage will start to turn away from the rookies and more toward the veteran players again, as they’ll be available for locker-room interviews.**

Joe from Asbury, IA

Since Kizer and Hundley each started many games last season, they aren't eligible for the practice squad, correct? Do you think the Packers would carry both behind Rodgers? I'm intrigued as to how training camp and preseason sorts that backup position out.

I’m curious, too. You’re right, neither is practice-squad eligible. I don’t think any decision has been made as to whether two or three quarterbacks will be on the active roster when camp concludes.

Gary from Belle Mead, NJ

Or is it Inside-Out Box?

I think I like that even better.

Fritz from Stevens Point, WI

It seems everyone is assuming Pettine’s defense is a lock for top 10 or better. Please help me shake this “We’ve been here before” feeling.

Assume anything in the NFL at your peril. I believe Green Bay’s defense will be improved with the coaching and personnel changes, but I’m not going to predict where the unit will be ranked.

James from Durango, CO

With regards to playoff seeding, I think there is a way to preserve divisions and be fair to 10-6 and 11-5 teams that don’t qualify when there is a sub-.500 division winner within the same conference. If a 10-6 or 11-5 team played against the entire division and is 4-0, while the best team from that division only managed a record of 7-9, then the 10-6 or 11-5 team gets their fourth seed. So for example, if the Packers went 4-0 against the NFC East and the NFC East division winners were the 7-9 Cowboys, then the Packers would get their playoff spot.

Interesting thought, but I doubt the NFL wants to complicate the process to that degree.

Lee from Cork, Ireland

How many “Prospect Primers” have you covered that the Packers drafted?

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10 – Datone Jones, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Brett Hundley, Blake Martinez, Kyle Murphy, Josh Jones, Jaire Alexander and Equanimeous St. Brown. It would be 11 if I hadn’t run out of time last year right before I was going to put one together on Vince Biegel. Really regret that.**

Joseph from East Moline, IL

Sometimes I like to look back at previous years’ drafts and look at who the Packers picked and compare to players of the same positions who were drafted after them. I know he wasn’t a perennial Pro Bowler, by I like the Hawk pick in 2006. He started about 95 percent of the regular-season games during his nine years in GB, played pretty consistently, and also has an awesome podcast (The Hawkcast with A.J. Hawk). How would you say his career compared with another Big Ten linebacker taken that year, Chad Greenway?

Tough question. Statistically, their careers look rather similar. Both proved to be durable (after Greenway missed his rookie year), they racked up tackles, and their high-impact plays like sacks and interceptions were close. I would say Greenway stayed at a high level a little longer than Hawk, and he went to two Pro Bowls vs. Hawk’s one, so I’d have to give the nod to Greenway, but those are two long-term mainstays at their positions who earned plenty of respect.

Neil from Royal Tunbridge Wells, UK

Have you guys any interest in the royal wedding?

Zilch. This is like Vic and World Cup soccer for me. If the royal wedding were taking place in my backyard, I’d close the curtains.

Marcus from Chicago, IL

Do you think the NFL should consider no overtime for the regular season? It would be the best option from the players' perspective, and as a fan, I would appreciate regular-season games being limited to four quarters. Not only that, but the playoff picture would get more interesting with a lot of digits in the "ties" column.

That would be a tough sell to the ticket-buying public, paying what they do to attend games, and not at least trying to decide a winner and loser with an OT.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Regarding the gambling question from Ben from De Pere, WI, now the NFL has the solution to fans’ frustrations at replay and commercial breaks. Time to whip out the phone and place in-game bets during the pause in action.

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Oh my. FOX would have to give Mike Pereira secret-service protection if he ever got one wrong.**

Sam from Melbourne, Australia

G'day, naturally there's been a lot of discussion regarding the cornerback depth chart. With Tramon Williams and Davon House returning, would you say for Josh Jackson’s development on the outside it's better for him to see as much playing time as possible ahead of (most likely) Davon, or would sitting back do him better in the long run as we've seen in many unpolished prospects entering the league?

The best thing for Josh Jackson’s development will be to play. If players are ready, they need to play, and if they have to beat out a veteran to earn that time, all the better. If there’s one thing I know about Joe Whitt, it’s that, health permitting, the best players at cornerback are the ones who will play. He’s always been that way.

Bob from Colby, KS

Call me what you will, but your story on Bradley moved to a few tears. Thanks for making them human.

Kudos to Wes on another nice piece. If you haven’t read it, be sure to *check it out.*

Keith from Dearborn, MI

Hypothetical here: What would be the mood of the Insider Inbox if Marcus Davenport had 15 sacks, but the Saints had an injury-plagued season and finished 4-12?

The final answer would come from throwing Alexander’s rookie season into the equation, wouldn’t it?

Amy from Bayport, MN

Given the hardship the Browns have faced in recent memory, I find it extremely fitting that they are going to be featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” I love rooting for the underdog, and with all the Green Bay connections I’m very interested in following their season. Do you think the extra attention from filming the series can be beneficial for the team, or do you think the distraction will be a detriment to their success?

I don’t see any benefits in that sense, but I think it’s only a detriment if there’s a major story that breaks during camp, and the HBO presence makes it an even bigger deal than it already is. Otherwise, in the big picture it’s probably neither here nor there. I was at an event recently with Joe Philbin, and he was asked about the experience when he was head coach in Miami. He said after the first couple of days, the cameras went unnoticed and it was business as usual. I don’t think he’d have said that, however, if the Incognito ordeal from later in his Dolphins tenure had occurred with HBO present.

Kory from Juneau, AK

Hey, Insiders. With the recent Supreme Court ruling on sports betting, is Pete Rose any closer to the Hall?

I don’t see the connection. Rose compromised the integrity of the game. You and I placing bets doesn’t do that.

Craig from Laramie, WY

I appreciated Mike's diplomatic answer about the impact the expansion of gambling could have on the NFL. I'm concerned though that growth of gambling presents at least as much danger to the future of the NFL as does the player-safety issue. Combined, the two make me very uneasy. Is it possible that we shouldn't approve of a thing just because it will generate more revenue? Will you please help balance and inform my perspective?

Well, let’s be clear. The NFL hasn’t approved anything, the Supreme Court has, and the NFL can’t control what fans do legally on their own time. With all the things I’m reading about how the pro sports leagues might try to angle for a piece of the gambling pie, I hope they stay as far away from it as possible. The leagues will benefit from the increased interest, TV ratings, and all of that. One scandal could change everything.

Benjamin from Chicago, IL

Mike/Wes, in regards to "external and internal perceptions of players can differ," how do you think the Packers’ staff estimates external perceptions about players during cuts? Would differing internal perceptions be only due to closed-door practices and evaluation, or would something else factor in?

The entire league has access to the preseason film. The individual teams know everything that has gone on in practice, how a player fits in the locker room, etc.

Matheus from Blumenau, Brazil

Chris from Marshfield stated that the Seahawks made into the playoffs with a 7-9 record. That got me thinking, which was the lowest-record regular-season team to win it all in the postseason?

The 2011 New York Giants, 9-7.

Tim from Charlotte, NC

Assuming Aaron Rodgers has five healthy and productive years remaining, he'd need to average 2,300 yards/season (very likely), 37.5 TD/season (pretty likely) and 466 rushing yards/season (not so likely for an aging QB) in order to hit 50K/500/5K. Yet, I would never bet against him.

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The Packers hosted a Youth Football Outreach Camp at Hemlock Creek Elementary School on Thursday. The camp featured two sessions with approximately 300 kids participating. Photos by Evan Siegle, packers.com

I wouldn’t either. The rushing milestone will definitely be the toughest to reach.**

Lee from Columbia, MD

One reason there will not be playoff competition between the AFC and NFC teams prior to the Super Bowl is that the Super Bowl was designed as a competition between the NFL and the AFL. To have AFC and NFC teams compete in the playoffs prior to the Super Bowl would negate the original NFL/AFL competition rationale for the Super Bowl.

Sure, but 50-plus years later, the bulk of the fan base doesn’t care about the original rationale. I’m not saying the league should change anything, but being overly resistant to change is a sure way to damage your product these days. As much as I like the current system, I know things won’t stay this way forever. That’s why I like to ponder, occasionally, reasonable and fair possibilities for the future.

Adam from Overseal, UK

Can you talk us through how the scout team works? Is it a case of trying to create how the upcoming opponent will play, and if so how do they manage to replicate plays that represent the team in question?

Film study provides a menu of concepts teams will use in different situations – normal down-and-distance, third down, red zone, short yardage, etc. The plays are drawn up on paper, and then the scout team looks at the diagrams in the huddle during practice and tries to execute them to give their teammates the best possible look at what they might see on game day.

Antonio from Kimberly, WI

With Matt Patricia going over to Detroit, he immediately faces a conundrum at defensive end. Ezekiel Ansah emerged from 2015 with 14.5 sacks, and then followed it with a two-sack season in 2016, and a 12-sack season in 2017. On the one hand, he’s played hurt these past two seasons and still managed to increase his production. On the other hand, nine of his 12 sacks came against the Giants, Bengals, and Packers – teams that struggled this year. What’s your take? Has he regressed and put up deceiving numbers, or is he the future star of Patricia’s defense?

The Lions are spending the franchise tag to find out. I think it was their best option.

Ricky from Albany, NY

Congrats, Spoff. I officially grant you the status Penske material for making us all read a column about nothing. Bravo, sir.

I admit I went a little overboard, but the set-ups were too easy. My youngest also turned 14 on Wednesday, and things like that put me in a nostalgic mood. Y’all came back rather strong on the exclamation points (Ethan from La Crosse) and the human fund (Grady from Calgary), among others. Nicely done.

Justin from Atlanta, GA

After reading all these questions about Dez, I really miss Vic banning people.

Speaking of nostalgia…Ah, it’s Friday. Make it a good one, everybody.

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