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Inbox: It's forcing the defense to make a choice

That’s the definition of a chess piece


David from Janesville, WI

Lots of feedback from the defense regarding Pettine's initial impression. It reminds me of Bart Starr calling Cherry after Lombardi's first meeting and telling her, "We're going to win." I hope the results are similar.

Winning in this league is not about what you think. It's about what you believe. Good morning!

Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

Suggestion for Wes (and perhaps the Packers, too). Instead of softball, why don't you give Chicago mushball a try?

*Googles "Chicago mushball"*

Raymond from Americus, GA

Imagine Green Bay at the goal line with no wideouts and Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis and Lance Kendricks lined up in a tight formation and Aaron Ripkowski leading Ty Montgomery. You could legitimately pass out of this formation with a very high probability of success when you consider the defense will have its run personnel in. The amount of flexibility this formation gives is huge.

This is what Lewis was talking about last week at his locker – do you go nickel or base? Regardless, it's forcing the defense to make a choice whether it goes big and risks linebackers getting matched against Graham or small and getting beat between the hashes. The more you can tilt situational football to your advantage, the better your odds of walking out with a W.

Andy from Deerfield, WI

Is Ty Montgomery being overlooked? I feel like he is a great chess piece. Overlooked in fantasy football. Bigger, badder version of Randy Cobb. Ty is a mismatch nightmare!

It's hard to say Montgomery is "overlooked" due to his unique skill set. If you're asking me if I think people are sleeping on No. 88, however, I would agree with that. When he's on the game-day roster, defensive coordinators have to stay aware of where he is at all times. That's the definition of a chess piece.

Ray from Duncannon, PA

Will we see a lot of two-tight-end sets and who do you see being targeted the most?

Davante Adams and Randall Cobb have caught a ton of passes the past two seasons, so that's still going to be the starting point of the offense when they're on the field. However, Graham has caught at least 57 passes in six of his eight NFL seasons. Comparatively, only four tight ends have ever surpassed that threshold in the Packers' long history. It's going to be fireworks if everyone stays healthy.

Griffin from Belmont, NC

Individual sacks look great on paper, but is there a magic percentage for a sack per X amount of forward passes that the coaches strive for? Do you know what that number is?

Sacks aren't everything. They're important, but they're not the only indication of generated pressure. It's one of the reasons I feel it took so long for Mike Daniels to get his proper due. His four or five sacks a season from 2013-15 didn't tell the whole story of the disruption he was causing. I don't have a magic formula other than tracking pressures and QB hits. Turn on the film to see how much a quarterback is affected.

Aaron from Sour Lake, TX

Is Mike Daniels a defensive end or tackle? On some websites he's considered defensive end and others defensive tackle and I just want a little clarity.

If a player takes a bulk of his reps at either one- or three-technique, I consider that individual a defensive tackle.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

In your opinion, does the Byron Bell signing effectively mean that the Pack will not be bringing back Jahri Evans? Also, what is your assessment of Bell compared with Evans? My thoughts are that Evans, while older, has been the more productive player and has shown that he is more durable, and would've been my preference.

Bell gives the Packers more flexibility than Evans, who has been a right guard since he entered the league in 2006. He's also five years younger. I wouldn't say the door is shut on Evans possibly returning at some point. The Packers are just evaluating their options at right guard for the moment.

Keith from Lake Forest, IL

With what you have seen thus far in OTAs, how do this year's rookie CBs compare/contrast to what you saw from Randall, Rollins and King at this stage the past two seasons?

It's impossible to compare King because he had to leave after rookie orientation last year due to the trimester rule with players who hadn't earned their degrees yet. It's hard to draw any conclusions from OTAs, but what has stood out to me about Jaire Alexander is his closing speed, quickness jumping routes, and his swagger comes as advertised.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

The onside kick is one of the most exciting plays in football. Wouldn't the league want to at least maintain the integrity of the recovery rate, if not increase it?

The NFL wants to strike a balance between maintaining the quality of the game you know and love, and doing what's in the best interest of its players' safety. Tough calls have to be made, though. For now, I'm reserving judgment on the revamped kickoff rules until we see it play out on the field.

Jeff from Kenosha, WI

Mike Pettine is emphasizing the interior pass rush on defense and the players mentioned are Daniels, Wilkerson and Clark. I've never heard Montravius Adams mentioned. He seems to be the forgotten man. What was the scouting report on him in relation to providing inside pressure?

Adams is still in the conversation. It's just three things – there are four established veterans at the position, the offseason program isn't a time when line play is emphasized and he's still a young player. His inside-rush ability played into the Packers drafting Adams in the third round last year. He'll get a chance to show what he can do in training camp.

Zach from Virginia Beach, VA

Wes called Kizer raw. How can a guy who has already started 15 games be considered raw?

Because he started those 15 games at the most difficult position in the NFL at only 21 years old. Kizer has the tools to play this game at a high level, but it takes time to develop those skills. This environment is conducive to that growth.

Dan from Little Chute, WI

Hey guys, I met Tim Boyle at the softball game as he signed my jersey and noticed he's pretty cool. Then I saw him chuck a softball from the back of the outfield to home plate with astounding accuracy and enough power to have the ball travel another 20 yards or so, all while wearing JK Scott's jersey. How is he looking in OTAs so far?

Boyle is a phenomenal athlete. He had some bad luck with injuries and coaching changes at UConn, but there's a reason the Packers are so high on his upside. He has a great arm (which you obviously witnessed) and a pro frame. There are some mechanical tweaks the Packers are making, but I expect him to perform this preseason.

Michael from Winona, MN

Ezra Johnson once was a target of ridicule because he ate a hot dog while on the bench during a game. Are today's players encouraged to eat certain foods during the game (along with their fluid intake) that might benefit their performance? Thank you!

I'm sure any NFL nutritionist would have a heart attack if he or she saw a player eating a hot dog, on or off the field in 2018. I haven't heard much about players eating during games, though. There are gummies and certain energy snacks available, but nothing as substantial as a hot dog.

Mike from New Haven, IN

What is the thinking behind playing 220-pound inside linebackers who can't defend the run while the roster has several 250- and 260-pound guys listed at OLB?

This is both a blanket statement and an incredibly shortsighted observation. First, the Packers have one 220-pound inside linebacker (Ahmad Thomas) and he was on the practice squad last year. I can't imagine you have a firm evaluation on him. Second, you don't use 220-pound inside linebackers in the base defense on first-and-10. It's not Madden. Guys move in and out of the lineup on every series.

Nick from Chicago, IL

One thing about Tramon Williams is his old-school style of play: aggressive, on-the-line pressure, sticky coverage and no hesitation tackling. Besides his leadership and professionalism, what's one physical characteristic you enjoy from Williams?

His sneaky athleticism. That's one thing I don't think he's gotten nearly enough credit for during his career.

Bill from Honesdale, PA

Clay's injury isn't unprecedented. I recall a similar situation happening some years ago with much worse results. A rookie running back blew out a knee playing in an NFL-sponsored touch football game in the sand as part of the Pro Bowl festivities. I believe it may have been a Patriot draft pick but am not sure.

You're talking about Robert Edwards after his 1,115-yard rookie season in 1998. He made a brief return to the NFL with the Dolphins in 2002 before finishing his playing career in the CFL. I'd argue beach football is a bit more dangerous for a running back than softball, though.

Mitch from Stillwater, MN

I must admit the Bears signing free agent Zack Miller to a one-year deal when they knew he wouldn't play was a class act. It is nice hearing stories that aren't just about the business side of the game but the personal/family side. Gotta love this game.

From what I've heard, Miller is an exceptional guy, too. Hats off to them.

Collin from Mechanicsville, VA

If a team was created using the "Top 100" players list using all 100 players, and another team was created using the remaining players in the NFL, would there be enough talent to beat the "Top 100" team in a head-to-head, 16-game showdown?

The real question is whether the "Top 100" team could stay healthy on the offensive line for the entire season because there's usually only five or six guys making the list.

Colin from Plymouth, UK

How much experience does this year's rookie class have in playing outdoors in the depths of a Midwestern winter, and how long does it take to acclimatize to playing on the frozen tundra?

I don't think it takes long. The Packers have had a lot of players from California (Aaron Rodgers, James Jones, Davante Adams and Kenny Clark) and Florida (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Josh Sitton, Damarious Randall and Sam Shields) who had no issue acclimating to Green Bay's winter weather. That first snow might catch a few rookies by surprise, but football is football no matter where it's played.

Randy from Medicine Hat, Canada

So, why were the old "Ask Vic" columns deleted? Was it a case of professional jealousy, or another example of a couple of millennials trying to get rid of anything to do with history? Talk about biting the hand that fed you!

You're right. We're professionally jealous of what Vic wrote about the Packers in 2011. Everything will be brought over eventually. Rhinelander wasn't built in a day. Calm your horses.

Steve from Barnhart, MO

If the NFL and MLB drafts are like apples and avocados, which is the apple and which is the avocado?

There are some answers you must discover for yourself.