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Inbox: The journey begins now

You’re competing against everyone during training camp


Mike from Glen Allen, VA

Wes, with the return of training camp comes the return of the "Three Things" videos, I hope. Will you have your own mic this year?

You'll just have to wait and see. Good morning!

Jim from Houston, TX

I'm starting to get a little too excited about the defense. I can almost envision them getting a stop on third down in the middle of the field. If they can give the ball back to the offense one or two more times than last year, look out.

There's always intrigue with a new coordinator and scheme. As Mike Pettine joked during the offseason program, it's easy to be excited when the defense has yet to give up a yard. This season will have its own set of challenges. It won't be all sunshine and rainbows. You have to weather both the highs and the lows on the road to consistency. The journey begins now.

Ron from Rhinelander, WI

Just a comment, Brett from Oshkosh asked the question about any receivers that were dominant and kind of slow. I think the most well-known was Steve Largent that was slow, had great hands, and is a Hall of Fame member. Keep up the great work.

Separation wins routes, not speed. Sure, speed is a part of the equation, but it takes more than that to beat the man in front of you at this level.

Rob from Brookfield, WI

Until we begin to see game action, is there anything in particular you will be looking for in training camp to better understand how Pettine's scheme or adjustments differ from the previous defensive coordinator?

I think we'll get an idea. I don't know how much of it will get reported. We saw Dom Capers dabble with a 4-3 "quad" defense in 2014 and Morgan Burnett line up as an inside linebacker during last year's camp, but the media has to be careful with how much "scheme" can be reported.

Jack from Omaha, NE

I think one of the biggest competitions at training camp will be for backup quarterback. We saw last year how important the backup can be and I don't envision the Packers having more than two quarterbacks on the active roster. Do you think the Packers would cut Brett Hundley if he lost the No. 2 quarterback job to DeShone Kizer?

Not necessarily. Statistically, Scott Tolzien out-performed Matt Flynn during the 2014 preseason and the Packers still kept both around. Setting the 53-man roster is more than just earmarking X spots for X position. You're competing against everyone in training camp, not just your position.

Craig from Elkton, MD

So what's the inside story with the field? Was it just new sod? Or did they do something more? Will it feel different for the players – harder, softer, dryer, etc.? I love the fact that the Pack still plays on real grass. I am just curious if it is more than, well grass.

My story is written. It should be on sometime in the next week or so. Without giving away too much – I still want you guys to read it – it is new sod, which was grown in New Jersey. However, they made a change with the synthetic fibers stitched into the field. The field will feel the same as it always has. The Packers have the technology to ensure that.

Take a look at photos of Lambeau Field during the progression of the new field installation.

Lee from Grants, NM

Shout out to the Lambeau Field turf crew. As a former golf course superintendent, I pay close attention to field conditions. How many people does it take to maintain such beautiful and durable turf? I can only imagine the challenges they face in that northern Wisconsin climate.

The Packers have three field assistants under manager Allen Johnson and a horticulture technician. Those guys work around the clock to make Lambeau Field what it is. I learned so much talking to Allen last week about what goes into ensuring the field remains in pristine condition well into Wisconsin winters.

Ian from Onalaska, WI

To add to Matheus from Brazil's comment, if the starters stay healthy, that sack number is plausible. Clark could make double-digit sacks this season, along with Daniels and Wilkerson usually getting at least four each. With Clay and Perry expected to get a high number and the rotational players getting a few, I could see 40-plus easily "with a healthy roster."

The Packers always had high sack totals under Dom Capers regardless of how the season played out. The only year where I remember Green Bay finishing at the bottom of the league was in 2011. I think I'd be a little more realistic with my goals for Kenny Clark, but either way, there are enough weapons on the defensive line to make at least 40 realistic.

Andrew from Simi Valley, CA

My question is regarding "the tough stretch" of our schedule. When the Packers play the Rams, we will be coming off a bye week and the Rams will be coming off an away Sunday night game. When we play the Patriots, the Patriots will be coming off an away Monday night game. And when we play the Vikings, it will be after Seattle on a Thursday night, so there is extra time off for us. Do little nuances like this have much impact on the games?

It matters. To which degree? That largely depends on how healthy both teams are at that point of the year, but those quick turnarounds can be taxing. That third-quarter stretch of the schedule will go a long way in telling the story of how the Packers' season plays out.

12 Wisconsin high school teams participated in the first annual Lineman Challenge on July 22

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

Taking a look at the Packers' roster, 45 players are likely certain to make it. Eight remaining spots have a dozen or so players on the bubble, but most of what we're watching is a battle for practice-squad players. My question is, do we really need six weeks and four games to sort out something that is about 90 percent decided? It seems like playing two games and adding some practice time to the regular season would be far more beneficial for young players.

I'm a proponent of four preseason games. In recent years, that's been the proving ground for Justin McCray, Reggie Gilbert and Geronimo Allison. I'm with you on the importance of practices in training camp, but the NFL is watching the film from those preseason games.

Randy from Wesley Chapel, FL

Undoubtedly this has been addressed previously, but how is it that Don Hutson's jersey No. 14 hasn't been retired? The man was instrumental in the development of his position, not to mention what he meant to the team. Can you help an old man out and share your insights?

It actually is retired. It's one of the six (Canadeo's No. 3, Favre's No. 4, Starr's No. 15, Nitschke's No. 66 and Reggie White's No. 92).

Al from Green Bay, WI

So happy for Mark Tauscher! Great guy. I had the chance to golf with him a while back. He hits the ball a ton. True story: on two par-4 holes, his tee shot reached the green. Unfortunately, in both cases it was not the intended green. Long, not necessarily straight. Great guy, though!

Still better than my golf game.

Nick from Chicago, IL

I don't appreciate fans writing off Nick Perry. Yeah he's been banged up, but he had seven sacks through nine games last season. He was on his way to an All-Pro statistical season. With Mo Wilkerson in the mix, I can see Perry having 10 or more sacks this season. Thoughts?

Perry makes his presence felt when healthy. He's solid against the run, consistently applies pressure and has diversified his pass-rush techniques over the years. I'll never question Perry's toughness. He's played through a lot, but durability has been a challenge. This is a big year for him.

Jake from Athens, GA

I like Matheus' sack projection for this year, but I'm honestly just hoping Ha Ha isn't second on the team in tackles again. From what we know so far about Pettine's style, which stat or stats (other than points) do you think will tell us if the defense is executing his scheme effectively?

When the Jets led the NFL in total defense in 2009, they had a cornerback with six interceptions (Darrelle Revis), their two inside linebackers (David Harris, Bart Scott) leading the defense in tackles and one player (Calvin Pace) with at least eight sacks. Yes, Revis was at the peak of his powers, but the defense got contributions from everywhere. That's what the Packers need to get back to. Not one or two players making plays – 11 guys playing as one.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

Will Clay Matthews wear any special equipment in training camp to protect his nose?

Ask me (or Spoff) again later this week. My initial thought would be the helmet should be enough protection.

Chad from Lapush, WA

I've seen most Seahawk games with Jimmy since my girlfriend and parents are Seahawk fans (sick, I know), and let me tell you it's not his fault the ball flew several yards above him or behind him. Wilson had better chemistry with Willson. To that point do you think he will be as dominant as he was with the Saints? I sure hope so.

Can he do it? Sure. I'd say anything is possible when Aaron Rodgers is throwing the football, but Graham doesn't have to replicate his numbers with the Saints for this signing to be viewed as a success. If he and Randall Cobb stay healthy, I believe that one-two combo could really force defenses to pick their poison in how they defend the middle of the field.

Marek from Round Rock, TX

Do you think that there will be significantly more balls thrown to the TE position this year due to the departure of Jordy Nelson, and the absence of a proven No. 3 WR?

It looks that way. Rodgers has shown he'll target tight ends when they're consistently on the field. He did it with Jermichael Finley, Richard Rodgers in 2015 and Jared Cook during the second half of his year.

Scott from Grafton, WI

When was the last time a QB over 6-foot tall threw to Jimmy Graham?

Wow. Good question. Jacoby Harris?

Packers DT Montravius Adams celebrates his birthday on July 24. Take a look at photos of him from this past year.

Ted from Bruce, WI

We hear all this hype that the Vikings' defense is so good. Remember last year they played the Packers twice without Rodgers, the Bears twice with a rookie QB, the Browns, and the Bengals. That is six games or almost 40 percent of their games. Don't you think their defensive stats from last year may be skewed a bit?

Hey, you can only play the teams in front of you. The Vikings' defense played well against those teams last season. I think Minnesota feels like the nucleus in place possesses enough upside to take the step missed in the postseason.

John from Los Angeles, CA

Is this year's Rams game my best chance to see the Pack in the foreseeable future? Pretty much a guarantee next year's Chargers game is going to London, right?

I wouldn't say it's a guarantee, but a 100-percent probability of the Packers playing in Los Angeles this upcoming season probably offers you the best odds.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

I don't want to name specific writers since you worked with them, but there are articles/editorials about how the Packers should have done this or that. My question is having worked for the local newspaper, are those articles actually opinions of the writers or just clickbait? It drives me crazy to see writers write how a GM/coach/owner screwed something up. Are they making so much money that they pass up the chance to be a GM and stay a writer?

I think bloggers are guiltier of that than local beat writers to be honest with you. Whether or not you take issue with something someone writes, reporters are omnipresent in the locker room. That's an old Cliff Christl rule – if you write something controversial, you better be in that locker room the next day. They aren't nameless, faceless writers offering criticism from hundreds and thousands of miles away.

Brandon from Leadville, CO

The Yancey game was one of my first Packers memories as well. I'll never forget Reggie running victory laps and providing us with a Christmas bonus. Thanks for the entertainment guys.

As I've said before, Christmas-week games at Lambeau Field have always been a personal favorite of mine. It's a shame we won't get one this year, but I can't complain. We've been spoiled the past few seasons.

Roland from London, England

My brother and I have been making an annual pilgrimage to see a Packers game from Australia and England, respectively, since 2012. We've been to games at Buffalo and Dallas and had no issues with home supporters. We're heading to Soldier Field in December, but I have been told by some American buddies that the Chicago fans can be quite hostile and maybe to leave our Packers shirts at home. Is that a fair comment or just some hyperbole?

I haven't heard of any Packers fans having issues at Soldier Field recently, but that's probably a better question for the commenters below than the guy sitting in the heated press box.

Trevor from Seattle, WA

What are your thoughts on the Badgers football team for the upcoming season?

I like it. Hopefully, the passing game holds up its end of the bargain, but this is the most excited I've been to watch a Badgers team since Russell Wilson transferred in 2011.

Tony from Burbank, CA

Wes, how have Ma and Pa Hod changed since the birth of their grandson?

He's only seven months old and already has them wrapped around his finger.

Randy from Aurora, CO

With it only a couple days away, as a reporter looking on, what is your favorite part of training camp?

The horn signaling the end of practice.