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Inbox: That'll be a fun competition to watch

Reasoned, sensible analysis must prevail


Markus from Aurora, CO

Sorry, I lost track. What's going on with the Pack right now and around the NFL? Training camp is about five weeks away. What else is happening?

Considering this time period's nickname, you're either trying really hard to be funny or headed for the II Hall of Fame.

Bob from Racine, WI

Gentlemen: Is the dead zone the time during which the unsigned draft picks will finally put a signature on paper and receive their money? If not, what's the latest they can sign without penalties? Thanks for your diligent work.

They should sign here sometime soon. Or the details will get worked out and they'll sign the actual contract as soon as they report for training camp. There are no penalties for a player missing time if he's not under contract, but I don't expect it to come to that regardless.

Ray from Phoenix, AZ

The fact that Patrick Taylor was a core ST member gives him the leg up on running back No. 3. Even with Tyler Goodson being "a little thicker," is his size going to make it harder for him to beat out Taylor for the 53-man roster?

The final decision won't come down to size, but just in what he's shown on the practice field this spring, Goodson has definitely closed the gap behind Taylor. That'll be a fun competition to watch.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

What is the difference between a K ball and non-K? Is it legal for a team to play offense with a K ball, or conversely, for a kicker to use a non-K?

The K-balls are basically unused, not-broken-in footballs. They're required for all kicks. It wouldn't be illegal to use on one offense, I don't believe, but it's not the preferred option.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

Let's give JL10 a bit of a break and discuss QB2. Jordan referenced in one of his interviews the value of having Danny Etling in the room. He's been through the installs and knows the offense so Jordan can bounce ideas off of him, discuss plays, etc. I would imagine that gives him the inside track for the backup job. They did spend a fifth-rounder on Clifford but that's asking a lot of a rookie to learn an offense and be backup. Who knows, maybe they keep three QBs on the 53?

Maybe. My gut says no, though, and a third QB will be on the practice squad (unless a more experienced veteran is signed). Preseason performance will likely determine which of those two QBs they're more afraid of getting claimed, if they want to keep both around.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Another team with a nice run of good placekicking in the recent past was the New England Patriots. Adam Vinatieri and Stephen Gostkowski from 1996-2019 combined for 637 field goals at an 85% success rate. And that's not including all of the clutch postseason kicks too. The dynasty started with the long kick in the snow, which of course wouldn't have happened if Charles Woodson's strip-sack of Brady had not been deemed a tuck.

Those two kicks by Vinatieri in that snow game, to tie and then win it, are two of the greatest postseason kicks in the league's history, in my opinion.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

If the Packers don't find instant success this season the wolves are sure to howl. I believe we have the right leaders in place and would hate to see a results-oriented business chew them up and spit them out. How do you see it?

The game has changed, but it hasn't changed so much in the past 15 years that the approach taken during the 2008-09 seasons at the start of the last QB transition doesn't still apply. The Packers were 10-14 in Rodgers' first 24 starts before a strong finish in '09 landed a playoff spot, and then it still took until the third season to get a playoff win. Would it have made any sense then to give up on the Thompson/McCarthy regime? Everyone is hoping for more success early on this time, and the defense is better positioned to contribute to that than in '08. But this is a process with no guarantees, and reasoned, sensible analysis must prevail.

Sam from Janesville, WI

As an aside to Tom from Woodbury regarding pressure on a kicker, I've heard it said that a specialist (kicker) is competing against every other specialist (kicker) in the league, and against a bunch of guys who are street free agents. I'm sure the pressure is high at all times for these guys. That being said, do you have a favorite anecdote regarding cool-as-a-cucumber-Crosby and how he dealt with the pressure?

I've mentioned it before. I knew Crosby was going to be just fine when he boomed a 53-yarder and then made a game-winning 42-yarder in his first NFL game, the '07 opener. He showed right away he was built for those moments.

Sharon from Arbor Vitae, WI

One comment, one question. Packer fans in general seem more relaxed about the change in quarterback than the national media, and after reading some of Cliff Christl's articles lately I think it's due in part to our appreciation of the team's history; we don't live just in the moment. Anyway, with a new kicker I was wondering, do new players and coaches inherit the notes from previous ones? The quirks of Lambeau Field must take a while to get to know, it'd be nice to get a head start!

I can guarantee you Rich Bisaccia learned as much as he possibly could about Lambeau Field and its quirks from Crosby last season.

Dominic from Chesapeake, VA

Gentlemen of the II, my wife's birthday is Jan. 8 and I'm thinking of buying tickets to our last game. I know it's a "flex" game, but is there any chance it could be moved to Saturday? I hope not. Thanks!

In Week 18, the league will choose two games to be played on Saturday, Jan. 6, and the rest will be on Sunday, Jan. 7. Essentially every game that week is subject to flex both date and time until as close as a week prior.

Mark from Bristol, UK

100% agree with the Atlanta touchdown being Rodgers' best. However, don't underplay the catch from Nelson. The ball thrown well out of the end zone, keeping his feet in, and catching such a ferocious throw from a short distance. An amazing play.

Truly. "Ferocious" is a great adjective for the throw, but I wouldn't say it was "well out of the end zone." More like right along the boundary and Nelson had to drag the feet while cutting across. I'm not good enough with a stopwatch to accurately calculate the velocity equation as suggested Monday, though. But it's also fun that it remains a mystery.

Rob from Louisville, CO

Are there referees at practice, or is it like playground basketball where you call your own fouls?

There's a group of former high school/college officials that attend most practices. An actual NFL crew will come through town for a few days at some point during training camp, too.

Jeff from Ripon, WI

How much do agents get when a player signs a contract?

There are always variations, but a standard agent's commission is 3% of everything a player earns.

Will from Rochester, MN

From what you've said, Rodgers has a chance to return to Green Bay in 2024, which I would look forward to. If the Jets don't match up with the Pack, which NFC North team would you want him to match? I would love to see him back in Chicago retaining ownership there. Do you know if the Jets would be in New York or in Chicago vs. the Bears?

For the "17th game" in 2024, the NFC North hosts the AFC East.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

What point (or date) is considered the deadest of the dead zone? Should that be recognized somehow?

For me it's always the two days after the MLB All-Star Game, because baseball is off and there's literally nothing going on in any of the four major sports for those 48 hours.

James from Appleton, WI

I know sites need content, but there's absolutely nothing to be gained by redrafting a draft from a few years ago in hindsight. Sure, if the GMs knew then what we know now, they'd draft differently. So what's the point? It's like trying to blame someone for 1970s fashion. Those checked, flare-legged polyester pants wouldn't be my choice today, but I rocked them back then. Everyone knows.

Hey Wes, I think James here should get II MVP ballot consideration. Just sayin'.

Daniel from Fairmont, NC

My father took me to see Favre in action against Carolina in '01. Then, 10 years later, we went to see Rodgers in Charlotte as well. This year, I get to take my son to his first NFL game on Christmas Eve to see Love and company for his Christmas present. He doesn't know it yet, but I'm sure he'll be just as stoked as I am. Passing down the tradition of Packers fandom to the next generation. Can't wait.

You gonna be able to keep that secret for six months? I'm not sure I could.

Jerry from Lancaster, CA

Mike, you said you score baseball games you've attended but don't keep. 1988 I was at Tom Browning's perfect game. Also at World Series game for Gibson's home run. Can still hear Vin Scully's call and the goosebumps from the moment. Hope you get to score and experience such a moment. They are memorable!

I keep all my scorecards, and Big Dan Vogelbach's walk-off grand slam in September of '21 is my most worthy of potential framing, but I hesitate because unfortunately the Brewers flamed out in the playoffs so quickly a month later. I am waiting to be there for that no-hitter or a Brewers World Series game (win or lose).

Dan from Maquoketa, IA

The 1995 Steelers game has fond memories for me. Got to GB early and stopped at a local watering hole to get fortified for tailgating. The bartender offered me a nice Packer sweatshirt for $5. It had "CENTRAL DIVSION CHAMPS – 1995" on the front and back. Damn right I bought and wore it. Still wear it today, but about 20 years ago one guy pointed out DIVISION was misspelled. That's why it was so cheap. Do you have a special memory with any sports memorabilia?

I might've told a portion of this story before, but here goes anyway. When I was a kid, I'd ask my mom to order football jerseys from the Sears catalog all the time. They weren't the replica types you buy today in pro shops. Just unlicensed knockoffs, but I didn't care nor know any different. One year I asked for Dan Marino's Pitt No. 13 jersey. It showed up as Pitt No. 75, for whatever reason. No idea why. I was bummed, but didn't want to return it. I looked up who Pitt's No. 75 was. Jimbo Covert. Not long after, he gets drafted by the Bears and comes to my hometown for training camp. I stood outside the practice field one day and got his autograph wearing that jersey, which of course made him smile. A few years later, one of the adults in my church youth group remembered my Pitt jersey story and asked me about it. He owned a sub shop on Main St. and the local businesses in town did an "Adopt-a-Bear" display contest in their front windows annually. He had drawn Covert as his player that summer and wondered if I still had the old jersey. I did, so he put together a display with Covert's Bears jersey (No. 74) and my Pitt one (No. 75). It took first place in the Chamber contest, and I got a free sub out of the deal. Best sandwich I've ever eaten in my life. To bring the whole story full circle, my second year at packers.com when Favre was on the verge of the all-time TD pass record, I got a chance at the team hotel before a game in New York to interview Dan Marino, and I told him about ordering his college jersey as a kid and getting Jimbo's instead. He laughed, said getting the wrong jersey ended up being worth more than getting his. I tend to agree.

Larry from Hudson, WI

A yard sign? Wouldn't the Rock in a lawn chair yelling "Get off my lawn!" be more poignant? I picture the Rock walking around like he owns the place.

Who said he doesn't? Happy Wednesday.

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