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Variety is the spice of (football) life

Once you're in the end zone, you have to be thinking stands


Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

My first Family Night was amazing. Richard Rodgers looks slimmer and quicker, or is it different live than watching on TV? But he looked really good to me, even though it was just a practice.

Rodgers slimmed down last year, reporting for camp at 257 pounds. Rodgers has just been getting open and catching the balls coming his way. Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks are exciting new additions, but don't forget Rodgers has been a reliable part of this offense for years.

Carl from Elk Mound, WI

Based on Family Night observations, which player has the greatest amount of work to do on their Lambeau Leap?

The quality of the Leap was fine, but I'd like to see Aaron Peck use his instincts if he scores another touchdown. Once you're in the Lambeau end zone, you have to be thinking stands.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Mike dropped a pretty big "if" bomb yesterday. "If Matthews stays healthy, he's this defense's biggest difference-maker in the front seven." Obviously, being healthy makes a difference for every player, but it seems like a chronic problem for Clay. I can't remember the last season he wasn't dealing with something along the way. I wouldn't mind seeing less of Clay earlier in the season if it means we get a healthy Clay later on. I really just want to see him stay 100 percent for an entire season again. That's the only way we can know for sure what he's truly capable of anymore.

It's only natural for fans to want Matthews on the field as much as possible. Last year was unfortunate with the hamstring and shoulder injuries, but Matthews had started 36 consecutive games (including playoffs) prior to that. He concentrated on his conditioning and endurance in his offseason workouts. Knock on wood it'll be enough.

Warren from Lutz, FL

Haven't heard anything about Trevor Davis. How does he seem to be developing?

He's looked good so far, but preseason games are a lot different than training-camp practices. It's going to be on all these young receivers to show up when the lights are on.

Jeremy from London, UK

What's the practical value of having a Martellus Bennett in the locker room? Do those off-field positives ever translate into value as GMs see it?

Every locker room needs personality. You saw the impact Julius Peppers and Johnny Jolly had in the past, and it continues with the likes of Bennett, Jahri Evans, Ricky Jean Francois and Davon House. It's good for young players on a draft-and-development team to gain an outside perspective on things from veteran free agents who played elsewhere. Variety is the spice of (football) life.

Jeff from Kenosha, WI

If Lowry beats out Clark in the nickel, will that relegate Clark to the base defense? That would mean our No. 1 pick from a year ago won't be playing much.

Defensive line is a lot different than skill positions like receiver or running back where players take a bulk of the reps. You need a rotation of four or five defensive linemen every Sunday to navigate a game. The Packers are counting on both Lowry and Clark this season.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

What rules are in place when a quarterback wears a red shirt in practice?

Same rules as your routine stoplight.

Andrew from Fullerton, CA

You often read in training camp about a virtual sack. What exactly does that mean? Does the rusher slow down just before they'd usually tackle the QB? Does he have to slap the QB's pad? Approach the QB for long enough to sing, "I'm a Little Teapot"?

He rushes past the quarterback instead of rushing through him.

Gordon from Newport Beach, CA

Coach sounds like Allen Iverson on the kicking situation. "We talkin' about practice..." No concerns?

I don't think there's concern on the Packers' end. Crosby has seen and done it all during his decade in Green Bay, and he looked great in practice so far. The operation must get corrected, but I think it falls under the category of an anomaly until proven otherwise. He's a pro.

Braden from Aurora, CO

Hey guys, how is Fackrell looking? With the comments about lack of depth at OLB, I feel like we need a third-round pick to contribute and provide valuable snaps this year.

He's definitely bigger. His position coach, Winston Moss, wants to see him be a little more free-flowing in his rush, but the tools are there. Fackrell, Jayrone Elliott and Reggie Gilbert are in line to get a lot of work this preseason. Let's see what happens.

Dave from Franklin, WI

Echoing the sentiment of 1950s all-green uniforms, am I the only one disappointed they didn't break them out for the color-rush games? A great way to sneak in two throwback uniforms in a season.

I don't think it works that way.

Tim from Omaha, NE

In a recent interview on the Dan LeBatard show, Aaron Rodgers stated that he records every interview that he does so he can't be taken out of context. As journalists, what do you think of him doing that?

I don't have a problem with it. There shouldn't be an issue if you quote him accurately and don't take his comments out of context.

Kevin from Jacksonville, FL

We get names of young position coaches on the short list for coordinator positions and the short list of coordinators for head coach. How about some names of excellent position coaches who are content to be position coaches?

*I don't know the answer to that question, but I doubt the list is long. Regardless of what line of work you're in, it's only human to want to strive for more. *

Geert from Old Windsor, UK

"Hard Knocks" will kick off again tonight. I enjoy watching the business and organizational side of football and see the professional standards (or lack thereof) in specific teams. From your vantage point, how does it typically compare with what you see in Green Bay?

I am a fan of "Hard Knocks." It perfectly encapsulates the agony and ecstasy of life on the roster bubble. It's difficult to say about the day-to-day operations because I'm not privy to most of it, but players definitely turn to their teammates to help pass time on off days.

Patrick from Sioux Falls, SD

You all seem to have a cordial, sometimes even friendly, relationship with the players and Packers coaches. Do any of you socialize away from football? Also, are you going to change the name of "Three Things" to "No ifs, ands or BUTTS"? Keep up the great work.

I see what you did there. Hopefully, we can put that all behind us. There are a lot of interesting and engaging personalities on this team. I've gone to a few WWE shows with Mike Daniels before and had a chance to follow Mason Crosby around the golf course two years ago. It's cool when you can get to know a few of these guys off the field.

Brian from Spring Valley, WI

How many tackles does a long-snapper make each year? It seems like the ability to snap effectively is far more important than their athleticism of providing coverage. The snap directly and greatly affects the ability to put up points, where coverage is just a small part of affecting field position.

Tackles are extra credit for long-snappers. I saw somewhere that two-time Pro Bowler Morgan Cox has like two in 100 games.

Craig from Eagle, WI



Louis from Coral Springs, FL

Have you ever heard of a player in the modern NFL that has made a successful switch from offense to defense or vice versa?

Sam Shields and J.R. Sweezy are the first two players who come to mind. I'm sure there are more. De Pere native Drew Nowak also made a switch from defensive to offensive line with the Seahawks for a couple seasons.

Bob from Basking Ridge, NJ

Still think HOF should induct Jerry Kramer and LeRoy Butler. Each were on their respective all-decade teams. And without No. 64 is the vaunted sweep as successful? Butler began to change safety play at the line. Thoughts?

I defer to Cliff when talking about 1960s Packers, but take a simple approach to judging a player's candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame – did he change the game? I think both Kramer and Butler fall into that category.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

Considering postseason stats for possible Hall of Fame acceptance doesn't seem fair to those players whose teams didn't make the postseason.

Playoffs aren't everything, but they are a thing when it comes to fashioning a Hall of Fame resume.

Will from Rogers, AR

Surprise of the depth charts released for me was seeing Cobb as the No. 2 holder. Don't backup QBs usually hold?

Nope. Cobb was indeed the No. 2 holder during the regular season last year. I don't know of any teams using a quarterback as a holder anymore.

Andy from Clive, IA

Does Kurt Warner's Hall of Fame bust credit all of the pro teams he played for, including the Iowa Barnstormers?

This isn't baseball. Pro Football Hall of Fame busts don't credit anything other than the player. But yes, the Hall recognizes his contributions in the Arena Football League. You can't tell Warner's story without starting from the beginning.

Jesse from Bismarck, ND

Any chance we can play the Dolphins twice this year?

I've lost count of how many times Spoff and I have been asked this question over the last 24 hours.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

Regarding indoor Super Bowls, what's the backup plan for the league if a planned stadium's roof collapses before the big game like what happened to the Metrodome a few years back? Do they have a backup site just in case something disastrous happens?

Doubtful, but I'm going to go out on a limb and bet the roof of the $975 million U.S. Bank Stadium is sturdier than the Metrodome's.

Matt from Shorewood, WI

Chris Simms, via Bleacher Report, produced his preseason power rankings and positioned the Pack at 14 and the Giants at No. 2. This seems to be fairly asinine, at least on paper. What weight do you give to power rankings and how have they affected fans' perspectives, especially during the internet age?

I've worked with Chris in the past and have a great deal of respect for him and the guys at Bleacher Report. At the same time, I have to respectfully disagree with that assessment and I don't think I'm alone. This offense is poised to put up points this year.

Tracy from Sioux Falls, SD

If Todd Hundley looks as if he'll have a bright future, would it be better to trade him so that you determine where he goes instead of letting him go in free agency and possibly having to face him on a regular basis?

He was a great catcher, but isn't 48 is a bit too old for a career change? I'm sorry, I had a good laugh with this question. Brett Hundley is under contract through 2018, so there's no rush on moving him. A trade would hinge solely on what the Packers would be receiving.

Charlie from Cameron, NC

A question about Mike's answer to Simon from Mountain View, CA, regarding carrying a receiver out of bounds. Does the defensive player need to establish possession of the receiver prior to carrying him out of bounds in order for it to still be a catch? What if one of the DB's feet is out of bounds during his "catch"? What if said receiver is actually a running back in receiver's clothing, do the same rules apply?

I think I have a headache. Wait, no, I definitely have a headache.

Joseph from East Moline, IL

Wes, do you ever have a beer or two the night before a game? If so, you should go to CBs Tap on Dec. 2 and have a drink with us.

Unfortunately, I've never had a beer in my life (Don't @ me). I'm in for a root beer, though.

Elliot from Seattle, WA

I've gotta ask – what happened to Larry's pinky finger?

I could tell you, but I'd have to block you.

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