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It comes down to having players who can rise higher

The QB talent in the NFC isn't going anywhere


Paul from Beaver Dam, WI

Mike, you have covered quite a few training camps and seen quite a few players make the team and not make the team. What advice would you give to a rookie if they asked for it?

The same thing I've heard from veteran players many times over the years – if you're going to make a mistake, make it at full speed. The mental gymnastics can be taught, the physical athleticism can't. Don't put anything on film that raises questions about the latter.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, with all the talk about cornerbacks and pass defense, who is your No. 1 corner from the past 25 years of Packer teams? What makes him the top CB in your rankings?

Take a look inside Green Bay's organized team activities at Ray Nitschke Field. Photos by Evan Siegle, packers.com.

Woodson. I've never covered a more instinctive defensive player with the ability to change a game on any given snap like he could.

Jim from Manteca, CA

I agree that American fans in particular don't like to see tie games, but I disagree that the 2002 All-Star Game was a disaster. It could also be considered one of the best in regards to what the fans got to see. Emotions aside, the fans basically got to see two games for the price of one, see every one of the all-star players play, and see some far more interesting coaching and use of players than in a normal nine-inning. And, they saw a historic game that has been remembered far longer than most other games. Kind of depends on what you pay to see.

I have nothing to really add to the discussion, other than to say I covered that 2002 All-Star Game at Miller Park. My assignment was to write the deadline story on the game MVP. There wasn't one selected. What's a reporter to do?

George from North Mankato, MN

I am excited to see how our hurry-up or two-minute offense will perform. We have the pieces to wear teams down and keep them guessing. I hope that it is employed at random times just for those effects. Are there any schemes that you are excited to see?

The incorporation of Jimmy Graham.

Alec from Itasca, IL

What moves do you think the Packers will make before the season starts, or do you think they are content with what they have accomplished so far? I know it's early, though, just looking for insight.

Potential injuries and how players perform will factor into roster moves from here on out. If there's anything I can guarantee you based on history, it's that there are players who will be on the 90-man roster for training camp who aren't here yet, and there's at least one who will be on the 53 in Week 1 who is not here yet.

Chris from Marshfield, WI

In Spoff's response to Benzino, I believe the phrase "It is time" would be more fitting, a la Kevin Greene in SB45.

Another missed opportunity by yours truly. I also should have mentioned Chris Odom as an additional developing player at the position. My bad (x2).

Steve from Fort Hood, TX

The question about Hornung and Karras made me wonder, why is Karras not in the HOF? He was one of the dominant DTs in that era's game, and his career as an actor makes him even more noteworthy.

Good question. He's considered one of the top handful of players not in the Hall, but he's never even been a senior committee nominee. He was named to the 1960s All-Decade team, and in that decade he was either a first-team or second-team AP All-Pro seven times. Some opponents labeled him a dirty player who crossed the line too many times, and others said he didn't show the contrition Hornung did over the gambling issue. Those are just things I've heard and read.

Tom from Vista, CA

You mentioned Dave Krieg. Where did he play his HS ball? Is it true he once kicked a 50-yard FG in a HS game?

Krieg played at D.C. Everest in Schofield, Wis., near Wausau, a school I covered in my first sports writing job (after Krieg had already moved on to the now-defunct Milton College and then the NFL). I did some stories and updates on him from time to time when he was still playing. I don't recall ever hearing about a 50-yard field goal at Everest, though. My favorite Krieg story is him being on the receiving end of the late Derrick Thomas' record-setting seven-sack performance. But on the final play of the game, down by six, Krieg wiggled away from Thomas' eighth sack and rifled a 25-yard TD pass for the win.

Mike from Exeter, PA

I'm in a social media group based on the entire NFC North and fans from all four teams. Most people (not fans of GB) believe it will be the same song and dance with the Packers this year. Aaron Rodgers carrying a lackluster defense. I really think the defense will be improved and if they can crack the top 15 they'll be legitimate NFC contenders. Do you agree?


Cole from Dickeyville, WI

With Pettine running multiple sets on defense, could we see a line of Perry, Daniels, Clark, and Wilkerson, then the linebackers being Matthews, Martinez and Burks? To me that would be a very strong front seven.

Pettine might line them up any number of ways. The more vital issue, to me, is avoiding a drop-off when one or more of those players misses a game or two due to injuries. The depth is there on paper, but it needs to be developed.

Jeff from Green Bay, WI

Seeing Grey Ruegamer mentioned in yesterday's column got me thinking, how many former Packers players are working for the team after their playing days? I am fascinated that many of them have continued careers with the Packers when they are done playing.

Rob Davis held Ruegamer's job for several years, Tony Fisher works in alumni relations, Chris Gizzi is on the strength & conditioning staff, Charlie Peprah and Brandian Ross work in scouting, James Campen is entering his 15th season as an assistant coach in Green Bay, and we of course have Larry McCarren on our digital team. John Dorsey was here for a long time in personnel, too.

Matt from Chicago, IL

What is your take on the importance of "situational defense"? That's sort of what Nate from Victoria was alluding to the other day. The Packers' defense finished pretty high in forcing turnovers and sacks, but they didn't seem to get those plays at the most pivotal moments. Is that a lack of playmakers? How do you teach a team to execute better on third down, in the red zone, or late in the fourth quarter?

Those are the clutch situations when the best players on both sides of the ball rise to the occasion. The competitiveness in this league, particularly at key moments, is off the charts. If you're getting beat at those key moments, it's usually because the other guys are just better. It comes down to having the players who can rise higher, and getting it out of them.

Kris from Kronenwetter, WI

The NFC is loaded with talent at the quarterback position, which in my opinion is why it has been tougher for anyone not named Brady, Roethlisberger or Manning to make it to a Super Bowl. Four out of the five QBs taken in the first round this year were by AFC teams. If this QB class is as good as advertised, do you foresee an eventual shift in power to the AFC and a stronger path to the Super Bowl for Aaron Rodgers going into the back nine of his career?

Not really. Other than Brees and Eli Manning, who probably only have a couple of years left, the QB talent in the NFC isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Ryan, Wilson, Smith, Wentz, Garoppolo, Goff, Newton, Winston, Trubisky, Stafford, Cousins and Prescott are all going to be playing for a while yet.

Matt from Madison, WI

It seems all rookies got the raw end of the deal in the last CBA. While it's good for the league and veteran players like less practice time, this really seems to hurt rookies' pay checks and development.

The regulations allow rookies to spend more hours per day at the facility during OTAs than veterans. As for their pay, the rookie wage scale avoids the exorbitant, cap-busting salaries for players who haven't proven themselves, and the ones who do reap the benefits of teams having more cap room for their second deals than previously. So the system makes sense to me.

Joe from Pittsburgh, PA

It was mentioned recently that Jerry Kramer's induction closes the book on the Lombardi-era enshrinees. Do you think the window has also closed on the Chuck Noll Steelers, or is it still open to an L.C. Greenwood or Donnie Shell?

If Kramer can get in 50 years after he retired, I don't think the door is closed on Greenwood and Shell. Like Karras, neither has been a senior committee nominee yet, and every senior nominee over the last 25 years except one (Marshall Goldberg) has eventually been inducted. It took Kramer, Dick Stanfel, Claude Humphrey and Bob Hayes multiple senior nominations, but they're all now in.

Ron from Broken Arrow, OK

Mike, do you see a correlation between the success Capers' first two defenses had, and the extended offseason program that was in place during those years? Is it possible it was just a defense that needed more time to be installed properly?

Not to me. Looking back at the 2009-10 defenses, I see a correlation with having two of the top young defenders in the league at linchpin positions in a 3-4 (Raji at NT, Matthews at OLB), a Hall of Fame-bound corner (Woodson), a HOF-caliber safety (Collins), plus another veteran corner who had seen it all (Harris in '09) and an up-and-coming corner on the way to his first Pro Bowl (Williams in '10).

Jake from Clearwater, FL

Hey guys, I truly enjoy the column. Question: Have you ever seen Mike Pettine smile? His perpetual scowl comforts me when I ponder our defensive outlook.

Matthews said on Tuesday he'll crack a joke once in a while. That's good to know.

Michael from Holmen, WI

I asked this a few weeks ago but now seems like a more apropos time to ask it again because of the recent discussion on the CBA. Do you think the league and players would be more willing to allow extra offseason time with coaches for QBs? It's a quarterback league so the development and success of the most important player on the field seems paramount.

I doubt the union would be interested in treating any of its members differently in that respect.

Greg from Las Vegas, NV

Will this be the year Jason Spriggs breaks through? Is this a "make-or-break" year for him?

Take a look at Packers fourth round draft pick WR J'Mon Moore at Missouri. Photos by AP.

I don't see Year 3 as make-or-break as far as his career goes, but Wes and I were talking on the sideline yesterday about how he looks physically bigger than his first two seasons. He came in with a frame built for more and it's getting there now. He was practicing full speed on Tuesday at right tackle, albeit with a brace on his knee. Considering how bad that injury looked last Christmas, it was good to see.

Greyson from Southlake, TX

As someone who resides in Cowboy land I can tell you that there's a really interesting dynamic of hatred for the Packers but respect for Rodgers down here. Who's a player that you've watched that you hate to admit it, but you've got a ton of respect for?

With football, I'm not a fan in the same way you are, but I can answer that question better from a baseball perspective, having watched Albert Pujols just destroy the Brewers all those years with the Cardinals.

Tom from Fairfield, CT

So exactly what is the difference between OTAs and training camp?

Starting with the third day of training camp, the pads.

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