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Inbox: There's plenty of opportunity

The evolution was pretty natural

T/G Alex Light
T/G Alex Light

Matt from Tomahawk, WI

First I want to thank Mike and Wes for all the hard work. I have been reading Ask Vic and II for a few years and have never submitted a question until this past week. I have always thought of questions and comments but would never take the time to submit them. I was very surprised how much it actually adds to the excitement of the Inbox each day. I challenge everyone who always thinks of asking or commenting on something to give it a shot.

It's an equal-opportunity endeavor, though I'll take an occasional bribe.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

Do you think the defenses of yesterday, good defensive teams of the '70s to '90s, would stand up to the complexity of today's offenses? Or do you think their impact would be nullified by the number of rule changes since then?

The rampant substitutions and personnel packages on both sides of the ball have made the game different, so standing up to the current complexity requires depth and versatility. It's difficult to say whether or not they had it when they didn't need it.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

I'm far too lazy to do this research myself, but this has to be one of the first times ever that one state has four MVP winners on active rosters at one time. Granted, California or New York probably can claim the same thing, but only because they cheat and have like 15 teams in each league. Wisconsin has Rodgers, Braun, Yelich and now Giannis. (You think I know how to spell Antetokounmpo?) What a time to be alive. Witnessing greatness, no matter what team we watch, no matter what season.

Five league MVP awards this decade. Not too shabby. Eight in the last quarter century when you factor in Favre.

Matthias from Hartford, WI

Do you find the Los Angeles stadium build unnecessary due to the Rose Bowl and Coliseum both being world class venues for football in the area?

It's not about those venues in terms of playing the game. It's about the stadiums themselves generating revenue beyond tickets, parking and concessions. Having the various ancillary revenue streams is the only way to compete financially in the NFL. In all professional sports now, really.

Sunny sights from 1265 Lombardi Ave.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Football careers are notoriously short, so every year is important for the players. With that said, are there two or three Packers players for which you would say that 2019 is a pivotal year in their career?

Look no further than the 2016 draft class, all of whom (except Clark, whose fifth-year option has been exercised) are playing for a second contract: Spriggs, Fackrell, Martinez, Lowry, Davis.

Sonia from Fairbanks, AK

Good morning Spoff, I know you watch baseball as a fan and football as a reporter. As a fan, are you looking forward to balls and strikes being called by technology, not humans? As an old person, and a sports fan, summer is not a dead zone but a time to listen to the slow pace of baseball on the radio, before the intensity of the football season. I see the imperfections as a part of the game and would dread the technology behind the plate. What say you?

If we went back to watching baseball on TV without strike-zone boxes and pitch trax, sign me up. But we're not going back, so it's the same argument I've made with regard to replay reviews in the NFL. If the technology exists, you can't have the fans at home watching a game different from the one being called on the field. Automated strike zones are inevitable. I just don't know how long it'll take.

Ken from River Falls, WI

When you talk about your all-time favorite Packer players you can include only fairly recent players because of your unfortunate lack of age. If you were older, as I am, you would include, almost exclusively, the players from the '60s. And, at that time, the fan favorites for everyone were mostly Starr, Taylor, Hornung and Nitschke. You can review those games, but you can't come close to reviewing that fan-favorite atmosphere at that time. Now, don't you wish you were a lot older?

I wish I'd been able to cover the game then. I'm forever grateful I landed a job I enjoy in the online world, but I'm an old newspaper guy at heart and would love to have worked back then when it was a more exclusive written medium.

Bobby from Courtland, VA

I would like to know about Alex Light. How is he progressing? With the new additions to the offensive line, does he have a shot at making the 53-man roster again this year?

He definitely has a shot. He can play both tackle and guard, which helps, but with the Packers not adding a pure offensive tackle in free agency or the draft until signing Yosh Nijman as an undrafted rookie, there's plenty of opportunity on the depth chart behind Bakhtiari and Bulaga. I saw Light take a lot of reps with the No. 2 offense in the spring.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

Hold on just one moment, Mike. In the question about consistently getting open or making the incredible catch, why would any QB select consistently "getting open"? If you make those crazy catches, you're already always open.

No one makes the crazy catch every time.

Jim from Seminole, FL

Quick question – regarding the taxes paid in other states, do you then have to fill out a tax return for these states?

If I don't want to get double taxed on that income by the state of Wisconsin, yes.

Mike from Mercer, WI

I agree with the astronomical number of DBs on the field, but how many zeroes are in a bajillion?

Oodles of 'em.

Josh from Melbourne, Australia

When teams sign players for the scout team, what are they looking for? Guys who are flexible and can cover whatever role they're asked to reasonably well, or guys they think replicate a specific threat of an upcoming opponent?

Players aren't signed for the scout team. They're signed to the practice squad as developmental prospects, and they play roles on the scout team in the 11-on-11 periods of practice. Plenty of players down the depth chart on the 53 take snaps on the scout team as well.

Steven from West End, NC

Hi guys, hope all is well. I was wondering if you saw the article on the "best fan base"? The Packers were ranked sixth overall. No big deal. They graded on attendance, revenue, social media following, and road attendance. The one thing that caught me completely off-guard was they had the Pack ranked 17th with road following. I find that highly laughable. What are your thoughts?

They called the category "road equity," and I tried to find an explanation of what was really being measured and didn't find anything coherent or sensible. So I don't know what being 17th in "road equity" really means.

Kyle from Sun Prairie, WI

First child due in three weeks. Wife started snoring as the kiddo grows and compresses organs. Couldn't fall asleep, ear plugs failed, went back to work until I got tired enough for the noise not to matter, realized I hadn't read today's Inbox, read it. If you could give two pieces of advice to a new, first-time parent, what would they be?

Congratulations Kyle, and I'll give you the only piece of advice you'll need. If you believe you were raised right, trust your instincts.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

Interesting observation by Karen from Kaukauna re: Soldier Field and Aaron Jones. Another former Packer RB, Eddie Lee Ivery, had his career derailed as a result of two games he played at Soldier Field. In his first game as a rookie, he had three carries for 24 yards before blowing his knee out. Two years later after running for 72 yards on 14 carries, he blew his knee out again at Soldier Field. It's been one of the worst playing surfaces in the NFL for decades.

Whether artificial turf or natural grass, apparently. It was the hard, cement-like fake stuff in Ivery's day.

John from Peoria, IL

Is an exhibition game any more valuable to a coaching staff than a practice against another team?

For evaluating young players, yes. The lights are a little brighter and the pressure a little higher.

Jack from Wauwatosa, WI

MVS has that look in his eye like "I am going to show everyone what I can do"... a bit of sparkle! I expect big things from him, but I feel he expects even more. What do you think?

He has displayed no lack of confidence since the day he arrived. He believes in himself wholeheartedly.

Julie from Boston, MA

I'm successfully procrastinating studying for an exam by watching old games, and was struck at how huge a role Cullen Jenkins played in the 2010 Super Bowl run. I remember being baffled when he wasn't re-signed (I know, I know...can't keep them all), because it seemed like the defense never really recovered after his departure and was decimated for a few years. In your opinion, which free-agent loss has had the greatest impact on the Packers?

In recent years, I'd have to say Casey Hayward. While I understood the decision-making process at the time (Jan. 18, 2015, played a large role in how the organization valued him, in my opinion), his departure created a long-lasting impact because the high draft picks selected to replace him (Randall, Rollins) didn't work out, which led to more high picks (King, Alexander, Jackson) and free-agent money (Williams) being spent in recent years to get the position rebuilt. The domino effect produced was far greater than anything connected to Jenkins.

Zach from Hoagland, IN

I can't be the only one missing your podcasts. I hope you both enjoy some vacation and R&R before camp! Thanks for all the hard work you both put in!

There isn't enough to talk about this time of year for "Unscripted," and taking a hiatus from the show encourages us not to be in the office on the same day. We'll be back behind the mikes soon enough.

Geoff from Beaver Dam, WI

Michigan is in the college baseball World Series. Our state supports baseball pretty well with the Brewers, T-rats, Mallards and so on. Any idea why the UW doesn't have a baseball team?

It was eliminated in the early '90s when the UW athletic department was in dire financial straits due to the football and basketball teams being in the doldrums. Multiple sports programs were cut, and a men's program needed to be among the cuts for the school's overall athletic offerings to stay in compliance with Title IX. So baseball got whacked, and it hasn't come back.

Jim from Huntertown, IN

Hey guys, your answer about the makeup of the old divisions got me thinking. As it stands now, each team plays six division games, four games against another NFC division, four games against an AFC division, and two games against conference opponents who placed in similar position from the previous season. So what was it like before? How did they lay out the schedules when there were so many teams in each division?

I don't know all the ins and outs, but for the old five-team NFC Central, the schedule consisted of eight division games, four games against opponents from a single AFC division, and four games against opponents from the other two NFC divisions (two from each, one matching the place in the standings from the prior year). As mentioned last week, pre-'95 (28 teams, one four-team division in each conference) the last-place teams in the five-team divisions played each other twice, and there were adjustments for the clubs in the four-team divisions as well. Additional adjustments were needed in the AFC Central beginning in '99 when Cleveland returned to make a six-team division. With the 32-team league (and 4x8 structure), scheduling is way more equitable (and simple) now.

High school football players gathered at the Don Hutson Center on Saturday, June 22 for a Nike 11-ON event, which included a 7-on-7 tournament, a lineman challenge and a character development session featuring Packers strength and conditioning coordinator Chris Gizzi.

Mike from Wallingford, CT

There has been a lot of discussion about the contradiction of AR's off-script brilliance and MLF's desire for an offense run on-script. I'm not so worried about the two getting on the same page, but I am curious as to how much you think this possible reduction in "check with me" calls may impact our young receiving core?

It cuts both ways in my view. Life at the line of scrimmage might be simpler, but there's a greater onus to beat your man if the quarterback isn't adjusting the route pre-snap.

Paul from Denver, CO

With defensive sub-packages the norm now, is an offense better off exploiting a weakness trying to set up a big play, or using variety to not allow defenses a pattern to anticipate? I still feel a solid ground attack allows you greater success at big-play opportunities. Am I in the stone age on this one?

Only if you're limiting yourself to one approach instead of trying to incorporate them all.

Paul from De Pere, WI

The relationship between Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers seems very different from a decade ago. How would you characterize it? How would you explain the evolution of their relationship?

They went from two guys who wanted the same job to head-to-head rivals to legends sharing a ton in common – multiple MVPs, records, and a Super Bowl title with one of the most iconic franchises in sports. The evolution was pretty natural when you think about it.

Richard from Madison, WI

"The absolute was said in jest, but regardless, we'll do our best." Close to poetry, but the scansion's a little off. What grade would your HS English teacher have given you on it?

A pretty good one if I had pulled the word scansion out of nowhere.

Paul from Shoreview, MN

What do the Packers have to do in order to beat the Bears on opening night?

Score more points. And with that, Wes will take you through the rest of this week. Until Monday.