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Inbox: He just kept pounding away

Road trips will be very different, just like everything else

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RB Eddie Lacy

Kevin from Asbury Park, NJ

Boy, some people are just miserable human beings.

Not how I choose to live.

Keith from Bakersfield, CA

With no crowd noise at all, will the defense be able to "listen in" on the offensive huddle? Would that even matter, or are the calls in the huddle too coded for the opponent to make sense of?

I'm not sure how much they'd be able to decipher about the plays, unless they start hearing the same thing, such as a formation or route combination, over and over, and catch on. Offenses certainly don't want defenses hearing the snap count in advance.

Jeff from Redondo Beach, CA

Mike, to David from El Segundo, my bad. I am actually Jeff from Redondo Beach, but work in El Segundo. When I typed my question on a work break, it auto-filled El Segundo, and I didn't catch and change it. He can continue to be The Man in El Segundo, and I'll hold up my end of the bargain in Redondo Beach!

Glad we got that settled.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Since the moment the Packers drafted Jordan Love the talking heads and the scribes have all rushed to put an expiration date on Aaron Rodgers' GB career. The simple fact is that less than half the QBs selected in the first round go on to be decent NFL starters and maybe 10% franchise-level QBs. Love is going to have to show that he can be that level and beat out AR and the odds of that happening aren't great anytime soon. No. 12 isn't going anywhere for awhile. Thoughts Mike?

Brian Gutekunst made it pretty clear on draft night that Love is going to have to earn it. His quote was about adding hard work to the talent, because the latter is never enough in the NFL. Rodgers' contract also makes it cap-prohibitive to move on from him prior to 2022 at the earliest, unless I'm missing something. As Wes noted, none of this has changed since April. All that matters right now is how Rodgers plays in 2020, and I believe he'll play very well. The rest is not really on my radar because when it's dealt with, there will be more information to go on.

Wayne from Mebane, NC

I have to give it to Devin Funchess putting family over career. With this keeping him off the field, I hope it doesn't put him behind when he resumes playing. I did enjoy watching his best years here in Carolina and was looking forward to see him help America's Team!

Come 2021, Funchess will have played one regular-season game in a two-year span. Returning from such a long layoff will be a legitimate challenge, but he'll still be young enough and plenty motivated.

Sonia from Fairbanks, AK

Is there a deadline for players to opt out?

Nothing's set in stone yet. Word is the deadline won't be earlier than Aug. 4 but could be later.

Green Bay Packers players arrived at Lambeau Field on Thursday, July 30, 2020.

Patrick from Folly Beach, SC

Have the Packers made a decision on the split-squad option that the NFL has offered? I see that the roster is still rather full. Does that mean that the team will use that option rather than the 80-man limit?

Because July 28 has come and gone and the Packers did not get down to 80, my understanding is they'll have to go split-squad for any on-field workouts. But they can reduce to 80 at any time to then merge as one, and every team will have to be down to 80 by Aug. 16 anyway, right before padded practices start.

Jeffrey from Sioux Falls, SD

Chris from Eau Claire throwing the state of Florida under the bus for the Florida Marlins' troubles is too easy. No players, coaches or team personnel tested positive before they played in Atlanta for an exhibition game on their way to Philly. They could have contracted it in the airport, Atlanta locker room, etc. Yet, no Philly players or coaches have tested positive since the Marlins left Philly. Why? It shows how unpredictable this virus can be and is.

Amen. Assumptions, aside from taking every precaution whenever possible being the best course of action, serve no purpose in trying to learn about and manage this thing.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Working at Lambeau Field after a game, I noticed the way the wind swirled differently. Would Mason Crosby and JK Scott practice more in Lambeau to see the difference the lack of a crowd has on the stadium?

They've practiced in there without a crowd a lot in the past, and I'm sure that'll continue. I don't think they concern themselves with whether it'll be different with or without fans. It's a matter of gauging the conditions that day and trying to figure them out, whatever the circumstances.

Isaac from Columbia, TN

Hey guys, I know no one is Tyreek Hill except No. 10 for the KC Chiefs, and I know Tyler Ervin is a RB, not a WR, and I know a great way to lose to a 2020 team is to prepare for a 2019 team, and I know having this many qualifiers probably means the question is no good, but I can't help asking you: Do you see Swervin' Ervin as a potential offensive weapon comparable to a Hill?

In a very limited, niche role, sure. With 109 touches like Hill had in 2018 (87 receptions, 22 rushes)? No way, not with Aaron Jones and Davante Adams on this team.

Max from Toledo, OH

How long did you study for your Covid test?

That's not funny.

Jim from Tucson, AZ

Won't the absence of preseason games affect the coaches? I have always thought they use these games to hone game administration. Simply getting the right players in at the right time is a coordination effort from all of the coaches and players.

Indeed. Early in McCarthy's tenure I remember him having "mock game" segments in practice to work on that, even after the preseason games when the roster was cut to 53. Another thing to consider in the prep plans.

TK from Grafton, WI

Sometimes when a play gains a bundle of yards, a commentator will say, "What a well-designed play." If the same play is unsuccessful later in the game, did it suddenly change to "poorly designed"?

I've never seen a play that works every time.

Michael from Cashton, WI

The mention of the "rookie wall" got me wondering: Who, especially among Packers rookies of the past, have stood out as the real studs, those for whom there didn't seem to be a wall? As always, love your writing and the free grammar lessons that come with!

The most prominent name that comes to mind for me is always Eddie Lacy. His ankle was a mess at the end of his rookie year and he just kept pounding away. You get humor credit for dangling a preposition while commenting on grammar lessons. That had to be intentional.

Eric from Erie, PA

What are the chances we see NFL coaches still using their play-call sheet to cover up their mouths when talking even though they will probably be wearing masks? I would be willing to bet that a lot will still do it.

Old habits always die hard.

Clark from Lampson, WI

What do you envision the road-game itinerary to be for the players this year due to COVID-19?

Get to the hotel and stay there. For food, room service or team meals within the hotel only. Maybe a contactless delivery service, I suppose. Wear a mask anywhere when not in your room. The night-before team meeting will probably have to be virtual, via phones. Road trips will be very different, just like everything else.

Steven from Kansas City, MO

With no preseason and limited physical contact, are we going to see a marked rise in early injuries during games? Or are we going to see Pro Bowl-caliber play with matador blocking and tackling? Players always talk about football shape. I hope that's mostly a myth for their sakes going forward.

The union pushed for the gradual ramp-up to full activity in part due to their study of injury patterns from early in the 2011 season after the lockout. So we'll see if their extra precautions work as intended. As to the quality of play in the opening weeks, I don't expect polished sharpness. In normal years, teams don't look the same in September as in December, and the contrast may be more stark this season.

JC from Appleton, WI

In 2019, there were 38 more offensive snaps than there were defensive snaps? I was under the impression that every time the ball is snapped, there are 11 players on one side of the ball, and 11 on the other. Does this mean that there were 38 instances of the offense snapping the ball against air in 2019? What am I missing?

Only an II Hall of Fame induction, apparently.

Dave from Wausau, WI

I wish I had $1 for every time I see a fan say, "If they paint 'End Racism' in the end zone I'm done," "If the players kneel I'm done," "(fill in the blank) I'm done." Two questions for them, do you actually think anyone believes you? And more importantly, do you REALLY think anyone cares? No real fan would ever utter such nonsense.

Thank you. You said it so I didn't have to.

Michael from Santa Cruz, CA

Wes's article on the Smiths Bros. revving up the D was a great reminder of our GM's background – and skill – at evaluating talent. I had completely forgotten that their respective statistics prior to free agency were not eye-popping. Yet Gutes had clearly done the film/background work and identified those two as worthy of significant investments. They both burst on the scene so quickly that in retrospect those signings seem obvious. But they were far from that at the time. IGIT.

Gutekunst would be the first to acknowledge not every move in free agency falls into place so perfectly. A mixed bag is more the norm, and that still applies here, too. Graham didn't work out as planned. Adrian Amos came as advertised, as did Billy Turner, solid but without the mega career leaps to this point. We'll see what happens with Christian Kirksey and Rick Wagner. You never really know. To hit huge on two guys in the same year like Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith is rare, and now the Packers have to maximize on them.

Gary from Bear Valley, WI

If limited fans are allowed in the stadium, will it be OK to stand the entire game?

Please folks, I did not post this to revisit the topic. I posted it because I actually laughed.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

Just was hoping to give a shout-out to the world's newest Packers fan, our first born, Nora.

Norm! Oh, wait, sorry. Nora!

Larissa from Minnetonka, MN

Is "Marge" an actual Packers employee or a rhetorical tool?

Oh, she's real, and very funny. A couple threads of conversation and she'll have you in stitches. I'll see myself out (even though I'll be back tomorrow because Wes is taking a day off). Happy Friday.

Take a behind-the-scenes look inside the Packers sewing room, as Marge Switzer and her team prepared Green Bay's third jerseys for their Sept. 20, 2019 game against the Denver Broncos.

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