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Inbox: They're always a two-way street

The level of focus is sufficient

WR Davante Adams

JD from Madison, WI

So Mike, what you are saying is that there already are lasers being used for measuring the distance from which any field-goal attempt would be "good"?

I guess so.

Ryan from Noblesville, IN

Definitely not the Bourbon Trail. Maybe the Root Beer Trail.


Dan from Elizabethtown, KY

Are there any bad seats at Lambeau?

Some are certainly better than others, but I've never heard anyone complain.

Scott from Mt. Lebanon, PA

Love the Badger hockey content. My memories from the late '70s/early '80s were either listening to the games on the radio or tape-delayed on channel 10/36 late Saturday nite. Were you a TV or radio consumer?

I watched the tape-delayed broadcasts on public TV all the time, always making sure not to find out the result in advance. It was so much easier back then.

Tom from Phoenix, AZ

Since the hoopla started about Aaron Rodgers's supposed trade demands and holdout threats, I haven't worried. Life is too short. Also, he's under contract and a member of a leading Super Bowl contender that I believe will be even better this year. However, whether Jordan Love starts because of a Rodgers holdout or if he must play due to an AR injury, I think his biggest challenge will be playing in BIG, PACKED NOISY domes. He's never experienced that before. How soon will ML turn up the volume?

They'll have two weeks between the last preseason game and the opener at the Superdome in New Orleans. I suspect practices with crowd noise pumped in will be on the agenda.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Mike, I was curious if you or Wes reside in one of the neighborhoods surrounding Lambeau Field? Whenever I visit I always imagine living there and what it would be like.

Nope. I've lived on Green Bay's east side for all 23 years I've been here. Wes lives in Suamico, the great northwest.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Is there a relationship with the Jets that allowed for the joint practices, or was it just a cold call?

The Jets' new head coach, Robert Saleh, is one of LaFleur's best friends, both personally and professionally. I believe he was best man in LaFleur's wedding.

Joe from Wausau, WI

Matt LaFleur comes from the hockey-mad state of Michigan and shares a last name with one of the greatest hockey players ever. Yet I've never read an article where he mentions the sport. Has he ever discussed the sport with you, or was that just a football family?

I've never heard him bring it up. That's not to say he never played, but football was definitely the family focus.

Derek from Sheboygan, WI

Should the Packers focus on establishing the running game more this year to help open up play-action?

The Packers rushed for 2,118 yards last season, their most since 2013 and just the second time since 2003 they cracked 2K. I believe Rodgers' play-action passer rating was almost 140. I think the level of focus is sufficient.

Richard from Madison, WI

You refer to "film study," but it hasn't really been film for several decades now, has it? What IS it, though? And why don't they call it that instead?

It's video, and all digitized, too. But old terms die hard, especially when the replacement has more syllables.

Matt from Indianapolis, IN

Do you expect players to ride kid bikes to the training camp practice field? My nephew really has enjoyed that and I know it dates back to Lombardi years but with the COVID issues increasing so much I could see them not allowing it. Also, will they push to do an extension for Davante Adams so we do not have another issue leading up to training camp next year?

The organization will be making an announcement soon regarding fan activities at training camp, including bikes. So stay tuned. I'm sure the team will be working to extend Adams, but these top-of-the-market deals take time, and they're always a two-way street.

Chris from Hunt Valley, MD

Hey II, I remember hearing last year that veteran players can tell within 48 hours if another player has what it takes to play in the league. It got me thinking – does the GM ever pull in a respected veteran player to ask his opinion on other players? If a player lasts longer than 48 hours in training camp, is it fair to assume he has what it takes to play in the NFL, regardless of what happens with roster cuts? Thanks!

Players will form quick opinions, just like reporters, but it doesn't mean they're always right. I doubt a GM would ask a player directly very often, but he may find a roundabout way to learn a player's opinion if he believes it's worthwhile. Usually, teams have invested enough in getting a player to training camp they're going to give him more than 48 hours and see how he develops, but inevitably some will not be cut out for it, no pun intended.

Maggie from Hudson, WI

Just an observation. Seen Jordan Love clips on TV, not sure when they are from but he's in a Packers practice jersey, there seems to be no zip on his passes and he seems very slow moving. You guys probably know better seeing him live. Are my observations accurate?

No. TV cameras are not allowed to film any of the full-speed 11-on-11 periods in practice, so if all you're seeing is when he's running drills, you aren't getting the full picture.

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

I have read articles about teams reaching a certain level of vaccination by players but they never say what teams have achieved that level or list the teams and the percentage of vaccinations. Do you know the percentage of Packers players that have been vaccinated? If so, can you tell us? I am starting to think this is a bigger secret than most of our military secrets.

I have not been told and it's information I don't expect the Packers to share.

Clem from Presque Isle, WI

I grew up a Lions fan. Moved to WI. Easy transition to being a Packer fan. Since the '60s is there an NFL franchise with a more futile performance? How can it happen to a single franchise?

It's hard to believe with all of the structure that's in place in the NFL, starting with the reverse draft order, to help struggling teams turn it around. One playoff win since the '57 championship is unfathomable to me. I sincerely felt bad for the Lions and their fans when the officials mucked up that '14 wild-card game in Dallas.

John from Aneta, ND

Do you know if any of the practices at the start of training camp will be outdoors and open to the public? I took my children to them 25 years ago. I thought I might take my grandson to the shareholders meeting and then a few practices if they are open.

There are 13 practices open to the public, including Family Night. The schedule is right here.

Chuck from Gold Canyon, AZ

Good morning Mike. Enjoy your PTO. A lot has been talked about how deep the Packers appear to be this year. Since we have All-Pro players at all of the premium positions of QB, LT, EDGE and CB what position do you feel the Packers are most and least positioned to deal with an injury to one of the star players?

Edge rusher and corner are in the best shape, with three starting-caliber outside 'backers and the addition of Eric Stokes in the first round. QB speaks for itself, and we saw how the line weathered David Bakhtiari's absence successfully until the NFC title game.

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, England

If Germany gets a Packers game before England would you be upset?

Yes. The strong contingent of UK Packers fans deserves a game before another international locale, in my opinion.

Mark from Westminster, CO

Hey Mike, why is it that I'm more excited to see Allen Lazard lay out defenders with his blocks versus catching the ball?

I don't know, Marko.

David from Sheffield, UK

Hello Mike, you said on Wednesday that writing the game-day blog helps you to frame your post-match story. Have comments from fans during the blog ever made you think differently about the match or a feature of the match and you therefore changed your initial view of the article narrative?

I wouldn't say "changed," but the ongoing blog discussion can help to crystallize certain thoughts or make me go a little deeper. I can miss a lot of the TV replays while blogging so it's always helpful when the fans/readers let me know a detail that a replay showed.

Jeremy from Chilliwack, BC

Mike, as a writer myself, I'm curious whether you see yourself as a sportswriter or as a writer who just happens to primarily write about sports? And if the latter, what else could you see yourself writing about upon retiring (hopefully no time soon) from your current gig?

I consider myself a sportswriter who would be a capable writer in other fields, but precisely which is hard to get my brain around since I've been doing this for so long. Back in grad school, I really took an interest in the legal system, court cases and such. I don't know.

Andrew from Simi Valley, CA

With all the talk about your work schedule and game day workload, how do you feel about having a game on Christmas Day?

It's happened before, it'll happen again. I'm just glad it's a home game. That makes it far more tolerable.

Paul from Las Vegas, NV

Mike/Wes, to the best of your knowledge is AR12 actually on record anywhere as having said any of the things that have been attributed to him, such as he's not coming back or he wants Gute fired? Seems the sports talking heads have created a surreal universe where we're beholden to what is not being said over what is said.

He hasn't confirmed any thoughts or sentiments attributed to him, but he hasn't denied anything, either.

Sal from Hailey, ID

Who would you say is the most charismatic Packer on the current roster? The one whom I would have picked last year is now across the lake, wearing blue and silver.

I'll go with Jaire Alexander.

Hank from Centennial, CO

Pendulums always seem to be swinging in the NFL. Currently we're on an upswing for offenses that come out of the Shanahan school. At some point, defenses will find a way to gain the upper hand against these schemes. If you were going to attack an offense like the Packers or other Shanahan style offenses, how would you go about it, and what kind of players would you need (other than really good ones, of course)?

So much of the offense is predicated on the running game and play-action, you need a really dynamic defensive front, with the kind of guys – as Vic used to say – who can play the run on the way to the quarterback. Mixing and matching run stoppers and pass rushers will only go so far against this scheme when it's executed at a high level. You need defenders up front who are complete players in every sense of the term.

Bryan from Champaign, IL

What is the "on ramp" for getting into baseball? I admire the joy Mike gets from the Brew Crew, and I have tried a few times over the years to get into the game. But it always leaves me cold – I think because I haven't found the "soul" of the sport yet. I know you can't make a horse drink and all that, but can you point me in the direction of water? (I guess I am the baseball-thirsty horse in this analogy … so I got that going for me, which is nice.)

For me, it's always been about appreciating the individual confrontations – pitcher vs. batter, ball vs. fielder, manager vs. manager strategically – that define the game. Also, understanding the game is all about timing. Hitters need it, pitchers are trying to disrupt it. In those aspects (confrontations and the battle for timing), there are similarities to football.

Matt from Kula, HI

I haven't been this optimistic about the Packer defense since the Fritz Shurmur days. There's Pro Bowl-caliber talent at every position group except perhaps ILB (which also could be vastly improved with young players developing). What are the three most important things that Barry must accomplish to make this group gel into a top-five defense?

Defend the run the way this group did last season from Week 12 on, scheme to keep double-teams off Kenny Clark, and generate more turnovers.

Andy from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Hi Mike, you've been reporting for quite awhile now. Have you ever looked back at your early work and would like to have changed what you asked a subject in an interview, or written a specific story differently now that you are a little longer in the tooth?

I don't look back and read my own clips very often, but a lot of stories I wrote when I first broke into the business would be a lot shorter, tighter and more succinct if I wrote them now. With game stories and features, I think I'm better at packing more into fewer words than I used to be.

Kevin from Indianapolis, IN

Can't we all just agree that the use of the word who is subjective...sorry, I'm an old English teacher; I couldn't resist.

You're gonna have to see yourself out for that one.

Hannes from Glendale, WI

Referring to your proven track record of being absent when breaking news occurs and in case the QB situation is not settled during your upcoming situation, you should simply ask your boss to extend your vacation in order to facilitate a solution before training camp starts. It would be an obvious win-win situation. You could even sell it as taking one for the team. You're welcome.

Much appreciated.

Darren from Wakefield, MI

Just beat the Suns.

Well done. Have a great weekend, everybody, and be sure to welcome Wes back gently.


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