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Inbox: It's a cool part of his legacy

The NFL is the ultimate prove-it business

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WR Davante Adams

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Hey Mike, did you catch any fish? And are you a catch-and-release type of guy or do you actually clean and cook 'em?

The latter, and we actually caught enough on Saturday and Sunday to feed a table of eight for Sunday dinner. So we had that goin' for us, which was nice.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

With the league going from 12 to 14 to 16 and now 17 games, are you surprised records haven't, at least as an alternative, gone to yards per game rather than season?

Too much math, though on a (slightly) more serious note, then you end up throwing in all the qualifications about how many games a guy actually played to achieve his average, etc. It is what it is. A season is a season.

Cliff from Granville Centre, Nova Scotia

Not a question; more of a prognostication. With 16 games, records were really only broken when star players stayed healthy. Given the grind of an extra game and the additional chance of injury that imposes, I'm thinking that the breaking of records won't be as common as we think, and those with stamina AND superior talent will have the better chance. Of course, this probably won't apply to QBs, as they have extra rules to keep them healthy, so the sky's the limit there. Any thoughts?

Health always factors into records and record-breaking seasons, and it just becomes a piece to the story, like with Davante Adams. It's a cool part of his legacy that he missed one game in 2018 and fell one catch short of Sterling Sharpe's single-season team record. Then he missed two games last year and broke it anyway.

Kary from Sheboygan, WI

Do any contract escalators need change because of the additional game? For example, if 1,000 rushing yards were in a contract, do those pro rate out to 1,063 yards with 17 games?

Not that I'm aware of. Those types of incentives aren't overly common, though I know Preston Smith now has some sack numbers in his deal. They're usually more about Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors, or simply per-game roster bonuses for being healthy and playing.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning. There are lots of obvious stats for running backs, receivers and passers in the NFL. What kind of comparable numerical analyses do teams keep about offensive lineman? Some would have to be negative (TFL or sacks allowed, penalties) but how about grading a successful running play? Pancakes? Winning at the second level? Seems like there is a lot of quality trench work going unrecognized by the average fan. Thank you.

Coaches grade every snap throughout the course of a season, and those grade sheets – which include marks for assignment, technique and result – are an offensive lineman's stat sheets, internally at least. Teams know which guys are their steadiest, most consistent performers, no matter who gets spot-shadowed in highlight packages and such.

Charlie from Morgan Hill, CA

Fans make it all possible yet we have absolutely no influence in affecting the final outcome of the Aaron Rodgers situation. I feel so useless and helpless, but the Packers can count on me to cheer as loud as ever at the 49ers game regardless of who's under center. If you could pick one word to describe your take on what the fan base is feeling, what would it be?

Angst.

Rich from Miami Gardens, FL

The easiest way to deal with uncertainty is to realize it will be OK no matter how it turns out. I think both sides are bluffing a little: Rodgers doesn't hold a hand of "I'd rather retire than play for Green Bay again," but the Packers don't have a hand of "we won't trade him" either, and somebody is going to fold before the river. Don't we either get Rodgers back, or the trade price has got to be north of two firsts, a third and a decent player and we get a big cap advantage? Both sound nice.

The best way for this to work out is for both sides to put all their cards on the table.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

Why is it fans always complain about draft picks the night they're picked, then two to four years later those same fans are complimenting them as good players?

For the same reason a teenager goes off to college thinking his parents are the dumbest people on the planet, and after getting his degree he's stunned at how much they've learned in four years.

TK from Grafton, WI

What's the best way for a rookie to (favorably) catch a coach's eye during OTAs/practices?

In drill work, show the ability to apply the proper technique, or at least the willingness if it's new and just been taught. In seven-on-seven or 11-on-11 work, prove knowledge of the playbook by being in the right place and understanding your assignment every snap.

Aaron from Brooklyn, NY

Your response about Sebastian Janikowski got me looking at the 2000 draft to see who the Raiders could have taken instead, and I realized just how good of a draft it was for the Packers: two 10-year starters at OT, a pro-bowl TE, a six-year starter at ILB, and a DE who retired as the franchise's all-time leader in sacks. All great Packers, but none will likely end up in Canton. Are there any other draft classes you're aware of which had that level of talent without producing any Hall of Famers?

Just to keep it in perspective, it was a solid draft, but Wolf did make 13 picks in 2000 in finding the guys you noted – Clifton, Tauscher, Franks, Diggs and KGB. Bang for the buck, I thought he did just as well if not better in '95, when with 10 picks he landed Craig Newsome, William Henderson, Brian Williams, Antonio Freeman, Travis Jervey and Adam Timmerman. Career-damaging injuries to Newsome and Williams, and being unable to afford to re-sign Timmerman, reduced the tenures of those players compared to the 2000 draft.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

I'm surprised this comparison isn't brought up more often – AJ Dillon has REMARKABLY similar measurables (height, weight, 40 time) to Derrick Henry, not to mention the punishing style to go with it. Combine him with Aaron Jones and you'd have a hard time convincing me there's a more talented backfield elsewhere.

Hey, I'm as excited about Dillon as other folks, but we have to pump the brakes a little on a guy who has carried the football all of 55 times in an NFL uniform. He has a lot to prove. Do I think he can prove it? Absolutely, and so do the Packers, but the NFL is the ultimate prove-it business.

Nick from Lakewood, CO

I just read Drayton's comments on Rodgers' returning ability. What I feel like I read was the definition of Micah Hyde's returning ability. Hope No. 8 is nearly as good!

Wes and I had the same conversation about the comparison to Hyde while watching Rodgers fielding punts at last week's OTA, and that was before Drayton spoke with the media.

Johnny from Madison, WI

Does the "star" position mean a guy who's going to be able to roam and make flashy plays, or does the name have some other meaning?

It's just a moniker for a position that can have any number of responsibilities in a given situation or personnel grouping. The star might match up against the opponent's top receiver, or against the slot receiver, or against a downfield tight end. Or he might blitz, against the run or pass. Or he might cover the back leaking out on a route. You never know.

Jeff from Lake Forest, CA

Dumb question, if I may. Reading the article about Joe Barry, it talks about how a lot of the defensive calls are the same, just the terminology is different. Why not have Barry change his terminology to phrases the team knows such that only one guy is changing his understanding, as opposed to changing 30-plus people's understanding to that of one man? Wouldn't that be more efficient and easier to implement?

This is a common question, actually, and I don't know how well I can explain it, but I'll try. Two defensive schemes may have two similar concepts with different names. But in the old scheme it may be a standalone concept, while in the new scheme, there may be a variation or two whose names play off of the name of the original concept. So if everyone uses the old terminology in the new scheme, name connections to other pieces can be lost and it can actually make things more confusing, and less efficient, in the long run. Hope that makes sense.

Gary from Cross Plains, WI

Spoff, you're anything but obtuse. If anything, I find you and Wes to be equilateral. Sorry, I know – no math in the Inbox. I'll see myself out.

Because this is how we end up with two-sided triangles.

Joe from Wausau, WI

In Wednesday's OTA, first-team OL had Elgton Jenkins at LT, Billy Turner at RT and Jon Runyan at LG. I've wondered for a while if the Packers would have fared better in the NFCCG if they had gone with those assignments and put a gimpy Rick Wagner on the bench. Thoughts?

I don't recall Wagner's health being an issue. The Packers had their lineup sans David Bakhtiari and went with it, having won two big games (at Chicago, vs. Rams) along the way. I don't fault the decision to go with experience over a rookie who had played only sporadically throughout the season.

Richard from Greenwich, NY

Hi guys, it's often said about certain elite athletes such as No. 12 that "he elevates the play of everybody around him," but what does that really mean? Teammates play better because of higher expectations? The elite player somehow gets the best out of his teammates' abilities? The phrase has become an aphorism, but its meaning isn't self-evident, at least to me.

I don't think there's a standard definition. Sometimes it's the expectations you referenced. Other times it's the opportunities that wouldn't otherwise come someone's way. For me, it's one of those ephemeral know-it-when-you-see-it things.

Patrick from Valrico, FL

So is the Packers' salary cap situation in 2022 really as dire as I am reading? I thought Russ Ball was a magician with these things. It would be a real shame to become one of those teams that has to go through salary cap hell without a recent SB title to show for it.

I don't know why everyone is so hung up on the '22 cap. The Packers made a bunch of unconventional (for them) moves to keep the team together in '21, somewhat at the expense of the '22 cap. But another season will reveal the players to keep, and not keep, moving forward, and decisions will be made accordingly. Plus, if some of the new TV money is coming on the books in '23, it'll make '22 easier to navigate than this year anyway. One year at a time, folks. Russ may be a magician, but no one was going to be able to keep this roster intact for '21 while keeping everything for '22 hunky dory in advance.

Marc from Holmen, WI

My press conference favorite was John McKay with the Bucs. When asked about his team's execution he replied, "I'm in favor of it." That's a Mt. Rushmore response. One of my other favorites of McKay was, "We didn't tackle well today but we made up for it by not blocking."

Anyone who loses his first 26 games as an NFL head coach and can have a sense of humor like that deserves a medal of some kind.

Christopher from Frederick, MD

How dead must the horse be before time stops flying while you beat it?

When's the next holiday weekend? Happy June and happy Tuesday.

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