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The ties that bind us together

Anything is possible with this Packers defense


Dan from Golden, CO

I've taken a much-needed break from the Packers and football in general over the past two months. Can you please summarize what I've missed on the Insiders articles?

Ty Montgomery kept his No. 88 and yet people continued to ask about a potential switch to the point it became a running joke, fans still haven't gotten over Seattle, and overtime rules are complicated. And oh, Vic retired.

Tal from Ascot, UK

I understand how an inside rush helps an outside rush, and how an outside rush helps a secondary, and how a secondary helps the pass rush. But how do the inside linebackers fit into all of this, or is it that the ILBs sort themselves out by themselves?

It's probably somewhere in between rushing and coverage depending on the call. A lot of it is reaction and timing. From a blitzing standpoint, you saw the impact Clay Matthews can have on the game from the inside linebacker position. However, there are several ways to make an impact depending on the player's skill set.

Chris from Fort Bragg, NC

Regarding the behind-the-scenes: I am also very interested in the operation. I'll take anything you'd like to share.

I'd just like to add Mike is a saint for dealing with me on the road. I get motion sickness writing in vehicles, so Spoff takes the lead in banging out our game story and editorial in quick succession. He also edits my sidebar and notebook once we're on the plane. He never complains. At least to my face.

Carly from St. Joseph, MI

Since there are a few weeks of Sundays without football left, I took the opportunity to binge-watch "Last Chance U" on Netflix. What's the Insiders' opinions on the show and JUCO ball in general? Do these kids ever make it?

All the time. Probably one of the greatest success stories is Aaron Rodgers. Damarious Randall, Geronimo Allison, Devante Mays and Desmond Bishop also came through the JUCO system. All of these players have their own stories and reasons for traveling the path they did, but I think it's a great system. It creates opportunity.

Terry from Junction City, WI

Mike, you said, "I'm not saying I don't react at all, but I have to keep the reaction to myself." I'm just curious about press box reactions: Does the "press box" react when they see a "redunkulous" run-catch-throw-tackle-interception-sack on the field, based on the play, not the team? An example I can think of is when No. 12 throws another successful Hail Mary when EVERYONE in the stadium knows it's coming?

I've mentioned this here before, but the only time I can remember having an audible reaction was the Hail Mary in Detroit. I literally said, "You gotta be (expletive) kidding me?" I then proceeded to toss my laptop in the garbage with my 1,000-word running game story about how the Packers' season was at a crossroads. Yet another reminder it's never over with Rodgers under center.

Michael from Santa Cruz, CA

I've convinced myself that the secondary has a real chance to flip from a liability to a strength in one offseason. The safeties collectively are one of the best groups in the league. Randall is made for the slot corner position and will (hopefully) be healthier. House helps to stabilize things. While I hate to put this on the rookie, I think the key will be Kevin King. If he can hold up in man coverage from Day 1 and improve as the season progresses then I'm actually sanguine about our secondary this season.

It's going to be a big training camp for King after he missed 90 percent of the offseason program. History has shown rookie cornerbacks will play in this defense. I don't know when that moment will be, but King needs to be ready. Once King reports, it's Joe Whitt Jr.'s job to help him get there. Few cornerback coaches have a better track record of getting young players up to speed than Whitt.

Jesse from Fayetteville, NC

Do you think Packer fans are starting to become a little fair-weather? Does the impatience come from the expectation of all or nothing? Boos at Lambeau are embarrassing and in my opinion not necessary. We are one playoff berth away from tying the all-time record. Buy the ticket, take the ride.

I wouldn't go that far. It's only natural to want your team to win. At the same time, I made my feelings known about the booing last year. I don't think it accomplishes anything.

Rob from Buckinghamshire, UK

My bold prediction: Packers will have no players with more than 1,500 all-purpose yards. However, we will have four with more than 1,000, and three more with at least 500. What's your bold prediction?

The Packers will have an edge-rusher not named Nick Perry or Clay Matthews finish with at least five sacks.

David from Madison, WI

A recent article discussed Ron Wolf giving Driver a fourth-round grade out of Alcorn State, and neglecting to draft him based on his grade "because we didn't need a wide receiver." Such heresy!

That's what Wolf said happened. I think we're going to have to take him at his word. The Packers were pretty stacked at receiver with Antonio Freeman, a young Bill Schroeder, Corey Bradford and Mark Chmura. Also, Robert Brooks still was on the roster at the time. He didn't announce his retirement until August.

Mac from Vero Beach, FL

If the Packers beat the Seahawks and Falcons in the first two games, are they on their way to the Super Bowl?

If the Packers beat Seattle and Atlanta in their first two games, it means they're 2-0 and in prime position to get off to the fast start Rodgers has been talking about. You don't win Super Bowls in September, but you definitely can help your chances.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

I love the explanation of how rush and cover play off of each other. There are 11 battles happening on pretty much every play. Sometimes the team can win 10 of the 11 battles and lose the war.

That's what makes the game so beautiful. One small part of that big equation can heavily influence the outcome of a game and a season.

Matt from Bloomington, IN

I think the color-rush all-white jerseys should only be used in prime time. They looked so sharp under the lights. No need to wear them during the day.

Luckily for you the color-rush uniforms once again**will be worn during the Packers’ Thursday night game**against Chicago in Week 4. I'm with you, though. I thought they looked sharp under the lights.

Josj from Fargo, ND

I'm going to the Oct. 22 game against the Saints. What are some fun things to do/sights to see around the stadium and area the day before a home game? What about morning of the game?

Whatever you do on gameday, make time to stop by the Johnsonville Tailgate Village. I had a chance to check it out last week. I was in awe. It is incredible.

Robert from Harris, MN

Would it be fair to say you must "sacrifice" your fandom so we may more readily enjoy ours?

I'd agree with that. Drew Olson has such a great quote about sportswriters. Paraphrasing, Drew argues we're largely desensitized to cheering for or against a team. When a writer is on deadline, it's all about the story and getting the readers the most up-to-date information as quickly as possible. At least, that's my objective.

Jessi from Sterling, KS

I wanted to share something with the Insiders that happened last month. I came out of a store with my bags in hand and while walking up to my Packer car (every side has something Packers on it, including my license plate that says GOPACKR) I see a note sticking out by my driver's side door. I read it and it said, "Yeah Packers! Bonduel, WI" with a big smiley face on it. Just in case that person reads the Insiders, I wanted to let them know that it made my day! I saved the note and it's on my visor in my car. It's one of the things I love about the Packers, you can find fellow fan family anywhere!

*The ties that bind us together. It never ceases to amaze me when I see a Packers fan far outside the state of Wisconsin. In fact, I was at a county fair in Eureka, Calif., last month when I came across a man in a Packers T-shirt. *

Paul from Nevada City, CA

Wes, you touched off a recurring irritation for me (and likely ALL mathematicians)! It is FACTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE to give more than 100 percent – so why do you and others speak to more than that limitation? I have no problem with a player giving 100 percent, which is expected at this level – BUT DOES "110 PERCENT OR MORE" MEAN HE WAS SLACKING BEFORE THEN BY DEFINITION?

I'm sorry. I meant to say players need to be ready to give 1,100 percent in training camp. Simple mix-up.

Paul from Ellensburg, WA

At the draft a lot of people predicted we would get T.J. Watt, but I had a feeling we'd grab Takk McKinley until Atlanta jumped us to snag him. Now I'm weirdly fixated on his career to see what could have been. Who are some draft prospects recently or otherwise that you felt the same about?

Ryan Shazier. I thought he'd be perfect for the Packers' defense in 2014. Fortunately for Green Bay, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix hasn't been too shabby. On a personal level, I've always liked Shazier's game.

Dave from Germantown, TN

Do you see the Packers on third-and-long lining up with seven defensive backs? Burnett and Jones would take the inside linebacker spots, King and House are the boundary corners, Randall and Rollins are in the slots with Clinton-Dix playing centerfield.

Anything is possible with this defense, which was the point of every move the Packers made this offseason. Dom Capers and his coaches have a plan in place for how they're going to put all these defensive backs to use. We won't know what that entails until we see it in action, but I'm excited to see what they draw up.

Chris from Providence, RI

How could you forget Lil Wayne on the list of celebrity Packers fans? Shame!

There was a prerequisite for the photo gallery. The celebrities need to be following the Packers' Twitter account to be included. If Mr. Wayne would like to follow, we'd certainly be happy to include him in future galleries.

Lonny from Aberdeen, SD

Martellus Bennett said on Twitter he's working on getting his uniform number changed, presumably out of deference to Donald Driver, who was just inducted into Green Bay's team hall of fame. I'd like to suggest he take Ty Montgomery's No. 88, which he wore in New England, so we can start the Montgomery number fun all over again!

Such a scenario might break me. I'd never hear the end of it.

Marc from Bloomsburg, PA

In Monday's mailbox the future prediction quote was attributed to Yogi Berra. While it seems like a classic Yogism, the actual quotation, "Prediction is difficult particularly when it involves the future," was uttered by the nuclear physicist Niels Bohr. It does show that Yogi was correct when he said, "I've never said half the things I've said."

Don't let facts get in the way of a good story.

Jeff from Miami, FL

The Chuck Todd video clip (born in Miami, Fla.) again shows how widespread the popularity of this team reaches. How many states and countries have sent in questions to your Inbox?

All of them. Seriously.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

I'm bringing my boy to a training camp practice. He wants to get an autograph. Any tips?

I'd stick close to Nitschke Field. That's usually the best spot to catch an autograph or two before or after practice.

Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

Hey Biff, tell us a story from back in the day when you were a college student. Any good pranks pulled on other students in the dorm?

I lived at home. Ma Hod isn't a prankster.

Paul from Farnborough, UK

Is there an official cut-off point where we can no longer mention Vic's name in this column?

Vic and this column are synonymous. You can't talk about one without mentioning the other.

Randy from Medicine Hat, Canada

Until you guys change your ways, I predict you are in for many more references to Vic in this column. You have to become more curmudgeon-like.

I Googled to see whether there actually was a Medicine Hat, Canada. You learn something new every day.

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