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Inbox: They have to prove it when it matters

Parity in the NFL isn’t defined by who wins the championship

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Packers practice inside Lambeau Field

Wanda from Copenhagen, Denmark

And that is why I've been a Packer fan since 1985. Thank you, Mark Murphy.

Amen.

Michael from Portland, OR

Why is one of the extra day game spots reserved for an offensive lineman? Did JC Tretter being the players rep president have anything to do with this by looking out for his fellow big uglies?

No. It was about the integrity of the game. Most teams were carrying only seven active offensive linemen on their 46, which meant if a third injury happened in that position group, a substitute would be wildly out of his league. It's the hardest position group to plug in a foreign player (aside from QB) and not have the level of play significantly compromised. So the agreement to boost game-day actives to 48 included a requirement for an eighth offensive lineman.

Bob from Port St. Lucie, FL

If a player is not on the active 48 list for a game, can they still be on the sidelines? I would think if Jordan Love was made inactive for a game, you would still want him involved as much as possible in watching and listening up close to the action.

In a normal year, that's not an issue. I don't know what kinds of restrictions might be in place in that regard this year.

Gerd from Stuttgart, Germany

To me it feels like we have some draft picks on top. With Equanimeous St. Brown, Jace Sternberger and Raven Greene (almost) out for last season, Rashan Gary having a developmental year, Josh Jackson and Oren Burks maybe find a way to produce or Tyler Ervin having a training camp, there are so many talented guys that we didn't have last year. Maybe more than previous years. I´m excited. What do you think? Oh, and the THING Aaron Rodgers found. Greetings to Larry.

There are a number of ways this Packers team could, and almost certainly will, look different from last year's. But there's no guarantee of anything being better until the games are played and the results count. I think the Packers are poised to improve in various areas, but they have to prove it when it matters.

Dave from Bolingbrook, IL

Being a father to a 3-year-old who is too young to remember the Rodgers era, I was wondering when you sit down with your kids or even future grandchildren someday, what are some stories you are eager to share with them to give them a glimpse of how dominant and remarkable he was?

I believe there will be plenty more to the tale before it's all said and done here, but to me aside from the Super Bowl title, the run in '16 was his most remarkable. He called his shot with a 4-6 team that had lost four in a row (the last two by a combined 40 points) and was compromised by some injuries and personnel shortcomings, particularly in the defensive secondary. He put that team on his back and delivered eight straight wins to be among the last four teams standing. I think that stretch more than any other he elevated the games of those around him, which is what the best are able to accomplish.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Rashan Gary with the hump move? Awesome! Any chance you've got tape of that? My mind is flooded with images of Reggie White.

Sorry, it's not permitted to videotape the one-on-one pass-rush drill.

Mike from Rockport, TX

Three years ago, Hurricane Harvey's eye passed over my house and town. Our community was devastated. I spent many weeks doing demo and cleaning up. Thankfully hundreds from elsewhere showed up to help, giving me hope for kindness to overcome adversity. I pray that the people in Louisiana and eastern Texas can unite and stay healthy. My return to semi-normal was attending the Packer-Cowboy game that Oct. No question, but hope that those folks' lives can eventually get back to normal.

Indeed. Our hearts go out to all of them. 2020, ugh.

Bernardo from Goiania, Brazil

What about the three OL rookies? Jon Runyan, Jake Hanson and Simon Stepaniak. They have chances to make the roster?

Stepaniak hasn't practiced and is on PUP due to his ACL injury from last winter. Of the other two, I can't predict what the final roster decisions will be, but I would say Runyan has stood out more thus far.

William from South Milwaukee, WI

Spoff, I'm sorry, I know this is a baseball question in the middle of (my favorite) football season but what is with outfield walls being different heights and depths? Why not all the same? This has driven me nuts for "ever." I figure if anyone has the answer it's you!?

Every ballpark has, and needs, its own character. It's part of the sport's charm. I would hate for every MLB park to be in some cookie-cutter mold, like many dual-sport stadiums were in the '70s and '80s such as Cincinnati's Riverfront, Philly's Vet, Pittsburgh's Three Rivers and others. Those crowds created atmospheres in those parks, to their credit, but aesthetically their similarities grew old quickly.

Jake from Athens, GA

Did you see the Cardinals' 3-2-8 double play this weekend? According to Elias, it's the first time it's ever happened (at least since Elias was founded in 1961).

I did not see that, but I did see the Brewers' 9-2 force out at the plate this past week, which ended up winning the game. You never know what you're going to see in any given baseball game. OK, sorry, back to football.

Matthias from San Antonio, TX

How does defensive coordinator Mike Pettine pay attention to offensive personnel and call plays to defend whatever the offense has before the offense even lines up in formation?

The defensive call is mostly based on personnel and situation (down-and-distance). Then it's up to the players to communicate and adjust depending on how the offense lines up.

Tony from San Juan Capistrano, CA

Hello II, asking about John Kuhn. Will he be on the scene this year? If not, what happened? Asking for a fan base.

John is currently doing a radio show in Milwaukee and will be joining Wayne and Larry on the game-day radio team as a sideline reporter in the regular season.

Corey form Henderson, NV

Since 2001, the Patriots have been in the Super Bowl eight times, winning five of them. The Steelers have been there three times, and the Broncos and Colts twice each. That's 15 of the last 20 Super Bowls represented by four teams in the AFC. Throw in the Ravens twice, and that's 17 games with the same five teams. It's not so noticeable in the NFC, where the Seahawks, Rams, Eagles, Giants, Panthers, and 49ers have each been there twice (12 games/six teams). What is this "parity" everyone keeps speaking of?

In my mind, parity in the NFL isn't defined by who wins the championship or makes it to the Super Bowl. It's defined by how close so many games are, and the opportunities that creates for some near the bottom to rise and others near the top to fall, which is why the playoff fields each year routinely have multiple teams that did not make the postseason the year prior.

Matt from Philadelphia, PA

If the Packers decide to suit up two quarterbacks on game day and those two happen to be Rodgers and Tim Boyle, how much flak will the Packers get for having their first-round pick in street clothes each week, and do you see this as an ongoing distraction throughout the season?

If the fans want to bark about it, that's their prerogative, but every media member who's attending practice regularly has seen that Boyle is further along in his development, which is to be expected when a rookie QB gets no on-field offseason program to start his NFL career. That said, I think Love has started to come on the last few days, showing more zip and decisiveness with his throws. LaFleur said Sunday was his best day yet.

Eric from Kenosha, WI

Were any bicycles injured in the filming of AJ Dillon riding them?

Green Bay kids' bikes have overcome tougher challenges, believe me.

Packers rookies enjoyed the first bike rides of their Green Bay careers, pedaling down the DreamDrive to Saturday's training-camp practice.

Johnathan from Franklin, WI

When Coach LaFleur was discussing the tight end group he mentioned they all bring something different to the table, and that it was their job as coaches to utilize those talents. Over time, wouldn't that become an easy read for opposing defenses in helping to predict offensive plays based on personnel on the field?

Not when multiple tight ends are on the field at the same time, and when the offensive call uses the tight end as a decoy. Someone's always making a chess move.

Stephen from Fort Atkinson, WI

Maybe I've missed it, but has any Packer tested positive for COVID since practice started up? If not, I have to admit I'm surprised and impressed. Has Coach really pushed the team to be responsible?

Yes he has, and no, to my knowledge the team has had no positive tests since practice started (knock on wood). The league numbers overall are very encouraging. But as I said several weeks ago, the true test will be once the games start. Players will have more personal time than they do during camp, more family activities may start up in the fall, they'll be traveling to different cities, etc. But so far, so good, and I think baseball's early missteps were a properly heeded warning signal for how quickly and easily problems can arise.

Jake from Lake Mills, WI

There has to be enough data to take a preemptive guess at who is going to get cut and who is going to make the roster. Other than the top three or four draft picks, in your opinion, who are the "sure things" to make the roster after final cuts?

I've got dibs on Aaron Rodgers. Happy Monday.

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