Seanluc from Oceanside, CA
Are the days of a true "shutdown” corner over? With such a great emphasis in the passing game in modern football, wide receiver phenoms are winning the battle against DBs and not looking back.
I think it’s the exact opposite. NFL teams constantly are searching for shutdown corners to combat those receivers. Recent rule changes haven’t made the job any easier, but I’m convinced shutdown cornerbacks can still win in this league. You’re always going to need cornerbacks who can travel and disrupt that QB-WR chemistry. The best corners like Charles Woodson and Al Harris give a defense a chance of locking a star down and changing the complexion of a game on any given play. They’re called shutdown corners for a reason.
Jay from Land O Lakes, FL
On obvious passing downs do the Packers ever pull out all their inside LBs and play four big guys up front with seven DBs? I'm no coach but I'd rather have Josh Jones, a fast safety, tracking down Zeke Elliott in the flat rather than Martinez or Ryan.
They haven’t done it consistently, but that’s not say it won’t happen at times this year. I can think of a couple instances where they have used eight defensive backs with Jarrett Bush or Quinten Rollins coming in as the extra cornerback. I think Dom referred to it as dollar and later dime-plus. It just hasn’t been very often, though.
Paul from Peoria, IL
The most exciting trick play in 2016 for me were the two jet sweeps Jeff Janis ran for 20 yards each and a touchdown. Even in slow motion it was amazing how fast he was moving when he passed AR. Please give your thoughts on it?
Those were excellent calls and the Packers kept them in their back pocket for most of the season. Janis obviously is a different type of player than Ty Montgomery, but I think they’re both guys who can do damage with the ball in open space. I think that’s contributed to how well both have performed on kickoff returns in the past.
Jason from Louisville, KY
Just a response to Nick from TN regarding getting annoyed with Aaron Rodgers trying to catch the opponent with 12 men on the field. I think what Rodgers is doing is not just a gimmick; it is actually good strategy (assuming his goal in doing so is to try to keep defenses from subbing players). He is basically putting the opponent on notice that if they try to sub in fresh bodies they may pay for doing so in a penalty. Am I correct here?
Correct. And honestly, isn’t that what the no-huddle offense is all about? Keeping the defense on its toes.
Nikhil from Highland Park, IL
Wes, I'd like to thank you for the kind words you wrote about Mitchell Henry. I barely knew anything about him, but death is always sad and tough. More importantly, it should help us all reflect on how small football is in relation to the ultimate human confrontation that we will all face at some point.
One of the greatest tragedies in life is how many decent people leave this world each day who you’ve never met. Mitch is one of those individuals. As much as we talk about Player X or Y in this column on a daily basis, we sometimes can lose sight of the fact they’re human. I just wanted to share a few thoughts so everyone knew the kind of guy Henry was.
Brandon from Fairfield, CA
During the season, how is the schedule of practice players different than players on the 53-man roster? Do they do everything with the team (meetings, workouts)? What is their role during practice? Scout team?
The day-to-day routine of practice-squad players is virtually the same as players on the 53. They’re in meetings, doing workouts and studying the playbook. The biggest difference is their responsibilities on the practice field during the regular season. It’s their job to give the best look possible of the upcoming opponent to the offense or defense.
Connor from Murray, UT
I live in Utah and I had the great opportunity to meet Marwin Evans who went to Utah State. I looked into him and he had a great opportunity to be an UDFA and go to Green Bay after he grew up in Milwaukee. What surprised me is how nice and humble he is. I love to see that. Have you had any experiences talking with him? Also did you see much improvement in him from last year to this year?
I know Evans was really popular with the Milwaukee media from his days at Oak Creek High School. He often seems to be kind of the forgotten man when discussing the safeties, but he showed up on special teams last year. That’s going to be the starting point again in 2017, but the Packers are going to need all of those safeties with how much Morgan Burnett and Josh Jones could be moving around.
Mohammed from Teaneck, NJ
The modern success that the Packers saw can be attributed to Ron Wolf. Did Ron Wolf get hired as GM or did he work his way up through the Packer organization? If the former, what spurred the Packers to hire Ron?
Wolf made a name for himself as a personnel executive with the Raiders, but a lot of people tend to forget Green Bay was actually Wolf’s second GM job. He ran Tampa Bay’s football operations during the Bucs’ first few years. Wolf has talked in the past about how he didn’t think he’d get another chance at running his own show after Tampa. Fortunately, Bob Harlan liked his track record for finding talent and the rest was history.
John from Sun Prairie, WI
Since other teams have one or two billionaire owners and stadiums are usually located in metropolitan areas, is there any way other teams could build something like the Titletown District?
It seems like that’s the way things are trending. The 49ers’ new stadium is next to a Six Flags. The Patriots have a mall connected to Gillette Stadium. Philadelphia practically has its own village housing all of its sports teams. It makes sense. That’s where the action is.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
With the departure of Jake Schum, are you concerned about the Packers punting game this season?
Concerned is a strong word. It’s up to Justin Vogel to make the most of the opportunity. I can’t think of many undrafted rookies who have entered a training camp without any direct competition on the roster. However, last year showed how quickly a team’s punting situation can change when Tim Masthay and Peter Mortell were released, and Schum was claimed off waivers during the final week of the preseason.
Chris from Eau Claire, WI
Why does Rodgers get all of the credit for the quick count? The entire offense has to be set, too.
It takes more than one player, though. It’s the entire offensive front working in unison. Incredibly, the Packers have consistently achieved that. You took the words out of my mouth. Literally.
Andrew from Vancouver, Canada
When the teams introduce themselves on camera during the first quarter, which Packer (past or present) has the best delivery? I've always been partial to "Bryan Bulaga...Iowa..." Something about that no nonsense pacing makes me crack a smile every time.
Bulaga is pretty good. I always thought Micah Hyde had a great delivery, too. Maybe there’s just something powerful about coming from a college that has almost as many syllables as letters in its name.
Dennis from Hinzerath, WI
Hey Wes, I hope you had a nice Fourth of July. I will be in Green Bay for the first time to attend the Bears game. Can you please give me a hint what makes Lambeau so special under the lights? Keep up the great work!
You can’t beat a night game at Lambeau Field. It’s hard to explain, but on top of the usual game experience, I thinks fans are really going to enjoy the Johnsonville Tailgate Village. It’s been fun watching it go up this offseason.
Josh from Denver, CO
Hey Wes, did you see Aaron Rodgers accept White Goodman's dodgeball challenge? What do you think of it? I think it’s really funny.
Hilarious. I love ‘Dodgeball.’ It’s one of the few comedy movies that actually can make me laugh out loud after the first viewing.
Ben from Menomonee Falls, WI
What non-athletic attribute do coaches look for most in younger players/rookies?
Work ethic. You can have all the talent in the world, but it’s worthless if you’re not willing to work for it. If you have a solid work ethic and good head on your shoulders, you have a chance to go far.
Mike from McKinney, TX
We are attending our first shareholder meeting this year and want to stick around for training camp. The current schedule shows the first practice at 8:15 a.m. on July 27. What time do the players start riding bikes to the practice field? Also, approximately how long will practice last (based on your experience)? Thank you.
If the Packers stay on the same schedule as last year, they’ve been conducting a walk-through with special-teams players before practice. I’d suggest getting there at least 30 minutes beforehand. Those practices during the first two weeks of camp usually go more than two hours.
David from Brantford, Ontario
Wes, let's put the best athlete conversation to rest with this: DeAngelo Williams shows up to TNA Slammiversary with three days training and looked like he'd been doing it for years. People can say what that want about sports entertainment, but those guys put in work, and you've got one of the most respected wrestling journalists saying, if he chooses, Williams could be potentially one of the greatest of all time.
The sunset flip and codebreaker were pretty sweet. While it was only Williams’ debut, I have no problem saying that’s one of the best performances I’ve seen out of an ex-NFL player. He looked the part.
Dustin from Long Beach, CA
What do you think about the Brewers only having the mandatory one All-Star selection while leading the division?
I don’t follow baseball as closely as I once did, but I was shocked Travis Shaw wasn’t an All-Star.
Derrick from Randolph, NJ
I think the reason for so much fascination with trick plays for fans comes from sports movies. There always seems to be some miracle play or gimmick that gives the underdog the edge against a rival at a crucial point. If you had to pick the best trick play from a movie what would it be? I think the annexation of Puerto Rico has to be near the top.
The Flying V.
Jeff from Miami, FL
I loved the sarcasm and general disdain from the Monday column with Vic. Is there any way to keep that sentiment up until camp restarts? Vic sounded like a grumpy old bear that was definitely being poked.
Ask me about when Ty Montgomery is getting a new number and you might get the reaction you desire.
Alan from Albuquerque, NM
My vote for most interesting player off the field is Alan Page, who served 22 years on the Minnesota Supreme Court.
I was thinking former Packers, but that’s also a good example.
Tony from River Falls, WI
Wes, are you excited for the future Game of Thrones spinoff series?
Sure, but I’d still rather have the last two books in the Song of Ice and Fire saga on my coffee table.
Jon from Bloomfield, NJ
Are we coming up with bad trick plays now? Just have the WRs all wear fake moustaches to disguise them. DBs won't know who their man is.
Now there’s a suggestion I can get behind.
Tom from Platteville, WI
Wes, "To sew or not to sew, that is the question.”
My full name is Wes-ton. Need I say more?
Graham from Green Bay, WI
Do the Insiders ever write questions to the inbox under aliases? I'm not expecting a specific instance, but I can imagine the shenanigans that could ensue. Thanks for the great read on my lunch breaks every day!
I have not, but I suspect a few of my co-workers may have planted a question here or there to test me.
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