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The devil is in the details

Pressure from the edge is a must


Bob from Manistique, MI

Wes or Mike, I am one of the die-hard Packer fans who occasionally mention here that they attended the Ice Bowl. I was 13 years old at the time. That game is still talked about a lot and I recently read an article about the myths and controversies associated with that game. It's great to see that Jerry Kramer is getting a real shot at the Hall of Fame this year. So what is your take? Was Kramer offside on that play?


Mike from Waukesha, WI

Mike, aside from "Instant Replay," what's the best sports book you'd recommend?

"Game of Shadows." It's not only a great piece of investigative journalism, but it gives you a window into the psyche of athletes at the highest level doing whatever it takes to get an edge. Incredibly enlightening.

Benjamin from Bear, DE

I've watched a few quarters of all the Packers' preseason games and I think the offense looks "OK" at best. Do you think McCarthy's holding back and simply not wanting to show too much before the games truly count? For example, his use of the tight ends has been suspect, which makes me feel he has a few tricks up his sleeve he doesn't want anyone game planning to stop. Your thoughts, sir!

Aaron Rodgers played three preseason series. To judge the No. 1 offense on that sample size would be ludicrous. McCarthy will game plan for each opponent accordingly. He's one of the best in the league at it. At tight end, he can now elevate the double-tight-end set from a secondary to a primary position group for a given game if he wants to. In the toolbox, it can go from a small tool to a big one.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

Am I the only one that thinks the good competition between Hill and Callahan means neither of them makes the 53? Ultimately, the odds the Packers will be able to sign at least one of them to the practice squad are higher.

It could play out that way. We'll see. McCarthy said Monday the third QB would have to earn a roster spot, essentially declaring the Hill-Callahan winner is not guaranteed to make the 53. And we saw last year that when Callahan did earn a spot, the Packers needed it in a few weeks due to injury anyway. So you never know.

Jeff from Winnipeg, Canada

Please tell me you made up Jerry from Wausau.

Of all the backlash (the very real) Jerry created in the Inbox, this was the best. To channel my inner Rusty Griswold, "Dad, is that made up? It sounds made up."

Corey from Mooresville, NC

I know outside linebacker has been brought up as a thinner/need-to-prove position this year. What I think has been missed a little is our D-line seems to be the deepest in a long while, offsetting the outside linebacker position. What say you?

I like what the Packers are building on their D-line, and hopefully Adams can hop in soon. But pressure from the edge is a must. Quarterbacks can run away from inside pressure if the outside guys are locked up. Look at the Daniels sack in Denver last Saturday. Both edge guys had beaten their man, and the QB had nowhere to go when Daniels whipped his.

Jordy from Green Bay, WI

How happy is A-Rod that Stafford just cashed in bigly? That'll set the market.

I don't get all the shock and awe over this. We all knew Rodgers was headed for $30 million or more per year, regardless of Stafford's deal. The cap keeps going up by $10-12 million each year and rosters are not expanding, so franchise quarterbacks are going to get their share.

Joel from Shawano, WI

I don't recall Matthew Stafford winning a division title, a playoff game, or a Super Bowl. I can't remember him ever being named MVP. So what has he done that makes him worthy of being the highest paid player?

I personally rank five or six quarterbacks higher than Stafford in the NFC right now, but what the Lions' decision tells you is how scary a proposition it is to start over at that spot. It renders everything you've built meaningless for at least a few years. No one wants to start from scratch if they don't have to, and if I were the Lions, I wouldn't either. It's a daunting task and leaves lots of empty seats for a while. Many teams would love to snap up a QB with three playoff berths in a six-year span, so you have to pay him market value if you don't want to go back to the drawing board.

Matt from Cedar Rapids, IA

I've noticed two articles where both Christian Ringo and Lane Taylor credit Mike Daniels for improving their games. Under McCarthy's scale, this would qualify Daniels as a great player. Excluding the proven stars like Rodgers, Nelson, and Matthews, are there other players on the team that qualify as great by elevating the play of those around them?

Thanks for reading the pieces on**Taylor**and**Ringo**. The Daniels parallels were coincidental, as far as the stories being posted the same day. I think Clinton-Dix is heading toward the category you reference, but part of the proof will be in the play of the Packers' secondary as a whole this season. I'm eager to see what unfolds.

Kevin from Tucson, AZ

I don't envy the coaching staff this week as they prepare for L.A., continue to prepare for Seattle when they can, and make some very difficult roster decisions.

That's why they get paid the big bucks.

Bert from Pawnee, IN

I would like to know your thoughts on roster cuts. For a player being cut by a team I am sure it is a sad process. I'm sure you root for players and are sad for those cut. What is it like from your vantage point?

You hate to see players' dreams dashed. If a veteran you've gotten to know over the years gets cut, that's a bummer, too. It's all just a reminder of how tough a business this is.

Andrew from Tilleda, WI

Jeff and Jordy switched jerseys for the last practice. Any insight to the story on that? I wonder if it confused the coaches.

I doubt it. Apparently they had been planning it for a couple of weeks. Janis joked**it was about their Madden ratings**.

Matt from Albert Lea, MN

Any dark-horse predictions in the NFC for a non-playoff team from last year making a run in the playoffs this year? I believe Mike gave credence to the Falcons last year and hit it on the head.

I've been warning for months not to sleep on Tampa Bay, and I'm far from the only one. I think the Bucs' visit here in early December could be one of the best, and most important, games of the season.

Matt from De Pere, WI

For the purpose of evaluation, do you favor giving Callahan and Hill one half each, or playing them in alternating series?

I think you have to give each a chance to settle in and find a rhythm, which would preclude alternating series, even though one might end up playing with/against better players. I don't think they'll get one half each, though. Based on practice reps Tuesday, it would appear Hundley is going to play some.

James from Ottawa, Canada

Insiders, buckle up for the most important question you'll be asked all day. Brett Favre in "There's Something About Mary," Dan Marino in "Ace Ventura," the Packers' O-line in "Pitch Perfect 2," or the assorted Dallas Cowboys plus John Madden in "Little Giants" – what's your all-time favorite football cameo in a movie?

None of the above. My favorite football cameo was on TV, Joe Namath on "The Brady Bunch." For sports cameo in a movie, I'll go with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in "Airplane."

Dobie from Bismarck, ND

Any word on the "mystery" injury of Clay Matthews?

Apparently it's groin tightness.

Greg from Fort Atkinson, WI

If players are released earlier than cut-down day, can TT sign those players to the practice squad earlier than the 20/21-hour window since they will have cleared waivers already?

No, practice-squad contracts cannot be signed until after noon on Sunday.

Ryan from Thorp, WI

Insiders, if a team signs a player to their active roster from another team's practice squad, how long is that player required to stay on the new team's active roster? Can the new team place him on their practice squad after a certain number of games?

The player is guaranteed at least three regular-season game checks, even if he's not on the other team's active roster that long. If the new team wants him on the practice squad, he'd have to be released from the active roster and clear waivers.

Amanda from Kunsan AB, Korea

Insiders, I am so happy I get to wear my Brett Goode jersey this season! Let him know I think he's great. Thanks!

I think that's the first time I've ever heard of a fan owning a long snapper's jersey, but I will pass it along.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Hi guys, in three preseason games, our running backs have rushed 53 times for 170 yards, or about 3.2 yards per rush. The fourth game will not have many first-stringers playing, so it's not very useful in making first- and second-team decisions. It doesn't seem like we have used the preseason to find out much offensively other than Hundley is a reasonable backup. We already knew we had great receivers and TEs, and we have some OL concerns. Can you make any sense of the running back situation?

I'll leave it to the coaches and personnel staff. They're studying the film for the footwork, decision-making, burst to the hole, ball security, blocking and pass-catching. The stats are just one piece of the pie, and the devil is in the details. I think all three draft picks at running back have had moments that show they belong. Will there be room for all three? We'll find out.

Michael from Savage, MN

Hey Mike, my girlfriend always razzes me that I cannot remember important dates for us, but I can remember my golf rounds from years past, hole for hole! It's what is important I guess.

My wife just shakes her head when I start rattling off all these details and stats from past games I've covered, and then I need three text reminders to get the kids to piano lessons. Occupational hazard.

Bryan from Thayer, MO

What happened to the Josh Jones hype train? Is he struggling in game situations, or is this a no-news-is-good-news situation?

Jones looks fine, like he belongs. Dumb taunting penalties will slow down any hype train, though.

Ken from Wolcott, CT

Here is a rule I don't understand because it drives me crazy. I'm sure it does you, too. I hate when it's third-and-15 and the defense gets a 5-yard flag and the offense gets a first down from it. No, it should be third-and-10 now. Do you ever see them changing that rule?

No. A pre-snap 5-yarder, like offside or 12 men, is not an automatic first down. But a live-action foul like defensive holding or illegal contact does move the chains, because otherwise a defender can try to bump or grab before the ball is thrown to see if he can mess up the play illegally and get away with it. If he's caught, the consequence would be minimal. Those fouls are often incidental, I realize, but if the rule were your way, there'd be plenty of intentional infractions. That's why I think the rule is written as is.

Anton from Green Bay, WI

With a lot of fans already demanding the signing of Ahmad Brooks, I would like to remind them that the price must be right and he played in a 4-3 defense for all of his career. It's not that easy.

Actually, Brooks played outside linebacker in Vic Fangio's 3-4 in San Francisco before the 49ers switched schemes. He would have no trouble handling the playbook, scheme-wise, if the Packers sign him. The words from associate head coach Winston Moss yesterday speak to that.

Rich from De Pere, WI

One thing from the Denver game left me scratching my head. Mike says he needs to find out what his young RB can do. So we have two fourth-and-1 situations. Perfect, right? He runs QB sneak both times? Makes absolutely no sense to me.

Someone hit me up with that on Twitter during the game, too. It's a valid point, but with reserve linemen and a backup QB in the game, anything in short yardage is worth working on. I think those plays were a huge learning experience for Hundley, as frustrating as the outcomes were.

Dan from Waukesha, WI

If I may ask, when will you resume mid-week chats? I really enjoyed them and get to ask questions in real time even if I don't always get them posted and answered. Keep up your awesome reporting and great stories.

Thanks for your interest. Mike's mid-week chat will be back very soon, but I need to see what the media schedule/routine will be when the season starts before I pick a regular day and time.

Eric from Louisville, KY

Biff/Spoff, my cousin, brother and I have debated Mason Crosby's greatness for a decade now. How would you rate his overall greatness in Packers history as well as league-wide?

I think he's the best kicker in team history, and no offense to Longwell, but there's not much debate in my mind when you look at both accuracy and distance stats on field goals. League-wide, Gostkowski sets a pretty high standard for cold-weather kickers, as Vinatieri did before him, but Crosby is right up there.

Paul from Oxford, NC

Everyone is trying to predict cuts and suggest the final roster. Why put yourself through all that, only to be brutally surprised in the end? Who saw Josh Sitton's release coming? W-A-I-T.

There's always an unexpected decision or two.

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