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Inbox: There's only one thing left to do

Aaron Rodgers mastered both the physical and mental parts of the game


Larry from Hudson, WI

Uh oh, we're out of "Moments." Now what are we going to do?

I guess there's only one thing left to do – make some more. Good morning!

Pancho from New Castle, PA

So now the season is looming. How long does it take for our favorite reporters to get into rhythm for their season?

I slept for about 3½ hours Thursday night and woke up with my cell phone imprinted on my cheek. So I'd say I'm in midseason form.

Paul from Oxford, NC

In the words of Bruce Buffer: "Iiiiiiiiiittts TIIIIIIIIIIIIMMMEE" or Michael Buffer: "Let's get ready to RUMMMMBLE!" Or according to Marvin Gaye: "Let's get it on." Pick your anthem for tomorrow.

I'm going to go with Joe Martinez's "The teams are ready, the players are ready, the world is ready. GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN, make some noise if you, are, READY!"

Scott from Palos Park, IL

I suspect the presence of Jimmy Graham will force safeties to stay deep in the middle of the field and possibly pull linebackers deeper as well. Does this open up the crossing routes underneath for Randall Cobb or is that a slot corner's job to cover?

It all depends how teams want to defend those two, but the more attention you pay to Graham and Cobb inside, the more it opens up one-on-one matchups for Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison on the perimeter, and vice versa. If that scenario plays out, it brings the best out of everybody.

Bob from Atlanta, GA

Enjoyed the article about Robert Tonyan. Have you ever seen an offense with four tight ends on the field at the same time?

Thanks for checking it out. It was a fun story to tell. I can't say I've seen a lot of four-tight-end packages, but it's possible we could see it in a three-TE, goal-line package where Lance Kendricks or Tonyan serves as a fullback.

Mitchell from Edmond, OK

Great job on the Robert Tonyan story! When do the Packers plan to convert him back to QB?

Ha. I'd be lying if I told you I didn't think twice about writing that before publishing the story.

Jay from Land O' Lakes, FL

Guys, watching Thursday night it was obvious that scoring TDs deep in the red zone is often the difference between winning and losing. Tall, fast and athletic receivers – that's the difference this year on the Packers. Jump higher equals more TDs. I think it's a great strategy, do you?

There's more to being successful in the red zone than height. It's not like it's a prerequisite to be 6-foot-5 in order to score 10 touchdowns. However, I think you saw the difference it made with Rodgers' 8-yard touchdown pass to Graham against Pittsburgh. His accuracy and Graham's catch radius could be deadly for defenses to defend.

Mike from Wells, MN

What is a realistic expectation for Montravius Adams this year and can he be a difference-maker?

I think he can be. He's a talented young man and finally healthy. It'll be tough for him to break into that rotation of Mike Daniels, Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry at first, but it's a long season. When Adams' moment arrives, he'll have to be ready. But yes, the potential is there for him to be a productive run-stopper and interior rusher in this league.

Lynn from Somers, WI

Regarding your answer about the game slowing down, it sounds like it is actually the players speeding up, catching up to the game. Which made me think of the speed at which Aaron Rodgers must process everything. His mind has to be functioning at warp speed to sift through everything in front of him. As athletic as he is, I think I am even more impressed with his mental game. Is there any other player out there that can play that fast?

I've said it before – I think Rodgers is the greatest quarterback in NFL history as it relates to mastering both the physical and mental aspects of this game. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning could manipulate the line of scrimmage like Rodgers, but neither possessed No. 12's athleticism. When the Packers drafted Rodgers out of Cal in 2005, they got the total package.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

A lot of talk about how pumped the defense is with our new system and coach. It is important to have the players buy into what you are asking them to do, but if the defense stumbles in the first game, do you feel it may be a stumbling block bringing back memories of last year to get them going again?

No. Not at all. You can't get too high or too low because of the ebb and flow of a season. As Clay Matthews said Thursday, it's about establishing an identity that players believe in. One game doesn't cement that either way. You have to trust the process every week through the successes and the failures. That's how winning is done.

Jared from Mandan, ND

The best way to limit Mack's effectiveness is to run the ball down their throats. You don't see 'Bama throwing for 400 yards each week.

Establishing the run early is part of the process, but that's true for any opponent. You can't play scared. Rodgers threw the ball nearly 40 times the last time these two teams played and that's when Mack had just recorded nine sacks in three games going into that matchup.

Bill from Lenexa, KS

Wes, we all loved what we saw from Oren Burks in the preseason, but with him being questionable for Sunday night's game, how much do you think we'll see of Korey Toomer and James Crawford? Are they ready?

It's difficult to say with Crawford because he's questionable like Burks, but it likely will be Antonio Morrison getting the call if Burks can't go. He's an aggressive, willing tackler who should fit in well next to Blake Martinez on first and second down. Toomer probably can play both spots, but my guess is this week will be more about special teams for him.

Jimi from Boulder, CO

With so many fans and analysts saying Aaron Rodgers better watch out for Mack, it reminds me of the movie, "Watchmen." When Rorschach is in the prison cafeteria line screaming, "I'm not stuck in here with you. You're all stuck in here with me!" Mack should be worried about Rodgers making him look foolish with his quarterback wizardry.

Exactly, though I've always thought of Rodgers more as Dr. Manhattan. You know, just a force of nature dominating everything.

Jeff from Wentzville, MO

Love reading the column every Monday-Saturday morning. During last night's game, a neutral-zone infraction was called on the Falcons before Nick Foles could get a play off. The announcers mentioned that this will be the norm this year, and it could affect QBs like Aaron Rodgers. Can you illuminate us on exactly what this is/why the decision was made and your take on it and what will be the effect on Rodgers? Thanks.

The NFL started cracking down on this a few years ago, telling its officials to blow the play dead if a defensive player jumps offside. As I recall, that's technically the letter of the law when a tackle jumps up and points to a defender's neutral-zone infraction.

Jacob from Port Huron, MI

Who ended up being MVP of training camp?

The 53 players who made the roster…and Jake Kumerow.

View photos of Packers fans representing their colors for Green & Gold Friday, a fan engagement initiative aimed to ramp up the energy and enthusiasm of Packers fans as they get ready for every game.

Dwight from Davenport, IA

The yellow line was sufficient. The green box is just annoying. No doubt. I like both. Don't be afraid of change guys...

I kind of liked the green box. It looked fresh.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Mike said that with all the changes in the division, the Packers got a big break by opening with the Bears and the Vikings at home and they need to take advantage of that. I fully agree and I would add they need to take full advantage of the schedule in their first six games. In past years, Mike McCarthy has made some "bold print statements" going into training camp or during preseason. I haven't noticed any this year. Has there been any mention of the importance of a fast start this year?

No. That doesn't become a storyline until after the first two or three games of the regular season. Everyone knows getting off to a fast start is important when it comes to gaining home-field advantage. They don't need to put it up on a bulletin board or anything.

Eric from Kenosha, WI

Has everyone in this Inbox forgotten we still have Aaron Rodgers, Bryan Bulaga, and David Bakhtiari? We'll be just fine friends, no matter how many draft picks the Bears trade away. Keep calm and Inbox on.

Stop making sense.

Bill from Kronenwetter, WI

Good morning Wes, a short question. Vic said, "If you pay it, it counts against salary cap." So if Bell is not paid $855,000 for every game he sits out are the Steelers gaining this amount in salary cap space this year or next?

Correct. I believe teams get a credit once the season is over.

Brandon from Wauwatosa, WI

Funny when people complain about all these rule changes (i.e. body weight on QB, hits to/with helmet) fans are up in arms before the season starts, yet the minute they think they see something questionable happening to their team (if someone even looks at Rodgers), they get all blue in the face. Do the refs get a pay increase with each new impossible rule they have to add on each year?

They deserve one.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

So Aaron Rodgers said the Packers are "America's Team" so it must be true, right?

I think his reasoning was sound.

Jim from Marietta, GA

Jimmy the Greek used to say the ability to judge accurately an NFL team is difficult the first three games is the season. His observation was for oddsmaker reasons. Do you agree it translates to today's football? Thanks.

Straight-up, I don't think it matters. Against the spread, I haven't the slightest clue.

Dayv from Hustisford, WI

GB used to use a "Psycho" defensive package with one DT, and both ends were replaced by LBs either blitzing or dropping into coverage. With the lack of depth at LB, I'm assuming they won't be bringing this package back? Has Pettine used any similar packages in the past?

The Packers might not do it with just one defensive lineman, but dime packages like that are part of Pettine's unpredictability. Pettine teased some of those double-A-gap blitz looks in the preseason.

Travis from Fort Walton Beach, FL

The "sign everyone and trade for big names" crew should find a fantasy league that has a salary cap.

Trading for/signing Khalil Mack and/or Le'Veon Bell is fine for drunken banter, but it's important to remember life isn't lived in a bar.

Tim from Windsor, CO

Confused and looking for clarification. What is the difference between RPO and the play-action? Formation? Thanks.

RPO – or run-pass option – is a declaration the quarterback makes based on what he's seeing from the defense, whereas play-action is a designed pass that fakes a running play.

Zach from Clarkfield, MN

My wife used the name "52 Shades of Clay" for her fantasy football team name. I stole "Kumerow Uno" straight from the Inbox, so thank you for that. What are some other great fantasy football names using current (or former) Packers players' names that you've heard?

Game of 'Rones was pretty sweet. I saw Jayrone Elliott retweet that one a few days ago.

Matthew from Minneapolis, MN

With all the talk of up-and-comers and recent acquisitions on the DL, I haven't heard much about Mike Daniels during training camp or preseason. He's usually an inspirational and entertaining subject. How's he doing?

That's probably more of a product of Daniels sitting out of the preseason due to a quad injury, but he's back now. He's been a full participant in practice the past two weeks and should be raring to go for Sunday night's opener.

Larry from Green Bay, WI

With this being Packers alumni weekend, do you know if there is planned any formal event that mingles our current team with past Packer greats? Seems that would really be an opportunity to bestow, especially on the newer players, some firsthand knowledge of our historic franchise.

Carroll Dale and Donny Anderson will be signing autographs and visiting with fans on Saturday from 11 a.m. CT to noon in the Lambeau Field Atrium.

Ben from Spokane, WA

Wes, please tell me that was a Flight of the Conchords reference at the end of your last Inbox. It's business time.

I was so damn proud of that line. I wish you guys could have been here to see me basking in that moment. It only took me two-plus years to work in a FOTC reference.

Joe from Eugene, OR

Can I have $2,000 so I can see Paul McCartney at the Taxslayer Center in Moline?

Asking the wrong writer.

RJ from Hudson, WI

Wes, I have a quandary: I've accepted an invitation to the Vikings/49ers game on Sunday from a business associate. It will be in a turf suite with all of the amenities you would expect. The business associate has provided purple (ugly) T-shirts with their business emblem on it and "SKOL" across the back. I have told him that I cannot even think about wearing this and he replied that I will then be served warm beer. What is a die-hard Packer fan to do? How can I represent without offending?

When they serve you the warm beer, politely say no thank you and grab an iced-cold, refreshing glass of lemonade. There will be more beers – and fortunately no photos of you in an ugly purple SKOL shirt at the company Christmas party.

Andrew from Fullerton, CA

I was at the deli the other day buying some lunch meats. I couldn't decide between the bologna, which I usually get, or the salami. When purchasing the salami, the cashier said, "No bologna today?" to which I replied, "The bologna stops here," except I didn't say bologna. As Spoff said, I'll be here all season.

Enjoy the salami and enjoy the game, everyone. Football is back.