Skip to main content
Powered by

The rookies aren't rookies anymore

Maybe all the Packers need is a good bounce to go their way


John from Sioux Falls, SD

Insiders, my high school football coach used to say, "Boys, the ball is a funny shape. You never know how it's going to bounce." While the Packers certainly have issues to address, it seems to me this team is long overdue for a break, good bounce, or big play that will help rebuild some confidence. They just need someone to make that funny-shaped ball start bouncing their way. Am I wrong?

I remember sitting in the Ford Field press box last December, with the Packers having lost four of their last five games, and thinking when Starks fumbled the ball into the end zone and Cobb fell on it, maybe that was the break they needed. Lo and behold, that game ends with a Hail Mary TD. You never know.

Noah from Brisbane, Australia

What is your guys' take on the running back who just found his way to Green Bay?

I liked**what McCarthy said about him**, and I'm curious to see how quickly he might be able to help. Otherwise I'm reserving judgment until I see him in a game. There's no way to know how well he fits the offense until then, though I suspect this move is different from the Knile Davis trial.

Adam from Hillsboro, KS

I really like our coach. His comment about a "fast-start drill" made me laugh out loud. He knows what he's doing. Everybody, let's give him a chance to turn the ship around.

I thought that line was pretty good, too. I know fans are impatient because they see the struggles dating back to last year after the 6-0 start. As I said on our latest "Unscripted" podcast, let's not forget McCarthy had a lot to do with pulling out of that rut and getting the team one play away from the NFC title game. His overall track record deserves at a bare minimum the benefit of the doubt from the fans, and then some.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

I wonder if Capers simply is not a good fit with the Thompson philosophy of draft and develop. Capers has shown great success with experienced players, but his young charges, year in and year out, seem unable to grasp his system without frequent mental lapses. By the time they have been around long enough to "get it," Thompson lets them go (Williams, House, Hayward) and gives Capers a handful of undrafted FAs. Thoughts?

I can appreciate where you're coming from. But in 2010, the Packers had a top defense that helped win a Super Bowl with young, unproven players like Sam Shields, Frank Zombo, Erik Walden and B.J. Raji playing significant roles. In 2014, another strong unit included young guys like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Micah Hyde and Sam Barrington. I think the difference this year is the sheer volume of young players needing to step in due to the injuries, and how much things change when your star players are out. If you had asked me before the season to name the most indispensable players on Green Bay's defense, I would have picked one on each level – Daniels on the line, Matthews at linebacker, and Shields in the secondary. Only one of those three has played regularly.

Ken from Oceanport, NJ

Would it be accurate to say that the Packers' talent level is not good enough to compensate for the injuries they have sustained?

It's young talent, and McCarthy commented Thursday that the rookies aren't rookies anymore. It has to start showing up.

Josh from Brandon, MS

Insiders, theoretically, a receiver catches a pass and runs, say, 11 yards and the ball gets knocked out of his hands and another receiver grabs it out of the air and runs in for a touchdown. Does this second player get a reception and yards for this play?

The second player gets receiving yards and a touchdown, but not a reception. The first player gets the reception and the yards until he lost the ball. If the second player doesn't catch another pass in the game, his strange stat line would include yards and a score with no catch.

Josh from Phoenix, AZ

Mike, I liked Wes' little mantra, but this season I prefer "It is not about waiting for the storm to pass... it is about learning to dance in the rain."

It's supposed to be windy Sunday night in D.C. Maybe the weather has been too good this month.

Chad from Port Edwards, WI

With the increased use of the rugby-style punt, why is it still a penalty for running into the kicker when the kicker looks as if he is going to run?

I've wondered the same thing.

Taylor from Fargo, ND

I never watched or had a passion for football until I went to my first Packers game last year. Ever since that game, I have intently watched every Packer game, I have read every Ask Vic/Insider Inbox, and I even attended another game this year. I am a new fan, and even though a lot of fans see the last two seasons as "disappointing," I have fallen in love with this team during that time. There's something special going on here and I am enjoying every moment of it, win or lose. If this team truly has been unexceptional as of late, then I can't wait to see the exceptional.

A new generation of fans has arrived. There are those who remember the '70s and '80s, those who only know the Favre-Rodgers era, and those who somehow stumbled upon the Packers after last year's bye week. Careful, Taylor, the trolls might blame you.

Jenny from Rochester, MN

Mike, thanks for the continued patience, clarity and education in your columns. But, please clarify if you were being sarcastic or not when you replied, "I love it when foreigners point out our flaws in such simple terms."

Absolutely not. I pause, and smile, anytime I come across what appears to be a new patient, clear, and educational perspective.

Dakota from Jensen Beach, FL

These have been some of the most depressing Inboxes I've read over the past few years. I know it's midseason and we don't have much better to talk about than the negatives, but I could sure use a good story to divert my attention from all this negativity.

I hope you got a chance to check out my**hunting with Janis story**. It was a great distraction for me.

JD from Palm Bay, FL

Loved the article and pictures from the Janis piece. Is that your first time in the field? If so, what was your take on the trip?

It was my first time, and I had a blast learning and experiencing it all, even though we didn't see any deer until we were walking out of the woods in the dark. I'm not going to become a hunter, but I can totally see the appeal.

Andy from Appleton, WI

How come the Packers never go for the coffin corner on a punt?

I don't think anybody does with any regularity anymore. Teams seem to think their odds of pinning an opponent deep are better with the Aussie-style kick down the middle. Less chance of a shank, I guess, when direction isn't paramount.

Josh from Desert Hot Springs, CA

Hey Insiders, why not let retired players ref the game? Aren't they the only people who have more knowledge drilled into them over the years?

I'm going to tweak your idea. Let retired players rewrite the rule book.

Aaron from Seattle, WA

Another game in Washington D.C., another year my people have to endure a racial slur on every television screen. Mike and Wes, when will people realize we are not mascots?

I understand fans' attachment to a name and logo. What I don't understand is why they feel a change would fundamentally alter their fandom.

Fred from Springfield, IL

"You're going to have teachable moments early on, but the constant with the Packers' program is the team is always better in December." OR you could end up with a young player making an absolutely gut-wrenching mistake that knocks you out of the playoffs or ruins your chance at a Super Bowl appearance.

Or two different rookies could have two interceptions apiece in NFC title games. Or a veteran player could tell another veteran player to slide with five minutes left. No one is outlawed from shining, nor immune from mistakes, especially in the playoffs.

Jodee from League City, TX

We've always been a pass-dominant offense. Defenses know this. It's not a big surprise our WRs are not getting as open as they used to. But with Rodgers dropping back more than ever this year (55x vs. Titans) it's easy to blame it on him dancing around and the lack of a run game, but how come there is no blame placed on our TE position? If they were to become more of a threat in the middle wouldn't that help open up our WRs on the outside?

That's why the Packers signed Cook in the offseason. He was going to be a big part of the offense. Let's see what he does when he gets back out there.

Richard from Madison, WI

Super Bowl LI? Really? LI? I thought the NFL had come to its senses last year when it went with a plain, understandable "50." Has nobody informed them that it's the 21st century?

I was hoping last year would mark a permanent shift away from Roman numerals, too.

Dave from West Allis, WI

Do you think it's unrealistic to compare the value of replay between the NFL and MLB? I frankly think the umpires are better in MLB where replay is unnecessary, but the NFL refs frequently miss calls, thus making replay more important for them. Seems like an "apples-to-oranges" comparison because action on a diamond is centralized in a spot or two where it might be in 10 spots at once on a football field. I also can't help but think the repetition experienced by pro umpires has to be preferable over a 16-times-a-year ref who goes back to teaching high school social studies on Mondays. Thoughts?

Did you not see all the calls, many of them pivotal, in the baseball playoffs that were reversed by replay this year? Baseball should never have another Don Denkinger moment in the World Series, and I think that's a good thing. I also don't buy into the full-time gig idea. It's not like they can officiate an NFL game five or six days a week.

Jacob from Houston, TX

I just want to say that for the past several years I have lived and breathed during the football season. We've had some of the best football seasons of all-time to have the pleasure of enjoying, but it hasn't been cake the entire time. I am so embarrassed/infuriated with my fellow Packers "fans" that I will no longer even read, much less participate in, the comments section from here on out. This is a shame, because the comments section used to be a witty exchange of well-thought-out points of view, but it has digressed into a complete joke. I honestly can't believe the need to explain why we shouldn't fire TT, MM & Co. I guess we're tired of winning. Goodbye for now Mike, Wes, and Vic. Keep fighting the good fight.

Wes fired me up with the Rocky quote yesterday, so I say, for God's sake, why don't you stand up and fight these guys hard, like you done before, that was beautiful! But don't lay down like this! … These guys don't just wanna win, you know, they want to bury ya, they want to humiliate ya, they want to prove to the whole world that you was nothin' but some kind of a freak the first time out.

Ross from Newmarket, Ontario

I'm loving all the movie quotes we've been getting recently. If something written doesn't quite seem right, I give you guys the benefit of the doubt and Google the words to check. Keep up the good work.

That one was too long but I couldn't resist. I've always wanted to re-live that speech, but the stairwell outside my first shoddy apartment wasn't dark and dingy enough.

Dalton from Wasilla, AK

Hey Spoff, if you and Janis want to come up for an Alaska hunt for moose or caribou, let me know. My brother and I hunt every year, it could be fun.

I'll let Jeff know, but I'll come only if I can see Russia from your front porch. Thanks to everyone for the compliments on the hunting story. I do appreciate it.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.