Karen from Everett, PA
Insiders, this is for Kathryn from Green Bay – please...I implore you...stop. There is no need to keep track of man vs. woman. We have serious issues facing us – is Jordy's OTHER knee OK? Will Clay move back to the outside? How many seven-wide sets can Coach devise? Will the sun have a nose-bleed seat in Jacksonville or find one right on the Packers' bench?
All great questions, Karen. Even though you were asking them to emphasize a point, I believe the Packers will be creative in how they use Matthews this year. Packers associate head coach and linebackers coach Winston Moss summed it up best on Tuesday in responding, “We have it all,” to a question about the depth at outside linebacker/edge rusher. That depth should help Matthews roam wherever Dom Capers likes in his defense. All indications are Nelson will be fine by the time the regular season begins, which is still more than a month away.
Brenda from Sioux Center, IA
Hey Insiders, you're getting better! In one word: sincerity. Don't worry about being authentic to a region, be sincere in your agreement or disagreement. (It can be hard to know what that is when you are always trying to be nice.) Just add some drama to it. Draw it out from your inbox. That is what Vic did well. Also, to Kathryn: We need more women to step up and ask questions. When men are writing in complaining how their questions are never answered and most of the questions are from men, it is just inevitable most of the questions answered will be from men. Don't stop submitting questions. If you don't ask, the answer is always no.
Thanks for reading, Brenda. I’m always looking to improve in all areas of this job. It’s going to take some time, but I feel like Spoff and I are finding our voices in this column.
Ken from Pleasant Prairie, WI
I don't know what it was about this offseason that felt different but I have been drinking up every bit of Packers info I could get my hands on. What do you think was the biggest offseason move or story that will have the biggest impact on the season?
It was early in the offseason, but I think Mike McCarthy resuming offensive play-calling is a big topic that will have a significant impact on the offense this year. I found it interesting when McCarthy first announced his intention to hold onto play-calling duties that he said he planned to go back to how hands-on he was early in his tenure. The job pulls him in a lot of directions, but McCarthy made a name for himself with his offensive creativity. He was made for the driver’s seat.
Scott from Maple Grove, MN
Hi, would you be surprised to see Aaron Rodgers have his best season ever with the Packers this year? I believe the offense will be back and be at the top of the league again!
Not at all. He’s still only 32 years old and doing everything possible to stay at the peak of his powers. Nobody is more motivated to right the offense after last year than Rodgers. All the tools appear to be there offensively, especially once Jordy Nelson is back in the fold.
Nick form State College, PA
Talk of Favre had me wondering. If Rodgers retired today, does he make the Hall of Fame?
Yes. Only one man’s opinion, but I say yes. He’s won two MVP awards in eight NFL seasons as a starter, won a Super Bowl and is the most efficient quarterback in league history.
Bob from Vernon, NY
What are the changes to the NFL's injured reserve rules for this year?
The only major change is regarding the injured reserve designated to return option. Teams are now allowed to retroactively designate a player to return rather than having to do so upfront. Previously, the Packers had to declare players such as JC Tretter, Andrew Quarless, Randall Cobb and Cedric Benson as designated to return at the moment they were placed on injured reserve. Now, NFL teams have the option to return one player to the roster during the season that previously was placed on injured reserve without any initial declaration. The change was made at the suggestion of the Buffalo Bills because some players who were designated to return (Benson in 2012) never were healthy enough to be activated and the option essentially was wasted.
Frank from Mystic, IA
Hey guys, kind of curious but do you think they will ever increase the 53-man roster or at the very least up the practice squad count? Or is that just hopeful thinking we can keep more of our draft class?
Maybe someday, but I don’t see anything imminent. If anything, I think we’re more likely to see practice squads continue to expand over having another player or two added to the active roster. You saw a little of that in recent years with the expansion from eight to 10 spots on the taxi squads and the addition of the veteran exemption.
Manny from Milwaukee, WI
What are your thoughts on the possibility Damarious Randall could be used as a Tyrann Matthieu type of player? He's already taking snaps inside. All he needs to do is get back to working on his safety position. He is versatile and good enough to be around the ball all the time.
I think Randall has a really high ceiling with a clear understanding of the impact the nickel (or star) cornerback can make in Dom Capers’ scheme. You saw it with Charles Woodson and Casey Hayward. I think it’s early for projecting what direction Randall’s career will take, but nothing would surprise me with him or Quinten Rollins.
Andy from Oregon, IL
Mike or Wes, what is one thing that Blake Martinez will have to do to take over the starting spot from Sam Barrington? Do you think he can start in his place the first week knowing the history of the Packers not starting many rookies?
Historically, it’s been difficult for inside linebackers to start in Capers’ and Dick LeBeau’s zone-blitz defense. From my vantage point, Martinez has hit all the targets the Packers have set for him so far. Will it result in a starting spot? I truly have no idea. I think we have to wait to see Barrington get back on the field to see what the coaches are thinking. To your question, I think Martinez has done everything he possibly can to start earning the coaches’ trust.
Nolan from West Salem, WI
Gentlemen, how is Johnathan Franklin doing? I hear he works for the organization still. It was sad to see his career ended so abruptly.
Franklin interned with the Packers after his retirement in 2014. He was then hired as an administrator for student welfare and development at Notre Dame about a year and a half ago. His agent, Kenny Zuckerman, hit it on the head after the Packers announced Franklin won’t return, saying “I think that he'll be successful in anything he does.” I think the Mayor will go far in life.
Chris from Neenah, WI
Spoff and Hodkeywizz, please don't stop the column due to the vocal few. Many of us really like the new format.
I literally published this because of the spelling of my last name. Hodkeywizz is a first. But yeah, we’re glad you’re enjoying it.
Sam from Richfield, MN
Wes, do you think it makes it harder or easier to be a journalist for the team you grew up watching? You guys are professionals, but I know for me, personally, it would be hard to drop the fan hat and write objectively.
I’m not sure how it is for other writers who have done it, but it doesn’t really affect me. It didn’t when I was at the Press-Gazette and I don’t think it will now, either. It probably makes covering the team easier because I have a solid foundation when it comes to knowing the organization and history. It’s your job to be the fan. It’s my responsibility to give you as much information and insight as possible.
Tou from Eau Claire, WI
If Kenny Clark shows that he's worthy of being a starter, how would you handle his playing time during the preseason? During the regular season?
If he’s up for it, I think you give Clark as many snaps as possible in the preseason. The Packers have two experienced defensive linemen in Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion, who will shoulder the load during Mike Pennel’s absence the first month of the season. Still, they need the young linemen, Clark and Dean Lowry, to be ready to play. Being only 20 years old, Clark could really benefit from the extra reps.
Rob from Boulder, CO
What do you think of the Colts’ decision to start Andrew Luck against the Packers?
There’s no right or wrong way to handle the preseason in my mind. Aaron Rodgers didn’t play in the final two games last year and still got off to a great start in the first month of the season. Jordy Nelson barely played prior to his 1,500-yard season in 2014. Everyone has different needs. I’d expect coaching staffs know what those are. If Chuck Pagano wants to play Luck right off the bat, it’s obviously for good reason.
Richard from San Diego, CA
Would like to start by saying, good morning. Here's my issue. Last year, before the season started, and before any injuries, my main concern was wide receiver, and the number of dropped balls the year before. I don't find myself feeling any weaknesses on offense, or defense. Could this be a complete team?
In the NFL, it’s tough to be an absolutely complete team, particularly in the salary-cap era. Just too many players, too many variables. What I will say is there is a lot of depth at a number of positions. Ted Thompson fortified the positions that struggled with injury from last season (receiver, offensive line) and added reinforcements to areas that could be considered weak spots (inside linebacker, defensive line). What’s the adage about chasing perfection?
Justin from Powhatan Point, Ohio
Spoff/Hod, a few guys that I noticed on Family Night that aren't on most people's radar, and can't wait to see more of, are Allison, Perillo, Daniel, and McCray. I love preseason and watching guys fight for a roster spot. I always try to pick a sleeper for either active roster or practice squad, and so far I'm going with Allison. I really thought he shined when given the opportunity.
The emergence of under-the-radar players always has been my favorite part of the preseason. They often have some of the best stories, too. McCray certainly isn’t unproven – he’s a fourth-year veteran – but his signing adds flavor to the outside linebacker position. I thought he really stood out during Family Night with a couple nice bull rushes. Justin Perillo and Rob Daniel are off to nice starts. Perillo is really sharp on fundamentals and catches everything thrown his way. I really like Daniel’s size. I can see why the Packers brought him in last September.
Mike from Stillwater, MN
Hey Mike and Wes, when are you guys going to make The Rock stand in the middle on your Three Things videos?
I don’t tell The Rock to do anything. The Rock stands where The Rock wants to stand. Wes goes where The Rock tells him to go.
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