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Inbox: He's gone through a tough trial

That’s a big element of coaching at this level

S Darnell Savage
S Darnell Savage

Sam from St. Louis, MO

Finger gun when the G logo explodes? Every once in a while. Sound effects? Every time.

Alrighty then.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Some team owners go their whole life, or at least ownership time, without winning a championship. Stan Kroenke just hit the trifecta in less than 18 months. Credit to him for hiring the right people to create three different championship teams in three completely different leagues.

It's pretty remarkable, but honestly, I'm just happy for the Nuggets fans getting their first title. Hope they can soak it all in and enjoy it. I also couldn't have been more impressed by Nikola Jokic shaking hands and hugging every last player on the Miami bench before he even began to celebrate. That man has so much respect for the game and the top level of competition, for which he himself sets a standard.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Mike and Wes. In the latest episode of "Packers Unscripted" you discussed competition at the safety position. How certain are you that Darnell Savage is one of the starters on opening day? After last season, I wouldn't be so sure. Thanks.

It would take a pretty major sea change for Savage to not begin the season as a starter, I believe. Everything we've heard from the coaches is they were impressed with how he handled the demotion last year, and then how he bounced back from it and finished the season strong. He's gone through a tough trial, and now he has run with the first unit on defense all spring from what we've seen. Speaking of safeties, congrats to Adrian Amos on finding a new club. A true pro who wasn't gonna play for just any price, nor should he. I wish him the best.

Curt from Locust Grove, GA

I've heard scouts say Sean Clifford lacks arm strength. Is that something that can be addressed to a certain degree or is that just part of natural talent and it is what it is?

Well, first, I don't see any lack of arm strength as it relates to Clifford. He doesn't have Aaron Rodgers' arm, but who does? I've also seen arm strength improve in a young QB's career, Rodgers' included. Sometimes it's just a matter of getting a QB's fundamentals all lined up and working together so as not to waste any energy or motion. When it can all go into the throw, suddenly the ball comes out faster.

Bob from New Britain, CT

Hey Spoff, as of this moment, my Boston Red Sox have a record of 33-33 (17-16 at home, 16-17 on the road). They have scored 323 runs, and allowed 323 runs ... the ultimate in mediocrity! Just for fun, do you recall any Packers (or even other teams) that had an "Even Steven" season similar to this?

The 1983 Packers were 8-8, scoring 429 points and allowing 439, with five games going to overtime. That's about as even as any season in team history that comes to mind.

Kerry from Lakewood Ranch, FL

In your opinion does this Packer team pass the eye test as far as athleticism and physicality?

I agree with what John Kuhn said on his radio show a week or so ago, that there's more size and speed on the practice field in Green Bay than anyone has seen in quite some time. What that'll mean come September with so much youth out there is anyone's guess.

Keno from Lake Geneva, WI

Good morning! With Lambeau Field being the icon of American football, I have a need to know all about the envy of all other NFL stadiums. Here's my question. Could the computer illiterate like me maybe see the size of the new Jumbotron superimposed over a pic of the old? Thanks guys and you're my go to in the morning.

All I know is when you look at a picture of the old video boards in the south end zone, with the two supplementary ad boards on each side and the championship year panels on each side of those, the new boards are to encompass pretty much that entire space.

Rainy conditions in Green Bay sent the Packers inside the Don Hutson Center for their first minicamp practice of 2023 on Tuesday, June 13.

David from Janesville, WI

We haven't had the international exemption before so folks should back off on jumping Spoff's case regarding 91 roster spots.

To my knowledge, the roster exemption only applies to the practice squad when it's established following final cuts. If I'm wrong about that, I'll stand corrected.

Gary from Cross Plains, WI

So the three unsigned are able to participate in OTAs, right? What about minicamp? So we really have 91 guys involved (albeit some with injuries are just in rehab)? Is not signing these final picks a sneaky way to have more guys on-site to check out? Is there a point where the unsigned can't participate until they sign and we have to make a cut?

Players must have a signed contract to participate in training camp.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

For a raw developmental late seventh-rounder, Grant DuBose's missed time during both rookie minicamp and OTAs has got to hinder his ability to be able to 1) make the roster and 2) be able to make a meaningful impact during the first part of the season even if he does. He has lost valuable practice reps. Do you know if he has a preexisting injury from college or the combine? And do you agree that this presents a steep uphill climb for him to make the roster?

It never helps a rookie to miss so much offseason time, especially at such a competitive position. I don't know the nature of his injury absence. But all he can do when he does return to the field is show he's as far along mentally with the playbook as all the other young receivers, and go from there.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

I know this isn't a Vikings forum, but you mentioned that Minnesota's "biggest and most impressive win" was against the Bills. I agree with that as the biggest, but don't you think the comeback vs. Indy was more impressive? I was listening to that game on the radio while driving up to Milwaukee for Christmas and I was darned impressed, and a little sad.

Falling behind a going-nowhere, four-win team 33-0 at home was the counterbalance to how "impressive" that win was, to me anyway. I watched pretty much that entire game. It was a masterclass in how to blow a 33-point lead as much as it was about how to come back from one.

Mike from Cascade, ID

When LaFleur first came to the Packers, I was with a lot of people thinking that the obvious move was to design the offense around Rodgers, and rightfully so. But now with Rodgers gone and the new look of the team with all the young starters, do you think that LaFleur might look at the team as more of a blank canvas?

I'm sure that's part of the thinking, though blank canvas sounds a tad extreme. The system has its core tenets and concepts, and the transition involves emphasizing the ones that'll set up the current players for the most success. That's a big element of coaching at this level, no different than what was emphasized in the system with Rodgers at the helm.

Chip from Bev Hills, MI

Saw two online mentions of Jordan Love's "wobbly passes while on the run." Is that a real thing or just an overreaction to the "back across the middle" interception he recently threw?

He had a few wobblers when his feet weren't set in the OTA workouts we saw. He doesn't appear as adept as Rodgers, at least not yet, at being able to still make a sharp, accurate throw when there isn't time or opportunity to get the perfect grip on the laces. So I want to watch for that more. That said, the dime he threw to Watson in the Hutson Center on Tuesday during 7-on-7 might've been the best throw I've ever seen him make. It was a deep shot, but he threw it on a rope, not with a bunch of air under it, and Watson was at full speed plucking it behind Alexander. I think it was my first "holy cow" moment of the spring, and I didn't say cow.

Joseph from Sioux Falls, SD

I have no doubt that if Jordan Love passes the eye test, you will let us know in this column. If he clearly does not pass the eye test, will you also let us know those thoughts in this column, or would you need to stay cautiously optimistic for professionalism on the team website?

I'm going to be as honest with you as I can about Love's potential strengths and shortcomings as his career develops. What I won't do is make pronouncements about big-picture decisions that fall under the purview of the head coach and GM.

Brian from Charlottesville, VA

I'm curious how much of the playbook installation during OTAs is iterative. After evaluating what we do well and what we need to work on, do coaches sometimes revise a play and try again the next day? Or is the focus on helping players learn and execute the plays as written? How does the process adapt as strengths and weaknesses emerge?

That's a little too deep in the weeds for me to provide a knowledgeable answer. But I've been doing this long enough to know coaches are adapting scheme to players all the time. It's why they review film of every practice, both with the players and on their own. What coaches have to balance is how much time they have to tweak and adjust versus everything else that must be installed/reviewed in the allotted practices.

Scott from Palos Park, IL

I would expect that OTAs are the first time coaches get a look at a second-year player to determine if it looks like they are ready to make a second-year jump. Between the OTAs and training camp do the coaches spend time letting each of these young men know whether they are making the strides they are looking for, or do they wait till things get a bit more real?

The communication with young players is constant anytime they're around the coaches, and that includes the five weeks of offseason work prior to OTAs. Young players are always looking for that feedback, too. The true test is whether those strides are evident in training camp, when playbook installation is at a faster pace, pads are on regularly, and the roster/position competitions are in full force.

Mike from Franksville, WI

On Nov. 3, 1996, Brett Favre beat Don Majkowski, his predecessor, for the first time. The Packers went on to win the Super Bowl that season. On Oct. 24, 2010, Aaron Rodgers beat Brett Favre, his predecessor, for the first time. The Packers went on to win the Super Bowl that season. When is the next regular-season matchup against the Jets so the prophecy can be fulfilled again?

The Packers and Jets aren't for certain scheduled to play again until 2026, but if both teams finish in the same place in their division standings this year, they'll meet next season at Lambeau Field.

Jeff from Janesville, WI

Do you folks take vacations during the "dead" time between OTAs and training camp?

We'll both be taking some time off in the coming weeks but this column will still post six days per week, like clockwork.

Richard from Canton, GA

It wasn't just that Ask Vic was every day, there were plenty of "two-a-days" in those halcyon days. That said I like the balance of content better, II, Unscripted, Three Things etc. You two do so much more than just II. Do you feel that other work has the same impact?

I feel sometimes we're judged almost solely by our responses in this space, because it's the most popular regular piece of content on the website, yet it's only a portion of our overall work. But I guess that comes with the territory. I always admired Vic's dedication to the column, but the worst-kept secret to the two-a-days was he just answered a few more questions and then split it into two separate posts, to help our overall traffic numbers. He was cagey that way, as many of you know.

Joe from Hampshire, IL

Now that the mullet seed was planted, do any of your baseball teammates diligently follow II? And will they be pouring through their photo albums to unearth the Spofford partial mullet? That said the Brewers, chances of sporting mullets in September sure took a dive last weekend.

Last night certainly didn't help matters. But if last weekend wasn't the definition of "it's not whoya play but whenya play 'em," I don't know what is. The A's have now won seven straight, including two against the best team in the league, the Rays. Frustrating for the Crew, but the NL Central is far too weak to give up on the squad in June. Happy Wednesday.

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