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Inbox: The matchups for the rivalry are all brand new

When progression is clear and obvious, it’s no surprise when a player sticks


Matt from Verona, WI

I don't think the preseason told us (fans) much of anything about this year's edge rush potential. If you feel better about the secondary this season, you ought to feel better about the pass rush having a little more time to get to the QB.

I can get on board with that.

Myles from Mesa, AZ

Is it me, or does it feel like Randall Cobb is being overlooked going into this season? When Cobb and Rodgers are both healthy, there is a track record of significant production.

I believe I mentioned this before, but when I interviewed Rodgers for a Yearbook feature, I asked whether he thought Cobb had another year like '14 in him. Rodgers' answer was he believes Cobb has multiple years like '14 left in him, especially with a guy like Graham changing how defenses match up. Stay tuned.

Robert from Terre Haute, IN

In the current "it's football, there will be injuries" climate, is 46; 53/10; 90 enough?

I say yes, though I wouldn't mind further tweaks to the injured reserve rules, allowing more players to be reinstated to the roster, and maybe some after shorter stints, like four or six weeks. I'm sure there are pitfalls to such changes I haven't thought through, but I'd rather see adjustments in that vein than expanded rosters.

Shane from Coralville, IA

Good morning, with the linebacker moves, I get the feeling we are going to see the young DBs playing a lot of hybrid (e.g., the Joshes) until Morrison and Burks can get healthy/familiar with the playbook. My gut is telling me we could be in for a similar year to 2011 where we come out scoring and then force a pass-happy opponent. What questions about the team are you most anxious to have answered on Sunday?

As I mentioned **in my live chat yesterday** regarding each phase, I want to see the offense incorporate Graham right away, the defense keep the opponent off-balance on third downs, and the two rookie specialists get their careers started right.

Michael from Santa Cruz, CA

The excitement of Week 1 speaks for itself, but what positional matchup vs. the Bears are you most looking forward to watching? I really want to see if the Pack DL can get consistent inside pass rush against their OL. If the DL can, and I definitely think it collectively can, then a young QB in Trubisky, in a hostile environment, is going to start rushing his throws or tuck it too early and get caught up in the rush. Either way, those are potential big plays for the D.

Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller vs. Kevin King, Tramon Williams and Jaire Alexander/Josh Jackson. Over the last six Packers-Bears games, only last year's two featured any of those players – just King. The matchups for the rivalry are all brand new.

James from Reedsburg, WI

With the new deals given to Khalil Mack and Aaron Donald might this be the Bears and Rams trying to do something similar to what Seattle did? Sink a bunch of money and salary cap into defense and hope your QB can get it done while he's still on his rookie contract?


Al from Green Bay, WI

Some further thoughts on Khalil Mack. He held out from Oakland while still under contract. (He was set to earn over $13 million this year.) I lose some respect for players that don't honor the contract they signed. Second, he has averaged 12 sacks/year over the past three years. Good, but not other-worldly. In your view, what does Mack have to do over the next several years to validate the very high price (draft choices and cap hit) Chicago paid for his services?

Let's not forget teams don't have to honor the contracts they sign either and can cut players anytime. I also think you're selling Mack a little short by averaging his sack total. He had 15 sacks in 2015 and then 11 in 2016, with five forced fumbles, three recoveries and one interception, when he won Defensive Player of the Year. Last year the high-impact plays fell off a bit (10½ sacks, two turnover stats), but if he returns to his 2015-16 production, any GM would pay to have that kind of game-changing impact.

Chris from Omaha, NE

Love the Inbox! My question is regarding the headsets coaches wear. Who is talking to who with the headsets? I assume the play-caller is talking to the QB. What about everyone else?

The headsets are set up with different channels, so the offensive and defensive coaches on headsets can talk to one another separately. McCarthy has a switch on his headset, I believe, that allows him to jump into whichever conversation, or talk to the QB. I'm not sure how special teams fits into that whole picture, but you get the idea.

Rick from Dublin, CA

Do you wear the Brett Favre Copper Fit?

For my calf if it's giving me trouble on the racquetball court, yes.

Bruce from New Caanan, CT

Are injury settlements subject to some negotiation or are they specified by the player's contract?

They can be negotiated for a certain number of weeks for any injury that's not deemed season-ending. The player collects his salary for the number of weeks needed to heal.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

In regards to the waived injured designation, you stated the Packers had to wait six weeks to re-sign a player they release with this designation. Do other teams also have to wait that long to sign a player the Packers release, or can they do it sooner?

The team that waives a player injured must wait six weeks until after the end of the negotiated injury settlement to re-sign the player. Another team can sign the player as soon as the injury settlement period expires.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

I am surprised at yesterday's responses about having the best QB and defensive player on the same team. Reggie White and Brett Favre anyone? What were the cap percentages during the '95-'98 seasons for those two?

I did a little research, and discovered the Packers weren't paying Favre big QB money until after the two Super Bowls because his second contract was signed in 1994 before he ever won an MVP. Combine that with the fact White's 1993 free-agent contract was front-loaded, with decreasing salaries (and therefore decreasing cap numbers) over the four years of the deal, and the two were very affordable most of their time together. In fact, when the Packers won the Super Bowl in '96, Favre's and White's salaries combined occupied only 18 percent of the cap. That percentage changed some in '97 and '98 when both players were given new deals, but when the Packers extended Favre in '97 they gave him a big bonus and kept his first-year cap hit the same as '96. When White decided to retire after the '98 season (even though he later decided to play one more year for Carolina), he did the Packers a favor, because by that time Favre's cap number had risen considerably, they had re-signed Dotson and Koonce and franchise-tagged Freeman, and reports were they'd have struggled to get under the cap with White's salary still on the books.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

I see the website has an intern job opening. I don't have any website design experience or any other pertinent skills, but pack a really nice lunch that is available for stealing.

I will be sure to pass along your qualifications.

Trevor from Carmel, NY

Raven Greene is the second coming of Tiger Greene. He'll have a blocked punt or two this season. Happy they held on to Tonyan. Should be interesting which WRs are active Sunday night. Who was your favorite "keep" of cut-down?

Rodgers. I'm here all week, folks. Seriously, I'd say Tonyan. It's always easier for the untrained eye to see the non-trenches players, but I thought Tonyan succeeded with everything he was asked to do. His progression was clear and obvious, so it was no surprise he stuck.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

How do the Packers shut down Mack in Week 1?

Block him. I'm here all season, folks.

Marc from Aachen, Germany

What does it mean when a player is released, clears waivers and then gets scooped up and added to a 53-man roster? Does this mean the team that finally signed him changed their minds after not trying to get him in the waivers procedure, or is it just like, "Hey, that guy won't be available in the waiver process for us anyways, why even try"? I do not understand why the Packers did not directly try to grab our newest RB addition.

Wes and I have been wondering the same thing, and we're not sure of the answer. Jackson was no longer on his original draft-pick contract with the Cowboys. He was claimed by the Browns last year when the Cowboys released him, but when he was released again he went unclaimed. So his return to the Cowboys was on a new contract. Maybe there was something in there the Packers didn't like? Or the Packers were just making sure everything else with their roster was settled before making another move? I really don't know.

Patrick from Dover, FL

Professional athlete salaries continue to grow at a ridiculous rate. NFL salaries have tripled in the last 20 years and continue to grow at about 8-10 percent yearly. Considering the average inflation rate is only 2-3 percent and the majority of workers are lucky to get wage increases that merely keep up with inflation, it seems that this type of growth is not sustainable forever. Do you see a time when this balloon pops and if so, when do you think that would happen?

Only if the broadcast revenue significantly drops when the next round of TV contracts is negotiated. If that happens, I would expect the league to turn even harder toward streaming rights.

Drew from Croton-on-Hudson, NY

Do the new kickoff rules change the risk/reward equation toward using veterans like Randall Cobb as returners?

I don't think so. There's always going to be risk in those situations, but the decision is often dependent on the makeup of the rest of the team at a given time.

Tom from Two Rivers, WI

Hi guys. I was listening to WTMJ this afternoon. Wayne Larrivee was asked what one thing was he excited about and one thing he was most concerned about for the upcoming season. He answered Aaron Rodgers for excited, and depth of the team for concerned. How about you guys? What are you excited for (Aaron Rodgers isn't allowed, it's the obvious answer for us all), and what one thing concerns you most and why?

My biggest excitement is for seeing what this new defense can do to surprise some people, and then how it evolves after some early elements of surprise are taken away. My concern is for the stretch of games from the bye week through Thanksgiving weekend. It's a gauntlet that will define what the Packers are playing for down the stretch.

Lauren from Tampa Bay, FL

Hey Wes and Spoff, we've been fans of Geronimo Allison from the beginning...when he was an UDFA. Could you please put in a word that they need a "female" jersey for G-Mo?

You could custom order one, you know.

Kevin from Woodbury, MN

I understand why signing Mack is a big deal, but I'm not sure what impact it would have to our approach to the season. For one, we're already scheduled to play multiple top 10 defenses this year. Two, our starting offensive line is one of the best in the league. Third, if we truly are a Super Bowl contender, then we better be up for this challenge. We probably plan for Chicago differently now and in the future, but if we're not ready for this challenge now, then our season is already over.

That's a tad melodramatic, but in general I agree with the sentiment. The Bears' defense adding Mack is no more formidable than the Vikings' defense adding nobody. Buckle up, let's play.