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Inbox: It’s all irrelevant, really

CB Josh Jackson and WR J'Mon Moore
CB Josh Jackson and WR J'Mon Moore

Nicholas from Portland, OR

Speaking of fractions, could we possibly get an uglier number for perfection than the QB rating of 158.3? I mean, how on Earth did they come up with that?

Outstanding question, couldn’t tell you.

Clay from Goodyear, AZ

In the name of Dead Zone amusement I searched the all-time players database (great feature on the website) and found that there are 21 players who have played at least 150 games as a Packer. AR and Mason Crosby are current players on the list and Tramon Williams is close. Who else on the current roster do you think is likely to make this list?

I’d say the best odds belong to David Bakhtiari. He’s at 90 games, so he needs only four more seasons of good health to make it.

Julie from Hudson, WI

When is Jordy going to sign his one-day contract? I need to make travel plans!

Haven’t heard anything, but as soon as we do, we’ll make it known.

Jimmy from Plover, WI

Mike, do you play softball?

I used to play it and used to coach it, but both eras have now passed me by.

Bill from Lenexa, KS

Mike, I've seen it discussed here from time to time that players must pay state income taxes to the home state when playing a game on the road. I traveled a lot during my career and worked out of state a lot, but never once was required to pay that state's income tax. What's the real story for NFL players?

It’s only certain states, not all of them. It falls under the category of a professional entertainer’s tax, which doesn’t apply to your general business traveler, though it does ensnare me (and Wes) as team employees. Fortunately, it’s only a couple of states per year because none of the states of the division opponents (Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan) tax us in that way.

In celebration of International Yoga Day on June 21, Packers CB Jaire Alexander helped instruct a free yoga session at Voyageur Park in De Pere.

Josh from Denver, CO

Should we expect more early-season hiccups on the offensive side than we're used to?

I don’t know why this is such a common question. I can only remember two seasons in the Rodgers era – 2011 and ’15 – when the offense seemed to come out of the gates as a well-oiled machine. Being a work in progress is the rule, not the exception.

Bob from Nashville, TN

As a fan for over 60 years I’d like to get your input on my observation. In the ’60s, ’70s or even ’80s if a backup QB had to enter the game there was a noticeable drop-off in production. This seemed true whether caused by a game-time injury or even a planned change. In my opinion in today’s game the disparity seems even greater all across the league. Backup QBs seem to have a harder time winning. What factors do you attribute it to?

It’s just more of a quarterback-driven game now. There’s far more responsibility for winning that falls on the QB than in prior decades, mostly due to the rule changes that favor offense and the game’s current trends toward high-scoring contests. The greater responsibility the QB has in the team’s success, the harder it is to replace him.

Allen from Winthrop, ME

Always Nick Collins? Us older Packer fans might have a few different answers. The likes of Eddie Lee Ivery, Willie Buchanon, and Tim Lewis graced the field at Lambeau for far too short a time and certainly had the skills to make the HOF. While they had longer careers, injuries certainly cut into the chances of HOF induction for Lynn Dickey, Chad Clifton, and John Anderson as well.

Just to clarify, the question I answered stipulated my time writing for the Packers as the time frame, which is what makes it such an easy answer for me. Regarding the other players you listed, Cliff hit on most of them in this story from a couple of years ago.

Steve from Chardon, OH

Mike, I liked your Saturday answer to the new baseball statistic, but all good humor is based on truth. Several years ago (based on a one year study of all pitches in the MLB) I read that 13% of pitches are called incorrectly. Too make matters worse, the calls seem to have a racial bias. Care to comment.

I’ve never read anything about racial bias in the statistical studies, but I will say I’m now firmly convinced that at some point in my lifetime balls and strikes in Major League Baseball will be called by technology, not humans.

Phil from Wolverhampton, UK

Following on from Jim from Milwaukee’s question and your answer, when and why did the NFC Central change to the NFC North? Was this due the introduction of the expansion teams?

When the Houston Texans entered the league in 2002, the NFL went from 31 to 32 teams. For the previous few years, after the Browns came back in ’99, the league had five divisions of five teams each, and the AFC Central had six teams. With the addition of a 32nd team, the league realigned into eight divisions of four teams each, with the two Central divisions renamed North, and a South division added to each conference.

JR from East Moline, IL

I just learned that the Seahawks used to be in the AFC West. So who replaced them in the AFC West when they moved to NFC West, and what teams made up the NFC West before Seattle got there?

The current AFC West is the old AFC West minus Seattle. In the 2002 realignment, the old NFC West was split up. The St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers stayed, joined by Seattle and the Arizona Cardinals (from the NFC East, where they’d been placed as the St. Louis Cardinals at the merger). The rest of the old NFC West – New Orleans, Atlanta, Carolina (plunked there as an expansion team in ’95 because the division had only four teams at the time) – became three-fourths of the new NFC South, joined by Tampa Bay from the old NFC Central.

Marc from Aachen, Germany

Hey Mike, isn't there a bit of irony to the fact you guys are the only ones of us (as in "us, the Insider Inbox") working in the very same facilities we (as in "we, the Packers") are playing and still it is not appropriate for you to refer to the Packers as "we"? You are even paid from the very organization we (as in "we, the fans") only have a passionate kind of connection to.

My journalism roots and newspaper background just don’t allow me to go there, even though I’m perfectly aware who signs my paychecks and I’ve made it clear in this space before how much more enjoyable my job is when the Packers win. But when the Packers lose, it doesn’t change my job, therefore it doesn’t serve the readers if during the tough times I come off as a disgruntled fan who calls the team “we.”

Seth from Ladysmith, WI

Tell Ryan from Somerset not to be bashing Tony, WI. It produced Jimmy Leonhard. How did that work out?

I know Leonhard played at Flambeau High, but one of my favorite things about your town, Ladysmith, is the school sports teams are nicknamed the Lumberjacks (boys) and Lumberjills (girls). At least they were when I was covering high school sports in this state.

Karen from Kaukauna, WI

I read that both of Aaron Jones' MCL problems happened at Soldier Field. If that's correct, do you think there will be anything done differently this first game to keep from it happening a third time? Is there anything they could put on him for protection that wouldn't hamper his runs and turns? Might he be more timid there in view of his past? I have to admit reading that put this first game in a different perspective. A lot is riding on Jones’ breakout yardage this season.

I don’t know if Jones will take any added precautions. I’m just hoping since the Packers are playing there in the opener, the Soldier Field turf will be in the best possible shape it can be.

Mike from West Pittson, PA

I honestly love where GB is right now. We're healthy, motivated and not on too many pundits' SB radar. As Rodgers has stated numerous times, we seem to play better when we're flying under the radar. Let everyone pick Chicago and Minnesota. I'm fine with that. But I do think we're going to surprise a lot of people in 2019.

It’s all irrelevant, really. If the Packers make their presence known in the first two weeks against the Bears and Vikings, they won’t be able to avoid anyone’s radar.

Jake from Schererville, IN

Hey Mike/Wes, what is the difference between run blocking and pass blocking from the O-line perspective? I remember when the Bears had Cutler he seemed to consistently be one of the most sacked QBs in the league (I know this is partially due to him holding the ball too long also) but the Bears consistently produced a 1,000-yard running back in Forte. Was Forte that good for the Bears, or did they just run block better?

Both. Ask any lineman whether he’d rather run block or pass block and the answer is easy. In confrontations, the preference is usually to dictate rather than react.

Larry from Carney, MI

What is the most severe injury that you have had?

I had a greenstick fracture of my left fibula in college, but I practiced and played on it because I never knew I’d cracked the bone until the healing process was well underway. I just thought I had a really nasty high ankle sprain, which I did, but when it still hurt something fierce after six weeks I finally got an X-ray. Surprise. Never getting a cast saved my sophomore baseball season, though, so I had that going for me, which is nice.

Jim from Hainesville, IL

Spoff, I worked in radio for a while and did a lot of HS sports play-by-play. Though a different medium, I agree that Friday nights, sitting in a tiny press box with the smell of popcorn and brats rising up to me and the sounds of pads, whistles, coaches, cheerleaders and fans below me, were some of my favorite times! I have a couple of horror stories too, but feel free to edit this to only include the romantic, nostalgic reminiscence! HA! Thanks for reminding me of fun Friday nights.

The coaches I got to know were nice enough to let me roam the sidelines as I kept my own stats. One in particular would give me a look or a wink when he was about to call a trick play.

Roger from McGrath, AK

Could you explain why there are limits on practice-squad eligibility? Why not allow willing veterans to accept a spot if a team wants to offer them one? Which side of the bargaining table lobbies for limits and why? I've submitted similar questions during "living" zones and wasn't published so maybe now would work. As incentive, my 6-foot tall, bald-headed, lawyer brother with whom I share exactly one chromosome couldn't answer this question so if you can, you're smarter than him. Thanks.

In a counterintuitive sort of way, I think the limits on PS eligibility actually favor veteran players. Younger players are cheaper to have on the active roster, and if teams knew they could stash veterans who clear waivers on the practice squad (at PS salaries), there’d be fewer spots for veterans on the bottom third of 53-man rosters.

Dave from Mazomanie, WI

I have always been in awe of the fortitude and toughness that NFL rookies have. To go through a regular college season, then the combine/draft, and straight into offseason workouts has to take its toll. Do you see the second-year jump a result of actually getting time to rest as well as getting more comfortable in their respective systems?

For sure, and just gaining an understanding of what it takes to be a pro.

Rod from Chugiak, AK

It's aggravating the way narratives get a foothold and grow into embedded "fact." The common MVS take is he's little more than some barely OK late-rounder. Reality is, his doubters lack close observation. Had Rodgers not overthrown him on one wide-open long pass, and had he not inexplicably stumbled and gone down while running in a pretty open field after a catch, he'd have had far more than 700 yards and everyone would have been raving about how far he'd surpassed Greg Jennings’ rookie total.

It’s a fine line, isn’t it? Though I’ve always felt Jennings was the most polished receiver I’ve covered as a rookie, and had MVS topped his numbers, that opinion wouldn’t have changed.

Take a look at headshots of the full Green Bay Packers roster as of June 20, 2019.

Matt from Tomahawk, WI

In response to Mike from Somerset, I think most Packer fans are just excited and hopeful about our WR group, not necessarily confident. It seems like one ingredient to being the final team standing is to have young players outperform their contracts. Jordy, James and Cobb were also unproven at one point in their careers. So here’s to hoping our unproven WR group is one important ingredient this year.

One way or another, it will be.

Linnea from Milford, PA

Obviously there are numerous factors involved, but in your experience, which bond is stronger: between Rodgers and his linemen or between Rodgers and his receivers? Or does anything you've noticed distinguish the two?

I wouldn’t characterize one as stronger than the other because the bonds are different, though not mutually exclusive. With the receivers, it’s more mental, being on the same page, etc. With the linemen, it’s more a gratitude for their dirty work and a respect for what they physically put themselves through for the team.

Brandon from Huntington Beach, CA

The last sentence in your response to Jeff from Victorville, CA, gave me a great laugh. "All Perspective Will Be Lost, Win or Lose" would be an appropriate title to a documentary about Packers fans. If you were going to title a documentary about Packers fans, what would you name it?

“The most humble fans in the world. Just ask them.” I kid, of course.

Jonnie from Garden City, MI

I don't agree that all perspective will be lost no matter the outcome of the Packers-Bears opener. Gotta be wary when using absolutes. I will say some fans (or most fans) are going to overreact, but my hope is that you and Wes will prepare us to the point where we don't get too high or too low after just one game. Keep us focused on positives, show us what to learn from negatives, and help us love the game more deeply without creating unreasonable expectations. Keep up the good work!

The absolute was said in jest, but regardless, we’ll do our best. Happy Monday.

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