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Inbox: He willed it to pass

Packers Hall of Famer Bob Harlan
Packers Hall of Famer Bob Harlan

Matt from Tomahawk, WI

C’mon Mike, “we” care about such a stat because it’s the dead zone! “We” can probably pull a couple math problems out of it...Did training camp start yet?

T-minus 34 days and counting to the first practice.

Brett from Oshkosh, WI

I hear about DEs that pass rush, run stop, and both. The reason I see for a distinction is mental vs. physical. Seems like a pass rusher would need better physical skills, and the run stopper would need to understand more mentally. Then obviously the people who do both well are the most physically talented and smartest players, like Von Miller. He’s unstoppable in either run or pass. I’m sure it’s more nuanced, but is my general assessment correct?

Stopping the run takes far more physical ability than you seem to believe. Remember, on running plays, the offensive lineman is the attacker.

Norm from Appleton, WI

When the Packers play the Raiders in Canada, will the end zone be CFL size?

I’m sure the field will be lined/marked according to NFL regulations.

Ross from Roswell, GA

Gents, no quotes from Mike Daniels this spring. Seems a bit odd. He's usually good for a prediction or two.

Daniels didn’t practice throughout OTAs or minicamp, which is why we didn’t hear from him during open locker room sessions. He was being held out of all on-field drills. No specific reason was given, but he did end last season on IR with a foot injury.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

The offseason additions have been made. OTAs provided a glimpse of where and how they'll fit. Many Packer fans won't consider a season successful unless it ends with a Lombardi. In your opinion what would constitute a successful 2019 season?

Contention. One hot streak is all that has prevented the Packers from being out of contention for three straight years. That has to change, but you have to walk before you can run.

Jason from Des Plaines, IL

When is the last time you can remember the NFC North being labeled the toughest division in the league? That’s exactly what it is right now and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

In 2012 the NFC North had three teams with double-digit wins. I agree the division will be tough again, but at this point, on paper, I’m not sure it’s any tougher than the NFC South.

Jeff from Green Bay, WI

If I was in AR12's shoes as QB1 for the Packers, I would want the RBs to take the majority of the punishment in this offense as I get older. If he truly wants to lengthen his career, he will take a hint from Brees and Brady and Manning and get back to much closer to 50/50 balance, even if he sees an opening in the passing game at the line. There's only so many miles on the tires, especially with two straight years of difficult injuries to his body.

I’ll reiterate that I really like LaFleur’s perspective on offensive balance. He said his goal is to be as balanced as possible run-pass on first and second down. I think that’s an effective way to operate in today’s game.

Bob from Riverside, CA

Mike, I think the one time we might be interested in the air yards statistic is when QB No. 12 completes an unbelievable Hail Mary pass.

Point taken, but in those instances I’m always looking at the release spot already.

Fredrick from Bluffton, SC

Could you explain a little about the waiver process? If we select someone does that drop us to the bottom of the selection list? Are there impacts if for instance a player doesn't pass his physical, can't or won't play for the selected team? I guess I really don't understand the whole process. Thanks for all your feedback.

If the player doesn’t pass his physical, the team is not obligated to put him on the roster. The player has no choice in the process, because players subject to waivers are not vested veterans. Waived players become free agents only if they’re not claimed in the initial 24-hour period. Claiming a player on waivers does not change the claim order, but if claiming a player when the roster is full, a corresponding roster move must be sent in to the league (pending the passed physical). Hope that helps.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

A general article regarding game-planning would be interesting. Something that might help fans understand the difference between strategy and tactics in a given week's game plan, or perhaps how the QC staff and its "tendencies" research affects both. For example, how does Monday's game plan affect Sunday's play-calling on third-and-goal from 5-plus yards? Or the same down/distance in 1Q vs. 4Q? And maybe with emphasis on how in-game flow affects both from the play-caller's perspective.

I have yet to meet an NFL coach who would want that much about his planning and thought processes in the public realm. To a lot of these guys, revealing how you think would be tantamount to handing over an actual game plan, and I don’t mean that in a disparaging way. It’s just the way they are.

Andy from Verona, WI

What do you miss most about covering prep sports?

Friday nights in the fall on the high school sidelines, keeping my own stats and having a deadline to meet. There was nothing better.

Shilo from Murrieta, CA

From nfl.com: "Any 'Hail Mary' play at the end of a half or game will be reviewed in replay consistent with the guidelines for officiating the play on the field." Do you think they would've called Golden Tate for pushing Sam Shields in 2012 had this rule been in place?

I honestly don’t know, but I do think we’re going to find out soon enough.

Take a look at headshots of the full Green Bay Packers roster as of June 20, 2019.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Every rep of an NFL practice is scripted to get the exact look that the coaches want to see. It will be interesting to see how that plays out when there are two coaching staffs both wanting to see different things. I suppose each team will be in charge for different periods.

They’ll want to see reactions and adjustments on the fly, too, which is how training-camp practices in general differ from regular-season ones. The fully scripted work in the sense you’re referring to is more related to scout-team work during a week of prep for a specific opponent. Pitting ones vs. ones in training camp, whether all one team or in a joint practice, is a different animal.

Steve from Neenah, WI

Will the practices with Houston be open to the public?

Yes, both of them.

TJ from Eagle, WI

With the way he played last year, Jaire Alexander has to be on his way to becoming one of the NFL's best corners. How long do you think it will take for him to really emerge as a star?

I believe we’re going to see significant signs this season. Alexander is potentially a major chess piece in Mike Pettine’s secondary.

Spencer from Brookfield, WI

Hey Mike, what is the most interesting thing you can remember happening around the league during the dead zone?

Brett Favre applying for reinstatement from the league in 2008. I was at Cub Scout camp with my son, which started a strange, several-year run of big news happening while I was on vacation.

Dan from South Range, WI

I saw the story on Koonce and Torkelson being voted to the board of directors. Is that common for the Packers? I guess I never paid attention to the board members so have no idea if there are other former players on the board.

Johnnie Gray, Larry McCarren, and Dexter McNabb are former NFL players who are current board members, while Willie Davis and Pat Richter are among the directors emeritus.

Bob from Taycheedah, WI

Today (June 20) you published a question from "Kevin from Starr Pass, AZ." Starr Pass? We need to rename one of our Wisconsin towns “Starr Pass” as soon as possible! Candidates include Disco, Embarrass, Fence, Ixonia, Luck, Random Lake, or Tichigan.

You aren’t nominating your own town? I’ve heard of every Wisconsin town you listed, but I had to look yours up to make sure it was real.

Jordan from Eau Claire, WI

Mike, back in the ’90s when the team proposed the Brown County sales tax to help fund the stadium renovations, I vaguely remember them threatening to move the team if the vote didn't pass. How real was this threat, and to where would they have moved? I think the vote was still pretty close, too. I could be remembering this all wrong though, since I was pretty young at the time.

The team wasn’t going to move, because with no controlling shareholder, no individual has the power to do so. The threat was without the stadium renovation the team would not and could not remain financially competitive with the rest of the league, which would inevitably lead to lack of competitiveness on the field and, at some point potentially, a folding of the franchise. The vote was close. Percentage-wise it was 53-47, and I don’t think it would have passed without Bob Harlan’s relentless public campaigning. He willed it to pass.

Tim from Green Bay, WI

What is the proper garnishment for a deep fried cheese curd?

Usually ranch or marinara, or various versions thereof. But it’s a rule to always eat at least one plain, with nothing on it. At least that’s my rule.

Joe from Parkland County, Alberta

To Eric and Ron about locking in 38-40 guys for guaranteed roster spots. Just remember most would have considered Josh Sitton a lock for a spot on the O-line a few years ago. Let’s just get through training camp and the preseason first.

The Sitton move was a genuine exception. It ranks as the most unexpected cut-down day roster move in my 13 seasons in this job, bar none. But it does go to show you just never know.

Jeff from Victorville, CA

Dead zone: one week down, five weeks to go. Looking forward to an intriguing training camp, preseason and regular season. No one knows if the Packers will win seven games or 13 games. I believe a win in Week 1 will push people into thinking 13 not seven. My question is, how much emphasis should we put into Week 1 results, and does a new coach with a new offense benefit the Packers more or the Bears more in Week 1?

I think there’s a small benefit to the Packers but it’s not something I’d hang my hat on. That’s going to be a veteran, savvy Bears defense that won’t take too long to get a handle on things. Either way, I expect a colossal overreaction to whatever happens at Soldier Field that night. All perspective will be lost, win or lose.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Mike, I don't fully understand why the fans are so confident in our receiver room. We have one receiver that has stayed healthy and has been highly productive lately. To me, receiver and TE are unproven positions that are in the wait and see category. I love the O-line, QB, and our defense but QB1 plus Jordy, James, and Randall was special. We have to be realistic on where this group falls. I hope I am wrong.

Your reservations are understandable and, frankly, healthy. The group beyond Adams has a lot to prove, but it is worth noting Allison was on pace for a 1,000-yard season last year, and MVS had more receiving yards than any rookie in the Rodgers era. There are legitimate signs of promise.

Zachary from Huntington Beach, CA

I enjoyed your article on Bakhtiari. I, too, am tired of friends not knowing his name when I suggest he may be the best left tackle in football. So, I put my money where my mouth is. I was considering Kenny Clark or Jaire, but I'm going to get a No. 69 jersey!

Tweet him a picture and there’s a good chance he’ll hit you back.

Larry from Carney, MI

Are pop tarts just for breakfast or can they be dessert?

They are the quintessential anytime food. I personally believe they’re best for dessert.

Jim from McLean, VA

MLF has to use higher math, derivating and integrating to figure out how much time the starters should play in the preseason games.

Oh, no. Now the math deficiencies are spreading to the grammar world. I give up. Happy Friday.

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