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You have to keep digging

There are 60 more minutes to prove yourself


Jim from Houston, TX

What kind of game are we gonna have today, Sausage?

That's Mr. Sausage to you, mister. The finale is always my favorite preseason game. The drama is unparalleled. Dozens of players on both teams trying to live a dream. I'm expecting a highly competitive showing from the Packers' second- and third-team units because this is it. There are 60 more minutes to prove yourself. On a side note, I hope you and yours are safe, Jim.

Jesse from Bismarck, ND

I like the way you finished "Packers win if..." This is not the game to worry about winning necessarily. It's the game to make sure you don't overlook the future HOF player who came in undrafted. As Coach said, it took over 70 men to win our last Super Bowl.

Information is power. These NFL teams have to collect as much of it as possible. You take all the knowledge you've gained over the past four months and try to apply it toward making the best decision for your football team. Not every longshot on the active roster or practice squad is going to work out, but some will. That's why you have to keep digging.

Michael from Winchester, VA

A little clarity on the Nelson-Janis jersey swap, if you please. Did the guys swap jerseys, or did they have altered jerseys (a la Friday and Sunday) with their own names but each other's number? The only photo I saw was from the front, which leaves this burning preseason question just hanging out there. Thanks for all the riveting Insider intel.

Good question. They switched jerseys, but no alterations. Nelson was wearing No. 83 Janis and Janis was wearing No. 87 Nelson all for good fun.

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

Just curious. Where do all the very talented athletes end up when they don't make the roster on their respective teams? 1,000 each year. Wow. That's a lot of talent turned away at the door.

Around 300 will join practice squads the day after cuts. Some will work out for teams during the season and try to sign on a practice squad or active roster when injuries occur. Others will go to the CFL, AFL, IFL and even call it a career. That's the life of the football player.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

It's a shame that Montravius Adams is not eligible for the PUP list. I guess the rule is meant to keep teams from stashing players, but you'd think when a guy hasn't even had his pads on and gets hurt and has surgery, there'd be some common sense in the rule. They need to adjust the rule when a player gets hurt before preseason games start so there's some leeway.

It's pretty much all or nothing. Either the player has an injury causing him to miss all of training camp and the first two months of the regular season, or he has to be stashed on the game-day inactives. The NFL has tried to alleviate some of this with the introduction and expansion of the return designation from injured reserve.

Jeff from Kenosha, WI

What is the inside scoop on the battle between Brian Price and Christian Ringo? If you had to make a call, which way would you go?

Both have made solid arguments for a job. Price is strong at the point of attack and keeps grinding. Ringo impressed me with his shedding and pass-rush ability in this camp. I don't view it as one versus the other for a roster spot. I'd expect at least one to make it and possibly both depending on the long-term outlook for Adams.

Patrick from Ashland, WI

I read through what is thought to be Stafford's contract. How does "guaranteed for injury at signing" work? Also, are we still supposed to put two spaces after a sentence?

There are three types of language written into most NFL contracts – guaranteed for injury, cap and skill. Guaranteed for injury means if the player sustains a significant or career-threatening injury, he still gets his full salary. Guaranteed for skill means a player is still entitled to his full salary if he's released for diminished play. Cap means the player still receives his full salary if released to create cap room.

Joseph from East Moline, IL

Do you think, if there were a Happy Gilmore-like kicker someday who was automatic from 80 yards out (not including the end zone), he would become the highest-paid player in the league?

Highest in the entire league? No. Quarterbacks will always be the kingpins. However, your kicker probably would be at the top of his position. Overall, the price of kickers has risen considerably in recent years.

Matt from East Lansing, MI

What prompted the Monday night doubleheaders for the first MNF of the season? Better yet, what prompted the concept of Monday Night Football?

The history of MNF is vast. A lot of good books, movies and documentaries have been made about it. The doubleheader for the opening week began when ESPN took over the coverage in 2006. The whole concept began in 1970 as a way of broadcasting one weekly game in primetime for the entire country to see. In some ways, it was almost like the original NFL Game Pass – giving fans the opportunity to watch more than their regional games.

Milton from Midland, MI

Who are the offensive and defensive training camp MVPs?

The balloting is still open, but Jeff Janis, Trevor Davis, Max McCaffrey, Marwin Evans and Price are players who all impressed me this preseason. I don't know if anyone has made a bigger jump than Evans, though. He's been lights-out.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Training camp has checked all the boxes for me as a Packer fan. Several young players are emerging as quality players at key positions giving us good depth. We have an offense that can score on anyone at any time. Positions that were problematic last year have been addressed or got healthy. Packers are one of a couple teams in the league that have this going for them. It should be a good one.

Nothing that's happened over the last four-plus weeks has altered the outside perception that the Packers are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. At the end of the day, isn't that all you could ask for entering Week 1?

Gary from Topeka, KS

Would it surprise you if Ted Thompson picked up an offensive lineman at waiver time for a quality backup?

I would say it's unlikely, but it also depends on who's available. If a player whom the Packers had a high grade on comes free at any position, it's plausible they'd place a claim. As I said earlier this week, I'm not as down on the reserve offensive line as everyone else seems to be, especially if Don Barclay returns sooner rather than later.

Andrew from Sacramento, CA

A lot of the talking heads are evaluating teams based on their preseason performance. Is the preseason that accurate a gauge for team performance, or is it more about evaluating individual player abilities?

Evaluate the player, not the game.

Joe from Hartford, CT

Finally got to watch the Saturday game. Came away feeling the team is in great shape up the middle on defense with the play of Kenny Clark and Jake Ryan, and the best camp of safeties. The question is do we have enough on the outsides?

I think so. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry aren't believed to be long-term injuries and more help could be on the way. The cornerback position is deep (and healthy) this year and Dean Lowry gives you some outside-inside elephant flexibility.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

If the rumors are true, how soon will we see the recent free-agent signing on the practice field? Is a physical required first?

First come the physicals and then the contract signings. Whatever transactions the Packers make in the coming days, I wouldn't anticipate seeing Brooks or any other additions on the field until the first regular-season practice either Monday or Tuesday.

Les from Las Vegas, NV

What's an elephant?

It's a term the Packers use to describe their edge rushers who move inside in the dime package.

Bernie from Chesterfield, VA

Two bye weeks makes sense to me. It gives the NFL an extra week of games (more money) and an extra week for players to heal. Am I wrong?

I'd be in favor of two bye weeks, but it would have to make sense from a scheduling standpoint. Using the 1993 Packers as an example, I think it would be a significant disadvantage to have two byes in the first seven weeks of an 18-week season.

Darren from Kingston, Ontario

Thank you for an informative and entertaining season of "Three Things." In this year's finale, I was hoping Larry would provide a follow-up report and camera view of the gluteus maximus of a certain member of the Insiders. Can you provide a report, or would it be better to never mention this again?

Let's just say I had my exit meeting with Larry and plan on focusing my workouts this "offseason" to make sure I'm in the best condition of my journalism career for Season 3. All kidding aside, we appreciate you watching. We have a ton of fun.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

As much as I would have liked to see Aaron Donald a Packer, I'm glad we're not going through what the Rams are at the moment. Who have been the significant holdouts the Packers have had to deal with in recent years? All I can think of is Javon Walker.

I cannot remember a true holdout since the days of Walker and Mike McKenzie. Sam Shields didn't attend the voluntary workouts after getting the restricted tenure in 2012, but he still participated in the mandatory minicamp and training camp.

Jim from Baytown, TX

Not a question but a comment from a Packer fan in Texas. All of us from Wisconsin should be proud of J.J. Watt. He has been responsible for raising millions of dollars for Harvey relief, and will never know just how much it will be appreciated by those of us in the affected areas. He's a ray of sunshine for a whole bunch of folks that need it.

It's definitely been cool watching Watt raise funds and awareness for victims of Hurricane Harvey. The power of caring and compassion is one of humanity's greatest traits.

Keith from Green Bay, WI

Ray Nitschke, "The Longest Yard."

A highly underrated performance.

Kerry from Margate City, NJ

What, no mention of Alex Karras' Oscar-worthy performance in "Blazing Saddles"?

Also underrated. "Never mind that…here comes Mongo!"

Jason from Winona, MN

Joe Haden is on the market now. Do you believe that there is any interest from this organization?* *

See below.

Rich from Newark, NJ

Not a question, but a statement to help the Insiders out. No to Joe Haden, just no.

See above.

Caleb from Shawano, WI

So approximately how many questions have you gotten about Joe Haden thus far?

I lost count. Fortunately, the Steelers signed him within hours. Making the dozens of questions fluttering into the Inbox obsolete.

Matt from Hartford, WI

Why is it that players are not given more benefit of the doubt when it comes to championship rings and the Hall of Fame?

Because people need something to talk about in order to fill 24/7 news cycles.

Rick from Boyd, WI

With players making $10-20 million or more per year, how can you claim the coaches make "the big bucks"?

It's big bucks compared to my pay stub, at least.

Braden from Brookfield, WI

The Inbox now feels like a participation award. No one can get called out, no one's feelings can get hurt, everything is good, and we are all going to be fine. Where is the substance in this column?

IT'S THE PRESEASON! The Packers haven't played a meaningful game in seven months. What is there to call out?

Cameron from Augusta, GA

How would you rate this season of GOT? Did it live up to your expectations?

I'd give it a solid 8 out of 10. I'm sure purists would say it was predictable, but what do you expect when people spend the other 45 weeks of the year overanalyzing and hypothesizing every detail of the series? I was generally pleased.

Jerry from Wausau, WI

I will gladly assume the role of "whipping boy" and I will continue to create conversation, whether positive or negative, in order to help others expand their minds. Mike and Wes are great, but they are not "little (younger) versions of Vic." I hope Aaron can stay healthy, I really do, but, he's only one man. Lombardi's teams had an abundance of very good players but, no true star! (Or is that Starr?) Trade Aaron Rodgers? No, but what happens if he gets seriously hurt? Same outcome! I rest my case...without the six extra draft choices.

So wait…you trade him because he might get seriously hurt? I'm still speechless, Jer. I'm totally at a loss, Jer. You've broken me, Jer. I need to sit down again. I'm dizzy…so dizzy.

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