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Inbox: The Packers’ reputation is well known

WR Geronimo Allison
WR Geronimo Allison

Jay from Altoona, WI

Is there any noticeable buzz in the Packers office in the days leading up to the start of training camp, or is it just business as usual?

The buzz for us generally starts with the shareholders’ meeting, which this year is the day the players report, with the first practice the next day. Until then, it’ll stay pretty quiet around here.

Donn from Murfreesboro, TN

Re: K.J. from Louisville: Whilst? Whilst? As a regular reader I ask that you ban him for at least 50 days. If I want to read Shakespeare, I will go to the library.

To each his own. Or to thine own self be true. Take your pick.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

So NFL teams can expense guaranteed money for player contracts in the year paid rather than prorate over the term of the contract, like the salary cap?

NFL teams can do whatever they want. The Packers are the only team obligated to release financial information, and when money like a signing bonus is paid, it’s on the books. The team’s financial report and how it manages the salary cap are two separate entities.

Carson from Salt Lake City, UT

In regards to Cindy from Los Angeles wondering about what away venue to watch a game at, I was lucky enough to attend the Packers vs. Cowboys game at AT&T Stadium in 2013 when the Pack had that crazy comeback. My experience at the stadium was pleasant during and even after the game. Do you think the hostility your friend was shown was due to the high stakes of the game? I'd hate for Cindy to be scared away from seeing a Packers game in an awesome away venue based on one bad experience.

I’m sure the playoffs factored considerably in the fan behavior. All through pregame, and even during the game, with Dallas the NFC’s No. 1 seed, that monster video board kept showing Michael Irvin screaming the Cowboys’ playoff slogan – “Finish this fight! Finish this fight!” – over and over and over again. To say such “inspirational” material discourages civility might be a bit of an understatement. I’m glad your experience at Jerry’s World was a positive one.

Cheryl from Glens Falls, NY

Hi Mike, you answered a question where you referred to the Giants stadium as “a tin can with no redeemable value.” Whereas I cannot speak to experiencing a game with Giants fans per se, I wanted to share that my very first NFL game was Packers at Jets this past December. I got to share an amazing NYC experience with my fiancé and we were surprised on how awesome the Jets fans were. Friendly and respectful! We had a great time despite it being meaningless. ANY place to see Aaron play is worth it!

I don’t discount that one bit. My comment was solely about the stadium as a sporting venue, and compared to other modern stadiums around the country, it provides really nothing to attract a visitor. The place has no character of its own, which is somewhat to be expected when multiple teams call it home.

Ren from Chicago, IL

Who is most improved at training camp?

Right now, the grass.

Jeffery from Milwaukee, WI

Mike, just a comment on your response on how the internet is changing the way you do journalism. With everything being so instant these days, too often a story will break and everyone wants to be the first to break the news. Sometime in the last few years, Dan Patrick made this statement on his show: "I would rather be last to report a story but have all my facts correct rather than be first to report something with incorrect information." We need more journalists with that mindset!

Couldn’t agree more. That was baked into my accountability comment as well, because when consumers’ priority is entertainment, where they can get the news first matters more than where they can get it accurately and responsibly reported and analyzed.

Rob from Buckinghamshire, UK

After the Raiders and Rams/Chargers move into their new stadia, which teams do you think will or should look to move? Do you see any further franchises moving cities? (not necessarily to London even though I think it's only a matter of time)

I have no idea who will or should, but it always starts with the stadium factor, and Buffalo’s stadium has been an issue for quite some time. I’ll also note that when we were at FedExField in Washington last September, the ceiling in the press box was leaking water, and it did not appear to be a new problem. That place looks like no one cares about it.

George from Hutchinson, MN

Is there a predetermined seating arrangement in the press box units during a game? Does it change from one stadium to another? Any interesting stories from past experiences?

There’s a seating chart, home and away. We’re always in the same seats at Lambeau, have been for years. At road games, all the visiting personnel are roughly in the same area of the press box. That leak in DC last year? Just a few seats down from me and Wes, where our Packers PR colleagues were supposed to sit. Real classy.

Matt from Fairfield, CA

I think a lot of fans have a problem with the Thursday night game because it means that their team (and typically both teams) will be competing on very short rest, and this will invariably reduce the quality of play and create risks for injuries. I have a relatively simple solution. When they schedule Thursday night games, the league should give both participating teams a bye in the week prior to the game. This would result in extended rest both before AND after the game.

This has been suggested frequently in this forum, but it’s not that simple. The NFL currently has all byes scheduled from Weeks 4-12, but Thursday games run through Week 15. I’m not sure giving a team its bye in Week 2, 3, 13 or 14 really works, either. Plus, the CBA stipulates the players’ bye week must include at least four consecutive days off, including a Saturday, which can’t effectively be accomplished with your proposed setup (and why no teams playing on Thursday have their bye week immediately prior). Maybe this will come up in the next CBA negotiations, but I suspect both sides will have bigger fish to fry.

Chris from Woodbury, MN

Hey Mike, the NFL made a big decision regarding the elimination of the "single-header" rule. Mark Murphy mentioned this in “Murphy Takes Five.” For the huge market of Minnesota Packer fans, does this mean we may have the chance to watch Packer games on Sunday afternoons at the same time as Vikings games? I think this might have been the rule preventing that, which if you can confirm, would be huge news for us MN Packer fans!

Sorry, but the primary obstacle to watching the Packers over there when they’re playing at the same time as the Vikings is both games being televised by the same network. There are some exceptions to that. But the single-header rule applied only to two-team markets (New York, Los Angeles, San Fran/Oakland and DC/Baltimore), which would only get the games of their two “home” teams and not the second game of the network doubleheader. The change guarantees three Sunday afternoon games in every market now.

Ryan from Somerset, WI

In response to Jordan from Walpole, MA, yesterday, Mike you're absolutely right, it's asinine to expect paying customers to play a game of Russian roulette when deciding which game to go to. The NBA is getting better but I experienced this exact scenario this year when I drove five hours to watch a Bucks home game and we didn't find out until the night of the game Giannis was sitting out. He was half the reason I wanted to go! Players gotta play or they should shorten the season.

I feel for you on your Bucks trip, and I appreciate the strong sentiment in the Inbox against this idea. Many readers smartly pointed out numerous potential unintended consequences, too many to list here, and the list goes on. Getting back to Ryan, while NBA teams have 41 home games and MLB teams have 81, NFL teams have just eight, which puts a greater premium on the league not manufacturing any additional obstacles to the best players playing as often as possible. I’ve felt for a long time now with the NBA and NHL letting half their leagues into the postseason that their regular seasons are too long. As a lifelong baseball enthusiast, I despise the one-game wild-card format and would rather see a wild-card series and a shorter regular season if given the choice. More playoffs should mean less regular season, but owners in all sports leagues are always against contracting seasons because it negatively alters their specific club’s revenue projections.

Max from Troy, MO

Spoff’s response to Jordan from Walpole reminded me of the Lions game last December, my first-ever game at Lambeau. I was sorely disappointed that I did not really get to see Rodgers play, along with everything else that game entailed. But I could at least chalk it up to “that’s football.” If it had been a conscious decision on the part of the franchise, I don’t think I would’ve taken it quite so well. Regarding this crazy plan, do you think it’s just a negotiation tactic?

I’m starting to wonder. I won’t rule it out.

Stephanie from San Diego, CA

Jaire is obviously projecting a storied career with his GOAT yoga, and don't fret black-and-silver fans, the Raiders infamous eye-patch logo/banner is flying prominently from the half-completed stadium in Las Vegas. I saw it as I drove by on the I-15 last week.

Duly noted.

Jordan from Lawrenceburg, KY

I saw a video of MVS training with Randy Moss from this offseason. Learning from a HOFer like Randy Moss should prove extremely beneficial for his career. Is it common for young players to train with all-time greats during the offseason? I just hope Randy didn't teach him any of his touchdown dances.

Larry Fitzgerald has spent his career sharing knowledge, and I expect he’ll continue to do so after he’s retired. I’ve never been a fan of Moss the person, but Moss the receiver was as good as it gets, so I hope MVS can absorb selectively.

Rick from Pacifica, CA

Lots of interesting talk of how good the Packers have been at signing undrafted players that make the team and an impact. Is there any data that shows that the Packers are more successful at this than other teams and/or that Thompson was especially good at it? With the amount of research, testing and physicals rookies go through these days before the draft, are there fewer undrafted players that make and succeed on teams? Feel free to answer these multiple questions in order or reverse order.

I don’t have those lists in front of me, but the Packers’ reputation with undrafted players is well known amongst agents. That says a lot. In my 13 years here I haven’t seen any shift one way or the other in the success of undrafted players. It’s always been there, low-volume but ever-present.

Green Bay Packers Hall of Famers and alumni got together for dinner the night before the annual Packers Hall of Fame Golf Classic

Carl from Antigo, WI

Will the Packers be better at outside linebacker or weaker?

With the resources invested, they have to be better or this offseason could set the defense back for years.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

With all the excitement about the current rookies, I was thinking that IF the Packers had traded two firsts and a third-round pick for Khalil Mack, it would have cost us Gary, Savage, Sternberger and Dexter Williams (or the equivalent of it). Oh, and $141M. Mack is awesome, but I’m thinking we’ll probably be better off down the road.

I’d surmise Gutekunst would agree with you. The Packers’ defense was way more than one player away. The Bears were clearly in a different spot.

Zack from Christiansburg, VA

Talking with a colleague about successful defenses, I was asked what’s an indication that the Packers’ defense would be successful? I replied with “multiple Pro Bowlers.” If Clark and Alexander get the nods, it would show pressure and turnovers. Both Smiths would show sacks. Martinez being Martinez but finally getting recognized. Any combination would show a lot of promise!

I couldn’t care less how many Packers’ defenders make the Pro Bowl. I see your point, but I don’t think that’ll be a good way to judge the defense’s level of success.

Carolina from Olympia, WA

We always seem to start off a little slow so with a new staff and HC. How do you think we’ll start this year?

With two really tough division games. Beyond that, I honestly have no idea.

Dennis from Batavia, IL

Do you go through all the questions in the Inbox first and pick the ones you are going to answer, reorder them, and then write responses? Or do you invoke some other method?

Yes. Happy Tuesday.

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