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New weapons on offense will give Rodgers more to take


Brandon from Appleton, WI

I agree with Wes that the North is always an underrated division. For quite a while I would say to people that the NFC North had "arguably" the best three players in the league (Rodgers, Peterson, Megatron). I know that it is all hypothetical, but I have a feeling that the Patriots would not have the success that they do if they played in the NFC North. Why do you guys think the North gets so overlooked?

Wes and I have both mentioned the stats on the number of playoff teams from the North in recent years. Fair or unfair, the division is overlooked probably because it has produced just two Super Bowl participants dating back to 1998, and two of the teams have combined for zero Super Bowl appearances in the last 40 years. Those are the stats, too.

Bob from Grand Rapids, MI

There will probably be a story on this before Wednesday's Inbox, but if not, what's up with Kevin King?

He sat out Tuesday's practice with a shoulder injury. No other information was provided. He attended practice as an observer.

Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

Hey Mike, is part of your job description as senior writer to write the script for Larry on the "Three Things" videos? Tuesday's was an instant classic.

I wish I could take credit, but here's a little insight into our production meetings for "Three Things." Practice ends, we gather by the camera, Larry asks me and Wes who or what we're going to talk about. Then we turn the camera on, and Wes and I have no idea what Larry is going to say or do. It's a blast working with that guy, but I know he's coming after me next.

Matt from Minneapolis, MN

Gentlemen, I took the Legacy tour at Lambeau Field while visiting for training camp on Monday. I gotta say, I think Mike has a better spot in the press box than Wes. Personally, I would spend my whole day in that dining area.

The wall of TVs in the back of the room is dynamite when we have a late-afternoon home game. All the close fourth quarters of the noon games are right there during the pre-game meal. I'm not sure what you mean by my better spot, though. Wes and I sit right next to each other, second row, around the 25-yard line.

Joe from Pittsburgh, PA

Who do you believe will gain the most rushing yards this upcoming season – Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch or Eddie Lacy?

Tough call, but I'll go with Lynch.

Joe from Platteville, WI

This may be going on too long, but "catching the ball at its highest point" should be "catching the ball at HIS highest point." This fixes the issue by referring (correctly) to the player's jump and not the ball. By now, tradition is deeply rooted, but we can always dream.

Just to clarify, and respond to everyone's barrage of comments in one fell swoop, I know what the phrase is supposed to mean, it does make sense when said correctly, and I don't think it's too much to ask announcers to do so. If I wrote it the way they say it most of the time, I'd get skewered, and I'm not into double standards. I also don't have a problem with "high-pointing the ball," but I think it requires explanation for the casual fan, which often becomes the nonsensical phrase at the root of this thread. And yeah, of all the comments, I chose to post the one from the Platteville guy, just because I could. So there. Now, as Wes said, let's move on.

Jeff from Oxnard, CA

Is it realistic to think that Josh Jones could play alongside Burnett at ILB to get Brice on the field in some passing situations?

**I said so yesterday**,yes, in certain situations.

Brian from Spring Valley, WI

I love the idea of Jones and Burnett playing a linebacker hybrid role. But playing the chess match out, won't offenses adjust by playing two tight ends and running it down our throats with a small lineup on the field?

The defense always has a chance to match personnel if the offense substitutes, so you react reasonably. Moreover, I don't anticipate Jones and Burnett playing inside linebacker together, if that's what you're asking, except in special cases like third-and-10-plus, where a surprise run can still be stopped in time.

Anthony from Milwaukee, WI

If Davon House has a Pro Bowl-type season, do the Packers re-sign him, or do they once again hit reset on a starting corner spot? Is there really a need to have corners with experience within a particular system in today's NFL, or is the traveling plug-and-play shutdown corner like Revis going to become more prevalent?

I'm excited for what House can do for this defense, but how about we let him play a game first before worrying about Pro Bowls and new contracts. His future depends on his play and the play of those around him, but no need to focus on anything beyond 2017 right now.

Terry from Springfield, MO

Any chance of beginning the reality tour with an animatronic Vic saying, "The baloney stops now," but it wouldn't say baloney?

I think that would have to conclude the tour, for multiple reasons.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

Wes mentioned in yesterday's column that he's excited to see how they use Cobb with all the other weapons. That got me thinking a bit. With at least three other players on the field (Jordy, DA, and Bennett) who can draw DBs and LBs away from the line of scrimmage, I see Cobb eating up a lot of yards with crossing routes underneath. The Pats seem to do a lot of this very successfully. DBs will have a hard time keeping up with a quick WR like Cobb all the way across the field. Do you see that kind of thing in our offense's future?

Sure. Could be Cobb, could be Montgomery. Rodgers is adept at taking what the defense gives him, and I think the new tight ends in the offense will, one way or another, give him more to take.

Jack from Townsend, MT

Reggie White's favorite move used to be the "hump" move. He would get them off-balance and toss the lineman like a rag doll. Why don't we see anyone else try that move?

There aren't many as strong as White.

Lee from Conifer, CO

Hey guys, I was watching "Three Things" and you mentioned, not for the first time, the half-line drill. Can you please explain to me what exactly that is? Thanks!

It's a rapid-fire run-game drill with the offense and defense split, one set on each hash mark, with segments of the offensive line run-blocking on handoffs against a portion of a defensive front. It's as live as it gets, except it's not 11-on-11. Splitting groups up allows more snaps to be run, with the group on one hash lining up to run a play while the group on the other hash just finished, etc.

Erik from Sisters, OR

Hey Insiders! Where do you guys stand on the old Vic statement that if you take care of your future, your future will take care of your present? If you stand with Vic on this statement, what does the signing of Jean-Francois and Evans say? Have we not taken care of our future at those positions? Is it possible to take care of the future at all positions? Are stop-gaps a must in some instances?

As catchy as those lines can be, they're not absolutes. Personnel departments have to decide whether or not the future is ready, and proceed accordingly. In the two signings you reference, a pending player suspension was part of one equation, so the situations aren't the same. Opportunities (the right player for the right dollar amount) can arise unexpectedly, too.

Jeremy from Mountain View, CA

This talk about training-camp numbers reminded me of George Plimpton wearing number zero for the Lions. While I think it would be near impossible for a writer to pull off something like that today, what sport would you like to infiltrate to give the story from the perspective of an average Joe?

Baseball, but it needed to be 20 years ago.

Marcus from Greenville, TX

Mike, what is the reasoning for a team not being able to put a player on PUP if he participated for two days in training camp? Is it to keep teams from putting guys on PUP to avoid losing a fringe player at cuts?

Practice participation equals ineligibility for PUP, period. A player on PUP who is not activated during the preseason stays on PUP at roster cutdown time, which shelves him for a minimum of six weeks and then allows a multi-week window for him to start practicing, all without counting against the 53-man roster or being placed on injured reserve. So yes, the PUP rules are such that players who have practiced can't be shielded from exposure to waivers or IR, though teams can now bring up to two players back from IR during the regular season.

Maury from Minnetonka, MN

Does a team consider which players may make it through waivers and to the practice squad when it makes cuts? In other words, if a couple players on the bubble are similarly situated, can the decision rest on who put more on tape for other teams to see which could result in their loss?


Ken from Wolcott, CT

Why is it sometimes on a PAT the kicker will line up on the left or right hash? Why don't they line up in the middle of the field?

Personal preference mostly. Sometimes the wind. Crosby is a middle guy on PATs.

Chris from Victor, ID

Sure, it will be exciting to see what new wrinkles Dom Capers comes up with out of the gate on defense this season, but I think it will be more exciting to see the wrinkles he can save for Weeks 16, 17 and beyond. Perhaps that will be the real difference-maker this year.

With as much youth as the Packers are counting on defensively this season, the unit won't be a finished product in September. Staying healthy and making a steady climb into December are the goals, and then, yes, perhaps some pages in Capers' playbook get dusted off.

Bruce from Northford, CT

No question, just an observation. First off, Mike and Wes, I want to commend you guys for doing such a good job continuing this column. I'm from Vic's generation so I can relate to where he was coming from most of the time. I think one of Vic's best attributes was being able to say just enough to get his readers wanting to respond. He knew how to "light the fire." You guys are good and still fairly new to this column, but I think you both are knowledgeable enough to keep it going strong. Looking forward to it.

Vic, egging the audience on? Where did you get that idea? Thanks, we'll do our best.

Patrick from Ashland, WI

I watch all the Packer games and almost all of the other prime-time games, and it seems to me that once a team moves the chains for the first time on a drive, it is like "going downhill" after that. This is not a Packer issue, it's some kind of league-wide thing. Can you elaborate on why this seems to happen so often?

I don't have any stats in front of me, but I think it stands to reason a defense's best chance for a stop is when it's freshest.

Jeff from South Bend, IN

I haven't heard much about Ricky Jean Francois since the pads went on. How is he looking?

Like a veteran who knows what he's doing.

Willie from Boise, ID

"The way I've looked at it in that room, I want everybody to have a voice in it" – Bryan Bulaga. What an interesting idea, both on the field and in our everyday lives.

I was joined by one other beat reporter in a lengthy conversation with Bulaga on Monday. I found him very open and insightful, and I enjoyed**writing a story I hadn’t planned on**. Sometimes those are the best ones.

Jeff from Parkville, MO

Does Ty Montgomery still have the opportunity to change his number? If so, he should choose 73. The best number is 73. Why? 73 is the 21st prime number. Its mirror, 37, is the 12th and its mirror, 21, is the product of multiplying 7 and 3... and in binary 73 is a palindrome, 1001001, which backwards is 1001001. 73 is the Chuck Norris of numbers!

Thank you, Dr. Cooper.

Cindy from Hawthorn Woods, IL

Are centers typically the smallest O-linemen? I'm sure he's not a small person, but Corey Linsley doesn't look like a really big guy.

Centers are generally smaller than guards and tackles, but 6-3, 301 isn't small, and the consensus amongst the position group is Linsley is the strongest of the bunch in the weight room.

Del from Sterling, IL

Got an early prediction for MVP of camp?

I think it's going to be one of the rookie running backs, or one of the young safeties, once the preseason games are in the books.

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