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Inbox: It’s about seeing who can beat his man

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Bryce from Sullivan, IN

How hot has the weather been there? This hot weather makes me ready for cool fall Sundays.

I’d prefer to have some summer first, thank you.

Eddie from La Crosse, WI

Mike, just what in tarnation did those Englishmen put in their baseballs? The Brewers could use a few lorries of that magic elixir!

I don’t know what that was across the pond, but it wasn’t baseball. Something looked rotten in the state of Denmark.

Elliot from Minneapolis, MN

How does one fail a physical? Does it mean they have a lingering issue that doctors perceive to be an issue in the future, or is it as simple as the guy couldn’t run around the field two times in X minutes? Are brain injuries now being assessed during the physicals?

It’s generally the former, an injury that would prevent the player from being available to play or practice right away. I don’t know what the specific head-injury protocols are with physicals, but I’m sure they check.

Paul from Bay View, WI

Hello guys, I just got around to watching “Hard Knocks” with TB and I was wondering about the heat they practice in. There obviously are many teams that have to practice in hot and humid conditions, but does it benefit a team like the Packers more since they tend to get cooler-type weather? The episode I watched had TB players really struggling to get through practice because of the heat. I would think the Packers get better practices not having to deal with the heat as much. Thoughts?

I think coaches like having their players fight through a really stifling day or two in camp, but I don’t know how the southern teams do it day after day, honestly. It has to impact the quality of practice. I can only imagine how much the Texans are looking forward to their trip up here.

Ken from New York, NY

Your story about those old newspaper clippings you have reminded me of a time when the guy who ran a quirky coffee shop in my neighborhood was cleaning out his back room and invited me to rummage through a pile of newspapers and magazines, and to take anything that interested me. All of it was garbage-worthy with one notable exception: a copy of the New York Times dated July 21, 1969.

My mother’s 25th birthday. Smaller story, but I’m sure you were following it.

Keith from Lincoln, IL

When the Packers have a preseason practice scheduled for 10:15 a.m., what approximate time does that practice conclude? I’d like to see the “bike riding back to Lambeau” in person some time.

Practices in training camp usually last anywhere from two hours and 15 minutes to two hours and 45 minutes.

Rich from Caledonia, WI

What were your biggest surprises of the early practice sessions with the new coaching staff?

After watching a few workouts, I became surprised I hadn’t heard more about Billy Turner heading into free agency. His athleticism for a man that size is exceptional. His signing so quickly in free agency raised eyebrows, but I think the media simply missed one who was on a lot of scouts’ radars.

Bob from Madison, AL

The Davante Adams/Bart Starr number story got me wondering...I've heard differing reports about how draftees and free agents get jersey numbers. I think it was Vic that once wrote Ted Thompson arbitrarily decided jersey numbers for incoming players. I've also heard stories of players asking/negotiating for certain numbers. How does it work? I assume a high-profile free agent or high draft choice can request a specific number, but do all incoming players have that option?

No. Thompson did assign all jersey numbers, from what I understand. Based on the stories I’ve heard recently, it would seem Gutekunst gives certain incoming players some say based on the options available.

Dennis from Reedsburg, WI

Who were the players kept out of OTAs due to injury from last year and do you see any of them not ready to go by training camp/season opener?

Mike Daniels was held out of workouts and Kevin King did very limited 11-on-11 work. There was really no update given on Daniels, but all indications are King will be ready to go for camp.

Ryan from Westfield, IN

“Cushier,” “…tear a hamstring jumping back to steerage,” and “Mitch ain’t the warden, bro” had me cracking up. Way to finish out an extended Inbox penance. That’s it. Thanks.

The Inbox yelled at me the one time I slipped in a “bro.” Just sayin’.

Bob from Sun City West, AZ

Mark Tauscher had a streak of several years where he never got a holding call. Do you recall the game when the officials finally called him for holding to break his streak?

Oct. 9, 2005, vs. New Orleans. Tauscher, a seventh-round pick in 2000 who became a starter in the third game of his rookie year, hadn’t had a holding penalty in his NFL career until that game (he didn’t have one in his lone starting season at Wisconsin, either). And his first one apparently was on a teammate but the officials mistakenly called it on him.

Craig from Elkton, MD

Just wanted to say thanks for keeping it alive during the dead zone and weigh in on the ball-placement issue. The technology already exists! Satellite-guided tractors can place a kernel of corn within an eighth of an inch in a 5,000-acre field. I think they can figure out where to put a football on a 1.32-acre grid iron. Your move NFL.

I’m OK with properly feeding humanity taking priority here.

Gus from Oaxaca, Mexico

Maybe there is an intermediate step to spotting the ball and technology: keep the practice of the officials spotting the ball, but then use the chip and GPS technology to determine if it is a first down or not. This would speed up the game a bit by eliminating bringing out the chains but still keep the human element of the spotting. The spot could still be challenged as is currently the rule.

I could see this being part of the transition.

Brian from Rochester, MN

Football is designed for us to appreciate and celebrate performance – that’s part of the fun. But you all get a more personal look at the men behind the facemask. Who would your “character Mt. Rushmore” be among players you’ve covered? Which guys would you want your kids to hang around because of their integrity?

There are plenty I’ve come across, so narrowing it down to four is rather arbitrary. But when I think of players no longer in the Packers’ locker room who possess varying personalities yet meet the criteria you describe, four who come to mind are Chris Banjo, Andy Mulumba, Tim Masthay and Aaron Kampman.

Check out photos of Packers players looking their best.

Nicholas from Portland, OR

I love how all these fan sites leap on a “player to watch” next year all at the same time. I think I’ve read about five articles in the past week anointing Raven Greene as the key ingredient to success of the defense, when frankly I haven’t given two thoughts about him since he went on IR last season. The dead-zone struggle is real…

It certainly can be, but that doesn’t take away from the opportunity in front of Greene, with some uncertainty surrounding Josh Jones and no established hierarchy at the position beyond Amos and Savage. But the Packers need Greene to become a demon on special teams first. That’s where he can make the largest immediate impact.

Dominic from Newark, DE

Hey, I’ve noticed that we are sort of thin at safety. Other than Amos, Savage, and whatever happens with Jones, we don’t have a lot. Will someone have to move back there like Tramon did last year?

Apparently the East Coast’s dead zone differs from the West Coast’s. Kidding aside, the Packers did have Natrell Jamerson taking a lot of snaps at safety this spring, though he’s still listed as a corner on the roster. Mike Tyson was also a waiver claim who has been on the active rosters of both the Seahawks and Texans his first two NFL seasons.

Jake from Atlanta, GA

Regarding sports rosters, why/how are “thin” and “deep” opposites, and what’s halfway between them?

The positions halfway between are the ones no one is paying attention to, until an injury strikes.

Russ from Henrico, VA

Concerning Dick Lane’s 14 interceptions, given that he played fewer games and way few pass attempts per game, how many interceptions would it take in 2019 to be equivalent to Lane’s 14?

In 1952, when “Night Train” had the record 14 picks, NFL teams averaged 335 pass attempts for the season. In 2018, the league average was 552 attempts. If I did the math right, I believe that translates to 23 interceptions.

Scott from Pewaukee, WI

Who do you feel is the biggest threat for the Pack in the NFC Central, Chitown or Minny?

Tampa Bay.

Ryan from Fond du Lac, WI

Have you ever been completely wrong about a prospect or player, thinking they’ll be terrible, only to watch them become stars?

That’s a tad extreme, but I will say I’ve learned never to count anybody out during OTAs without pads and even during the first couple weeks of training camp. The improvement some young players show from the first preseason game to the last can be astounding.

Joyce from Phoenix, AZ

I have a friend that says she knows someone that has a cowbell that was given away to fans that attended the Ice Bowl. Do you know if the Packers gave away such a gift back then?

There are a lot of myths out there about the Ice Bowl. I’ll check with Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell on this one and get back to you.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

Let’s talk about the AFC – who do you see as the top four teams this season?

Chiefs, Texans, Colts, Patriots.

Colin from Milwaukee, WI

If C-3PO starts calling balls and strikes, who do you think would be the first player or manager to rip the droid’s arms out of his sockets after they lose?

Definitely Yasiel Puig.

Dan from Townsville, Australia

Here’s an interesting thought: How many former Packers players still in the league on other teams’ rosters would you believe make the Packers HOF, and does finishing their career elsewhere diminish their chances in any way? I would have a hard time believing Clay isn’t a lock. But with Jordy retired and Tramon back now, who would you say it leaves?

Sitton and Lang are retired now, too, so in addition to Matthews (who is a lock), I’d say the other candidate still in the league elsewhere is Cobb.

Tony from Lima, OH

“Fighting Back: The Rocky Bleier Story” was filmed in 1980. Also, Packer Nation. No s.

Duly noted. Sensibly, Packer Backer was also a popular submission sans the s.

Paul from Gorham, ME

The ongoing discussion about the best Packer center made me wonder: What makes a good center? There’s certainly more than just snapping the ball. How would you describe it?

In addition to their obvious run-blocking and pass-blocking skills, centers need to read defenses and communicate. They’re usually responsible for calling out the defense’s middle linebacker, and the offense’s protection scheme is built on that declaration.

Patrick from Wallace, MI

Over/under 30.5 sacks by Packers OLBs this year?

That number seems high to me for one position in a Pettine defense. I’ll take the under.

Brandon from Nashville, TN

Do coaches of preseason matchups ever meet or talk to possibly script plays together to see how their teams react in game? Or is it still a full-on chess match (just with more basic moves)?

Coaches don’t really concern themselves with their opponents in preseason. They make certain offensive or defensive calls to see how their players execute them when the situation warrants. There’s very little chess match going on in August. Preseason isn’t about scheming matchups. It’s about seeing who can beat his man.

Dave from Inver Grove Heights, MN

Tonight we were enjoying cocktails at the top of Ariens Hill when a young man approached me and asked if I could record something for him on his phone. His girlfriend was unaware of this and then he got down on his knee and proposed to her at the top of Ariens Hill. Everyone at the top of the hill started cheering for them. I don’t know if they are readers of II, but best wishes for Ben and Shelby. May you have a long and happy life together.

A good way to kick off a Monday and my parents’ wedding anniversary. A happy 52nd to my folks and a happy July to everybody.

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