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Thoughts on the start of OTAs and rule changes


Steven from Montclair, NJ

The new overtime rules reduced the length of OT to 10 minutes. This will further increase the advantage for the team that wins the coin toss. With only two timeouts, the team that loses the coin toss could be left with little time left on the clock. Would offering three timeouts per team help?

I don't think it's necessary. I like the strategic element of the defense calling timeouts to preserve clock if necessary, but if a team can kill 10 minutes and score it deserves to win. I don't have a problem with that.

Michael from Wausau, WI

Now that the NFL is getting rid of the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for prop and group celebrations, are we slowly moving away from the No Fun League?

It would appear so. Fine by me. But keep it fun, for all, please.

Chris from Jackson, WI

The player, not just rookie, I'm most excited about this year is Josh Jones. After watching Larry's one-on-one with him, Jones has all the confidence and ability to be a difference-maker, something this defense needs.

He was the star of Tuesday's practice, for whatever that's worth in OTAs. His personality**made a distinct impression on me**during rookie orientation.

Sam from Melbourne, Australia

G'day from Down Under. I'd just like to ask how you see the coming landscape of our cornerback depth chart. What do you think we should expect at this point in time? Kevin King and Damarious Randall No. 1 and 2, with Davon House, Quentin Rollins and LaDarius Gunter battling for that nickel and third slot? I don't know about you, but I'm quite optimistic about our depth at this position this year as I'm expecting DR and QR to bounce back and LG to keep improving. Thanks mate.

It's still wait and see. King isn't at OTAs due to Washington's school calendar. He'll add a lot to the competition once he's allowed to participate. House looked at home in a Green Bay uniform working with Joe Whitt again. Randall had an impressive end-zone INT vs. Allison on Tuesday. It's just getting started.

Jesse from Bismarck, ND

I have heard two times in two days that a reporter burned their story as the game changed. Thought for the future – keep them and when you retire it'll be a great story for the historian.

We've all been in that situation. It's an occupational hazard, and when you're caught in it, you're not concerned with posterity in the slightest. Your entire focus is on getting that game story updated accurately and quickly, so you can post it without missing any postgame interviews.

Sam from West Bend, WI

Do you think Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL?

I do, but you can't go wrong with Tom Brady, either. I just think Rodgers does more in the improv game.

Randy from Davenport, IA

If a different NFL team offered you a better salary and better benefits, would you walk in reporter free agency or would you give the Pack a hometown discount?

It would be tough for any place to offer better workplace benefits for someone raising a family like I am. I've worked enough other places to know what I've got here. Pulling the kids away from both sets of in-state grandparents would be tough, too. I'm not worried about what I might be missing elsewhere, if that's what you're asking.

Luc from St. Thomas, Canada

I know they're only practice jerseys, but I can't help but feel that Martellus Bennett was born to wear the green and gold. the regular season here yet?

He's going to be fun**to watch and to cover**.

Chad from Port Douglas, Australia

Hi guys, I remember vividly falling on artificial turf as a child, the scratches were almost as bad as falling on asphalt. I'm sure fake grass has gotten better over the last 20 years or so, but what is it like now for the players?

The artificial surfaces are much softer, but players would still almost always prefer natural grass. I remember as a kid the first time I went to Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, and I took a step on that turf. It was a like a mini-golf putting green pasted on cement. I don't know how players in the '70s and '80s played on that stuff.

Chris from Oakland, CA

Insiders, which was your favorite Super Bowl halftime performance? Least favorite? Or are you on the job even when the Packers aren't playing?

I don't think anything will ever top U2 after 9/11 for me.

Jon from Minneapolis, MN

I know some questions may have touched on this before, but what do you think the chances of Capers putting seven DBs on the field? I was picturing an obvious third-and-long/passing situation with Ha Ha and Brice deep, King and House/Rollins on the edges, and some combination of Burnett, Jones, and Randall in the middle and the slots. I mostly just want to see a personnel grouping where Jones and Burnett are playing in the box or could come off the edge while over a slot. Thoughts? Thanks guys.

I've said before seven DBs isn't out of the question, and McCarthy hinted at it right after the draft. If everyone proves he belongs on the field, then go from there.

Jason from Waupun, WI

It seems for most people a rivalry is only active when their team is on the losing end for several games. Once their team starts winning the rivalry becomes less.

Rivalries are often rooted in revenge.

Joe from Sun City West, AZ

Jordan from Eau Claire referenced the Packers' rivalry level with the Vikes, Bears and Lions with Vic. What are the levels of rivalry between those three, Bears/Vikings, Bears/Lions, Lions/Vikings?

In the NFC North, I rank Packers-Bears, Packers-Vikings, and Bears-Vikings as the top rivalries in terms of fan recognition and intensity.

Derk from Chippewa Falls, WI

There was an article I read that had one player from every team that has a make-or-break season this year. Clay Matthews was the player for the Packers. Thoughts?

In terms of what that player's season could mean to his team as a whole? Yeah, other than Rodgers, he'd be my pick for the Packers in 2017.

Barry from Aberdeen, SD

Wes indicated that undrafted free agents receive a "modest bonus" when they sign their contract. What is, or more specifically, how much money is considered a modest bonus?

Undrafted rookies can get anywhere from $1K to $100K based on the competition for their services. Former Green Bay salary-cap guru Andrew Brandt likes to tell the story of being on the line with an undrafted rookie and telling him "it'll be $500 to sign," and the kid's response was, "OK, but give me a couple hours to pull it together." That one never gets old for me.

Bob from Vernon Center, NY

Insiders, in many player contracts you see a "workout bonus." What does a player have to do to earn this bonus? Does he need to attend OTAs?

Usually those bonuses are based on a certain level of participation in the voluntary portion of the offseason program, something like 80 percent.

Dominick from Berwyn, IL

Insiders, I think an under-the-radar game that Aaron Rodgers probably has circled on the schedule is Week 3 against the Bengals, being that they're the only team he hasn't beaten. Are there any other under-the-radar games that have potentially interesting storylines?

It's not under the radar, but the Pittsburgh game in Week 12 will be the first Rodgers-Roethlisberger matchup since Super Bowl XLV. The broken collarbone prevented it in 2013.

Zak from Blaine, MN

Analysts use a lot of different stats to show how well a team has done. But so many factors affect those stats. What stat would you consider the most reliable for offense and defense to gauge how well they've done?

Um, I'd start with the scoreboard.

Daniel from Los Angeles, CA

I don't get why people doubt Ty Montgomery. He weighs as much as Le'Veon Bell and is a bit taller, and his style resembles Bell's too. I remember watching him his rookie season and seeing how strong he was by the way he runs for a receiver.

I think there's a healthy balance to be found between respecting Montgomery's abilities and respecting the position he's trying to play full-time in the NFL for the first time. I remember being in the locker room right after a game in '08 or '09 and watching Ryan Grant take off his jersey and shoulder pads. His body looked as though it just came from a torture chamber, and all I could think was, "He's going to go back out and do it again in seven days." It's not an easy gig.

Eric from Greenville, WI

All these overtime questions, do people not understand that every time they give an alternative it solves one "problem" and creates a bunch of other ones that need to be addressed? I think the rules are fine. You need offense, defense and special teams to win a game. One of them has to win it for you, set the rules and everybody play by them. What's so wrong with that?

I'm with you. Too many rule tweaks create unintended consequences, and/or make things too gimmicky.

Brian from Troy, MI

The headline for Vic's column this week was a pretty good question, run more or pass more? I for one would really like the GB offense to do both more. I want to see a fresh, shut-down defense get off the field more often and an offense that takes everything, ground and air.

Is that all?

Derrick from Crete, IL

Of the players who are eligible, who is most deserving of a spot in the Packers Hall of Fame but not presently enshrined?

I don't know if he's been discussed or not, but I think Mark Tauscher deserves consideration.

Zach from Marquette, MI

If I could answer Andrew from Vancouver regarding when to take his son to a game, my dad took me to my first game when I was 4. I have no recollection of the game at all (we beat the Vikings) but I'll never forget trudging up the steps to our seats with fans on either side giving me high-fives and encouraging my little legs. It's why I fell in love with this team.

I threw up in the back seat on the way to my first Brewers game. I guess I was in love before I got there.

Steve from Beaver Dam, WI

If player safety is one of the primary reasons the league wants to shorten overtime, then why doesn't the NFL just eliminate overtime from preseason games completely?

The coaches effectively have. Many late-game TDs in preseason have been followed by a two-point try specifically to avoid overtime.

Kerry from Margate City, NJ

Have you checked out the great article Jermichael Finley wrote in "The Players' Tribune"?

It was heartwarming to read about**the peace he’s worked toward and found**. I hope he stays well. I enjoyed getting to know J-Mike when he was here.

Eric from Stramproy, The Netherlands

Insiders, not that your answer will change the decision, but … elimination of the first roster cut-down: Like or dislike?

Like. Everyone on waivers gets treated equally now.

Dan from Milwaukee, WI

I'm still amazed that Aaron Rodgers held onto the ball after getting lit up on that safety blitz against the Cowboys. Do you think he practices gripping the ball really firmly when he's not throwing? What is the most random thing you've seen practiced that the average team would never think of?

I've seen the Packers practice a crazy, hopeless, last-play lateral drill. I guess you never know. You might get a facemask penalty.

Bernie from Wheeling, IL

Hey, big Mike! Google "Packers color rush uniforms." Click on Images. Fourth image from left to right is Clay Matthews in all green with yellow stripes. This would be the BEST color rush uniform. I'd buy that jersey. Brighter green, yellow numbers.

I really have no opinion. I thought all along the Packers would go with a color rush concept that would provide a new jersey to sell, but I was wrong. As my wife would say, mark it down, I'm admitting it.

Jake from Franklin, WI

Hi Insiders, speaking of needing to win in one's division to make the playoffs, what's the worst in-division record a team that has made the playoffs has had?

If my quick research is accurate, in the 15 seasons of the league's current divisional alignment (2002-16), only seven teams have made the playoffs with a sub-.500 record in its own division. That's out of 180 total playoff qualifiers, or 3.9 percent. All were 2-4 in division play, and only one of those – the 2010 Chiefs – was a division champ and not a wild card.

Jesus from El Paso, TX

With Peppers gone, who should be the first to step off the bus on road games?

I tell you what, I stood next to Martellus Bennett for the first time yesterday and had no idea. Holy cow.

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