Tue, 29 Sep 2020

Inbox: It's part of the natural progression

Packers
11 Aug 2020, 18:12 GMT+10

Growth in that fashion is easier to come by in Year 2 Mike Spofford

Jim from Thousand Oaks, CA

Is it September yet?

Only when you find the missing oak.

Richard from Madison, WI

The question about why Packer helmets aren't gold (like the 49ers, Notre Dame, and Navy) made me reflect on a memorable Pro Bowl. As you know, the NFC and AFC each have either blue or red jersey colors, but each player wears the helmet of his own regular team. And when the starting QB for the NFC was flinging it down the field to his starting receivers (Lofton, Jefferson, and Coffman), those yellow helmets shone out like spotlights among all the duller blues and grays. So yay for the yellow!

It's distinct no matter what color you call it.

Jonathan from Ironwood, MI

With the Packers not having any fans for at least the first two home games, how does this affect the sold-out streak from 1957 or does it even count? Also, do you still see fans tailgating even if they cannot be in the stadium?

If a sellout is defined as selling all available tickets, the streak remains intact, right? The organization announced the parking lots will be closed for games where no fans are allowed.

Dave from Germantown, TN

I am not sure if all of the players live in Green Bay or Brown County but could the city/county help the Packers avoid the virus? The county goes on lockdown, no bars open, everyone has a stay at home order and has to mask up if they leave their home (grocery shopping, etc.) It could give the Packers a competitive advantage since it is doubtful any of the "big" cities of the other NFL teams could duplicate a lockdown like Green Bay.

You clearly haven't followed the news in Wisconsin over the past five months and how significant portions of the population feel about government orders.

Steve from Phoenix, AZ

The decision to opt out (or play) must be a complicated one for the players on many levels. I assume a guy like Devin Funchess, newly signed, would have to consider that it's a total crapshoot as to whether he plays for the Packers next year. His signing was one of fit and circumstance. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and/or Equanimeous St. Brown among others may have a great year, the Packers could sign another free agent and who knows about next year's draft. The chances that he's a good fit next year seem to be a coin flip.

That's fair to say, and Brad from Coon Rapids, MN, chimed in with a similar post. A lot changes with any NFL team over the course of a year.

Chuck from Santa Ana, CA

Just wanted to be sure Spoff caught that Mike Trout's new baby boy was named Beckham Aaron Trout...the initials were a hit with me.

A "hit," huh? Really?

Ryan from Kaukauna, WI

I regularly see Jermichael Finley brought up as a fond memory of what having a stud tight end looked like, but my recollection is that he was not as popular when he was actually on the team. Am I not remembering that correctly, or did fans not appreciate what they had at the time?

Finley struggled with dropped passes at times in his career, which understandably frustrated fans. Statistically, his yardage totals of 676 in 2009, 767 in '11, and 667 in '12 rank as three of the four highest by a Packers tight end since Paul Coffman had 814 in 1983. The other in the top four since Coffman is Mark Chmura's 679 in '95.

David from Catoosa, OK

This season has COVID-gate written all over it.

Stay tuned, right?

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Hey Mike, I let you off the hook a week ago you when you said, "Baseball is underway, basketball soon will be, and the football players will be putting pads on in a couple of weeks." My response was going to be, "And you, Mike, get the penalty box" for neglecting to mention hockey. How are you liking the NHL playoffs? Gotta give the league kudos for having staffers throw hats onto the ice after hat tricks.

I'm normally a casual observer of the NHL playoffs, but with training camp underway and my non-football sports time devoted to the Brewers, hockey is just not on my radar right now. Maybe I'll find a way to tune in for some of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Brian from Alta Vista, IA

Based off of what Gute said it sounds like he was only interested in the top three WRs in the first round if they dropped far enough to get them. After that do you think it was Jordan Love no matter what?

I don't know, but for the record, there were six wide receivers taken in the first 25 picks before Gutekunst traded up to 26.

Dennis from Batavia, IL

Back-to-back Inboxes dated Aug. 7. Maybe we are in the Twilight Zone.

This will be the test to see if the new intern reads the Inbox and corrects her mistake on the time stamp of the posting.

Brian from Sussex, WI

Obviously QB position would have biggest impact if lost to COVID-19. But what other position do you think would be hardest to overcome if significant number (say plus-50%) of that position group tested positive? I'd say OL, as defense can go to different packages, and even various packages could be used on offense if a skill position was hit hard. But five OL are required, and the big guys are harder to replace.

I tend to agree.

Shilo from Murrieta, CA

I think that the NFL made a mistake by cancelling the supplemental draft this summer. Some high-profile college players are opting out of the 2020 season, and now there's no way for them to advance their careers except to work out and wait. I think that the extraordinary circumstances of this year would've justified allowing those players into the supplemental draft, especially with the value of 2021 regular draft picks kinda iffy because no one knows if there will be any CFB this year.

I may be totally missing the mark here, but I don't think the NFL wanted to create the impression it was setting up an avenue to raid the college ranks of lots of top talent amidst all the uncertainty.

Mike from Palm Beach, FL

On former Ivy League Packers, how about Chuck Mercein from Yale a huge part of the winning drive?

He accounted for exactly half of the total yards - 34 of 68 - on the game-winning drive in the Ice Bowl. Neat stat.

Dave from Middletown, CT

My question concerns the designation of starter. It's so common for the opening kickoff to result in a touchback that it's easy to have a pre-chosen play and personnel package for the first snap. However, suppose the kickoff results in first-and-goal at the 1. It's not likely the same play would be desirable for that situation; the offense may prefer a different RB or fewer WRs. The DL would probably be different. Does someone get robbed of being called a starter?

Anomalies like that do take "starts" away, or give them to, certain players on occasion.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

Derek from Eau Claire wrote: "The NFL needs to be very sure that all players and coaches taking the field for a game are negative." Suggesting that then they could just all play ball with no worries. Sadly, these tests are not 100% accurate. Didn't Matthew Stafford just have a false positive test result? My friend had a false negative test and days later ended up sick with COVID for almost a month. People want to simplify many of the aspects of dealing with COVID. It's not that simple.

No, it's not. We just saw baseball's Cardinals, after three days of all negative tests, have three more individuals test positive as part of the outbreak within their team. Nobody can ever be sure of anything.

James from Asheville, NC

With the deadline having passed last Thursday are any protocols in place for a player to opt out once the season begins? Let's say after four games a player finds his wife is pregnant, or a family member has an illness that compromises their immunity and puts them at risk. Is there an appeal process by which a player can still forego the remainder of the season?

From NFL.com: "A player can still opt out later if one of the following applies: if that player gets a new diagnosis that he has a high-risk condition; or if a player's family member dies, is hospitalized or otherwise moves to a medical facility because of COVID-19 or related condition." No mention of a pregnancy stipulation in that story, but a player could probably negotiate with his team to be put on the reserve list if he's willing to forego any salary for games he doesn't play.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

When players are placed on the COVID list, whether during camp or season, can they still attend meetings or individual coaching virtually?

Yes, absolutely.

Eric from Stramproy, Netherlands

I understand the idea of making it easier on players by carrying over more of the playbook concepts from week to week, as Coach explained, as opposed to implementing too many new ones each week. What do coaches specifically need to assess or create in order to prevent becoming too predictable when carrying over concepts?

It's about building variations off of foundational concepts, which is part of the natural progression in a second year after everything's been run in games and there's film on what worked, what didn't, which ones certain players are more comfortable with, etc. A concept having an additional wrinkle here or there is very different from constantly adjusting game plans, but growth in that fashion is easier to come by in Year 2.

Todd from Wauwatosa, WI

Only Wes could suggest teddy bears and streamers for a 2020 Lambeau Leap. I think to truly capture the spirit of the Leap, there needs to be a cup of beer that is tipped over the player, kind of like a dunk tank. What say you Spoff?

You and Justin from LA both want the spilled beer in the mix. Teddy beers just make the whole thing awkward.

Josh from Houston, TX

Please please please please please can we get a "Three Things" with a floating-head Wes, ideally in the middle of the G between Mike and Larry? Asking for a friend.

Oh boy.

Bob from Racine, WI

Jeff from Greenville's suggestion/description for a self-sanitizing ball wasn't so wacky...how do you think trans-sonic torpedoes work?

Not as well as laser goalposts. Happy Monday.

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