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Inbox: It might take all of camp to sort out

This time of year is far more about learning than competing

Packers S Jonathan Owens
Packers S Jonathan Owens

B from Frostbite Falls, MN

Given the chance to start an expansion team in any of the four major sports leagues in the U.S. What sport would you choose, what city are they located in and what's the mascot? I would go NHL and they would be the Milwaukee Moose. Hope you're enjoying your summer.

It's not one of the four major sports, but curling oughta have a team called the Frostbite Falls Icicles, no?

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, UK

Which American town has the funniest name for a sports team?

If the one above doesn't count, two of my favorites are the UC-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs and the Arkansas (Little Rock) School for the Deaf Leopards.

Jackie from New Freedom, PA

How long has Green Bay been trying to get the draft to be held there?

As Mark Murphy pointed out in his monthly column, the organization began the effort back in 2016.

Avdia from Vienna, VA

For those of us that don't know what occurs at OTAs, can you provide some highlights on what actually is done? Are there one-on-one periods; team periods; do they spend time inside the facilities going over practice film with the players, are there position group meetings, etc. I imagine there is an on-field and off-field component. Can you walk us through what a typical OTA day would consist of?

It's similar to a day in training camp, only shorter. There are position group meetings and practice. The meetings might include film review or playbook installation. Practice involves mostly position drills and 11-on-11 periods with some special-teams exercises mixed in. One-on-ones (pass rush/pass pro or route/coverage) are usually saved for training camp. On some OTA days, a walk-through session replaces practice, whereas often both occur on the same day during training camp.

Bruce from Jackson, WI

Spoff, I noticed recently during the OTAs some basic passing and receiving stats being provided occasionally in II responses. I'm just curious if the team or your intern provides them or are you and Wes practicing statisticians? If you are keeping basic stats do you score Brewers games as well when you attend them?

Wes keeps a play-by-play in his notebook during practices. I prefer to jot down notes only of the action that catches my eye for one reason or another. As for baseball games, yes, I keep a scorecard at every MLB game I attend. Old habits die hard.

Tom from Bamberg, Germany

Just read Mike's piece on Romeo Doubs**.** What an absolutely awesome outlook and attitude he has. Reminds me of several other great Packer receivers. I know we are only in OTAs but the great vibe coming from this team makes me yearn for the start of the season. Do you guys feel the optimism from the players and coaches?

Sure, but honestly I block out all the optimism this time of year because it's always there. I'm more interested in how a player goes about his business, so thanks for reading the Doubs piece. I enjoyed the conversation with him. After the horde of cameras left his locker, it was just me and another writer with some follow-up questions. Doubs has a way of being both revealing and protective of his thoughts at the same time. I can respect that. He just wants his play to answer any and all questions.

John from McCook Lake, SD

Romeo Doubs stated the receivers' room just needs to stay 10 toes down to have a great season. Can 10 toes down be the rally cry for the 2013 Packers?

Only if it was for Doubs' eighth grade team as well.

Patrick from Gulf Breeze, FL

I just watched a highlight tape of Jonathan Owens from last year. He prevented three touchdowns by either a big hit or punching the ball out. People might question the quality of the high number of tackles he had last year, but for my part, he shows great instincts and thump. I think the second safety spot will be a wild training camp battle.

It might take all of camp to sort out, and whoever loses out will be waiting in the wings if needed.

Al from Green Bay, WI

There will be much discussion about whether Jordan Love should play in the preseason, and the concerns are valid. Every team faces the same concern with their starting QB. Would you be in favor of a preseason special rule in which the QB wears the red jersey and is automatically down with a two-handed touch or a one-handed grab? It seems that solution enables the QB to gain some game reps while minimizing the injury risk.

In theory that sounds good, but I think a preseason provision like that would only push the league toward making it a permanent part of the game, and I don't think it should be.

Andy from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Obviously don't need names, but have you ever seen players in OTAs where it was obvious they were not going to make it too long? Or players that seemed out of place in the spring who recovered and made the team in the fall? There's so much hope and unknown this time of year, it's hard to determine anything in the underwear league.

It certainly is. This time of year is far more about learning than competing. I've seen guys who looked great in the spring but faded in the summer when the pads go on and the game gets real. I've also seen the opposite, players who don't look like they belong until the pads go on and then suddenly they're noticed every day. Anyone passing definitive judgment on a player now is just filling airtime and space.

Jeffery from Brooklyn, WI

Hello II, do the pads go on during mandatory minicamp?

Nope, not until a few days into training camp.

Scott from Salem, OR

"Maybe that'll be the book I tackle in retirement if I have the urge to explore fiction writing." I hope the retirement plans are not imminent, but it would be great to see Spoff publish a book or two someday. Excuse me while I picture a Roman a clef novel featuring a guy named Wesley Hudkievich who puts asparagus on brats and consequently spends his eternal afterlife pumping gas in January. Also, is it safe to assume Luke Musgrave is still unsigned because of something trivial?

Ha, A for effort. Regarding your final comment, the Packers' top three draft picks remain unsigned, but getting those deals done before training camp hasn't been an issue for a very long time now, and I don't expect it to suddenly become one.

Dennis from De Pere, WI

Would it be worth trading Yosh Nijman, one of the few, maybe only, Packers players who would create enough cap space, in a trade for an experienced backup quarterback? I don't think so.

Me neither.

Kevin from Starr Pass, AZ

Good morning Insiders, given Mike's answer to Zak from Huntington Beach about team captains and all the talk about leadership in so many of the recent player interviews and II replies, I'm reminded of the principle that "leadership is a behavior not a position." It must be so interesting watching these young players mature into such great leaders … and followers. Both of which are essential for organizational success.

I guess I'd rather say leadership is both a behavior and a position. The latter is earned by the former.

Chris from New Canaan, CT

The jersey narrative carries on and I'm trying to get to the bottom it. Surely the player who is switching numbers and is required to buy unsold inventory doesn't pay retail, right? Wholesale or cost more likely. Any idea?

That I don't know, and I had no idea this topic would generate so much reader interest.

Tom from Reedsville, WI

It has been said (somewhere) that Josh Myers struggled in pass protection last year. Is that true? Zach Tom was a center in college, was he not? If Myers struggles with pass protection, would Tom be the obvious replacement or does someone else come to mind? Or would Tom be more valued as the sixth lineman? The man can play anywhere on the line but where do you think his best position is?

I think that's what the Packers have to find out. I don't know what the coaches' overall evaluation of Myers was last year, but O-line coach Luke Butkus did point out this spring he played in only seven games as a rookie due to injury, so Year 2 for him was more like 1.5. It also caught my ear when Gutekunst said earlier this offseason center might be Tom's best position, which he played as a redshirt sophomore at Wake Forest before moving to left tackle his last two seasons. I don't know how it's all going to sort out, but I'll just say when we're there every day in training camp, we'll be taking note of where Tom lines up.

Jeff from Puyallup, WA

Mike, anyone outside of 33 and 28 standing out this summer in the backfield to you?

Not yet, but that position in particular really hinges on the preseason games in my opinion, because that's the only live tackling the backs face.

Kristian from Aarhus, Denmark

Hi Mike and Wes, been wondering about this for a while, but TK from Grafton's question in Friday's II reactivated it. In selecting starters, it seems that once you are deemed a starter it will take a whole lot over the course of a season for the backups to knock a starter off his throne. Is this due to skill gaps between starter-backup being too big or is it about stability? Or something completely else?

The gap isn't the same at every position, but at some it's definitely bigger than others. Continuity does matter, too, and that at times can come down to how many practice reps are available to make a change and get everyone to adjust.

Edward from Canton, SD

Greetings II, with the news that Mason Crosby sold his Green Bay area home, (glad to hear he doubled his money) begs the question, have you seen Anders Carlson in any OTA practices and if so, how does he look?

At the two practices we've attended, the special-teams unit has not kicked any field goals.

Scott from Augusta, GA

Greetings II. In regards to only being able to attend one OTA a week, is that one for all media or one per person? Or another way, can Wes go one day and Mike go another day?

One OTA per week is open to all media. The rest are closed.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

Trying to eliminate hurdling seems like a difficult situation. Can you go over a player on the ground? What about on their knees? Where does a hurdle begin and an elusive move end?

It would be rather unrealistic to police, I grant. I just wish players would stop doing it.

Craig from Mendota Heights, MN

Which Packer or Packers that you have been so fortunate to know have surprised you the most with the seeming difference between their off-field shyness or reticence and their on-field forcefulness?

To name one on each side of the ball, Chad Clifton and Aaron Kampman immediately come to mind.

Tom from Two Rivers, WI

Hi Mike, I understand the excitement surrounding our Packers this year. But can you please continue to temper expectations for the folks who believe we SHOULD at least make the playoffs this year? I hear that kind of talk everywhere. Awesome if it happens, but Aaron Rodgers and friends went 6-10 in his first season as starter with a team that reached overtime in the NFC Championship Game the year prior. It wasn't because they got old or had no talent. Winning in the NFL really is that hard.

It certainly is. To say a team with a first-year starter at QB "should" make the playoffs is ridiculous. I categorize fans with that mindset among those who believe the other 31 teams exist just for the purpose of losing to the Packers. They're out there, but they don't know who they are. That aside, I'll continue to believe until proven otherwise there's no stellar team in the NFC North. The 13-win Vikings are undergoing more personnel overhaul than anyone in the division. The Lions are on the rise but dumped one of their best offensive players. The Bears won three games last year and had one draft pick in the top 50. Opportunity exists.

Kerry from Lakewood Ranch, FL

In your opinion who are the lock playoff teams in the NFC this year?

The only genuine surprise to me would be if the Eagles don't make the playoffs. That's about it.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

What are some of your grievances you fellas would like to air?

On June 5? I thought that was reserved for Dec. 23?

Kevin from Olympia, WA

Wes, Wow! Regarding your Saturday response to Eric from Springfield, Va., concerning David Bakhtiari's commitment to Jordan Love, I thought you were going to admit you ordered the code red.

Nicely done. I introduced my daughter to that movie over the weekend. I felt it was my civic duty.

Steve from Pickerington, OH

My wife and I want to come up for Family Night in Aug. When is it?

It should be announced any day now. Maybe even today. Happy Monday.

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