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Inbox: It was quite the combination

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Bill from Raleigh, NC

You didn't answer the first Inbox question on Monday. Then, you didn't answer the first and last Inbox questions on Tuesday. Are you creating a list of reader questions, day-by-day, for your readers to answer? Is this some kind of Jedi mind trick? Readers answer the reader questions, you will.

Give me too much credit, you do. Left unanswered, a question represents one already spoken for, in multiple ways, over many months. Desire to repeat myself, I do not.

Bergeron from Scandinavia, WI

Summerall’s simplicity was 25 percent more talk than the master, the great Ray Scott. “Starr ... Dowler ... touchdown.” Sure miss those simplistic announcers. Do you think it was Howard Cosell, even though he was the “analyst,” who caused announcers to start yapping so much?

The sentiment for Scott is shared by many in the Inbox, too many to list. He was before my time, and it sounds like I truly missed out. Cosell became famous for having a schtick. It’s how many in the business have made a name for themselves, though I don’t want to paint with too broad a brush. Many are very good at what they do without having a “style” that makes headlines. Those are the guys I enjoy the most.

Scott from Woodland Hills, CA

OK Mike, off your answer that preseason is more about evaluation of young talent and not about getting ready for the season … Why does the NFL insist upon putting important games the first two weeks? It is sloppy football. Why play divisional foes before the teams are in good form?

I don’t disagree with you, but the motivations of the teams and the league as a whole with regard to the preseason and start of the regular season aren’t necessarily going to align. The league wants multiple attention-grabbing matchups each week, right from the get-go, to compete for ratings with the start of college football and the baseball pennant races. Teams are looking to keep their players healthy and build toward peak form starting around Thanksgiving.

Darren from Warrington, UK

Just watched Brett Favre’s “A Football Life” again. A story was told about his throw being so hard he damaged a receiver’s hand. Does Aaron throw the ball as hard as Brett and has he injured any receivers doing so?

I don’t think Rodgers’ fastball takes a back seat to anyone’s, but Favre would fire it indiscriminately in practice, often when receivers didn’t expect it. I also think more receivers wear gloves today, and they provide, though not a lot, a little protection.

Brady from Lodi, WI

This DARMWN mystery makes me think about the Speak 'N Spell scene from Toy Story 2 – LZTYBRN (Al's Toy Barn). All we need is Buzz Lightyear to figure this thing out, right?

This just made my kids’ day, to infinity and beyond.

Nick from Salisbury, UK

Based on the principle that it is best to grow your own TE (rather than draft direct) and that we have three rookie WRs, might it be possible for someone like St. Brown to bulk up whilst learning from our massively experienced imported TEs (80, 84, 85)? Thinking succession and possibly saving a future draft pick.

This just ruined my day, to infinity and beyond.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Mike, this is the time of year when I reach for any Packer article I can find. Which leads me to reading several articles breaking down the position groups before a single padded practice has been held. In the WR group, Adams, Cobb, Allison, Clark, Yancey, and the three rookies have all been predominantly mentioned, even Montgomery and Graham. Trevor Davis hardly at all as a receiver. If his value is seen only as a returner I'm not sure he'll find a spot on the 53. Your thoughts?

Davis has become the forgotten man at receiver with all the attention on the draft picks, but he’ll be out to change that. He was injured during the spring and assuming he’s healthy for camp, there’s no reason to count him out. He has experience in the system and in NFL games. That said, it’s going to be highly competitive. Also, keep in mind the Packers kept Jeff Janis last year almost exclusively for special teams, as he rarely played from scrimmage in 2017. That “spot” is available, in a sense, if the roster takes a similar shape.

Daniel from Delta, PA

I've been reading Gil Brandt's all-time lists and it was nice to see him give Don Huston some love at No. 2, right between Jerry Rice (No. 1) and Randy Moss. James Lofton came in at No. 13. I must admit it is pretty ballsy of him to rank players of different eras together like that. So who would the Insiders rank as top 10 Packers of all-time? Players, coaches, front office, anyone you feel made the biggest contributions to the storied franchise’s legacy.

Off the top of my head: Lambeau, Calhoun, Lombardi, Starr, Harlan, Wolf, Favre, Hutson, White, and Rodgers. If I can go with 11, my next pick is Vainisi. But you’d probably get a better list from Cliff.

Trevor from Seattle, WA

How do you fit someone as large as Graham in a P-51 Mustang?

With a custom shoehorn.

Craig from Elkton, MD

I read the column every day. Thanks for the entertaining and informing words. I have an appropriate dead-season question. One of the best things about retirement is that it gives my wife and I time to work the New York Times crossword every day. After the daily we do a few archives. One of the recent clues was "NFL practice team." The answer was "taxi squad." Any idea what that's all about? Thanks for the insights.

I’ve read that Paul Brown, back in the day, had a deal with a Cleveland cab company to “hire” his extra players, so he could stash talented guys and prevent them from going to other teams when he had reached the roster limit. In return, the Browns promoted the cab company.

Scott from Hayward, WI

Which player(s) that you have covered has surprised you with their non-football related hobbies, like music, for example?

Charles Woodson starting his wine business while he was still playing in Green Bay ranks up there for me.

Monty from Hazen, ND

I am seriously excited for the preseason. Many people say the preseason is worthless but I really enjoy watching the players scrapping for roster spots. What is your favorite part of the preseason?

The end, because that’s when the baloney stops, of course. In all seriousness, the roster battles and undrafted dreamers are fun to follow, but nothing compares to when the games are for real.

Drake from Huntsville, AL

I had a dream last night where Jeff Janis caught a kickoff and threw a forward pass to himself, and when he caught it he lateraled to the tight end, No. 88, who then lateraled to the wide receiver, also No. 88, who then lateraled to the running back, ALSO No. 88, who then lateraled to Lori from Brookfield, who spiked the ball on the 50-yard line where a fathead of T.O was saying, "I like my popcorn buttered," for a touchdown. Thanks guys. This is squarely on you.

So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

Tanner from Appleton, WI

I’m not sure Cousins will impact Minnesota that much. Instead of asking is Cousins better than Keenum (I believe he is), you should ask whether or not he can play much better than Keenum did last year. Statistically, Keenum played pretty darn good and even had a higher passer rating. I don’t think the QB has been significantly upgraded. The Vikings are a good team, but Keenum vs. Cousins doesn’t make a difference, aside from the cap impact, which favors GB of course. What do you think?

It wasn’t about upgrading, the way I see it. If the Vikings can get 68 percent completions, a 3:1 TD-to-INT ratio and a 98.3 passer rating again, they’ll take it. The question they had to ask themselves was whether Keenum, now demanding close to top dollar, could do it again, or if their odds were better spending a little more money to get it from Cousins. I think they made the right choice, but the last thing there is in the NFL is a guarantee of anything.

Sean from Portland, ME

Best Packers CB duo: Craig Newsome/Doug Evans, Al Harris/Charles Woodson, Sam Shields/Tramon Williams, other?

Wow, tough call. I don’t want to overlook Adderley-Jeter, either. I guess I’ll go with Woodson-Harris, though I’m inclined to say the best duo for a single season, playoffs included, was Woodson-Williams in ’10. One made plays at the line of scrimmage while the other made them downfield. It was quite the combination.

Richard from Greenwich, NY

Is the era of "stop the run and run the ball" over, with Pettine as DC?

Sure, until you can’t do either well enough to win.

Horst from Imperial, MO

Just read the article on Montravius Adams. Good story. About 500-word story. You should be at least typing 25 wpm. That's an article every 20 minutes. With eight-hour days that's 24 per day minus three for lunch, times two for two writers. That's 42 per day. That would give me something to read well past lunch. You guys aren't sandbagging?

I prefer to be accused of lollygagging. It’s a simple job. You think the story, you write the story, you post the story. Got it?

Jordan from Eau Claire, WI

Spoff, why don't the coaches have access to video in the booth or the sideline. Wouldn't each team get an equal advantage? It seems like they are just delaying the inevitable. They use tablets on the sidelines to look at still photos. Are they at least in color now?

A lot of coaches are reluctant to allow video on the sidelines because they feel it takes away the advantage for those who prepare better. I would tend to agree. Maybe it is inevitable, but some coaches aren’t going to give in easily.

Steve from Niagara, WI

During the Jets' run of AFC Championship games under Ryan, their defense was their strongest unit and their offense was mainly conservative, at times playing almost not to lose. Clearly a correlation there. If Pettine's D ever reaches that level here does GB's offense become a more high-percentage, move-the-chains offense, especially on third down (like the Patriots, who take what's given them and keep the ball in Brady's hands as much as possible) or even more big-play driven?

I don’t see the defense changing the way McCarthy and Rodgers want to run the offense, if that’s what you’re asking. Maybe situationally late in games in some respects, but to me the identity of the Packers’ offense has always been driven by its personnel, not the defense’s performance.

Sam from Dallas, WI

I've always wondered how far tiebreakers for end-of-season standings go. For example, let's say every team in the NFC North finishes 13-3, only losing divisional away games. Every game won all season was the same score, e.g. 24-13, so all four teams have equal points for and against. (That would also be the score for games lost.) Let's also say all uncommon opponents finished 8-8 with equal points for and against. Who is NFC North champ and who misses the wild card?

I believe the very last item on the tiebreaker list is a coin flip. Four-team bracket, three flips to decide it, I guess. But, c’mon man.

Brian from South Lake Tahoe, CA

First, the goal was to just get your question published. Then, it became getting a question in the coveted positions: first question of the day or last question of the day. Now, I have to aspire to getting two questions published in the same column?

I don’t double-up, though I have on occasion held a second question from the same reader and posted it on my next turn, if Wes didn’t take it. I’ve also combined multiple submissions into one post, or done some variation thereof. You follow all that, Brian? Happy Wednesday, everyone.

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