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Inbox: Get that three-headed backfield healthy and ready for the stretch run

Only one indoor game in the last six

RB Jamaal Williams

Erik from Honolulu, HI

Wow, that Week 1 hype video gave me chills! I sincerely hope we have only four months to wait!

Yes, I meant to say four months the other day. Quarantine math.

Allan from Holmen, WI

I'm getting tired of playing the Vikings within the first two weeks of every season. Three years in a row now. However, with all the young players the Vikings had through the draft, this could be advantageous for the Packers if there is little-to-no minicamps and training camps for these young guys to prepare. The Vikings will be counting on many of their rookies to contribute, as opposed to the Packers, so Green Bay may have a better chance coming out of the gates in Week 1.

That's entirely possible. I don't know how anyone constructs a schedule, though, that has the Packers and Vikings done playing through seven games. I just don't get that.

John from Lakeland, FL

Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame two days prior to the Falcons-Packers on MNF. The Packers asked to be on the road this week. What would be some of the concerns to using the same field a couple days apart?

That's followed by a bye and two road games, so overall wear-and-tear isn't really the issue, it's the quick turnaround and preparation. I wonder if the grounds crew will be able to do everything it normally does to prepare the field between games.

Scott from Grovetown, GA

Pack will not be playing the Bucs in primetime. Has someone cut you free from the carpet, Matt Spofford?

Thankfully yes, Steve.

Suzanne from Elgin, TX

First week of November is the TEST, Vikes at GB 11/1 then a trek to SF Thursday 11/5. Jeez, doesn't get any tougher than that...

Combine it with the two weeks prior, and that's the crux of the schedule. At Brady, followed by three games against final-eight playoff teams from a year ago – at Houston, vs. Minnesota, at San Fran on a short week. Call it the stretch of survival.

Scott from Crystal Lake, IL

Weeks 6-9 look brutal. They will tell us a lot about this team.

That's exactly the subject of a piece I'm posting right after this column goes up.

Tim from Lino Lakes, MN

Every team is going to have their gauntlet. The Bears end their season with five of seven being division games. The Lions end with four of six against playoff teams from last year plus one against the Bucs and Brady. The Vikings start the season with six of seven against last year's playoff teams. Green Bay's four after the bye used to look daunting, but doesn't seem so bad when I look into the neighbors' yards.

Good to know.

Cliff from Brockport, NY

Whatever happened to the idea of road teams on Thursday night games playing within their own time zone? I guess it must've been just a suggestion but one that should be looked at a little harder.

I think the league making teams travel more than one time zone away to play a Thursday game is ridiculous. It's a huge advantage to the home team. Two years ago the home game vs. Miami preceding the short-week trip to Seattle was shifted to 3:25 p.m. CT, just to make it even harder on the players. Fingers crossed the Minnesota game stays at noon.

Kevin from Holmen, WI

I'm sure it happens every year, but every team and its fan base must feel like they get shafted in some way regarding the NFL schedule. So here it goes. How do the Packers get the Vikings coming off a bye week followed by the 49ers in San Francisco only four days later on a Thursday night? Brutal.

I hadn't noticed Minnesota has a bye before coming to Lambeau. Peachy.

Tyler from Bismarck, ND

Is there any rhyme or reason on when byes are scheduled? Disappointed to see Week 5.

Apparently every team shares a bye with its Week 2 opponent. That was done on purpose as a contingency in case things have to get shifted around. There are also no division games across the league in Weeks 3-4.

Natalie from Tucson, AZ

Hey II, why the uncertainty on the date for the Week 16 game against the Panthers?

The last few years on certain December weekends, the league has set aside a group of games from which some key Saturday matchups will be selected for an exclusive audience. I think the decision gets made roughly a month in advance.

Printable PDF

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

Three December games at Lambeau and a season finale at Soldier Field...Here's hoping for a heaping holiday helping of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon!

Only one indoor game in the last six, the rest in Green Bay and Chicago. Get that three-headed backfield healthy and ready for the stretch run.

Donna from Darien, WI

At least the last regular-season game isn't in Detroit.


Phillip from Corona, CA

The at-home production for the season was brilliant. Great job to those who put it together.

Schedule-release videos are becoming the thing amongst team websites annually now. This year the obvious challenges required an overdose of creativity, and our crew did not disappoint.

Ron from Broken Arrow, OK

Mike, what a great article by Cliff Christl regarding Don Shula's interest in becoming the Packers head coach. I can only imagine how much different the Packers results would have been in the 1970s and 1980s had Shula been hired in 1970 to become head coach. With all due respect to those in charge then, I cannot think of a clearer example of how poorly run the organization was during this time. I've always had a long list of "what if" moments from those years. This just went to the top.

It's certainly at the top, and first chronologically, for the post-Lombardi era.

Sonia from Fairbanks, AK

Mike, I wanted to follow up on the grammar explanation you gave Paul, regarding the phrase "for me and Wes." I agree that your use of me is correct as the object of a preposition. However, I was taught by my mother that when you include yourself in a list you should name yourself last. I don't know if this was a grammar rule, or a politeness guide. Yes, I have been quarantined too long.

Well, I'm certainly not going to argue with your mother, and several readers pointed out the order preference you've noted. I'd never really heard that, except as it relates to the personal pronoun as a subject (Wes and I answered the questions, not I and Wes). But the Inbox felt pretty strongly about a more formal or proper order with the object pronoun, even if both ways are technically correct, and I don't mind learning something new. Keep it coming, but if you're going to call me out, buyer beware.

Ken from Lacey, WA

In my opinion, the Packers don't need their WR2 to be a 1000-plus-yard, 10-plus-TD receiver for them to be successful like the "pundits" want us to believe. Would it be fun to watch 2011 all over again? Yes. But in reality, with a healthy Adams and Jones realistically able to produce 2,500 yards and 20-plus TDs, the WR2 only needs to provide week-in-week-out consistency. Thoughts?

Sign me up.

Andy from Tomah, WI

I'm a huge NFL fan but admittedly know little about the Canadian game. When looking at Reggie Begelton's numbers from last year, they seem eye-popping and make you question why he wasn't already on an NFL roster. Is something about the Canadian game that different from what we are used to that would lead to these seemingly inflated numbers? As an aside, I can say this is the first time in many years I've been this excited to see preseason football.

I can't speak to how much this applies to Begelton's CFL production, but receivers can get a running forward start in the CFL as long as they don't cross the line of scrimmage before the snap, which generally means they have little experience beating a jam at the line of scrimmage.

Matt from Minneapolis, MN

Last year in the season opener against the Bears, Raven Greene  played over 75% of the defensive snaps at hybrid inside linebacker and had a very good game. That playing time may have been partially due to the preseason injuries of Burks and Bolton, but it's hard to know for sure because Greene was injured the next week. What kind of impact do you think Greene can make in the hybrid linebacker role in 2020?

If he's fully whole from his injury, which was a significant deal, Greene is the preferred player for that hybrid role and why he was the guy in Week 1, regardless of the injuries to Oren Burks and Curtis Bolton. Going with a second pure inside linebacker is a different defensive package. I'm sure Pettine would love nothing better than for Greene to be back to his old self in 2020.

Doug from Eugene, OR

I'm not sure if II readers are allowed to submit such assertions, but the response to Aristotle is pure Inbox HOF.

Thanks, I was pretty proud of that one.

Elliot from Minneapolis, MN

With the Korean Baseball League being played and the German soccer league starting up in a week, will the NFL pay attention to how those leagues are making it work, or are the leagues too different to gain any insight?

I'm sure the NFL will be paying attention to any sports leagues and the protocols that prove successful.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

My wife has been known to complain from time to time if I watch too much football. If your wife was to have the same complaint, do you get to pull the "I need to watch it for my job" card?

No, that goes without saying. I save the excuse for the complaints about watching too much baseball, and say it's my break from football.

Jason from Rockton, IL

Morning II. My best friend and I have been attending one road game every year for the past few years. We had circled Tampa Bay last year, before TB and Gronk, and the citrus hype train started. How much do you think Tampa's offseason will increase ticket prices for that game?


Aaron from Green Bay, WI

San Francisco this, San Francisco that, how are we going to beat San Francisco? In the past 25 years, only the Patriots, two years ago, returned to the Super Bowl after losing it the year before.

The top two seeds in the NFC in 2019 were not even in the playoffs in 2018. It's a year-to-year league.

Richard from Menasha, WI

I need a haircut. I see you on the "Unscripted" video and you guys are looking way better than me in the haircut department. You aren't cheating on the social distancing thing, are you?

I haven't had a haircut in calendar year 2020. My last one was the day before I got on the plane to fly to Detroit in Week 17, between Christmas and New Year's.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

I noticed in "Unscripted" that Mike usually on the left side of the screen and Wes is on the right. But recently your positions were switched one time. Do you flip a coin to see what side you're on, or is there something deeper going, or just technology reasons?

It's probably just our producer Marv messing with everybody and keeping himself entertained.

Eric from Glyndon, MN

As a follow-up to Forrest from Portland's question about the draft history of Rookie of the Year award winners, on defense the latest selection was Al Richardson in 1980 (eighth round, 201st overall). On offense, the latest selection was Jimmy Orr in 1957 (25th round, 291st overall). As one would expect, the vast majority of Rookie of the Year awards have gone to first-round draft picks, but somewhat interestingly, no player ever drafted first overall has won Defensive ROY.

There we have it. There is no pick No. 291 now, so that's the equivalent of undrafted in today's game.

Paul from De Pere, WI

You can skip to the end of the movie because movies follow a script, or turn to the final page in a book because the story has already been written. That's the beauty of sports. No one knows how it's going to turn out. How did the Packers do the last time they failed the offseason?

I don't recall this much criticism of a draft in my 14 years in this chair. I'll turn the answer another way. It wasn't long ago the Packers were universally praised for their draft, getting two corners high, an inside linebacker, three receivers, even a punter and long snapper because they had the luxury, and they banked a first-rounder for the following year. Then they lost five out of six games from just before Halloween to just after Thanksgiving and a Super Bowl-winning coach got fired. Indeed, no one knows how it's going to turn out.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, I'm guessing that each position group on a team has a different personality. Not that they don't get along, but the WR meeting room has a different feel from when the OL or DBs get together. From what you've seen over the years, which position group best fits your personality?

Probably quarterback, not that I could ever play the position, but the cerebral nature of every decision fascinates me.

Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

Let's say the next game at Lambeau is played without fans. You have your pick to sit anywhere you like as long as you are six feet away from anyone else. Where do you sit to watch the game?

My parents' basement. I haven't gotten to watch a Packers game with my dad in a long, long time.

David from Janesville, WI

Insiders, is it virtually impossible to get actual access to the virtual offseason information? Or do you actually already have access to the virtual information? If your access to the virtual offseason was actually virtual, does that make a double virtual which equates to an actual? Or as two actuals don't make a virtual would two virtuals also not make an actual? Actually, I'm sure virtually no one will care as long as we can get some actual input on the virtual offseason. Eventually.

And another week is in the books for me. Happy Friday.


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