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Inbox: That moment was the turning point

They just stay focused on whatever task that day brings

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S Adrian Amos

Isaac from Abiquiu, NM

It's a very small hill to die on? It's a very small hill? That was such an opportunity that was missed! That hill that English majors die on could have been made that much smaller. I was so looking forward to that. That's a shame.

Oy. Moving on.

James from Appleton, WI

Davante Adams can't be replaced, because of his high level of talent and dedication, and I hope the Packers reach an extension with him. But Marquez Valdes-Scantling also can't be replaced just because of his speed. If he improves on last season but doesn't have his deal extended, would he be an unrestricted free agent? Or would the Packers have any sort of leverage?

Without an extension, he would become an unrestricted free agent on the first day of the new league year in mid-March. Until then, the Packers have exclusive negotiating rights with him.

Dwight from Brooklyn, NY

Yes, you have to be professional, as opposed to those of us who have the luxury of just being emotionally invested fans, but that doesn't mean you aren't human. So, after all that's been said and done about the team leading up to now, and what you've been seeing on the practice field, how excited are you about this team going into this season?

I believe this team is very good, and a legitimate contender for a championship. I felt the same way last year. What must unfold is the response to the inevitable adversity. Under LaFleur, this team has navigated injuries and bounced back from losses very well. As I've suggested the past week or so, I think the tumultuous offseason has created the potential for additional adversity down the line, possibly affecting the team's psyche. Maybe not. Eventually, we'll find out if there's any effect.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

A few weeks ago I attended a Montgomery Biscuits' game, Double-A affiliate to the Tampa Bay Rays, and sat directly behind a scout. I found myself more intrigued by his activity than I did the game as he clocked pitch speed and scribbled notes on his laptop, which leads me to this question. What's more important for a scout in any sport, their eyes or their ability to crunch numbers? Yes, the Montgomery Biscuits throw warm biscuits to fans in the stands between innings.

Scouts these days must be able to process it all, though I don't think there's nearly as much number crunching in football. In most cases, one evaluation (the eyes or the numbers) has to indicate a guy can play, and then the other must validate the claim.

Lambeau Field hosted Packers Family Night on Aug. 7, 2021, in front of a crowd of 34,835.

Rick from Lampson, WI

Hey, Head Coach ML has said he likes the idea of practicing against another team. Wouldn't it be great if they could coordinate that with Family Night? Both teams would benefit with a big crowd and I'm sure a 1½-to-2-hour practice with first and second teams would be about the right length. It would be a mini preseason game. Good or bad idea?

The Packers did that once with the Buffalo Bills, for a scrimmage. I believe it was back in 2005. There actually isn't enough room within one stadium for two teams to get all they would want/need out of a "practice," so the visiting team gets more for its travel dollar if it coordinates a couple of workouts with a preseason game to wrap up the trip, as the Texans did two years ago and the Jets are doing this year.

Ken from Racine, WI

I like your attitude, Wes (no doubt shared by Mike), that the Packers are a big part of any other team's "daunting" schedule segment. Do you pick up on that being the prevailing attitude on our team as well? Kind of "You gotta get through us to get where you wanna be, and we ain't holdin' the door for anyone!"

Honestly, the players and coaches don't look at it like that. Teams that are good know they're good, and they just stay focused on whatever task that day brings. In this league, looking big picture is the first step toward being out of the picture.

Michael from Santa Cruz, CA

In 35-plus years being a Packers fan, a strange and new phenomenon has taken hold. My current favorite player is Elgton Jenkins and the gap is widening. I am rocking an O-lineman's jersey for the first time ever, purchased minutes after watching what he did to the great Aaron Donald in last season's playoff game. It is early – and I am biased at this point – but I believe we are watching the embryonic stages of an eventual Hall of Fame career. Feeling the same thing for No. 74?

I wouldn't rule anything out, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. He doesn't have a single All-Pro selection yet, let alone the handful needed to enter a legitimate Hall of Fame discussion.

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

Eric from Mequon wrote, "We are fielding a team with the best QB, WR, RB, LT on offense and top-five talent in DT, OLB, CB, and S on defense." Uh, I don't think anyone except Eric really believes that. As Vic would say, "Our greatness is great."

Yes, yes he would.

Tim from Appleton, WI

Hi Mike, with so many people still not willing to be vaccinated, combined with the surge of the Delta variant expected to peak in mid-October, should the NFL reconsider full capacity this fall? These games could easily become super-spreader events and super-spreader events increase the odds for new variants to develop. If the next variant makes the current vaccines useless then we are all back to square one. The Delta variant has changed the math. 100% capacity is not safe anymore.

That's a decision way above my pay grade and for folks far more knowledgeable (and powerful) than I am. For the leagues and teams, it's not the same calculus as a year ago when there was not a protective measure to the level of a vaccine available. People can choose whether or not to get it. Likewise, they can choose whether or not to assume the risk of visiting a full stadium. That's where we are. I hear what you're saying about the possible larger, future developments, but "if the next variant makes the current vaccines useless" is a hypothetical with unknown odds that feels like a huge leap to force changing stadium policies right now. I'm hoping it stays a huge leap.

Susan from Oak Creek, WI

Which new player do you think will have the biggest positive impact this year?

It's going to be either Josh Myers, Amari Rodgers, Eric Stokes or De'Vondre Campbell.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Mike and Wes, who would you pick as the biggest surprise player to make the roster and become an impact player while covering training camps for the Packers?

For me it's probably two guys who played the same position – Tramon Williams and Sam Shields. I don't know if anyone saw Williams making the team in '07, but he did, and the rest is history. Shields wasn't as big a shocker to make the 53 in '10, but he pretty much nailed down the third corner spot as an undrafted rookie and went from there.

Matt from Burlington, WI

II, why do you think the defense surged last year? Is there a moment that changed for the defense?

On the Bears' first handoff in Week 12. David Montgomery busted a run up the middle for 57 yards. After that play, it felt like we were watching a different Packers' defense the rest of the season. I don't know what exactly changed or how, but for whatever reason that moment was the turning point.

Ronald from Panabo, Philippines

Insiders, Aaron Rodgers talked about his quarterback college or school days. Does Green Bay still have that and have Jordan Love and Kurt Benkert been through it?

QB school was a McCarthy creation, and it was extremely valuable in the development of Rodgers and Matt Flynn. The 2011 CBA drastically cut back on coaches' offseason time with players, so it wasn't as extensive/intensive after that. LaFleur has an offseason regimen for how the coaches work with the QBs, but nothing will ever resemble what I saw Rodgers and Flynn go through. Those guys were in the building 10-12 hours a day from mid-March through mid-June, and those days are long gone.

Dylan from Cary, NC

Can we replay Bakh talking about how important it is to be loud on first and second down, not just third, to all of Lambeau before the start of each game?

That's actually not a bad idea.

Scott from Albertville, MN

We know the long-lasting rivalry between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. What team have the Packers played the least amount times in their history?

The Houston Texans. Last year's meeting was just the fifth between the two teams. Not including relocated or expansion franchises from the 1990s or more recent, the answer would be the New England Patriots. The Packers have played them just 12 times, including Super Bowl XXXI.

Scott from Salem, OR

I know "no math" here. But a simple equation is: The addition of Randall Cobb equals the subtraction of defensive attention on Davante Adams.

I disagree. No offense to Cobb or anyone else, but short of adding Jerry Rice, I don't see defenses paying any less attention to Adams.

Dave from Escanaba, MI

So how many were in attendance on Saturday night despite all the rain? I watched on TV and it appeared quite a few fans.

The announced attendance was just under 35,000, which I thought was a pretty hearty crowd given the conditions. I tip my hat to all the fans who stuck it out.

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

I guess if Devin Funchess doesn't make the 53 the mouth breathers will go crazy saying he was cut because of his mistake Saturday night and because the Packers are too "woke."

Funchess has a heck of a fight on his hands for a roster spot, but I don't think his comment will factor. He apologized, on his own and without the assistance of an agent or anything. He made a mistake and owned up to it in a very sincere way. GM Brian Gutekunst acknowledged as much without downplaying it. I'm certainly willing to give the benefit of the doubt for a momentary lapse when the regret is swift and obvious. Lord knows I'm not perfect.

William from Speedwell, TN

At the start of camp, Gutey said that there wasn't much concern about the injuries to Kevin King, Kingsley Keke, and Za'Darius Smith. It's now Family Night and to the best of my knowledge, none of the three has taken a single rep yet. I think all three are important for the 2021 season. At what point does the concern increase?

I asked Gutekunst a version of this question on Sunday and he expressed no worries.

Chris from Gallatin, TN

Can we all just take a second to acknowledge how clean a look those gold long sleeves Jaire Alexander and MVS were rocking are? Here's hoping those make some appearances this year.

I'm a pretty traditional guy but I have to admit I liked that look, too.

Walter from Rome, NY

Mike, what was your favorite part of Family Night besides the fans in the stands?

Seeing Wes come into the media auditorium soaking wet after watching the last half hour or so of practice from the field. He's lucky Larry was busy on the TV broadcast, which gave him time to dry off before shooting Three Things. I wanted to get that drowned-rat look into the studio ASAP.

Wayne from Mebane, NC

As a Packer fan since 1956 when we moved to Wisconsin; I was glad to see one of the players I enjoyed seeing play make it to the HOF, Bobby Dillion. Just hate when it happens after the player dies and doesn't get the joy of the induction. His election was way overdue.

It really is a shame he couldn't have gotten in before he passed away. In doing a little research to recap Dillon's career, I discovered something interesting. Of the Packers' now 27 individuals enshrined in Canton, only two were not a member of one of Green Bay's 13 championship teams – James Lofton and Bobby Dillon.

Speaking of the Hall inductions, I finished this early Sunday so I could write a column off Charles Woodson's enshrinement speech late in the evening, so be sure to check that out and I'll share more thoughts later this week.

Josh from Newhall, CA

The 40 time is irrelevant. The important question is: Was the net a first-round pick?

Oh my. Rodgers was unconscious with those net throws Saturday night. Just unreal. Happy Monday.

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