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Inbox: His proving ground will come

WR Trevor Davis
WR Trevor Davis

Paul from Cumming, GA

Regarding Coach LaFleur dealing with his injury, you think the Packers could pick up The Booger Mobile on the cheap?

Please, no. Is Wes back yet?

Shane from Winnipeg, Manitoba

Insiders, it looks like there is going to be a Packers vs. Raiders preseason contest in my hometown of Winnipeg. Since that is the third game of the preseason, do you think my chances are good to catch a glimpse of any big-name starters?

It’s as good a shot as any, though the Packers and Raiders also play one another in the regular season, so I would expect when the starters are in, if there’s a scheme flavor more plain than vanilla, that’s what they’ll run.

Tickets go on sale to the general public on Saturday, June 8, at 10 a.m. CT. With the Raiders serving as the host team, more information on tickets can be found at raiders.com/canada.

Larry from Carney, MI

Besides a basketball court what else is behind the Lambeau walls? Perhaps a pickle ball court?

A racquetball court, actually, which somehow in 13 years I’ve never had occasion to use.

Adam from St. Louis, MO

If a team is scheduled against a weak opponent this week and a quality opponent next week, do coaches tend to spend less time game planning for this week’s opponent and focus more on the following week? For example, if the Packers are playing the 0-10 Bears this week and the 8-2 Saints next week, does coach practice plays designed for the Saints that are bound to work against the Bears? Or is there simply not enough time in the week to look ahead?

The opponent in a given week could be on a 50-game losing streak, and no NFL team is going to think about the next team on its schedule until the streak is officially 51.

Jeff from Eveleth, MN

At the start of the last two seasons I thought at the beginning of Game No. 1 that this was our year. The Pack was destined for the Super Bowl. I have to say, I do not have that anticipation this year. Is this good or bad?

It’s called perspective.

Chris from Bettendorf, IA

"I have no influence whatsoever, but I thought I’d post the idea in case anyone with influence reads it." You mean to tell us Mr. Murphy didn't sit Coach LaFleur down on Day 1 and tell him, "This is Green Bay. The first thing you do every day without fail is read Insider Inbox. If your predecessor had done so and adopted all of the suggestions therein, we would have won at least five Super Bowls during his tenure." No influence indeed!

This is yet another perspective.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

It’s been fairly obvious the Packers need more difference-makers on the roster to get back to the playoffs. Gute has added four ascending, high-priced free agents and conducted two drafts with premium level picks. So when does the genesis of the difference-maker occur with these additions?

That’s what the 16 games are for. If those guys are identified by Thanksgiving and the Packers are in the hunt, I like their chances of making some noise.

Tyler from Kaukauna, WI

Is Kevin King going to play in more than 10 games this season?

I hope so. King hopes so. Pettine hopes so.

Dean from Vienna, VA

Have to say I was really pleased to hear Coach's answer to the question about Graham, in which he focused on Graham not getting down on himself if mistakes happen. That kind of emotional intelligence and deeper insight into other people is really key to leadership and motivating a team (in any venue). Then I heard the Coach make the same point about himself when talking about his injury as an opportunity, and staying positive. I feel like this team is in very good hands.

I thought the comment on Graham was rather astute as well. We don’t really hear much from Graham himself, but I was intrigued to learn he’s a perfectionist. Yet LaFleur seemed to indicate that drive and energy isn’t always channeled in the best way when learning something new. That might explain, injuries aside, why Graham’s first seasons in new locales – Seattle and Green Bay – were below his standards. There’s no doubt Graham is a player to watch in 2019.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

This may be overly optimistic, but in response to the impact of Rodgers’ downfield throws, it shouldn't be a surprise they were impactful. Green Bay wasn't blown out of any game until Week 17. 6-9-1 is not a desirable record but it's not like this team was getting run out of the building every week by halftime and having to desperately play catch-up. I would take where we were at in the beginning of the fourth quarter every game. Just make the plays when they matter most and we're a playoff team.

That’s exactly what separates the playoff teams from the rest in this league. It’s as simple as that.

Richard from Madison, WI

In today's column, there's a picture of Aaron Rodgers holding on to a golf cart with what appears to be a perfectly normal, ordinary human right arm. Yet we know that that arm is capable of knocking a penny off a toothpick at 60 yards. Shouldn't it look, I dunno, more like Arnold Schwarzenegger?

I dunno either, but what I dowannano is how to balance a penny on a toothpick.

Bill from Kenosha, WI

Why is there no mention of Trevor Davis as part of the receiver group? Is his only chance as a return man?

Not at all. I don’t think Wes and I have ignored him. He’s in a muddled mix on the receiver depth chart, and he appeared to have a good practice from what I saw on Tuesday. But at 188 pounds, his proving ground will come when the pads go on. He’s shown he belonged before. Now he has to stay healthy and show it again this summer.

Wade from Roseville, MN

To clarify, my recommendation in the II yesterday for a three-week preseason and 18-week regular season was to add a bye week without adding another game played per team. Meaning teams still play 16 games in the regular season. Players get more rest while the NFL gains one week of regular-season viewership revenue. Regular season of 18 weeks, 16 games played with two byes.

My apologies if I misunderstood. But the owners will never go for a reduced total number of games. Even if it’s just one preseason game every two years, that’s a sacrifice of ticket and in-stadium revenue they won’t forgo without adding a game somewhere.

Jordan from Lawrenceburg, KY

I think it is amazing to see people submitting questions from all over the world. There are Packer fans everywhere! When I read those submissions, I catch myself reading them in an accent from the respective countries. Do you do the same thing?

Sorry, I’m focused on editing, not accenting.

Dane from Franklin, WI

Just a response to Fredrick from Bluffton, SC. There's an important fifth thing that can happen on a passing play – the QB doesn't throw the ball at the defender's receiver. After all, if a CB is constantly plastering their assignment then the ball won't go their way often, and a CB can't get credit for defensing a pass that isn't thrown. Don't get me wrong, stats are great, but there are also important player contributions that don't show up on a stats sheet.

You’ve just described why film rules all. Stats can distract while film can define.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Watching the NFL on TV, you see huddles where Ray Lewis of the Ravens or Drew Brees of the Saints firing up the team. Is there any Packer who routinely leads this huddle or one who is more demonstrative than others?

Over the past several years, Sitton and Cobb were frequent ringleaders in those instances. Daniels on occasion, too, and Rodgers here and there. Last year, Alexander stepped in a couple of times. No one is really the guy who does it all the time. A lot can depend on the mood and the moment.

Nicole from Trempealeau, WI

How safe will it be on the sideline for Coach LaFleur during games?

Sean McVay had his “get-back” coach on the Rams’ sideline. Maybe LaFleur will have a designated “road-block” coach until he’s fully mobile.

Jeremy from Lethbridge, Canada

So, I ended up spending 30 minutes tonight watching professional cornhole. What struck me most was just how difficult it seemed to be to create effective TV commentary. In your days of beat coverage, did you ever find any particular sport really difficult to write about?

Probably soccer, and I don’t mean that in the disparaging, Vic-closing-his-curtains sense. I just never learned enough about the strategy and other nuances to write about the game in a way that would connect my coverage with real fans of the sport, which at its root is what I think a sports reporter’s job entails. When it comes to sports I didn’t play, I tried to teach myself. I learned a lot about football and hockey by watching them on TV and reading about them. I learned a lot about wrestling by covering it up close. But I never progressed beyond a very rudimentary understanding of soccer on my own. It never clicked for me.

Geoff from Beaver Dam, WI

Have you had a chance to see the Timber Rattlers are becoming the Udder Tuggers June 20? There may never be a more fitting team name and logo for a minor league baseball team in Wisconsin than this. The Madison soccer team should have been half as creative. Thank you dairy farmers for making my state great.

I pity the Brewers player on a rehab assignment that night, a big-leaguer subjected to being photographed and interviewed in an Udder Tuggers jersey. I guess it’s one for the scrapbook.

Jason from Des Plaines, IL

I saw an interesting tweet comparing Mitch Trubisky’s rushing numbers to Aaron Rodgers’. I must say that I find it to be incomparable regardless of whose numbers are better in terms of “rushing” as a QB. Mitch is younger and has a completely different physicality than Rodgers, yet I think Rodgers is up there in the top 10 most “mobile” QBs ever. Mobile meaning you can create space and extend plays on top of simply rushing with the ball. Do you think the comparison makes any sense?

I couldn’t care less, so I guess my answer is no. What I will say is I saw stretches of Bears games last season when Chicago’s offense was really stagnant and got bailed out by Trubisky’s rushing yards on scrambles, similar to how the Packers at times have relied too much on Rodgers’ off-schedule, extended plays. Both are dangerous ways to live that will eventually reach their limits of effectiveness.

Dan from Cross Plains, WI

Can you elaborate on the talk regarding the different disguises that defenses use? Is it simply moving players up to the line and bluffing a blitz? Or is there more to it?

It’s not just about disguising who’s rushing the QB on a given play, though that’s a big part of it. It’s also about coverages. Can you make man coverage look like zone pre-snap, and vice versa? Or with a tight end, for example, is the outside ’backer going to drop off the line to cover him, or is the safety going to come down? Does the inside linebacker have responsibility on the running back in the flat, or someone else? Offenses try to use formations and motion to get the defense to tip its hand. It’s all part of the chess game.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

I'm picturing Wes down in the Bat Cave underneath Lambeau Field typing furiously on his mystery project. When he needs a cold root beer he flips a switch and the goal posts send up the “G” signal.

Nicely done.

Jeff from Dubuque, IA

Forget about all this old-school typewriter talk. It's all ball-bearings nowadays guys.

Happy Thursday.

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