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You must practice patience in the preseason

It could be the backfield's time to shine in Washington


Jack from Chicago, IL

In regards to Tim's question on our large investment of draft picks on the defensive side of the ball – I think, and Vic might agree, defense is harder to play than offense in the NFL. It takes longer for talent to develop, and the premier defensive players are depleted more quickly in the draft. Could that be why Thompson takes so many swings early?

I think you see teams, not just Green Bay, continually invest high picks in their defense because of the need for deep rotations, particularly in the trenches. Quarterbacks, receivers, offensive linemen and sometimes even the running backs play close to every snap. On defense, it's critical to rotate your pass rushers and linemen to keep them fresh. More is also being asked of defensive backs with so many three- and four-receiver offenses in today's NFL. At the end of the day, you're looking for premier players at premier positions. That's what you draft for.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Did we receive any compensatory picks for losing Davon House, and if so, who did we get with that pick?

The Packers received a fourth-round pick for losing House as an unrestricted free agent in 2015. Coincidentally, it was the same exact pick (No. 131) they used to draft him in 2011. The Packers used the pick on Blake Martinez.

Lee from Marshfield, WI

Why the rush to see Vince Biegel in action? I for one want him to rest and recover so he can make the long haul of the season (hopefully without setbacks). What if after four games into the regular season Biegel comes in and gives the defense a needed spark?

You have to take the emotion out of it. I know Wisconsin fans are anxious to see Biegel play, but the reality is Clay Matthews and Nick Perry are the face of the Packers' outside pass rush. Biegel and the rest of the reserves are going to be counted on this season, but it's not worth rushing him back from a foot injury just to re-injure it again. You must practice patience in the preseason.

Luke from Oconomowoc, WI

I was looking through some of the pictures from Wednesday's practice and one thing really stood out. Kenny Clark looks huge! What were they feeding that guy this offseason?

I'd love to see a side-by-side photo of Clark and Dean Lowry from last year at this time to now. Both spent their offseason in the weight room and it's showing.

Shane from Winnipeg, MB

Mike replied to the question from Bruce from Menomonee Falls about disguising eligible receivers. Mike stated that he is not a fan of "taking advantage of a legal technicality." Well then, how about Rodgers drawing defenders offside? Is that not taking advantage of a legal technicality?

I think jumping offside is more than a technicality.

Tim from Madison, WI

If Bulaga or Bakhtiari were injured for a long period of time, how comfortable would you feel with Spriggs filling in? I have not heard much about him this training camp.

You're not hearing much about Spriggs because Bulaga and Bakhtiari are healthy. As important as it is for reserve linemen to be versatile, I think it's smart for the Packers to keep Spriggs at tackle. It gives him a chance to learn from two of the best at his natural position. He's a good ace in the hole behind Bulaga and Bakhtiari.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Which player(s) are you expecting to have a breakout game against Washington?

It could be the young backfield's time to shine. Regardless of Ty Montgomery's status, all three of those rookies should get a chance to touch the ball against Washington. I also have to say Lori probably has the best questions-per-reply (QPR) ratio of anyone in Inbox.

Eric from Custer, WI

Which FA do you feel will be the most integral piece to this puzzle? Bennett, Evans, or House?

I'd say Bennett because he adds a new element to this offense. Not taking anything away from Evans or House, but matching a 6-foot-6, 275-pound tight end like Bennett with Rodgers smells like a recipe for success.

Addy from Wichita, KS

When Jordy Nelson sustained an injury to his ribs in the second quarter of last year's wild-card game, the Packers relied on different receivers other than the top three. In my opinion, it is a big mistake not letting these backup players take first-team reps more frequently. My question is this: If Green Bay insists on drafting a player and developing him, why do the Packers develop them to be on the same sheet of music as a quarterback they are not going to be in a game with?

Nearly all of them work with Rodgers, beginning in training camp when he takes scout-team snaps leading up to games he isn't playing in. I'd venture to guess he's already completed at least one pass to each of the Packers' receivers and tight ends in practice. When it looks like a first- or second-year receiver is needed, the coaches will give him as much work as is required to get on the same page with Rodgers leading up to the game.

Mark from Indianapolis, IN

There are so many questions surrounding more referees, more calls, how to catch missed calls, etc. I think instant replay has caused fans to want a perfect game to be played and sports have never been perfect. There is always a human element with the refereeing or umpiring of the game and I feel fans need at accept mistakes are going to be made. As a youth sports coach, I see too many kids now blaming the referees for a bad play or the outcome of the game, and I think instant replay and our desire for perfection is at least partially responsible. Am I in the minority when I accept errors will occur?

I believe the blame game has ramped up over the years due to the multitude of camera angles and HD-quality vision of every play. The viewer has the benefit of rewinding plays a dozen times. Officials see the game in a flash. You could never pay me enough to be an NFL referee.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

Why do you suppose the Packers threw the ball so much against Philly? I know they have to evaluate receivers too but, don't you think we have a bigger question mark who will be behind Montgomery?

It probably had to do with the efficiency of the passing game and the issues with establishing the run early. Again, I'm fully expecting the Packers to run the ball tonight.

Ben from Albuquerque, NM

Can you explain what you mean by Aussie kick?

Australian rugby-style kick. It's designed to drop punts inside the 20-yard line without floating into the end zone. Think of it like putting a backspin on your chip shot.

Jon from Guttenberg, IA

Wes noted Thursday that thankfully, the conversation has been about an overabundance of skilled players recently rather than a lack thereof. For perspective for the younger fans, I recall during the long, low-tide years when I would be excited simply when the Packers claimed a player such as a receiver off waivers from a good team like San Francisco. Anything for hope. We have been living in an exceptional run for the past decade. Enjoy it.

That was kind of my experience growing up as a Brewers fan. I think I still have my Jeffrey Hammonds bobblehead somewhere in my parents' house. Many NFL teams enjoy a roller coaster of success, fast and fleeting. The Packers have built something special and avoid pitfalls. As I've said before, the fact we're talking about the Super Bowl possibility every August speaks to that consistency.

Gerbschmidt from Elk Mound, WI

Rodgers, Hundley, Callahan and Hill looks like a pretty decent group of quarterbacks, but will anything compare to 1994 – Favre, Warner, Brunell and Detmer?

Ask me in 2040.

Michael from Manitowoc, WI

I have my opinion on this. Do you think Aaron Donald is right in holding out? He did sign his rookie contract and is now in his last year. I personally don't think that is right. You signed, you play, worry about how much more you can make at the end of the season. Your thoughts?

I've never had a problem with holdouts, particularly in Donald's case since the most recent CBA doesn't leave rookies with much wiggle room in negotiations. He wants a long-term deal. If I'm the Rams, I think you have to get it done. I may be in the minority here, but I tend to side with players in these matters. You don't know how many contracts you'll sign. You have to take care of you and your family.

Derrick from Randolph, NJ

Bill Belichick is most likely the greatest coach the NFL has seen. He is a big proponent of practicing other teams during the preseason and has been doing this for a number of years. Are the Packers at a disadvantage being in a region where the closest teams are all in their division (for the most part)? If this wasn't the case, do you think the Packers would opt for more practices against other teams?

McCarthy tackled this question in a news conference earlier this week. The Packers will never take the team out of Green Bay for a practice. Training camp is too important here. So even if they had a close non-division opponent, I don't know how feasible it would be. I've also never heard anyone in the locker room clamoring to practice with another team.

Jacob from Indonesia

If we are talking Edgar Bennett running in slop, we need to discuss the 1994 Halloween game against the Bears. That was the only game we ever happened to record, and it was just like watching a bunch of big kids playing in a park. Are you guys even old enough to remember that? I always described that game as the chocolate pudding game and it cemented Bennett as one of my favorite RBs of all time. Did I mention it was a blowout against the Bears?

That's one of my earliest (and fondest) memories of the Packers because of the uniqueness of the game. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I skew on the young side, but this was before video games. Instead, I spent the next week re-enacting the game in our backyard, getting as dirty and muddy as possible. Ma Hod was less than pleased.

Peter from Eau Claire, WI

Do teams have a person to study penalty tendencies for comparison against upcoming referees and for tracking player improvement? Do teams use said data to predict penalty outcomes?

I don't know the specifics, but the Packers study the tendencies of officials and present that information to the team during its weekly preparation.

Matt from Greensboro, NC

After watching Bortles stink it up for an entire half against Tampa Bay, I wonder if they might give a call to 1265 Lombardi Ave. Think Hundley would be available for the right price with the season opener quickly approaching?

I guess it depends what kind of price we're talking about, but the Packers approached the offeason with Hundley as their No. 2 quarterback. I don't see why that would change now. He's a great insurance policy.

George from Norwich, UK

There have been a lot of questions about rule changes to reduce the risk of concussion. I've seen a few things about new helmets to reduce the risk. Is the league investing in these technologies? To me it seems that if someone can invent a safer helmet then we don't have to risk the physical side of the game that we all love.

I think everyone has a role to play in making the game safer for the individuals putting it on the line every Sunday, but yes, the league and apparel companies constantly are looking into new forms of helmet technology.

Duane from Lake Tahoe, NV

Why do brats and burgers taste better on game day? What's your favorite game-time food? Maybe you could ask some players as well?

Festival Foods' pumpkin spice brat with a pickle, baked beans and an ice-cold club soda. That's nirvana.

Dave from Lake Bluff, IL

Can you stop with all the whining about how hard your jobs are, the incredible hours you work, the drudgery that is filtering mindless Inbox questions? Keep in mind your audience – passionate Packers fans who would likely give their left arms for a chance to work for and with the team they love. Try doing construction sometime, or be a road-warrior consultant who travels around the world 300 days of the year and to whom the "during preseason our flight gets in really late" complaint seems ludicrous. Appreciate the column and the hard work, but you're not the only ones busting their backsides in the world – and most of us without the backdrop of the best organization in the world as our employer. Woe is you (emoji crying face).


Adam from Saint Louis, MO

If you need any more help dealing with the Inbox madness, you also need to bookmark the ceremonial first pitch between the Cardinals and Red Sox from Wednesday night on your YouTube page.

A reminder things could always be worse.

John from Madison, AL

Last Friday in reference to the backup quarterbacks, Steve from Minocqua asked you, "Is it wrong of me to hope they never take a regular-season snap in Green Bay?" Reply was "Not in my book." Well MY reply is that I certainly hope they do, many times. But only under the circumstance of the Packers being up by 32 points with five minutes left in the game.

As my good friend, Wayne Mausser, likes to say, "Good point." Have a great weekend, everybody.

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