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Will a new center change Aaron Rodgers' hard count?

The NFC North's defenses look to rise in the rankings


Maggie from Kenosha, WI

When is the deadline for making the first round of roster cuts?

The roster must be reduced to 75 players by 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Aug. 30. The Packers might make their decisions anytime between the San Francisco game and Tuesday. In my years here, I've seen those cuts made any and all days in that span.

Tom from Collegeville, MN

Will JC Tretter playing center affect how Rodgers handles his hard count?

Rodgers said on Tuesday that Tretter does a good job with that, so he doesn't see it as an issue. That's good enough for me. The larger question is how the officials handle it. I've said before that I think the Packers got away with a few free plays they shouldn't have early last year, when an offensive lineman moved after the defense did, but before the snap. Those are supposed to be blown dead, and once the officials started doing so, the frequency of free plays was reduced, and far more came about as a result of substitution/12th man issues than hard counts.

Matthew from New Berlin, WI

I'm glad there is so much excitement in the Inbox. Can we remind everyone, however, that 31 other teams are excited about their team right now, too?

The floor is yours.

Tim from Upland, CA

Hi, Insiders. Could you educate me on what the Chargers can do with Bosa? I mean, what are their options at this point? Is this unprecedented?

Tons of questions about Bosa. For those asking, the contract dispute is over offset language (which relates to how much of the contract is owed the player if he's cut before the end of his fourth season) and the timing of the signing bonus payment. As for both sides' options at this point, San Diego can't trade Bosa. The deadline for doing so was Aug. 9. In order to play at all in 2016, Bosa must sign by the end of the Tuesday after Week 10, which is Nov. 15. If he does not sign by then, he must sit out the entire season, but the Chargers retain his rights through the end of the league year in March. If he does not sign by the end of the league year, the Chargers' rights to him are relinquished, and Bosa can enter the 2017 draft. I hope that sums it up. According to one story I read, this is by far the longest holdout since the 2011 CBA. The last holdout by a first-round pick to extend into the regular season was in 2009, when Michael Crabtree finally signed with the 49ers in early October.

Chris from Wauwatosa, WI

I believe the NFC North is in the process of transforming from a division of offensive powerhouses to one of defensive powerhouses. I think Minnesota, Chicago and Green Bay were ranked 13th, 14th and 15th in total yards allowed last year. I certainly see all three teams improving. What do you think of the chances that all three teams will be ranked in the top 10 in defense after the season? If so, I believe the division will have fundamentally changed for the better from a few years ago when the Packers, Lions and Bears were able to move up and down the field but not stop anyone; defense wins championships!

Three in the top 10 would be a tall order, but it's not out of the question and I see what you mean. I wouldn't call it a fundamental change, though. Aaron Rodgers isn't going anywhere. Neither is Adrian Peterson, and if Teddy Bridgewater is the real deal, the Vikings – who drafted a receiver in the first round in Laquon Treadwell to pair with Stefon Diggs – won't lack for offensive firepower, either. The Lions will have to adjust without Megatron, but the Bears are adding Kevin White to Alshon Jeffery. These teams' offenses will be helping their defenses and will have a bearing on those rankings, and that hasn't changed.

Taylor from Fargo, ND

I never see videos or pictures of Rodgers, Matthews, and some other well-known players riding bikes into practice. Is it completely voluntary, or are veterans excused from participating?

It's optional for veterans with six or more years of experience in the league. Some of them choose the bike route on certain days, not on others, and some prefer to avoid the mania that might be caused by their participation.

Noah from Omro, WI

Hey Biff/Spoff, whatcha think of Karlos Williams? I loved what I saw from him as a rookie last year, and we could use running back depth. The only real issue that I'm aware of in regards to his release is conditioning. Having just helped Eddie tackle the same problem, and with Lacy around as a positive influence and encouragement, do you think Williams would be worth a shot?

Have you asked what if Williams would be a negative influence?

Ken from New York, NY

Aaron Rodgers looks like he's wearing a new kind of helmet that makes his head look like a Star Trek space alien. Do you think the NFL will solve the concussion problem by continuing to tweak the helmet, or do you agree with Vic that facemasks should be removed so that players don't use their heads as weapons?

I have no idea what you mean about Rodgers' helmet, but I do think helmet technology will continue to advance. I see the elimination of three- and four-point stances, though, before the fundamental protection the helmet and facemask provide would be altered that dramatically.

Nikhil from Port au Prince, Haiti

I haven't heard Geronimo Allison's name recently. Is he not making plays or are the Packers trying not to let anyone get a glimpse of him so they can stash him on the practice squad?

We'll find out in about 10 days, won't we?

Kirk from St. Augustine, FL

It seems like we have so many good undrafted free agents that just won't make the team, but everyone mentions practice squad. Can you protect any number of players on the practice squad or are they all fair game?

Players who clear waivers and are signed to the practice squad are free agents who can sign with another team at any time.

Dave from Hayward, WI

Hi, Mike. Stuck up here in Packer no-man's-land. We get very little Packer coverage and are stuck listening to Minnesota based sports radio. I must admit Paul Allen is fun to listen to. They do refer to Peterson as A.P. Just an FYI. I am enjoying your column even though I miss Vic. Keep up the good work.

Hayward! Spent a week of every summer up there in my youth. Loved that golf course. For all who emailed about A.P., I acknowledge many call him that. I just think it's too bad that one of the best nicknames in all of sports has gotten lost in the shuffle.

Dave from Stillwater, MN

Your answer about fixing the roster to list players in numerical order only works online. If you click on the green header bar and then print, it defaults back to the alpha listing.

Damn! You mean I really can't solve all the world's problems? Wait, … copy and paste?

The Packers practiced in front of thousands of fans Tuesday at Ray Nitschke Field. Photos by Evan Siegle, Matt Becker, Ryan Hartwig and Andrew Temperly,

Sam from Richfield, MN

It seems to me wide receivers always used to be the prima donnas of the league, but with the emergence of guys like Josh Norman, Patrick Peterson, and Richard Sherman, have corners taken their spot in the flashiness and trash talk?

I think it's just the personalities and when they come along. Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco/Johnson are no longer catching passes. Mark Gastineau and Warren Sapp are no longer sacking quarterbacks. Ray Lewis is no longer hitting everything in sight.

AJ from Calhan, CO

What, are ya kidding me? Jim Thorpe is the fourth. Don't forget he was voted the athlete of the first 50 years of the last century. C'mon man.

For those who are roasting me for not picking Thorpe, I prefaced my suggestions by saying, "In the interest of hitting on other sports," after Owens and Bolt had already been mentioned. Did you not read that? Ya kidding me? C'mon man.

Dave from Sparta, WI

What was the reason for the injury report designation change? I don't recall reading about the change earlier this year.

The league studied the designations and found that more than 95 percent of the players listed as "probable" played in the game, so they decided to eliminate that one. As I said before, the question now is whether teams will remove players listed as "probable" at the end of the week, or if every team will have a slew of "questionable" guys on Friday afternoons.

Joe from Pittsburgh, PA

The Darren Sharper saga is both sad and disgusting. I find it hard to believe that some teammates of his over the years didn't know of his inexcusable actions and just "let it stay in Vegas." There are no heroes in this saga.

No, there aren't, but I'm not going to indict any teammates based on assumptions. To this point, no potential victims from his playing days have come forward. No one who played with him has said they ever suspected anything, and dozens have been interviewed. His crimes appear to be strictly post-playing career.

Steve from Flagstaff, AZ

Which Packers prospect or prospects had the most talent you've seen that just could never put it together or due to injury could not make the team?

This doesn't exactly fit your category, but I've always wondered what type of career was in store for Johnathan Franklin. He looked like he had all the tools before the unfortunate neck injury. It was really fun to get to know Johnathan off the field as an intern in our offices here before he headed off to a promising job at Notre Dame. I sincerely hope he fulfills his dream to be mayor of Los Angeles someday. Great guy.


Jay from Woodstock, GA

Spoff, I didn't know you were from Platteville. I graduated from UW-P in 1980, a couple of years before the Bears came to town. Were there any "Cheese League" scrimmages at Pioneer Stadium?

The Saints came down from La Crosse on occasion to work out with the Bears. I don't remember much about those scrimmages, but the best part every summer was just seeing our sleepy little town come to life. The local businesses had an annual "Adopt-a-Bear" contest, for which they'd put together window displays highlighting certain players, and there were awards for the best displays. A guy I knew through our church youth group was a local sub shop owner, and one year he had Jimbo Covert, and I helped him win. Long story short, a few years earlier, I had ordered a Pitt 13 jersey from a catalog (Dan Marino), but it showed up as Pitt 75, much to my youthful chagrin. I looked it up, had no idea who Covert was, but kept it anyway. Lo and behold a year or so later, the Bears draft Covert and I got his autograph while wearing the jersey, which got me a smile and a pat on the head. Then down the road I loan it out to be in the winning window display. I ate a lot of free subs that summer.

Ronald from Tama, IA

Guys, I'm predicting the Packers finish 14-2 this season. Where do you think they'll be at?

In the playoffs and rolling the dice, the same place they've been for the last seven seasons.

Dominic from Islington, UK

Hi Insiders, could you tell us what qualities are needed to make a good position coach?

Position coaches have to be able to demand the same level of accountability from all of their players while tapping into the different ways to motivate and teach each individual the best. They also have to be able to publicly push a player but also privately counsel him when a coordinator or head coach is down about his performance. They're teachers, motivators and buffers, as well as workaholics who are willing to put in a lot of long hours studying film. It's a tough gig, and I have a ton of respect for those who are successful at it.

Harold from Chippewa Falls, WI

Could B.J. Raji call the Packers, say in October, and ask to play again? Could the Packers call him and ask themselves? Enjoying your posts, Mike and Wes.

He could do that, and the Packers could do that. He could also call any team, and any team could call him. He's a free agent.

Jack from Appleton, WI

The Rock looks to be in pretty good shape. Even though I watched him play throughout his career, hard to imagine he was a center when looking at the size of today's linemen. What was his playing weight back in the day?

In his Pro Bowl years in the early '80s, he was listed in the mid to high 240s on the Packers' roster. That's not much bigger than some safeties these days.

Dustin from Rochester, MN

It now looks like four of our starting offensive linemen are in a contract year. Does Ted re-sign a few during the season before they play themselves out of our price point?

That's always possible, but the closer a player gets to free agency, the more tempting it can be to see what the market says. Never forget these situations are always two-way streets.

Mike from Rapid City, SD

Is it as much fun to work with Larry as it seems on your videos?

It's a blast, and as much as I look forward to training camp being over so the regular season can get going, I'm going to miss Three Things. Only two left to shoot.

Marc from Hartford, VT

Don't be obsessed with your desires, Biff. The Zen philosopher, Basho, once wrote, 'A flute with no holes, is not a flute. A donut with no hole, is a Danish.' He was a funny guy.

Not as funny as a name like Spalding.

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