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It's almost time to see how all the pieces fit


Brian from Urbana, IL

Hey Insiders, if Mike McCarthy doesn't think Aaron Rodgers needs the reps, and Rodgers doesn't think he needs the reps, which I agree with, then when comes the day in which elite veterans such as Rodgers see literally zero snaps in preseason despite perfect health?

I don't think so because it is valuable for him to get reps with new additions such as Martellus Bennett, Jahri Evans and Jamaal Williams. Bennett said after the Washington game it was good for him to get used to Rodgers' pace and play style. Rodgers may not get much out of preseason snaps, but he has acknowledged it helps those around him.

Jerry from Green Bay, WI

Not too worried about the offensive line. Once they game plan for a specific opponent, they will put in blocking schemes to help. Jason Spriggs was fine last year when he played and James Campen knows how to get a line to work.

I can't predict the future, but I remember the past pretty well and I recall a time 51 weeks ago when everyone was yelling about left guard after Josh Sitton was released. The panic lasted a week. Lane Taylor settled in and the rest was history. Campen is as good as position coaches get.

Bobby from Joplin, MO

Insiders, I was looking at the 1993 Packers' schedule and noticed they had two bye weeks that season. Was this a normal thing back then? If so, why did it change to one a year?

The NFL tested two bye weeks on a trial basis in 1993. It wasn't successful. Many felt the process was complicated and it watered down games. It was an odd layout for the Packers, who had two byes in the first seven weeks of the season.

Scott from Cooks, MI

What does Geronimo Allison bring to the team that Michael Clark does not? I see a lot of upside to a 6-foot-6 receiver down around the goal line.

Experience. Clark has ability, but he's only played the position for one season. Don't get me wrong, I've been impressed with what I've seen. It's just that it takes time to play that position, especially at this level. Allison is a great example. He's light years ahead of where he was last season.

Roger from Indianapolis, IN

Did Brett Hundley lose value as trade bait in Game 3 or was it the offensive line that gets the blame? Getting stuffed twice on fourth-and-short hurts. With Hundley as a "given," might the disposition of Joe Callahan and Taysom Hill get messed up? Hard to see both clearing waivers or staying on the practice squad.

Hundley completed 67 percent of his passes, scored a touchdown and didn't turn the ball over. I don't see how that performance does anything to diminish his stock. I have no idea where the chips will fall with Callahan and Hill. I'd expect that situation to clear itself up after Thursday's game.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Were you surprised that Brett Hundley played the entire game after Aaron left? Do you expect Brett to get much playing time against the Rams?

If Hundley plays Thursday, I wouldn't expect it to be more than a series or two. The Packers need to get one more look at both Callahan and Hill before this weekend. At least, that's my opinion.

Mitch from Bettendorf, IA

Mike's response "to get you to read it and make you mad" to Matt echoes everything I have to tell my Dad. I am 31 and he is 63. He watches ESPN and regurgitates everything the "analysts" say, which makes me shudder. It isn't just click bait, it is eyes-and-ears bait 24 hours a day.

Everyone has dark-horse predictions this time of the year, but you know what? You don't know until you know. My personal philosophy has always been a person who speculates about the future doesn't have enough to say about the present. I couldn't tell you a single prediction made about the 2016 season because it doesn't matter. Only the games matter.

Calvin from Jacksonville, FL

I was surprised that there was no question about Brian Price. Even against the second and third team, a strip-sack and another forced fumble which he recovered is pretty impressive, no?

Price played well. He's played well throughout training camp. He's a tone-setter. When you play with that much controlled aggression, good things are going to happen. The depth on the defensive line presents a good problem for the Packers, but tough decisions nonetheless.

Jeriah from Las Cruces, NM

What is it with everyone wanting to trade all of our players? The thought of trading Montravius Adams with no miles, for Richardson who is going into his fifth year, is ludicrous. How about we let him play out a full healthy season before we try to ship him off? This Inbox seems to keep getting crazier and crazier.

I'm guessing it's the same folks who wanted to cut Davante Adams two years ago. Injuries happen. That's why you build depth during the offseason because you never know where you're going to need it.

Bob from Wauwatosa, WI

My question is regarding the excellent memory and recall of players and coaches. Do you think their memory is naturally that good, or if extensive film review could be a factor in how and why these recalled memories are so impressively detailed?

It's probably a mixture of both. Some guys like Aaron Rodgers remember everything whether it's specific plays or rudimentary tidbits outside of football. There is something to be said for the number of hours these guys spend watching film, though.

Kevin from Rockton, IL

Gentlemen, if we break down a defense into six groups (DT and DE; ILB and OLB; safety and corner) and consider all variables, in which group are the differences most distinctive when comparing a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense? Is the answer potentially evolving with the advent of the hybrid safety-linebacker position?

I'd say defensive line. Traditional 4-3 defensive ends stand up in a 3-4 and defensive tackles tend to be more in that 330-pound range in a 4-3, whereas modern-day 3-4 nose tackles are getting lighter. Hybrid linebackers are utilized in both. Mark Barron played in a 4-3 system last year with the Rams, but is now transitioning to a 3-4 inside linebacker in Wade Phillips' defense.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

This weekend, more than 1,100 players will become free agents and history shows a few of them will become future Pro Bowlers. Not an easy task to find the good ones. If a team puts in a claim on a player do they automatically assume the remainder of his contract or can they negotiate? Do you think Ted Thompson will make any "claims" on Saturday or will he just wait until dust to settles and see what's left?

If you claim a player, you absorb his contract. That's what happened this week when the Patriots cut Kony Ealy and the Jets swooped him up. Thompson has placed a waiver claim following final cuts as recently as last year (RB Jhurell Pressley). However, the Packers don't have any players acquired via waivers currently on the roster.

Chris from Victor, ID

Scheduling issues aside, do you think NFL coaches would prefer to have another week of practice between the preseason and Week 1, or are they just as anxious as we are to get to the real action? How about the players?

I'm sure coaches would love more practice time with players, but at the same time, I think everyone is just ready to play football at this point.

Matt from New York, NY

Rodgers missed a couple of throws that he attributed to the thin air. Both WRs had separation, which is what really matters in my opinion. This offense is going to put up plenty of points.

The offense is poised to put up points this season. We got a small taste of that in the preseason with the utilization of the tight ends and the spread concepts the Packers have used. We've talked about the pieces for the last six months. I'm ready to see where they all fit.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

I thought the Packers put more pressure on the QB in Denver than I have seen in a while. Maybe not the sack total you are looking for, but Trevor Siemian looked uncomfortable.

The interior pass rush has been red hot this preseason. Mike Daniels and the defensive tackles have been active in the trenches, consistently winning one-on-ones and holding their ground on double-teams. For all the attention surrounding edge rushers, don't forget about the guys in the middle.

Carl from London, UK

Despite the explosiveness and talent that Trevor Davis has on punt returns, I still can't trust him to field them securely late in games. Would it be possible to have Davis return punts in the first three quarters and then put someone more sure-handed into the game in the fourth quarter to help see out the game? Or would that just damage Davis' confidence?

Davis is a headstrong player. He isn't rattled by one muffed punt and I also don't think he'd be rattled by a committee approach, either. The Packers have done what you suggest before, using Randall Cobb on punts inside the 20-yard line. Regarding Davis, I like the way he's bounced back. He needs to build on it against the Rams.

Steven from Wood Dale, IL

We have not been in the top 20 on defense in the last three years. Why do we keep Capers?

The Packers finished 15th in total defense in 2014 and 2015. They were top 10 in passing both seasons. Why let facts get in the way of a good rant?

Dan from Waupun, WI

Mike said that the officiating crew makes the game unwatchable. Should officials call penalties, or let the players cheat?

I think the issue is Jeff Triplette's crew historically throws a lot of flags. There's a difference between ticky-tack calls and cheating.

Jerry from Wichita, KS

Other than saying, "refs are practicing their game too," how can the penalties be called on each team on a single play, but not called "offsetting" happen with a veteran group of officials? I think it happened twice and Coach called them on it the second time.

Brutal. Those seconds passed like hours.

Adilson from Rotterdam, Netherlands

Saturday you mentioned that, like Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson also started out on special teams before breaking through on offense. I know about Randall's impact as a returner in his rookie season, but I don't recall hearing something similar about Jordy. Was he a returner, too?

Nelson returned 58 kickoffs his first three seasons for 1,339 yards (22.7 average) with a long of 54 yards. He also returned 17 punts in 2009.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, does the Patriots' loss of Edelman compare to the loss of Nelson two years ago? If not, what would be a better comparison?

Tough blow. Edelman has never been a Pro Bowler, but you could argue his impact on the Patriots' offense is comparable to Nelson in Green Bay. Edelman was coming off a career year in 2016 and has eight years of experience working with Tom Brady, which closely mirrors the partnership between Nelson and Rodgers.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

Spoff, how fun was it to call Jerry Kramer? The quotes he gave you were fantastic.

And Spoff wrote a**fantastic story with them.**Kramer truly is one-of-a-kind. He's a true ambassador of the Green Bay Packers and National Football League.

Aaron from Wausau, WI

Did you watch the fight? I'm curious to know how you think Mayweather will be remembered.

I watched the end of the fight during postgame media availability in the Packers' locker room. It was a lively atmosphere to say the least. There's a lot of layers to your question, but I'll just say Mayweather is the greatest fighter of my generation. I'm anxious to see Conor back in the Octagon.

Trent from Nashville, IL

Saturday you mentioned water-cooler talk and it got me thinking. What do you talk about around the water cooler? Is it mostly football or is it other topics since your career is centered on the NFL?

Thrones. I'd like to think I'm viewed as an expert on the topic among my co-workers.

Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

If Martellus Bennett is the Captain of Fun and Coach McCarthy is the Captain of Hope, what are you the captain of?


Dave from Germantown, TN

I know there are no injury reports in the preseason, but why do we have no news regarding any of the players who have been hurt during the preseason?

I think you answered your own question, Dave.

Jerry from Wausau, WI

Here's the plan: Trade A-Rod for three No. 1s, three No. 2s and three No. 3s and start over! We need more than one great player on the team and we have injury-prone backups pretending to be starters! Another year of almost good enough is no better than 4-12 except we lose a good draft pick! I'm mad at our inconsistency and it had better change and soon! The fans are getting restless! I'm speechless. I'm totally at a loss. You've broken me, Jerry. I need to sit down. I'm dizzy.HAVE A QUESTION?

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