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Inbox: The best measurements are these

Anyone who knows right now is just making something up


James from Asheville, NC

Three days into training camp. How's the team looking? Do we have a final 53 yet?

I'm sure some do.

Eric from Kenosha, WI

Good morning. Mike was on fire with the lists on Wednesday, but I found myself yearning for an, "I don't have that list in front of me."

That fantastic Harbaugh-ism is code for my brain's recall mode being on the fritz.

Erik from Sisters, OR

Colonel David Hackworth always said, "The more sweat on the training field, the less blood on the battlefield." Are there any sayings that the coaches and training staff like to throw around early in the year to set the tone?

When I heard LaFleur say "embrace the grind" the other day, I have to admit I smiled.

Rudy from Cedarburg, WI

With the uncertainty of who emerges as the No. 1 TE, which player has been running with the No. 1 offense?

I haven't charted all the snaps, but Luke Musgrave has taken a lot of them with the first-team offense.

Jeff from Foothill Ranch, CA

Really enjoyed Wes’s piece on the QB/WR workout over the summer. Really bummed to learn that it was 20 minutes from me and I wasn't invited. I may never get over that. But my question is, given when the workout occurred, were they allowed to have any communication with ML if they had questions or ideas, or is that not allowed? If I'm not mistaken, I don't think he can be present, but is all communication prohibited during that time?

I do believe there are communication restrictions regarding certain football topics, but I don't know the specifics. I'm sure they're buried in the CBA fine print somewhere.

TK from Grafton, WI

What do you think is the best way to "measure" a defense? Eyeball test? Points allowed? Yards allowed? Turnovers caused? Three-and-outs? Magic 8 ball?

To me, the best measurements are these: points allowed, turnovers generated, and crunch-time performance.

Paul from Lexington, KY

First AR goes to OTAs and now he's willing to surrender some salary to make his team better…and we believe he gave his all while with the Packers? His stock is decreasing by the week.

Readers are sending a lot of input on this topic, and I don't want to belabor it. I'll just say this: Given everything we've seen and heard since the trade, it's become more and more evident (if not obvious) that both parties – this franchise and its former quarterback – needed the reset. It was time. I'm going to leave it at that.

Tom from Santa Fe, NM

I am guessing it is not the case but I'm just curious if the new deal that Aaron Rodgers cut with the New York Jets in any way affects the Packers' salary cap this year or in the years to come?

Not one iota. All the money the Packers paid Rodgers that hadn't yet counted against the salary cap is accounted for this year, and then he and his contract are off the books for good.

David from Minneapolis, MN

Oct. 8 is now circled on my schedule. I will not be cheering for the Jets this year (doing the opposite actually) except for this game where I will be cheering loudly. Sean Payton is a great coach, but I've lost an incredible amount of respect for him as a person in how he badmouthed Hackett and the previous year's staff. You would think with how tight-knit the coaching community is that would be a no-no. The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance (a wise person once said).

Payton's denigration felt a little over the top to me. He's accomplished a lot in this league, but he also went 7-9 three straight years with a HOF QB and got suspended for a year. Trashing a first-time head coach whose debut in the lead role didn't go well simply wasn't necessary.

Brandon from Cumming, GA

I'm always intrigued by the reporting in camp on who is performing well vs. not really talked about much. The Inbox seems to hit on most players over the course of camp with more column space spent on some than others. Romeo Doubs received a lot of airtime here for example last year. When will your veteran eyes know and clue us in if you see LVN or another rookie having a T.J. Watt-type day one impact? Not sure if anyone in your time has been an absolute stud from the get-go.

Greg Jennings and David Bakhtiari are the first two who come to mind for me. With Jennings, it was evident during OTAs as a rookie and carried over to training camp. Bakhtiari hadn't made much noise in the spring, and then in one of the early days of one-on-ones in camp he stoned Clay Matthews on multiple reps and everyone's eyebrows were raised.

Dan from Eagan, MN

LVN has yet to take any first teams reps (only two practices I know). Is this more of a rookie earning his stripes, or do the other edge rushers not named Preston actually have a leg up on him?

It means if the Packers had to play a game tomorrow, he wouldn't be starting. That's about all I read into it right now.

Kurt from Waterloo, IA

II, can you predict who will be the biggest surprise of camp and make the team?

If I could predict it, how could it be a surprise?

Brian from Pensacola, FL

I read that the Jets sold out their training camp practice. I thought making fans "buy" tickets for training camp allows for other NFL teams to send representation, whereas a team like the Packers (that doesn't sell tickets to training camp) would not have to worry about "scouts" in the stands. Is there something I'm missing or does selling tickets open up a team for opponents to watch their training camp? Also, is all of this also a moot point because the Jets are featured on "Hard Knocks"?

Perhaps another reader can find more information, but I'm not convinced the Jets "sold" tickets to training camp. Tickets had to be acquired, but the "sold out" headlines might've been misleading, because I don't think the Jets actually collected any money. Maybe Ticketmaster did via fees and such, but that wouldn't invoke any rules related to opposing teams.

Mitch from Eagle River, WI

So many fans seem to be turned off to the high expectations of the past few seasons and the nervous expectations that come with them. It's wonderful that so many now have this magical mystical sense of carefree wonder about this season, but truly, those lowered expectations are because we're expected to win less. I truly am beginning to believe many fans prefer mediocrity, because it allows them to relax and be less emotionally invested. Am I wrong?

Fans don't prefer mediocrity, they prefer to not be disappointed. Expected vs. unexpected success are two different types.

Jake from Regina, Canada

I'm a little confused by the narrative that JL10 will have a "less nuanced" grasp of the offense than Rodgers did. They both came into ML's system in the same year, sat in the same install and film meetings, and JL had plenty of time to rep it with first-team offenses when AR was banged up. He's not some kid fresh off the bus from college. He is a professional NFL QB entering his fourth year in the system and I expect him to have as "nuanced" an understanding as anyone.

First, to be accurate, LaFleur's first season here was Love's last at Utah St., so the two QBs weren't introduced to the system the same year. That aside, the proclamations are less about the grasp of the offense and more about knowledge of opposing defenses – looks, disguises, tendencies. Rodgers had seen and faced it all, a gazillion times over, and used that to make adjustments at the line a younger QB won't make until later in his career.

Rick from Pacifica, CA

I have seen multiple references to Love hopefully being the next No. 4 or No. 12. While I agree wholeheartedly with the spirit of having the next Pro Bowl QB line up for the Packers, I am more anxious to see what identity he develops. Favre was an unapologetic gunslinger, daring defenses to try and stop his will. Rodgers was the chairman, taking everything calmly in. For the foe, nothing came for free and often at a price that Rodgers would calmly take in stride. What'll it be for Jordan Love?

Anyone who knows right now is just making something up.

Andrew from Burke, VA

Do you think the emphasis on the RB position could be cyclical? Yes, we are watching a QB league now. But at some point, all young players want to be QBs or WRs and all defenses will shift to pass defense formations, thus depreciating the importance of good form tackling and opening the door for a new generation of Derrick Henry to break all the rushing records. It might take 30-plus years, but I could see it happening.

I'm not so sure. I suspect in 30-plus years, everyone on offense and defense will be playing from two-point stances for safety reasons, and I have no idea what that'll mean for running games and running backs.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

What's more likely, the Packers keeping three QBs on their roster, or keeping two and adding the third-string QB to the practice squad?

The latter.

Harry from Bessemer, MI

I've been reading all that has been written about Anders Carlson and I'm thinking that Mason has more distance but then camp just started. What was Crosby's longest? Did anyone ever record his longest on the coldest game he ever played in?

Crosby made the nine longest field goals in team history, with the longest at 58. The other eight were three from 57, four from 56 and one from 55. According to my research, which could be wrong, his longest cold-weather field goal (with a game time temp of 20 degrees or less) was 52 yards vs. Seattle in 2009. Last year in the finale vs. Detroit (21 degrees), he was good from 48 and 49 but hit the crossbar from 53.

Craig from Lakeville, MN

During Matt LaFleur's press conference on Tuesday, he touched on the new football facilities a couple times. Other than the coaches' offices being moved from the third floor to the same level as the locker room, what else got upgraded? Did you guys at least get new, state-of-the-art cubes out of the deal? Refresh my memory, this was all paid for with the latest shares sold, correct?

They doubled the size of the CRIC and built new team and position meeting rooms in the new space. Nothing was done with our group's office/work space, though we'll see what happens down the road now. Stock sale dollars did not pay for the team facility upgrades. Those can only be used for stadium improvements, so the new video boards and concourse renovations qualify there.

Paula from Apple Valley, MN

It sure is a different look seeing the players walk into the facility from a parking ramp (a very nice one at that). I'm sure it will be much appreciated when the snow starts falling. Mike and Wes, are you allowed to park in the ramp? If so, have you found your favorite spot yet?

Ha, no. Parking privileges don't trickle down this far.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi II, I'm interested to see how our defensive backfield is going to flesh out this season. There are quite a few variables and scenarios. I've seen both fans and pundits speak quite a bit about the number of interceptions, but what about limiting opposing receivers in their "yards after the catch" stats? Isn't that just as important?

It took the defense quite a while to get a handle on crossing routes last season. I'm sure it'll be tested again in that regard this year.

Dave from Gwinn, MI

Washington Mud Daubers. WMDs. I like it.


Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

You have to love Gutey's response to the question about the team not being chased at the front of the division this year. "Whose to say we won't be?"

He actually said "who's," but who's counting whose fussy little details?

James from Appleton, WI

Aristotle said that for every virtue there are two vices, one of insufficiency and one of excess. To say the Packers were focused indicates they avoided the vice of insufficiency, which would be being distracted or unserious. To report they were also loose is a way of saying the Packers did not venture into the vice of excess, where they may have concentrated on minutiae to the point of paralysis. I would have liked to have seen Aristotle draw it all up in X's and O's.

No thanks. Happy Friday.

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