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Inbox: Say your farewell

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Thomas from Nazareth, PA

I saw the Instagram shot of Davante Adams sneaking up on a fan wearing his jersey. This is one of the many reasons why I love the Packers, dating back to watching the Ice Bowl as a lad. I'm not sure if there is a better connection between players and fans as there is in Green Bay. Adams made that guy's day!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Wes’s follow-up story on the encounter, it’s a good read.

Rocco from Green Bay, WI

After Wes's "I don't know when the Lambeau Leap started" comment on Thursday, I'm guessing at least 88 percent of your questions are telling the tale of Reggie White's fumble recovery and subsequent lateral to LeRoy Butler against the Raiders. You better watch out, Spoff; sticking you with the fallout from that answer could be Hod's way of getting you back for stealing his lunch. Maybe bring him a root beer as a peace offering?

I definitely shall. Ay-yay-yay. Either it was a little prank, or Wes sorely underestimated the number of readers who didn’t know Butler is one of his all-time favorite players. Either way, 88 percent, huh? Nicely done.

Ted from Overland Park, KS

Would the Lambeau Leap have survived if instant replay was around back then to show Reggie out of bounds before getting the ball to LeRoy?

Interesting question. I’m going to say it would have found a way.

Chris from New Canaan, CT

Weeks 8-12; that's where the action is. That's where the season will be decided. Four out of five games on the road – crisscrossing the country – to play decent opponents. In contrast, Weeks 1-6, four of six games at Lambeau makes "fast start" essential. Can you recall a season with such glaring home/away imbalance?

In different ways, every schedule seems to have its stretches where teams must make some hay, and others where the challenges are ratcheted up a notch. In any event, we know during one stretch or another some significant adversity will strike. It’s all how the team responds.

Erik from Honolulu, HI

Aloha guys! I just wanted to inform you on the addictiveness of II. I read first thing every day, rain, snow, shine, or in my case, hurricane! My wife came to wake me up and say it’s already started raining and we need to finish a few preparations...I read today’s Inbox first. Thanks for everything you do! Keep up the good work! Mahalo!

Stay safe, all who are in the midst. For the record, it is not our intent to be addictive, but if we’re able to pull that off while alternating as authors, we’ll take it as a compliment. Which makes this as good a time as any for this incredibly unimportant programming announcement – I will be doing two Inboxes in a row, to continue the pattern of me posting the morning after games, and Wes will do a Monday-Tuesday double-up next week. Carry on.

Todd from Sandy, UT

I like Clay Matthews for two reasons. 1) He plays LB inside or out, whenever needed for the TEAM without complaint. He has the skill set, talent and toughness to do both. 2) He seems honest about answering media questions. He is very professional, serious and can joke at times, but seems to always be dedicated to his craft. Sure, he is not what he was in his prime but still has pride, plays with injury and gives his all.

I agree on all counts, and I’ll add that I’m curious to see if a combination of Pettine and good health can help him rediscover his prime in 2018.

Michael from Winchester, VA

Moment No. 73 mentions that Jermichael Finley's 159 yards in the “Desert Shootout” is a postseason Packers record. First, is that just for TEs or receiving yards regardless of position? Second, could you see Graham topping that this season (if all goes well), or does the sheer multitude of targets make that quite unlikely?

Finley’s single-game franchise postseason record for receiving yards is for all players, and to your second query, I could see anyone topping that number. In the postseason, anything goes.

Bob from Riverside, CA

Mike McCarthy mentioned something about two planes during his Wednesday press conference and continuing that through the season. Can you explain why one plane was no longer sufficient? Do the veterans get dibs on which departure they want to be on and which one does the Inbox team take?

The two planes are due to airlines no longer providing large enough planes for team charters. It’s not just affecting the Packers but the entire league, and one reason the Patriots recently purchased their own plane. (To fend off the next round of questions, no, I’ve heard no discussions of the Packers following suit.) Broadly speaking, one plane is mostly players and coaches, the other mostly staff, with some areas of overlap. No one gets to choose anything. It’s all assigned.

Al from Green Bay, WI

9:30 (CDT) start time to the game Friday in Oakland. As a die-hard fan, I'll stay up and watch. For the more moderate fans, can you give them three good reasons to stay up and watch the drama unfold in real time?

This game might decide QB2, the three receiver draft picks should be on the field most of the night, and this will be the last time the Packers ever play in this stadium. In all likelihood, the Packers won’t ever play on infield dirt again, so say your farewell.

Nathan from Maplewood, MN

Hello, I see all of these remodel projects and improvements to the stadium. Have the Packers ever considered changing the bleachers into actual seats?

I’ve been told the capacity of the bowl would drop by at least 10,000 if such a transformation were undertaken.

Fred from Woodbury, MN

In response to George's question on a player "...who jumped to the head of the class in the last two weeks," didn't the Super Bowl XXXI MVP jump up and barely make the final cut based upon his performance in the final preseason game?

Yes, though to be fair, he wasn’t a rookie or otherwise unknown name, which I think is what George was getting at. Wes’s example of Banjo was spot-on. I thought of another in a different vein – Lane Taylor’s play in the summer of 2016. Ironically, in the preseason finale that year in Kansas City, Taylor was flagged twice for holding, but the coaches looked at the film, were impressed with what they thought were bogus calls, and made him the starting left guard. That’s why I said the other day I never pretend to know everything.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Could the new helmet rule open up the middle of the field as players won't be getting blown up by big hits, and will this make the tight end position even more effective/important?

All the defenseless receiver rules of recent years already did that.

Balint from Budapest, Hungary

I've been waiting for another legendary quote from Pettine, following his less-than-enthusiastic Cleveland introductory news conference ("It's been my lifelong dream to be an NFL head coach and however that opportunity presents itself is fine with me.") I finally got it with this 10 guys on defense comment.

The dead-pan delivery made it all the better.

Rob from Circle Pines, MN

How will the run defense do? Everything else seems solid.

What Aaron Rodgers said about the readiness of the offense – that we’ll find out on Sept. 9 – applies to the defense as well. Preseason is for evaluating young players and providing some gauge on individual performances. Entire units? We have to wait.

Tyler from Grantsburg, WI

I’ve seen several reports now saying the Packers are looking to trade Randall Cobb before the season. I’m very skeptical when I hear news such as this and am wondering if you are able to confirm or deny these rumors. If they are in fact true, can you tell us why he’s on the chopping block?

You haven’t seen several reports. You’ve seen several outlets repeating one report, a report that no beat writer who covers the team regularly has confirmed and that one prominent national reporter swiftly refuted.

Jordan from Laurens, SC

Help me differentiate the pass catchers on the roster. Adams – separation out of breaks. Cobb – tough as nails in the middle. Jimmy – huge target that can run. Lewis – incredible blocker. Allison – wiry and shifty. What about Moore, MVS, EQ, etc.? What’s the best trait each guy brings?

From what I’ve seen so far, I think Moore could be tough to tackle and a big yards-after-catch guy, but he must catch the ball more consistently. MVS has scary runaway speed. EQ’s catch radius looks as advertised.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

My favorite part of Tramon's return is that his last play as a Packer won't be the cover-zero deep ball he covered beautifully but unsuccessfully defended. Capers made that call because he had faith (1) that 38 would not get burned and (2) a full-house blitz would get home in time. Tramon did his part and it was a shame that all you saw on replay after replay was the winning catch beyond his outstretched hands. Great Packer with a chance at a curtain call. Here's to a pick-six in the SB.

On the final play of the first half, perhaps.

Brenda from Waurika, OK

While reading the article about Reggie Gilbert and how he believed he had done enough to make the final roster last year, I wondered if the team is allowed to, or does, intimate that they're interested in signing the player to the practice squad when they release him.

They often do, but the player must clear waivers first. If he’s claimed, he has no choice in the matter. If he clears, he can sign any practice-squad offer he receives.

Meghan from Redding, CA

Hi guys. I’m really impressed with the positivity and focus displayed by the whole team. Whenever they talk about their strengths and opportunities for improvement, I’m always inspired by them and reflect on how I can translate and implement their professionalism, modesty, and focus in my own life. I’m curious to know: do you witness the players referring back to sources – athletes and otherwise – of inspiration outside of football, and if so, who? Or is it self-made confidence and humility?

I’ve found every professional athlete has some combination of external inspiration and internal drive, but there’s certainly a minimum requirement of the latter to make it in such an ultra-competitive environment. External motivations reach their limits at a certain point, in my opinion. As for whether players reveal them, yes and no. When I covered high school athletes, I felt those inspirations were present, here and now. With the pros, they make for good stories, but they’ve usually run their course.

Josh from St. Paul, MN

Wes, for the SPECIAL question you set all the values at 7-8 or 3-4, with no 5-6. Do you think quarterbacks need to be as good as possible at a few skills and just passable at the rest? This would go along with something Tom Brady said years ago about focusing on maximizing what you’re good at rather than improving your weaknesses.

If your weaknesses aren’t so weak as to be exploitable, then I agree. For the record, my numbers are pretty similar to Wes’s, except I’d drop a couple of points from endurance and give them to intelligence and leadership. 4-7-1-7-8-4-9.

Chester from Peoria, IL

Who are your breakout candidates for offense, defense, and special teams this upcoming season?

Allison on offense, King on defense, and Martini on special teams, if he makes the team.

Paul from Farnborough, UK

On the subject of hitting the quarterback legally, why not have a system akin to the kids’ board game, “Operation.” If you hit him too hard his helmet lights up and buzzes.

Is training camp over yet? Happy Friday, everyone.

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