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Inbox: Those were meaningful

Former Packers QB Matt Flynn
Former Packers QB Matt Flynn

Holly from Scranton, PA

“Math is hard.”

For some.

Joseph from Virginia Beach, VA

The skirmish you were thinking of was the famous/infamous Brady Poppinga hit. If not it ought to be. Shout-out to A.J. Hawk and his podcast for interviewing Brady and bringing it up. I don't think anyone got injured but ask John, I bet he remembers.

That might have been it. Jeff from Green Bay also brought up one involving Evan Dietrich-Smith, which would have been more recent. I’ll check with Kuhn when he gets back.

Matt from Manhattan, KS

OK, so my wife and I are both grad students on a tight budget. I’ve got about three years of school left, and I’ve been saving what I can, usually 10 bucks a month, for my first trip to Lambeau and see the first Bears at Packers game to celebrate when we’re finally all done with school. On the other hand, Kansas City is two hours away and I have just enough for a pair of cheap tickets this year. Keep saving for better seats in Green Bay, or try to get both games in on that kind of budget?

Go big or go home, right? I will say this. The Bears play at Lambeau Field every year. The Packers play at Arrowhead in the regular season once every eight years, which means this most likely will be the only Rodgers-Mahomes matchup ever in that stadium.

Karen from Kaukauna, WI

Mike, how do they evaluate kickers/punters who have never kicked in snow, ice, and below-zero temps? It seems to me the difference in that environment would be significant. Thank you...and Wes and Kuuuuuhn of course...for all you do to help us understand what goes on "behind the scenes."

If a kicker/punter didn’t have to perform in those conditions in college, you don’t really know until the time comes. If your evaluation of his fundamentals and mental makeup is sound, you trust he’ll be able to handle it.

Take a look back at photos of 2018 Packers Training Camp.

Matt from Waukesha, WI

All the questions about JK Scott have got me thinking. Has there ever been a game where neither the Packers nor their opponent punted?

Last I knew, it’s happened only three times in NFL history, and the Packers were involved in two of them, both in the same season no less. In 2014, the road games at Chicago and New Orleans a month apart featured no punts by either team. A Bills-49ers game in 1992 was the league’s first.

Brian from Buford, GA

Days ago, it was reported that the Packers claimed TE Michael Roberts off waivers from Detroit. Prior to that, it was reported the Lions released him after the failed trade to New England. Could you provide any clarity on that?

He reportedly failed his physical here, too, so the transaction was never reported on packers.com.

Rich from Mifflinburg, PA

Gentlemen, anyone who says it should be easy to pick an NFL roster doesn't understand that the difference between the best player and the worst player on any NFL roster is razor thin. Can you try to tell us the difference for instance between the No. 1 receiver and the No. 10, or the No. 1 safety and the No. 10? These guys are all phenomenal athletes, figuring out which one deserves a chance and which one doesn't is not easy.

Your premise is a little too extreme. There’s a huge difference between the top and bottom player in a given position group on a 90-man roster. Not every receiver is that close to being Davante Adams and not every defensive lineman is on the verge of becoming the next Kenny Clark. Starters are starters in this league for a reason. To my amateur eye, there’s very little difference from about the 30th player on down, but those decisions are important because – whether it’s injuries, special teams or other factors – players 30 through 53 (or 63) on a roster can have a significant impact over the long haul on wins and losses. Personnel departments take every decision seriously.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

In response to Eric from Oshkosh, I put the total number of roster spot "rubber stamps" at 40, with the remainder as negotiable. I am gonna predict now that at least two of the remaining 13 slots get filled by guys who go through training camp with a different team.

Entirely possible.

Russ from Henrico, VA

We have a talented (yes young) and overflowing receiver room. They can't all make the team, can they? If someone has to go I can't imagine the team releasing them and cutting their losses. Trading one for a player at a position where there is less depth (safety?) seems like a prudent choice.

It takes two to tango. As I’ve said many times, the college game produces receivers at an incredibly proficient rate these days, so the chances of a team giving up a player of value for a young, unproven receiver it can find in abundance anywhere it looks seem rather remote.

Thomas from Phoenix, AZ

Spoff, here's to hoping "our" preseason schedule equates to 0.173-0.166% of "our" games this season!

I thought we were working on fractions.

Kevin from Starr Pass, AZ

Spoff, thanks for holding down the fort. I have a similar question as Gina from Waukesha yesterday. Do players spend extra time reviewing film during the dead-zone period or do most simply sustain their fitness and relax to get mentally and physically ready for July?

Depends on the player. Some guys like Blake Martinez are film junkies and can never get enough. Other guys go for the full detachment. To each his own.

Liam from Newcastle upon Tyne, England

I remember the “Snow Globe” game against the Seahawks vividly but in watching it back I noticed a No. 21 decal bearing worn on our Packers helmets. Can you guys recall the reason for it?

Washington safety Sean Taylor had been murdered in late November that year and the No. 21 helmet decal was worn league-wide in his memory.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

When was the last time a backup quarterback won a meaningful game in the Aaron Rodgers era? I think the answer is never. So why do we keep three quarterbacks on the 53? And neither of those two backups are capable of becoming a permanent Rodgers replacement. Wouldn’t it be better to keep an extra offensive lineman or an extra running back or an extra cornerback instead?

Never? I’m not about to state Brett Hundley’s 2017 performance was adequate, because it wasn’t, but he did win three games, and one more would have given the Packers a realistic playoff shot. In 2013, Matt Flynn went 2-2 as a starter to stay in the postseason hunt, with a comeback from a 26-3 deficit on the road and a rally in relief of a 23-7 game to salvage a tie. Those were meaningful. With Rodgers planning to play until he’s 40, if his permanent replacement were currently on the roster, the Packers wouldn’t be able to afford to keep him long enough anyway. And backups who have truly proven they can win games are too expensive for teams with QBs at the top of the pay scale. That’s just reality. The Packers have a lot of work to do at backup QB, but I think the new coaching staff deserves a chance to see what it can do with what it has.

Geert from Old Windsor, UK

Talking heads are talking about edge rushers being left out (funny how we apparently went from famine to feast). However, fresh edge rushers are always good to have. Forced to choose, do you think players would rather have a start or a big-impact, fourth-quarter sack behind their name?

C’mon, you don’t need to ask that.

Danny from Chattanooga, TN

Hey Mike, to help out with a question from Wednesday, PFF has a stat called air yards that measures the distance a QB actually throws a ball. Also, if you take the total passing yards and subtract the YAC, you won't credit the QB for however far behind the line of scrimmage he is.

Someone needs to tell me why I should care about such a stat.

Kyle from Mukwonago, WI

Hi Mike, lots of stories spinning around WR depth, but it would seem Gutey and personnel felt comfortable with the guys already in the room. The personnel department knows what they've got, but how and when will we know what we've got? After the first quarter of the season? What are you looking for to answer those questions?

Timing with Rodgers, to keep it basic. If Rodgers is getting the ball out on time more often than not to receivers other than Adams, it means the young guys are getting open within the offensive scheme and Rodgers is trusting them. That’s the starting point.

Chris from Neenah, WI

Someone said they think it is overkill to have four "meaningless" games and all the training-camp time because it should be easy enough to fill the roster with less time. Just a reminder in 1996 Desmond Howard was far from a lock to make the team, actually looked more like a guaranteed cut, until he made an electric punt return for a TD in the last preseason game. The rest is history. So my suggestion to fans is trust the process.

Amen.

Josh from Twin Falls, ID

Draft and develop was the motto of the TT era. I would like to nominate the old U.S. Defense quote "quantity has a quality all its own" to the current GM. Seems like when Gutekunst sees an area of the team he wants improved he throws as many athletes as he can find at the problem and lets the hyper-competitive players and coaches sort it out. Do any past or present position battles stand out in your memory?

Sometimes the most intriguing ones can be more about the future than the present. Gutekunst drafted three running backs two years ago and found two keepers. He drafted three receivers last year and they’re working their way along. This year with only eight picks he didn’t have the draft capital to stockpile at one spot, but when sufficiently loaded with selections I’ve loved the approach to rebuilding a position.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

In the practice vs. the Texans, when they scrimmage will it be like a real game in that they have to get first-down yardage, or does one team get to run offensive plays for say 10 minutes regardless of yardage and then they switch back and forth? Also, do they do a two-minute drill or goal line?

All to be determined. I’m sure the coaches have discussed the structure and format, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Evan from Middleton, WI

You have never found a mustard you liked Spoff? Well I take that as a personal challenge. Care you join me at the Mustard Museum here in Middleton? I am sure we can find something that will work for you. If not, Capital Brewery is right around the corner.

Trust me, it would be a fruitless pursuit. The Mustard Museum that is, not bellying up at the brewery for a Capital Amber.

Craig from Cortland, NY

Thanks for the article on Pepper Burruss' career and retirement. After a year as a concussion research assistant, my daughter just finished her fourth year as an athletic trainer at an area high school through University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. This year she is also working as a supplemental trainer through UPMC with the Steelers. Through Burruss' eyes, I got a better glimpse into things she shares when we talk. Seems of all team personnel, trainers enjoy a unique relationship with the athletes they serve.

Indubitably.

Richard from Farmington Hills, MI

We all know that David Bakhtiari is a great player. Pro Football Focus wrote this week's FMIA column on the Pro Football Talk website. This is from that column: "We think David Bakhtiari is the most underrated player in football. Over the past three seasons of PFF pass-blocking grades, Bakhtiari ranks No. 1 among tackles—by a distance! The No. 2 player on that list? Joe Thomas. Bakhtiari is the new gold standard of blindside pass protection, but doesn’t have the reputation or recognition yet."

He’s gotten proper recognition from the AP voters with three straight All-Pro selections, including first team last year, but no, football fans nationally don’t really know him. I found the anecdote he told about the tail end of the 2015 season really interesting, which is why I wrote about it.

John from Oxford, UK

Math: If Spoff successfully pilfers one in four of Wes's lunches and three-fifths of II readers can't wait for the baloney to stop, express as a percentage to one decimal place the probability of the Brewers reaching the World Series this season.

Nicely done. The baseball boys need a good homestand something fierce. Happy Thursday.

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