Tal from Ascot, UK
Vic said the schedule-maker was challenging the Packers by having the Jaguars be the first game. I always saw it the other way round, a young up-and-coming team with a lot of potential play one of the beasts of the NFC.
Other than the fact the NFC North is opening against the AFC South this year, I don’t know everything that goes into making those decisions. I was excited about the matchup the moment it was announced, though. Jacksonville is a young team with a lot of blossoming stars. The offense the Jaguars are building around Blake Bortles should make this a fun game to watch considering you have Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers reuniting for the first time in more than a year on the opposite sideline. Honestly I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world the Packers are opening against the Jaguars. If Jacksonville makes the progress many expect, this might be the kind of team you’d rather face early than late in the season.
Travis from Houston, TX
I am really impressed with Blake Martinez being selected for the defensive headset. How do teams rate leadership and communication skills before drafting a player? Skills such as those don't always show up on film, so do draft scouts mostly rely on interviewing coaches and maybe other teammates like Ty Montgomery?
A lot can be drawn from the first impression a player makes at the Senior Bowl or scouting combine. It sounds like Martinez impressed the coaching staff during the interview process and I’m sure his football IQ showed up when they had him draw things up on the board. NFL coaches and personnel directors talk to everyone they can to get a feel for prospects. There are so many unknowns during the draft process, but you usually can get a good feel of a prospect’s leadership skills and character. Those are defining qualities for the Packers when scouting players.
Justin from Brookfield, CT
I'm a bodybuilder. I can clearly tell Randall Cobb has put on some significant size. Do you see this taking away from his game at all, or only adding to it?
It’ll add to it if this preseason was any indication. Cobb looked explosive all month, especially after the catch. It’s not like Cobb put on like 10 pounds, which could alter his speed and quickness. He added a few pounds to help him absorb hits and potentially break tackles. That’s a smart approach considering how Cobb occasionally rotates in the backfield. Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and the coaching staff have raved about how Cobb has looked this summer, but only Cobb knows whether that’s because of his workout regimen or simply being healthy again.
Toby from Newington, CT
How much do the questions coming to the Inbox factor into the other articles that you write? What or who determines what you write about each day, or are you free to select your own topics?
Question of the day, Toby. It’s funny you should ask because I was just thinking about how my two most recent stories on packers.com (Keeping six safeties and Martinez and Jake Ryan at inside linebacker) were both born out of my rambling thoughts on here and Packers Unscripted. As far as story ideas, I come up with my own topics and occasionally bother Spoff for his two cents. So far, every story I’ve written on packers.com has been of my own creation.
Mark from Wheaton, IL
It seems to me that a hidden factor in the Packers keeping so many UDFAs this year is that in the past, they have consistently kept UDFAs on the 53. This has encouraged undrafted guys to sign with the Packers, and over time, better and better prospects have come in off the "street." So, the talent pool grows, meaning the likelihood of more UDFAs getting signed goes up. Thoughts?
You make a fair point. I remember a few years ago when John Schneider and the Seahawks were sending out pamphlets to potential undrafted free agents and their agents about the organization’s track record in developing them compared to the rest of the NFL. I haven’t seen Ted Thompson at Kinkos lately, but he and the Packers certainly have to be in that conversation as well. I can recall a lot of conversations with past college free agents who said they signed with Green Bay for that very reason.
Ryan from Tooele, UT
Insiders, why is it that Jacksonville is allowed to switch to their "away" white jerseys for a home game, thus forcing their opponents to wear the dark jerseys in the heat/sun? This seems like a dirty underhanded trick that the NFL should prevent. If you don't want to wear a dark jersey at home in the heat then change your colors!
That’s just the way it is. House rules.
Paul from Cumming, GA
I've always been intrigued by Datone Jones’ length and athletic ability. Do you think he's finally found a home out on the edge with Peppers and Matthews?
Datone Jones is right where he needs to be going into his fourth NFL season. He’s shown he can be an effective third-down interior rusher, but the move outside should enable him to make a greater contribution on a more consistent basis. I’m excited to see what he can do with a more established role in this defense. The early returns were promising in the preseason with Jones registering a sack rushing from the interior and also off the edge.
Charlie from Centerville, IA
When you have a third quarterback or any player likely inactive on most game days, during practice do they basically function like an extension of the practice squad?
That’s usually how things play out during the regular season, especially at quarterback when all the practice reps are needed to prepare Aaron Rodgers with the starting offense. There’s probably more to preoccupy the other young players who might not necessarily be active on game days because you never know when you’ll be called upon for special teams in a pinch.
Josh from Oshkosh, WI
If a college player forgoes his senior year to enter the NFL Draft, but goes undrafted, can he play his senior year?
I don’t think so, but it might depend on whether he hires an agent. There were a couple players who participated in February’s scouting combine while waiting to hear back from the NCAA about getting an extra year of eligibility.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
Hi Vic. Everyone is talking about the heat and humidity for the players on the field this Sunday. Could you enlighten us on some of the less-than-stellar press box environments that you've been in over the years?
Currently, that distinction probably has to go to the Superdome. It’s located high, open-air and there’s only one small elevator to get down to the locker room. In the past, the Metrodome was rough because fans were directly underneath the press box and it also was an open-air environment. The horns and constant screaming made for less-than-ideal writing conditions. Candlestick Park may go down as the biggest headache because you had to exit through the crowd to get down to the locker room. Also, the press box was designed like a greenhouse, so it was ridiculously hot before the January 2013 playoff game and then freezing cold by 10 p.m.
Ken from Long Beach, CA
Guys, time for your prediction. The first offensive play of the season will be: Lacy running off tackle, Cook catching a quick pass up the middle, or Nelson going long?
Rodgers to Nelson on a back-shoulder for 15 yards.
Peter from Wauwatosa, WI
What matchups will the Jaguars try to take advantage of versus the Packers?
You can bet the Jaguars have taken note of Lane Taylor making his third NFL start after the release of Josh Sitton, so I’d expect they’ll test the new starting left guard with new three-technique lineman Malik Jackson. That’s nothing against Taylor, but just the reality of filling one of the few holes in the Packers’ offense in the wake of Nelson’s return and Jared Cook’s signing. Jacksonville invested a lot of resources into that defense this offseason, so it’s going to want to set the pace early.
Eric from Ames, IA
I often hear about the successes of McCarthy's "QB school." But how much respect does the Packers’ "OL school" get around the league? They've had to bring in mostly late-round draft picks in order to build their OL unit for a long time now and have had a decent amount of success. I, for one, am using this track record to ease my worry about losing Sitton.
It’s incredible how well the Packers have fortified their offensive line with only one first-round pick on the unit (right tackle Bryan Bulaga). Besides rookie second-round pick Jason Spriggs, the rest of the offensive line room is comprised of mostly fourth- and fifth-round picks, and undrafted free agents. That’s a credit to the Packers’ personnel department for finding a lot of diamonds in the rough, and to coach James Campen for getting them ready to contribute early.
Peter from East Lansing, MI
With all the speed Ted Thompson added, how much better should our special teams be this year?
I think it’ll be an intriguing group to watch develop. The Packers added another potential returner with the fifth-round selection of receiver Trevor Davis, and Blake Martinez likely will have a role as well. The three undrafted defensive backs the Packers kept – Kentrell Brice, Marwin Evans and Josh Hawkins – all ran between 4.38 and 4.47 at their college pro days, so I could see all three finding their way onto special teams this year. The only question I have is whether they have enough size after going a little light on inside linebackers and keeping only three tight ends, but the athleticism is certainly there.
Ani from Visalia, CA
What happened to Jayrone Elliott? I remember him being a very good player and there was a lot of hype around him and his production.
Elliott currently is nursing a strained hamstring, but he’ll factor into the special-teams equation once he’s healthy. I wasn’t as down on his preseason as others were, but he’ll admit he wanted more production in preseason and training camp. As difficult as it was to crack the outside linebacker rotation last year, it’s only going to be more troublesome with Clay Matthews moving back outside now. Elliott has proven he can be a reliable hand on special teams. It’s just going to come down to consistency whenever he gets his next shot on defense.
Gladdys from Rolling Meadows, IL
Insiders, Vic has stated the need for the Packers to keep the defensive linemen fresh in the oppressive Jacksonville heat by rotating them during the game. What about the offensive linemen? They're big guys, too.
That’s a great point, but the Packers really stress conditioning with their offensive linemen regardless of whether it’s zero degrees or 90. That’s a critical part for all 11 players on the field when the Packers are operating their no-huddle offense. If you’re trying to wear out the opposition, you also have to make sure you’re on top of your game.
Braedon from Endicott, NY
We talk about how our defensive line and running backs will have to keep fresh during the Jaguars game by cycling in and out. How do the few people, like Aaron Rodgers, who has to play every down, stay fresh?
Rodgers has talked at great length the past few years about how important his offseason training is to staying at the peak of his power and staying healthy. He made a series of changes again this offseason in an attempt to put himself in the best shape of his career. Those are important steps for any athlete, let alone an NFL quarterback, to take as you move into the second half of your career. Nobody knows better what it takes to survive in extreme conditions than Rodgers. The two-time MVP quarterback has more than a decade of experiences to go off of.
Ryan from Gulfport, MS
Insiders, I am driving over to the game in Jacksonville this weekend. Are there any Packer fan meet-ups, or anything planned? I know in the past they have done things like that.
We will have a Packers Everywhere pep rally at 6 p.m. EDT on Saturday. It will all take place at Blackfinn Ameripub at 4840 Big Island Drive Suite 05, Jacksonville. You can read more about it right here.
Samuel from Jacksonville, FL
Game time temp here in Jacksonville looks to be a cool 93 degrees. I can't remember an opening game here in Jax that cold! I might be able to break out the khakis instead of shorts.
It should be a blast. I’ll be busting out my suit for the first regular-season game of the year, so I look forward to working myself into an early lather.
Mark from Grants Pass, OR
Not really a question – an assignment: Describe the Packers in just one word. You can explain it, but it has to be a single word.
Craig from Brookfield, WI
I hate it when Mike and Wes don't post my questions. I wish I could return to the days of Vic not posting my questions.
Since this was a statement and not a question, I’ll post it.
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