Arthur from Eau Claire, WI
Welcome back Mike. How are you?
Appreciative, thanks. It was great to disconnect for some extensive family time in various locales, and I'm grateful to Wes for holding down the fort for a while. But I'm back at it, ready to dive in.
Sonia from Fairbanks, AK
Welcome back Mr. Congeniality. Are you prepared for that refreshing warm beer when you get to London? Maybe our UK fans will let us know if Wes's root beer will be warm.
I have a feeling we're going to be so busy working over there that any beer (root, warm or otherwise) is going to taste pretty darn good.
John from Denton, TX
Lord of the Rings reference and some guy trying to take your job in one day, at least you figured out where you're going to eat across the pond. All this talk about smash-mouth football has me ready to see games. If you were the reigning back-to-back MVP (being 38 years old as well) of the league are you happy about not needing to be "the guy" quite so much?
I'll have to give Wes a few days off from the column because he was all over the place yesterday and I'm not sure where his next thoughts are headed, which is a little scary. As to your question, I expect Aaron Rodgers to let this offense work for him. Whatever the play calls, he will operate in a way that keeps him in rhythm as best he can so he's primed and ready for those plays he absolutely has to make.
James from Appleton, WI
It's clear in the past couple of seasons that Aaron Rodgers doesn't run as much as he used to. There were times I wished he would have, if only to make third down more manageable. As his scrambling becomes less of a threat, how does the offense adjust to keep that one-too-many elements for the defense to account for?
Interesting question, but honestly, I'm not sure defenses ever accounted much for his scrambling in the first place. I think he had a sense for when they weren't concerned with it, and he made opponents pay. The last couple of years, he's been very selective about when he runs so as not to risk unnecessary contact. That progression has been natural as he's gotten older.
Gary from Prosper, TX
Do you think the defense has a chance to be elite? Maybe see a few more three-and-outs during course of game. And if they are, does AR become more emboldened to spread the ball around more, a la tighter windows, confident in knowing then his defense will have his back if turnover occurs …
I do think this defense has a chance to be special, but I don't see Rodgers becoming less turnover-averse as a result.
Sam from Harlan, IA
Every so often the two of you will thank an intern in the II replies. How many interns do you have per year and for how much time? Do you have a relationship with certain universities, or is it by application and prayer only that the lucky ones get selected?
We have one intern for the website, one for the video department, and occasionally two for social media. They'll stay for one or two years, and there's no special relationship with a college. Our video intern Elyse's last day was yesterday, and she did great work over the past two years. Our fingers are crossed for her on a full-time opportunity with another team that looks promising. Our web intern, Jen, is staying for a second season and we're thrilled about that, too.
David from San Antonio, TX
I'm still flummoxed with this new emphasis on speed and physicality. Did previous staffs emphasize a more plodding and genteel approach? Maybe the idea is to simply improve, but if a new person came in and told Mike/Wes to emphasize grammar and content wouldn't you be offended?
Ha, good one. And yes, at least a little. But in fairness I think the comment is simply about wanting to be the faster and more physical team on film. Coaches know what they want it to look like. When it comes to speed, they need it to show up where they have an advantage, because no team owns a speed edge at every position. With physicality, it's who looks more physical at the start of every play, and at the end. Winning at the snap sets you up for success, and physical play before the whistle can wear the opponent down over time. It's all easier said than done, because everyone's after the same thing.
Dan from Allen, TX
Apologize if this has been asked, but approximately how many submissions do you receive daily? Does the number tick up a bit once the season starts? Which is busier: The week after a regular-season game or the week after the draft?
For my tastes, there was a little too much talking about Inbox while I was gone. But I'll share this: Nothing ever compares to the number of submissions in the 24 hours after a loss.
Tony from Chanhassen, MN
How do you think the change to the number of players that can return from IR will impact the season? Last year it was unlimited, and this year they capped it at eight. Did anyone use more than eight last year?
I don't have that list in front of me, but I need to better understand the rationale for a cap. If players put on IR have to miss a minimum of four games now (one more than previously), I don't see the reason for a cap, though I also think it would be somewhat extraordinary for a team to use more than eight anyway.
Robert from Sussex, WI
Hi guys, I really enjoy your Inbox answers. My question is about potential pickups after June 1 cuts. Every now and then, a surprise cut by another team for financial reasons presents an unexpected free agent to the market. Any ideas that there might be one of those guys available especially at WR or TE?
Because teams can designate players cut earlier in the offseason as post-June 1 moves for cap purposes, June 1 isn't as significant a date as it used to be. What's out there is pretty much already out there.
Evan from Vancouver, WA
I can't wait to see Eric Stokes make his second year "leap." All the kid did as a rookie was get thrown into the fire after Week 4 and ball out. We know what 'Sul can do. We know what Jah can do. It's time to get Stoked!
What I liked best about Stokes as a rookie was how he shook things off. He gave up the long TD early to Hopkins in Arizona, and then his name was hardly mentioned the rest of the night. He gave up a TD to Jefferson in Minnesota and just kept playing. This league is brutal on young corners and he didn't get bothered by a rough moment here or there. Whether learned or innate, it's an invaluable trait.
The Green Bay Packers held practice on Tuesday, May 31 at Ray Nitschke Field as organized team activities continue.
Sal from Hailey, ID
Hi Mike, welcome back. Can you tell us what a football install entails?
"Installs" are just segments of the playbook, the main concepts, that are introduced in practice. Coaches spend the early portion of the offseason making tweaks, adjustments, additions, subtractions, etc., to the playbook from the prior year. Then they use the offseason program, particularly OTAs, to install the playbook, presenting the concepts in meetings and then repping them on the practice field. The idea then is for the early days of training camp to serve as a second round of "installs" to review everything introduced in the spring.
Tom from Douglassville, PA
Besides the Packers, which NFC North team is the best?
The one that gets the most reliable, consistent quarterback play, which is to be determined.
Steve from Bloomington, IN
Talk of the Outsiders Inbox got me thinking. And at 60-plus I'll forget by then, so I thought I would ask now. There are certain sports traditions I love. The Lambeau Leap is perfect in its simplicity and crowd interaction. The bikes at Packers training camp are fantastic. But I'd be fine if I never saw another "wave" or "gatorade shower." What sports tradition(s) would you like to see relegated to the annals of history?
The halftime interview with the coach as he's walking off the field/court. They're meaningless 99.44% of the time, and they aren't worth the trouble for the once in a blue moon someone says something interesting.
Joe from Swansea, IL
What's your level of angst regarding No. 69? How worried should we be?
I'm sure it would make everyone feel better to see him practicing, but if you're still asking this question two months from now, that's when I'll be concerned.
Connor from Minnetonka, MN
Are the Packers better with the parts they got by letting Davante go?
I'm not going to say they're better after losing the best receiver in the league, and when they haven't played a game yet. But I think the Packers did the best they could under the circumstances. In looking at the players who likely wouldn't be here if Adams were still around – remember, De'Vondre Campbell's contract was done and under the cap before the Adams trade – the list includes Rasul Douglas, Sammy Watkins, Jarran Reed, Walker or Wyatt (depending on which player is chosen with only one first-round pick instead of two), and Christian Watson (for whom the Packers traded up with the extra second-round pick). That's a pretty good haul for losing an All-Pro and possible future Hall of Famer.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
Fish and Chips vs. Bangers and Mash might be an exciting cage match for the tag team belt, but The Scotch Egg has a legit shot to become the No. 1 contender.
When is my next vacation? Happy Wednesday.