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Inbox: That's not all luck

He who hesitates is lost

Head Coach Matt LaFleur
Head Coach Matt LaFleur

Karen from South Beloit, IL

What are the "five things they want you to forget" about Spoff?

I don't remember.

Mark from Fort Worth, TX

So what is the worst sound in sports? The sound of the ball hitting that guy in the face? The sound of skin on a basketball court?

I don't know, but that story Wes told is gonna stick with me for a while.

Randy from Fort Wayne, IN

Yesterday's conversation on sounds in sports reminds me of a memory and sound. We were at a practice round of the Memorial tournament in OH. We were sitting in the bleachers on the driving range waiting for Steve Stricker to warm up. John Daly shows up and starts going through his bag and starts with the short irons. Finally, he grabs the driver and hits his first ball. Every pro and spectator's head turned to look, when the sound of the club face met the ball. It was astonishing.

Did anyone see, or I should say hear, the highlight of Shohei Ohtani's homer from the other night? Astonishing is the only word that came to mind on that one for me.

Ted from Amherst, NY

Mike, as an engineer, I take exception to the statement that there are drawbacks to everything. There are drawbacks to dumb ideas, what you describe is a trade-off: you give up one thing to get something else. That is the nature of all design choices – engineering or coaching. Semantics? Not if you read all the cynics who bemoan every trade-off without acknowledging what you get for it.

True enough.

Bisch from Snellville, GA

Three straight first-round picks from UGA, my Packers are forcing me to root for Bulldogs and I went to Georgia Tech. I'm excited about all three but beyond Wes's insight that "Quay has everything you look for in a rookie," I am hungry for more ink on him and just haven't seen that much. Was he taking first-team reps? Do you see him pushing Barnes for playing time from the jump? Possible three-down LB with a skill set like De'Vondre Campbell's? Is it a stretch to predict this ILB group will be the NFL's best in '22?

Let's slow down just a bit. Yes, he was taking first-team reps in the spring, and there's no question Barry envisions Campbell and Walker side by side in a number of packages. All early signs are positive, but he'll have to earn it and prove he belongs. Wes has a story on Quay Walker coming today, so keep an eye out for it.

Dennis from Appleton, WI

Which of the 2022 drafted offensive lineman do you anticipate seeing the most playing time in the regular season without filling in for injury?

That's absolutely impossible to say. If you had told me last year at this time that rookie fourth-round pick Royce Newman was going to start 16 games at right guard, I wouldn't have believed you. The competitions, and where the rookies fit best, have to play out.

Joe from Swansea, IL

Dead Zone question. If I'm right in remembering this, the Packers were five plays away from an 8-9 record last year. And they won five games by a total of 11 points. My question: Is that necessarily a scary thing? Or have the Pack proven they know how to win the close games under Coach L?

In three seasons, including playoffs, the Packers are 19-8 under LaFleur in games decided by one score (eight points or less). That's not all luck.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning. How long do you think it will be before the Packers assign No. 17 to a new player? It's not up for permanent retirement, is it? Thanks.

No, it's not, and it won't be. I don't think the front office worries about it too much, frankly. When Clay Matthews wasn't re-signed in 2019, No. 52 went to Rashan Gary as soon as he was drafted. So maybe it'll be a while, maybe it won't.

Mike from San Antonio, TX

Dead Zone question – how does the team ensure they will have the proper hotel accommodations for away games? Do they know the schedule before it is made public or does the NFL have hotels reserved in each city for all weekends? Inquiring minds want to know. Thank you.

The team's travel coordinator starts making arrangements at the same time everyone else does, when the schedule is released.

Joe from Liberty Township, OH

I don't recall contract void years being utilized until the past few years. It feels like cheating the spirit and intent of a hard salary cap, but it's obviously allowed by the CBA. Players get their money and teams stay under the salary cap, so both sides win. Was this something new added in the last CBA or was it always there but not used until teams had to adapt to the salary cap decrease due to COVID?

To my knowledge, the latter. It's just a different way of charging future dead money to the cap. Teams set up de facto void years in the past, expecting they would release the player or renegotiate before the last year or two of the initial contract kicked in, but wanting the longer time frame to pro-rate the signing bonus. Now they're being deployed up front more as a cap move, with both parties knowing the deal is going to be voided at a certain point.

Chambo from Star, ID

Gentlemen, I am quite curious about the WR room. I've heard good and not so good on Juwann Winfree and Samori Toure. What have you seen and do you think either will make the 53?

I saw good moments from both during the spring, but we did not have access to enough workouts to see if they were stringing together good days, performing at a consistent level. That's what it'll take in training camp. It's no easy road for either of those guys, but there's no counting anyone out at this point.

James from Appleton, WI

I recall during the Favre/early Aaron Rodgers years that the QB would throw a ball that seemed way off target and typically it was because the receiver had run a sloppy or wrong route. This preseason, with Love throwing to rookies, I expect to see some of these miscues. Do the coaches know immediately the reason, or do they have to do some digging into it after? I already know who the click-bait crowd will be piling on.

That's what film sessions are for. They sort all that out in offensive meetings.

Roger from Roseville, MN

Another dead zone question. This one may require a bit of research, but do we know which QB has thrown for the most TDs against the Packers? Given the dearth of such top-notch types within the division the past 40-50 years, might it go back to someone such as Tarkenton? Unitas? Or, possibly, the much more recent Matt Stafford?

It's Stafford, with 40, followed by Unitas (34), Tarkenton (33) and Bobby Layne (28). The latter three also have thrown the most interceptions against the Packers.

Jon from Laramie, WY

Remember, Adrian Peterson tore his ACL the year before his 2,000-yard outburst. It just took him a little time to get going in 2012.

Indeed, and his ACL tear occurred on Christmas Eve 2011. One year and six days later, he came up 9 yards shy of surpassing Dickerson's record 2,105.

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares his favorite photos from the 2021 Green Bay Packers season.

Tom from Douglassville, PA

Which NFC team do you think has made the most improvement?

Probably the Eagles. Or perhaps the Lions.

Curt from Algonquin, IL

Re: Erik from Mansfield, TX, if I recall the postgame interview correctly, Jaire admitted that he didn't decide to blitz in the 2020 opener in Minnesota, but that he bit hard on the play action and completely dropped his coverage responsibility. He figured his best option was to go after Cousins and hope for the best. If it's the interview I'm thinking of, he said the coaches tell the defense, "If you make a mistake, you'd better make it a fast one."

Coaches say versions of that a lot, mostly as a reminder that whatever the players do needs to be done at full speed. Being wrong but decisive can have a better chance of working out than being right and indecisive. He who hesitates is lost.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

So that one free agent the Packers will sign before the season opens, BAP or need?

Acquisitions at that stage are need-based. There has to be a place for them to fit, and need creates the fit.

Todd from Brighton, MI

There is a third way to "win" the preseason – watch the progress of a longshot player to the final 53. Enjoy the journey.

Finding stories to root for is the most fun part of training camp.

Michael from Portland, OR

What's the funniest moment you've witnessed at a sporting event? Although it was only on highlights, the butt fumble makes me smile every time I see it. The home run off Canseco's head wasn't bad either.

Sticking to what I've seen in person, most recently Garrett Bradbury's re-creation of the Immaculate Reception last year at Lambeau certainly sticks out. When I was a kid, I remember seeing the Cleveland Indians turn a potential double play against the Brewers into three consecutive throwing errors that allowed two runs to score. It made me feel like my Little League team could've beaten them that day.

Benjamin from Burlington, VT

The offense is probably going to rely on moving the ball via run and/or pass. I heard from an inside source that the officials are going to place an emphasis on teleportation this season.

Nicely done.

Rusty from Eustace, TX

Why do I feel like a 6-year-old in the backseat asking, "Are we there yet?"

Because the football season has become the next rest stop with a vending machine on your highway of life. Except no matter how much money you put in it or which buttons you push, the machine won't just give you what you want.

Charlie from Spring Lake, NC

So now I'll be the weird guy looking under every ball cap for Wes's face at every rest stop this summer. Thanks II. I know we've discussed this, but I forgot, does the sizzle indicate a made, or a missed field goal attempt? I like that the doink can go both ways – adds to the drama. I've experienced both heartbreak and elation from the doink back in my soccer days. Please don't tell Vic.

You've heard how a rolling stone gathers no moss? Well, a vaporized football scores no points. Happy Wednesday.