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Inbox: It’s what he needs

LB Oren Burks
LB Oren Burks

Craig from Appleton, WI

If Wes did his Kool Aid Man impersonation and actually ran through a wall for Coach Smith, how thick would the wall be and what material would it be made of?

And we’re off, so we might as well get going.

Wes from South St. Paul, MN

Mike, just reading about the failed attempt to claim Legget off waivers. What goes into the determination of waiver levels?

The claim order right now is essentially the same as the draft order (minus the trades that altered it), based on last year’s records. It shifts in Week 4 of the regular season to current records.

Scott from Madison, WI

We apparently put in a (failed) waiver claim on a TE this week. What positions in particular do you think the Packers may be keeping an eye on regarding free agents and the waiver wire?

Any and all where players are available whom they’ve evaluated to be better than those on the current roster. No one’s 90 is ever set. The churning never stops.

Jordan from Walpole, MA

Is it wrong to be extremely excited for this season? I can’t help but look at the roster and become giddy at the potential. Between the young secondary, the young receivers, schematic changes, a revamped pass rush and hungry vets like Graham and Daniels looking for a bounce back, I see so many places where the team could get better. Obviously it’s just potential, but I feel this team has been given a real shot in the arm.

It has. Now it’s what the team does with it.

Chad from La Crosse, WI

Is Reggie Gilbert the forgotten-about OLB? With all the new pieces how do you see Gilbert fitting into the rotation?

I think Gilbert can be a rotational piece, but I expect him to have to do more on special teams this year than he was required to last year to solidify a roster spot.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

I'm sure I'm not the only Wisconsin transplant to chime in with this, but five teams have been holding training camps in California for a few years now: Rams, Chargers, 49ers, Raiders, and the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard. Not sure what will happen when the Raiders move but I sure wouldn't want to hold training camp in Vegas in August.

An oversight on my part, but California has never had a cool name for its collection of camps, like the “Cheese League,” or maybe I’d have remembered.

Mike from Stevens Point, WI

Excellent article on Ron Kramer. He was certainly the prototype for today’s TE position. Out of curiosity, who did the Packers draft with the compensatory No. 1 they received when he went to the Lions?

Running back Jim Grabowski was chosen at No. 9 overall in 1966.

Sean from Glen Ellyn, IL

So the Bears have been revealing their top 100 players in franchise history for their 100th year celebration. Do you think that's because they can't find 100 moments worth mentioning? Kidding of course, but did the Packers ever consider doing something like that? I definitely liked the moments rather than ranking players.

I wasn’t consulted, but I’m glad I didn’t have to dive into the business of ranking players. Overall, the choices make sense. Of the Packers’ 13 championships, seven have come in the last 60 years, so there are plenty of memorable moments that span generations of active fans. Of the Bears’ nine titles, only two are in the last 70 years, so having the most Hall of Famers in league history would lend itself to recognizing players.

Mitch from Sussex, WI

The defensive coaching interviews make me very excited to see what the defense is capable of but also give me a lot of confidence in LaFleur. It seems like he hit the nail on the head with his coaching selections. What would you say is the toughest position to coach besides quarterback?

The one with the least talented players. In all seriousness, I’d probably say cornerback, because of the added mental component that isn’t as prevalent at other positions. What I mean is the short-memory adage. Corners are going to get beat and give up plays. It’s the nature of the beast and the rules are geared toward the offense. They have to be able to flush it quickly and play on. Helping ultra-competitive pros deal with and manage that, when most are coming from college having been shutdown stars, strikes me as an added challenge.

Jess from Little Chute, WI

Random question...what are the circular/disc shaped spots on the players’ jerseys on either side of the name plate? Very clearly visible on Gary's and Smith's jerseys in the pic used for the header on yesterday’s Inbox.

Those might be little pockets for the tracking and monitoring devices the players wear during practice.

Dave from Minneapolis, MN

GOT audibles are fine, but I think we can all agree none will top "New York Bozo!" My question is, if the Packers played this Sunday, what audible would Rodgers use to clown Drake and his courtside antics?

“Hate the Drake.”

Bernie from Jersey City, NJ

Do we have the best safety duo in the past 10 years?

Amos and Savage have the potential to be one of the better safety duos around here in a while, but as Mike Pettine would say, they haven’t given up a yard or a point yet. There’s a long way to go. If they want to aim high, I’d say the best Packers safety duo of the last 20 years was Butler-Sharper, though unfortunately we never got to see Collins and Burnett play together for any meaningful stretch of time.

Jason from Des Plaines, IL

I have a couple questions about our new safety draft pick, Darnell Savage. Did his role at Maryland include blitz packages with him screaming through the middle of the line of scrimmage? With his size I would be wildly impressed with this ability to do so. Also, would you anticipate the Packers utilizing his speed as a blitzing safety? Our clever DC seems to have a passion for blitzing DBs.

Pettine showed last year he’ll bring anyone from anywhere at any time, so I’m sure there will be blitz calls to utilize Savage’s speed. What I hope this year is the base calls are more reliable, so he doesn’t have to resort to the exotic stuff as much. The less they’re used, the more effectively they’ll ultimately be.

Benjamin from Bear, DE

The NFL channel briefly mentioned the league has banned certain drills in training camp, but they didn't mention the specific drills or the reason for the banning. I can only assume it has something to do with concussions. Any idea what they're banning? Thanks.

The league has banned the Oklahoma drill, King of the Circle (or Bull in the Ring), and the half-line drill, all to cut down on helmet-to-helmet contact during camp. Aside from thinking about Vic’s sorrowful reaction, the half-line ban really surprised me. The contact, at least the way the drill has been run here, is no different than in 11-on-11, but coaches liked to split the run-game snaps into half lines to get more reps in less time. It was about efficiency, not excessive contact.

Jon from Somerset, England

Hi Mike/Wes, I know you guys aren't fans of future predictions for the upcoming season, but how about if I offered you now that the Packers get the sixth seed following a 9-7 season? And with all the main men still healthy. Take it or not?

In a heartbeat. Home games would be preferred, of course, but if the Packers are traveling for the playoffs and healthy, I’d take that over hosting and banged up.

Ken from Racine, WI

It's really great to see John Kuhn back as a part of the Packers. I worked quite a few jobs in factories and construction before getting my doctorate, and John's got that classic lunch-box-toting look that someone always brought to the crew. But he definitely does not look like a guy that you would pilfer a sandwich from. Is that true, Mike?

Indubitably.

Jared from Omaha, NE

Which team do you believe would win in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, the 2007 Favre-led Packers or the 2014 Rodgers-led Packers?

Hmm. Tough call. I’ll have to hedge and go with the ’07 team the first half of the season, ’14 the second half.

Hank from Arlen, TX

Mike, Wes, I tell you what, Mike Smith is gonna have our OLBs playing as the top group in the league next season. That guy knows football and he has some extreme talent in his room at the moment. I'm excited.

I mentioned on yesterday’s “Unscripted” that I recently interviewed Pettine for a Packers Yearbook story I’m working on, and unprompted by me, he called Smith the best outside linebackers coach in the league. This isn’t Pettine’s first rodeo, so if he’s fired up to have Smith on board, that’s good enough for me.

Derrick from Rockaway, NJ

What quote stood out to you the most among all the defensive coaches in their conferences Wednesday?

Aside from Smith talking about “running down the hallway” when Gutekunst drafted Gary, it would have to be Jerry Montgomery saying Mike Daniels “is still a dominant player.” I mentioned Daniels the other day as a guy I’m very curious about this year given all the circumstances. That comment only added to my curiosity.

Damone from San Jose, CA

Hey Insiders, watched Pettine's presser and he mentioned inside linebackers with safety in their background. I'm guessing the coaching staff is looking for Oren Burks to step up in a major way. How has he looked so far?

We’ve only had access to one practice, but presumably he’s practicing with Martinez at inside linebacker every day. It’s what he needs and was not the case last year when he returned from his shoulder injury in the middle of the season. I’m sure the coaches feel a guy like Burks can’t get enough reps.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

You know there is something I don't understand, why does a player in the slot position have to be short and shifty? He is a receiver, his job is to catch the football no matter where he is lined up or how tall he is. It would seem to me all of our receivers have great speed and height. Does that not tilt the field toward their ability to be able to reach over the defenders? Maybe it's time to give the Packers a facelift and throw down the gauntlet with the slot position.

I don’t know about any gauntlets, but I have a story posting later this morning about LaFleur’s view of the receiver group and how it’ll be assembled. His comments make me believe no one is going to be labeled a slot receiver.

Neal from Fort Worth, TX

Mike, thanks for the bit on Rodgers learning the new system. It appears that he feels he needs to be the most cerebral when learning the playbook, etc. Great attitude fitting of a leader, I like it. Will you help us (me) understand what they mean when referring to learning the new language?

It’s just the different terminology used for some of the same things he already knows. For example, a three-by-one receiver formation might have been called “Falcon” in the old offense, but it’s called “Sonic” in the new one. Or a route concept called “Double hook split go” might be “Two stick wide fly,” or whatever. Making the mental translation is the first step, then learning the different details of similar concepts is next. A post route that used to break at 11 yards is now at 14. Or an out at 10 yards is now 12. No matter what, though, “Spider Y2 banana” will always be “Spider Y2 banana.”

Shaun from Sun Prairie, WI

Aaron Rodgers said it would hopefully only take him three months to learn this new offense while the last time it took him three years. Why such a difference? Experience?

Certainly, but I think he was exaggerating on the three years. He was running Sherman’s offense his rookie year before McCarthy arrived, and then coming off the bench in Dallas in ’07, he looked pretty well-versed in what he was doing.

Patrick from Valrico, FL

The bigger the event the NFL draft becomes, the less likely it is that Green Bay could actually host the event. We all have come to grips with the fact that the SB can never make its way to Lambeau. The league owes it to this iconic franchise to let it host the draft ASAP. 2022 is still up for grabs. Is this the last best hope for the city to obtain this privilege?

I don’t think so. I believe the NFL is going to give Green Bay due consideration at some point, whether it’s for 2022 or 2024 or beyond.

Dylan from Belgrade, MT

Well, I believe in the soul, the speed of a D-back, tight spirals, high flyers, good blocks, that the coverage of Kevin King is an over-expected, underrated crux. I believe Brandon Bostic acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing real grass and roughing the passer. I believe in the dime pass, hardcore commentators, opening presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses (with my wife) that last three days.

Happy Friday, everyone. Programming note, I’ll be back tomorrow and Wes will be handling Monday and Tuesday next week. Long live Crash Davis.

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