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Inbox: More important is how they bounce back

G Elgton Jenkins
G Elgton Jenkins

Chris from Hanover, Germany

We are reaching even lower levels in the dead zone of football. Emoji day, really? Baloney would be too much of a compliment. Is there any word for that Spoff?

“¯\(ツ)/¯“

Tom from Raleigh, NC

At the start of the offseason, EQ was rated by II writers as slightly ahead of MVS in the mix at receiver. Now EQ is not even mentioned as a possibility with Allison/MVS as the presumed 2/3. What changed the consensus without any padded practices or games? Rodgers musing on MVS and Allison? I know this will all work out in camp and preseason, so outside perception does not matter to the team, but I am curious how perceptions shift so wildly.

I wouldn’t call it wildly. I believe both Wes and I noted at the end of last season that EQ had closed the gap with MVS with a strong finish to the year, and we were both excited to see what EQ would do to build on it in Year 2. That hasn’t changed. But throughout OTAs, MVS took way more snaps with Rodgers and the No. 1 offense than any of the other young receivers. His place on the depth chart, at least through the spring, was obvious. I also expected Allison to be more limited in the spring given his injury recovery, but that wasn’t really the case.

John from Oxford, UK

Using "gotten" in a sentence would immediately mark you out as being American to anyone here in the UK – as would using "soccer" when talking about (association) football. So what words do we Brits use that would expose us for the Limeys that we are?

Well, whilst came up earlier this week, and I came across the word stadia recently as well. It’s all good.

Braden from Aurora, CO

Hey guys, what are your thoughts on Gordon potentially holding out? My thoughts are the best RB in the league tried this already, and the team came out on top.

Running backs are in a tough spot, and I don’t blame Gordon for trying to help himself and the position as a whole. It may not work, but he might have a tad more leverage than Bell possessed, because the Chargers haven’t invested in another viable option at running back like the Steelers did (Conner was a third-round pick). I guess we’ll see.

Chad from Port Douglas, Australia

Hi Mike, I really enjoyed the video of all the MVP running backs. Among active players (Adrian Peterson excluded) who do you think has a chance to join the MVP club? Who do you think is special?

Saquon Barkley immediately comes to mind. Ezekiel Elliott, too. Christian McCaffrey might be another one.

Brian from Fanwood, NJ

For the proposed 17-game season "neutral" sites, where do you think they would host them? Obviously, the NFL wants to continue expanding its international presence with London, Mexico, and Canada. Hypothetically, do you think all neutral game sites would continue to be international, or do you think that they would use other NFL venues, college stadiums, or stadiums for other sports? (like the new Yankee Stadium hosting the "Pinstripe Bowl")

I think international sites would be the priority, but I could see other U.S. venues being used from time to time, particularly for AFC-NFC matchups, provided the market could produce a good crowd. Chiefs-Bears in St. Louis, or Cowboys-Texans in San Antonio or Austin, for example.

Patrick from Valrico, FL

I see that it has been announced that the Texans will take part in the Packers’ tradition of biking to practice. I am curious how many II submissions are complaining (as if this is sacrilege) and how many are excited for the camaraderie and unique fan experience this seems to present?

No talk of sacrilege. I think it’s fantastic. It’s going to be quite the biking extravaganza for two days.

Ryan from Plymouth, MN

I've been thinking about the defense recently. Counting Josh Jones, there are eight players on our D who were either first- or second-round picks (Jones, Kenny Clark, Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson, Preston Smith, Darnell Savage, Rashan Gary, and Kevin King). Is this a signal that there is more top-tier talent present than in previous years, or am I reading too much into this?

I don’t know. Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Datone Jones, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Damarious Randall were all first-round picks, too. The draft resources the Packers have committed to the defense over the last decade are extensive, to say the least. The payoff is overdue.

Brian from Lawrenceville, GA

Packers announced they'll wear their third jersey for the Sept. 22 game vs. Denver. Is there a throwback jersey either of you would like to see them wear? Is there talk of ever wearing another throwback jersey?

This is the fifth year of the current throwback, so the Packers will be allowed to design another one for 2020. I don’t know what the organization is going to do, but I think something from the pre-Lombardi ’50s with the slightly different shades of green and gold would be cool to try.

Bill from Fort Worth, TX

A few years ago, I saw the Packers lose a close game in Indianapolis. Besides the horrific treatment we got from the fans, one play stands out, and I should’ve seen then the things to come. Deep in Colts territory, I think it was Perry on the play, the Packers got a sack, fumble and recovery. It was facemask on the numbers, albeit from behind. Textbook tackle when I was playing football. Not that day. Fifteen yards and a fresh set of downs for the Colts, who went on to score and win a close one.

I remember it well, 2012, two weeks after the Packers had endured the Fail Mary. It was actually a facemask to the chest. That might have been the first time I started hollering for the NFL to make safety rules reviewable. Or the 100th time. I’m not sure.

The following is the seventh installment in a series of photos examining the Packers' roster position by position. This installment examines the linebackers.

Matt from East Troy, WI

Mike, did you score your own game at the Brewers outing?

Always do.

Steve from Middletown, KY

Last year, Jaire obviously had the most confidence out of all the rookies heading into the season. Do any of this year's rookies stand out the same way, or which one seems to be the most confident?

Alexander has a personality all his own, so it isn’t fair to compare. This rookie class in general struck me as more quiet and reserved. We’ll see if that changes. Either way, it doesn’t mean the players aren’t confident. More important is how they bounce back from their “welcome to the NFL” moment, because they’ll all have one.

Jim from Medford, WI

I don't get why people want to change the schedule. Personally I like the years we get five (preseason games) when we play the HOF game. It seems to me they need at least four games to be ready and then they come out a bit rusty anyway. Is it injuries? If a player gets hurt in preseason, changing that game to a regular-season game doesn't change the fact that he got injured. Help me understand the thinking.

It’s not about injuries. Tons of starters are held out or play very limited snaps in preseason anyway. In part for that reason, preseason games are a substandard NFL product, and the owners want to reduce bad product and add good product, because more good product will mean higher revenues, TV rights fees, etc. From their perspective, that’s the motivation.

Lenny from Rexdale, Ontario

Gentlemen, I personally think the regular-season format (number of games and playoff formula) is fabulous and should not be changed. In regards to the number of preseason games: Do they even generate a sufficient amount of revenue to dissuade the removal of one or more of them?

Preseason tickets are part of a season-ticket package, so the owners are making money on those games even when people don’t show up. If they do, all the better. But I don’t see the owners budging from 20 total games. They want to replace, not remove.

Nate from Naples, FL

In a 3-17 season split with one neutral-site game, I’d imagine teams would alternate between one and two home preseason games per season. I’m curious how they would divide the gate for the neutral-site game. Assuming the money was split 50/50, do you think owners would really see more profits from half a regular-season game in a place like Lincoln, Neb., than they would from a preseason game in front of their own fan base? Sure, there’d be some more TV money, but it doesn’t sound like windfall to me.

Right now, each team is getting somewhere in the neighborhood of $250 million per year from TV rights fees. An oversimplified math extrapolation means another week of TV games would add between $14 and $15 million per team, every year, not including the actual gate/game revenue split, versus losing one game of preseason revenue every two years. I don’t think there’s any comparison, frankly.

Ryan from Noblesville, IN

When taking a break from work, maybe to clear your mind, where is your favorite place to go or sit?

Once in a great while I’ll just hop up to fourth floor and take a look at Paul Hornung’s Heisman Trophy near the Legends Club. There’s something about it. I’m no expert on the Lombardi ’60s nor a huge Notre Dame fan, but it’s definitely my favorite piece of non-NFL history on display in the entire building.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

To me the first month of the season will provide a huge opportunity to get off to a fast start and establish this team as legitimate SB contenders, or, it might be a dark hole from which the Packers will be struggling to extricate themselves for the rest of the season. Which is it and what clues should we look for in camp and the preseason to tell us the answer? Also, English was NOT my best subject, so I hope you grade on a generous curve.

Your English is more than acceptable, Dean. I hate to break it to everyone, but we won’t find the answer to your question during camp or the preseason. Those are for preparing to play and selecting the best roster. There’s no way to know if the Packers are or aren’t ready to beat the Bears and/or Vikings until the games are played.

Matt from Waukesha, WI

Yesterday you mentioned Rodgers expecting the receivers to read defenses the same as him. When reviewing film for upcoming games, do the receivers and QBs go through film together so they can point out different tendencies they are seeing from opposing players?

Indubitably.

The Packers Experience will feature interactive football-themed stations, a 40-yard dash, a replica team locker room, “rookie camp” activities for kids, photo stations and prizes, all through Packers Pass.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

Baseball advance metrics have totally changed pitcher usage, going for home runs and other elements of the game. I keep seeing analytics that say a football team comes out ahead by going for it on every fourth down no matter the down/distance/field position, and perhaps going for two points most every time. If those things happened, do you think it would be good for the game and would you enjoy games more?

Eliminating decisions and strategy wouldn’t help me enjoy the games more, but to each his own. I’ve been intrigued by the fourth-down analytics, because it’ll never sit right with me that going for it on fourth-and-10 from your own 20 is the “best” move, when failure hands the opponent three sure points and a great chance at seven (or eight). Go for it more around midfield? Sure, I get it. But the analytics say to do it all the time, and to me, the biggest thing they don’t take into account is momentum. Yes, it’s an ethereal concept, but I believe it exists in an emotionally charged game like football. I’ve seen it too often to be persuaded otherwise, and I think a fourth-down stop deep in one’s territory that gifts a field goal or touchdown to the opponent means more than just the points. That’s why, even as someone who loves and understands math, I don’t buy the fourth-down analytics in their pure form and probably never will.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

Insiders, if it was technically possible to go back to the future and you could take Michael J. Fox’s place in the DeLorean, what sports year before you were born would you like to cover? Would there be any specific sports event, personality, etc., you would like to come in contact with? Oh, and no trying to fit in the time to visit with your future parents either.

Before I was born? I’ll take the 1919 World Series and Shoeless Joe Jackson. Say it ain’t so, Joe.

Jim from Mazeppa, MN

In regard to most indicative defensive stat vs. "know it when you see it," a good defense wins the battle during a key series or play. As is often said here, a few plays make can make or break an outcome. I remember often in the ’90s thinking this is a key play or key series for us, and a Packer (most often Reggie White) would make the play. In the past few years I realize a key series or play, not so much. There's not a statistic for it, but to me that's when great defenses rise to the top.

Collins in Week 17, Tramon in Philly and Atlanta, Raji and Shields in Chicago, Matthews’ hit on Mendenhall in the Super Bowl. With the exception of Atlanta, all those big defensive moments were late fourth quarter or at least second half. The 2010 defense was a very good one, but no one remembers the stats and rankings. They remember the key plays at key times, because they mattered more than the rest.

John from Onalaska, WI

Almost there. That is all.

Beware. The closer it gets, the thicker the baloney. Consider yourself warned.

Patrick from Ashland, WI

Darin hit a home run with his wild-card playoff format! I hope one of his other ideas isn't pushing a giant ball of oil out a window.

Nicely done. A tremendous way to start the weekend. Make it a good one, everybody.

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