Skip to main content
Powered by

Inbox: He's going to keep pushing

The results are still a long way off

Head Coach Matt LaFleur
Head Coach Matt LaFleur

Scott from De Pere, WI

A.J. Bouye arrived to Jaguars training camp in a Brink's Truck and Antonio Brown arrived to Raiders camp in a hot air balloon. If you wanted to make an impression, how would you arrive to camp?

How about a hang-glider?

Jon from West Des Moines, IA

I like that the offense is struggling a little bit. I realize it's part of the growing pains of a new offense, but making 12 work a little harder gets me excited. Over the past few years, the way QBs have torn apart our defense (and there were some mediocre ones) I have a hard time believing that Rodgers was overly challenged from a competitive standpoint. Raising the competition has to make everybody at least a little bit better, even the best QB in the league.

I've said all along I thought Rodgers would embrace this challenge and by all accounts he has. The results are still a long way off, though.

Carl from Mansfield, OH

Forgive me if this has been asked before, but why is Clarke Hinkle's number not among those retired by the Packers? Hinkle played for the Green Bay Packers from 1932 to 1941 and held the all-time NFL records for rushing yardage and carries when his playing career ended. He was selected as a first- or second-team All-Pro in each of his 10 NFL seasons and helped lead the Packers to three NFL championship games and NFL championships in 1936 and 1939. Just curious. Thanks!

Because team records indicate Hinkle wore at least seven different numbers during that decade he played for Green Bay. He didn't have a number to call "his," which was not unusual for that time period.

Jordan from Chicago, IL

Watched ML's press conference after Tuesday's practice. Seemed like some frustration bubbling right under the surface. I imagine that's not surprising this early in camp, and I don't mind seeing some fire in the new head coach. What has ML's demeanor been during camp from what you have observed?

Steady. He continues to harp on the urgency and intensity of practice because it comes and goes. He wants to see a full practice, start to finish, possess those qualities. Five practices in, especially with the offense learning a new system, I'm not surprised it's not there yet. I don't think he is, either, but he's going to keep pushing until he gets what he wants.

Charles from Omaha, NE

Which player, who has not yet done a Lambeau Leap, will get his first one this season?

Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Both of his TD receptions last year were on the road.

Luke from Exeter, England

When watching the practices, do you have a particular routine you stick to or do you just go to wherever you fancy on the day? Great column.

Mainly, I'm watching to see the personnel groupings in 11-on-11 work, because it gives you a rather clear look at the coaches' depth charts. When they're doing one-on-ones between OL/DL and WR/DB, I'll definitely watch those. But it's the competitive 11-on-11 that tells you who's catching the coaches' attention.

Stacy from Howards Grove, WI

Why did Savage have his wisdom teeth removed now? I find it hard to believe the Packers did not know about this beforehand, instead of waiting until training camp to have them removed? With everything I have read about him and his tremendous upside, he is missing valuable reps during his rookie training camp.

I don't know if the tooth issue was something that cropped up unexpectedly, or if the timing of the procedure had to do with a waiting period for his insurance to kick in. I suspect one of the two.

Jake from Schererville, IN

Hey Mike/Wes, have a question regarding former players in journalism/media. How does that go down? In the instance of John Kuhn working with you both as well as Larry, was there first a genuine interest in journalism/media on John's end, or did the Packers think that he had a great personality and demeanor to be on camera? I think John is doing an awesome job interviewing players and doing more behind-the-scenes stuff with the Packers. I know some players are cut out for it and some aren't.

When John was playing, I recall him going to both a league-sponsored business school seminar at Wharton and the NFL's "broadcast boot camp" during different offseasons. He was exploring and preparing for life after football all along. The smart ones always do.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

I keep reading Za'Darius can move inside and slide around on the line but nothing about Preston. Is he not able to do it as well?

He could, but he's not the preferred choice to do so with Za'Darius and Rashan Gary available. Preston's more valuable versatility lies in coming off the edge and dropping into coverage, but he could attack from the inside if asked.

Jeremiah from South Bend, IN

Mental depletion is not cliché – given all that goes into a 12-hour day of NFL training camp, how hard is the mental compared to the physical side of camp? Do the players ever looked glossy-eyed and brain-cramped after a rigorous meeting?

It's definitely more of a mental grind now that two-a-days are forever gone. With practice at 10:15 a.m. each day, we're seeing them at their most energetic, with the bulk of their meetings to come in the afternoon and evening. I would imagine when they head out of here at night to go back to St. Norbert, their eyes and brains are a bit worn out.

Amy from Bayport, MN

I haven't heard much lately about Josh Jones. Has he been participating in training camp after sitting out OTAs? What are your impressions? After the reports he was seeking a trade, it would be rewarding to see him embrace his role on the team and push for more playing time by earning it on the field.

Jones is getting snaps as the dime DB/hybrid LB with the first-team defense and at safety with the second team. I'd say he's off to a decent start.

Mike from Riverview, FL

I really like the idea of practicing against another team during camp. I feel that it is a better way to gauge the players' abilities/growth going against an unfamiliar opponent. I think when you practice against the same people day after day you can discover their weaknesses/tendencies and exploit them to win your one-on-one. Why haven't more teams jumped on this opportunity, or do you feel it's only a matter of time before everyone is doing it?

Joint practices are nothing new. They've been around for a while. Different coaches have different philosophies as to their utility, and the logistics are a huge challenge regardless. There's no one way to train a team.

Matthias from Hartford, WI

We keep talking about Jake and Trevor pushing for a roster spot, which ultimately means someone is left to the streets. We will not be cutting DA or MVS most prominently, not EQ, so how is J'Mon Moore doing? Is he starting to emerge as an NFL talent in any way?

If I had to pick DeShone Kizer's top target through the first five practices, I'd say it's Moore, and he hauled in a pass from Rodgers when he got some reps with the ones on Tuesday. He's doing what he needs to so far.

Benjamin from Chicago, IL

The real question for James from Clarkston is... is also blocked?


John from Jefferson, WI

To James from Clarkston, MI – turn off WiFi on your phone, and use data long enough to read on your lunch break; a few cents of roaming charges shouldn't stand between you and your daily dose of II.

Problem solved.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Assuming no injuries (a guy can dream, right?), how many players on defense would play 100% of the snaps all season long?

In a perfect world, I could see the top two corners and top two safeties, along with the primary inside/middle linebacker, never coming off the field. I'd say no one else would be asked to play 100% of the snaps.

Don from West Chester, PA

Guys, I understand the term "walk-through" in the context of a construction project or home purchase, but what does "walk-through" mean on the football practice field? I heard you mention it on "Unscripted" and have heard coaches reference them several times, too. Can you help me create a mental image of what they look like and what is expected to be accomplished?

In a walk-through, plays are called and the players line up and act out the play at walking or light jogging speed. It's a mental review to understand alignment and assignment without physically taxing the players' bodies.

Mark from Westminster, CO

How do you choose the headline for the Inbox on a daily basis? Do you answer questions to create the headline, or is the headline created after you answer all the questions?

For me, the latter.

Nick from White Bear Township, MN

I love the stats regarding turnaround seasons. Barring catastrophic injuries, we definitely have great chances this year. Now, for every team that reaches a playoff spot, another team must lose out. Who from last year's playoff field have the least likely bid for a repeat?

Who knows, right? No one really does, but go right down the line, seeds 1-6 a year ago in each conference, and you can find a reason to doubt. In the AFC, Kansas City lost some key pieces on defense; New England's run has to end sometime; Houston's in the toughest division in the conference; Baltimore's new-age offense and QB are unproven over the long haul; Chargers QB Rivers will turn 38 in December; and Indy's Luck isn't healthy at the moment. In the NFC, New Orleans has been awfully good two straight years and it's hard to stay there; the Rams have health issues with Gurley; Chicago led the league with 36 takeaways and six defensive TDs, which will be difficult to repeat; Dallas' best player is holding out; Philly's pre-Thanksgiving schedule is no picnic; and Seattle's defensive identity is changing. Take all that for what it's worth, but there will be turnover in the playoff field. Because there always is.

Joe from Dundee, IL

More for Professor Mike, but Wes can chime in also. When you quote a player, but he makes a grammatical error, is the policy to quote the player word for word, or correct the error? Case in point, Tramon said, "Go back to last year, the games that we struggled in that guys moved the ball down the field on us, it was because they speeded up the tempo." Speeded vs. sped?

Generally, I'll correct an obvious grammar error in a quote, unless the improper grammar has a meaningful effect on what's being said. In this particular case, speeded is an acceptable variation, so I left it alone.

Chris from Vandalia, IL

That's eight studs you named on the '07 defense. All top of the league at their respective positions. How were we able to stockpile so much talent that year and why does it seem so impossible today?

It all has to come together, and there's never a guarantee it will. That year on defense, the Packers had a mixture of personnel from the previous and current regimes, and the coaching staff made it work. Thompson's high draft picks (Hawk, Collins) and big free-agent signings in their prime (Woodson, Pickett) were combined with, from the Sherman era, a core first-rounder (Barnett), a key trade acquisition (Harris), and late-round picks who had developed into impact players (Kampman, KGB, C. Williams). The seeds were planted for '07 when the defense allowed single-digit point totals in each of the last three games in '06.

Jim from McLean, VA

I was at the Nats game Sunday when Eaton got thrown out arguing a horrible strike call and thought about II discussions regarding computerized pitch calls. What do you think about umpires calling the game and each team able to challenge (maybe) five pitches a game? That would keep a solid role for the umpire and add a strategic element to the "new" technology as far as when to use your challenges. There would also be less arguments and ejections.

No way, no how. Once they go to automated strike zones, it'll be whole hog, not some partial, in-between concoction.

Todd from Brighton, MI

Like all fans (or nearly all fans) I have expectations. I want the offense to improve throughout the season, hopefully peaking at the end of the year. I expect the defense to be better than the previous two years based on the "eye test/gut feeling." And I expect that special teams is no longer an automatic penalty in the making.

I would consider those modest expectations and you said nothing about wins and losses. Those are not the kind of expectations that can ruin a fan's season in September, which is what I caution against.

Tom from Phoenix, AZ

Is anyone wearing the unofficially retired No. 5 in camp this year, and who might that be?

No, but WR Jawill Davis is wearing the unofficially retired No. 1.

David from Appleton, WI

When Billy Turner was signed in free agency, I looked at his film and saw he played "mean." Yet, when I watch the locker room interviews and one-on-one talks he seems like an introspective and pleasant person. He seems to be a football guy – highly intelligent and able to pass along knowledge on the position across the front line. What are your impressions of him?

He seems a little more outgoing personality-wise than a lot of the offensive linemen, yet he fits in because he's smart, can enjoy a lighthearted moment, and knows when to get down to business.

Lex from Chicago, IL

What's the mood at camp – tense, loose, excited, hopeful?

A little bit of everything. Wes is never the same guy two days in a row. Happy Wednesday.