Robert from Harris, MN
Mike, thank you for offering your well thought out, researched, glib or emotional responses on anything you choose to. Be it Packers, football, sports in general or anything else. It is what you are paid to do. It is for the rest of us hunyucks who are all too willing to give our opinions away for free, to read them, consider them, agree or disagree and then keep our big boy pants out of a bundle and move on.
Spoff sent me his retort before Inbox posted on Friday morning. I found it to be thorough, measured and honest. And I was pleased to see that sentiment was shared by many of readers in the submissions. Wherever you stand on issues, we need more civility in this world.
Jeff from Wentzville, MO
Spoff: "... The bottom line is I expected better from our country. I sincerely hope all of us did. It didn't have to be this way five months later. That's all I was trying to say." And Spoff: You said it very eloquently. Let's all (hopefully) agree to move on. On to (hopefully) some Packers football.
Deal. We have practice in a few hours. Let's get to it.
Julian from Gastonia, NC
Do you think that the psychological impact on player performance from playing in front of near-empty stadiums will become fodder for the media to speculate on why some players are performing well, while others not so much? It should be very interesting as I do believe crowds change players' adrenaline as well as performance.
I'm sure there will be teams that adjust better to playing without crowds. That being said, it's an adjustment the Packers are prepared to make. Matt LaFleur already plans to hold some practices inside Lambeau Field and I think that'll help acclimate players to that environment. Personally, I cannot wait to see how Aaron Rodgers performs in these conditions. I think it could be perfect for the chess game he likes to play pre-snap, especially with his hard count.
Jake from Lake Mills, WI
As a player and coach, there's always a sense of excitement and anxiousness and intensity that surrounds the first day or two of practice, especially when the pads come on. How does it feel for either of you two? Just another day on the job? Or is the energy so palpable you can't help but feel it, too?
There's definitely a palpable energy before the first practice of training camp. It has a first day of school-type feel. This year is even more special, given everything we've all been through over the last five months. I'm just excited to cover football again.
Mary from Billings, MT
Are you as pumped up as I am for the pads to come on?
Yes. But that won't come until next week. Teams need to have two unpadded practices and an off day before the pads can go on.
Mike from Mercer, WI
Gentlemen, which position group do you think has the better chance to be in sync at the start of the season considering they don't have the opportunities to practice them against each other all that much, the offense or the defense? Also, do the special teams have players that play on both kickoff and kick return teams? It seems to me that would be pretty difficult to practice since a player can't be in both places at the same time.
I'd say the defensive front has the best chance of being in sync because of how many key contributors return from last year's unit. I expect the Preston Smith, Za'Darius Smith, Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry and the rest of the group to hit the ground running, especially with how fresh everyone should be after a fully virtual offseason. The Packers invested heavily into the defense over the past two years and need that group to set the tone. And yes, they have several guys who play on both kickoff units – Will Redmond, Ty Summers and Oren Burks just to name a few.
Dean from Leavenworth, IN
Wes, I feel the excitement from 500 miles away. As the players hit the field today will you, Mike, John and Larry be on-hand to witness the first full practice of training camp? Will you have a live blog from the practice field?
Larry, Spoff and I will all be on-hand. They'll be on the sidelines and I'll be in the stands. We won't have a live blog but Spoff and I will be tweeting observations, in addition to our usual stories, videos and analysis later on packers.com.
Al from Green Bay, WI
Like everyone, I'm REALLY looking forward to the first practice Saturday. For best viewing, do you recommend my drone hover over the north or south end of the field?
What a time to be alive.
Dale from Lima, NY
The article about Kevin King revealed nicknames I hadn't known of before: "Sav" (for Darnell Savage) and "Smash" (for Adrian Amos). If you could give any current Packers player a nickname that would stick, (a) What would it be? (b) Who would it be for? And (c) Why?
First, I take full credit for "Big Bob" Tonyan. If you don't believe me, you can go back and look on Twitter. The same goes for my friend, Michael Cohen, who welcomed us to the " Tim Boyle Laser Show" two years ago. The other nickname I like to throw around is calling Tyler Lancaster, "The Juggernaut."
Jared from Dodgeville, WI
With the Chiefs having next to no cap room and still re-signing Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes, and Chris Jones, do you think that is something Gute can copy and get deals done for Clark, David Bakhtiari, Kevin King, Corey Linsley, and Aaron Jones?
I'm not familiar with KC's cap situation but teams have so much more flexibility to get extensions done when players have a year left on their deals. That allows them to spread out signing bonuses by an extra year and get creative with the structure of the deal.
Trey from Indianapolis, IN
Andrew Brandt recently tweeted that a team saying "they don't have the cap room" is equivalent to a girl "just not being that into you." That being said, is there any chance the Packers aren't able to sign Clark and Bakhtiari to extensions? Asking this after seeing what the Chiefs have done in recent months after only having $171 in cap space.
It's a cute phrase, I guess, but are NFL teams actually saying that? Every agent has access to the cap, so there's nothing to hide. You never know how negotiations will go, but I'm confident the Packers will do everything in their power to keep Clark and Bakhtiari. They're two of the best at their respective positions in the NFL.
Jim from Bloomington, IL
Have the Packers closed the gap on the 49ers? Have they closed the gap on the 49ers? Honestly, I don't think the Packers are much better today than they were when they lost the NFC Championship Game.
Sean from Chicago, IL
Wes, I know this is meaningless and I should probably just ignore it, but it's been stuck in my craw driving me crazy. About a week ago, Tom Brady made a comment about the challenges of learning a new offense for the first time in 19 years and it was barely a blip on the national media's radar. I can't imagine what their reaction would have been if Aaron Rodgers said that last year. On a related note, thanks to you and Mike for being the source for 99.9% of my Packer news.
Thank you, Sean. It is kind of strange how Brady has largely received a free pass over the years, whereas anything Rodgers says gets put under the microscope by national pundits. It is what it is, I suppose.
Richard from Farmington Hills, MI
Mike, well said. And as to the bubble, there's no way the NFL (or MLB) could play the regular season in bubbles. There are too many players (and others) involved and a need for too many fields to make it practical. Implementing a bubble for some, or all, of the postseason does make some sense.
You have to be very naïve to look at what the NBA is doing, and think MLB and the NFL can easily replicate that. There were only 24 teams in the Orlando bubble to begin with and each team has how many people with it? Like 35. There's 80 players on each NFL team right now. Once the regular season begins, there will still be 69 between the active roster and practice squad. There's too many variables having 3,000-plus people live in a bubble for five or six months. To me, it comes down to daily testing. I'm glad the NFLPA fought for that. If the NFL can largely quarantine teams for 48 hours before games, I think this plan can work – as long as players and coaches stay disciplined.
Don from Swaledale, IA
We know players can opt out, what about an entire team opting out? Could the Packers for instance opt out of the season? It must be nice to have a soap box to climb on.
Anyone can opt out but players need to fall into the high-risk category to receive the larger, nonrefundable stipend.
Eric from Oshkosh, WI
Laser goalposts would be really effective on a nerf football, don't you think? All that nerf foam dust raining down from the sky would be a sight to behold!
Ah, I love the smell of singed foam in the morning.
Jorge from Guadalajara, Mexico
When is the team expecting our COVID-19 list of isolated players be back to practice? As a result of this, some additional cuts would have to be made so that the team remains within the 80-player limit, am I right?
Brian Gutekunst seemed to suggest earlier this week some players could be back this weekend. Once players are cleared to return, a corresponding roster move would need to be made in order for the team to practice with 80 players.
Eric from Stramproy, Netherlands
Here's to an interesting, healthy and fun training camp. And maybe provide a bit of distraction from everyday worries.
The past five months have been one continuous Groundhog Day for me, so I'm more than ready to get back on the practice field. Speculation and hypotheticals make way for facts and reality today, and I am here for it.