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Inbox: That's the game within the game

The best QBs do most of their thinking before the snap


Jim from Bluffton, SC

We don't know until we know as relates to football ability. So who are your top 1-2 rookies that are the funniest?

I haven't had the opportunity yet to be part of interviews with them all, but Cole Madison struck me as an interesting character when he first arrived.

Steve from Austin, TX

How long has Wes been waiting to sneak in a Carl Winslow quote?

Apparently two years. It took some patience, which the Inbox forces upon him daily. It all ties together.

Matthias from Hartford, WI

Say I'm a manager or coach of a losing team, whether that is a business or sports team. What needs to change for the team/business to start winning?

Belief that you're going to win, which starts with leadership laying out a plan and establishing a culture others will buy into in order to foster that belief.

Paul from Minneapolis, MN

Just read the "12th Moment" about Don Hutson. It's hard to compare players from previous eras and give them their due in today's "Madden World." But for a player from the '40s to have two major WR records stand until 1984 and 1989 is impressive. Are there any modern-era records that have a chance to be unbroken for 20-40 years? Favre's consecutive games streak might be around for a while. Any others?

Certainly that one. The next ones that come to mind are Eric Dickerson's 2,105 rushing yards in 1984 and Emmitt Smith's 18,355 career rushing yards. The dominant back of this generation, Adrian Peterson, came within eight yards of Dickerson's mark in 2012, but given the game's trends we might not see anyone approach it again anytime soon. And for all his greatness, Peterson still sits more than 6,000 career yards short of Smith.

Darren from Kingston, Ontario

I have a tremendous feeling about JK Scott. Despite many huge games with Alabama, the moment never seemed too big for him. I realize he hasn't even executed his first punt as a Packer, but I see something very special in him. He has the potential to tilt the field in our favor for many years and enjoy multiple Pro Bowls over a 15-20 year career. Do you see the same potential in Scott, or am I being far too optimistic?

I agree the moments don't seem too big for him, and he hit some impressive punts in practice on Tuesday. Beyond that, I'm going to shift your hype train out of hyperdrive.

 Take a look at photos from the first day of minicamp where the Packers practiced at Ray Nitschke Field.

Ken from Wolcott, CT

My friends that are Raider fans seem to think Jordy is good to have the numbers he had for us a few years back. Tell me if you agree with me on what I tell them. I believe Jordy is still a very good player but one read on why I think he had good numbers was because of the relationship he and Aaron had. They could read each other's mind when it came to a broken play. Aaron knew where he would be on the field. He won't have that same connection with Carr.

It certainly won't develop overnight, but the presence of a veteran, polished receiver can have a strong impact on an up-and-coming QB like Carr. I think that's why the Raiders pounced on Nelson as soon as he was available.

Mark from Missoula, MT

In continuation of this column's look-alikes and in honor of the World Cup, I give you former Croatian and current Eintrach Frankfurt manager Niko Kovac and American actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I came across this randomly and had to look it up myself, but it is worth it.

In continuation of his sentiments and in honor of Vic, I'm closing the curtains.

Sean from Boulder, CO

Does taking steps to prevent hundreds of concussions each year and allowing veterans of the NFL to live past the age of 60 really correlate to playing "two-hand touch"? That's a sad viewpoint. Whatever job the critics go to each day, I imagine their employer has taken far more drastic steps to ensure employee safety. As a lifelong football fan going into his 50s, I appreciate the long overdue efforts taken the last few years to condone safety rather than football going the way of Jarts and Pintos.

I tend to agree, and not just because the sport is currently tied to my livelihood.

Marjorie from Roseville, CA

I've just seen the new uniforms. They are hideous. The players will look like comic characters. Can the team wear color rush all of the time?

Wait, huh?

Bill from Iowa City, IA

What are you looking to see during the minicamp?

Who can put together consecutive solid-to-standout days. I thought St. Brown and Moore each had a good Tuesday.

Neal from Fort Worth, TX

The signing of Joey Mbu brought to mind a question. If correct, players can only spend three years on the practice squad. Do those three years accrue regardless of which team's practice squad it is, or is it three years accrued with one team?

It's three years regardless of team, with I believe three games on a practice squad in a given season counting as one year. Mbu is no longer practice-squad eligible.

Troy from Westminster, CO

T.O. wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame to give a speech, he was elected because he was a great player in his era. For those upset because of his stance, I believe they're also the same ones upset with him before he was elected. I don't need to see his speech to decide whether or not he belongs in the Hall. That hay is already in the barn.

It always has been. That's not the point. It's about showing respect to an elite fraternity he should feel honored to join, and he has declined to show any. He'd prefer the world know he feels disrespected. That's fine, his business, but it's clear he'd rather have the perceptions of him remain intact than put forth any effort to change them. A speech in Canton is a huge opportunity he's missing out on.

Bruce from Bloomington, IL

It's truly a game of adjustment. I predict the defensive adjustment this year is to the back-shoulder throw. CBs are going to have a clue when and where the throw is coming. If they guess right and time it right, we have a pick-six. Seems like a lot of back-shoulder throws are aimed at the front pylon of the end zone. I see a 100-yard pick-six swinging a game 14 points this year. Hope it's for us and not against us.

The top quarterbacks read the position of the corner's body, particularly his feet, to know when to throw back-shoulder. If that read provides any inkling the throw is a risk, they don't throw it. You're suggesting a corner can either bait a QB into it, or guess when it's coming. Those are even greater risks in my book, because those tactics all but negate the ability to react to any other move by the receiver or QB. That's why it's the toughest play to defend when executed precisely.

Chuck from Horicon, WI

Since everything was switched over to the new homepage, I was wondering if I'm the only one experiencing problems. All the videos that I watch are very choppy. Or is it my end that has a problem?

We're hearing from a lot of folks about problems with videos, and the messages are being passed on to the league. The primary piece of advice we're being told to convey is to make sure you have the most updated version of whatever web browser you are using. Beyond that, please try to remain patient.

Jeff from Arlington, VA

Other than specialists, what position has the best shot of making an NFL roster as a UDFA?

I don't have any stats in front of me, and it depends on any given team's construction, but it might be defensive back, for two reasons: the high number kept on rosters these days in a pass-oriented league, and the special-teams abilities they also bring to the table.

Andrew from Memphis, TN

I have to say that your response to Mark from WI strengthened his assertion of Reggie being the best defensive lineman ever. Yes, he was the best pass rusher, but he was also always lined up over the right tackle because his run defense was so unstoppable. He was truly a man amongst boys when he employed his club move, and it was effective whether the ball carrier was looking to run or pass. Combine this with an infallible motor and his overall presence in the locker room, and you have the GOAT.

I won't argue.

Chris from Victor, ID

I like the "shutdown corner" reality checking. I like to think of the elite defenders as "think twice" players. Make the QB think twice about throwing at this guy, or the OC running the ball at that guy. During the play, if someone lurking off the edge (or looming in the middle) is making the QB think twice AND a cover corner is doing the same, that's four thinks, and no QB wants to think that much after the snap.

The best QBs do most of their thinking before the snap, without letting the defense know they've done so.

Rob from Muskego, WI

Will receivers (or any other position) give false tells to the guy opposite them? Some sort of pattern like a look in a certain direction they'll make a few times, then abruptly change when the defender starts cheating on it?

Of course. That's the game within the game. For example, offensive linemen have to check themselves all the time when in a three-point stance, because the defensive linemen often are reading run or pass based on how much weight the blocker is putting on that down hand. But at some point he might lie.

Dan from Grand Rapids, MI

It seems we have heard a lot about Jimmy Graham, the rookie cornerbacks, Tramon Williams, but nothing so far about how Muhammad Wilkerson has looked. Is that just simply because this part of the offseason favors pass catchers and cornerbacks making noise over linemen?


Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

As a Purdue grad I have to ask, "Where is Yancey and how is he doing"? I haven't seen him mentioned and he's still on the website team roster. On another matter, with all this stout DL talent we are accumulating, are any of them suited to be an edge rusher when four-plus of them are on the field?

I wrote this story on Yancey about a month ago. As for the D-line, my hunch is the guys best suited to be on the end in a four-man front are Wilkerson and Lowry.

Joe from Maple Grove, MN

Even though I know TT did an incredible job throughout his years with GB, something about the "youthful" (he's older than me) vigor and energy of Gute really has me excited about these next few years. Correct me if I am wrong on these numbers, but Wolf won a Super Bowl after six years constructing HIS roster, Thompson won one six years in as well. If I told you the Packers win at least one Super Bowl during Gutekunst's tenure, would you guess over or under six years until HIS team goes the distance?

It was actually five years for Wolf (he was hired in '91, very late in that season), but regardless, I'll take the under.

Elizabeth from Sylvania, OH

While I didn't always agree with his crusty opinions, I always enjoyed when Vic wrote about Aaron Rodgers. It was exciting and I appreciated the opinion coming from someone who's seen it all. I recently watched the video of the interview with Mike Daniels and he said something to the effect of if we thought Aaron Rodgers was on a revenge tour at the start of last season, the revenge tour is 10 times that this year. What have you seen and please, don't hold back!

I've seen a very focused Rodgers, but that's no different from previous years. What's new to me is his excitement and enthusiasm for the addition of Jimmy Graham to this offense. It comes across as genuine.

Vin from St. Augustine, FL

Three two one, one two three? I was expecting serenity now.

That would have been my line.


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