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This is where memories happen

Reps breed familiarity for all players


Mike from Somerset, WI

Each year I am awed by the 77,000 fans that travel to watch practice and enjoy the Green Bay area. I have a feeling western Wisconsin will be well-represented at Family Night. Setting up play dates for the kids has been more challenging than normal.

Family Night is special. This is where memories happen. It's different from any other game-like setting. While I've never been able to watch the laser show, I've heard it's quite the spectacle. And if the quarterback goes for another Lambeau Leap this year, just be sure to catch him.

Hermes from Richmond, CA

Every time Kentrell Brice brings his pads down and hits someone, I bet it brings a smile to Vic's face. I look forward to how his second season plays out.

Many NFL defensive backs can hit, but what impresses me about Brice is he does it consistently in an appropriate manner. There's no malicious intentions in his playstyle. It's all business – tough business.

Eric from Stramproy, Netherlands

Hey Insiders: could you elaborate a little about what exactly the NFL officials' roles and/or tasks in next three practices are? Thanks.

They're in the meetings with the coaches and players, discussing rule changes and emphases. They also officiate practice, giving the players a better idea of what to expect this season.

Jeremy from Edinburgh, UK

Have you seen a WR group this deep in your time with the Packers?

The 2011 roster was loaded, but I don't know if I've seen this much parity from No. 4 on down during my time following the team. Those young receivers were making play after play during Thursday night's practice. I think all of them had at least one catch that grabbed everyone's attention.

Paul from Madison, WI

It seems that most QBs have a favorite receiver. You see this with backups in preseason, too. How does this relationship develop?

Reps breed familiarity. I mean just look at Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. The more you work with someone, the more you're going to learn their tendencies. The same happens with the young quarterbacks and the receivers. I think you've see it in camp with Joe Callahan and Taysom Hill developing a rapport with Malachi Dupre and Max McCaffrey on those third units.

Bradley from Green Bay, WI

How did Kevin King do after returning to practice? Can he cover?

Joe Whitt Jr. said he wanted Aaron Rodgers to target him more and the Packers cornerbacks coach got his wish Thursday night. King got a taste of what a back-shoulder throw from Aaron Rodgers looks like on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson during two-minute. King has a lot of ability and those reps will make him better. Now that it appears the shoulder won't be too much of an issue, he'll continue to get the vital practice reps he missed in the spring.

Chris from Kitakyushu, Japan

After a week of camp, watching interviews and the like, I'm getting a much different feeling from this group. In previous camps the words "Super Bowl" were bandied about often, but this year I'm hearing much more deflection away from that kind of talk. Do you think this group is more focused on the process than past teams? And if so, is that a product of the team feeling its window starting to close, or more due to the addition of more outside veterans than usual?

*I don't know if they're any more focused than previous years, but there are a lot of experienced players on this roster who understand there are 21 weeks between the start of the regular season and the Super Bowl. As far as the window closing, I think that's a false narrative. Tom Brady just won a Super Bowl at 39. Rodgers is only 33. The Packers' veteran additions were more a reflection of losing seven unrestricted free agents. *

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

The Packers have a history of several UDFAs making the 53 every year. With 10 draft picks and the addition of five veteran FAs and so much returning talent, it seems like this might be a tough year for the UDFAs to make the roster. In the first week of camp, which UDFAs and practice-squad holdovers have you seen so far that look like they could make the 53?

McCaffrey and Derrick Mathews have stood out to me as far as practice-squad players who have performed so far in camp. Justin Vogel isn't your traditional UFA since most punters aren't drafted, but I've liked what I've seen from him. He has a live leg. I also want to add 6-foot-6 rookie Michael Clark had an incredible catch Thursday night.

Sebastián from Montreal, Canada

Regarding testing numbers, wouldn't it be more accurate for the combine participants to wear pads? That way it wouldn't be so difficult for evaluators to predict "game speed" for the 40-yard dash as well as other drills. Has the NFL ever discussed changing this?

It's not a perfect system, but I don't think adding pads would make things any easier for scouts to evaluate. If anything, it would complicate the process since you know people would be trying to find the lightest, most efficient pads possible to increase speed.

Paul from Hewitt, WI

Typically the starters have a limited number of snaps in the first preseason game. The question, since Ty Montgomery has less experience as a running back, is will he get more snaps than other starters, or is the priority to get the rookie running backs the snaps to set the pecking order?

I'm guessing they all get some work in the first two games. It's hard to say what the Packers' plan will be for Montgomery, but the only comparable I can think of is Eddie Lacy's first appearance as a rookie in 2013. Green Bay pounded the ball early against the Rams, giving him eight carries for 40 yards in three series before he exited.

Jesus from El Paso, TX

What's so bold about a bold prediction if there is nothing to lose?

Well, you're risking your boldness.

Jessi from Sterling, KS

Can Aaron throw a Hail Mary in the Don Hutson Center?

Yes, but he'd have to do it very carefully. He might not be able to put as much umph on it as he usually does.

Rick from San Francisco, CA

The questions about how to "stash" players combined with the Packers' seemingly high level of talent at wide receiver and possibly at cornerback have me wondering. What other options does a team have to try to incentivize or "hide" a player going to the practice squad? Can they pay them much more than the minimum and let them know if they're being especially groomed for a spot the next year? Would that work?

I've answered this a few times, but it still comes up. There's no limit to what you can pay practice-squad players, but that player's salary counts against the cap. So yes, you can stash players on the practice squad by paying them what they'd otherwise make on another team's 53.

Steve from Grand Rapids, MI

How long does each team have to make a decision on whether or not to claim someone who is waived?

Teams have to submit a claim to the league within 24 hours of the player being released unless it's the final roster reduction. Spoff outlined that process in Friday's Inbox.

Patrick from Ashland, WI

How does a team know when it's its turn in the waiver wire process for selecting a particular player? That is, how as a GM would I know if the teams ahead of me have passed on a guy?

You submit the claim and the league sorts out where the player lands based on a formula. From the Super Bowl until the first day of Week 4, the claiming order is the same as the original draft order. After that, it's based on inverse order of win-loss records that season.

Will from Rogers, AR

After a team claims someone off waivers, does that team move to the bottom of the list?


David from Coeur d Alene, ID

Will the jersey numbers currently listed on the team roster stay the same after the cut-down to 53 or will some of them then change?

I think some could change. For example, nobody has worn No. 5 (Paul Hornung's currently being worn by Vogel) in a regular-season game since 1988. A few years ago, Andy Mulumba switched from 46 to 55 after making the 53.

Matt from Greensboro, NC

Catch-rule question: If a receiver leaps and catches the ball, but the defender catches the receiver on his way down and the defender walks him out of bounds without the receiver's feet touching, is it a catch?

Yup. Spoff taught me that one.

Patrick from Bel Air, MD

I think it's time GB uses a shot (question) clock during press conferences. Maybe 25 seconds. There are way too may monologues rather than questions.

I think the bigger issue is too many people have shot-clock attention spans these days.

Luke from Lake Delton, WI

I'm glad to see the throwbacks coming back for another season. They raise much needed awareness for the pre-Super Bowl history of the NFL. If the Packers would do a different throwback, what would you want it to be?

The 1980 Packers didn't have much success on the field, but I loved uniforms with the "G" over the stripes on the sleeve.

James from Ottawa, Canada

I had a question about the Hall of Fame Game. First off, thank the football gods for bringing football back into our lives. Secondly, the Cowboys DC seemed uncharacteristically harsh (by most evaluation standards after only one preseason game) with regards to Taco Charlton's play. Seemingly all Packers coaches, seconded by the Insiders, agree that expectations should be tempered for rookies. Do you have any thoughts on why Dallas would speak so frankly about their first-round pick after only one game?

Every coach handles things differently. I don't know what Rod Marinelli's motivations were, but he's obviously trying to get more from the rookie. Time will tell what impact it will have on Charlton.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

How would you compare covering hockey to football?

I picked up pro football a lot faster than I picked up hockey. Truthfully, it took me two years to really understand the game and what players were trying to accomplish away from the puck. Football is complex, but the pacing makes it easier to follow schemes and personnel patterns. I enjoyed covering hockey, though. Shout out to Mark Mazzoleni. I think he might read this column every so often.

Scott from Little Rock, AR

Just wanted to say the "Three Things" videos are awesome. I think the next one should be Spoff and the Rock spotting Wes to see how much he can squat. By the end of the season he could have buns of steel.

Earlier this summer, Larry taught me how to properly rush out of a three-point stance in the office. Maybe if I squat more (or at all), I could be more explosive off the line?

Jim from Woodman, WI

Wes, why don't you get Larry back by wearing a pillow in your pants?

Because I don't want to have to carry a pillow or cheese butt around the Don Hutson Center for 2½ hours.

Jacob from Green Bay, WI

I saw the fan poll on and noticed that giving away of jerseys as the best part of Family Night wasn't getting much love. As a kid I was lucky enough to have my seat picked and I received Mark Tauscher's jersey/dress. I still have it and I never plan on getting rid of it. I don't think people are realizing how great that opportunity is.

Ha. "Jersey-dress" might be a cooler term than "safety-backer." But yes, that is another awesome facet of Family Night.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

What's your favorite Family Night memory? Mine is when the entire offensive line did a Lambeau Leap and the ref who was there threw a flag for group celebration. The look on McCarthy's face was priceless.

Spoff asked me the same question on "Unscripted." It's definitely Brandian Ross picking off Rodgers in 2012. Afterward in the locker room, the undrafted rookie was just grinning from ear to ear. It's such a cool experience for those young players getting their first taste of Lambeau.

Larry from Riverside, CA

Are we going to be able to make it to the SUPER BOWL again this year?

I could tell you, but then you wouldn't stay for the movie. Sorry, I just loved that line.

Michael from Ocala, FL

No question. Just a thank you for all you've done. Gonna miss you! You're welcome.

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