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Inbox: That’s exactly what it was

LB Brady Sheldon
LB Brady Sheldon

Tyler from Crane Lake, MN

Tom Brady has now outlasted Peyton Manning and his successor.

Never underestimate the value of good health in this business.

Randy from Ooltewah, TN

Quite the bombshell by Andrew Luck over the weekend. Too short of a career for the Hall of Fame, I believe. What do you think is the biggest takeaway from this retirement announcement?

I’ve often said the biggest thing I’ve learned in 13-plus years in this building is what players put themselves through physically in order to play this game. I respect it to the nth degree, and it doesn’t surprise me at all that those physical demands, particularly to overcome injuries, sapped the joy of the game from one of the league’s stars. In fact, I’m a little surprised it doesn’t happen more often, though the money involved is almost certainly the primary reason it doesn’t.

John from Colonial Beach, VA

Not a question but a statement. In the wake of Andrew Luck's retirement I'm disgusted by people who booed him and are upset with him because of their fantasy team. Respect, what I can imagine, was an incredibly difficult decision to walk away from the game he loves for the longevity of his body and the health of his mind! And he was a class act every step of the way!

His being booed as he walked off the field on Saturday night just made me sad. We have to be better than that as a society. I realize it’s just a small segment, but we still have to be better.

Derek from South Point, OH

Hello, Mike/Wes! The treatment Andrew Luck received made me sick. Booing someone who’s laid it on the line for his team and I’m sure done amazing things with his time and resources for his community is disgusting behavior. Boo an opposing team, boo a dirty play, boo your team for a poor performance, but that crossed a line. As media members, where does this rank in poor fan behavior you’ve seen?

I’m not into rankings, but it’s up there. It’s one thing to have a “say it ain’t so” reaction, but for the immediate perspective to be on what a player hasn’t done or won’t do versus what he has done is disheartening to say the very least.

John from Scottsdale, AZ

As Justin from LA and II pointed out, there are no mulligans in NFL field prep. Kudos to the Lambeau (and all other) stadium crews and groundskeepers for keeping the field in top-shelf condition for these elite athletes to showcase their talents without undue concern for injuries. It’s not a part-time job.

Any team that doesn’t invest the proper resources to care for its field puts its most significant financial investments, the highest-paid players, at risk.

Hansen from Waukesha, WI

Playing the AFC West team this year made me had me thinking about past match ups with them. Among them, why did the Packers play the Raiders in Green Bay in both 2007 and 2011, and conversely, why did the Packers play the Chiefs in Kansas City in both 2007 and 2011? Why didn't they alternate home stadiums?

I don’t know the reason, but the NFL switched up the AFC West pairs in the scheduling formula somewhere between ’07 and ’11. Chiefs-Broncos and Raiders-Chargers had been the pairings, as far as home/away rotations with NFC matchups, then they switched to Raiders-Broncos and Chiefs-Chargers.

Travis from Superior, WI

Wow, the 2019 preseason power rankings guy really set the world on fire. He ordered the top 11 teams in the exact same order as they finished the playoffs last year. But, wait for it, replaced the Texans with the Steelers to round out the top 12. Is this season going to play out exactly the same as last season?

History says that’s highly unlikely. We went over the numbers a couple of weeks ago, didn’t we?

Nate from Plymouth, MN

I was watching the Oakland game highlights and late in the fourth quarter, Peterman threw a ball into the "end zone" that was tipped and intercepted by one of our linebackers (I think his jersey said Sheldon). However, when I looked at the final team stats on NFL game center, it said the Packers had thrown one interception as a team and the Raiders had thrown zero. How can that be? Was there a penalty that nullified the pick? I think the play might've been a two-point attempt, if that's important.

That’s exactly what it was. The only stats that count on two-point plays are whether the points are scored or not. Run attempts, pass attempts, yardage, interceptions, etc., don’t exist. Even if a defender intercepts a pass and runs it all the way back for two points for his own team, which has happened, it doesn’t count as an interception for the defender or the QB.

Dan from Twin Lakes, WI

Regarding waivers, Wes said, "If you claim a player, a corresponding move must be made at that time." Does this mean you must clear a spot to even make a claim or does it mean you must clear a spot if you're awarded the claim?

You must clear a spot if you’re awarded the claim.

Darren from Alice Springs, Australia

After final cut-downs, if a player from another team is claimed off waivers, does the 53rd player to make the initial Packers roster go through a later waiver process? If so, seems like a confusing domino effect.

When the initial waiver period ends around mid-day on Sunday and all claims are awarded, new players then made available are on waivers for the regular 24-hour period for teams to make claims.

Ryan from Elmhurst, IL

The Packers are 12th in waiver claim order due to their draft order. How does waiver order work for teams that do not have a first-round pick, or trade to a different pick within the first round?

It’s whatever pick they would have had, if they’d never traded out of the spot. New Orleans is 30th in the waiver claim order, even though the Packers went into the draft with that pick from the previous year’s trade.

Will from Mechanicsville, VA

Hey there, we've talked about getting rid of kickoffs, my only question is what happens to the onside kick? Does it just go poof?

We’ve discussed before, at great length, why that’s probably the biggest holdup to getting rid of the kickoff altogether. There needs to be a mechanism for a team that just scored to keep the ball in a comeback attempt, and in my opinion, there’s no easy answer. A one-shot, fourth-down solution could become a farce due to ticky-tack penalty flags, and the current kickoff rules have made onside kicks a less than 10 percent proposition anyway.

Drew from Croton-on-Hudson, NY

If most kickoffs are eliminated, wouldn’t the ones to keep be in the last two minutes of the half and game, to allow for onside kicks and Music City Miracles (going back to old run-up rules)?

That would be one possible solution worth considering.

Rick from Boyd, WI

One topic I haven’t seen discussed when talking about eliminating punts/kickoffs is how it affects those players that make the team based on their special-teams play. Seems to me that some talented guys, who wouldn’t make the team otherwise, would lose out on their dream of playing in the NFL.

Or better offensive/defensive players without the special-teams prowess would be kept on rosters for added depth because special teams would lose some impact without kickoffs. It would be just a different set of dreamers who make it instead.

Bruce from Bloomington, IN

I think our roster is a little deeper in talent on the back end than the past couple years and I think that's due to a subtle shift in strategy at the top. Gute is more willing to bring in guys that have been on other teams than TT. Under TT, we typically led the league in a roster stocked with "homegrown talent." Now, we're more open to churning through some players we don't know as much about at the beginning. Over/under, how many players not currently on the roster make our initial 53? Two?

Probably a good guess. But I’m glad you said “subtle shift” because I don’t think it should be overstated. When Thompson first took over a non-playoff team, he was constantly churning the middle to bottom of the roster. He was higher in the waiver claim order and claimed guys like Jarrett Bush, Charlie Peprah and John Kuhn, and traded for Ryan Grant, his first few years. Then he had a team that made eight straight playoff appearances and, with less chance of getting quality waiver claims, homegrown development was keeping the team in the mix every year. You play the hand you’re dealt as best you can.

The Green Bay Packers practiced in preparation for the final preseason game of 2019.

Bret from Sycamore, IL

If two preseason games are eliminated would the lost revenue affect the salary cap?

Yes, but to what extent I’m not sure, because there are certain types of revenue that go into the pool that determines the cap, and other revenues that don’t. I can’t speak to what’s what. I think the owners would take the bigger hit if the revenue couldn’t be made up somewhere else.

Phil from Madison, WI

If a hypothetical team (say the Packers) wanted to keep a hypothetical injured player (say EQ) eligible for return, but were concerned they might lose another player they want to bring back to that roster spot after EQ goes to IR, are there players (say the long snapper) that would be a low-risk release and re-sign option?

I wouldn’t risk losing anybody to waivers or street free agency you wouldn’t be able to replace quickly and seamlessly. You expose the most replaceable part, like the last guy at the bottom of a deep position, not a specialized, singular job.

Dave from Germantown, TN

When the Packers cut a player that they are interested in adding to the practice squad do they tell him or do they wait until the player clears waivers? Are there players that they cut that they encourage to find another line of work?

If they did the latter, it’s as much an indictment of themselves as the player, so there’s no point. As for the former, they will indicate to players (and/or their agents) they’re interested in bringing them back on the practice squad should they clear waivers. But it’s still up to the player, and some will take practice-squad offers elsewhere if they feel it’s a better career opportunity.

Dale from Kettering, OH

With all the fake claps, silly counts and in-audibles, I can't wait to get back to Aaron's old school hard count. Do you think any of this new school deception is going to last?

Not if the officials keep throwing flags because they believe what they’re seeing simulates the start of a play. The more significant penalty issue from the preseason, as several readers have pointed out, has been this emphasis on offensive holding. If this continues, the impact on the early-season games will be significant.

James from Chicago, IL

Coach LaFleur mentioned that at the end of the Oakland game it was difficult to get a timeout called because the officials couldn’t hear him and he couldn’t sprint over to get their attention because of his Achilles injury. Is there some way for him to communicate his limitation to the officiating staff before games and work out some more reliable form of communication? What are the rules regarding who from the coaching staff can call timeouts? Can we get him a timeout runner?

LaFleur is doing just that, and it’s going to be QB coach Luke Getsy, who is on the sidelines with a headset on. As long as it’s communicated to the officials that the head coach has given additional sideline personnel the authority to call timeouts, it should all be fine.

Michael from Dover, PA

With one game to go one interesting positional battle is for the third RB spot between Dexter Williams and Tra Carson. Both bring a lot to the table in terms of pop and explosion, but Williams still seems to struggle with pass blocking. How do you see this battle playing out?

It’s tough to say. Williams is the more explosive runner, but Carson is the more complete back. I keep wondering if Jamaal Williams’ health come Week 1 will factor into the decision.

Ron from Riverview, FL

Hey guys, great job you're doing. The information and insight you provide helps me understand a lot. My question, considering the outrageous ticket prices for the Winnipeg game, any idea of what the total attendance was?

The announced attendance was 21,992, about two-thirds capacity. If the media reports on ticket sales a few weeks before the game were accurate, and if the only price drops were for seats in the end zones, there had to be a fair amount of last-minute promotional giveaways to get that size crowd.

Butros from Onalaska, WI

With the releasing of Josh Jones, do you think that is a sign that they think Bolton and Burks may be back sooner rather than later? Also, on a side note, I hope when they met with Jones to release him, they made it clear to him they couldn't find anyone who was willing to give up anything to trade for him.

Gutekunst already has indicated Burks could be back sooner than initially feared. Bolton told reporters there’s a lot of uncertainty with his knee injury. As I wrote after Sunday’s practice, I think the move shows the team’s confidence in Raven Greene, and by extension, any unhappiness from Jones wasn’t going to diminish given his place on the depth chart.

Scott from Fredonia, WI

Hi Mike! Aside from making room for an additional player to the 90-man roster, is there a team advantage to releasing a player a week before cut-down day?

You’re eliminating the possibility he gets hurt during the final week of camp or during the last preseason game, which puts you on the hook for an injury settlement at minimum.

Todd from Wauwatosa, WI

With the trend of making the game faster, do you think we’ll ever see a day when all players have a radio headset in their helmets?

With a play clock of 25 seconds and the game clock not stopping on incomplete passes until the final two minutes of each half? Yeah, maybe.

Dean from Orlando, FL

If Wes provides a complementary article on someone else’s work, should we call it “Wes’s Side Story”?

It’s Monday isn’t it?

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