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Inbox: Maybe he can, but they must find out

He certainly played like he wasn’t kidding

Falcons QB Desmond Ridder
Falcons QB Desmond Ridder

David from Janesville, WI

Gents, I'm sure it's been mentioned, but it's worth repeating what a nice job Daniel Whelan did on that high snap to allow Anders Carlson to make a long field goal against the Bears. I seem to recall him having to corral a poor snap in the punting game as well. Maybe a bit concerning regarding the long snapper, but what a nice job by a guy who had to beat out one of the better holders in the league to make the team.

I commented on this as well as several other topics in my mid-week chat, in case anyone missed it.

Jeff from Gladstone, MI

Wouldn't Romeo Doubs have to be the third coming of James Jones? Remember the hoodie year? That was the second coming! And a good one it was!

Point taken.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Boy, that Kirk Cousins. He sure does rack up those fantasy points, doesn't he?

I thought it was actually pretty impressive he did so with such a banged-up offensive line. My main observation from the game last night: Turning the ball over four times and getting bulldozed for 250-plus rushing yards makes it tough to win. Profound, eh?

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

I know Atlanta has a lot of young weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Who should we look out for on defense?

Grady Jarrett is still a force in the middle of any defensive front, while Calais Campbell and Bud Dupree have put together solid careers as pass rushers elsewhere. A.J. Terrell is also a heck of a cover corner whose name isn't well known. And then there's …

Joshua from Billings, MT

A lot of folks are very excited about Jessie Bates. How does a DB having hot hands affect the game plan, especially for a young QB like Jordan Love who's only starting his second game as QB1?

The Packers will study how Bates is being deployed in Atlanta's defensive scheme and game plan accordingly. He was the single biggest reason the Falcons beat the Panthers last Sunday, in my opinion. He was responsible for three takeaways that led to Atlanta's first 17 points. Jordan Love commented Wednesday that Bates makes his plays by reading the QB's eyes. This matchup will test Love's eye discipline.

Doug from Woodington, OH

“Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.” That's an "all gas, no brakes" quote from Mr. Bakhtiari. Mike, who are the primary Falcons on all sides of the ball GB must contain in Week 2?

Switching gears to their offense, it's that three-headed monster in the backfield Wes and I discussed on our latest "Unscripted." Tyler Allgeier rushed for 1,000 yards as a rookie last year, Bijan Robinson was the No. 8 overall pick in the draft, and Cordarrelle Patterson is back from injury. Gap discipline against the outside zone and sound tackling are required. The Packers have to make Desmond Ridder beat them in this game. He's young and talented so maybe he can, but they must find out.

Austin from Manassas, VA

I can't remember another player being benched, working his way back into the starting role, and playing lights out the way Darnell Savage has. Can you? Mad credit to him and the coaching staff for knowing how to handle a delicate situation.

If it's happened in similar fashion during my time here, it was too long ago for me to recall. Savage talked in the spring about how eager and excited he was to get on with the new season, and he certainly played like he wasn't kidding.

Jeff from Montclair, VA

Maybe I missed it, but did Joe Barry call the Bears game from the booth? If so, I think it may have made a difference, big-picture wise. Any idea on the plan going forward?

Barry said he likes it and is staying up there.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

A stat that always stuck with me was in 2013 when the Legion of Boom won the SB in dominant fashion. Their defensive linemen topped out at 50% of snaps. Their rotation was always fresh and relentless. I love seeing how GB is getting their front seven rotated but still effective. That will serve us well going forward.

Your submission prompted me to look up the numbers on that Seattle D-line, and they're pretty amazing. Michael Bennett (57%), Chris Clemons (54%), Cliff Avril (53%), Brandon Mebane (51%), Clinton McDonald (51%), Tony McDaniel (50%), Red Bryant (46%). Bennett went on to play about 80% of the snaps annually as he became a Pro Bowler, but he was just coming into his own then with incredible depth around him.

Tom from Dade City, FL

The defensive line worked pretty good against Chicago and the running game. The fresh legs of the rotation on the line probably had a lot to do with it. Chicago couldn't play matchup against a particular player's traits. Against a run-heavy team like Atlanta seems to be do you expect a lot of rotation again?

As long as the execution and effectiveness remain intact, yeah.

Bob from Port St. Lucie, FL

Insiders, you've pointed out the frequency of rotating defensive players on and off the field. Who manages the rotation so on an opponent's long drive they remain fresh? Do the players signal they want to come out if gassed or is it a sideline decision? Avoiding confusion without much time has to be challenging.

Generally speaking, the position coach manages the playing time of the guys in his group. The coordinator is calling the personnel packages and scheme, and the position coach is communicating who's in which package and when.

Justin from Madison, WI

I have been struggling with the idea of rotating defensive linemen by having them sprint to the sideline "to rest." I see 275 and 300-pound players pant hard after sprinting; how is that "resting them"? Reduced snaps, but more sprints?

A 25-yard sprint is nothing compared to the pounding a body at full exertion takes in the trenches on every single snap.

Brian from San Francisco, CA

Now I understand why Brady would always just crumple whenever pass rushers got near him...

He lost his age-31 season to a torn ACL in Week 1, 2008.

Jon from Lynn, MA

There's no doubt 12 sitting behind 4 ultimately helped shape him into the QB he's become. However, with this latest dreadful injury, it makes me wonder what 12's career totals would look like had he not effectively lost five full seasons (three sitting, two half-years with the collarbones, and now one with the Achilles). Not to mention the torn calf in '14, broken leg in '18, broken thumb in '22. Dude is a warrior.

I guess that's why, as I said Wednesday, while an injury seemed inevitable at his age behind that O-line, I never considered something this significant. He's played through and/or come back from so much in his career, this just doesn't fit.

Pat from Kennesaw, GA

I see a lot of people saying to put grass in all stadiums. I have yet to see anyone have a solution on how to grow grass indoors. Arizona has a way to move their grass outdoors and back in for games. Other stadiums don't have the real estate to make that happen, or reconfigure their stadiums to do it. Isn't that really the major hurdle on doing this?

It's certainly one of them, but I believe there are only five indoor stadiums in the NFL where the roof isn't retractable – Detroit, Vegas, Minneapolis, LA, and New Orleans.

Mark from Westminster, CO

The Achilles heel of the Jets organization has to be year after year of bad luck. I'll see myself out now.

Please do. But did anyone else see Rich Eisen's monologue on Tuesday? When he recounted the whole Vinny Testaverde-Week 1-Achilles saga from 1999 and then pointed out the Jets' honorary captain for Monday night's coin toss was Testaverde, I about fell out of my chair.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

Should the Jets now have a poor season the second-round pick the Packers will get might not be much lower than the pick received if Rodgers played 65% of the snaps and the Jets had a good record.


Adam from Madison, WI

The part of the discussion about sitting and waiting with a QB is that it allows the Packers not to panic. If they didn't have Love in the wings this offseason, this team could be 5 years from being competitive. The Bears have traded a ton of draft stock twice and still don't know what they have. Those lost draft picks have hurt them, and even if we don't know what JL10 is, the Packers do and they would have had another shot at correction without panic.

It really is true the best time to draft one is when you don't need one.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Mike, based on much of the coverage of the Packers it certainly appears we are in the midst of a full-on youth movement. Have the Packers ever had so many rookies contribute in a Week 1 win in recent history? It is exciting to consider what this team will look like in Week 12 or 13. Are the Packers "old" at any position on the roster? I could find three guys 30 or older on the roster. The Packers are REALLY young.

They are officially the youngest team in the league with an average age of 25.1 years. As for the rookie contributions and numbers, Wes has a story coming today on that exact topic.

Brad from Ocheyedan, IA

It seems that Dan Whelan has a very strong leg, and could be special. My question is this: why punters don't punt to the "coffin corner" anymore? If punting towards the corner, they could still put the other team in bad field position if the ball bounces forward and out of bounds instead of backwards. Also, the sideline could act as an additional defender on coverage, giving the returner a more limited area on the return. 'Tis used to be the norm, but I haven't seen it done in a while. Thanks.

Yeah, it's been quite a long while, and I'm not entirely sure why the coffin corner was buried (I'll see myself out). The people who coach the game at this level know far more than I do, so I trust they have good reasons. My best guess is aiming directionally increases the chances for error, with the ball going out of bounds much sooner than intended, or carrying to the end zone. Punting down the middle Aussie style to force a fair catch must create a higher percentage of good results, if the target is the opponent starting at the 15-yard line or worse, for example.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

The practice-squad rules allow a player to be elevated to the active roster for gameday up to three times per season before the player needs to be signed to the 53-man roster. In a week where a practice-squad player is elevated, do they get paid the practice-squad salary or do they get paid a prorated minimum salary?

The latter, based on their years of service.

Bruce from Lacey, WA

What is most impressive about Jordan Love is how he understands where he is at with his development and will not try to do more than is asked of him. The Packers know they don't need him to play at AR12 level yet, because the Packers just don't need that. With a strong defense, solid offensive line, great RBs, and developing talent at WR and TE, the Packers can win right now without Love having to be any more than he is now. Take what is given to you, no unnecessary risks. Your thoughts?

That's easy to say when your team never trailed in Week 1, had two TD drives that started in plus territory, and took a three-score lead midway through the third quarter. Not all games are going to go like that.

Philip from Sydney, Australia

After Sunday, I was thinking the measure of good QB play might be the number of times the backup gets to play. After Monday, I wasn't thinking that anymore. With respect to Jordan Love, we've heard about poise, pocket awareness and numerous other things. Any thoughts on what specific traits we should look for week to week to chart his development?

The ultimate tests will arrive in crunch time, because I guarantee multiple games will come down to how he performs when it's all on the line. In the two-minute drill at the end of the first half Sunday, he converted a huge third-and-10 with a pass to Jayden Reed, but two plays later took a sack you just can't take. In the fourth quarter, that first play could win a game, the second could lose one.

Joe from Fargo, ND

Not a question, but a comment. One of the many things I learned from Vic was that September is the new preseason because of the CBA and no tackling allowed in training camp. Anyone that is in an elimination pool knows how difficult it is to pick teams the first three or four weeks. As Vic said, we really won't know what kind of a team we have until October. Same goes for every other team in the league. So, for the II readers who have decided how each team will perform this year, not so fast my friend.

And I've always maintained teams will look different in December than they do in October as well, because the season is so long, injuries crop up, opponents adjust and force counters, etc. That's especially true for the Packers this year with such a young team.

Clipton from Pasadena, CA

I don't know if Mike was kidding around or not but I think it would be a great idea if when the Pack next wear throwback uniforms you two dress in period press attire from the same decade (sans lit cigar of course) when recording that week's Final Thoughts. The Inbox fan base would get a big kick out of that.

The powers that be will probably have some throwback gear they'd like us to model. Such is our burden.

Chris from La Valle, WI

How can the Bucks rebound from an early exit from last season playoffs?

Just beat the Falcons. Happy Friday.

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