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Losing physical battle can demoralize defense


Frank from Oak Creek, WI

I've asked this question three times already and never got a response; perhaps it wasn't interesting enough, but here it goes: Did the Packers receive their NFC Championship rings after beating the Bears in the NFC Championship?

The standard has been that only one team is presented conference title rings: the team that loses the Super Bowl. Understand this about rings: There are no rules. It's a team thing. The team designs them and decides who gets them. The Super Bowl ring is a symbol of a team's victory in its conference title game because a team can't win a Super Bowl without winning its conference title game.

Jon from Jacksonville, FL

Regarding the body-punch analogy, how does it play into simply wearing the defense down physically?

That's a big part of it. When you make a team defend against the run, you make it take on and defeat blocks, and that's more physically draining than running around against air. It can also demoralize a defense if it senses that it's losing the physical battle. All of a sudden, it starts running around blocks instead of taking them on and holding the point; it loses gap integrity and that's when runs begin breaking for big gains. At that point, it's anything you want.

Belto from Canton, NC

Why didn't you have an honorable mention or maybe a second team? I agree that there are way too many great players to compile one list everyone will agree on, but just like the All-Pro picks every year have second- and third-team mentions, any greatest list should, too.

If I had done a second team, third team and honorable mention, then the "snubs" of certain players would really infuriate the fans of those players. This way, everyone thinks their guy was next on the list. I'll give you an example: My next two running backs would not have included Barry Sanders, and that would've set the Sanders fans off. What do I have against Sanders? He was a fantastic running back. It's just that I mostly saw him on the highlight from an unimportant game. I need more than that.

Colin from Tallahassee, FL

I wasn't around to see Chuck Bednarik and I won't argue that a modern player is better, but there is no question that teams have gotten more talented, regardless of nutrition and training changes. This comes from George Young's "planet theory." More kids play football now than in 1950. As the talent pool gets bigger, the incidence rate of athletic freaks increases. Given enough time, there will be better running backs than Jim Brown, better quarterbacks than Unitas, and better coaches than Lombardi. Don't believe me? Okay, you start only drafting from SEC schools and I'll draft from all of college football and we'll see who finds the most football players.

Why are you threatened by the specter of that which you never saw and, therefore, won't acknowledge?

Walt from Toms River, NJ

I couldn't care less what celebration is done in the end zone. Guys like Chad Johnson are celebrities more than players. Score points, clap hands, hug each other, smile, and now go back to the bench. Why is it that the sports announcers talk about the antics after the play as interesting, since it is only the younger generation that is interested in this stuff? Just play football the way it should be played and leave out the individual antics.

It sells, Walt.

David from Wichita, KS

Best "Mr. Irrelevant?" What about Marty Moore, LB from Kentucky (1994) who played eight years, seven of which were for New England and was the first "Mr. Irrelevant" to play in a Super Bowl?

You're right.

Cesar from Santa Fe Springs, CA

A month ago I asked how Al Harris was doing and I recently found out that he is getting a Super Bowl ring. This made me really happy because he has been one of my favorite Packers players. What do you think about the Packers making him an "Honorary Super Bowl Champion?" (I will copyright that title soon).

Go for it.

Larry from York, PA

We all know the Packers use numerous personnel packages, but which package do you see the offense running mostly this year? With the emphasis and quality at the tight end position, I am intrigued by "12 personnel."

Larry, are you trying out for a TV analyst's job? I mean, "12 personnel?" Can't we just say one back, two tight ends? Yes, I think we'll see the Packers use that formation this season.

Scott from Salt Lake City, UT

I have followed the Packers since the Lombardi years. Between Lombardi and Holmgren there was a span of 28 years without a Super Bowl appearance. During that time, good men and some former Packers coached the team: Bengston, Starr, Infante, Gregg, Devine. What's your take? Was Holmgren that much better of a coach than these others, or was the difference the GM?

Mike Holmgren had Ron Wolf in Green Bay. In Seattle, he didn't make it to the Super Bowl until he got Ted Thompson. The coach-GM dynamic is the most important relationship on any team. A good coach needs a good GM and vice versa.

Bart from Bartlett, IL

I get what you said regarding the running plays as body punches, but wouldn't any team be crazy to really load up against the run against a team like Green Bay? I love the running game dearly, but when you're playing the Packers, it would seem that dedicating much of your efforts to defending anything other than the pass would be folly, right?

That's why it's so important that the Packers become better at running the football. They found a running game late in the 2010 season and it was a game-changer for them, in my opinion. Look, there's no secret about this: Everybody is going to load up against the pass when they play the Packers this season, unless the Packers pose a running game that makes opposing defenses defend the line of scrimmage.

Nick from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Can you please explain how the supplemental draft works?

The supplemental draft is for players that didn't seek eligibility for the regular draft, or missed the deadline for requesting eligibility and have since come to have reason to enter the NFL. They may have since been declared ineligible to play college football, or maybe a hardship has occurred. The supplemental draft offers these players a final chance to enter the league in the current year. A list of those players is presented to the league's 32 teams and for the day of the supplemental draft, any team interested in drafting one of those players submits to the league a request to draft that player and the round in which they would like to draft him. To do so, you must own your original pick in that round of next spring's draft because, should the team be awarded the player in the supplemental draft, they must forfeit the pick in the corresponding round in next spring's draft. After the league is done accepting supplemental draft requests, it awards the players to the teams that offered the highest pick positions for those players.

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