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Inbox: Keep playing the next play

The ones who master that are the keepers

CB Kevin King

Patrick from Murfreesboro, TN

How will the underdog fan-crush build without preseason games? Will we catch Fulgham fever or Reggie Begelton bedlam? Can Darrell Stewart be a little better? Is this offense Taylor-made for Patrick Taylor or Malik Taylor? Will Stanford Samuels make the grade? Is Marc-Antoine Dequoy the real deal? Will Travis Bruffy slay it? Don't you just John Lovett?

And once again, we're off.

Jake from Clearwater, FL

A lot of the offseason talk is centered around internal improvement. Which unproven player – if they live up to their potential – would have the biggest impact on the Packers this year? I'd say if Rashan Gary plays up to three-fourths of his potential, opposing offenses are in trouble. Also, can you direct me to the Etsy page so I can buy an "Indubitably" shirt? Thanks!

Gary is the obvious choice on defense. If I were to pick another option on that side of the ball, I'd say Kingsley Keke. On offense, I'll go with Jace Sternberger or Equanimeous St. Brown. As for the T-shirts, click here.

Richard from Canton, GA

The NFL site had a top 25 free agents for 2021 article. Both David Bakhtiari and Kenny Clark were highly ranked (No. 5 and 6) but not only did Aaron Jones miss out on that list, he wasn't even in the just missed section at the bottom. Kamara was on the list at No. 12, and of the two I would rather have Aaron on the team. What are your thoughts Insiders, Kamara or Jones?

You can't really go wrong with either guy, right? Their all-around skills make them good fits in a lot of offenses. This could change depending on what happens in 2020, but right now I'd guess Kamara demands the bigger contract, so that makes it even easier to pick Jones for me.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Mike, I am not trying to downplay the virus, but these college athletes have worked their butts off their whole lives to play football. I think taking it way from them when 97% of people that get the disease either never knew they had it or they recover is senseless. A senior that doesn't get to play could just be getting to their potential and no one will see it. I understand everyone is having issues, but I really feel bad for high school and college seniors.

I think everyone does. But the biggest wrench thrown into this thing for college athletics, and the real tipping point in my mind, is the evidence of a heart condition/inflammation linked to getting infected with this virus. There are reports of five Big Ten athletes, plus some from other major conferences, who have been diagnosed with heart issues post-corona. Not only is that extremely scary, it's a liability issue universities can't afford to take on. Is it a large percentage of cases? Not at all. But the long-term effects are unknown. And to those saying just have athletes sign liability waivers, it's not that simple. There were rumblings in Congress about blocking the legality/validity of such waivers and the NCAA president revoked them anyway. I don't see what choice the colleges and conferences have at this point.

Ferdinand from Woodbury, MN

I agree that the only way the NCAA can proceed is to have frequent testing and constant oversight. But it is much more than all 350-plus Division I programs having the resources to do that. Our health care system is overwhelmed with testing and turnaround demands, struggling with inadequate supplies of reagents, skilled technicians and capacity. Would you move these thousands and thousands of student-athletes to the front of the line every day so we can play some sports?

That's another major issue here, too.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

With all the questions about fan presence in stadiums, is there any chance at all the fans are vastly overestimating their impact on the outcome of games? Also, do you think there needs to be a sarcasm font?

This NFL season might give us a better gauge of the fans' impact. It'll be interesting to compare home teams' winning percentages from this year (albeit a small sample) and prior years. A sarcasm font? Then what do I use if I want to mock your sarcasm?

Dave from Coloma, MI

Not sure if this has been asked before but who was selected in the spot that would have been the Packers fourth-round pick had they not traded it?

The pick went from the Packers to the Dolphins to the Texans to the Rams, who selected Purdue TE Brycen Hopkins at No. 136 overall.

Tom from Green Lake, WI

How does the coaching staff prepare for a game knowing that some key players might be ineligible at the last minute because they tested positive? I understand the next-man-up concept. Does knowing this could happen at a moment's notice change the way practices are conducted, or who receives additional repetitions?

I don't think so. I suspect coaches won't want to take practice reps away from presumptive starters in order to prepare potential emergency replacements. There are only so many practice reps in a given week. I think they'll just react as they go and treat a last-minute positive test no different than a player who wakes up at the hotel on game-day morning unable to get out of bed due to food poisoning or something similar.

Bob from Trabuco Canyon, CA

What does it mean for a receiver to be a good route runner? Is it timing, the accuracy of the angles and cuts, so the receiver is where he's supposed to be when he's supposed to be there? Is it making the correct adjustments to the defense? Is it getting off/around defenders? All seem important, but what is part of "the route"?

All of the above, plus a level of deception that makes as many routes as possible look the same until the first major cut.

TK from Grafton, WI

A certain recent wide receiver was criticized for his "inability to run correct routes." I maintain that because of "option routes," (QB and receiver seeing the same thing from the defense and adjusting the same way), it's not always as simple as "go down 15 yards and cut to the sideline." How OFTEN are "option routes" used by GB?

All. The. Time. By every team, in every offense.

Mark from Naperville, IL

Do I guess the new intern wasn't happy about being called out and decided not to post the Aug. 11 Insider Inbox? Make things right! I'm dying without my II fix!

This one wasn't on the intern. It was an issue on the league's end with the app, and it took the bulk of the day for it to get fixed. Sorry about that, but it was out of our hands. The column was still posted on the regular site.

Ron from Mitchell, SD

Can you ask Jaire Alexander where I can get a pair of those sunglasses!?

That was different, eh? I enjoy Jaire's personality. He may not answer questions the way anyone expects him to, but he's honest and forthright enough to provide workable material for stories.

Corey from Bethlehem, PA

What do you think is the hardest position? I'd say cornerback because you are up against some of the fastest humans and your first step is usually backwards.

Every position has physical demands that make it difficult. I think the hardest positions to play are the ones that add major mental challenges. Aside from quarterback, I think corner is mentally the toughest position to play. You will get beat, for all to see, and there's no place to hide. On top of that, the rules are geared against you. But you just have to keep playing the next play. The ones who master that, as long as they have the physical tools, are the keepers.

John from Belleview, FL

Regarding the Packers' gold color: My understanding is that when Holmgren arrived as head coach, he wanted to change the gold to be more like the 49ers' gold, and that prototypes were made. But then the cheesehead headwear took off, and the decision was made to keep the gold in line with the cheese state. Perhaps your research staff could confirm or deny?

It was GM Ron Wolf who considered the idea of changing to a different gold, a la Notre Dame gold, but eventually thought better of it. I have no idea if the cheesehead influenced his final decision.

Mike from Niles, IL

With all the concern (extremely legitimate), is there any chance that the Pack (and other NFL teams) are considering obtaining and utilizing corona/COVID sniffing dogs to quickly check out players before any contact? It's amazing to me, but apparently, when trained, they are 94% accurate in finding infected people. Much quicker and more accurate than most other tests I've heard of.

That is amazing, but I'm not aware of the league showing any interest in other testing/screening methods.

Josh from Houston, TX

No Big Ten football this fall. What options do seniors have to provide more film in hopes of being drafted in the spring? Does the NFL push back the draft to allow spring leagues to finish?

Good questions, but no one has the answers to them in August.

John from Portland, OR

Hi guys, I've had this thought regarding the pick of Jordan Love for months now. Let's consider the brilliance of this pick for a moment. As developing and scouting players is going to be a mess for the next few years due to cancellations in high school and college football programs. Drafting Jordan Love now assured the Packers' future for QB, hopefully. Do you think the Packers' front office went down this line of thinking which tilted in favor of the Love pick during the draft?

No. While the thought of not playing college football in the fall was on some minds back in April, I don't think many seriously believed that major conferences canceling their seasons would come to pass. And it wouldn't have if our country hadn't been the worst in the world at dealing with the virus. Four months ago everyone's hope and expectation is we'd all be in a better place.

Jeanne from Delavan, WI

Mike and Wes, how do you two keep a straight face when videotaping segments with Larry? He makes me laugh every time. His "Ode to Covid" is a great example. What a treasure he is for Packer football.

He asked at the end if his poem was worth two of our "Three Things." It was worth all three, and then some. I had no reason to be there.

The Turk from Green Bay, WI I not allowed to knock on doors at roster cutdown this season?

You were replaced a long time ago by the cell phone. Happy Wednesday.