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Inbox: He still has the NFL record

Is this the year of the UDFAs?


Kent from Lewiston, ID

It's been a long summer already. When will Sept. 9 be here?

We're not even through the first week of the dead zone yet. Hang in there.

Will from Rochester, MN

Pertaining to rare occurrences in the NFL, how many times has a team been leading in the fourth quarter with zeros on the game clock and ended up losing?

If the clock hitting zeros when the ball is in the air counts - on kicks or passes - then plenty. If you're referring to an untimed down, such as the Miracle in Motown in 2015, then not as many but still a fair number, I would imagine. Re-kicks on running-into-the-kicker penalties would be another potential instance.

Calvin from Livingston, MT

You guys are wrong. Three quarterbacks have caught their own passes. Favre did it in Atlanta, you turkeys.

Not for a touchdown, you grouse.

Peder from Rockford, MI

Unique plays…how many kickers have returned their own blocked field goal attempt for a touchdown? And a game-winner to boot!

Very punny. That's one of the first Packers games I remember, and after that season opener, this almost-8-year-old was convinced a special year was ahead. Then Green Bay lost its next three games by a combined 73 points. Oh, the memories.

Bruce from Las Vegas, NV

Since we're talking about rare touchdowns and records, how about we bring up the Mac Lane "fumble" that Jack Tatum returned 104 yards for a TD? It was a blown call that cost the Packers a win. I remember watching the game live. It was a rare loss during a fairly magical season.

John from Austin, TX also brought this one up, from 1972. I wasn't familiar with the Tatum play, but I enjoyed reading about all the muff controversy. He still has the NFL record for longest fumble return, having been matched by Arizona's Aeneas Williams in 2000. Thanks for prompting me to explore a quick a history lesson.

Lowell from Tuscola, IL

Could we maybe curtail the long-yardage play discussion? Every mention re-opens the wound of Greg Landry's quarterback sneak.

Another one before my time that I had to look up. I love it when I learn from the Inbox.

Stephen from Berryville, VA

I always thought it was impossible for a football team to score one point. The odds are still probably millions to one for a 1-1 tie you're telling me there's a chance, yeah!

Uh, no, sorry Lloyd. You must have missed the part about the one-point safety coming on a conversion, which means a touchdown has been scored.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

On the question of long touchdown runs and passes, I know that returns can be over a hundred yards because that's where they catch it, but would a run or pass ever be marked that way? Or is it always from the line of scrimmage? In other words, if Alvin Kamara or Todd Gurley or (preferably) Aaron Jones catches a pass hiked from the one inside the end zone and takes it to the house, can you even have a 102-yard TD or would that be considered 99?


Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Mike, I've been impressed with the moves Brian Gutekunst has made this year (although it will take several years to make a true evaluation) and I think the Packers are in good hands for years to come. For Wolf, signing Reggie White and trading for Favre became the benchmark of his career. For Thompson, drafting Rogers and Collins may have set the standard. What offseason draft and FA-trade acquisitions do you think were the best during the TT era? Do BG's moves this year measure up?

You said it yourself. There's no way to tell. The top non-draft acquisition of Thompson's was clearly Woodson. He became a Hall of Famer in Green Bay and was a huge piece on a Super Bowl team. After that, trading for Grant and signing Peppers were two moves that almost got the Packers to the Super Bowl. We have to see how the Gutekunst era evolves to find the comparables.

Hilmi from Ankara, Turkey

I'm interested in how the following traits in a head coach rank in your mind; leader, motivator, tactician, strategist, communicator, teacher, organizer, planner, philosopher.


David from Capitol Heights, MD

Hey Insiders, do you think they'll ever allow forward motion for receivers like they do in the CFL? Do you think bump-and-run would still be effective in that situation? How would you cover it, assuming no other rule change? I've always thought it looked cool as hell when they do it up north.

With all the rules already geared toward offense, I don't see the NFL allowing it unless the rules on downfield contact with receivers were to be greatly relaxed, and I can't imagine that happening. Bump-and-run at the line against a target already running full speed? Good luck.

Andy from Columbus, TX

There have been a few inquiries about Hundley's future depending on Kizer's camp. Isn't it more likely it depends on Boyle? If Boyle can play, Hundley's out, two QBs active and sneak Boyle to PS.

I'm not sure it's interdependent in that way. Whoever your second-best QB is at the end of the preseason has to be on the active roster, period. Then you make the other decisions from there. That's how I see it.

Roman from Linz, Austria

Yesterday you answered a question in regards to Pettine and stated that you'd like to see what he can do with someone like Rodgers on the other side of the ball. I feel like this isn't the advantage you make it out to be. It has been stated time and again that the offense will always run through the air while Rodgers is at the helm and while he's the master of last-minute, game-winning drives I never felt like his style was great for grinding the clock/keeping the D off the field. What am I missing?

That wasn't my point. It was about having a quarterback and an offense that can score a bunch, plain and simple, which can allow a defense, theoretically, to play with a lead more often than not. The Rex Ryan/Mike Pettine Jets reached two AFC title games with Mark Sanchez at QB. Yes, they had Darrelle Revis in his prime, and as I've said before there's no substitute for that. But if Pettine can help build a defense close to what he had with the Jets, I like the Packers' chances in a loaded NFC.

Al from Green Bay, WI

The pressure to perform at an NFL level must be intense. Players up for their second contract (Montgomery, Clinton-Dix), players looking to play to the level of their new contract (Adams), or players trying to make the team (late-rounders, UDFAs) all certainly feel the heat. In which case is the pressure most intense?

For those who can't do it, at whatever stage. Those who can don't really feel the pressure. The mental toughness of these guys always impresses me.

Frank from Waukesha, WI

Has a jersey number ever been retired by a NFL team due to the cumulative talent that wore the number, e.g., Willie Davis, Robert Brooks, Jordy Nelson all wore No. 87.

Not exactly, but funny you should ask today, as Cliff's history piece going up later is on Ward Cuff. He had his No. 14 retired by the Giants, but then they allowed Y.A. Tittle to wear it and later re-retired the number for both players. I know of a couple examples in baseball, namely the Cubs (No. 31, Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux) and Yankees (No. 8, Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey), but I'm not aware of any others in the NFL.

Paul from Ellensburg, WA

Greetings Mike, glad I'm not banned. I feel like this year has the potential to be the year of the UDFA for the Pack. I can see a story in January talking about G-Mo's big year, Justin McCray's excellent play and Reggie Gilbert's strong contributions. Not to mention Tramon and what he brings. Can you see anyone else having a breakout year from our UDFA?

I have no read on any of the rookies yet, but I don't think I'd be going out on a limb to say someone from the non-rookie UDFA group in the defensive backfield - Waters, Brown, Hawkins, Pipkins, Whitehead, Brice, Evans - will make an impact at some point this season. I think Brice is the top candidate there.

William from Rogers, AR

Which would you rather have: three players with 12 sacks each or nine players with four sacks each?

Three with 12. Individual difference-makers are the players who change games, and seasons.

Shane from Saxon, WI

As I was reading your response regarding Tracie's question, I remembered a conversation I had with a Brewers scout in the early '90s in La Crosse. They were holding tryouts on a ballfield across from my place of work. I asked the scout what they are looking for. He responded speed and throwing - arm strength. He then said, "We can teach hitting." Goes along with your response to Tracie, "They can't teach athleticism."

I know scouting uses all sorts of different analytics and metrics now, but a baseball scout I interviewed a long time ago said you know a five-tool player (run, catch, throw, hit, and hit for power) the minute you see one. As a ballplayer, I always knew I was missing two tools. I had an average arm at best and minimal power in my swing. So over the years I've often asked myself if, given the choice for a day, I'd rather be able to hit a ball 400 feet or blow it by someone at 95 miles an hour. I lean toward wanting the blazing fastball, but I honestly don't know why.

Packers Give Back has awarded a record $1.25 million in impact grants to five Green Bay organizations. Each grant is $250,000, with each one directed toward a specific fund or program.

Vincent from Boston, MA

Spoff, I don't disagree with keeping Nitschke off your list, but I have to say, the one thing that really stuck out for me watching the rebroadcast of Super Bowl I was Nitschke flying to the ball. I knew his reputation for being tough, and for anchoring the middle, but did he also have a reputation as a fast middle linebacker? Should we bring Cliff in on this?

He would know better than I would, but I don't think a first-ballot Hall of Famer would ever be described as a slow middle linebacker.

Josh from Desert Hot Springs, CA

Mike, in your humble opinion what's the greatest performance you've ever witnessed by a backup QB?

In person, it's a tough call between two Matt Flynn outings – Detroit in 2011 and the second half at Dallas in 2013. I'm inclined to say Dallas because it meant more.

Duane from Sheboygan, WI

I enjoy the entertaining chat about amazing football records. Are you aware that HOF TE Dave Casper played for Chilton (Wis.) High School in 1969? They outscored opponents 363-0 and their defense never allowed any opponent's offense on their side of the 50-yard line. Thumbtack THAT on Mike Pettine's bulletin board!

I covered a lot of Wisconsin high school football in my day, but that may be the most astounding thing I've ever heard.

Brad from Sarasota, FL

The recent talk of rare NFL highlights and records has me thinking about all the great plays that never happened. Cobb's one-handed, lung-popping reverse catch in Arizona during the 2015 playoff game is one. It's hard to question his toughness. Any others, Spoff?

That's the greatest catch I've ever witnessed that didn't count, and I can't even imagine the pain Cobb was in after that. He said he'll never wear an NFL Films microphone again, and I don't blame him. But on the subject of not counting, I've always felt bad for the Packers player who had his only career touchdown wiped from the books by a penalty - Mark Tauscher. I hope the play, and subsequent Lambeau Leap, is part of the highlight package they show this summer at his Packers Hall of Fame induction.

Taylor from Jesup, IA

How do you see the CB battles working out by the regular season? I'm a big fan of the picks of Jackson and Jaire, but with Tramon, King, House and lastly Rollins, surely it'll be tough for those guys to run away with a job.

I envision the pecking order potentially evolving over the course of the season because so many young players will be involved and, presumably, improving. I don't think a prediction at this point really matters. If the Packers have good players at that position not getting enough playing time, that's a problem the coaches won't complain about.

Tim from Charlotte, NC

The decision to reduce questions to a limit of 500 characters is interesting. On one hand, it forces readers to be more succinct and provides you and Wes an opportunity to get through the Inbox faster. On the other hand, it may prevent a reader from explaining a point thoroughly in order to ask an in-depth question. I admit, I don't like rambling questions, or even questions that aren't even questions. They waste time. Ultimately, though, I'd like to see Inbox submissions limited to 250 char

Have a good day, everybody.