Thu, 06 Aug 2020

Inbox: Time for the next step is now

Packers
30 Jun 2020, 18:12 GMT+10

There is such a thing as getting too cute

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

Been a while, just wanted to say hi. Hope you guys are well.

We're hanging in there. At least the weather has been positive lately.

Corey from Henderson, NV

After a spectacular season, most people expect the Packers to fall back a little; it's honestly hard to win 13 games in a season, so I wouldn't be surprised if they topped at 11 wins this year. But with them falling back a bit, it should also be expected that the other teams in the division might increase their win total this coming year. With that said, which team in the North do you see as increasing their win total enough to push the Packers for the division title in 2020?

I've been saying all offseason I expect the Vikings to be the biggest challenger for the division title. Minnesota will be relying on a lot of young players, but I'd be surprised if the Vikings aren't still in the NFC playoff mix.

Ron from Green Bay, WI

Hi Spoff, just wondering if you could share a favorite story about Tom Oates. I will truly miss his articles. Tom is definitely a class writer and person.

He's one of the best I've ever met in this business, and it was fitting I read his semi-retirement column in the actual printed paper, because I was at my parents' house over the weekend. I don't have any particular story, but we had developed a ritual over the last several years of him sitting right behind me and Wes in the Lambeau Field media auditorium for the head coach's Wednesday press conference. The conversation would inevitably get cut off when the coach walked into the room, but that didn't take any of the fun out of it.

John from La Crosse, WI

Do you think that the Packers will actually play all four of their scheduled preseason games this year?

I doubt it. Word is the league is looking at a two-game preseason. I'm not even sure that's worth the effort, but stay tuned.

Dave from East Burke, VT

Wondering how you feel about the Patriots' move to take on Cam Newton.

It makes sense. They didn't have a whole lot to get excited about at the position, and now they have a proven, motivated player with a short-term deal and a bunch of incentives to get his career back on track.

Eric from Reedsburg, WI

Now that Major League Baseball is coming back, does not being able to attend games in person detract from you enjoying the game?

No, but I will really be looking forward to going to a game in 2021, I can tell you that.

Bob from New Britain, CT

Designated hitters in both leagues? A runner on second base during extra innings? Mike, I was wondering what you thought of these new rules for the 2020 baseball season, and if you know whether they are experimental or permanent?

I'm not a huge fan of either rule, but I understand the rationale in a shortened season. It sounds like it's more than just a possibility the DH in the National League becomes permanent.

Tony from Marquette, MI

Are we bringing any kickers in to challenge Mason Crosby?

If the Packers weren't sure Crosby's their guy, they wouldn't have given him a new contract right after the season ended.

Jeff from Belton, TX

Is the "Alumni Spotlight" going to be a permanent fixture? Really enjoy the section.

For the next few weeks, we'll be posting an "Alumni Spotlight" video every Monday and Thursday.

James from Mount Pleasant, WI

Will Jaire Alexander shine this year?

Time for the next step is now.

Bill from Maple Grove, MN

How much impact do agents have on the players? Does the agent tell the rookies to study the playbook religiously? Does the agent encourage the player to work out in the offseason? Does the agent tell the player to work hard?

If a player has to hear any of those things from his agent, he doesn't stand much of a chance.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

Regarding a two-TE, three-RB set for a two-point conversion, I get the intrigue, but if I'm a coach there's no way I'm taking our best offensive threat off the field so I can run an interesting formation. Taking Davante Adams out at the goal line is like when ATL pulls out Julio Jones at the goal line. It never makes sense to me. He's your best player. At least make the defense stressed having to account for him. Is there something schematically I'm missing?

There is such a thing as getting too cute, and you weren't the only reader with this reaction.

Tom from San Juan Capistrano, CA

With all of the drop submissions impacting the Packers, it got me thinking of the biggest drop in NFL history. It has to be the Jackie Smith drop in Super Bowl XIII doesn't it?

In my lifetime, I can't think of another that would rank higher.

Scott from Vienna, Austria

Regarding biggest offensive drops, I think Antonio Freeman's drop in the Super Bowl loss to Denver with under a minute left with the Packers in Denver territory was huge. If he catches it the Packers have four downs in the red zone to tie the Super Bowl and send it to overtime.

I went back and looked at it, and that's a tough one for me to grade as a drop. Freeman was between two defenders, and Darrien Gordon got a hand in there it appeared, so it wasn't an opportunity for a clean catch in my opinion.

Andrew from Big Flats, NY

Can the Green Bay economy survive a year without football? Other cities would miss and certainly suffer economic hardship if the season were lost, but I can't imagine how difficult a cancelled season would be for the city of Green Bay.

A season without fans, or with less than a full Lambeau and without people able to pack the sports bars, etc., would deal a huge economic blow to the area. There are some hotels and restaurants that depend mightily on the eight regular-season home games and all the traffic and business they generate. I feel for those business owners and employees, who have already suffered since March.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

If you could draft ANY player all time to play in today's game, who would that be?

Jim Brown.

Patrick from Valrico, FL

The Packers' primary avenue for improvement this year is the development of players already on the roster. I understand this is out of necessity and honestly I remain optimistic, but I am curious if you can recall any recent Super Bowl winners who "got over the hump" via internal improvement alone?

I don't think anyone ever gets there that way, and just because internal is the primary avenue doesn't mean it should be characterized as the only one for improvement. Yes, the Packers are counting on a lot of strides being made by recent draft classes. But Christian Kirksey has a chance to be an upgrade over Martinez, and Devin Funchess could produce more than any receivers behind Adams did last year. It isn't fair to expect Rick Wagner to play at or above Bulaga's level, but the other two veteran signings look like legitimate possibilities for external improvement to me.

Terrance from Sun Prairie, WI

What recent Super Bowl was the most exciting game to watch?

I'd say a handful of the Super Bowls over the past decade have been plenty entertaining, but if there's one I don't think gets talked about enough as a pretty good game to watch, it was Ravens-49ers from the 2012 season.

Bob from Cortez, CO

Stanford University says COVID-19 can travel 10 yards if you don't wear a mask, one and a half yards if you do. Let's stop this scourge at the 2-yard line by everyone wearing a mask instead of giving it an easy first down. Then we can all watch some football this fall.

Sounds good to me.

Ron from Bethesda, MD

I don't have a question, I just want football!

Fingers crossed. Happy Monday.

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