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Inbox: It's not so much about pecking order

It’s the roles assigned based on who does what best

RB Jamaal Williams
RB Jamaal Williams

Ralph from Monchengladbach, Germany

Hello Insiders, the NFL owners meeting is coming up this week. What will be the interesting points on the agenda?

It sounds like there may be more discussion about the challenges and replay review on pass interference. The new rule might not be settled yet. Stay tuned.

Bill from Lenexa, KS

Spoff, watching tonight's Bucks-Raptors game go into double OT was incredible, even though the Bucks lost. But it got me thinking. What are the rules if an NFL playoff game ending in a tie at the end of the first OT period? What are the rules on that? One last thought on this...I hope I live long enough to see it happen no matter which teams are playing!

I looked back at the 2012 AFC Divisional game, Ravens-Broncos, to double-check. When the game went to the second OT, the drive from the end of the first OT simply continued. The quarter change was the same as first quarter to second quarter.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Randall Cobb was very effective lining up in the backfield and motioning out or running a route from there. Do you envision LaFleur doing anything similar? His offenses do utilize running backs as receivers, but how about vice versa? If so, which receiver on the roster would be best suited to that role?

I see LaFleur more apt to motion a running back out to see how the defense reacts. Whether or not he does so with a receiver could depend on which receivers make the team.

Todd from Brighton, MI

Interesting research by Cliff. Is it now agreed upon that the Lombardi quote regarding Gregg, "He is the finest football player I have coached," is most likely incorrect? And if you haven't ever read "When Pride Still Mattered" by David Maraniss, you don't know the real Lombardi.

Cliff has found no historical record of Lombardi ever uttering that quote about Gregg. It's become commonly accepted because Gregg's Pro Football Hall of Fame bio attributes the quote to Lombardi in his book "Run to Daylight," but the quote does not exist in the book. It's simply an error on the Hall of Fame's part that, apparently, it has declined to correct.

Richard from Racine, WI

Forrest Gregg article mentioned 187 consecutive games. What are some of the more recent longest consecutive game starts by Packers players? Brett Favre likely longest? What's the league record for most consecutive games?

The Packers' top six for consecutive games played is as follows: Favre 255, Mason Crosby 192, Gregg 187, Rob Davis 167, Willie Wood 166 and Larry McCarren 162. The NFL record is held by punter Jeff Feagles at 352 consecutive games, followed by Favre at 299. If you go by consecutive starts (rather than simply games played), Favre is tops at 297, followed by Minnesota DE Jim Marshall at 270.

Andrew from Oklahoma City, OK

Hello friends. This isn't intended to disparage anyone currently on the roster, but rather serve as an endorsement of an available free agent. If he's healthy, I'd love to see Ibraheim Campbell given another shot on this team. In his limited time last year, I think he showed enough to warrant at least a chance to fight for a spot on this roster. He graded out very well over at PFF and perhaps just as importantly he passed the eye test. The guy can play safety. Do you know the status of his recovery?

I do not, but I agree Campbell made a favorable impression, stepping into the Pettine defense he already knew and holding his own before he got hurt. If he's healthy, I suspect the next question is whether they feel he can help on special teams more than those already on the roster.

Jim from Woodbury, MN

How do you see the RB situation playing out?

Very competitively through all four preseason games. I see Jones as the clear No. 1 back, but after that it's not so much about pecking order for me as it is the roles assigned based on who does what best.

Mark from West Bend, WI

So Wes, what are we going to name that start of yours to the last "Unscripted"? Rock, paper, knife? Spoff didn't even know what to make of it.


Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Do you think one of the reasons Davante Adams doesn't get as much media love as guys like OBJ and Julio is because footwork and juking a guy out of his shoes aren't as exciting on the highlight reel as one-handed grabs and long bombs? A great route isn't as gonna make SportsCenter as much as an acrobatic leap.

Did you see Adams' falling-down, one-hander on the deep ball in Seattle last year? Or the one-handed snag down the sideline in Chicago from Hundley the year before? I guess he makes it look too easy.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

How long does the "He was a second-round, third-, fourth-, seventh-round pick" justify keeping a player on the team?

As long as the player is continuing to show progress such that his projected higher ceiling, A, still exists, and B, remains realistically attainable, a draft pick on his first contracts is more than likely going to get his chance to develop until someone else, probably at his position, has a higher ceiling and is closer to it.

Marin from West Lawn, PA

Has Matt LaFleur had previous experience with joint practices with other teams that led him to schedule practices with Houston?

Yes. Last year, Tennessee held two joint practices with Tampa Bay, and the year before, the Rams practiced once with the Chargers.

Dylan from Chapel Hill, NC

Loudest group at camp this year: kids yelling at J.J. Watt to ride their bike or grown men yelling at J.J. Watt to come play for the Packers?

I'll go with the kids.

Dan from Twin Lakes, WI

Wes answered a few Kevin King/Jaire Alexander questions in Saturday's Inbox but there's one thing I've not seen mentioned that I am greatly anticipating – the competition between these two Alpha males. With both of these guys' swagger, I can't even imagine either one of them being happy with "No. 2" or even "No. 1B" status. Exciting times ahead!

They won't settle, but they're so physically different that body-type matchups could play into who's acting as the No. 1 or No. 2 a given week.

Darrell from San Antonio, TX

I would think at some point during training camp there has to be a 100-yard dash between Alexander and Savage. If you're handicapping this one who has the edge? I watched every game Alexander played at Louisville and I would not rule him out.

I wouldn't either. Toss-up.

David from San Francisco, CA

James Starks had a rough rookie season?

It's easy to forget he didn't see the field for the first time as a pro until Dec. 5, 2010.

Josh from Melbourne, Australia

I assume Lowry and Adams are competing for the other starting DE spot opposite Daniels. Who's shaping up as the front-runner there and what happens with Keke thrown into the mix? I assume we're going to see a lot of rotation in the front seven this season.

Your concluding statement means more than your preceding question.

Jake from Crandon, WI

Gentlemen, my question is what you thought of Tony Brown? I saw serious talent without discipline. Do you think that can be couched into him and will he make a big Year 2 leap as a UDFA? Thanks for your time!

The fact that Brown's lack of discipline in a couple of early, very visible instances didn't cost him a roster spot told me the Packers must believe there's legitimate talent to harvest. Now it's up to Brown to take advantage of a second chance not every young player gets and prove them right.

Ryan from Manchester, England

More of a statement than a question. I used to think it barely mattered whether players were picked in Round 7 or went undrafted. However, as per ESPN, Ty got $90,000 extra on his signing bonus than the UDFAs. That matters, a lot.

To the player, absolutely. To the team, it's just the cost of doing business.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

It was frequently written that McCarthy would not play a RB who had not sufficiently mastered pass protection and blitz pickup. Do you know whether LaFleur has a similar view? Or whether blitz pickups in this scheme differ from what McCarthy required of his backs?

I don't see blitz pickups differing by scheme necessarily. They're a matter of recognition and technique more than anything. I don't see LaFleur taking a chance on a play call that might require that assignment by a running back he's not confident can protect Rodgers, if that's what you're asking.

Eric from El Paso, TX

I keep reading about Green Bay Packer Yearbooks in your columns, but I have not heard about or seen one in decades and, if they are still being published, I would really appreciate finding out how to place an order for a copy each year or subscribing to receive a copy. Thanks in advance for your assistance.

They're published every year in July. Once they're available, we usually throw a link or two in the column to the Pro Shop web page where they can be ordered. We'll do so again. Thanks for your interest.

Jeff from Winnipeg, Manitoba

Please don't go to a chain restaurant for beers in Winnipeg or take any tourism advice from someone in Vikings territory. Also, Little Brown Jug in the Exchange District is the place to go.

With all due respect, the Exchange District does not sound like the right place to go for someone crossing a border.

Brad from Gallatin, TN

It seems to me the debate on filling out a 53-man roster centers on how many wide receivers, tight ends, or defensive backs to keep. Are other positions locked in how many you need to field a team?

Not at all. There are general minimums needed for any given position group, but beyond those, the numbers can vary greatly from team to team.

Matthew from Brooklyn, NY

What position/position group would you be most upset if by next year's draft was a need?

In terms of a glaring priority? Edge rusher.

Rich from Sierra Vista, AZ

If I remember correctly, the Packers had the top-ranked offense and the top-ranked defense in 1996. This is truly remarkable. How often in the course of 100 years has this happened where one team, Packers or otherwise, have had the best offense and the best defense in the same year?

The '96 Packers scored the most points and allowed the fewest points in the league. They were the first to accomplish that feat since the undefeated '72 Dolphins, and I don't think anyone's done it since. It's happened 10 times or so over the course of NFL history, including the '62 Packers. Even more rare is ranking first on both sides of the ball in points and yards. Those '72 Dolphins, I believe, were the last team to do that.

Terry from Rothschild, WI

I see the premium pricing on the Lombardi house that is for sale. What will the premium be on the Hod and Spoff houses when they go on the market?

Ha, good one.

Brock from Albany, NY

Hey there Mike, just curious as to why you'd go with Lofton over Sterling Sharpe? Sharpe's triple crown and catch accolades, as well as how his unfortunate injury kept him off a Super Bowl-winning team, seems like another strong candidate.

Absolutely. For those wondering, this is in reference to a question I answered last week in my live chat regarding the greatest Packers player to never win a Super Bowl. I chose Lofton. He's the only Packers player from the Super Bowl era in Canton without a ring. Sharpe might be a close second, but Lofton's pure athletic ability was a game-changer.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Regarding the idea of a draft lottery in the NFL, the concept of a lottery is to counter tanking. With NFL contracts being non-guaranteed each player has very little incentive to engage in tanking behavior even if the ownership would desire it.


Joe from Clio, MI

With Patrick Peterson suspended for six games and not getting paid will the Cardinals' cap not get charged that amount? How about the pro-rated signing bonus, do they get relief from that?

No relief on the signing bonus, but what they don't pay Peterson in game checks is not charged to the cap.

Steve from Barnhart, MO

Last time the Packers had a new head coach and offensive system with an aging great at quarterback it resulted in a revival of his talents. There is precedent to suggest this will work the same this time as well, especially with someone as athletic and intelligent as Rodgers.

And he's not coming off a 29-interception season, either.

John from Onalaska, WI

Do you guys ever get II submissions from other fan bases (like division rivals) to troll the Inbox? Just curious if you have to deal with other crazy fans, or just us Packer fans.

I see some from time to time. I try not to publish an obvious troll, but I'm sure some of the more subtle, deceptive types have snuck through.

Jerry from Grantsburg, WI

Not that we needed any more proof it is the offseason, but I had a vivid dream about the Packers against the Bears. The Pack were up 17-11, and the Bears had the ball with less than a minute remaining. The defense dropped an easy interception and the Bears converted a fourth down. They had the ball with less than 10 seconds remaining and were just outside the red zone. Trubisky steps back to pass and my alarm clock went off. Can we just skip preseason this year?

108 days and counting. Did you know there's only been one game in NFL history to end with a 17-11 score? One. Broncos-Chiefs in 1988, according to Pro Football Reference. So, I guess that means either your dream ends with an extreme rarity, or the opener is going to OT. Right? Happy Monday.