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It ain't over till it's over

It's strictly about football during the offseason program


Matthew from Maffra, Australia

Aaron Rodgers is a pretty good improviser. Brett Favre wasn't bad either. Is there anything about Green Bay or Mike McCarthy that encourages quarterback improvisation?

*It's probably a reflection of the emphasis the Packers place on the scramble drill. It ain't over till it's over. That's an important lesson for every NFL player who comes into the league. Rodgers is one of the best at it. *

Ross from Hudson, WI

One often hears the phrase, "He will benefit from a full offseason program." Usually this refers to a rookie trying to acclimate to the pros. I have heard it regarding Ty Montgomery making the full-time transition to running back. What specifically would that offseason program consist of outside of OTAs?

The offseason program starts with strength and conditioning, moves to the classroom and finally the practice field. I liken Montgomery's 2016 season to studying for a test. Could you cram for 20 minutes on the bus ride to school and still get an A? Of course, but that doesn't necessarily mean you know everything. This is a chance for him to learn why he's asked to do certain things. There's no game-plan to absorb right now. It's strictly about football in the offseason program.

Frank from Milwaukee, WI

I have always been curious as to how many of the guys train together during the offseason? From a fan perspective it seems as though everyone tends to go their own way until OTAs.

I couldn't give you an exact percentage, but there are quite a few guys who train together. Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins did this offseason. I know Davante Adams and Richard Rodgers did last year in California.

Barrett from Lubbock, TX

You want to talk about a guy with something to prove? Listen to Davon House's interview from Tuesday. He mentions his impressive stat line from his first season in Jacksonville. I don't think he is boasting at all, he just genuinely has a chip on his shoulder.

He sounds to me like a guy who's out to prove the 2015 Davon House was the real Davon House. He's never lacked for confidence. He knows what he can do on the football field and capitalized on every opportunity he received during his first run in Green Bay.

Frank from Aurora, CO

I noticed Kevin King is going to miss OTAs due to finishing school, which will put him behind the pack in preparation. Did the Packers know this was the circumstance before drafting him? Because this could be crucial when the season starts.

NFL teams know which schools operate on a quarter system, so it wasn't a surprise. I don't think it's as big a hindrance as it used to be. Position coaches are permitted to talk with players via Skype to help them catch up on what they're missing. Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry and Kyle Murphy all did that last offseason.

Jerry from Wausau, WI

I only hear negative comments or none at all about Gunter. I think he deserves a lot of credit for what he's done having come from being a FA! As I've said before, I root for the underdog and I appreciate hard work.

Gunter doesn't get enough credit in my book for what he did last season. You always hear us talk about next man up, but there were a couple of times last season Gunter was the only man left. If he hadn't played in all 19 games, the road to the NFC title game would've been far more treacherous for the Packers.

Bryce from Ames, IA

Assuming Josh Jones does well this summer and proves himself to be a great player, is there a starting spot in his future or only packages?

*The Packers' defense has more than 11 starters these days. They're open with incoming players about how they'll get playing time when they earn playing time. That's the path Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Micah Hyde traveled on their way to being every-down players. *

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Vic always says don't think about a player's position, think about his role. That being said, the seven DBs on the field at once may not all be acting as DBs. I agree with Vic on this one; we're getting too caught up in the position and not focusing enough on the role of a player.

"Don't think about a player's position, think about his role" needs to be stitched on a pillow and given away at select home games in 2017.

Dylan from Stevens Point, WI

That 2013 game against the Steelers that was mentioned in this column, I was at that game. If I remember correctly Pittsburgh scored with under a minute left to go up seven off a Flynn fumble. After that all the fans started to leave only for the return to get run back to the Pittsburgh 30. I remember all the fans rushing back through the tunnel after that. That was a great game to watch even though the Packers lost.

The second half of the 2013 season is still kind of a blur to me. It was a wild ride, especially after Matt Flynn returned in November and rallied the Packers to the 26-26 tie against Minnesota a week later. The Pittsburgh game was crazy from the block-fumble early to Micah Hyde's 70-yard return late. It was a loss, but that doesn't make it any less memorable.

Scott from Mondovi, WI

Without the cut-down to 75, will teams cut a veteran player early to allow them more of an opportunity to find another team? Because some veterans would be cut in previous years before the final cuts even if they are better than other players.

I don't think so unless they're getting something in return. Most NFL teams need the extra bodies for the preseason finale to keep the starters off the field. There might be a few isolated cuts here or there, but I bet a majority of the moves would still be made over the long weekend.

Paul from Apple Valley, MN

In QB stats, it always bugs me how some picks are charged to the QB. For instance, when a receiver obviously runs a wrong route and the QB is throwing to a spot and it gets picked. Or a perfect pass hits a receiver in the hands and it bounces off for a pick. These shouldn't count against a QB. Should there be a stat indicating how many picks were actually the fault of the QB?

That sounds awfully subjective. Was the pass thrown where it needed to be? Was it behind the receiver? Was there enough on the throw for the receiver to catch it safely? I'm sure sabermetrics could answer those questions, but it would be a tough call for the part-time stat guy in the press box to figure out.

Steve from Luck, WI

With 32 teams out there, I was wondering, are there that many different offensive schemes and plays or are there a lot of the same scheme and plays but different verbiage?

NFL systems and philosophies probably are more alike than dissimilar. Everyone does some things a little differently, but what guides the principles mostly are the same. Every so often somebody bites onto something new, but fads come and they go.

Matt from Hartford, WI

The other day you mentioned your idea of the Packers using a new color rush or using a blackout theme or yellow "gold" rush. Another person thought that neon colors like blaze orange for a November game would be appropriate. What about a Notre Dame gold helmet?

*It would be something to see, but I don't think you'll ever see a deviation from the Packers' traditional scheme. There's too much history and tradition in the uniforms. *

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

On the whole "rivalries are rooted in revenge" front – I was talking to a Cowboy fan buddy of mine who said GB was one of his most hated teams right now and it surprised me until he pointed out we've knocked them out of the playoffs two of the last three years. We are to them what SF was to us 5-6 years ago, a thorn in their sides. It all depends on your perspective, doesn't it?

If you don't win it all, you spend your offseason trying to figure out what you need to do to finish the job.

Mike from Rhinelander, WI

I'm sure I am not the only fan who feels this way but Packers/Bears is the only rivalry in the NFC North. If by chance the Vikings or Lions get the best of us AND win the Super Bowl as the Bears have, then there would be grounds for a rivalry. Until then, they are just division opponents, not rivals. Even then, it wouldn't come close to Packers/Bears.

If you were at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 2 or Ford Field during Week 17, I wonder if you'd say differently. As Ric Flair says, "To be the man, you have to beat the man." The Packers have been kings of the NFC North in six of the past seven years. The rivalries are real to those involved.

Brian from Pleasant Prairie, WI

You want an overtime change? Use the kicker pregame warmup to break a tie. Kicker, placeholder, and long snapper on the field starting at the 20. Both kickers take turns with their guys backing up by 5 yards until someone misses.

That would lead to a pregame warmup for the pregame warmup. I already get to the stadium early enough, Brian.

Rob from Muskego, WI

I like the idea of not deleting stories when the end of the game abruptly changes. You should do a "save as" and call it a Bizarro world article.

Unfortunately, I wasn't concerned with saving history at that point. I frantically was trying to make my deadline and get to the locker room before everyone left. I succeeded.

Garrett from New Berlin, WI

With all this OT debate, here's a wrinkle Wes will appreciate. How would the inevitable avalanche of stats in a college football overtime translate into statistics and fantasy points? What if there are three overtime TDs that Rodgers throws to help build an MVP stat-line?

It would be anarchy. Between the touchdowns and the field goals, I'd imagine fantasy sites would have to overhaul their scoring system.

Ron from Beaver Dam, WI

I still say settle a tie with alternating two-point conversion attempts. It is a "just do it" play. It is fair to both teams (no stinking coin toss). It will end the game quickly. No one will head to the fridge for a beer. Imagine how the tension will build if the teams trade successful or unsuccessful attempts.

Works for me.

Paul from Ellensburg, WA

Hey fellas, comment on Seattle from a guy who lives here. It's real and it's intense. I've had a coffee shop refuse to fill my Packers tumbler and had serious words with a guy at a restaurant because he tried to get in the face of my (then) 1-year-old and boo him for his Rodgers jersey. Seattle fans consider us enemies.


Ralph from Goose Creek, SC

I can't wait for the next Hail Mary attempt, this time to MB. Who will the opposition use to cover him?

Someone tall.

Aaron from Cheltenham, United Kingdom

Absolutely love the additions of the two tight ends, Bennett and Kendricks. But where does this leave Richard Rodgers?

Tight ends coach Brian Angelichio summed it up perfectly when he was asked the same question on Tuesday. The addition of Bennett and Kendricks doesn't necessarily mean a drop in playing time for Rodgers. The Packers are dedicated to their tight ends and will use the spring to determine where they'll all fit. As Mike Spofford says, "Those things have a way of sorting themselves out."

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Wes's article on No. 88 got me thinking. Position switches seem very rare in the NFL. Does Ty Montgomery's position transition speak more to his athletic abilities, the creativity of the coaching staff, or the fact that playing a different position might be a more possible transition than some people think? Could it work with any other positions besides WR to RB?

I think it could and it has worked for other positions (cornerback to safety, outside to inside linebacker, linebacker to fullback, etc). The beautiful thing about Montgomery's situation is the Packers' personnel department brought in a football player. It took a year, but they eventually figured out where he fit best into the offense.

Corinne from Chicago, IL

Why is Ty Montogomery still wearing 88 for OTAs now that he is officially listed as a running back on the roster? Will he change his number later?

Aaron from Wrightstown, WI

All I've heard is positive things about Josh Jones and he seems like he'll be a really good player for the Packers, but why did he fall to the second round of the draft? What were considered the knocks on him going into the draft? Is he just a product of a really deep draft?

Aggressiveness can lead to missed tackles and reacting too quickly to play-action, which comes with the nature of the safety position. I don't think it should be too much of a concern. Darren Perry has developed some nice players over the last eight years and now has another solid prospect to work with in Jones.

Rusty from Fond du Lac, WI

I see that Marty B. is wearing No. 80 in OTAs. Any word on if he asked Donald Driver about wearing the number, or if anyone explained to Marty B. who the last person to wear it was?

Justin Perillo?

Ben from De Pere, WI

My first Packers game was a preseason game about three years before Brett Favre retired. It was against New England in the pouring rain and we lost 27-3, I think. I don't remember much as I was pretty young, but I do remember being soaking wet, and laughing with my dad at the man sitting next to us. He was drunk, and literally crying about how he was going to miss Brett Favre when he retires.

My favorite preseason memory was bringing an Akili Smith sign to a game in 2003. I was a big fan. I'll forever be indebted to him for helping me rebuild the Bengals in Madden '01. It was quite the turnaround.

Chad from Tarpon Springs, FL

Wes, what were some of your favorite video games growing up? They don't make them like they used to because the creativity was maximized.

Madden, MVP Baseball, Donkey Kong, and Pokémon. Most of my childhood was spent playing those four games.

Travis from Superior, WI

Hod, is it just me or do NFL players get into a disproportionate number of car crashes compared to the general population?

I got rear-ended near the Ashwaubenon Best Buy in January and our fan engagement specialist, Haylee Helmle, hit a deer last weekend. We were both fine. Thanks for asking.

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