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Who will make the play that tilts the game?

Plus three keys to victory for Packers vs. Vikings


Leonard from Bel Air, CA

Yesterday, Mike mentioned the overtime rules were imperfect. While logical, Mr. Spoff's comment left me wanting more. What would today's Insider like to see done to the overtime rules?

Surprise. Me two days in a row. I actually like the current overtime rules as they are, even though in calling them imperfect I'm acknowledging they're not totally fair. The revised format is still an improvement over the old way, but it's not the college system, which I don't particularly care for because it can take too long.

Jay from Sheboygan, WI

How are you guys doing? When a team scores a touchdown and they elect to kick the extra point and there is say a 5-yard penalty pre-snap by the defense, can the kicking team change their mind and go for two with the ball then being placed at the 1-yard line, or do they have to kick?

They can change their mind.

Jeff from Bismarck, ND

On another forum I saw someone write "what say ye?" Would that still get me banned here?

Ye best not try me.

Richard from Yankton, SD

Mike, seems like good things happen when you take time off. What we're going to do is allow you to take Sunday off.

You should know the last time I missed a road trip and watched a game from home, it was December 2010, Aaron Rodgers got concussed in Detroit, the Packers scored only three points, and on the FOX postgame show, Jimmy Johnson pulled out his big fork and stuck it in the Packers. On second thought …

Paul from Pensacola, FL

Thanks for clearing up so many questions for us fans. Here's what I'd like to know: Why is the roster cut to 46 players on game day?

Lots of folks asking this, and I wish I knew the definitive answer. My own logic on the 53/46 issue says the structure exists because the roster is supposed to be 46 (45 plus a third QB previously), but football doesn't have a disabled list, like in baseball, so the full roster is 53. There's one injured reserve exemption now, but you can't remove a guy from the roster, insert a substitute, and then bring him back after 15 days without exposing players to waivers (like in baseball). So the extra roster spots are a de facto DL. At least that's how it makes sense to me.

Bryan from Nashville, TN

I have solved the retro helmet conundrum: use a sticker that entirely covers the helmet so players can use their same helmet and we can get the classic colors and designs we crave. Also, coaches should wear "throwback" sideline gear to better represent the game of yesteryear.

You weren't the only one to suggest this. If someone could develop such a sticker or helmet wrap, a lot of money could be made.

Stan from Menomonie, WI

So the Bills' D gives up 37 and the offensive coordinator gets fired after the O scores 31 ... brotherly love?

If their dad's D had given up 37, he probably would have fired himself.

Martin from Trollhattan, Sweden

Hello Insiders. Why is it in football that only the nose/tip of the ball has to cross the goal line for a TD to count? In most other sports the entire ball most cross for the score to count.

I'm not sure to which other sports you're referring. The current rules seem consistent to me with only a portion of a baseball needing to touch the foul line to be fair, and only a portion of a tennis ball needing to touch the line to be good.

Hernu from Cape Town, WI

Hey Insiders, I was playing Madden 13 just now and saw the receivers we had. Do you think our receivers this year can be as good as Jennings, Nelson, Driver, Cobb, J. Jones and Finley?

That was the best collection I've ever seen, hands down. In 2011, four of those guys were in their primes, Driver as the elder still had six TDs, and Cobb was a sparingly used rookie.

Nathan from San Diego, CA

The league better be careful with this concussion protocol stuff. They're actually providing an incentive to the defense to hit the QB hard to make it look like he might have a concussion. Go ahead and put a late hit on a guy who has been torching you all day...

I've wondered about that myself.

Doug from Union Grove, WI

Hey guys! A question for your Packer emotion quotient. We were passing through GB last night around 10 p.m., and as always, when we come across Highway 172, I caught myself smiling at the big "G", lighting up the south end of the stadium. Do things like this affect you as much as it does some of us, or are you so used to it that you don't really notice anymore?

Living and working here, I don't really notice. But I remember as a kid, anytime we drove past Milwaukee County Stadium, even if we weren't going to a game, I'd get excited just to see the old ball-and-glove logo from the highway. So I know what you mean.

Jesse from Waukesha, WI

What will be the three keys to victory this weekend?

Don't let Peterson go nuts, protect the football, and get Nelson and Cook involved right out of the gate.

Bill from Columbia Heights, MN

Mike, your comments regarding first-down accuracy remind me of a case I recently witnessed at a high school game. After a rushing first down, the sticks were placed as usual, with placement estimated. On first down, the offense ran for just short of 10 yards. They brought out the sticks, determined he was three inches short, and used the sticks to place the ball at the hash marks. On second down, a false start moved the ball back 5 yards. The replay of the down was an incomplete pass. On third down, the defense was offside. They walked off the 5 yards, then measured for the first down – and determined that it was indeed a first down! The defense's head coach was rightfully livid. If it was 3 inches short before, offsetting penalties and an incomplete pass should mean it's still 3 inches short, right?

I miss high school football.

Dale from Oaktown, IN

Love the new format, fellows. As a former "chain gang" member, it amazed me how far 10 yards of chain could be stretched or shrunk, depending on where you were playing.

OK, maybe I don't miss it that much.

James from Pardeeville, WI

Watching the game Thursday night, Bills-Jets, I noticed the Jets kicked extra points from the center between the hash marks. I saw the Bills kick from the far right hash. Is it up to the kicking team to place the snap on those attempts or am I missing something?

The kicking team can choose. If the team is going for two, it can also decide where it wants the ball placed.

Matt from Fort Collins, CO

Hey guys, what's up with splitting Lacy out wide on a cornerback? Is that just a consequence of running the hurry-up and not being able to substitute? It doesn't really seem like there's anything that he can realistically do out there that a receiver wouldn't be better suited for.

Another common question. Usually it's not a cornerback lined up across from him out there. If it's a linebacker, with Cobb in the backfield, the box gets a little lighter against the run. If it's a safety, there might be a weakness deep middle. If Rodgers doesn't like the look he gets, he'll shift Lacy into and Cobb out of the backfield and run something else. It's all about searching for matchups and seeing what the defense wants to give you.

Jared from Onalaska, WI

Regarding the color rush uniforms, if the Packers want to make some money and sell a ton of jerseys, they'd make the uniforms blaze orange. Just make sure their Thursday night game is during deer hunting season so the stadium matches the team.

I thought I said amen yesterday on the color rush issue. OK, this has to be the last question I'm posting about color rush.

Chris from Oakland, CA

Aaron mentioned the Vikings will have a banner-raising ceremony Sunday night to celebrate last year's NFC North title. Coach McCarthy mentioned last week the Packers don't hang banners for winning the division, and Clay quipped it'd be cool to win another awesome hat this year. Are the leaders of our team setting the tone for our younger players to stay focused on what matters, or are they sneaky chirping the Vikings organization for never winning the Super Bowl?

I think mostly the former, but now that you say this, I wonder if McCarthy knew about the upcoming banner hanging when he spoke to reporters last week.

Kyle from Mukwonago, WI

Hey Insiders! What is the value that Mike "Hit 'Em In The Mouth" Daniels brings to this defense? What is it that he does best that impacts the play? And moreso, how do you watch for it during a game? I certainly believe he carries a lot of value based on wiser opinions of his play. As dynamic and engaging a player as he is, I'd like to know how to see it myself.

If you can't train yourself to not follow the ball at the snap, then record the game and watch it again later, focusing just on him. If he's getting double-teamed, is he holding his ground? Who's benefiting from that dirty work? When he's one-on-one, is he beating his man and getting in on the tackle, or affecting where the runner or QB is going with the ball? You'll see his impact. Trust me.

Cam from Springville, UT

Will Eddie Lacy be the comeback player of the year?

I have no idea, but I**sensed a confident Lacy**in his group locker room interview on Thursday. He may or may not continue his run of success vs. the Vikings this week, but I think he's off to a good start in 2016.

Colton from Merrill, WI

Are you as excited as I am to see two of the best up-and-coming safeties in the league Sunday night?

I expect Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Harrison Smith to both be very active and give the opposing QB plenty to think about. Both will have to make tackles in the run game, too. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if one of them makes the play that tilts the game.

Jeff from Green Bay, WI

Hi guys, I'm quite amazed at how many tackles for loss the Packers posted against the Jaguars last week. Any thoughts on why execution in the run defense was so effective? Can it continue in Minnesota for Week 2?

The Packers really attacked the run and swarmed to the ball. Various players got penetration when they had an opportunity. Defending Peterson is different, though. Discipline is required. Overplay a gap and he'll crease it. He jump-cuts like no running back I've ever seen.

Todd from North Providence, RI

How concerned are you that the 5.85 yards per attempt Rodgers put up Week 1 is a sign that this offense is mediocre? I obviously think Aaron is the best QB in the NFL but also think the remainder of the offense is subpar.

Aside from color rush, this was the Inbox topic of the week. As I did earlier, I'm going to preach patience. This offense had a lot of problems last year, and two additions to the 2015 version are getting up to speed in Nelson and Cook. Not everything will be fixed in one or two games, but one game doesn't signal a four-month repeat of last year, either. I believe they'll get going and start looking like the Packers again, I just don't know when. This week, it'll be a tough task against a potential top-five defense. Find a way to win another one and come back home for four straight at 2-0. Then let's see.

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