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Inbox: They have to make the most of whatever they get

Not normal, just like everything else

200722-insider-inbox-2560
WR Equanimeous St. Brown

Ian from Louisville, KY

"And a donut with no hole, is a Danish. That doesn't mean you still can't enjoy it." This is my new favorite piece of life advice. With all the negativity in the world these days, I'm sure I'll have at least one opportunity a week to use it.

And Wes was still years from being born when "Caddyshack" was released. I'm so proud.

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

I truly am sorry that Inbox has become a chore for the two of you. You brighten my world just a little bit each morning. I'm a senior and am staying home, mostly, and missing so much. But you two are always here. You are very appreciated.

We appreciate all of you, too. I think taking a week off this month did each of us some good.

Rick from Okatie, SC

Do you think the NFL will try to expand the TV sales of games? They currently have the NFL station and Direct TV has their piece, but is it possible that anything additional will be made available to fans? Some kind of on-demand type station where you could buy a specific game?

I think the NFL is looking at all kinds of streaming options for down the road, but the league can't really expand offerings in an ad hoc way when the current TV contracts were signed without those additional options available to potential viewers. I doubt the networks would appreciate that.

Scott from Grovetown, GA

Mike answered a suggestion about shortening the quarters of games as, and I'm paraphrasing here, something improbable because of the loss in revenue. Well, I figure the idea should seriously be considered as an avenue to increase player safety. We have to accept that this season will be vastly unlike any other, therefore all options need consideration. What's the alternative? No season at all! So I postulate that a decrease in revenue is still much better than no revenue from a cancelled season.

On balance, your points are fair. But again, as above, you're ignoring the impact on the networks. Fewer commercial breaks to sell means they won't be interested in paying the broadcast rights fees as currently agreed to, so those would have to be renegotiated as a major rush job with loads of uncertainty afoot. Not going to happen.

Ed from Windsor, CO

There will be no NFL preseason games. Tell us everything Inbox thinks about that.

I called it back in May when the schedule first came out. Wes can verify.

Liam from Newcastle upon Tyne, England

With the NFL offering the NFLPA zero preseason games, do you think this signals the beginning of the end for the preseason?

I'm guessing no. In normal circumstances, there's still money to be made from them, and coaches appreciate the opportunity to see young guys play and fight for their spot on the roster. But the first item is really the key, and the current CBA has capped regular-season games at 17 through this decade.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Antonio Brown retires. Holy cow. 18 months ago he was arguably the best WR in the league.

Puts into perspective the longevity of top-flight receivers such as Larry Fitzgerald.

David from Minneapolis, MN

What if the player that makes the biggest jump this season over last year is Aaron Rodgers?

If he's the only candidate for the honor, it won't matter much. If he's truly the pick amongst many potential worthy choices – what did my ol' buddy used to say? – look out.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

I'd say guys like Henry, Zeke, Ingram, Gordon, Fournette, Gurley, Carson, Jacobs, Chubb, Barkley, Howard and Gore (ageless wonder) could all be listed as bruising-style backs that are having success. Hopefully AJ Dillon can become somewhat like these guys in his own way and become the thunder to Aaron Jones's lightning. No disrespect to Jamaal Williams. But it will be interesting to see how things in the RB room shake up with two guys on expiring contracts.

I believe LaFleur will enjoy his backfield riches in 2020, and I expect him to take advantage of the unique circumstances.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Mike, is this potentially the best backfield the Packers have had over your time covering the team?

Yes. It's reminiscent of Lacy, Starks, Franklin in 2013, but two from that trio were rookies (as opposed to just one), and then Franklin unfortunately got hurt.

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

If you were allowed to watch only one NFL player, past or present, in his prime, play football who would you choose? My two candidates would be Jim Brown and Gale Sayers. I think I would go with Sayers. I am just barely old enough to remember watching him on TV, but it felt like every time he touched the ball he had a chance to score. I'm not sure I would say that even about Brown.

Those are good choices, but having seen Favre and Rodgers live in their primes, for comparison's sake I think I'd have to pick Johnny Unitas.

TK from Grafton, WI

The Brady family using a REEL mower to cut their FAKE grass is poetic perfection.

Pretty close.

Max from Toledo, OH

Will the Packers put new seats in the bowl? There will be enough time.

Are you suggesting replace the bleachers with individual chairs? That would reduce Lambeau's capacity by around 10,000, I've been told.

Ben from Menomonee Falls, WI

I see that Miller Park came out with a statement saying as of now, no tailgating at Brewers games. Any idea on what the policy may be regarding the Packers at Lambeau?

The organization hasn't yet addressed it and likely won't until it determines whether or not it will be selling any tickets.

Derek from Sheboygan, WI

Will we see the same kind of structure for training camp this year?

No, it's going to be different. Still TBD through negotiations, but it sounds like the first couple of weeks or so will be strength/conditioning and walk-throughs only. Then another week or more of practicing without pads, and the pads won't go on until almost a month into things. Not normal, just like everything else.

Dave from St. Michael, MN

Speaking of hearing things we haven't been able to hear before, will the TV broadcasts need to be delayed significantly to mask out inappropriate comments picked up without crowd noise? I would imagine the radio broadcast being quite a bit ahead of the TV. How long do you think the delay would need to be? Are Larry and Wayne in an enclosed area? Will they pick up unwanted sounds as well?

I'm sure the networks are planning for all those issues and contingencies. Without specifically placing microphones down on the field like the TV stations do, I doubt the radio broadcasters up in the booth are going to pick up extra sound, but I can't speak to what their plans are.

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

I hope you can answer these questions. I have looked and read many articles on the upcoming season and have not seen it mentioned. If a player opts out of the season will they get paid, and will the season count as a season, and if this is their last season they will have to be re-signed? If the season is cancelled the same question? I really hope you can answer it even if you have to look into your crystal ball.

The proposal on the table I've read about – and not officially agreed to, as far as I know – gives players a stipend, not their salary, should they opt out, and their contracts are put on hold and reinstated for 2021. They do not accrue a year of service toward free agency, but I'm not sure what provisions there are for other union benefits.

Todd from Montreal, Quebec

Greetings! Would it be more productive to have preseason scrimmages rather than games? Given that Coach LaFleur has praised this and had wanted to do it, wouldn't it potentially make more sense to scrimmage, especially with the limitations of a game with no fans? I know it would be a hard sell for the networks, but this might prepare the teams better for the start of the season – if there is one.

The players have no interest in increasing their risk and exposure by squaring off with other teams when it doesn't count, and I don't blame them. The league said a while back there'd be no joint practices in camps, and the players appear to have gotten their wish to have no preseason games, either.

Brad from London, Ontario

Hey gents, do either of you read Peter King's FMIA article? If so, what is your opinion on his take of Dan Snyder when he stated that he "has no business owning an NFL team"? Carolina's owner was basically forced to sell the team. Do you think this could happen to the WFC's owner?

WFC. I like that. If the league were going to force Snyder to sell, it would have done so when the Washington Post story broke. The difference in the situations is Carolina's owner was one of the main perpetrators of reprehensible conduct, whereas Snyder apparently was not, but ignored it and allowed it to go on in the organization. As for King's opinion, I'll let billionaires fight their own battles, but I will say this. Remember last week when I pointed out Snyder's choice and order of words in the statement about the nickname change? Did you see his statement(s) after the Post story? I didn't find a single apology in there to any of the victims. He's either soulless or already putting litigation implications above basic decency and humanity, or both. Whichever the case, I wouldn't go work for him if it were the last sports job available on the planet.

Karl from Fort Collins, CO

Lack of a preseason would be a big drawback to those trying to make the squad. Do coaches think that practice reps can be a reasonable substitute? With such a short look at the new guys, would there be some place to stash those who just didn't get a chance to play much? One has to feel bad for ESB and MVS who need time to show that they "are back." Can practice reps give them that chance?

They have to make the most of whatever they get. As a caveat, it does sound like not only is an expanded practice squad in the works, but spots will be available for veteran players who wouldn't have been eligible under the normal regulations for number of accrued seasons. It will be interesting to follow how that's utilized by different clubs.

Alex from Kentwood, MI

With Za'Darius Smith being the only player on the Packers with an 88 rating, does that mean he has to change his number to reflect it? Don't worry, I already threw myself out and put myself back on "read-only mode."

Good.

George from Hutchinson, MN

Insiders, when evaluating your own responses to II submitters, do you consider your responses leaning more towards being that of an optimist, pessimist or realist? It would be my opinion that it would be the latter, with just a touch of the former. Well done, good form! Carry on.

Happy Wednesday.

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