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Inbox: This is a huge opportunity

There’s more to watch on special teams than usual

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Ryan from Somerset, WI

I was looking over the training camp schedule. There's only 14 practice days? Surely they don't have 17 days off in the month of August, do they?

Family Night is a 15th public practice, plus there are four preseason games and a handful of private practices. That said, however, training camp is not what it used to be. Not even close. But what matters now is it's almost here.

Zachary from Spring, TX

We have heard a lot about Reggie Gilbert and Vince Biegel taking the next step this season, but no one seems to be talking about Chris Odom. Chris spent the entire offseason with the Falcons, and still showed enough to get a few reps with the Packers last season. I'll admit I am biased, having grown up playing with his brother, but I look forward to seeing how he responds to a full offseason. Do you see Chris Odom working his way into the mix at OLB?

He's going to get an opportunity, and it's up to him what he does with it. This is a huge opportunity for all the young outside 'backers – Odom, Fackrell, Gilbert, Biegel, Donnerson, among others – to step forward and say they're next after Matthews and Perry. Training camp and the preseason must separate at least one and preferably two of those guys from the rest.

The Packers moved into dorms at St. Norbert College, in preparation for training camp.

Tim from Isenbruch, Germany

"…the media has to be careful with how much 'scheme' can be reported." How do you balance the demands of your job with the loyalty to the team?

Those aren't just rules that apply to team website reporters, they apply to all the media that cover the Packers. If you cross the line, you not only jeopardize your own access, but that of all your colleagues and competitors on the beat. Following the rules shows respect for the job everyone has to do.

Derrick from Rockaway, NJ

It appears we have reached a point where players will now be complaining about their Madden stats and appearance on a yearly basis. There's no turning back, is there?

And this surprises you?

Mark from Hudson, WI

Brett from Oshkosh asked if there was a receiver who was dominant at any point of his career, while also being slow. The answer is invariably yes, and his name was Steve Largent. Not only was he dominant, he was the first player to ever eclipse 100 touchdowns, breaking Don Hutson's still-standing record (at the time) in 1989. I'll never forget how big of a deal it was when Largent broke that record. It was like the equivalent of breaking the home run record in baseball.

I remember it, too, and it was a big deal. The record had stood for 44 years. Before that, in 1984, Hutson's single-season receiving TD record of 17 was broken by Miami's Mark Clayton after 42 years. The longevity of those marks spoke to how far ahead of his time Hutson was.

Ron from Tama, IA

Guys, which young guy will be a breakout star this year? I'm thinking Josh Jones.

Kentrell Brice comes to mind, too. Can they both break out at the same position? I guess we'll find out.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Wes's answer to Randy, "the horn signaling the end of practice," was disappointing. We've been waiting for this for five months. So Mike, what's your favorite part of training camp?

The third thing, when it's Larry's turn.

Chris from Ashland, WI

What day is the PUP list solidified?

The first day of practice. Anyone who practices on Thursday cannot be placed on PUP.

Brandon from Fairfield, CA

When a player watches film, how do they get access to the film? Is there a database they can search through? Is there a group of workers who gather requested film? There just seems to be so much film/angles/players to watch, that sorting it seems like a huge task.

The film is parsed and sorted by the video department and what a player wants/needs to watch can be accessed directly from his tablet. For example, Blake Martinez can ask the video department for all the third-down defensive plays against division opponents in 2017, and all that film can be packaged and downloaded for him to view.

Luke from La Crosse, WI

If the Packers employ a fantastic group of individuals to make sure the field stays in pristine condition all the way into a Wisconsin winter, then what is Chicago's excuse? You'd think they would have figured things out by now.

It wouldn't shock me if budgets were a factor. Soldier Field is owned and managed by the Chicago Park District. Allen Johnson and his team that takes care of Lambeau Field are Packers employees.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

"You're competing against everyone in training camp, not just in your position." I agree Wes, and that's what makes special teams important. All three phases.

With the long-snapper competition, the search for a new top gunner on the punt team, a rookie punter for a second straight season, and the changes to the kickoff rules, there's more to watch on special teams this preseason than usual.

Richard from Yankton, SD

We always hear who the coaches are noticing, but who are the players talking about?

Players often don't talk about their teammates to reporters unless asked directly. Occasionally, an unprompted Rodgers will mention a teammate, and it's always interesting to process not only what he said but why he said it.

Adam from Toronto, Canada

I really like Matheus from Brazil's optimism regarding sacks for the defense this year. However, I would like the sacks to come at more critical moments in the game, such as third down and in the red zone. What does the defense need to do to capitalize at these moments in the game?

Be better than the other guy. You can scheme your way to a clutch play here or there, but professional football players know when the big moments are, and the best know how to win those moments. You just have to be better than the other guy when it matters most.

Tony from Kaukauna, WI

I just watched a video of Matt Hasselbeck's prediction...I know the Joe Namath guarantee, but was that the worst failed prediction you ever watched?

It might have been after the last Packers game I missed. At Detroit, December 2010, I didn't travel on that trip (long, boring story) so from home I watched Rodgers' concussion and Flynn's struggles in a 7-3 loss. On the FOX postgame show, Jimmy Johnson pulled out his gigantic fork on set and said you could stick it in the Packers, they were done.

Shon from Calvert City, KY

Good morning, Insiders. In my opinion, the remark made by Jimmy Garoppolo saying he was better than Tom Brady just shows how competitive these players are. I am convinced that he truly believes he is. For the sake of the NFL and the quarterback position, I hope he is. I love to watch a poised pocket passer get rid of the ball just as the pass rush reaches them. Brady will soon retire and a few years later Rodgers will follow. Do you think Garoppolo has the potential to fill their shoes?

Potential? Sure, but a lot of guys have had the potential. Garoppolo has put an even brighter spotlight on himself, if that was possible. All I know is it'll be fun to watch, and we'll get an up-close look in mid-October, in prime time.

Michel from Guadalajara, Mexico

When will "Packers Unscripted" return?

Today! Video of the show will now be posted on packers.com, and the podcasts will continue as well. Thanks for your interest.

Max from Oshkosh, WI

Ok, Insiders...Just like the players, I need some healthy time away from football in the offseason, to keep my heart in the game. Hit me with the big things I need to know since the draft as we head into camp.

Since the draft? All 11 picks signed their contracts, and veterans Marcedes Lewis and Byron Bell were added at tight end and offensive line, respectively. Other than that, the pads go on Saturday.

Matt from Montclair, NJ

Any chance we can get the 100 Moments in chronological order? Think it would be a great way to get a brief history of the Packers organization.

There's a text-shortened, chronological version in the 2018 Packers Yearbook (OK, shameless plug, but I don't get any royalties).

Raymond from Des Moines, IA

The Packers are undefeated through SEVEN months and 23 days of the new year. *FIXED … Can I be your editor?

No, thanks. I'll let you think a little harder.

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

I know the NFL is totally unpredictable, but what are some teams that have been good in recent years that you think may stumble this year? What teams that have been bad will rise up? It's hard to see Seattle having a good season. On a whim I'll say Falcons stumble, too. And while everyone is anticipating a good Houston, I think Tennessee will be a tough team. I think we'll see how good Mariota can be. Plus if Luck is back in Indy … AFC South looks stacked.

That division may have the biggest say in how the AFC playoff picture takes shape. As for stumblers and risers, I don't have a strong track record for predictions, but what I find interesting is five teams – the Chargers, Ravens, Cowboys, Lions and Seahawks – all finished 9-7 last year and just missed the postseason. They're either going to step forward or step back. It's why we watch.

Mike from Yonkers, NY

There are a handful of doom-and-gloom articles written out there about the 2018 season forecast, but I've noticed each of them touch on the position groups separately and they fail to look at the whole picture. Wouldn't a strong pass rush from the D-line force the QB to throw an extra second sooner, allowing for the young corners to make plays? Wouldn't they open holes for the LBs to rush the passer or take on a runner before he gets upfield? The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

If it isn't, you'd better have an entire roster of Pro Bowlers, which isn't easy to compile with a salary cap.

Nate from Pueblo, CO

I want to give the preseason a little love here. I don't mind it. I think the veterans only need a few plays to get ready for the regular season. That's what they play, only it's spread out over four games. The rest of the time is needed by younger players to show what they can do.

I still think three games would be enough.

Jason from Ringle, WI

I was just wondering if the title to Wes's article about the field will be "Wes Sod Story"? I'll see myself out.

Please do. Happy Wednesday, everybody.

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