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Inbox: Those stats will tell a tale, too

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

Dan from Waupun, WI

Would a 17th week give II more money? Makes cents?

Right, like, how ’bout a little something, you know, for the effort.

Joe from Dundee, IL

I just saw the J.J. Watt is starting the preseason on the PUP list. Have you heard if he will hopefully be active by the time the Texans come to Green Bay? That would be a real downer for fans if he is on the sideline in street clothes when he is up here. Though I suppose that could give him more time to interact with fans too, on the positive side.

I haven’t seen any timetable on Watt. That would indeed be unfortunate if he’s not practicing when the Texans visit.

Dave from Eau Claire, WI

In regards to the recent questions about the salary cap rising with a 17-game season, I believe that's already baked in since the cap is defined as a percentage of revenue, would it not? Revenue goes up, cap rises in response?

Bingo.

Bruce from Arbor Vitae, WI

Ahhh, the things you learn by reading Inbox. Thank you, Wes. I now know the meaning of "mummer's farce."

My hat is off to Hod on that one.

David from Appleton, WI

Jace Sternberger is an interesting pick in Round 3 of this year's draft. He only had one year as a starter, yet he played well enough to declare early for the NFL Draft and be a Round 3 selection. In your opinion, how long does it take for a newly drafted tight end to develop into an NFL tight end? And do you think Sternberger will take longer due to lack of playing time in college? Or will being tutored by All-Pro teammates speed the process up?

I think tight ends do take a tad longer to develop these days because most of them didn’t have as many responsibilities in their college offenses as they’ll have in the NFL. But what Sternberger did in one year in the SEC can’t be ignored, and he couldn’t ask to be in a better room with veterans like Graham and Lewis, as you noted. His development will be intriguing to watch. I remember when Finley was drafted in the third round in ’08, and he was so not ready for prime time as a rookie, for a number of reasons. Then by the end of his second year, he was a monster force in the offense. I’m not saying Sternberger is the next Finley, because Finley’s athleticism was off the charts. But I mention him as a forewarning to everyone who might be asking “what’s up with Sternberger” if he’s not a prominent piece right away. In Finley’s first 22 NFL games, he had two touchdown catches and only one game with more than 56 yards receiving. File that away.

Matt from East Troy, WI

Insiders, tell us something about yourself that we don’t already know.

I got glasses in the second grade.

Daniel from Liverpool, UK

Which match-ups are you most looking forward to in the joint practice with the Texans? Alexander vs. Hopkins? Watt vs. Bakhtiari? Can't help but think this will be one of the best joint practices in recent history when you look at the talent on show.

I think that could be said anytime two NFL teams get together. The matchups you mentioned are the headliners. I want to watch King vs. Hopkins as well (though like Watt, Hopkins is on PUP, so we’ll see). Joseph and/or Roby vs. Adams, Clowney and/or Mercilus vs. Bulaga are others. Really, the entire Pettine defense with all the new parts vs. Deshaun Watson should be entertaining, too. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how cool I can only imagine it will be for Green Bay Southwest grad Max Scharping, an offensive lineman drafted in the second round by Houston, to come “home” for a few days during his rookie training camp.

Jeremiah from Madison, WI

You missed a prime opportunity to say, "If it doesn't make cents, it doesn't make sense." Based on what you see from other teams now, which team would you be most surprised if they made the playoffs? And which team (excluding the Patriots) would you be more surprised if they missed the playoffs?

Biggest surprise if they get in: Miami or Arizona. Biggest surprise if they don’t: Kansas City.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

A sartorial question, have either of you picked out your outfit for the first day of camp or are you winging it?

I don’t know about Wes, but I’m winging it. We do have to coordinate on days we shoot “Unscripted,” though, so we don’t walk into the studio wearing the same shirt.

Blaine from Fennimore, WI

With the hypothetical 17-game schedule, do you think the NFL can get enough international games in a single season? Or would teams have to play at neutral U.S. stadiums (for example, Rose Bowl) on occasion?

This was brought up late last week, and I mentioned I believe international games would be the priority, but I could see non-NFL venues being used for neutral-site games on occasion, too.

Take a look at photos from the tenth annual Packers 5K Run/Walk presented by Bellin Health. The run was held on Saturday, July 20.

Matthew from Madison, WI

The 17th game wouldn't need to be at a neutral site. If the game is interconference, they can have the NFC teams all play at home one year and the AFC teams play at home the next.

Interesting thought to keep in mind down the line.

Dave from Gainesville, VA

Wes, you nailed it! The ’35-36 uniforms are the ones I would like to see on the field before my time is up. Time to start the campaign now!

Those actually fit my suggestion for something with different shades of green and gold, even though my pick was the pre-Lombardi ’50s. So consider me on board, either way.

Rick from Racine, WI

How many of the players from the Packers’ first two Super Bowls are currently in the Packers Hall of Fame?

Counting those who played for the ’66 Packers or ’67 Packers (or both), I got 27.

Adam from Rochester, NY

I know the refs always pop into camp to go over rule changes and officiate a practice. Can the Packers request them for the joint practices and then the refs take care of two teams at once?

Perhaps. That would be a reasonable and efficient approach, but I haven’t heard if that’s happening. Stay tuned.

Erik from Sisters, OR

So we've received our answer to the question of measuring our defense and how effective it will be (stat-wise). My question is in regards to the stat lines you will be watching for on the offensive side of the stat sheet. What stat will tell us that this year’s Packers are playing good football. Please hit the home run here with “the score”!

Points are the ultimate metric, obviously. But I’ll parrot Aaron Rodgers here and mentioned third-down and red-zone efficiency. You have to convert on the money down and you can’t settle for three points too often when in close. Those stats will tell a tale, too.

David from Minneapolis, MN

Now that training camp is just days away, is there anything brand new that hasn't been discussed during the offseason? Like, who's going to be the No. 2 receiver?

If there’s a legitimate topic we didn’t cover in the dead zone, someone needs to tell me what it is. We certainly covered plenty of illegitimate ones.

Paul from Northglenn, CO

Do you see a supplemental source of income commingled with viewing privileges coming soon? I cannot believe with today's social media exposure advertisers are comfortable with their return on investment. Secondly, do you feel teams are ignorantly too over-reliant on TV revenue as support of the enormous guaranteed money? And finally, will this be a point of emphasis in upcoming negotiations of a new CBA?

More online viewing of NFL games is not far away, but I can’t speak to the distribution models that may result. If advertisers weren’t comfortable with their investment, they wouldn’t make it. Nineteen of the top 20 most-watched television programs all of last year were NFL games. Yes, advertisers are paying a premium, but they’re getting more eyeballs with their connection to the NFL than they can get anywhere else. Teams that are over-reliant on the TV money won’t be able to compete. It’s why the Packers redeveloped Lambeau Field 16 years ago and why stadium renovations and constructions are constantly being discussed. To your last question, I don’t see a point of emphasis there that’s collectively bargained, so I’m not sure how to answer that.

Carol from Highland Park, IL

Hello! Who are the Packers that played for the Packers, left to play on other teams, then returned to play for the Packers, regardless of the reasons for the transitions?

In my time covering the team, Ahman Green, Ryan Grant, Matt Flynn and James Jones are four who come to mind.

Rod from Chugiak, AK

Although a published author, as a grammarian I bend the knee to you two. I know usage evolves, but have had my ship rocked seeing, "me and Wes/Mike." In these final dead-zone hours, do you have a line or two to grant a brief tutorial?

A few folks tried to call me out on this one for being wrong, so here goes. It depends on whether the pronoun is being used as a subject or object, and the addition of the named person is irrelevant. Subject example: “I am going to cover practice” is correct, with “I” as the subject of the sentence. Therefore, “Wes and I are going to cover practice” is also correct. Object example: “Larry gave me a microphone” is correct, with “me” as the indirect object. So, “Larry gave me and Wes microphones” is also correct. “Me” is the choice whether it’s used as a direct object, indirect object, or object of a preposition (as in, “The microphones were for me and Wes”).

Brandon from Orlando, FL

When the rule to review all turnovers was implemented, it seemed the refs were less likely to whistle the play dead since it would be instantly reviewed. Do you see that mindset having an effect on the new pass interference rule? Perhaps they won't call as many that are close because the coach can always challenge it? Or maybe they'll call even more for the very same reason?

I certainly hope not. While that mentality or approach makes some sense on turnovers because of the automatic review process, coaches will still be limited with challenges, getting only three maximum (if they get their first two right). The officials have to call (or not call) PI as they always have.

Andy from Lancaster, PA

With the Hall of Fame inductions this past weekend, and especially the questionable inclusion of Harold Baines, it got me thinking about future HOF classes. Aside from the few obvious answers (Pujols, Trout, Cabrera), can you name five active players you think are already above the bar towards reaching the Hall?

With this being the era of five- and six-inning starts and Tommy John surgeries, the easiest ones to pick are starting pitchers whose longevity (both within games and over their careers) made them bona fide aces. Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw and CC Sabathia are all likely to end up in the Hall in my view. For position players, aside from the ones you mentioned, Yadier Molina would be next. There, I guess that’s five.

The following is the eighth installment in a series of photos examining the Packers' roster position by position. This installment examines the defensive backs.

Matt from Clarkston, MI

What do you think are the coaching staff’s expectations for special teams and the three specialists this year?

For the special teams in general, fundamentally sound play that positively impacts field position. For the three specialists, consistency and reliability.

Steve from Middletown, KY

I didn't realize how many DBs were in camp. I'm sure we know some of the ones that are a lock, but how difficult is it for the staff to rate and sort through all the young talent to fill those last few coveted spots?

The more difficult, the better. They’d always rather have tough decisions than easy ones.

Derek from Norton, KS

Mike, you say you always score your own game when attending baseball games. Do you use pen, pencil or iPad?

Pen.

Ren from Chicago, IL

What's your favorite cheese?

Melted.

Sue from Tomah, WI

Guys, training camp is just a few days away, and you've survived the "dead zone." Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose, exhale slowly through the mouth. Are you ready for some football?

After one more trip to Miller Park. Wes is going to take the next two days and then I’ll speak with you again after the first practice. It’s really (almost) here, everybody.

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