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Inbox: That's what you want

The defense is fun to play


Jake from Athens, GA

In general, is a new defensive playbook easier to learn than a new offensive one? It sure sounds like the defense is winning the early part of camp.

I'd give the defense the edge in terms of the splash plays, and it has won more two-minute drills than it has lost. The offense hasn't hit on as many flashy, explosive plays, but it's only been five practices. No one's dominating. The drills are competitive, and that's what you want.

Dave from Savage, MN

So, who looks terrible in camp so far...? Just kidding. Any half-line drills yet? I want a real running game and I'm curious to know how it looks so far.

They aren't doing half-lines anymore. It's a full-line run drill, maybe because they got tired of the ball carriers cutting the runs back, when there's no one on the back side, instead of pressing the hole. Anyway, that's one change this year. Also, in that run-game drill, they're letting the backs take a few reps in a row rather than rotating them every snap.

Darren from Kingston, Ontario

Mike, Wes read my mind when he responded to Jack from New York's questions about Pettine, because I was going to ask if you could describe Pettine in one word. If "observant" best describes Pettine, what word best describes Philbin?


Paco from Hudson, WI

I'm not worried about Rodgers throwing INTs in practice. They don't get much out of No. 12 throwing the ball out of bounds in practice. Receivers and corners gain experience going after contested passes. That being said; are developing QBs expected to throw into tight coverage? Or is it to their advantage to demonstrate their ability to identify blanket coverage and concede the play?

The younger quarterbacks' decision-making in practice is being scrutinized more, yes.

Dan from New Berlin, WI

Tell Jacob from Green Bay that Jerry Kramer stayed in room 207 (says so in "Instant Replay"), so he was close to a legend!

So he's got that going for him, which is nice.

James from Chicago, IL

A solid running game and a stout defense is a recipe for controlling and running out the clock in the fourth quarter. If both things are true for the Packers this season it will be interesting to see if we'll be hearing about awful conservative play-calling?

The hope would be the Packers are the most boring team in football in the fourth quarter, but that's not how this league usually works.

Jay from Land O'Lakes, FL

Guys, to your eyes which new receiver looks the best in terms of innate quickness, has the natural athleticism, moves with fluidity?

All three of the draft picks, along with Kumerow, lack little to nothing in terms of athleticism. Moore looks the strongest and Valdes-Scantling the fastest from what I've seen so far, but we'll learn more when they go against actual opponents the rest of the month.

The Packers continued training camp practice Tuesday

Chris from Philadelphia, PA

There's so much attention to the number of interceptions Aaron Rodgers threw in practice. In interviews he consistently demonstrates his incredible memory for situations and plays so I feel like every interception he throws in practice is one he isn't going to throw in a game.

That's a good way to look at it, and for the record, there were no interceptions on Tuesday.

Donny from Elkhorn, WI

Gentlemen, would it be safe to say that camp got a whole lot more urgent for Burks, Martini, Porter, Hughes, Thomas, and Coach Graham?

Burks clearly looks the part. Hughes was laying some big hits on Tuesday. I've seen Martini on the first group of multiple special-teams units. Thomas appears to be quietly holding his own. Graham might be the most vocal coach of the bunch. Just my observations.

Nick from Chicago, IL

Jaire has the confidence of a Jalen Ramsey. That will be a good thing to show up on the field. Not a shed of arrogance; I love it.

Both times (once in OTAs, once in camp) when Alexander has attracted a media crowd around his locker after practice because of an interception, he hasn't made a big deal out of it. I like that.

Kelly from Antigo, WI

Who has been doing the holding for Crosby in camp so far? Thanks guys.

Rookie punter JK Scott is the holder. I haven't gleaned that anyone has taken the lead in the long-snapper battle yet.

Darby from Tempe, AZ

What do you think will happen to Jake Ryan if his injury is season-ending? Do you see him coming back next year or do the Packers possibly let him go?

No way to tell. Rotten timing for Ryan, being in the final year of his rookie deal. I feel bad for him and just hope he can get healthy again, and see what opportunities present themselves.

Evan from Durango, CO

Has the Inbox caught NaVorro Bowman fever yet?

It's caught every-available-inside-linebacker-or-safety fever for sure.

Dave from Germantown, TN

Gutekunst preached patience in responding to the recent camp injuries. How long do you think his patience will last?

I suspect the personnel department will use the first two preseason games to evaluate what they have and go from there. Just my guess.

Connor from Murray, UT

When preparing for the NFL season I love looking at how we match up with our division foes. The matchup that I cannot wait to see (I believe it is going to happen) is Jaire in the slot against Taylor Gabriel or Allen Robinson. The Bears will operate through the slot receiver and I believe Alexander will be our slot corner.

Golden Tate, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are just as intriguing matchup-wise to me.

Shane from Brantford, Canada

Asked it simply and no answer so here I am again, with Brice going down do you see the Packers moving Rollins to safety? If Brice is out for long we could be extremely thin at safety while we are looking deep at corner. Also McCarthy has stated he could see Rollins playing four positions, why not one be safety?

The deep safety is responsible for a ton of communication in the back end, and someone not used to that can't just step into the role. The other hybrid-type spots – in the box, slot corner, inside 'backer, etc. – are all on the table for a number of players, no matter what their position label is.

Grant from McMurdo Station, Antarctica

With the Jake Ryan injury how do you believe the Packers will adjust their defensive front? More Clay inside? Less 3-4? Give Oren Burks or another young guy a shot at the strong-side LB? Combo of all of them? Can't we just turn the injury sliders to zero?

Right now, I'd say when the Packers need two inside LBs on the field together, it's going to be Martinez and Burks, and how it shakes out behind them could come down to special-teams ability. I also can see plenty of packages with only one inside LB necessary.

Tom from Loomis, CA

Hi guys. I read that Brice was limping badly but watching practice. Did you see him? Was there a brace? It seems like a good sign.

I took it as a good sign as well. No brace, no crutches. Wasn't moving too swiftly, as expected, but just being out there to watch the next day looked like a positive.

Scott from Slidell, LA

Do they have enough cap space to sign one or more of the veterans at those positions if needed?

They have some cap room, and there are always ways to create more if necessary.

Jon from River Falls, WI

How well are the players adjusting/gelling with the new defensive coordinator and schemes?

Almost every defensive player I've talked to in the locker room says the defense is fun to play. If they're having fun, that tells me they're not thinking too much and they appreciate the simplicity.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

I can think of one pass that Rodgers threw his receiver into harm's way. 2010 Super Bowl, Rodgers' second touchdown pass to Jennings. ACE of a throw, great catch and viscous hit by Troy Polamalu. I recall Jennings saying that one hurt.

To modify Paul Allen's famous line, it wasn't Detroit, man. It was the Super Bowl.

Dan from Denver, CO

Until Bulaga returns, who is spending the most time at right tackle with the starters?

As I mentioned on "Three Things," Spriggs and Murphy have been rotating at right tackle with the No. 1 unit. It's an ongoing competition. Murphy's snaps with the first group increased greatly on Tuesday.

Sean-Luc from Oceanside, CA

Can this new guy, "chocolate milk," play safety or ILB?

Wow, didn't see that coming.

Brett from Oshkosh, WI

Sorry, Jeremy from Newnan. The two-a-days were during a different era of the Inbox. It was a different game then. Nobody was worried enough about the health of those old Inboxers. Now there are some new rules in place to keep their typing fingers as ready for game day as possible. As much as I loved the grit in the old days, I think there's a much more exciting product on the field now.

To be perfectly honest, I think based on overall length and number of questions answered, the single column now is comparable to the two-a-day of yesteryear.

Ed from Chico, CA

When does the first depth chart come out?

It'll be in the Dope Sheet early next week leading up to the preseason opener, but you won't hear me reference it. The depth chart to me is how I see the reps divvied up on the practice field, which isn't always reflected in the paper one.

Darren from Alice Springs, Australia

As hope springs eternal for nearly every NFL team this time of year, what has been the thing you have observed during practices so far which would strengthen that thought for us who can't be there?

Rodgers' arm looks lively as ever.

Brian from Fairfax, VA

How's Oren Burks looking so far in camp? A lot coverage about our cornerbacks understandably but with Ryan possibly being out for some time, I'm interested about how our third-round linebacker is doing.

James from Grover Beach, CA

My question is can you guys rotate hats in your "Three Things" segment? Packers Nation needs to see Wes in Larry's hat. Or maybe when you guys put the pads on it's for the hat? Now that hat would come with street cred!

Nah, no one should wear Larry's hat but Larry. He's earned that. While I'm in Canton I won't be able to do "Three Things" for a few days. I can already tell it'll be tough to handle the withdrawal.

Darrel from Henderson, NV

As we are progressing toward the first preseason game, what are your thoughts about the running back situation? I know MM has said RB by committee, but who in your mind is standing out to be the starter?

If I had to speculate right now which back is going to take the first handoff in the first preseason game, I'd say Jamaal Williams. But it's Aug. 1. Happy August, everybody.


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