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Inbox: It's one of 13 in league history

Will a one-point safety ever happen?


Chris from Fairfax, VA

If you've got Banjo coverage on one side of the field, and Chris Banjo playing safety on the other side of the field, would the defense be playing Dueling Banjos?

And we're off …

Nathan from San Diego, CA

What type of player activity is there at Lambeau between the end of OTAs/minicamp and the start of training camp?

Not much, other than some players who are in town using the facility to work out on their own. Otherwise, it's a ghost town downstairs.

Brandon from Omaha, NE

I recently argued with someone that said the Pettine addition isn't as great as us Packer fans are making it out to be because in the past, each top-ranked defense he had was with a head coach that was a defensive specialist (Harbaugh, Ryan, etc.). Then when Pettine was the head guy in Cleveland, their defense stunk. Now that he's paired with an offensive guy like McCarthy, he doesn't think Pettine can get this defensive group to produce the same. Any thoughts?

2015 was a rough year in Cleveland all around, and the Manziel mess didn't help. But in 2014, the Browns ranked ninth in the league in points allowed, and they were 7-4 with Brian Hoyer at quarterback before he got hurt and things fell apart. You referenced the other coaches around Pettine. What about the quarterback? He's never run a defense with anyone close to the caliber of Aaron Rodgers on the other side of the ball. That's the most intriguing thing to me about what an accomplished defensive coach like Pettine might be able to do.

Mike from Pewaukee, WI

Speaking of 99-yard plays, don't the Packers own the longest pass play from scrimmage? Didn't Favre connect with Robert Brooks for 99 yards in Chicago during a Monday night game?

Of course, in 1995, but it's one of 13 TD passes of 99 yards in league history. All different QBs and different receivers. Interestingly, three of the first four were achieved by Washington, but no other franchise has done it more than once.

Bill from Liverpool, NY

Insiders, as long as we're talking about length-of-the-field type plays, the longest punt in NFL history was by Steve O'Neal of the N.Y. Jets in 1969 at Mile High Stadium. 98 yards. How's that for flipping field position!

Tony from Bronxville also mentioned this, and your notes prompted me to look it up. O'Neal was a rookie, and the video is amazing. As the ball is coming to rest on the 1, the returner picks it up and gets tackled at the 2, so the net on the punt was 97 yards. Unreal.

Calvin from Jacksonville, FL

For a rare football play, the one-point safety is so rare that it has never happened in the NFL. It has happened twice in college football.

It was all-but-impossible in the NFL until a few years ago. Now that defenses can try to run back conversion attempts for two points, a one-point safety – which occurs when a defensive player gains possession of the ball on a conversion and gets tackled in his own end zone – might actually happen sometime.

Drew from Billings, MT

Speaking of long plays, what about Dre Kirkpatrick's interception last year? That went over 100 yards without a score, with the pick occurring in the end zone and returned to the 1-yard line after the fumble. It's hard to imagine that will happen again. Or another play from scrimmage being longer without a score.

Agreed, though the play almost gets an asterisk because the mistake that cost him the touchdown was self-inflicted. No one touched him and he lost the ball.

Lori from Winona, MN

It's not a singular occurrence, but only two NFL quarterbacks have caught their own touchdown pass.

Brad Johnson and Marcus Mariota, right? Nicely done.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Are you allowed to accept bets publicly in the Inbox? If so, I accept Mike's bet. I will take a 98-yard play from scrimmage without a score happening before a 99-yard touchdown run. Shall we put down one dollar apiece?

Gambling is illegal at Bushwood … or at least it used to be.

Shane from York, NE

Mike, a few years ago while you were filling in for Vic, you mentioned an incident or memory of a World Cup match. The next day Vic returned and posted a reader's follow-up question and responded with something along the lines of, "There'll be no more mention of this." I've forgotten your initial statement and the question, but I'm still wondering about it.

It was about attending a World Cup qualifier between Spain and Denmark while I was overseas in college. One of the most memorable experiences of my life. I still can't watch soccer on TV, but I'll never forget going to an event like that.

Hilmi from Ankara, Turkey

International fans watch NFL games at the weirdest hours. What is the oddest time at which you've ever watched a game?

Going back to my semester abroad in Spain again, I watched Games 5 and 6 of the 1993 World Series between the Phillies and Blue Jays in the middle of the night. Joe Carter's walk-off home run off Mitch Williams occurred sometime between 5 and 6 a.m.

Paul from Minneapolis, MN

How much angst did you see in your Inbox for not including Butkus and Nitschke in your top four?

Not as much as I thought, frankly. I'd replace Lewis with Butkus or Nitschke without complaint, but my choice of four was about collecting a variety of linebackers, skillset-wise, not just a bunch of the same guy.

David from Howards Grove, WI

I've been lucky to have seen several games at Lambeau Field, including a couple playoff games. One of my favorites was against Dallas. We sat with a couple of guys who had driven 18 hours straight to see the Cowboys play in Green Bay. They were awestruck! What other stadiums should be on everyone's "must see a game at" list.

Lambeau is definitely No. 1 in the NFL. From a longevity and atmosphere perspective, the next one on the list might be Arrowhead in Kansas City.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

Mike, if Hundley slightly outperforms Kizer through training camp and preseason (which is somewhat expected given his three years in the system), does he still lose the job to Kizer given his performance last year? If the Packers only decide to keep one backup, what do you think will be factors in choosing between the two?

Because the Packers gave up a first-round pick for Kizer, I don't see him getting cut even if Hundley outplays him, if that's what you're asking. I think the Packers would keep three QBs in that scenario. The way I see it, Kizer's development and progress in the preseason could determine whether they only keep two.

Darren from Kingston, Ontario

Mike, Charles from Omaha's question about buying you guys a College World Series beer got me thinking. Are our beloved Insiders able to accept small gifts from us fans? Now before Wes gets too excited, please know I'm talking about items of little monetary value that could be representative of where we come from. How does organic bean-to-bar Canadian maple chocolate sound, Mike? It'd be our way of showing our appreciation for the entertainment and educational value you deliver all year round.

You are too kind. Wes and I would never turn down a nice gesture, and in an email-based forum, one piece of real mail is awfully exciting for us. But everyone's loyal readership is appreciation enough. I really mean that.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

Hi Mike, would you expect there to be any more signings prior to or midway through training camp? You called it on the post-compensatory period signings. I have to believe that a pass rusher not on the team will be added. Do you agree? And do you think it will happen before cut-down day? I understand Pettine's emphasis on interior rush over outside pressure but given that they've (on paper) shored up the interior, I wonder if the outside rush will be addressed.

I'm not sure about anything prior to training camp at this point, though I'd never rule it out. More likely might be additions similar to last year at the end of the preseason (Odom waiver claim, Brooks signing). Those never surprise me, anywhere on the roster, really. It all depends on how camp and the preseason unfold.

Matheus from Blumenau, Brazil

I think Ron from Tolleson was talking about OPOY and DPOY. It happened just last season with the Rams, Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald.

Indeed, and in 2003 with the Ravens, Jamal and Ray Lewis.

Patrick from Bel Air, MD

With all due respect, you MUST ban Paul from Ellensburg. His question may offend the football gods. It give me the willies reading questions like his. I had to knock on wood seven times!

By posting it I'm trying to lessen the offense to the deities. It's my way of knocking on wood sometimes.

Joe from East Moline, IL

What I really like about the '10 Packers (other than the obvious) is that, despite losing six games, they never lost by more than four points. And I think they lost two OT games in a row. Scrappers. Besides the '07 Pats and '75 Dolphins, are there any other teams in this club? Also, I'm going by Joe, now, in the Insider world.

I'm not a big fan of name changes (yes, I noticed, Matthias from Hartford), but I can live with it. I've always felt the most amazing stat about that Packers team is it never trailed in a game, all season, by more than seven points. Think about that.

Randy from Billings, MT

Since some questions have come up about salaries, confusion sets in. I understand the weekly salaries during the season, but how do the players not under a 53-man or practice-squad contract get paid during the OTAs, training camp and preseason? Thanks for clarifying.

First of all, there are no practice-squad contracts until the regular season, when the practice squad is established. But there are standard stipends paid out during the stages of the offseason you mentioned.

Jay from Land O'Lakes, FL

Guys, I think the preseason will be much more interesting this season than in the past. If you think about true position group battles for starting spots, you have running back, cornerback, wide receiver and offensive line. How much does game play in the preseason weigh in a coach's decisions on designating starters versus a player's performance in practice?

It all counts, and it's all evaluated. The preseason games carry more weight because they're closer to the real thing, but a couple of bad plays aren't necessarily going to overshadow an extended period of reliable work in practice.

Tracy from Sioux Falls, SD

How are players evaluated at the professional level? Athleticism is pretty apparent and you know it when you see it. However, what credit is given to actually making the play? The reason I ask is my daughter plays competitive fastpitch and looks ungainly on defense. At the plate, it's a different story. She still makes key defensive plays, but doesn't pass the eye test when doing it, even though she is successful. How do coaches at the top of their profession know the difference between them?

Those questions usually answer themselves. At the very top level of a sport, the game is so fast and precise that athletic shortcomings that are significant enough eventually show up and will affect a player's ability to perform. But if it can still be done against the best of the best, coaches know they can teach better technique. They just can't teach athleticism.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Mike, in the article defining how the defense appreciates Mike Pettine's personal touch, details about his coaching style emerged revealing that he conducts personal interviews with the coaches and players, has them write out their goals, and tells them his vision of how they fit into his defensive schemes. This seems like fundamental communication. How does MP's mode of operation differ from that of most other coaches?

I don't know if it's all that different from others, but those behind-the-scenes elements often aren't revealed or discovered externally. Kudos to Wes for getting the details.

Aaron from Sour Lake, TX

What is the most bizarre/absurd question you have gotten while doing Insider Inbox?

Not this one. Have a good day, everybody.


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