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Not every good block has to be thrown

Top QB/RB duo of all-time is tough to pick


Ethan from La Crosse, WI

A question about identity in the offseason? Come on. That's a load of hogwash in the regular season to begin with. I would love to see the Inbox move away from looking for a team's so-called identity every year. I know it's an easy thing for a casual fan to relate to, but there have got to be better ways to talk about a team.

For the most part, I'm with you. I don't like to ask the identity question until at least halfway through the regular season, and I don't think there's always a definitive answer. I learned last year that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Mike, do the Packers expect Kevin King and Josh Letuligasenoa to attend the three-day minicamp next week? And how does the minicamp differ from OTAs from the past few weeks?

They are expected to attend, and the school-calendar rule does not apply for a mandatory minicamp. The practices themselves aren't much different from OTAs. Still no pads, no contact. McCarthy likes to use the minicamp to review the installs one last time before training camp.

Steve from Fergus Falls, MN

Do you think the terrorist attacks in Europe will have any effect on the NFL scheduling future games in the U.K.? I am sure security is high but it might make some players and their families a little nervous.

I think the NFL would do whatever is necessary to ramp up security efforts before it would curtail any future plans.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

When looking at the schedule, it seems like the SNF matchup is typically more appealing than the MNF matchup. True?

SNF is the current ratings king, and that's not going to change with cable subscribers dwindling nationwide. I always wondered if ESPN regretted switching from Sunday night to Monday night a little over a decade ago because right after the change was made, the NFL instituted flex scheduling for the Sunday night matchup.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, we can see the numbers that quantify how Adams improved. Beyond simply being healthier, can you qualify how he has upped his game?

I saw it on the film last year. His quick, sudden footwork at the line of scrimmage to beat DBs, which was tied to his health, really jumped out. Basketball players with great moves are said to "break ankles," right? Adams is a good basketball player, too. I'm not putting him in the league's top tier, but he's climbing.

Brian from Green Bay, WI

Guys, "Best of Times" starring Robin Williams and Kurt Russell. A cheesy movie that is every man's dream – to go back and play ONE MORE GAME against your hated rivals. Check it out.

And I'll take any risk to tie back the hands of time … even putting Mork in a football helmet.

Cameron from West Lafayette, IN

Several weeks ago it was said that you didn't think the NFL would adopt a draft lottery system unless teams starting tanking on purpose in order to get the first pick. Well, now it seems the Jets are doing just that. Thoughts?

I believe I said that in the context of teams intentionally throwing games at the end of the season when out of the playoff picture, which is what the NBA didn't like when changing to the lottery system. But in the context of front-office decisions, Bill Polian just said he thought the Browns were tanking last year, and now the Jets are raising eyebrows. Stay tuned.

Lawrence from Onalaska, WI

Hey Mike or Wes, what do you think of the concept of "overachieving"? On occasion, some pro athletes are called "overachievers." This really irks me, as I believe there is no such thing as an "overachiever." A player either achieves or he doesn't. He either does a good job or he doesn't. In my opinion, it is the biased perceptions of others that create the concept of "overachieving." People look at irrelevant things, like the player's college, or his lack of fame in college, his height, his 40-yard times, etc., and they use them to paint a picture of a player who "isn't supposed to succeed." It's a bad way to assess a player's performance. What do you think?

Every player's history – recent and long ago – creates expectations, and those are met, not met, or exceeded. Can expectations be misguided? Of course. Are they always fair? Of course not. If perceptions change, what matters is why. What's the full story? Don't get hung up on clichéd labels. Find out the details and decide for yourself. And if the media outlet you're consuming isn't giving you what you want, find one that will. The reader is either interested or he isn't. He either wants more than labels or he doesn't.

John from Green Bay, WI

What do the 2017 Packers have to do to have an offense that's better than 2011's?

Be able to run the ball effectively when the defense is dictating they should run it.

Brady from Columbus, OH

How is Kyle Murphy looking?

Like a big offensive lineman without pads.

Jim from Freeport, FL

It's been mentioned quite a bit about the great job Aaron Rodgers does buying extra time if the receivers aren't initially open on pass plays. And many times he hits the open man after seven or eight seconds and more. I know the receivers and Rodgers practice the scramble drills on a regular basis and the offensive linemen work extra hard to maintain their pass blocks for as long as possible. When Rodgers does decide to run, does he yell "GO" or something similar to the O-linemen, letting them know that he's running and that they can go ahead and do their best to run-block downfield? Or do they just develop a feel for it when he takes off and runs?

You're overthinking it. The defenders' reactions give the linemen the best read on the situation if they can't see what's developing for themselves. As for yelling his intentions, Rodgers isn't about to give his pursuers any cues. My favorite scrambles of his occur when a receiver keeps running downfield to pull a defender (whose back is turned to Rodgers) away from the QB running right at him. Maybe you can't always see the whole thing develop on TV, but from the press box it's borderline comical, as well as smart football. Not every good block has to be thrown.

Steve from Sioux Falls, SD

For Spoff, ditto on the spelling bee. 1972, from Neenah, amazed by Madison. Misspelled idolatry to be last person to not make the cut to D.C.!

Bummer, man. You came closer than I did. We always remember the word that bounced us. I'm actually proud of how I went down. "Sibilant." Had never heard it before and started buying for time on the stage. Asked for a sentence. Still no clue. Didn't even know if it started with a "c" or an "s." Asked for a definition. Saw out of the corner of my eye the gal at the judge's table looking toward the back of the dictionary, so now I had a chance. Went with "-ent" instead of "-ant" at the end. So close, but D.C. would have eaten me alive.

Matthew from Portland, OR

Hi Insiders, everyone talks about how big, fast TEs create mismatches in the middle of the field. That was a common topic last season for Jared Cook. However, if you look at game film from last year, most of Cook's catches were made on the boundary outside the numbers, running a lot of WR-style routes. It was difficult to find plays with Cook streaking down the middle of the field. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I anticipate more seam routes this year out of Martellus Bennett.

I do, too, but I also think Bennett at times will line up wide, like Cook did, to see how the defense reacts. It's how you know you've got a mismatch pre-snap, as opposed to post-snap. It's also about deciphering, sooner, who's one-on-one. In the middle of the field, on whom the safety is helping is a post-snap read. Splitting a big tight end wide makes it harder for the defense to disguise its coverage plans.

Seth from Stevens Point, WI

If the Packers stay healthy, they win the Super Bowl. If they get hurt, they come close because of Rodgers, but don't make it. This has been true every year since 2010, and the latter has always been the case. How about we finally stay healthy this year and get another ring for Aaron?

Works for me, but if only it were that simple.

Josh from Milwaukee, WI

Looking at the projected offensive depth chart, do you think this is the most talented group the Packers have had since 2011?

I can't say that, especially with the offensive backfield so unproven. The offensive lines of 2014-15 were as good as it gets. Before Jennings got hurt in '12, the collection of him, Nelson, Cobb, Jones and Finley was awfully good. Let's see how it shakes out.

Zach from Norfolk, VA

I was thinking about it, if the Packers would have picked Barry Sanders over Tony Mandarich in 1989 and still gotten Favre from Atlanta and both played the way they did, were we one foolish pick away from having the best QB/RB combo in history? Who do you think is the best combo in history?

If Sanders had been running the ball for the Packers from 1989-91, Ron Wolf might not have come to Green Bay, which means no Favre. Any hypothetical involving Favre has to start with whether or not Wolf takes over, and the Packers had to be really bad (a collective 10-22 the two years before his arrival) for Harlan to revamp the structure and make the move. As for the best combo ever, there are too many Hall of Fame pairs for me to choose. Aikman-Smith, Bradshaw-Harris, Warner-Faulk, Starr-Hornung/Taylor, Kelly-Thomas, Elway-Davis, Griese-Csonka. I'm probably missing someone, but I'd probably lean toward one of the first three duos I listed.

Brandon from Appleton, WI

Greetings Insiders, I wanted to comment on the question about Mike McCarthy helping Brett Favre have one of his best seasons, which I am not arguing at all. I more wanted to comment on how much Favre's career most likely would have been helped had he been able to stay with Mike Holmgren for many more years similar to TB and BB in New England. The fact is, Favre won three MVPs in a row under Mike Holmgren's tutelage, which had not been done before or since, and it can only be assumed that things would have continued to trend that way had Mike not left after the '98 season. Am I right?

Favre said last year in Canton his biggest regret was the partnership with Holmgren ending too soon. I think that says it all.

Adam from Portage, WI

How should the Green Bay Packers recognize former center Jeff Saturday once he gets inducted into Canton? Would they put them in their ring of honor despite him only playing for the Packers for one season?

No. The Packers do not consider Jan Stenerud, Ted Hendricks, nor a few other Hall of Famers who played just one season (or a few) in Green Bay as "theirs," so Saturday would be viewed similarly.

Jeff from Racine, WI

How is it decided what number the player will wear?

GM Ted Thompson assigns the numbers, to my knowledge.

Jim from Fairview Heights, IL

Don't you think it would be wise for the Packers to work on an extension for Davante Adams now, rather than wait until he gets that 1,000 yards he's looking for?

I do, but it might be wise for Adams to wait. Never forget it's a two-way street.

Greg from Cuenca, Ecuador

Insiders, with all the talk about punters last week, it got me thinking. Do you think we will ever see a barefoot kicker in the NFL again?

I hope so, but I doubt it. The shoes are too good now. What's the Spike Lee/Mars Blackmon line? "It's gotta be the shoes."

Tony from Bronxville, NY

What happened to "Murphy Takes Five" this past Saturday?

It was postponed until this Saturday due to our coverage of Nelson's charity softball game.

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

Do you guys get questions in one database and take turns weeding through it, or do each of you get each question and get to pick through all of them yourselves?

The Inbox is one big, collective mess, and it's up to each of us to sort it out however we see fit. Since Wes did two days in a row, I'll do the same and be back for more tomorrow. See you then.

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