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Inbox: They have a plan in mind

Decisions are guaranteed to be difficult

LB Rashan Gary
LB Rashan Gary

Bruce from Bloomington, IL

Wes, I didn't know Packer tickets could be in a Cracker Jack box. With a 30-year waiting list, I think there's going to be a run on Cracker Jack products. Do you ever have one of those snacks packed in your lunch? Asking for a friend.

And a new week is upon us. Here we go.

Marv from Suamico, WI

Ka'dar Hollman, haven't seen or heard any injury update. What is his status?

Stinger. No timeline given.

Mike from Richmond, VA

If you could go back in time, and bring one Packer back with you to play on today's team, who would it be and why?

Willie Davis. I'd like to see what he could do rushing the passer in today's game.

Joseph from Ashburn, VA

How many players that played for the Green Bay Packers are in the Hall of Fame for another team?

For the gazillionth time, no one in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is in there as a member of a specific team. But there are five HOFers who played in Green Bay whom the Packers don't recognize as one of "theirs" – Len Ford, Ted Hendricks, Walt Kiesling, Jan Stenerud and Emlen Tunnel.

Eric from Fuquay Varina, NC

Hi II, just for consideration. 1. For all those angry submissions, have a separate "submit" button that goes to your trash box. Title it "Submit; not for publication, but just for catharsis." Might give folks a minute to think about what they have written. Trash emptied daily. 2. How about a periodic column similar to "C'mon man!" for really dumb questions. You could store them over time and publish (without names) when you have enough. A way to harvest even the rotten tomatoes.

1. I like the idea, but I think part of the catharsis is the possibility someone might read it, whether or not it gets published. 2. Another interesting thought, but we'd have to put a limit on the frequency of publication, you know what I mean?

Reza from Janesville, WI

Interesting tidbit. Baltimore is now 15-0 in preseason since 2015 and only made the playoffs once in that time. Preseason is a time of evaluation no matter if you win or lose.

The Ravens' preseason winning streak is one of the oddest NFL statistical anomalies I've ever come across. It's just weird, as is Atlanta's 11-game preseason losing streak.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

If my memory serves me correctly, in 1972 the Packers defeated the Dolphins in a preseason game. Nobody is perfect.

That's an outstanding memory. I looked it up to confirm, and sure enough, 14-13 Packers on Aug. 12, 1972, in Miami. Go figure.

Jim from Woodbury, MN

When do you leave for Winnipeg?

Wednesday afternoon.

Nicole from Rowlett, TX

What is the feel from the team regarding the upcoming preseason game in Canada? Are they excited about the cultural change? Also, do the players watch the HBO series "Hard Knocks" and are they excited about making a cameo in the third preseason game?

I haven't heard the players talk much about "Hard Knocks," but I suspect many of them watch it, and/or will watch the episode surrounding the game in Canada. I don't think anyone is looking at the trip as much of a cultural change, though. A quick visit to a new place, but business to attend to.

Matt from Kula, HI

Missed tackles can be corrected as the team sees more live action. But as ML noted they got "out-physicalled" by the Ravens. It seems that this could be more of a concern than anything if it continues. Speed has become more important in today's game but controlling the line of scrimmage has been the key to winning football games for 100 years. Have the Packers sacrificed too much muscle with the emphasis on speed?

I don't think they've sacrificed muscle, but I agree Baltimore was the more physical team, just as Houston was in the first joint practice before the Packers turned it up a notch the rest of that week. This team can be plenty physical, but the approach has come and gone. We've heard LaFleur reference energy and urgency throughout camp. It needs to reach a consistent level, on both sides of the ball.

Andrew from Falls Church, VA

I wouldn't be shocked if Gute decided to keep seven receivers. But even at that level, a couple of our young guys are going to have to be let go. Who do you think really needs to make some plays in the last two preseason games in order to stay above the cut line?

Allen Lazard and Darrius Shepherd haven't made the team yet, but they are making a bid and have to keep doing what they're doing. J'Mon Moore must make some things happen, and Trevor Davis needs to pick up where he left off now that he's back on the field. If all that takes place, decisions are guaranteed to be difficult.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

What has happened that Kumerow has been such a hit with the Packers yet barely made it off the practice squad of two other teams? Is it just the maturity process having played four other seasons or did something just "click" at some point?

No two player development paths are alike. You just never know.

Alex from Orlando, FL

NFL rules allow only one player on the field to have the speaker inside his helmet. How does this work with how the Saints utilize Taysom Hill? What happens in the (extremely unlikely) circumstance that Brees and Bridgewater both go down in a game and Hill is forced to play QB? Is it as simple as just sticking the speaker into his helmet, or does he have second helmet to switch to that has the speaker? Is it normal for players to have multiple helmets available to them at a game?

A player who might need the speaker helmet will have a spare available on the sideline in case. The speaker helmets are marked with green dots, so the officials can always check to make sure only one player in a given huddle has one.

Dale from Norwich, England

Hi guys, regarding the pass interference challenge, I can't help but think most of them will stand. The reason I say this is it's almost like the challenge is undermining the referees' ability of doing their jobs properly. Do you get that vibe?

Not at all. It's no different than any other call that gets challenged, and all final decisions are made in consultation with the command center anyway. Any official whose pride would get in the way of the correct call shouldn't be an official.

Tony from London, England

I was lucky enough to attend training camp in 2012 with my two young sons just after Cedric Benson signed. After he completed a drill just in front of us a fan beside me shouted, "Welcome to Green Bay, Cedric," and much to my surprise he turned around and said, "Thank you." We never know what he may have done for the Packers due to injury but it was obvious at that moment he was a decent man both as a player and a human being. RIP Cedric. Taken out of life and football far too young.

I talked with Benson only a couple of times while he was here, but I found him engaging and truly appreciative of his opportunity in Green Bay. Such sad news. Condolences to all his friends and family.

Kyle from Appleton, WI

With more and more teams using a RB out of the backfield for passes, what position group on defense do you think would be best to cover that route? I know it's a pick-your-poison kind of situation, since only 11 men are allowed on the field. For an "average" NFL talent player, who would you rather have: ILB, hybrid safety, or a corner?

Ideally you want an inside linebacker to be able to handle that duty in normal down-and-distance situations, because otherwise your defensive front will be a little light and could have trouble stopping the run.

Dave from Huntsville, AL

The question was asked some time ago about other teams and undrafted guys making the team. I just watched the replay of the Packers-Ravens game, and their announcers said the Ravens have had an undrafted guy make the team for 15 years straight. We're not unique in this one.

Absolutely not. If anyone's approach to personnel mirrored Ted Thompson's, it was Ozzie Newsome, who used to stockpile compensatory draft picks, too.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Marty posed a question about kickoffs into the end zone not needing to be touched. What would happen if the ball never reached the end zone or bounced back into the field of play?

If it doesn't reach the end zone, it's a live ball. If it bounces from the end zone back onto the field, it's dead and a touchback.

Tim from Normal, IL

Mike, when the Giants kicker beat the Packers with a 48-yard FG in the 2007 playoffs, the temperature was below zero and MM said afterwards it had to be like kicking a rock. Then the Giants kicker said the ball felt "normal" to him like any other kick. My point is this isn't 1967 anymore when the ball was like kicking a rock. Are we making too much of punters and kickers earning their stripes when the weather turns?

In my mind, no. The NFL's rules on "K balls" don't allow teams to break in those footballs. You do know that Lawrence Tynes missed two potential game-winning kicks late in the fourth quarter of the game you reference before he made the one in OT (from 47, by the way). Right?

Noah from Green Bay, WI

The player with the most to prove in the next preseason game is...

Not alone. It's a long list, but at the top of it might be Kizer and Boyle.

Tom from Sturgeon Bay, WI

II, if the NFL is seriously concerned about game length why not try what the PGA does with their broadcasts, split the screen for commercials and let the game continue with no lengthy breaks. Wouldn't it speed things up, be better for game flow and for fans?

Sure, and there's some of that in NFL broadcasts now. But have you seen what the networks are paying to broadcast the games? They aren't getting full fare for split-screen ads, so it's not a blanket solution for the networks. Trust me, the NFL's concern for the length of games will not prompt it to lower its broadcast rights fees.

Andrew from Vining, MN

Was that Jaire's jersey we saw around Lamar Jackson's shoulders after the game on Thursday?

Wouldn't surprise me if the former Louisville teammates made an exchange.

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Rich from De Pere, WI

I know it's early, but I am starting to get concerned with Rashan Gary. He has played a lot of snaps in the first two games, many against second- and third-stringers. And yet, he doesn't have a single tackle or sack. In fact, he really hasn't come close to sacking or pressuring the QB. The guy has been a stud in practice, what gives?

I think it's worth heeding Pettine's thoughts from Saturday. He noted they've played Gary a lot of preseason snaps as a stand-up outside linebacker to help his transition to a new spot, but his role will be honed as we get closer to Week 1. He added they're asking him to do things now he won't be asked to do when the games count. They have a plan in mind for Gary and it'll be what they determine he can do best right away.

Dana from Reno, NV

It seems that scheme has a much greater impact than it was thought to have, as in the McCarthy tenure, simply basing it all on mano-a-mano competition, e.g. receivers gaining separation. From what I've been seeing throughout the league, scheme allows for lesser quarterbacks to be a lot more effective. Can't wait to see 12 perform this season.

To suggest McCarthy didn't have schemes to get guys open is ludicrous. But he also did employ concepts that primarily required receivers to beat their man. He felt that was the best way to develop football players, get a team maximizing on its ability late in the year, and give the team more to lean on than simply X's and O's when games and seasons were on the line. And the man won a lot of games, plus a lot of postseason games, with that approach. Perhaps schemes have evolved and expanded now to where the long-term "players vs. plays" balance can and has shifted a little. But I also know the Rams' vaunted scheme didn't look like much in the Super Bowl last year. It's becoming clear the right mix is required, and every team that doesn't have Belichick and Brady is trying to find it.

Steve from Las Vegas, NV

At the end of the postgame video interview of ML one of the reporters wished him a safe flight. I realize that the Packers media and reporting staff are on the flights with the team. But do the beat reporters from Wisconsin accompany the team on its flight? Or do they have to make their own arrangements?

They're on their own. If there's one thing I've always appreciated about being a team website reporter, it's that my plane is in the air to come home two hours after the game ends. I'm not away from my family as much as others.

Eric from Reedsburg, WI

If you were the coach, how much would you play AR in the final two preseason games?

If he's not 100 percent healthy this week, I wouldn't play him, and I don't see any value in playing him against Kansas City's backups next week. If he doesn't play, he doesn't play.

Mark from West Bend, WI

Wes, you're a genius. If you and Spoff are not level-headed or hard-headed, we need to get the two of you bobble-headed! Forget the goal-post lasers, forget the football sensors, forget the stolen lunches, forget the offices. Hodkiewicz and Spofford bobble heads. Home game No. 5 against Oakland or No. 6 versus Carolina so we don't have to worry about them freezing. If someone named Duke Bobber can't make this happen, who can for crying out loud! We need to get people on this.

Oh, boy.

Colin from Tripoli, WI

Guys, I see Mike Pettine has made the move to coaching from the sidelines. Any idea if it was his decision completely or maybe he was encouraged to? Either way I think it may help. I know you can see the field better up top but I think it's more important to have the face-to-face contact, especially with the younger players.

Pettine explained on Saturday it was his decision, driven by a couple of different factors. He was able to train and familiarize other defensive assistants up in the box last year with regard to the information he's looking for from up top. He also found the process of getting down to the locker room at halftime and back too onerous at Lambeau Field.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

When one eats baloney, one must remember to judge it as baloney. To ask it to be anything more leads to disappointment.

Indeed, and even the best baloney is still baloney.

JayMac from Rockton, IL

No question, just a comment. I wholeheartedly concur with Steven from Charleston. I have completely weaned myself from the click-bait malarkey and am so appreciative of the II. I happily visit daily, and am sometimes slapped in the face on Sundays when I sadly realize I must wait one more day to resume my Inbox perusal. Keep on keeping on Wes and Spoff. I am sure I am not alone when I say we cherish your contributions to our daily lives.

Kind of you to say, and now I have to give a shout-out to Wes for handling everything over the weekend except this column so I could attend an important event with my daughter. But now I'm back. Happy Monday.