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Leadership opportunities are there to be seized

Edge pressure is paramount, no matter the scheme or sub-package


Adam from Chicago, IL

Has a team ever been to the playoffs every year for an entire decade? I think the Packers have a shot at the '10s.

Don't jinx it, man. No team has ever qualified for the playoffs 10 straight years. The record is nine – Dallas (1975-83) and Indianapolis (2002-10) – which the Packers and Patriots can tie this year.

Jeff from Kenosha, WI

Hi guys, I seem to recall MM mentioning rule changes when he was talking about how tight end is becoming a premier position. What were those changes? Thanks.

I think he's referring to, at least in part, all the defenseless-receiver, crown-of-the-helmet, head-and-neck-area, no-launching rules that have made the middle of the field far less dangerous for pass-catchers than it used to be.

Mike from Lake Villa, IL

Hey Insiders, can you tell me the definition of a "torcher chamber"? I envision a room where a person is responsible for igniting a multitude of torches, presumably to be used at luaus, barbecues, outdoor wedding receptions, company picnics and "Survivor" episodes. (Not so much at football games.)

Yeah, that's it. Was that so hard to figure out?

Adam from Pittsburgh, PA

Are you guys dictating your columns into your eye phones now?

Rimshot for Adam. Can I blame it on that? Note to self: Rushing through the column in order to call in with the "Brew flu" on the day of a midweek matinee will only fill the Inbox with richly deserved ridicule.

Matt from De Pere, WI

Regarding the OT debate, we now have suggestions mimicking basketball (play a whole extra quarter), baseball (each team gets a possession), and even soccer (kickers take turns attempting free kicks). I'm personally fine with the current rules. My question is, would we even be having this debate if the Packers had won the coin toss v. Seattle in 2014 or v. Arizona in 2015?

But I want the ball, and I'm gonna score.

Randy from Janesville, WI

Final overtime suggestion? Stop sending your ideas. The NFL doesn't care and will make the decision for you.


Liam from Los Angeles, CA

If it ends up being House and King at corner, could that have a negative impact on the development of Randall and Rollins? How does a team effectively manage development in a win-now setting?

With all the sub-package defense played these days, there are plenty of snaps for No. 3-4-5 corners to develop. They're all gonna play.

Jonathan from Paducah, KY

Thinking of Donald Driver, I would love to see a scouting report on him. What did the scouts say to drop him to the seventh round?

It wasn't what they said, but what the numbers did. He weighed 175 pounds coming out of Alcorn State and didn't have elite speed. His track-and-field career consisted of field events, specifically world class high-jumping ability. That was probably the only reason he was drafted at all. I never get tired of Driver's story.

Alexander from Tucson, AZ

So the Falcons reporter probably burned what he was writing during the Super Bowl, too?

Maybe, but that game was 28-20 with six minutes left. You don't have your finger on the "post" or "send" button in that situation.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

I guess judging from the Paul from WA comments on how Seattle views the Packers as the enemy, is it safe to say their fans are not winsome?

Ya winsome, ya losesome.

Chris from Jackson, WI

Much is being said about the competition at running back, and for good reason, but I think these guys pushing each other to be their best also could forge a strong bond and sense of friendship in that position room. I'm sure they collectively want to prove they belong and see each other succeed, despite the competitive aspect. It's all part of team chemistry.

I hear you, but don't get too warm and fuzzy. They're aware there probably isn't room for all of them, and everyone else in the league passed on them at least a handful of times in the draft. It's a tough business.

Tristan from Durham, NC

In response to the question about not charging unlucky picks to quarterback stat lines, by that logic, you could look at it the other way and start charging the quarterback for plays that should have been picks but weren't (e.g., errant pass that bounced off a DB's hands). Perhaps we should just let picks be picks and leave the rest to the coach's tape.

Yup, because as others also pointed out, not all long TD passes are the same either, depending on the yards after catch.

Mike from Sussex, WI

Wes's comment on the 2013 season gave me an instant flashback to the Cowboys game that season with the crazy comeback. I don't think I have ever been more excited in my life to watch a game not quarterbacked by Favre or Rodgers. I don't think I stopped watching highlights of that game for a week afterwards. Any stories you can share from that game?

That game is the source of one of my favorite post-game questions. I asked Clay Matthews at his locker, "Have you ever had a missed sack turn out to be such a big play?" It's a crazy game.

Andy from Tomahawk, WI

Vic has mentioned on several occasions over the years that he misses the old and open relationship between reporters and players. What can reporters, fans, and players do to get back to that place again?

Eliminate Twitter. Destroy all cell-phone cameras. Blow up the internet and its oversaturation of media outlets. But then I wouldn't have a job, and we wouldn't have Insider Inbox, would we? Every era has its charms.

Jamie from Rhinelander, WI

Do you believe, as I believe, that No. 12 will also get retired and then maybe he's the last one?

For a while, yeah, until there's a next one. There's always a next one, but nobody knows when.

Morgan from Minneapolis, MN

Josh Jones in my mind is a LB. Call him what you will, but I suspect he lines up inside the box a lot. Thompson has drafted the all-world ILB we all coveted for years. Will be fun to watch this stealthy weapon develop.

Your stitched pillow is coming postage-due.

Tim from La Crosse, WI

What makes a really good defensive team? Is it the player and where they came from or the defensive coach and scheme they run?

Players, players, and more good players. If you have enough, then disguise becomes the most effective element to the scheme.

Josh from Eau Claire, WI

Much is being made of how thin the outsider linebacker position purportedly is. However, the defense isn't in a base 3-4 all that often. Also, it looks like we will probably see more of the hybrid safety/linebacker role this season. Might those two factors combine to ease some of the pressure on the outside linebacker group?

Not for me. Edge pressure is paramount, no matter the scheme or sub-package being deployed. The outside linebackers are the ones trained to get home off the edge. It's their bread-and-butter. They have to be difference-makers in my book.

Jim from Manteca, CA

Considering the comments in the Insider Inbox, don't you think that the OTAs should be renamed "Optimistic Team Activities"?

Winters are long in Wisconsin.

Paul from Milwaukee, WI

Guys, I've been reading a lot of articles lately stating how No. 12 appears worried about who will replace the leadership when we let good players walk in free agency. I know AR isn't a big rah-rah guy (as he's mentioned it himself), and we all know Mike Daniels is a pretty vocal leader, but who do you think would really get the players jacked up with a lump in their throat, sparkly eyes, and hungry to get this team to the Super Bowl?

Cobb, Bulaga, Bakhtiari, Burnett and Clinton-Dix are the names that immediately come to mind for me. I don't think Rodgers is worried. I think he wants to see players seize the leadership opportunities.

Josh from New Berlin, WI

I just realized that, in the 46 years since its introduction, the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award has never been won by a Packers player. I really don't know much about the award other than that it celebrates charity work and on-field performance. Do players consider the award a big honor? Is it as important to them as the purely performance-based awards?

It's a big deal, and rightly so. Players around the league know who's in the running every year. I know Rodgers was genuinely humbled when he made it all the way to the finalist stage in 2014.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

I keep reading stories about how all these players have such high self-confidence and how remarkable that is. I am calling shenanigans. All of these guys are self-confident. You don't get to the NFL level by being unsure of yourself.

Persevere and overcome. They've all done it, and confidence is built on that.

Mike from Keshena, WI

Coach McCarthy talks about "eight installations." How does this work? Is an install the entire offense or defense? Position groups? Individual player responsibilities? How much is done on the field versus in the classroom? Really curious about this as it seems like the backbone of the offseason program.

I don't know the exact layout, but I think the various installations on offense and defense are similar to segments of a game plan – normal down-and-distance, third down, blitz/pressure, red zone, goal line/backed up, etc. Some of those may be combined or broken down further. The usual progression is to go over that segment of the playbook in the classroom first, practice it on the field, then review it in the film room before moving on to the next install.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

Now that you guys can bust out your celebrations, what's it going to be?

I think Wes and I should lead a "Fun Bunch" in the end zone with our digital department after each pregame Periscope.

Don from New Berlin, WI

Insiders, I read where McCarthy is taking six to 10 reps away from running and giving that to the passing reps. Sounds like McCarthy wants to get his new tight ends and WRs up to speed as quick as possible. Also, sounds like OTA reps don't mean much in the running game until the pads go on.

Bingo on the last point. Also, more reps in the passing game now means more reps for the pass defense.

Bevan from Brisbane, Australia

Listening to Coach McCarthy talk about Brett Hundley, it's a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation. You train your backup quarterback to such a level so he can take over if your No. 1 gets hurt. All the time knowing he will probably be playing against you at some stage.

Nature of the beast. If you have a backup QB worth developing to that level, you don't complain.

Shawn from Fort Collins, CO

If you look into your magical ball and pick one rookie in this year's draft who will have played the most snaps by the end of the season, who would it be and why?

Kevin King and Josh Jones are the obvious choices, but it's too early for the prediction to have any basis behind it other than draft status and position. Let's revisit this question on Sept. 9.

Chris from Woodbury, MN

Hi Mike/Wes, I was listening to Twin Cities sports radio yesterday. Did you know comedian Mary Mack was poking fun at you guys for your heavy metal introduction followed by very basic Packer coverage in your "Packers Unscripted" podcast? Her impersonation of Wes was spot on.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Hey wait, basic? Who you callin' basic?

Toua from Houston, TX

Awhile back I made a suggestion about letting another player from injured reserve come back and play during the playoffs. Just wondering if Mark Murphy reads this Inbox and suggested it to the owners. If so, tell him I said thanks.

With two players eligible to return from IR now, only more obfuscation with injuries is forthcoming. "Is he out for the season, or could he come back?" "Hard to say." Can't wait. In all seriousness, though, I think it's good for the game, and for the players.

Braden from Brookfield, WI

How different is the Packers' O-line from other O-lines in the NFL? I ask because Jahri Evans played for the Saints and Brees is a pocket passer. He doesn't scramble to throw the ball, he stays put and gets the ball out quick. The Packers' O-line moves the pocket depending on where Rodgers is. Rodgers moves to throw. This means his O-linemen have to work a lot longer and are moving a lot farther than most O-lines in the league.

Don't overthink it. Evans will be fine. The linemen don't move the pocket depending on where Rodgers is. Rodgers moves to where the openings are and the linemen just keep blocking their men. I'm confident Evans will block his man for as long as it takes.

Charlie from Cameron, NC

Dr. Rosenrosen, are you old enough for us to be able to make the comment, "Did you read Thursday's Inbox yet? It was vintage Wes--fantastic!" P.S. Watch.The.Movie.

The ball (bearing) is in Wes's court.

Chris from Victor, ID

How many drivers in Wisconsin do you know that haven't hit a deer? Out here in the Tetons, it's elk and moose we've got to look out for (and deer). Everybody buckle up and drive safe this weekend!

Amen again.

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