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Snaps with QB2 can create opportunities with QB1


Eric from Fuquay Varina, NC

I've been reading the Inbox and stories you've been putting up on and I have to say the best thing is it has me REALLY interested in the preseason games to see how these new guys perform. Other years I would have watched preseason only half-heartedly, not really knowing who the second-team players were. Thanks for the insights!

I can't tell you how relieved I am we finally have a game to talk about. It's great to talk and analyze every aspect of practice, but it's time to see what all these young guys can do. The quickest way to get noticed is to perform in a preseason setting. Let's play some football.

Alex from Muscatine, IA

Thanks for the great story on Corey Linsley! It's players like him who make me proud to be a Packers fan. Are there any other players with ties to members of the community like Linsley?

Thank you for reading and the kind words. There are quite a few actually. The tragedy is there aren't enough hours in the day to tell all the stories. What I've tried to do the past three years is find a pairing who has been together for some time and tell their story. I thought**Corey and Travis would make for a compelling piece**, but I had no idea their friendship is as deep as it is.

Gerbschmidt from Elk Mound, WI

The story on Linsley and Travis was remarkable. Are you aware of any teams that have traditions similar to the bike partnership with kids? As emissaries of the NFL and their teams, such traditions benefit team, league and community and should be encouraged and/or developed.

I don't know of an NFL tradition that comes close to the bond between Packers players and their bike kids. It's been engrained in this culture for 60 years, something passed down from grandparents to parents to children. It's timeless.

Pat from Collierville, TN

With the new deal offered by the Falcons to their running back Freeman, will this cause the NFL to shift value back to the running back position? What are the Falcons thinking? Freeman is not even the best at his position. Good news is it ties up cap space for the Falcons.

This trend is happening. I think the value of running backs is going up again, especially given the status of LeVeon Bell's contract situation. This doesn't surprise me in the least.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Since Rodgers won't be playing tonight, how valuable are reps for the starting receivers?

You know what they say about assuming, Derek, but I get your point. Regardless of whether Rodgers plays, this is going to be a big game for all nine of those young receivers behind Nelson, Cobb and Adams. Brett Hundley can sling it with the best of them. The snaps they take with QB2 will go a long way in determining whether they can play with QB1.

Jay from Land O Lakes, FL

Guys, I like the idea of playing Hundley at QB the vast majority of preseason. We need a very good backup and he needs more snaps. Not only is this good for this year, but also if Hundley wanted to depart to be a starter somewhere, trade value goes up with more play.

Hundley launched himself on the NFL radar in 2015 after his strong preseason. If he does it again, it's positive for two reasons – it gives the Packers even more confidence in Aaron Rodgers' backup and enhances his potential trade value next year.

Jason from Johnston, IA

Even though it's not exactly new, will we get to see plenty of Capers' "Nitro" scheme on Thursday night?

I'm not sure. I know Capers has lamented the struggles with the "quad" 4-3 defense in 2014. It struggled to get off the ground after the Packers didn't show it at all during the preseason. I don't envision Morgan Burnett playing a lot, so it may depend on Josh Jones' availability.

Phil from Marietta, GA

Let's go a little deeper on the D-line technique answer from today. For example, what different skills are needed to play the three-technique vs. the five? I assume playing zero means you have to be able to clog the middle and go either way off the center, but shed some further light please on what is needed to be successful across those positions.

The lines continue to get blurred among all the spots on the defensive front with how prevalent sub-defense has become in the NFL. A traditional five-technique defensive end tends to be taller, lengthy and brutally strong. Denver's Derek Wolfe is a perfect example of that type of player.

Will from Rogers, AR

Can a player line up in a 15-point stance?

See you tried to get cute with the technique talk and you messed it up. No, you can't be in a 15-point stance because you only have four limbs (standing = two-point, one hand down = three-point, etc.). Do you mean a 15-technique? I'm guessing that would place the rusher by the cornerback.

Corey from Quakertown, PA

On the defensive side of the ball themes keep evolving and I know that teams spend less time in base all the time. But it is my observation that we did so much better in base last year obviously with the injuries on the back end. So does percentage of time in base have any validity anymore?

*We pay so much attention to the hybrid nickel defense, but Capers confirmed this week the Packers also have a modified base defense with a "Sooner" package, where Burnett plays inside. With everything that's been said about the top 11 players, it's becoming more about players and less about scheme. *

Rod from Ephrata, PA

Which coaches stay on the sideline and which are in the press box? Is each assistant responsible only for his position group during a game?

Based on the Packers' Dope Sheet, defensive coordinator Dom Capers, cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr., defensive quality control assistant Tim McGarigle, assistant offensive line coach Jeff Blasko, and coaching administrator Omar Young will be in the box this season. Each coach has responsibilities, sometimes pertaining to their position and sometimes bigger picture.

Nikola from Maribor, Slovenia

Did you watch the first episode of "Hard Knocks"? Do you enjoy shows like that? I realized I really like the Bucs this year. They'll be my second favorite team, done and dusted. Well done HBO.

I watched the first episode of "Hard Knocks." I thought it started a little slow, but I eventually was glued to the screen. The Snoop Dogg cameo was unexpected. For all the pomp and circumstance, my favorite segments always are hearing the stories of the undrafted rookies and longshots trying to make the team. The drama is so real.

Bill from Menominee, MI

To induct five or more players annually into the HOF is like saying there are currently five players on a 2017 roster who will be in the HOF. Is it realistic to think there are five current players who "changed the game"? If Brady, Peppers, Witten, Rodgers, Watt all retire in the same season, then yes. It seems like the Hall of Great is becoming more fitting of a name.

As of 2017, there are still only 310 individuals in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Considering the thousands of players trying to make a 90-man roster every summer, I'd say that's pretty elite company. That's why I think it's regarded as one of the most prestigious sports halls of fame.

Anton from Green Bay, WI

As excited as I am about this year's Packers squad with all the quality and depth on this roster, the thing I'm looking forward to the most is watching a healthy J.J. Watt again.

The NFL is better with a healthy J.J. Watt playing in it.

Abby from Baileys Harbor, WI

How do the Packers get ready for games?

They practice Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday during the regular season, and have a STAA day on Fridays.

Christopher from Pompano Beach, FL

At the risk of being banned I will ask this question. Do you think the league should consider two throwback uniforms for that one game each year? Hear me out, one for the offense and one for the defense. I absolutely LOVE the old '80s uniforms as a few others have also stated and the league could increase potential for buying.

I'm not going to ban you, but I will say that would get confusing as all (heck). Four uniforms in one game? Zoinks.

Ben from De Pere, WI

How is an undrafted free agent supposed to afford an agent to find them a team?

NFL agents earn a percentage (anywhere from 1.5-3 percent) of player contracts. So they roll the dice on undrafted players, hoping they find a guy who makes the 53-man roster and becomes a starter in the league (think Lane Taylor or Sam Shields). That's how they get paid. Otherwise, they get zip.

Nick from State College, PA

Your Jeff Janis day-off article was one of my favorites you ever did. If any other player lets you spend a day off with them, I'd love to the read the article. Great work you two!

Mike Spofford did a bang-up job on that story. If you missed it last year,**it’s definitely worth your time**.

Mark from Portland, OR

Is kicker an underrated position in the NFL? Over the last 20 years, Mr. Irrelevant rarely gets off the practice squad, the one notable exception being Ryan Succop, who's going into his ninth season as a productive NFL kicker. In a league where so many games are decided by three points or less and where the extra point is no longer as automatic as it once was, shouldn't teams be investing these late draft picks on kickers rather than taking a low-percentage gamble on another position?

I'd agree. In my book, Ted Thompson played it perfectly in using a sixth-round pick on Mason Crosby in 2007. However, I still think drafting a kicker any earlier than Day 3 puts you in a precarious position.

Matthew from High Point, NC

Can Joe Callahan be the insurance policy the Packers need to trade Brett Hundley?

We'll probably get a better sense of that this preseason depending on how Hundley and Callahan play. Regardless, I don't see any way a healthy Brett Hundley isn't backing up Aaron Rodgers in 2017.

Andrew from Tilleda, WI

Do the young players realize Larry played for the Packers, or do they just think he's another reporter?

You've seen the finger, right? You guys talk about it all the time. Yeah, they know.

Brock from Lafayette, IN

Wes, the other day you said you attended WWE events with Daniels. Xavier Woods of New Day posted a picture of him and Big E watching a game at Lambeau Field wearing Daniels jerseys. Is there a strong connection between WWE superstars and Packers players? And what would your finishing move be?

I don't know how strong the ties are between WWE and the Packers, but Mike Daniels goes way back with Big E. He was a huge mentor to Daniels at Iowa, though his college career ended early due to injury. I'm happy to say myself and Paul Imig played a role in helping them reconnect after we talked our way backstage in 2014. It was a great memory.

Dennis from Waucoma, IA

Who would be the backup kicker if Mason Crosby got hurt on the opening kickoff, or what is the backup plan and the same for punter?

Justin Vogel is the backup kicker. Crosby is the backup punter, though I'll add Aaron Rodgers has an impressive leg, too.

Joe from Pittsburgh, PA

Well, another Hall of Fame class has come and gone, and once again no Jerry Kramer. I hate to admit it, but it looks like his chances of ever getting in are next to none. The Hall and its selection committee should be ashamed of themselves.

While the Class of 2017 is enshrined, I'm pretty sure the senior nominees for next year's class will be announced in the next few weeks. Don't get discouraged. Stay motivated.

Chris from Marshfield, WI

Dave's question regarding camera angles yesterday reminded me of an idea I had long ago. How cool would it be if there was a variety of live camera angles we could select from at home? Maybe even have a couple up at once. Taking it a step further, what if there were players with helmet cams that could be watched live? Talk about getting you into the action. Can you imagine watching live as Ripkowski hits the hole? Or as Jordy makes the deep catch and Lambeau Leap? No idea what all the logistics would be of setting that up (TV contracts and all), but I'd pay good money for it.

Give it time. I think this is the way sports – and TV – are trending.

Travis from Fort Walton Beach, FL

Forget the behind-the-QB camera. Just get him a Go-Pro on the helmet. They make really small ones perfect for motorcyclists. I can't imagine it would be difficult to get one onto an NFL helmet as well.

Go-Pros are great, but player safety is even better. That has to be the focus, first and foremost. If that area is shored up, then we can start talking about the exotic camera angles.

Ben from Chicago, IL

When you have an off day at work, what do you do to pick it up?

I run and cut my lawn. That's about it during the season.

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