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The more offensive weapons, the merrier

It's not always cut-and-dry where a player plays in the pros


Mike from Whitefish, MT

So far this camp, there has been nothing said about the ILBs. Has their play to date been that poor or unremarkable? Has the position fallen that much in value with the advent of the hybrid safety?

Hybrid safeties are fun to talk about, but I don't see the position making inside linebackers obsolete. Defenses still need traditional linebackers to defend the middle of the field. They're the key communicators on defense and can stand up to the wear and tear of the position over a full season. I don't think you're hearing more about the ILBs because the hybrid narrative is so popular, but that shouldn't be read as an indictment of Jake Ryan, Joe Thomas and Blake Martinez. Inside linebackers aren't going anywhere.

Gerry from North Bay, Canada

In regards to the question about Corey Linsley's strength at center, would the center not need to be one of the strongest due to the way he would come up after delivering the ball to the QB? Is he not always at a disadvantage because of the later start off the ball?

Center fascinates me because the players who star at the position come in all shapes and sizes. For instance, Linsley and JC Tretter both proved to be exceptional centers during their time in Green Bay. However, their styles and strengths were completely different. Personally, I feel Linsley's athleticism is extremely underrated. He also gets to the second level smoothly and efficiently.

Bill from Canton, OH

How often does the team actually go over rules, new rules changes, and of course bonehead rule-breaking? It seems like this needs to be stressed repetitiously to avoid costly penalties happening all too frequently, and even maybe dumb violations will be addressed by sitting foolish ones for a spell.

It's a part of the education process. Position coaches frequently talk with their players about being cognizant of rules changes and emphases. This week, they'll also have a chance to talk with NFL officials when they report for their annual presentation prior to Family Night.

Bill from Center Valley, PA

All the talk of the many offensive weapons got me wondering. Do you think the fact that there's only one ball might cause issues for the offense?

I don't think so. First, you have to consider the quarterback – Aaron Rodgers spreads it around like few others. History also tells us that's never been the way of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb or Davante Adams. The more offensive weapons, the merrier.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Wes, it looks like Montgomery's transition to RB continues without a hitch. I have no doubt he'll be a great asset in the backfield this year. Do you think a player with the right skill set could make a similar transition from RB to WR as easily?

I don't see why not. I wrote a story at the NFL Scouting Combine about Curtis Samuel, who was projected as a receiver in the NFL after playing running back at Ohio State. It's not always cut-and-dry where a player plays in the pros. The only way to know is to try.

Joseph from East Moline, IL

If a college player starts as a freshman, due to lack of competition, at, I don't know, let's just totally randomly say East Mississippi CC, and then gets a D-I offer, is he allowed to redshirt his sophomore year at the D-I college?

*You obviously never played NCAA Football 14. Yes, JUCO players are allowed to redshirt. Unlike transfers, however, they aren't required to sit out a year. *

Jim from Eau Claire, WI

Gentlemen, I often hear Coach McCarthy use the term "self-scouting". Can you explain what he means by this?

It's pretty simple. It literally means to scout yourself and your scheme. Coaches will do it to review and make sure they're not giving away any tells to the opponent.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Is Brett Favre's consecutive-games-played streak the most impressive record in NFL history?


Sue from Tomah, WI

Is the determination of who is signed to the practice squad made at the same time that the roster is cut to 53? Once the practice squad is set, is there someplace I can access to see who made it? Thanks to Vic and you two, I am gradually getting to know more about my favorite team. GO PACK!

All eligible players must clear waivers before they're eligible to sign on the 10-man practice squad. You'll be able to find the release and list on our website next month after that's all sorted out.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Saw a little Twitter buzz about Geoff Gray and watched some of his tape. Pretty impressive stuff and an interesting story. How does he look in-person out there?


Maury from Minneapolis, MN

How much consideration, if any, do teams give to a player's pedigree? I realize draft picks and cuts are primarily based on player performance, but is any weight given to family lineage (Clay Matthews and now Max McCaffrey)?

I'm sure there's some value in having a father who has close knowledge of the NFL, but I don't know how much NFL evaluators are paying attention to it. At the end of the day, you evaluate the film – not the birth certificate.

Don from Roscoe, IL

Wes, with the departure of Lacy, who's got the best circle button on the roster? How about the best L2 R-stick combo? (Also, you've answered more of my questions than Vic or Spoff combined. So I owe you a beer when I make my annual pilgrimage.)

I'm sure all three of us have readers who align more with our interests, which probably leads to me to answering a particular reader more than Spoff and vice versa. The easy answer would be Aaron Ripkowski, but I'm excited to see what Devante Mays does in the preseason. He seems to pack a lot of power in that 5-foot-11, 230-pound body.

Maggie from Kenosha, WI

In your opinion, is it better for a rookie to have a so-so training camp and a stellar preseason, or a phenomenal training camp and a good-but-not-great preseason?

I prefer the former. Training camp is for learning. It's not always about who had the best practice or the worst. Joe Whitt Jr. had a great line Wednesday about asking Aaron Rodgers to throw at particular cornerbacks to get a look at seeing how they respond to certain situations. It's the preseason games where coaches look for young players to put all those hours of meetings and practice to work.

Adam from Racine, WI

Who wins in the weight room? Corey Linsley or Mike Daniels? Has the defense been able to take the belt yet?

*I honestly don't know. I'd use their combine reps to judge, but Daniels didn't do the bench in 2012 because he was recovering from a torn labrum. The belt still resides with the offense for now. *

Will from Rogers, AR

What are the odds that 88 is a Pro Bowler this year?

Better than him changing his number?

Blake from Orlando, FL

The WR group seems interesting to me. Nelson, Cobb, and Adams I would consider to be locks to make the team, but after that we have Allison, Janis, Davis, and rookies Dupre and Yancey. Who out of that group is showing to have the best shot at making the team?

I'm not in the business of prognosticating the receiver competition one week into camp. What I will say is Dupre and Davis have caught my eye early. Both are gifted and I'm excited to see them in actual games. All the options are on the table for the Packers, who'll have an extra roster spot for a week with Allison being suspended for one game.

Jason from Kent, OH

Any ideas for a good fantasy football team name?

Win one for the Ripper? Ty Montgomery's new number?

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, in your article highlighting the defensive coaches' news conference, Dom Capers talked about Quinten Rollins' development at the star position. Would you please explain what the star position is?

It's the term the Packers' coaching staff uses to describe the slot cornerback in the nickel defense. I'm not sure how it got that name, but it is a playmaking position.

Jason from Park Falls, WI

Momma always said, "It's called a job because they pay you to do it." I would never assume that your job is easy, but as a Packer fan, it seems to me like you Packers writers have the ultimate dream job. I was wondering, what are the most trying aspects of your job?

Having to tell my wife, "No, I can't. I have to work." I've been perfecting that line for 12 years now. Not once has she ever asked me why I'm not home for dinner or complained about me missing "Wicked" after she'd only been planning for six months. She's a saint and the strongest person I've ever met. I would've gotten out of this racket years ago and picked up a regular 9-5 if she asked me to. Her selflessness has allowed me to live that "ultimate dream job" and I'm thankful every day for her. Other than that, I'd probably have to say working with Tyler Gajewski.

Kevin from Asbury Park, NJ

I know running backs are not always expected to catch the ball, but I find it odd that some running backs struggle so much with that aspect of the game. Another example is when you see a professional athlete throw out the first pitch and completely put it in the dirt or miss by a mile. I know these aren't just simple tasks, but these are some of the best athletes in the world, I would think those sort of things would be easy for them.

There's an old saying about cornerbacks being cornerbacks because they can't catch the ball. While I don't think that's entirely true, the adage speaks to skill sets determining where a player plays. Trying to find the best possible fit for a player is what makes the game beautiful.

Tom from Chesterfield, VA

Do you see Clay Matthews getting a significant amount of reps at ILB this season? His ability to shift inside would transform ILB into a position of strength, IMO. Depending of course on his ability to stay healthy.

I'm going to echo McCarthy here – Matthews is going to play everywhere. He'll be inside. He'll be outside. He's going to be wherever the coaches feel he presents the best potential mismatch for an offensive front.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

At 6-foot-6, 217 pounds, why wasn't Michael Clark drafted? One would think with his size a team would have taken a flyer in the late rounds at least.

He only played one year of college football. Prior to that, Clark hadn't played since his freshman year of high school. He has skills. They just need to be refined.

Neal from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Could you guys make a sick pump-up/hype video using the guitar intro to the song "Welcome Home" by Coheed and Cambria to get us all jacked for the season to start? I just listened to the song and couldn't help but think that would be awesome music for a "Let's get ready for football" video!

I'm with you. Great song. When I used to cover the Green Bay Gamblers, they'd pipe in "Welcome Home" during every pre-skate. It got me pumped for every game.

Jeffrey from St Clair Shores, MI

Ted Thompson has the best press conferences ever. His sense of humor is outstanding. His insights are mind-opening. What is it like to be in the room with TT?

His response to telling reporters when he intends to retire – "Well, then you wouldn't stay for the movie" – may go down as one of the best one-liners ever uttered in the history of the Packers media auditorium. I love his dry humor.

Daniel from Louisville, WI

Joe Whitt Jr. is by far my favorite coach. I can't wait until he gets a head coach position. Would you guys do a story on him, where he comes from, and how he got where he is?

It's on my to-do list. He's been one of my favorite coaches to cover at any level. He's always respectful and honest in his responses. I firmly believe he'll be a head coach someday.

Tyler from De Pere, WI

Wes, you can't just let Larry take you down like that. Redemption has to be pursued. Water cooler? Pie to the face?

I don't know if Larry is someone I want to pick a fight with. He may be older now, but I'm still confident he could kick my gluteus maximus.

Jamie from Ft. Collins, CO

I am concerned watching players dive at those big doughnuts and just bringing them down with their body weight. It reminds me of watching the many missed tackles over the past few years. Please tell me they drill the heck out of form tackling the right way. Also, Wes, what have you done to increase your gluteus maximus? Maybe drinking beer would help?

The point of the exercise is to perfect their form tackling with the donut. Instead of unnecessary collisions with teammates in individual periods, they simulate it by tracking the moving target. To the second part of your question, I guess you're gonna have to watch "Three Things" and find out.

Emmet from Geneva, IL

Don't worry, Wes. I've got Hank Hill Syndrome, too. In fact, at my one-year checkup, my mom supposedly told my pediatrician I was "fine, [I] just [didn't] have a butt." Larry is legendary. While at Illinois, Larry helped my grandmother and father push her car out of a snowbank. My father and I had the opportunity to meet him when I was 7 years old at Packers training camp. When my dad told Larry the story, he remembered, and then graciously autographed my hat.

Larry truly is one of a kind.

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