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Letters To LeRoy Butler


Do you think that if Javon Walker continues to put up numbers like he did against the Colts, he could go to the Pro Bowl? - Mike (Milwaukee, WI)

Not only could he be headed for Honolulu in February, he could be one of the best receivers in this league if he continues to perform at that level. That could be one of the best draft picks the Packers have made in a long time.

We've seen what he's capable of doing. He's big, strong and fast - just like the #84 in Minnesota. I think the potential is unlimited to what Javon can do. Brett's starting to feed him the ball, and he's capable of causing a lot of match-up problems with teams in this league.

Sometimes it's difficult to catch a lot of balls in the west coast offense, but if he keeps getting open, Brett's going to keep getting him the ball.

Does the number one defense go against the number one offense during practice? If so, how can the number one defense get any confidence if they are getting thrashed all week during practice? Might that explain why some teams are one dimensional? All offense, no defense or all defense, no offense. - William Gieler (Flowery Branch, GA)

The number one defense goes against the number one offense throughout the week in red zone and in two-minute - two of the crucial points of the game.

When working on game plans and other parts of practice during the week, most of the time the first team - offense or defense - is going up against a "scout team" that simulates the looks they will see from that week's opponent. The scout team is generally made up of back-up players and practice squad guys.

I think when you have a balance of good offense and good defense is when you have adequate time spent on both. In the Packers' case, ones go up against ones in all crucial situations.

Great to have you back LeRoy. Now if it were just easier to find the way to ask you question on the packers website......anyway, my question isn't related to last week's game at all. I was wondering about Brett's hat. Every time we see him in an interview on TV he is wearing that yellow Nike golf hat. Is there something special about that hat? It's been the same one for quite some time. I figure Brett can afford to buy new hats so that is why I had to ask. - Matt (Houston, TX)

Remember, he had the red hat before this yellow one that he pretty much wore out. It's just a routine, like if you have a favorite pair of shoes that you wear that goes with anything. It's a very distinctive hat and it's been pretty lucky for him.

For someone who's played in so many consecutive games and played as hard and as well as he plays, he can pretty much wear whatever he wants. Next year, he'll probably have another one because this yellow one will get worn out after a while. He doesn't look at it as being dirty or old - he just looks at it as having a hat on.

And to answer another question on the matter, no, Brett is not losing his hair. He just likes to have a hat on most of the time.

In your opinion, do teams still fear playing at Lambeau? It seems like we have lost our home field advantage. - Deborah Lund (Apple Valley, MN)

I can understand your point. Teams look forward to coming to Lambeau and playing their best football. When you lose three out of the last five home openers and playoff game, even I wonder sometimes if there still is a home field advantage.

You can trust me when I tell you that Lambeau is still a tough place to play. The crowds are large and loud, and the stadium is sold out for years to come. Our fans are still the best in the league.

It will take winning three or four games in a row at home to recapture the true home field advantage but make no mistake, Lambeau is still one of the toughest places in the league to play.

Leroy, I wish you had been playing yesterday. If your skill wouldn't have stopped the drubbing, your heart certainly wouldn't have let it continue for as long as it did. Anyway, injuries aside, what is the difference you see in the defense compared to the 1st game of the season? I understand Jackson's absence at NT is a huge loss, but he's the only one really missing from that defense we saw in Carolina. Did it take the rest of the NFL one week to figure out how to destroy Slowik's D? - Ryan (Dixon, IL)

I think continuity is the issue right now. You've got different players playing different positions. You have to get used to playing with certain guys beside you. That's when you gain a lot of confidence.

When you have different guys out there each week, some guys are further along in knowing the defense than others, and that puts you a step back.

Once everyone is fully up to speed, the defense will get better and better. It's a new scheme, everybody's learning it, but I think this scheme will win a lot of games for the Green Bay Packers. It's going to be fun once everyone is there and able to play at the high level they need to.

LeRoy, Thanks for taking my question. Can the problems with the Packer "D" be fixed? They have not looked good at all the last 2 games. What will it take to fix the problems? - Brian (Chicago, IL)

The players have to make the plays when it's their turn to do so. There was a chance for a couple of interceptions against Indianapolis and didn't make them. There have been some missed tackles that shouldn't have happened. The blitzes need to get to the quarterback. They're bringing people on blitzes, but they haven't been getting to the quarterback enough.

They have to win their one-on-one match-ups; that's the problem right now. They have to win their one-on-one match-ups - whether it's on a blitz or in pass coverage - you have to win them to play this aggressive style of defense.

Who was your mentor when you came into the league, and how did you use that experience to help other players when you were a veteran? - Mark (Overland Park, KS)

My mentors when I came into the league were Dave Brown and Mark Lee, if you remember those guys. They taught me how to be a professional, and that really helped me later in my career.

When I was a veteran, I would teach the young guys about the little things like how to study, how to play on the road, how to be prepared for a road game, and things like that. I also always told them how each play counts as if it's your last. You never know when your career might end.

LeRoy, great column! It seems like there is a lot of miscommunication going on in the secondary causing safety help to arrive late the last 2 weeks. What is happening and is it the DB's not reading the offense or is it just being in the wrong place? - John (Avondale, MI)

It could be a combination of both, since communication is such a huge part of the game. Especially on the road, it's important to be familiar with the guys next to you.

You have to be able to know where everyone on the field is going to be. In order for everyone to do their job, everyone must rely on everyone else. I think that will get better in time for this defense.

*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,*

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