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Inbox: There’s doing your job, and there’s going above and beyond

WR Jordy Nelson
WR Jordy Nelson

Sam from Janesville, WI

Wes is handing out bans like Oprah handing out cars. How was your time off, Mike?

Uneventful, so no complaints. Big props to Wes for holding down the fort, in Green Bay and elsewhere, for an extended time. He’s certainly earned a few days of his own.

Rocco from Green Bay, WI

The Packers opening the NFL's 100th season in Chicago. Pass interference penalty challenge changes. The Packers want to hold practices against other teams, the draft is still coming up, and Hod up here using the ban hammer like he's Gallagher. And now Jordy Nelson is retiring! Welcome back, Spoff! You're in for a busy day, my friend.

Wouldn’t have it any other way. Gallagher and his hammer, good one. Does that mean y’all are watermelons?

Nick from Benton, MO

John Kuhn, T.J. Lang, and now Jordy Nelson have all retired. Randall Cobb is now playing for the Cowboys, and Clay Matthews is now playing for the Rams. The Packers have a new head coach heading into the 2019 season. Oh, and the Packers made a huge splash in FA. What an historic offseason this is shaping up to be!

My first day back and I’m once again saying how it’s truly a new era.

Brad from London, Ontario

Seattle-er? Seattle-ite? Nothing sounds right.

It has to be Seattleite. It’s just one extra vowel and syllable from satellite.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

I feel like the debate between Tony Gonzalez and Rob Gronkowski severely disrespects Kellen Winslow Sr.

Amen.

Mark from Amarillo, TX

Congrats to Jordy on a fabulous career. I'm kind of surprised NE didn't make a run at him. After the announcement, NFL Network ran a video on him, and I was stunned how many long gainers he and Rodgers had together. Does anyone have a total of the 40-plus-yard connections those guys had? They have to be close to the record for QB-to-receiver long gainers in the NFL.

I’m not sure of the total number, but I know they set a record for one season in 2014. The explosive plays that year seemed to never stop.

Geoff from Omaha, NE

First off, congrats to Jordy and an amazing NFL career. One of my favorite Packers of all time. Secondly, I bruised (not broke, like Jordy) my ribs last week and I can't imagine going out and catching an NFL pass knowing a safety is coming to drill you in your side. I will always have so many fond memories of Jordy, but that one has to be up there. What a champ.

What he put himself through to play in the 2016 NFC title game in Atlanta was astounding. There’s doing your job, and there’s going above and beyond as a pro and teammate.

Eddie from La Crosse, WI

Submitted for your approval: Jordy Nelson's finest play for the Packers? It was against da Bears in November 2014, and he never touched the ball. Eddie Lacy took a screen pass at midfield on the right side, and he rambled diagonally amidst many Bear defenders. Nelson comes whooshing downfield on the left, leaves everyone in his dust, and leads the final block into the end zone for a Lacy touchdown. Unbelievable.

And Nelson would take as much pride in a play like that as any spectacular catch. The farm upbringing no doubt played into that. But the element to his game that defined him, in my opinion, was his ability in tight spaces on the boundary. A couple of decades prior, Cris Carter carved out a Hall of Fame career with rather singular abilities along the sidelines, making tip-toe catches and the like. Nelson became just as good as Carter in that area and, frankly, never got enough credit for it nationally.

Liam from Newcastle upon Tyne, England

I hadn’t realized Jordy’s last Packers touchdown was Week 5 2017 at the Cowboys.

The best part about it was Rodgers said they checked to a route on that play they had run three years earlier in Miami, and all they had to do after they checked the coverage was look at each other. One of the most treasured moments of my career was sitting down with Rodgers and Nelson, together, for the 2017 Packers Yearbook cover story, to talk about their chemistry together. All I had to do was mention a play, and they just started talking. It was amazing.

Lisa from Plymouth, MN

A quick and heartfelt "thank you" to Wes and Larry for honoring Jordy Nelson in Wednesday's "One Thing" segment. Jordy was all about the team and never demanded the spotlight. How perfect that for a few minutes, the entire focus was on him; a special player and a man of high character. Larry's brief, sincere, and respectful comments said it all. Well-deserved praise from one great Packers ambassador to another. Well done.

Well said.

Chris from Bidford on Avon, Warwickshire

Is there any way that Jordy could retire as a Packer?

That would be up to Nelson and others making the proper arrangements, and I can’t speak to whether he’s interested in doing so. We all know a year ago was extremely difficult for him. I think it’s important to respect that as well. He’s being duly celebrated regardless.

Mike from Las Vegas, NV

Do you think Iowa should be nicknamed Tight End U?

No reason to change from Hawkeyes. It’s the only college in the country I know of with that nickname, and it comes with positive connotations as far as NFL preparedness. Kirk Ferentz has been doing things right for a long time.

Eli from Yardley, PA

Have you ever written answers specifically in jest knowing that the other Insider will have to deal with the fallout the following day?

Indubitably, but it gets confusing during some of these offseason stretches.

Barbara from Phoenix, AZ

Is the league taking things a little too far with new replay rules?

I don’t think so. I said in this space the day after the NFC title game that this would have to lead to some kind of change. Sean Payton’s quote from Arizona this week was irrefutable, that doing nothing would be a signal from ownership it was OK with what happened, which was sending the wrong team to the Super Bowl. This is going to continue to evolve. The way the technology presents the game to the fans has made something like this inevitable. I’ve been saying so for years.

Herb from Palm Desert, CA

Hi Insiders, I have to imagine the new reviewable PI and PI non-call rule will present difficulties for coaches deciding when to challenge. It's not unusual to have two such plays in the first quarter of a game. What are the major factors you think coaches will consider before throwing the challenge flag, especially if it means potentially going a half without any challenges available?

Early in the game, if they aren’t sure (or heavily convinced) they’re going to win the challenge, they probably won’t throw the red flag, whether on a call or non-call. But later in the game, they’ll be more willing to take that chance. For the most part, that approach has applied all along, but now coaches may want to be even more cognizant of keeping a challenge available for late in the game on a PI. Over the years, that’s become less of a concern as all turnovers and scoring plays were automatically reviewed, but nothing with these penalties will be automatic until the final two minutes. What I still think makes no sense is being out of challenges whether you go 1-for-2 or 0-for-2. I don’t get the adherence to that as opposed to simply two-strikes-and-you’re-out.

Matthew from Madison, WI

I think it would have been a good idea to require reviews of DPI/OPI to be in real speed only. When analyzed in slow motion, we get into too many small things looking like PI.

Nice try, but you can’t tell the networks not to show the slo-mo, so you have to let the officials use it, too.

David from Philadelphia, PA

I know one play that would have been overturned. Not because of the result but because of the egregious penalty that occurred. Sept. 24, 2012. Golden Tate, the Fail Mary, and the obvious offensive PI that should've been called.

You employed the key term: egregious. It sounds like that’s how the replay officials will be instructed with regard to Hail Mary reviews. It has to be an egregious foul. To be fair, I think Cobb’s catch at the end of the first half against the Giants in the playoffs gets wiped out, too.

Jason from Austin, TX

Hey II, are items like rule changes discussed during the CBA negotiations?

No, rules are separate from labor issues.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

Allowing review of non-calls for PI is significant. With the auto-review of scoring and turnover plays, it appears to me that refs have erred in favor of the TO or score in order to allow for auto-review. This has resulted, in my view, with too many non-calls in favor of review. The problem is that the non-call skews the standard of review – if a camera does not catch it cleanly, the recovering/scoring team gains an advantage, one that has bothered me as a fan. Non-call reviews help avoid that.

In a sense. While I agree with your perspective on automatic reviews, these PI decisions are still going to give added weight to the call on the field. But there’s no err-on-the-side-of caveat here regarding the initial call, if that’s what you mean.

Dennis from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

The defense, with a healthy talent infusion and going into Year 2 in Pettine's scheme, should be markedly improved. The offense, sporting a new scheme and coaching staff, could have some growing pains. It may also have an advantage early on because opposing defenses won't have as much to go on with McCarthy gone. Those advantages and disadvantages could offset, but I'm thinking No. 12 will swing the results toward the positive side. I think we beat the Bears on Thursday night. Agree?

The opener is 161 days away. Baseball’s regular season starts today and the Brewers will be playing game 139 (against the Cubs, by the way) on Sept 5. Forgive me if I’m not going to be hung up on a prediction right now.

Rick from Pacifica, CA

Hey II, we know that some positions take longer to learn in the NFL. How about slot receiver? LaFleur mentioned something about liking bigger bodies in the slot that can take more punishment than someone Cobb's size. If a receiver in the draft that fit LaFleur's mold for a slot receiver fell to us and had shown that skill set in college, would it be too much to expect them to have a big impact the first year knowing how much precise route running and timing is critical in that role?

It would be a lot to ask. New offense or not, seeing the game the same way Aaron Rodgers does won’t happen overnight for any rookie receiver. From the slot or elsewhere, it didn’t for Nelson, Cobb, Adams, etc.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Welcome back Mike! Wes said, "Roquan Smith was enticing because there weren't any other linebackers quite like him in last year's draft." Are there any linebackers like him in this year's draft?

The Devins. White and Bush. Wherever they wind up, they’ll be compared down the road to Roquan.

Sean from Boulder, CO

Regarding Al's inquiry about rookie head coaches making Thursday night NFL season debuts, the last time it happened was 2008 when Jim Zorn's Washington team faced the Giants. Hopefully, that'll be the only parallel to Zorn our new coach has in the years ahead!

There we have it.

Eric from Crystal Lake, IL

The news that the AAF may not make it to Year 2 made me wonder: Why is it that minor league baseball leagues have been able to exist and make money for so long but other football leagues haven't been able to mirror that success?

The big boys in baseball are fully invested in their minor league operations. They need them, so they back them to survive. The NFL has college football. It doesn’t need a developmental system.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

A study done years ago concluded that the offensive line position had the lowest bust rate. Perhaps this is still the case.

If I recall, that study was focused solely on the first round of the draft. The Packers have had their share of success finding offensive linemen in the middle rounds, as we all know. If my choices are to lean toward a study or a guy I think might be the next Matthews, I’m not going to let a study sway me. If I’m choosing between the next Matthews and the next Munoz, that’s a different discussion.

Tom from Westfield, MA

Murphy is in favor of fourth-and-15 in lieu of onside kicks now, because he has Rodgers. How many owners do you think shot it down primarily because they would rather take their chances with traditional (albeit harder) onside, than give it to their QB of now or the unknown of their future QB. I see a distinct advantage to the fourth-and-15 for only a small handful of teams/QBs.

I don’t think that’s it at all. An average QB still has a better than 8 percent chance on fourth-and-15, which was the success rate of onside kicks last year. I think it’s the very word Murphy used in his comments – gimmicky – and I tend to agree. But we also know the owners don’t want fans turning off their TVs with three minutes left in a two-touchdown game. That ad at the two-minute warning is financial gold and must remain so. Stay tuned on this one.

Nate from Plymouth, MN

Come on, Insiders. You had to have known that putting out a prospect primer on a running back named Montgomery would lead to trouble.

Oh, we knew. There’s a reason I scheduled it to post while I was gone.

Marty from Rexford, MT

You get an inside view of the NFL. Is there any perspective you notice the players share that the fans just don't seem to understand?

That not every player is motivated by the same thing.

Jeff from Winnipeg, Manitoba

Winnie the Pooh was named after a real black bear named Winnie (short for Winnipeg). The bear traveled overseas during WWI and lived much of her life as a very popular animal in the London Zoo. She died in 1934 and was rumored to be a big Packer fan so a Packer game in Winnipeg seems apropos.

Now I’ve heard it all. We open with Oprah and Gallagher, and we close with Winnie the Pooh. If you can tie Eeyore and Piglet to the NFL, too, then I’ll be really impressed.

Marcus from Greenville, TX

Wes, isn't betting a good amount of Spoff's lunches really just you betting your own lunches?

I’m sure that was his point. Happy Thursday.

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