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Inbox: It's not a big secret

Defenses have to be unpredictable with their pressure


Jerry from Highland, CA

What are your thoughts on converting WR Michael Clark to the tight end position? I think his height and jumping ability would fit in nicely.

Three, two, one! One, two, three! What the heck is bothering me? Finally. Almost lost it there. Complete control now. Good morning!

Alex from Minneapolis, MN

Insiders, what player group do you see as the group to watch next season? Tight end seems to be the obvious choice, however I keep coming back to the interior pass rush. Like the TEs, there's talent and depth. Getting Mo could be the move that takes them from good to great. Obviously we won't know until the team takes the field, but I know what I'm looking forward to: watching that group go up against an arguably weakened Vikings offensive line in Week 2.

This is the deepest I can remember the Packers being on the defensive line during Mike McCarthy's tenure as head coach, including the Super Bowl season in 2010. There are so many different players with so many different skill sets. If that unit sticks together, that front can be a foundation.

Connor from Murray, UT

Joey Mbu! You guys did a Prospect Primer on him back in the day. Does this go up in the win column for the Primers?

I think you have to count it. Mbu adds another unique body type to the defensive line. He's a consummate pro who's known for his work ethic. He's coming in late, but he has a month to pick up the playbook and get ready to compete for a job at the end of July.

DT Joey Mbu was elevated to the active roster by Indianapolis on Nov. 7, 2017, and played in seven games.

Josh from Denver, CO

What three things need to happen for the Packers to have a top 10 overall defense this year?

It's not a big secret. Top 10 defenses collapse the pocket, are opportunistic with takeaway opportunities and get all 11 individuals on the field to play as one – and do it consistently. The more consistent a defense is in those three areas, the more likely it becomes that it finishes in the top 10.

Brian from Schertz, TX

Typically the best pass rushers line up against the left tackle, often the QB's blind side. If the purpose of the pass rush is to get sacks, this is great. However, if the focus of the pass rush is to disrupt timing, wouldn't it be better to have that top rusher come at the QB in his line of sight, causing him to throw early or run?

The best pass rushers traditionally have lined up against the left tackle, but the game has changed in that regard. Defenses need to pressure from both sides, which is why most coordinators these days rotate top outside linebackers/defensive ends on both sides. Defenses have to be unpredictable with their pressure.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Lots of training camp battles on the horizon. Which one intrigues you the most?

Cornerback. Easy. I can't wait to see how those rookie cornerbacks push the veterans and who lines up where in the opener against Chicago.

Roger from Indianapolis, IN

Do players get to select their own type of helmet to find the safest one? Do they have a practice helmet and a game helmet?

Players can use whatever approved NFL helmet they desire, though the league eliminated what the advisory panel felt were the 10 most dangerous helmets this offseason. Rookies no longer are permitted to use those and veterans have a one-year window to adjust. The helmet the player selects is the one he wears in both practice and on game day.

Marlene from Wausau, WI

When will the training camp schedule be announced?

Soon. It typically drops around mid-June.

Anthony from Milwaukee, WI

Guys, I would love to get paid millions and millions of dollars to essentially play two-hand touch. Fact is though, fans aren't going to pay to see this. NFL can do what it wants. But last I checked, football necessitated contact. And a good amount of it.

We've passed the era of promoting high-impact hits and collisions, but it's still a contact sport. That's in the DNA of football. That won't change. It's just about being smart and making sure these players can live a long and healthy life long after their careers are over.

Jim from Vienna, VA

"Both receiver and corner are also weighing when it's the right time to pull out their best moves. It's a long game." What effect do the play calls (offense, defense) have on the ability of the receiver or the DB to pull out their best moves? If a receiver's best move is an inside juke and then break for the pylon, doesn't that play have to be called in order for him to put out his best move?

I talked with Davante Adams about this last weekend for a story that'll appear in this year's Packers Yearbook. Adams studies the best receivers in the league, trying to take something away from each of them. So while he may have a particular area or route he excels at, Adams prides himself on being a well-rounded receiver who can run the route tree. Receivers tailor their skills for every play call.

Ben from Petal, MS

Which of the late FA signings will have the biggest impact this year (Lewis, Bell, Mbu)?

Marcedes Lewis. He's durable, versatile and brings a dimension to the offense the Packers haven't had in years. Mike McCarthy likes two-TE packages, so the snaps should be there for Jimmy Graham, Lewis, Lance Kendricks and whomever else finds their way onto the 53-man roster.

James from Asheville, NC

In all the talk regarding our running backs, what has been your impression of Devante Mays? He seems to be a bit of a forgotten man.

We talk so often about Ty Montgomery, Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones having different strengths. The same applies for Mays, who's by far the biggest back of the four at 5-foot-11, 230 pounds. He's a power back. There's only so many reps to go around this summer. Mays has to make every one of them count.

Mark from La Crosse, WI

The more time that passes, the more sure I am of Reggie White being the best defensive lineman to ever play the game. And yes, I know who Deacon Jones is, and I know who J.J. Watt is. That said, Houston might have the best in the game today, but Green Bay had the best there ever was. With all due respect, Watt doesn't have to worry about being chopped, leg whipped, or rolled up from behind. None of these current players do. Reggie would be unblockable in today's league.

He's the best pass rusher I've seen in my lifetime. I couldn't competently say how he compares to Deacon Jones and other legends, but White is the most disruptive defensive force I witnessed. He was durable and dominant from beginning to end.

Zach from Rochester, NY

If you could hypothetically "steal" one player from each of our division rivals to add to our current roster, who would you take? I would go with Anthony Barr from Minnesota, Kyle Long from Chicago, and Darius Slay from Detroit.

I'd say either Eric Kendricks or Slay. Slay is one of my favorite NFL players to watch. I just appreciate the way he plays and how he continually evolves his game. I've been high on Kendricks since he entered the league in 2015. He may not be the most heralded player in that Minnesota defense, but Kendricks is an essential piece of its success.

Jeff from Green Bay, WI

Is it just me, or is Earl Thomas picking the worst possible time to hold out, in a year where many quality safeties remain unsigned and the rest for less money than expected?

The Earl Thomas situation reminds me of Le'Veon Bell in a way. Both players are in the conversation for being the best at their position and want to be paid like it, so I don't blame Thomas. He just turned 29 and wants to get paid. Here is the problem – how do you set the market at what appears to be an undervalued position?

Al from Green Bay, WI

One of the overused terms I continue to hear/read is "shutdown corner." In the passing league that is the NFL, I believe a perfectly thrown pass to an athletic wide receiver is nearly indefensible, whether or not that receiver is "open." If I'm right, then maybe the more accurate term is "limited-damage corner." What is the Insider perspective?

The best quarterbacks win, but the best cornerbacks don't make it easy. So maybe the better term is "semi-shutdown cornerback"?

John from Belleview, FL

Pancho's comment about the need to "punish" your opponent in today's NFL brought two incidents to mind. The first was when I read Jim McKay's autobiography, where he stated that the only thing "Wide World of Sports" covered that he did NOT consider a sport was boxing because he felt the sole purpose of boxing was to injure your opponent. The second was an incident back in the day when Bart Starr suffered a concussion on a play. He stayed in the game, and on the next play, a wobbly Starr sat down hard on his backside, definitely unaware of his surroundings. The Vikings' defensive line came through the Packers' wall toward Starr. I don't remember if was Page or Eller, but one of them had a clear shot at Starr. He slowed up, walked up and patted the sitting Starr lightly on the head, taking him "down." That was sportsmanship.

Regardless of whether it was the 1960s or the 2010s, I firmly believe there are two types of pass rushers – those who hit to end the play and those who hit for the sake of hitting.

Jet from Bloomington, IN

I was just looking at our roster on the website and noticed that Ty Montgomery is a running back but has a number (88) more in line with wide receivers. Why is this? All the other running backs have numbers around the 30s.

He asked the NFL nicely if he could keep it and the league said, "Mmmk."

Craig from Brookfield, WI

It's hard to disagree with the Packers' decision to pony up and pay Davante Adams as a true No. 1 receiver. He clearly has the talent and potential for more. But it seems like a very high risk given the number of brutal head shots and concussions he's suffered. Are the Packers one "bell-ringing" away from losing their No. 1 receiver?

The hits were undoubtedly brutal, but Adams was fortunate the injuries weren't as bad as they looked. We've seen players who need a month to fully recover. Adams bounced back quickly without any light sensitivity, so I don't view this as the Packers taking a risk. It's the team rewarding one of its top players.

Spencer from Minneapolis, MN

I am traveling to Green Bay Sunday, July 15, to check out the Packers Hall of Fame with my dad for a late Father's Day present. I have heard about tours of Lambeau Field, is there anything else Packers-related to do on a Sunday up there? Other than take our beer/cheese communion, of course. I was looking to see if they would be having open-to-public practice but can't find it online here.

You're getting into town a little early. Training camp doesn't begin until July 26 (the rest of the schedule has yet to be released). There are still a lot of cool things to do, though. The new turf is on the field, and at some point the tours will resume their access to the field via the players' tunnel, which has been on hold during the work phase.

Elliott from Valparaiso, IN

Hey Wes, do you play Fallout? My body is ready for Fallout 76. Fallout.

I do not, though I feel like an expert after seeing all the ads for it during UFC 225.

Vince from London, England

Don't let Vic know, but who is your pick for the World Cup?

A little birdie told me Germany is a sleeper, so I'll go against the grain and say Deutschland.