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Whose defense will rule the NFC North?

A potential Lambeau Leap controversy is brewing


Cindy from Los Angeles, CA

Hi guys, we've heard a lot about the rookies in training camp and expectations for them. Who are the veterans on notice who need to have a strong camp? Any predictions for surprise veteran cuts?

I don't like making predictions involving people's livelihoods, but if we draw an arbitrary line at fourth year in the league or later to define a veteran, very few aren't locks to make the 53-man roster out of camp. A guy like Chris Banjo never feels safe, but he's a special-teams captain and solidly the fourth safety on the roster, so I don't think he's in jeopardy. Sam Barrington's situation until returning Tuesday night was health-related. Lerentee McCray is a newcomer, though he's off to a good start. Don Barclay is in a battle for a roster spot, but he's a tough, gritty player who has always fought for everything and will make it difficult to cut him. Punter Tim Masthay is in a head-to-head competition. That's about it.

Brad from Mounds View, MN

So I am trying to be objective here, but I live in Minnesota and all I hear is how great the Vikings' defense is. I would take the Packers' defense every time. Am I wrong?

Both units are championship-caliber. I really believe that. Which one's better? It doesn't matter in August. We can make a preliminary evaluation on Sept. 18, but it doesn't really matter until December and January. Christmas Eve day at Lambeau Field will answer your question.

Marc from Hartford, VT

Hey Spoff, how about a shred of professionalism with you and Biff when the Rock is trying to do the Three Things videos? Try and hold it together, will ya!

No can do, man. It's too hard. Glad you're enjoying it. This job is even more fun when we don't take ourselves too seriously.

Thomas from Milwaukee, WI

The scolding for boos seems ridiculous to me. I remember it happened last year against Detroit and many people came to the column to scold the fans in attendance. If you paid your money, you can boo all you want, right?

I agree. Expressing dissatisfaction in a non-violent or non-threatening way is anyone's right. I also think if we all agreed on how to behave at all times, life would be pretty boring, as long as at the end of the day we can accept the results and move on.

Gary from Topeka, KS

Is there a limit to the number of times a person can be up for Hall of Fame voting? What is the real reason Jerry Kramer is not in the Hall of Fame?

I don't know the reason. There have been countless stories written speculating as to why. As for the process, players are eligible through the regular route for 20 years, from five years after retirement until 25 years after. At 25 years after, the senior committee can take a look and nominate a player as a finalist for discussion at the selection meeting. During his initial 20-year window, Kramer reached the finalist stage nine times, and his 10th time was as the senior nominee, in 1997. The senior committee would have to nominate Kramer again for him to get in, and I don't know if there's a precedent for revisiting a case like that.

Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

"Blood Bath" by Michael Raphael? I always just assumed it was Spoff on guitar and Biff on drums.

We tried that. It didn't go well.

Tom from Collegeville, MN

Well, I am officially on board the Jared Cook hype train. The sky seems to be the limit for this guy!

That was one heck of a debut on Tuesday night, and he picked up where he left off on Wednesday. As I've said multiple times, he's the wild card in this offense. Mike McCarthy is excited about what he brings. The value of “big targets running down the middle of the field” is the line he's used over and over. Cook is thrilled to have Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball, and he's got a one-year deal to play for his football future. There's a lot to like about how this is shaping up.


Moose from Seattle, WA

I still don't believe LeRoy Butler was the inventor of the Lambeau Leap. John Jefferson did it first.

Got any proof? I love a good controversy. Just for kicks, I searched J.J.'s photo archive and found this. It's from the 1982 playoff game against the Cardinals. Jefferson had two TD receptions that day, and it looks like he might be headed for the stands, but there's no way to know for sure. Maybe Cliff Christl needs to investigate.

Nick from State College, PA

Does the ol' gunslinger deserve a statue at Lambeau?

If they're going to build another one, it would have to be his.

Carson from Bozeman, MT

Who is under more pressure to perform for this team this year, Eddie Lacy or Davante Adams?

There's a lot riding on both guys, to be sure. Forced to pick one, I'd have to go with Lacy. He's in the last year of his contract, and there's more depth at Adams' position.

Tal from Ascot, UK

Who will be the No. 1 kick and punt returner?

There hasn't been a preseason game played yet, but I would be surprised if Micah Hyde is not the guy on punts. On kickoffs, I could see Jeff Janis, Ty Montgomery and/or Trevor Davis getting the duty.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

I love to see that Minneapolis will be on the Packers Everywhere tour, although we might need a bigger venue. We could fill a couple blocks downtown just with the fans who have written in to Ask Vic or the Insider Inbox.

Pack the place. Go for it. If I can't get through to get up on the stage, then we won't need a stage. Party on, Wayne. I wasn't at the one in Canton because I had too much work to do before the enshrinement ceremony, for those who asked.

Jimmy from Stevens Point, WI

If you want to watch a game "live" later don't wear your jersey. I made it three hours trying to avoid people at a cookie decorating event. On my way out the door, someone who knew I was taping it said, "I'm not going to tell you anything, but we won."

Ain't that the worst? A couple years ago, heading to Minneapolis, I had arranged with a friend there to DVR the Wisconsin-Iowa game so we could watch it together when I arrived. I kept headphones on and talked to no one during the team flight or on the bus ride. My friend picks me up at the hotel and we stop to grab some beers on the way to his house, and the liquor store check-out guy sees the small "motion W" on my black and red polo and says, "Close one today. Two points. Whew." At least the beer still tasted good. How were the cookies?

Kurt from Lake City, MN

Please tell me the person yesterday didn't give Ted Thompson credit for knowing Reggie Ragland would get an ACL injury before even playing a down in the NFL.

That person wasn't the only one. Thanks for the dose of sanity. Please understand, people, that injuries of the season-ending variety are 99 and 44/100ths percent pure luck.

John from Philadelphia, PA

Do you think Mike McCarthy or Ted Thompson read Insider Inbox?

If they do, I'm sure they get a few laughs about how much we think we know that we don't.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Mike, when a Hall of Famer has played for a couple teams, how do they decide what team is given credit when naming how many players are in the Hall for a particular team?

It's either clear what team the player is most associated with, or multiple teams claim the player if the career and achievements are divided somewhat evenly. Both the Eagles and Packers consider Reggie White one of their Hall of Famers. I expect the same with the Raiders and Packers regarding Charles Woodson.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Would you please explain why someone like Jeff Janis would have such a difficult time learning routes? Are there that many? Are they that complicated? Are they that much different from college routes?

Valid questions. With Janis coming from Division II, he's been going from a glorified high school playbook to an NFL one. At this level, it's about precision with each route, a certain number of steps and yards, the angle of the break. Then you have the options built into each route based on the defensive coverage, and he has to read it the same way as the QB and make the right choice each time, on the fly. That's where you hear the "getting on the same page" and "building trust" clichés all the time. Janis has all but admitted he was told in the huddle at Saginaw Valley State, "OK, Jeff, go deep," because no one could keep up with him. It was that easy. It's not that easy here, and the Packers have stayed patient with the process.

Jesse from Fayetteville, NC

"That was Favre. He could win the game by doing exactly what he wasn't supposed to." I think you hit the nail on the head with that one. I also think that is what sets Favre and Rodgers apart. Do you think Packers fans will favor Favre's legacy because he was entertaining and less calculated?

With the Lombardi trophies tied at one apiece, maybe that's the tiebreaker. For now.

Anthony from Rochester, IN

Mike, I was literally talking last night to a friend about my Dad, who passed last year, and one of my fondest memories was the Friday and Saturday late nights watching the Badger hockey games. "MASH" and "Night Court," and cheese and crackers, and loved not finding out who won until then. All the future pros on those teams, back then made the rivalries with any Minnesota team feel like a Packers-Vikings game.

A Badgers-Gophers hockey showdown at the old Dane County Coliseum might be the most intense regular-season sporting event I've ever attended.

Sean from Peotone, IL

Guys, leave "the thing" alone. Our last Super Bowl was before Vic. Let's not resurrect the thing and ruin our chances.

Hmmmm. Now I don't know what to do.

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