Ryan from Minneapolis, MN
Mike, Wes, I enjoy the speculation and squabbles of II, I really do, but is it too early to stand up and yell, "Gimme some football already!"?
First practice, one week from tomorrow.
Brian from Twain Harte, CA
I think readers who demand that other II contributors be banned should be banned themselves (this submission excepted, of course).
The Inbox can have rules or it can have exceptions, but it can't have both.
Scott from Hamlin, NY
What's keeping the networks from showing four Sunday afternoon games? It seems silly to show PBA (either) when there's a football game on.
The national doubleheader game in the late afternoon is designed to have a relatively exclusive audience, except for other West Coast markets hosting games in the time slot (and their opponents). Both FOX and CBS pay a premium to take turns getting that large audience mostly to themselves.
Julian from Gastonia, NC
As we know, the Packers will be playing their two biggest rivals to start the season for the second year in a row. None of the other teams in our division were scheduled to play two division rivals to start the season last year or this year. The Packers made out OK to start their season last year, but somehow these NFC North games seem more appropriate when the autumn winds are blowing or the snow is falling. Playing the Bears and Vikings in sunshine and heat doesn't feel quite the same.
I agree. While the league kicking off its 100th season with the league's oldest rivalry is appropriate, the Vikings did not have to be scheduled in Week 2 for the second straight year. For two December division games both to be indoors is disappointing as well.
Richard from Farmington Hills, MI
The problem with a wild-card series is that it gives the other playoff teams a long layoff. This would be very unfair and detrimental to them. For example, in both 2006 and 2012 "my" Detroit Tigers swept their LCS and had to wait about a week before the World Series began. They played poorly and it was obvious the long layoff had a very negative impact.
I think an opening best-of-three series between the two wild-card teams could be established with minimal break for the division winners.
Andrew from Falls Church, VA
Thoughts on the inverted jersey? It definitely stands out, but I wouldn't want it to replace the throwback jerseys. The throwback might not be the best-looking clothing ever created, but I for one think there is something special about remembering the past.
I don't mind the inverted jersey, but if it were to be used in a game, I wouldn't want it worn more than once per season.
Sonia from Fairbanks, AK
Mike stated that the personnel department, which has the responsibility of evaluating college and free-agent players, has 17 people. I envisioned a department at least twice that size. Do you have any information on other teams in this regard? Do the Packers have the resources to compete with the deep pockets of a Jerry Jones or Robert Kraft in an area where there is no cap on spending?
The Packers have plenty of resources to do what they need to. I didn't look up all the other teams, but according to the website listings of the Packers' two biggest rivals, the Bears have 17 and the Vikings have 18 in their personnel departments underneath the GMs.
Nick from Plainwell, MI
Hey Spoff, just listened to your interview from "On the Line" with Wobschall from the Vikings. How was it being interviewed by a division rival? Does it help some Vikings fan maybe gain a new perspective on the opposing team?
If it does, great, but that's not why I did it. I needed Wobby to owe me one. Now he gets to wonder.
Jason from Austin, TX
II, the league has been pushing for 18 games, but I don't think there is enough of a bargaining chip where the players would accept the extra two games unless the finances greatly increased. Do you think 17 games would be more achievable? Lower the preseason to three games and increase the bye weeks to two per team along with cap increases. Because each team has two bye weeks, allow for one bye week leading into a Wednesday or Thursday night game.
I could see such a scenario being part of the discussions. Some readers have wondered about eliminating Thursday night games, but that's not happening. Last year FOX signed a deal in the neighborhood of $3 billion (with a B) for five years of Thursday night games. The players may despise those games, but their salaries are rising even more in part because of them.
Noah from Green Bay, WI
What is the most underrated opponent the Packers face this season?
Ryan from Bloomer, WI
When and how will we know our defense is improved? Forget the stats, Pro Bowls and other media accolades. A game-winning, fourth-quarter stop on Sept. 5 would tell me what I need to know.
If I recall, I said something the last time Wes was on vacation about all perspective being lost over the Week 1 result. Be careful.
Tom from Reedsville, WI
Successful defense? Winning every game would be fine with me. I'd think, aside from the obvious (points), that turnovers would suggest a successful defense. If a team could get three turnovers each game, and not turn the ball over themselves, I'm fairly certain they'd win. Has there ever been a team with the worst TO ratio that has won the Super Bowl, or even had a winning season? Or has any team, with the best TO ratio, not even made the playoffs?
Because it's still the dead zone, I looked up the data from the last decade (2009-18). Of the 22 teams that either led or tied for the lead in their conference in turnover margin, only four did not make the postseason (2012 Bears, '14 Texans, '16 Vikings, '17 Ravens), and of the 18 that made the playoffs, four reached the Super Bowl ('13 Seahawks, '15 Panthers, '16 Falcons, '17 Eagles). Conversely, there were also 22 teams either last or tied for last in their conference in turnover margin, and only one made the playoffs, the '11 Steelers. That was also the only one of those teams to post a winning record.
Eric from Green Bay, WI
With players starting to talk about holding out for a new contract before they play the last year on their contract, what Packer players are entering their last year on their contract? Anyone we have to worry about sitting out for a new contract?
There have been no holdout rumblings in Green Bay this year, or for a while now. The 2016 draft class (except first-rounder Kenny Clark, whose fifth-year option was exercised) is entering its contract year, so that's Martinez, Fackrell, Lowry, Davis and Spriggs. Established veterans currently without a contract for 2020 include Daniels, Bulaga, Crosby, Allison, Lewis and Tramon Williams.
Todd from Brighton, MI
416 Packers Unscripted: How I spent my summer break (drops Wednesday, July 24). Please?
We're resuming the show sometime next week. I promise.
Al from Green Bay, WI
Next week begins an extremely important phase in the lives of the young men with hopes and dreams of making an NFL roster. For those new players that have never experienced training camp, what one piece of advice would you offer them?
Watch the guys at the top of the depth chart at your position, and go about your business that way. Do what they do. On the practice field, in the meeting room, in the locker room, everywhere.
Mike from West Bend, WI
Hey Insiders, with all of this talk about the NFL placing a team in London it seems to have been overlooked that that London team would have to cross the big pond eight times a season. Not the same as visiting teams which, would only have one crossing to endure. Seems to not favor success for that London franchise.
I have to believe if a team were ever placed in London, it would have a corresponding base of operations in the United States and its schedule would be constructed with blocks of home and away games to minimize travel.
James from Lancaster, PA
I am going to buy a Darnell Savage jersey and am looking to get it right. Does his jersey read "SAVAGE" or "SAVAGE JR"?
It does not have the Jr. It's pure Savage.
Steven from Silver Spring, MD
Spoff is correct about nobody caring about FedExField. It is well documented and acknowledged by the owner that he is committed to rebuilding the RFK stadium site, which in some purist circles is admirable. But the notion of that particular person being given anything of quality from the community after so many price hikes and cultural changes has created a real quandary. A sad tale that reminds us you cannot take community ownership for granted.
My uncle lives in the DC area and has shared many similar sentiments with me. My favorite Snyder story is when he announced he was going to charge a $10 admission for fans to watch practices in training camp, and after the news was out his football operations folks told him if he went through with the plan, every team in the league would be allowed to send scouts to their practices.
Dan from Toledo, OH
Over the last two (disappointing) seasons the Packers are 0-3-1 against Minnesota and 0-4 (!) against Detroit. Is making this season a successful one as easy as turning those trends around?
There are many places to start, and this would be one of them. Though Rodgers only started and finished three of those eight contests, so having QB1 for all of those division games is another place to start.
Eric from Greenville, WI
The NFL is teetering in terms of balance. I think they're in a good spot regarding number of games, playoffs, formats, etc. Sure MLB and NBA make some money, but they have far too many games. Owners have to realize that contracting seasons might affect short-term numbers, but shorten the season, make the playoffs mean more, make the regular season mean more, attract more fans, and strengthen the league for the future, which means more money in the long haul.
That's a nice theory, but if they really thought they'd make more money in the long haul, they'd do it. Can you prove it to them?
Robert from Salem, WI
With all changes in the coaching staff, where have you seen the smoothest transition amongst the player groups (WRs, LBs, etc.)?
None of them stood out to me as difficult transitions. If there was one with the greatest potential for rough spots, it was the offensive line, because all those veteran starters (Bulaga, Bahktiari, Taylor, Linsley) had been coached by James Campen their entire NFL careers. But the early feedback from them was Adam Stenavich stepped in and quickly developed a rapport, and the linemen appreciated his willingness to answer all their questions about the new scheme (or find the answers they needed ASAP).
Jeremy from Evansville, IN
Mike, here's a dead zone question you may not find boring: What are your thoughts on the Central? (The NL Central; not the NFC Central!) This spring, you implied Goldy was going to be a field-tilter. While it seems he and the Cards may be on the verge of going on a second-half run that's become somewhat of a trademark for them, if we're being honest, none of the five teams have done anything to separate (or disqualify) themselves from the pack. Who's your favorite at this point in the season?
It's still the Cubs. They have the best roster, top to bottom, in the division, and they've vastly underachieved to this point, even more so than the Brewers and Cardinals. With the widespread mediocrity in the rest of the division, I'd expect the Cubs to be much farther ahead at this point, and as much as I hope they don't, I still expect them to start getting some separation.
Patrick from Elkhorn, WI
My brother and I are going to a Packers practice. Any advice on what would be the practices to see as far as early in camp or later in camp?
I think the best practices from a spectating standpoint at Nitschke Field will be the week leading up to Family Night, and then the week leading up to the first preseason game with the joint practices with the Texans.
Brian from Urbana, IL
Hi Spoff, so what is one realistic intervention which could potentially increase the responsibility of reporting and/or consumption of informational media? And don't forget to make your answer entertaining.
On a large scale, nothing's realistic, because the internet is too vast. On a small scale, I'd have to give it some thought.
Craig from Cedar Rapids, IA
Since we are in the doldrums of the NFL season. For kicks and giggles what position in college football do you think we should be paying close attention to? In other words, where do you think we will be wanting to upgrade in next year's draft? I am thinking offensive line. What say you?
I say you're itching to get banned. Let's play the 2019 season first and worry about next year's draft next year, shall we?
Brian from Menominee, MI
Who on the Packers has the best shot at a 15th-year breakout?
That's actually pretty good.
Daniel from Delta, PA
*Spoff reaches for Wes's lunch* *Laser cuts off hand* Wes standing over Spoff: "The future is now, old man." Forgive me, just an image that's been stuck in my head from all the future and laser talk. Has anyone been keeping an eye out for laser deliveries to the office?
No, but I definitely will now. Happy Wednesday.