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Inbox: The stat pointed to is the explosive play

The inside can aid the edge


Brian from Edgerton, WI

Mike, have you secretly been giving Wes subliminal messages about the Hilltop Club because it is actually your favorite lunch?


Joao from Belo Horizonte, Brazil

As training camp is about to start and there are a lot of things to watch, I started thinking about the offseason additions and the impact they might have. If Mo Wilkerson can perform like his good days in NY, he will improve the pass rush and our new corners won't have to cover for long as well, and Jimmy Graham is another great red-zone target like Davante Adams, making our offense even more dangerous. Which addition do you think will have the biggest impact on our team?

I think both can make a difference, but Graham is the potential game-changer to me, simply due to Rodgers' track record when he has a dynamic tight end influencing defensive coverages.

Ron from Tama, IA

Guys, which position will have the most heated battle for No. 1 this training camp?

For a starting job Week 1? With the good news on Bulaga likely being ready for the regular season, it might be running back between Montgomery and Williams. Or safety between Brice and Jones.

Doug from Lafayette, OH

I think Kevin King has the potential to be the best player on the team's defense this year. Who's your pick?

As far as a young guy on the rise? Kenny Clark. He might have just been getting started last December.

Erik from Sisters, OR

Comment: I am afraid of where football is headed. I just took my 7- and 10-year-old boys to a full-contact football camp in Washington State and I couldn't believe how few kids are there anymore. The camp just three years ago had 160, now down to 40! Accidents and injuries happen in every sport. Get your kids on the field America or we all lose. Thanks.

I can appreciate your enthusiasm, but multiple top NFL players are on record saying full contact should be delayed until the teenage years. I think if everyone gets on board with that, and promotes the game differently at the youth levels, there's a better chance to save the sport than pushing to boost attendance at full-contact, elementary-age camps. Just my two cents.

Jonathan from Leeds, UK

Hi Insiders. I know you usually avoid questions about the national anthem protests, but isn't the simple solution to not play the anthem before games? In England we only play the anthem before cup finals or international matches, none of the regular-season games have the anthem beforehand.

That's not the answer. The NFL is not going to be the only major sports league in the country that doesn't play the anthem before games. I just don't see that happening.

The Packers were back at Ray Nitschke Field for the start of the 2018 season.

Mitch from Oak Creek, WI

If one of the rookie receivers gets more than 600 yards then …

…hopefully it's not because Adams or Cobb got hurt, and it'll mean Rodgers has another weapon for the postseason, if the Packers can get there.

Alex from Minneapolis, MN

Is it strange to have your favorite playoff game be a loss? Hands down mine would be the Packers-Cardinals game (2009, wild card). Watching Rodgers duel it out with a transcendent Warner was awesome. That was the game I knew Rodgers was something special. Do the Insiders have a favorite playoff game?

That one ranks up there, but it's still a tough call for me between the snow-globe game against the Seahawks, Rodgers' otherworldly performance in Atlanta, and the Cook clincher in Dallas. I can never decide.

Ken from Eau Claire, WI

I often hear, lately, that having a strong edge rush is of less importance because we will now have such a dominant defensive line. Though that might well improve our defense overall, I think we need both to be strong if we are to make a deep playoff run. Having just one won't cut it. What say you?

I agree, but I think the theory is the inside rush can aid the effectiveness of the edge rush more than vice versa.

Connie from Chicago, IL

With Jeff Janis gone and Michael Clark's surprising retirement, who do you envision being the next WR fans fall in love with?

The first rookie to make a big play in a preseason game.

Jeffrey from Germantown, WI

John from LA stated on Tuesday that the Packers-Chargers game next year is almost guaranteed to be moved to London. I'm not so sure about that. I know that the Chargers are LA's curly-haired redheaded stepchild, but with them being on the rise I'm fairly positive Dean Spanos would love to host the Packers in LA, just maybe not in the StubHub Center (Packers game at the Rose Bowl?). Plus LA plays Houston that year who hasn't played in London yet, and Houston doesn't attract a crowd like GB.

I've been projecting the Packers-Chargers game as the one moving overseas because it makes the most sense with the Chargers' temporary stadium being so small. I hadn't considered the possibility of them moving to a larger venue in the same market. I'm not sure the NFL would allow that, frankly.

Nick from Portland, OR

The only position group that looks thin to me is safety. How long before one of the CBs transitions over there? Also, is there any specific player that might fit in well there, perhaps a veteran like House or maybe Rollins to see if a position change propels him to success?

I don't get the popular take that the Packers are thin at safety. Clinton-Dix, Jones and Brice all have significant experience, and Evans and Whitehead aren't rookies, either. I realize one injury could change the outlook, but I don't see the position as thin. Unless you have an extra special-teams stalwart, you might only keep four on the 53-man roster.

Chris from Urbandale, IA

I like the new feature of being able to watch "Packers Unscripted." I'm officially ready for the action to begin! With the "extra" roster spot for a couple games with Jones out, does that lock up a spot for Mays or do you see the coaches using that for a different positional player (like a young WR) that they want a little longer look at in true game action?

Nothing's locked up when you're talking young, unproven players. How training camp and the preseason unfold will answer your question.

Lynn from Los Alamos, NM

In searching for a long snapper, are there factors other than the ability to snap well (consistency, speed, accuracy, etc.)? Do blocking, downfield coverage ability, tackling matter at all, or is it just how he can snap the ball?

The snapping skills you mentioned are the top criteria, especially consistency. You go with the best, most reliable guy. If it's truly dead even, then the other aspects would decide it.

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

Michael Clark helped you out by retiring. Now that should put an end to all the Michael Clark should switch to TE comments you have been receiving. I wish him the best in his future pursuits.

Me, too.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Seeing lots of chatter about Rodgers' contract and what might be in it, when it might be done, what might be holding it up, etc. Does anyone outside of the negotiation really have any clue what's going on with it, or is this just rampant speculation?

I haven't heard or read anything that would strike me as reliable, intimate knowledge.

Luke from Oconomowoc, WI

The question about "sacks at more critical moments" has me wondering. Are there any statistics about the probability of touchdowns or field goals after the quarterback takes a sack?

I'm sure there are, but I've never seen them published. I would imagine the scoring probability drops. The stat pointed to more often is the explosive play, which is generally defined as a run of 10-to-12-plus or a pass play of 16-to-20-plus. I've heard some coaches say one explosive play increases the likelihood of a drive ending in points by around 40 percent.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

How big a change in roster will the Rams have next year? They've signed so many relatively big-name players, just signed Gurley to I think the richest running back contract ever and, oh yeah, still have Aaron Donald to sign. It sure seems they are throwing everything they have into a huge run at the playoffs this year.

As mentioned before, they're loading up before they have franchise-QB money on their cap. The Seahawks did the same thing with Wilson, went to back-to-back Super Bowls in his second and third seasons, and haven't gotten out of the divisional round since.

Joshua from Appleton, WI

In response to Ted from Bruce, WI. There are no easy games in the NFL. They are all highly skilled players or they wouldn't have made it to the NFL. With the equality in the NFL any dominance by team or player is impressive. With that I don't believe the Vikings' defensive stats are skewed as there are no gimmies.

I've commented previously on how healthy Minnesota's defense was, but I take nothing away from its legitimacy. In November, the Vikings held the Rams to seven points. In December, they held the Falcons to nine. In the playoffs, they shut out the Saints in the first half. They were as good as it gets until Xavier Rhodes got hurt.

Paul from Milwaukee, WI

Guys, nothing against Dom Capers but do you think Pettine will mold the defense to be a bit nastier than the former coach? I look at the 1985 Bears or 2000 Ravens defenses and they had a mean streak that looked intimidating. Do you think Coach Pettine will try to instill that type of mentality into the nicest of defensive players?

He has said how they play is more important than what they play, referring to attitude versus scheme. Mindset is the buzzword this year. Rodgers lauded Pettine's talk to the team as camp opened. I also believe success must come before swagger, though.

The annual tradition continued Thursday morning as players rode kid's bikes down DreamDrive to practice at Ray Nitshke Field.

Giuseppe from Naples, Italy

What's the most luck-skill catch you've ever witnessed? Something like (or better than) the "He did what?" catch by Freeman? In my opinion, the Barnidge calves TD against Baltimore in 2015 is a good "opponent." Some other examples?

Some of Nelson's tip-toe sideline jobs rank up there for me, and Cook's catch at Dallas, too. But the best catch I've seen in person didn't count – Cobb in the '15 playoffs at Arizona. A shame it was his last play of that game and season.

Gina from Waukesha, WI

When I look at the last SB year, the team had a lot of injuries but the depth was quality enough to help make up for them. As a whole how do you see the depth we have now stand up vs. the backups that we have had in recent years? It just seemed like so many of them lacked the experience or the tools to fill in appropriately.

That's a question to be answered when the roster is pared down to 53. I've said before I'm curious to see how much veteran experience Gutekunst keeps in backup roles compared to prior years. That'll tell us how different the approach is this year.

Kyle from Los Angeles, CA

"Packers Unscripted" is uninterrupted now, too? Thanks for the quality content; you guys make it look easy.

Some interruptions eventually might be good for the bottom line, if you know what I mean, but thanks for your reader/viewership.

Tim from Libertyville, IL

Hi Insiders. When will we get another round of coordinators/coaches press conferences during training camp? I always appreciate their perspective and insight.

There are none slated for this week. We'll see about next week when we get the media schedule.

Steve from Minocqua, WI

Why has there been no discussion of James Lofton's hiring to the preseason TV broadcast team? I realize it's only for the preseason and Rich Gannon was very good in the past, but Lofton is a rising media star. The man is nearly as good in the booth as he was on the field.

The times I've heard Lofton on national radio broadcasts in the past, I've been impressed. He's easy to listen to and very informative.

Dale from Kettering, OH

And they're off. Which of the new guys best match the "planet" theory of roster building?

The Packers have some intriguing young prospects on the defensive line, already a deep group. Seventh-round pick James Looney, second-year man Joe Mbu, plus undrafted rookies Tyler Lancaster and Conor Sheehy will be worth watching, but they might all be fighting for just one roster spot.

Randy from Hayward, WI

Larry has the right idea with that hat on "Three Things." Just needs a Packer "G" on it. The Pro Shop could call it "The Larry."

I really like that idea.

Scott from Little Rock, AR

Mike, does hanging out with Wes make you feel like a gangster? He doesn't drink beer. He watches wrestling and lived at home through college. Would one of you guys just make up a story to give him a little street cred?

I'll work on that. Happy Friday, everyone.