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Protect the football from that Vikings' defense

Plus more on color rush, business decisions, moments of growth, and precision being an illusion


Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

White vs. navy. Great moves by both the Packers and the Bears, owners of two of the most iconic uniforms in the league. I'm looking forward to a "Color Rush" game that doesn't sear my eyeballs.

Me, too. Should look pretty good under the lights. Judging by all the questions I'm not going to post on this topic, folks are taking this way too seriously, on both sides. The Seinfeld line about cheering for laundry is coming true in the strangest of ways.

Liz from Madison, WI

On Sunday, special teams seemed to struggle in all areas. What did you see?

I saw Schum have three pretty good punts, including two solid ones from his own end zone, but then he left a lot to be desired on his last effort. The sun must have been just brutal for fielding punts in the one direction, because it got Hyde twice, and at the quarter switch, the Jags' returner bailed, too. Jacksonville got the better of the bounces on those. Montgomery shouldn't have fielded that bounding kickoff in the fourth so the offense could take the ball at the 25, and I'm sure he was told that.

Shawn from Kissimmee, FL

Hey Insiders, did you get a chance to hear the coverage by Kevin Harlan on the 49ers fan that ran on to the field? That was incredible freestyle broadcasting. We have to remember to have fun. WYMM is still great in text format. Keep up the great reporting.

Pretty good improv work by Harlan. I've had several conversations with Kevin over the years, and he's as engaging in person as he is on the air. Fun guy. Thanks for the compliments. I ask for everyone's patience as we go through**this transition for WYMM**. I know a lot of folks aren't pleased, but we'll keep working on it. It's an evolving process.

Tony from Burbank, CA

Mike, what do you think about the Packers' color-rush uniforms? I think they look good. When is the last time the Packers wore white jerseys at Lambeau?

I think they're fine. I was honestly surprised they didn't go with all gold, because that would have provided a new jersey to sell, but marketing didn't win out in this case. Best I could tell by going through our photo archives, the**last time the Packers wore white jerseys at Lambeau**was on Sept. 17, 1989, against the Saints. The game-time temperature was only 71 that day, but I wonder if it was expected to be hotter and they wanted to make New Orleans wear black.

Rob from Parker, CO

Hey guys, I really love reading what you guys have to say, to the extent that I see myself doing this in the future. I, however, have no idea how to go about this. As a senior in high school, what do you guys recommend that I do?

Run, Rob, and get as far away from this business as possible. No, all kidding aside, my advice would be focus on an education that teaches you to write well, and then find a local newspaper that is looking for free-lance contributions for high-school game coverage or sports features. Once you start getting published, even on a part-time basis, hone your craft and make connections. Good luck to you.

Matt from Madison, WI

If you are Sam Shields, having just received your second concussion in nine months and fourth of your NFL career, do you start contemplating your future in the NFL before your health fades? Despite being in arguably the best years of his career, the frequency of his concussions is alarming and I'm sure the organization feels the same.

I do not know the severity of Shields' latest concussion, so to speculate on his future, as many are asking me to do, would be inappropriate. I'm sure the doctors will keep him informed every step of the way as he recovers. Let's see how it goes and hope for the best for Shields.

Blaine from Bagley, WI

The Vikings' defense scored two touchdowns last Sunday. That should rank near the challenge of A.D.

Protecting the football is always top-of-mind, but after the way the Vikings' defense started the season, it's no less a priority than stopping Peterson.

Cris from Sachse, TX

After watching Big Ben hit Antonio Brown with the back shoulder fade on Monday night, I can't wait 'til we see Rodgers making that throw to Nelson again. Jordy had the TD but he wasn't on the same page as Rodgers for the most part.

The plan was for Nelson to have the entire training camp to work his way back. The "hiccup" prevented that. I'm willing to be patient.

Luke from La Crosse, WI

Is the placement of the rear yardstick as scrutinized as the one on the other end? Every time we see a football measurement come up one or two chain links short I have to chuckle a bit thinking that the other end could have been responsible for that.

We're suckers for the illusion of precision in a very imprecise game.

Greg from Cuenca, Ecuador

Insiders, I noticed that home teams went 7-9 in the first weekend of action. You would think with parity, and the notion that home field is worth three points, home teams would have fared better. Do you think the unscouted looks of the first game of the season contributed to the home teams doing so poorly? Or, was it just "one of those weekends"?

It's odd that more teams wouldn't hold serve in openers, but I don't know what to make of it. I was most alarmed by seeing that 10 of the 16 games pitted AFC teams vs. NFC teams. Is the league minimizing games of higher import in Week 1 because of the current preseason culture, and because it has a captive audience no matter who's playing whom after seven months without any games? There were only three division games in Week 1 – Giants-Cowboys, Bucs-Falcons, and Chargers-Chiefs.

Steve from Flagstaff, AZ

Now that Bakhtiari is signed who do you think is the next biggest of the remaining? Lang or Tretter? I think Lacy is the most prized free agent for next year, as the Packers drafted Spriggs and may go after another draft pick on the O-line again next year.

I figure Tretter is next, because of his age and apparent ascension, but that doesn't mean it'll be another in-season extension. This season will determine Lacy's market, and the Packers will still have first crack between when the season ends and free agency begins. I don't think any contract plans with linemen factor into next spring's draft strategy one bit.

Tyler from Pierre, SD

So no one asked about the not insignificant amount of blood on coach's shirt?

Tons have asked, but I'm guessing at some point the cap came off on the red Sharpie he sticks behind his hat. It's happened before.

Donna from Oak Creek, WI

Did everyone's favorite photobomber miss Sunday's captains' photo?

Apparently so. I hear that's happened before, too.

The Green Bay Packers kicked off the 2016 regular season in Jacksonville, facing the Jaguars at EverBank Field. Photos by Evan Siegle,

Paul from College Station, TX

Hi, it seems as though our defense is on the field to close out a lot of close games. When was the last time our offense finished off a close game with five or so minutes remaining?

It was this team's M.O. in 2014. They closed out the Jets, Vikings (on the road), Patriots and Falcons that way in the regular season, the latter three in consecutive weeks. Then they shut the door on the Cowboys with the four-minute offense in the playoffs after the Dez Bryant non-catch. We all know the offense overall hasn't been at its 2014 level since, but I'm willing to wait.

Chad from Menasha, WI

Is Damarious Island on the horizon?

Has a nice ring to it.

Jason from Fargo, ND

I found Antonio Brown's touchdown celebration dance repulsive. I can only imagine how many kids were watching that game, given the start time was earlier than normal, and the players, whether they like it or not, are role models for kids. Do you think it's in the best interest of the league to restrict the extent of such celebrations?

Brown's dance, if you can call it that, is going to be expensive. It's too bad he feels the need to distract from his impressive athletic talents.

Andrew from Wichita, KS

How much of Bakhtiari's new deal is because he's protecting the blind side of Aaron Rodgers instead of say Blaine Gabbert? Does the level of quarterback play a lineman is in front of influence the amount he is compensated?

The market for the position is the market. If a team doesn't have a franchise quarterback, it's always looking for one and is planning to get one before a well-compensated left tackle's contract expires.

Jeremy from Fort Wayne, IN

I wish the helmet for the color rush was white as well. Is it prohibited by league rules to have more than one color helmet?

A few years ago, for safety reasons, the league didn't want players wearing different helmets anymore. Those throwback uniforms the Packers wore for the past five years originally had a dark brown helmet, to represent the leather-helmet days, but the last few times the Packers wore the throwbacks, they kept their original gold helmets and removed all the decals.

Mike from Hayfield, MN

Every time I read this column and someone starts their question with Insiders, I crack up. It makes me think of the Wonder Twins. So obviously Vic would be Gleek the monkey. Which Wonder Twin would you be, and what would you take the form of?

Aw, man, I wanted to be Gleek.

Kurt from Sheboygan, WI

The Packers have tried desperately to find a full-time complementary OLB to help out Clay Matthews. Is it too much to expect of one team to have two good pass-rushing OLBs?

It's not all about the pass rush, but regardless, did you not watch the game Nick Perry played on Sunday? Finally being healthy enough to put in a full offseason is turning Perry into the player the Packers envisioned when they drafted him in the first round four years ago. It's unfortunate he had such a bad run of injury luck.

Chris from De Pere, WI

Hey guys, any chance the new kickoff rules will save the kickoff? Shorter kicks with more hang time make the return play seem less violent.

I'm sure the league will study it thoroughly. They'll have plenty of data after 17 weeks.

Charlie from Denver, CO

Hi, now that Week 1 is in the books, there were quite a few close games. What bottom half team surprised you the most? Was it the Jags' play against the Pack? Titans against the Vikings? Dolphins against the Seahawks? Someone else? (Yes they all lost, but by smaller margins than anticipated.)

I still can't believe the Broncos and Patriots with brand new quarterbacks beat the two teams that played for the NFC title last season (who had the league MVP and a QB who received an MVP vote). I didn't see that coming.

Alex from Helena, MT

Seeing as the Packers should hopefully be vying for the top spot in the NFC this year, how significant is this first week of the season with the Packers winning a close game and both the Panthers and Cardinals losing close games?

Having a one-game lead in the race for home-field advantage with 15 games to go is nothing to do cartwheels over, if that's what you're asking. But there's nothing wrong with those results for Green Bay's sake.

Mike from St. Louis, MO

Was I the only one who thought Joe Thomas jumped off the film this week? Forget the interception and the last stand, I thought he looked great out there on a number of plays, especially in coverage. I'd love to hear your thoughts about how he's progressed, where he's at and his potential ceiling.

Nathan from Scottsdale, AZ

Hi, Insiders. I knew we were going to have Julius Peppers on a snap count, but it seemed like he was barely out there. On the other hand, Nick Perry, Datone Jones and Clay Matthews looked fantastic, so if we can unleash a fresh Peppers late in the season, look out.

I think that's the plan.

Dave from Comer, GA

It was a win. We were 0-for-2 in goal-to-go situations. We gave up three straight fourth-down attempts, and lost TOP by three minutes, but we did enough to win. This won't cut it later in the season, will it?

If you double the other team's rushing yards, win the turnover battle, hold them to 4-of-15 on third down, and never give them goal-to-go, you're going to win more games than you lose. Which stat story do you like better?

Sumachai from Rialto, CA

How long does a player take to bounce back from a season-ending injury and get back into their old form? Who was the quickest player to do so in your opinion?

The guy facing the Packers this week, Adrian Peterson.

Larry from Green Valley, AZ

The Jags showed NO respect for our "D" constantly going for it on fourth down, once from the 50. They are right, our "D" right now stinks, especially our DBs. Rollins was awful.

OK. Sounds like you'd rather have Rollins sulking about how awful he is rather than bucking up and knocking away that jump ball in the end zone with 47 seconds left. That was a tremendous moment of growth for a promising young player, given how his day had gone. I'm sorry you missed it.

Rich from Manitou Springs, CO

Mike, since the NFL is all about equality, what are the chances that the Jags have to play the Pack the last game of the season in four years? It won't be 112 degrees in Lambeau.

It won't be the last one because Week 17 is all division games, but I like your line of thinking, especially if the Jags develop into the contender they appear they might be.

Mac from Las Vegas, NV

Jacksonville is going to break some hearts and ruin some dreams this season.

I'm very curious to see how their games against the rest of the NFC North go.

Matthew from New Berlin, WI

Insiders, I was overwhelmingly impressed by Matt Stafford. Is it possible the Lions' loss of Calvin Johnson will actually take his game UP a level? They impressed me.

Well, Brett Favre's game improved when he lost Sterling Sharpe, though that was much earlier in his career. That was also the first time in a while a defense lined up to stop the Lions without Johnson, and it wasn't a very good defense doing so. Patience has been my word of the day, so I'm going to wait on this one, too.

Luke from Ellendale, ND

Hey Spoff! I saw you made the Packers' team travel photos. Looking good! But what's with the THREE SUITCASES?! Are ya carrying Wes's luggage or something? You should tell him to man up. I'm ashamed of him.

Easy now. I had my computer bag, my suitcase, and the suitcase of our social media guru who was taking those pictures for y'all to see. Just being a team player. I do need to find a way to haze Wes on the road, though.

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