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Letters To LeRoy Butler


Leroy, I think we all noticed a marked improvement in the execution of the offense as soon as the plays were being called by Mike Sherman on the sidelines. Do you think there could be some improvement to the defensive execution if Bob Slowik was on the sidelines? Seems he could get/give more feedback from/to the players than he can in the booth. - Shawn (Frederick, CO)

I'm not sure if there would be any improvement or not. Most coordinators who are up in the booth are up there because they feel more comfortable being able to watch plays unfold from that angle and it lets them see the whole field. Coach Slowik is obviously one of them and he feels that being in the booth gives him an advantage on knowing what plays to call.

There are some coordinators who like to be on the sidelines, but it's purely a personal preference. I think you should have whoever is doing the play-calling, on offense or defense, doing so from the place where they feel most comfortable.

In the coaches' box, Coach Slowik can get away from some of the chaos on the sidelines and be in a controlled environment to think clearly and make decisions. As far as communication goes, that's why they have the telephones on the sideline. Any coach in the booth can call down to the field and talk with a player whenever they're on the sidelines to give them corrections.

Hey Leroy. How often do players play games when they have the flu or have migraines or any other sickness? Do they usually sit out the game and get rest, or do they play through it? Also, what is the worst sickness you had to deal with during your career? - Aaron (Brandon, SD)

A lot of guys play through the flu. For instance, Joey Harrington played quarterback for the Detroit Lions Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings after being really sick Saturday night. Most guys will play with migraines as well.

You only get 16 games a year and most guys will do just about anything to be able to be on the field for all 16 of them. Unless you've got a bad sprain or a broken bone, most guys in the NFL are going to be on the field when it's time for the opening kickoff.

I'd have to say my toughest sickness I had during my career came as a result of a concussion I got against the Miami Dolphins. On the same play, I got a torn bicep. I really didn't know what had happened to me, I just knew I had taken a hard hit and I wanted to get back in there, so I went back in the game.

Leroy, I love reading your Q & A every week; and enjoy reading your answers. My question is about the effective no-huddle drill that the Pack runs so well. Has the coaching staff ever brought up the possibility of coming out on their first couple of drives in the no-huddle to throw the defense off? With being the best at it in the league, why shouldn't we do that and get a couple of really quick scores to maybe mess up the other teams game plan? - Jason (Ramstein, Germany)

That's a possibility. When the coaches go into their staff meeting to develop the week's game plan, they look for any advantage to attack the opposing team. When you're going up against a team that seems to have a habit of not being well-prepared, that's a time to run the no-huddle offense.

As for the Packers running the no-huddle, it's definitely in the arsenal. Coach Sherman will pull it out when he feels like it's ready. Brett Favre is one of the best play-calling quarterbacks in the league, so letting him run the "two-minute" offense early in the game could definitely pay off.

After watching the coldest game of the year Sunday, what was the coldest game that you have ever played in? - Timmy (New York, NY)

That's easy. It has to be the game where I did the first Lambeau Leap. We were playing the L.A. Raiders the day after Christmas in 1993, and the temperature at game time was zero degrees.

The wind chill that day was 25 below, the field was frozen, everybody was freezing and it was by far the coldest game I ever played in.

Hi LeRoy, as a former safety (and great one at that), perhaps you can give Packer fans insight into Darius's hit(clothesline) on Ferguson. I don't ever remember you taking such a shot at another player no matter what angle you were coming at. I realize the game is played at full speed but that sure looked like a cheap shot. I'd like to hear your insight on that particular play. - Alvin (Washington, DC)

When you're playing football, you're playing a game where you can get hurt or possibly even paralyzed on any play. There are split-second decisions that you have to make out on the field.

I don't think Darius intended to hurt Fergy, but he seemed to be careless when he threw his arm out like that. He said he was going for the ball, and only he knows that for sure, but this is a vicious, vicious game and that was a vicious hit.

You need just try to play within the rules and keep your safety and your opponents' safety in mind on every play.

Mr. Butler: What is the tiebreaker that determines the Vikings will the division should they end up tied with the Packers? The Packers have the better division and conference records. - Christina (Downers Grove, IL)

The tiebreaker that would give the division title to the Minnesota Vikings if they win Friday is a better record in games against common opponents.

If the Vikings were to win Friday but then lost next week to Washington and the Packers beat the Bears, they would end up tied at 9-7. The first tiebreaker is division record, which would have both teams at 4-2.

The next step in the tiebreaker process is games against common opponents, and the Vikings would have a record of 8-4 to the Packers' 6-6 in games against Chicago, Detroit, Washington, Philadelphia, Dallas, the N.Y. Giants, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Tennessee.

*LeRoy Butler played 12 seasons for the Green Bay Packers, helping them to two Super Bowls and earning NFL All-Decade Honors for the 1990s, before retiring in July 2002. This season Butler is again providing exclusive analysis to beginning with training camp and later with a breakdown of the upcoming game on Saturdays, followed by a column and Q&A session on Tuesdays during the preseason and regular season.

Butler's autobiography, 'The LeRoy Butler Story ... From Wheelchair to the Lambeau Leap,' is available on his website,*

LeRoy serves as the host on the new DVD, 'Brett Favre - On and Off the Field'. Click here for more information on the DVD.

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