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Inbox: It goes without saying

The Packers have more options for an intense receiver competition


Tom from Rochester, NY

The amazing part of Dorsett's run was that the Cowboys only had 10 guys on the field at the time. Danny White was the QB and said he was going to call timeout but for some reason decided to save it. Probably my second-favorite Monday Night Football play after the Freeman leg catch in OT. And I believe both were against the Vikings which makes it extra special.

I had heard the 10-men thing, but I didn't know White was aware of it. That's really something.

Brady from Lodi, WI

After reading your 99-yard Tony Dorsett TD run answer from Monday, my mind flashed to Ahman Green's long touchdown run against Denver. I was in the fourth grade when it happened, and I was convinced as a kid he ran the entire field, so I was very disappointed to find now that it was in fact 98 yards. Still, Ahman's run is among my absolute favorites in the time I've been alive, mostly just for the satisfaction of watching 71 seal that block on the end to spring him. Who was 71? I can't find him.

That would be Kevin Barry of U-71 package fame, though I don't recall if it was specifically the U-71 package on that play.

Chip from Manzanita, OR

May I throw in a rare football event, Mike? Back in '72, former Oregon Duck Bobby Moore (now Ahmad Rashad) caught a pass from St. Louis Cardinals QB Jim Hart and went 98 yards with it - from the 1-yard line at one end of the field to the 1-yard line at the other end. The longest play from scrimmage in NFL history without a touchdown. Still one of the most amazing plays I've ever seen.

Didn't know that, but I wondered about that very possibility when the Dorsett play came up. I'll bet another 99-yard TD run will happen before another 98-yard play from scrimmage without a score.

Paul from Ellensburg, WA

Hey Spoff, read an article today that got me thinking. Just how much trouble would we be in if Davante Adams went down for serious time? I know Rodgers is the best ever, but this could be worse than 2015, if Adams gets hurt.

Graham's presence would soften the blow, and if Cobb is healthy, which he really wasn't in 2015, that would help, too. But it would require a young receiver to step into a much larger role and deliver. Adams' health in 2015 prevented him from doing so, but the Packers have more options now than they did then.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

Moore seems to have the same body type and route-running ability as Adams did as a rookie, do you think he can take over as the No. 3 receiver this year? Personally I hope EQ and Clark make the team as well.

Moore actually reminds me of James Jones but with a tad more explosive speed. He's more than capable physically of the role you envision, but it'll come down to knowing the playbook and getting on the same page with Rodgers. The competition will be intense, because a lot of young guys will be trying to catch Rodgers' attention.

Charles from Omaha, NE

Mike and Wes, if you make it to the College World Series, could I buy you a beer?

You wouldn't even have to twist my arm.

Matthias from Hartford, WI

Which four linebackers in NFL history are formidable and talented enough to have played in any era? Does Nitschke make your list?

No offense to a great like Nitschke, but probably not. I'd take Bednarik, Taylor, Lewis and Urlacher, for the variety of abilities they would bring, but it's awfully tough leaving off Butkus and Nitschke.

Dane from Franklin, WI

The answer about creating mismatches on the perimeter brought to mind the rise of the hybrid linebacker and last year's introduction of the Nitro package. Looking back on the season, how did the Nitro package grade out? Are we likely to see it again this season given the roster changes?

When the Packers were healthy enough to have their top personnel choices in Nitro, I thought it was fairly effective, but they were never able to settle into consistent personnel with it. I'm sure Pettine has a similar sub-package in his arsenal, but I don't know what he calls it.

Steve from Middletown, KY

With Hundley unable to produce wins last year, what are the chances we'll see a QB change in the fourth quarter this year? I know most starting QBs want to play the entire game, but once we get up so far, should we get the backup QB some experience? Back in the day, almost all teams put their backup in to close out a lopsided game with 5 to even 10 minutes left. Or, are teams so afraid of an offensive explosion late in a game to make the move?

Up three scores with under five minutes left is my rough rule of thumb, and it just doesn't happen that often. Games can change so quickly. You're also not going to ask the backup to run the full gamut of offense in that situation anyway, so while there's value in the experience, it's minimal. Real situations provide the only real experience.

Joshua from Appleton, WI

On the NFL site they had a list of best DEs of all time. One player that sticks out to me that was not listed was Aaron Kampman. I know his career was not super long (10 years?), but it was a blast to watch and if I remember correctly he led the league in sacks one season (2006?). Curious how his stats stack up.

Kampman is not going to make any league-wide all-time lists, but he carved out a heck of a career for himself as a fifth-round pick. He had 54 sacks in eight seasons with the Packers, half of them in his two Pro Bowl years of 2006 (15½, second in the league) and '07 (12). It's too bad his knees failed him later in his career, because he kept himself in really good shape and I think he had more to offer elsewhere after he didn't fit the scheme change in Green Bay in '09. Super guy, too. Made it easy to root for him.

Kaleb from Corvallis, OR

Justin's math needs to be cleared up. 480K/yr is 40K/mo, which is approximately 9K/week. If practice squad players make around 7.5K/week, that doesn't equate to tens of thousands of dollars per week. Admittedly, though, I'd take a 1.5K/week pay increase any day!

Justin was accurate. Players - active roster or practice squad - are paid their salary only during the 17 weeks of the regular season, so the 480K league minimum is almost 30K/week. It's a huge raise.

Al from Green Bay, WI

You are getting ready to play the Vikings in Minnesota. The Football Genie appears and tells you he can deliver a plus-two turnover ratio or a QBR for Rodgers 20 points higher than Cousins, but not both. Which will you take?

Gimme the plus-two.

Alex from Helena, MT

Mike, you've got to be careful on those pop-up slides. If they go to replay and the fielder holds the tag, you're going to be out, my friend (worst use of replay in all of sports).

Duly noted, on all counts.

Ryan from Noblesville, IN

I golf maybe four times a year and never watch it on TV, unless I want to take a nap, but how in the world is Phil Mickelson not disqualified after putting his moving ball before it rolls down the slope?

He should have been. Breaking a rule intentionally in order to gain a competitive advantage is grounds for a DQ. It's right in the rules, and it's exactly what Mickelson did. He even admitted it. The USGA has its own version of golf in many ways.

Ron from Tolleson, AZ

Has there ever been a season where both the offensive and defensive MVP came from the same team?

Assuming you're talking about the league MVP and defensive player of the year (and not when they were the same person), I could only find one – 1994. San Francisco's Steve Young and Deion Sanders.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

Conversely, how many Packers from the '60s could play in today's NFL? The linemen weighed in the mid-200s. Wouldn't Paul Hornung be the slowest, and perhaps the lightest, running back today? And the receivers the slowest? I know eras shouldn't be compared but you did answer the question regarding what current Packers could play back in the day.

My answer was more in reference to the grind-it-out, ground-and-pound style of play in that era, and the physical nature of playing every snap with minimal substitutions. Getting into size-speed comparisons is fruitless.

Matt from Lake Worth, FL

Does Pettine coach from the sideline or the booth?

Last week McCarthy mentioned Pettine being in the booth.

Christopher from Helotes, TX

Hey Mike, I like your answer to Bruce from Green Bay, but the defense is plenty rested at the start of the first and third quarters, so wouldn't both your and Bruce's suggestion of running the no-huddle work?

My reference to guarding against defensive fatigue was with the full 60-minute game in mind.

Al from Juneau, AK

On this new format why do you have pictures/videos covering up the printed question/answer? How do I get rid of it so I can read the whole question/answer?

We're seeing this frustration a lot, and while the league is working on it, they're telling us to make sure browsers are fully updated. If the problem persists, the best browser to use, they tell us, is Google Chrome.

Adam from Madison, WI

Interesting take on "banjo." For me in HS and college it was a little different. It was a pre-snap adjustment that was made when in man coverage, with two receivers on the same side, the assignments would switch if the receivers criss-crossed early in their routes. It was less about press coverage, more about beating bunch formations and pick plays.

The knowledge gain continues.

Rick from Albuquerque, NM

With a passing-game coordinator and a running-game coordinator, how do the RPOs fit in that structure?

The coaches make sure assignments are communicated and repped. For the bulk of the RPOs the Packers have run in the past with Rodgers, the running play is being executed by pretty much everyone except the QB and the hot receiver.

Greg from Cuenca, Ecuador

Hi Mike, yesterday, you noted the players are given their playbooks and told to take them home to study. In today's day and age, wouldn't it make more sense to have the playbook online (encrypted access)? Then, couldn't you marry-up actual film from last season with each play? And, couldn't there be some interaction/peer review/discussion-among-the-players...all online? It seems to me, today's players would embrace that more than a fat notebook of diagrams and explanations.

The playbook is in an electronic tablet. All of the aspects you mention are available to some extent, and if a player loses his, the tech guys have the ability to wipe it remotely.

William from Torii Station, Okinawa

Although we often talk about home and away games going into the playoffs and in and out of a bye week, what is the impact of having two consecutive away games going into the regular season?

Minimal to nil. Most of the starters aren't even suiting up for that fourth preseason game.

Dylan from Apple Valley, MN

When watching Packers highlights on YouTube, two things stick out, one being our dominance in Dallas ('13 comeback, 16' GW drive, and '17 GW drive), and the other being our struggles in Seattle ('12 "Fail Mary," '14 opener, '14 NFC Championship Game). One would think a bigger and enclosed stadium would cause more trouble, but just how much of an advantage does/did Seattle have at home?

Seattle has the loudest outdoor stadium I've ever been in, by far. Jerry's World in Dallas is actually so cavernous that it's not really all that loud, relative to other indoor venues.

Lance from Grafton, WI

B.J. Raji is one of my favorite Packers that I have watched thanks to his commercials and explosive plays. Since you mentioned true nose tackles were becoming a dying breed, was he a true nose tackle? Also, how valuable would Raji be in Pettine's defense and what is your favorite Raji play?

Raji was a true nose who also possessed disruptive ability. That's why he was a top 10 overall pick. He would certainly have a place in Pettine's defense. Many folks have asked about him, but I haven't heard from him and only hope he's enjoying life. I think the favorite Raji play goes without saying, doesn't it?

Elliott from Valparaiso, IN

Hi Mike, I've seen a few examples over the years of a referee standing over the ball waiting for the defense to complete their substitutions while the quarterback is screaming for the ball to be snapped. So, in a two-minute drill, if the offense makes a substitution while the play clock is running, how long does the defense get to make their own substitutions? Can the defense milk the entire 40-second play clock and have their players lazily saunter over to the sidelines?

The officials must give them the opportunity to sub, but they aren't going to let the players lollygag (cue the "Bull Durham" lollygag speech). A flag for delay of game would be a discretionary call.

Keith from Greendale, WI

Insiders, if you had your druthers would you rather build your team with an elite offense or elite defense? It seems to me for an elite offense you just need the "man" but for an elite defense you need several "men," which I'd say is harder to sustain in the long run (e.g. Seattle).

An elite (or trending toward elite) QB is a must, but that doesn't mean the offense has to rank at the very top of the league in order to be successful. If I've got the right QB and you're asking if I'd rather have my offense or defense be the more dominant unit, I'll say defense.

Duane from Sheboygan, WI

I regret your decision to limit questions to 500 characters. If I wasn't pithy before I am now.

Change can be good.

Andy from Madison, WI

It's the Super Bowl, and Rodgers has the ball at the 15-yard line with one second on the clock. You have the option to restart the entire game. Do you take it?

I don't know. What's the score? Have a good day, everybody.