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Inbox: Does anyone care now?

Packers Hall of Fame QB Brett Favre
Packers Hall of Fame QB Brett Favre

Dan from Kenosha, WI

Mike, Wes requested it, I will call it. This Inbox officially starts “Be kind to Spoff” week. Have fun!

Much appreciated.

Dave from Bolingbrook, IL

I have an incredible amount of respect for Charles Tillman. Great player but even a better person. My daughter who will be 2 in July was born with a heart defect that hospitalized her for six months. Charles Tillman’s child also has a heart defect, and he set up a foundation to support other families with chronically ill children. My wife was invited to a banquet around Mother’s Day that he hosts every year and said he was the most humble person she ever met. Hope you both had a great Father’s Day.

I’ve never met Tillman but have heard from other players and reporters who know him that he’s truly one of the good guys. Hope all the dads out there had a great day.

Mike from Madison, WI

What are the chances of future stock sales? I was able to purchase a share during the last stock offering. Now, I would like to be able to purchase additional shares for my grandchildren.

We get this question a lot, so I’ll answer it again for the first time in a while. The franchise’s articles of incorporation were amended in 1997 to allow the Packers to sell shares to raise funds for capital improvements – more specifically, stadium renovations. All proceeds from the stock sales in 1997 and 2011 were invested in the Lambeau Field redevelopment of 2003 and the expansion earlier this decade. With no other stadium projects on the horizon requiring that kind of capital, there are no additional stock sales currently planned.

Matheus from Blumenau, Brazil

So Weston downgrades the Raptors’ title and leaves out on vacation, nicely done! I still have to point out that GSW got the Cavs without Irving and Love in 2015, the Rockets without CP3 in 2018 and also broke up Kawhi during the 2017 conference championships. My point is, a title is a title, doesn’t matter the opposition!

I remember in 1996 a small scuttlebutt about the Packers never beating the dynasty known as the Cowboys on their way to the title. Does anyone care now?

Susan from Menomonee Falls, WI

Will Houston players stay at St. Norbert when they come to Green Bay for practice?

I don’t know, but I’m guessing they’ll stay at a local hotel that will provide meeting rooms and other necessities for camp. The Packers conduct all their meetings at Lambeau Field, not at the campus. To fend off the next question about opposing teams staying in Appleton and the inconvenience that would cause the Texans in this case, other visitors do that because all the Green Bay hotels want to maximize on game-day weekends with a two-night minimum. Houston will be here for several nights, so it’s a different situation.

Bob from Cortez

Given all the changes kept under wraps each year, what happens in joint practices? Who sets the drills? Will scrimmages be plain vanilla like preseason?

Teams won’t hold back as much scheme during the practices because the film isn’t available to the rest of the league.

Paul from Ellensburg, WA

Hey fellas, my take to add to yours on the question brought up Saturday by Wayne from Green Bay would be that Favre had a tendency to throw the ball and let the receiver make the play. It’s the reason he was awesome and also the reason he’s the all-time NFL leader in interceptions. Rodgers on the other hand is the opposite. He’s all about precision and making the perfect throw at the perfect time which is why of the all-time QBs with 300-plus TDs no one is even close to having as few interceptions.

Indeed.

Perry from Ishpeming, MI

I love reading comments from offensive players praising players on the other side and vice versa. Which one-on-ones should we be on the lookout for this season? Bakh and Bulaga vs. the Smiths, Gary and Fackrell? Adams vs. Alexander? Have there been any tempers flaring yet? A little skirmish can go a long way towards team building.

I’ve never thought skirmishes accomplished much, especially seeing guys take swings at other guys wearing helmets, which is as silly as it gets. But maybe I’m in the minority. I’m most looking forward to seeing Gary in the one-on-one pass-rush drills, and I suspect he’ll get reps against both tackles and guards. Should be pretty entertaining.

Jim from Woodbury, MN

Which new assistant coach stood out to you the most during OTAs and minicamp?

You can’t help but notice Mike Smith on the practice field during outside linebacker drills. But I think we’re going to get a better feel for all the new assistants in training camp, when the teaching and learning phase morphs into performance and execution, in terms of evaluation.

Geoff from Hauturu, New Zealand

Hi II, who calculates player statistics? Does Green Bay have its own statistician or does the NFL have a team that calculates statistics for every player? Thanks for all your entertaining and insightful work.

There’s a team of statisticians in the press box for every game. They’re hired by the individual teams but essentially work for the league. The Elias Sports Bureau is the NFL’s official statistician, and they make final decisions on any plays sent for review, such as whether a sack should be credited to one player or split between two, for example.

Steve from Smithfield, NC

To the reader regarding Bears finding a kicker: I can remember the days of Butler kicking for the Bears, particularly against Green Bay. Mr. Automatic in game-winning situations. Statistically I believe they were due for their present woes!

Robbie Gould was no slouch either.

Eric from Greenville, WI

On the topic of the QB and "trust" with receivers, do you think just a small change in offensive philosophy that will change that, too? With MM's system it wasn't just about pre-snap checks but in-play adjustments too. It was a thing of beauty and very hard to defend when everyone was on the same page, but very difficult to get guys ready to do that. Other offenses seem a tad more "rigid" in what each player is to do, with most of the change coming pre-snap in an audible not on-the-fly adjustment.

I think option routes and post-snap adjustments are how the game is played today. They’re in everybody’s system, and rookies adapt at different paces. It’s a big reason only two rookie receivers over the past decade have topped 1,100 yards.

Jeremiah from Madison, WI

Someone had asked about Tony Romo being a HOF QB and the idea is often quietly dismissed. In contrast, the consensus seems to be that Philip Rivers is a HOFer even if he stops playing. That sounds correct, but I'm wondering why when comparing the two players. Neither has been to a SB or won MVP. Romo has a higher career passer rating, fifth overall at 97.1 vs Rivers at 95.6 (eighth overall). Win percentage we have 56.7 on Rivers and 61.4 on Romo. Does Rivers’ longer career and durability make the difference?

Absolutely. Two playoff wins vs. five matters, too.

Carroll from Madison, WI

"Versatility" was the watchword of the offseason. I quickly understood that it translates into multiplicity (and deception) on both sides of the ball. But in the past few days it dawned on me that it's equally – or more – to depth and, hence, mitigating the impact of injuries. Your thoughts?

Certainly, and it’s a significant factor in building a team and selecting a game-day 46. But while versatile players make rosters, impact players win games. Don’t lose sight of that.

Tony from Chanhassen, MN

I see the Packers released Kapri Bibbs, who I think Wes was high on. When that happens at this point in the year before training camp, is it because they realize the player won’t reach the ceiling that was thought possible? Do they just realize he is too far down the depth chart and are giving him a chance somewhere else? Does he get feedback on why he was released?

I don’t know the specifics behind Bibbs’ release – namely, whether or not he requested it – but as a 26-year-old who was clearly the No. 4 as the offseason program wrapped up, he’s going to have a better chance if he can step into another training camp higher on the depth chart from the get-go.

Darren from Kingston, Ontario

Mike, your comment the other day about your shoulder got me thinking. I imagine any high school or college baseball player would dream of making it to the MLB. I am not trying to open up an old wound, but now find myself wondering about the moment you realized you weren't going to make it to the MLB. If you remember that moment, would you be willing to share it with us by describing it and telling us how it affected you?

I had no illusions of making the big leagues. None. You’ve heard of five-tool players? I was three-tool, at best, maybe 2 1/2. So when I injured my shoulder as a junior in college, it’s not like it ripped some dream away. I just loved the game and wanted to play as long as I could. I was never sure outfield was my best position, but I made the decision very practically. After playing everywhere but catcher and first base as a Little Leaguer, I showed up to freshman tryouts uncertain what I’d go for. In front of the whole group, the coaches told us to split up, sending the infielders one way, the outfielders another. I paused and watched for a moment, and I saw the latter group looking much, much smaller. I played the odds and never played the infield again but ended up one of only two guys in my class to play ball beyond high school.

Karen from Kaukauna, WI

Something that's been stated frequently is that the D is ahead of the O in the "learning curve" because it's the second year for the D program, and the first for the O program. While I agree the O program is new for the entire offense, I'm puzzled about the D. What percentage of D starters are brand new here for this year, and did not play that system? This program is just as new for them as it is for the O. For many D starters it's the first year.

Four of them – the Smiths, Amos and Savage – and Gary could count as a fifth given how much he’s going to play. But having a few new starters is vastly different from having everyone learning a new system from scratch. Players can help fellow players get up to speed with the former. It’s all on the coaches with the latter.

Jim from McLean, VA

I’ve been waiting for the dead zone to ask this. There has been a lot of discussion about coaching trees which got me wondering: Are there any current NFL coaching branches that can get traced back to the Lombardi trunk?

Not really. Dick LeBeau was Bart Starr’s DB coach in the late ’70s, and Dick Jauron held the same position on Forrest Gregg’s staff in the mid-’80s, but that’s about all for anyone connected to the game in the last decade.

Scott from Fredonia, WI

I would imagine a regular-season extension would require circumstances similar to previous extensions. How was the regular season expanded from 14 to 16 games? Surely there were not six preseason games before that. What did the owners have to give up then?

In fact there were six preseason games, and the number was reduced to four in 1978 when the regular season went from 14 to 16.

Dale from Wilton, WI

In regards to a 100th anniversary team, I think a more interesting team would be to break history into quarters. First quarter, first and second team, second quarter, and so forth. I realize some overlap will result but it will show how the game has changed over the years and help us (relatively) young fans to learn more of the past and maybe appreciate it more.

I really like that idea. This year’s HOF class will bring the total number of inductees to 326 (not all players, I realize), with more than 150 going in over the last 25 years, since the 75th anniversary team was chosen. Your suggestion makes a ton of sense to me.

Jason from La Crescent, MN

Danny Vitale looks like a baaaaddd man.

And every time Wes starts talking to him about UFC I get a little nervous.

Hector from Buda, TX

I don't know if it's just me imagining things or if it's true chemistry forming, but it seems like this group of guys has something special going on. I follow multiple players on social media (many of us do) and everyone seems to be bonding and more involved with each other than usual compared to other years. I have nothing bad to say about the older guys that have moved on, but the younger guys seem to have taken the torch admirably and the new energy is evident. Is this all in my head?

Not necessarily, but the baloney doesn’t stop for another 80 days, so just be careful.

Andrew from Shalimar, FL

You could try starting all future Inboxes with a header reading, “Welcome to the Insider Inbox where we support the current form of the schedule, let rookies play at their position a few seasons before they’re fully evaluated, and enjoy getting off topic for the sake of variety.”

It’s a good way to end this one. Happy Monday.

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