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Inbox: He'll have to earn them

They’ll get to play it plenty

WR Sammy Watkins
WR Sammy Watkins

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

Welcome back Mike! Hope you are well and had a relaxing time!

Thanks. I wasn't off work this entire stretch, though I was gone here and there. Mainly I was finishing up the 2022 Packers Yearbook to get it to the printer on time, which was accomplished last Friday. It should be available publicly at the end of this week for anyone interested. I think it looks pretty darn cool, if I'm allowed to say so myself.

Jim from St. Pete Beach, FL

Welcome back, Mike! I hope you enjoyed your break. When Wes spoke of the Packers receiving crops, was he talking about recently drafted players? And if so, must've been at least the last two drafts as he used the plural form. I suppose, though, he might have meant "corps" and his 10 fingers betrayed him.

I'm back for the Inbox, and as editor, too.

Bil from Stateline, NV

Loved your response to Bob from Green Bay, about a new Packers helmet. Simply, "No." My question is, was that just a close your eyes and shake your head response, or was that a nod to Marcel Marceau from Mel Brooks' "Silent Movie"?

If I'm allowed to speak for Wes, I think it was nothing more than a no, because that's the only possible answer.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Welcome back Mike! Wes left us with a poem to end his latest run. Can we expect that you will begin your return with one?


Andy from Clive, IA

Good morning. Has everyone viewed AJ Dillon vs. mascot video? Holy bologna, and I don't mean bologna! I hope the mascot had to sign a waiver or something. I think someone should have warned him.

Clearly he didn't know what he was getting into. Mercy.

Jackie from New Freedom, PA

When did the Packers' road trips begin?

It used to be called the annual Tailgate Tour and began in 2006, eventually interrupted by the pandemic.

William from Newburgh, IN

OK, I get how complex an offensive playbook can be for a new rookie. You have to know the plays, read the defense to make adjustments, and watch the QB for any signs. But what about a rookie defensive player? Say you're a rookie CB, how many plays/keys are we talking about?

Plenty, but not as many, because the defense doesn't really make adjustments post-snap. They're all pre-snap on that side of the ball, and then they execute their assignments.

Kurt from Sartell, MN

In today's NFL, the offense most often dictates to the defense. With the exception of a five-WR set, is this Packer defense getting to the point where it could dictate to the offense? Go ahead, make a substitution, we're staying with our best 11.

I'm not so sure. I think this defense's best 11 will be a traditional nickel, and they'll get to play it plenty. But if the offense puts a fourth receiver on the field, and the defense doesn't want to go with a fourth corner, then the offense either gets a linebacker mismatched on a receiver, or a safety on him leaving only one safety for over-the-top help. I don't see Joe Barry putting his unit in a compromising position unnecessarily.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

Does David Bakhtiari start Week 1 for the Pack? Man, I miss him.

Everyone does. Let's hope we find out next week that all signs are pointing in the right direction for the "Big Giraffe," as Aaron Rodgers likes to call him.

Randy from Ooltewah, TN

To me, the greatest tradition in pro sports is the bike riding at Packers training camp. What traditions – college, pro or other – do you like. BTW, the "pour Gatorade on the coach" tradition should have ended 20 years ago in my opinion.

We've discussed several in this space before, but one I've neglected to mention – mostly because it has lost some luster with the Badgers hockey program no longer what it was – is the "Sieve!" chant at the opposing goalie when he allows a goal. I know it's cruel and very unsportsmanlike, but it'll always be one of my favorites.

Benjamin from Evergreen Park, IL

I was watching NFL Network's documentary "The Perfect Backfield," a story about Csonka, Kiick and Mercury Morris. The genesis of it was inspired by our own, Hornung, Taylor and Elijah Pitts. 1970s football seems to be making a comeback with all the sub-package defenses dominating the NFL. Can Patrick Taylor or Kylin Hill turn our duo of Aaron Jones and Dillon into a trio?

With all due respect to those young backs who may get their number called at some point, Jones and Dillon staying healthy should be all the Packers need.

Andrew from Burke, VA

Even if practices are designated as "public," I believe there are still rules preventing scouts from attending regardless of whether there is a fee to attend, correct? Do scouts have any other methods of seeing what opposing players are capable of before preseason? I'm curious about UDFAs who might get cut before preseason games start, and if their only chance of getting seen by another team is their college tape.

That's pretty much it, outside of preseason games or paid-entry practices that give opposing scouts a window. That's why you'll see, occasionally, if a team has a young prospect without a place on the 53 but whom it wants on the practice squad, he might not play much if at all in the final preseason game. It's one tactic to try to hide a guy and sneak him through waivers.

Clem from La Crosse, WI

Welcome back, Mike. I know signing a player from another team's practice squad mandates the player is on the signing team's 53. Is there a requirement that they STAY on the 53 for a specific period of time?

I believe a player poached from another team's practice squad is guaranteed three active-roster game checks, whether or not he's actually on the signing team's active roster all three weeks.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Mike, Wes wrote, "...I pulled a hamstring trying to get at least one of your responses in OI." Fortunately, his injury will have time to heal before the season begins and you won't have to go-it-alone. What is the worst injury you have suffered while trying to write II?

Despair, when on certain Mondays I honestly don't know how some of you carry on with your lives. But I get it, trust me.

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares his favorite photos from the 2021 Green Bay Packers season.

Terrance from Sun Prairie, WI

I was thinking which defense was better, the '96 or the 2010 defense?

Definitely '96. It was first in the league in points allowed at 210, 30 fewer than '10. The '10 defense held the opponent under 20 points 11 times (including postseason), which is pretty darn good. The '96 team did it 14 times in one fewer game.

Tom from Kewaunee, WI

Do the Packers have a plan if Rodgers gets hurt?

Yes, they drafted him in the first round 27 months ago, and month 28 of his NFL career is going to tell us a lot about him.

Bill from Plant City, FL

Welcome back, Mike. With the recent news concerning Mark Murphy's retirement I have a question regarding another retirement near and dear to Packer fans. I know Larry is required to step down from the board of directors because of age but am curious if he will also have to leave and his broadcasting position? If so that will be a huge hole to fill, especially for out-of-town fans who thrive on Larry's insight and entertainment. Thanks for all you and Wes do for us!

There's no mandatory age stipulation with any of the team's media properties, and I've never broached the "r" word with Rock. I don't want to speak for him, but the Larry I know fears boredom probably more than anything else.

Brian from Maple Grove, MN

I saw something where Sammy Watkins had a higher run-blocking efficiency rating then even Allen Lazard. I like to hear that because it shows me he's not a diva and will play hard in other facets of the game. I would think this and his knowledge of the offense from when he was with LaFleur and the Rams would make him a pretty solid bet to be a starter for us. What are your thoughts on this?

I have no doubt Watkins will do whatever he's asked in this offense, and he'll likely do it well, as long as he stays healthy. He's extremely motivated, and this could be a last chance to extend his career in a meaningful way. That should all work to the Packers' benefit. But his roster spot and playing time aren't going to be handed to him, not with all the young prospects in the competition. He'll have to earn them.

Harry from Chandler, AZ

Hi II. With all the talk about a run-heavy offense, what is the most and least number of run plays the Packers have run in a game?

The Packers had 64 rushing attempts at Washington on Dec. 1, 1946, and they had seven rushing attempts vs. Miami on Sept. 11, 1994.

Paula from Apple Valley, MN

I've been out of my routine of reading II for over a week, although it seems like a lifetime. My mom passed after a long illness last week, in my childhood home that is less than a mile from Lambeau. It was strange being home with the big G on Lambeau in view, but not having a minute to even think about II or my beloved Packers. Mom is now at peace and I can't wait to get back to my routine in the morning. Just a little bit of "normal" will be nice.

Condolences, Paula, from me and your entire second family.

Tim from Clear Lake, IA

I'll be in town for the shareholder meeting with two sons and a grandson and sticking around for the first practice on Wednesday. Do you have any tips for how to strategically watch the practice to get the most out of the experience?

If you want to watch it like a reporter, here's what we pay attention to. First, the depth chart. When an 11-on-11 period starts, see who's taking the first reps at every position before any substitutions are made. Those are your "starters" if the Packers were playing a game the next day. Second, the one-on-ones. The WR-DB route/coverage drill and the OL-DL pass rush/protection drill are great showcases for individual skills. Watch closely who's matched up with whom, and who gets the better of whom, throughout those exercises.

Will from Rochester, MN

Mike, did you catch any of those blown saves by Hader in person whilst on vacation? What is going on? Can't win 'em all, I guess.

I witnessed him give up the walk-off homer at Minnesota last Wednesday. I also attended the two losses to the Cubs after the thrilling July 4 victory, and I thought at that point the Brewers were in desperate need of the break. It's finally here. Hopefully it does them some good. Lotta baseball left to be played.

Phillip from Corona, CA

Haha Wes, classic. Earl from Marietta, GA: "Is it time yet? Can't wait much longer...GPG." "I'm driving the fastest I can, Earl. Do you want us to get pulled over? There's the sign for the Nitschke campground. Eleven more days. You're just gonna to have to hold it." Can we stop for ice cream?

Spalding … I mean, Phillip … you'll get nothing and like it.

Charlie from Spring Lake, NC

Does a submission on Saturday afternoon have a chance? I feel like timing is important for those of us who live on the bubble.

When I'm back on the clock, Charlie, anything submitted, at any time, has a chance.

Jake from Decatur, GA

I get it. We're all starving for Packers football, but baloney ain't half bad either. This time of year I always think back to one of my favorite Vic-isms: "The suspense is killing me. I hope it will last." I love football season, but I love looking forward to it too. It's all part of the drama. Hope you had a good vacation, Mike. Welcome back.

T-minus nine days and counting. Happy Monday.