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Inbox: They should be better at the process a second time

Wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown
Wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown

Jeff from Madison, WI

This spring is almost fall like as far as weather goes. No summer this year? Makes the upcoming season that much closer.

Jeff, as a Wisconsinite, you must know we live in a world that needs summer, and that summer has to be protected by positive thoughts. Summer has a greater responsibility than it can possibly fathom. I want summer to last. I need summer to last.

Jeff from Sugar Land, TX

Are the OTAs next week open to the public? We'll be in town and would enjoy catching a preview of what should be an exciting season.

Three OTAs will be open to the public, one each of the next three weeks. Here’s the info.

Paul from De Pere, WI

With the CBA are there really any dog days left in camp?

Valid point, probably not. Though I’m sure players still reach a point when all the meetings start to drag on when they’re not preparing for specific opponents.

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

Spoff, your astute comment about special teams recalled a Seahawks game I watched a couple years ago. Richard Sherman was on one of the special-teams units. To me nothing says more about how a team values its special-teams play, regardless of what the coach says, than having stars play on those units. Clearly, there is the injury factor to consider. What do you think will be LaFleur's approach to special-teams personnel?

I honestly don’t know. I think that’s one of the toughest lines for any head coach to walk in terms of personnel deployment. Players are more subject to high-speed collisions on special teams, even with the new rule changes on kickoffs, and starters who play special teams can be more vulnerable to fatigue injuries like muscle pulls. It’s also difficult to have starters on defense run down to cover punts and kickoffs, and then have them line up to defend first down right after an all-out 60-yard sprint. I personally favor finding bell cows on special teams who focus on that particular craft and can fill in occasionally from scrimmage when needed, and then picking your spots with certain regulars.

Dave from Roswell, GA

Wes, it seems you were a bit harsh on Dennis from KC. They moved Matthews to the inside and he was quite effective, don't you think?

Yes, he was, but moving Matthews inside in ’14 was out of desperation to stop the run, and it saved a run defense that was floundering at midseason. You don’t shift players away from what they do best unless you absolutely have to.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

The last time this defense looked "championship caliber" was 2014 and that was only after the Saints did whatever they wanted to us, we had a bye week, and then moved Matthews inside. It took half a season to figure this out. Bottom line is, I'm as excited as anyone about the potential of this defense. But I am not expecting this defense to be top form right out of the gate. We have to hope it's good enough to beat Chicago and Minnesota and healthy enough to reach its true potential late in the year.

Amen.

Jenn from Peoria, IL

With the constant roster changes, have you found that you tend to be more reserved before you allow yourself to root for a specific player to get a roster spot? Or do you have to maintain a certain level of detachment at all times? I imagine it would be more difficult with the guys you've done more in-depth back stories on.

There’s always a level of detachment, at least for me. Everybody’s got a great story, but no matter whose you tell, you can’t get caught up in it. I admit there was a tinge of disappointment seeing Eaton get released not long after I had a nice chat with him and introduced him to the fans, but the cruelty of the business comes with the competitiveness. I hope Eaton gets a shot somewhere else.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

In the past it seemed we would hear from various coaches and scouts after the draft picks were made. That happened this year too, but I kind of expected to hear from Mike Pettine since the first two picks were defensive. I don't believe that happened, though, unless I missed it. Has he been asked his thoughts on the new draft picks and free-agent additions yet?

Pettine is scheduled to speak to the media next week.

Craig from Laramie, WY

Speaking of Taysom Hill, how does the Ty Summers story and his potential compare? I found myself thinking of Hill when I read that article on Summers. I know we can't keep them all but I still feel like we let one slip away there.

It’s almost impossible not to think of Hill with Summers, the difference being Summers already has applied his athletic ability at a position other than QB. I’m not envisioning him as some funky weapon, but more as one of those potential bell cows on special teams I was talking about earlier.

Scott from Martinez, GA

Could Pettine's second season be considered perhaps Season 1-B for him? Especially considering all the new acquisitions on defense? It seems with new players he is going to have to coach his system all over again to them making Season 3 of his tenure his true second season. Asking because I'm curious about these things.

Pettine will be getting the two first-round rookies into the mix, but otherwise the new additions are veteran players working alongside other vets who already know the defense. I see that as a very different situation compared to last year, when everyone was learning a new scheme.

Bill from Green Bay, WI

Last year our rookie receivers had to learn new plays, audibles and coverages as well as what the other receivers were doing. Obviously this takes time and one in particular had problems with the process. With a whole new system are we not starting this all over again, and what benefits from last year will help them learn the new system?

They’ve already had an NFL playbook thrown at them once. They should be better at the process a second time at this level. The way the defense held its own last year, even amidst a slew of injuries, should be encouraging for the offense, and the guy under center running the show is as intelligent and experienced as they come.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Mike or Wes, what player or players have the most to gain from a new offensive system?

Would it be crazy if I said Aaron Rodgers? I think the freshness of it all at this stage of his career could be a really good thing.

Geoff from Omaha, NE

If you could do a cameo in one show or movie, present or past, what would it be?

Definitely “Seinfeld.” I’d want to be a customer waiting in line to approach the Soup Nazi.

Amy from Bayport, MN

Speaking of new paint on the walls, I was catching up on video and in LaFleur’s press conference when asked about the new full-size field in the Don Hutson Center he said he hadn’t seen the field previously when it was split into two smaller fields. I assumed the new looks to the facilities had been orchestrated by the new head coach. Did he authorize those changes sight unseen or was someone else responsible for the remodel?

I believe the full turf replacement in the Hutson Center was happening regardless, based on the age of the previous surface, so he had authority over how the new turf would be painted.

Andrew from Cincinnati, OH

All these questions about Woodson has got me wondering. He beat out Manning for a Heisman Trophy. How did they do against each other in the pros? W/L or number of interceptions/sacks would be great to know. Also, where would I go to find that sort of info in the future?

Pro Football Reference’s website has a handy way you can look at any player’s games in his career against certain teams. If I cross-checked Woodson and Manning correctly, I found nine games they went head-to-head. Interestingly, Woodson never intercepted him until the ninth and final game (Oakland v. Denver, 2015), and then got him twice.

Tonua from Ankeny, IA

Why do you think they haven’t signed Sternberger yet, but have signed later picks and free agents? Do you anticipate a contract?

It’ll get done in due time.

Dan from Rice Lake, WI

Interesting insight, re: the inevitable elimination of the three-point stance. Why? Reduce the "burst" off the snap to reduce collisions and, therefore, injuries? How would we address the automatic loss of leverage for the nose guard against the center?

A lot of medical research is pointing to the danger of not just concussions, but repeated, non-concussive blows to the head. Helmet-to-helmet contact would be significantly reduced if only two-point stances were allowed. Vic mentioned it years ago as the move that could ultimately be necessary to save the sport. I tend to agree, though I have no idea when it will happen.

Dale from Fort Atkinson, WI

Just wondering if you guys proofread the Inbox for grammar, spelling and punctuation (not content). If not, I am even more impressed with Pack fans!

Ha, good one.

Ben from Eau Claire, WI

Comment on Spoff's response to Larry from Carney, MI, about the number of locks on the roster: There seems to be at least one player a year that is released or not on the roster that brings about those surprise convulsions. Maybe this year more than normal with a new staff in place.

I guess we’ll see, but I’m taken aback by far less than most fans and readers. Admittedly, Sitton stunned me. Didn’t see it coming. But others recently that have caused a stir, like Ripkowski last season or Elliott the year before, while not necessarily obvious moves, were not shockers to me by any stretch.

Michael from London, Ontario

What's your prediction for the Bucks-Raptors series? I'm calling Raptors in six.

I’ll say six, too. Bucks beat the Pistons in four and Celtics in five, so that’s the natural progression.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

John Dorsey may be right. Browns fans may be more passionate right now. The Packers have experienced an amazing run of success going back to '92 and the complacency in the organization can be seen in the fan base as a whole. Winning at a high level for 2 ½ decades has left some fans with a sense of entitlement. The drama of the past season has led to many fans being critical of Murphy, Rodgers, etc. In the end, I think fans are going to owe Rodgers a debt of gratitude as he wins 1-2 more SB.

I’ll leave that for everyone else to decide. What the Browns fans are going through right now is what Packers fans were experiencing in the early ’90s. Dorsey’s line when he got the job about “waking the sleeping giant” was no doubt inspired by his first-hand involvement in Green Bay’s renaissance. The fans sense the drought and misery ending. The GM is making bold moves. They believe they have their franchise QB. They’re on the verge. If Dorsey made the right call with Kitchens, everything is in place.

Sean from DeSoto, TX

I too re-watched that Packers vs. Seattle game. It was tough, but the pain of loss is what makes the victories that much sweeter. Furthermore, you learn more from a loss than you do from a win, and I for one was not proud of how I handled that loss. I'll know better for next time, and it'll also serve as a sharp reminder to recognize great moments, no matter how painful, when they're right in front of you and to cherish those moments even more when the result is more favorable.

Admirable thoughts. Now that it’s nearly five years removed, I’ve often wondered whether Seahawks fans truly appreciate their historic comeback from that day, or if all the joy and exhilaration was wiped out by Malcolm Butler. I would imagine there are different perspectives. That’s what makes us human.

Megan from Quincy, IL

Sometimes I wonder if football season misses me, too.

I have no response, just a smile. Happy Wednesday.

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