Mon, 16 May 2022

Every week is crash course in what’s coming up SundayMike Spofford

Jim from Arkdale, WI

Here's one for Spoff. "I" before "E" except when your foreign neighbor Keith received eight counterfeit beige sleighs from feisty caffeinated weightlifters. Weird.

And once again we're off, so we might as well get going.

Sam from Greendale, WI

In response to Al from Green Bay, Lambeau Field parking opens four hours before kickoff. Carefully applying that logic, tailgating can begin as early as 4:30 a.m.

Sounds like it's settled then.

Mark from Tomahawk, WI

First time with a question although I've been tuning in for years! I was wondering, is our London game against the Giants going to be viewable on FOX as usual, or will we have to make special arrangements (ESPN Ocho) to watch this one live? This is all new ground for Packers Nation and I want to make sure I don't miss a snap. Thanks for all you do!

The London game is being televised on NFL Network, I believe.

Nicholas from Baltimore, MD

What do make of high-profile players' newfound ability to force their way out of a team and secure their paydays elsewhere? I feel like in the past there were more holdouts and waiting games, whereas now it seems like teams are quite open to letting the players move on in exchange for high draft picks.

Every situation is its own, but in some cases teams simply decide the drama isn't worth it, and neither is fighting to keep around a player who'd potentially be disgruntled.

Jeff from Hoffman Estates, IL

When you list linebacker combinations I would include Ray Nitschke and Dave Robinson in the conversation.

Of course, but the conversation was focused on linebacker combos I had actually seen play. Folks, please read the context of the original comment before bombarding me with "omissions."

David from Green Bay, WI

Mike, regarding your answer concerning great linebacker tandems, I am old enough to have been able to watch the Lambert, Ham, Russell linebacking corps as the Steelers dynasty began. That was a defense that always looked like it knew what the opposing offense was going to do and executed in kind. They match up well with the Bears trio you lauded. As Bum Phillips once said, they may not have been in a class by themselves, but it didn't take long to call roll.

Bum Phillips will forever be an all-time favorite. Unfortunately, there will never be another one anything remotely like him.

Brad from Oshkosh, WI

I think it's time to open your eyes, Marilyn.

I have nothing to add to Mark's answer to that nonsense. I'm surprised he gave it the time of day.

Mike from Waunakee, WI

Every month the Take Five questions make me embarrassed to be a Packer fan. I thought the profanity-laced submission from last month was the low point but last week showed even a deeper layer of ridiculousness. From the majority of Packer fans, Mark we apologize. Please stop giving these morons a forum for their stupidity.

My initial reaction as well, then I decided to believe Marilyn isn't real and neither is that submission. It makes me feel better about the world.

John from Fort Myers, FL

Question for Mike: In Murphy's Take 5 Saturday the word "Black" was capitalized while the word "white" was not. What is the grammar rule regarding the difference or should "white" have been capitalized?

The Associated Press made an official style change (I believe it was in 2020) to capitalize Black. We try to adhere to AP style on the website as best we can, with the exception of some style choices specific to our organization.

Zak from Huntington Beach, CA

With the loss of Davante as a leader/mentor for the WR room, and for the entire team in general, who among the returning players do you see stepping into a larger role to fill that void? I would assume it'll be Randall Cobb/Allen Lazard/Sammy Watkins in the WR room but, other than A-Rod, who do you think will be leading the offense this year?

Bakhtiari is certainly the elder statesman of the offensive line, and most accomplished player. Even though his comeback didn't go as hoped last year, he was still very much a leader of that position group, and I expect Jenkins to grow in that vein as well with Turner and Patrick gone. At another position, Jones is entering his sixth season now. He's quieter by nature but no less respected.

Graydon from Menomonie, WI

How do you keep II readers in suspense for the next column? Leave it to Wes: "I'll always be grateful to for him [Hakeem Butler] giving me probably the best quote I've ever received at the NFL Scouting Combine when I asked him about Lazard three years ago." What was the quote?

I'm hanging on for it just like the rest of you. In my best Judge Smails voice to Wes: "Well ... we're waiting!"

Jimmy from Bristol, UK

Hi guys, early early reporting of the rookie camp told the stories of receptions down the field by Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs (in triple coverage, I recall!), and even an interception by Quay Walker. Who is throwing those passes? To know that, too, would be appreciated.

The two QBs for the rookie minicamp were Danny Etling, formerly of LSU and multiple NFL practice squads, whom the Packers signed right after last season ended, and Max Bortenschlager, a rookie from Florida International brought in for a tryout.

Richard from Menasha, WI

Who were the eight current roster players that attended the rookie minicamp? Can you explain who is eligible to attend?

I'm not familiar with all the regulations, but generally speaking, players who are no longer rookies but who have not yet accrued a year of NFL service (e.g., listed on the roster as first-year players) are eligible. For the Packers, that included JJ Molson, Dominik Eberle, Innis Gaines, Alizé Mack, Ray Wilborn, Michal Menet, Chris Blair, and Danny Etling.

Jackie from New Freedom, PA

When the rookies report to camp, are all of their lockers together in the locker room or are they spread among the veteran players?

They're all spread out across the room. The draft picks have lockers in the main room, and the UDFAs are in the auxiliary room, with the potential for change at roster cut-down time.

Tom from Walker, MI

Will a UDFA make this team?

History says at least one is bound to.

Joseph from Ellsworth, WI

Has anyone asked Romeo Doubs if Doubs is pronounced Dobbs or Dubs? I'm calling him Romeo W's regardless, but I hope Romeo gets to clear the air, as Robert Tonyan didn't peel the layers to get to the bulb of that onion for years.

Apparently the correct pronunciation is Dobbs, while Dubs is a nickname, and he's fine with either.

Bob from Bella Vista, AR

If you gave one word that sums up the draft, what would it be? I'll go with hope.

Projection.

John from Livermore, CA

OK, so the draft is behind us. Break down the rest of the NFC North at this point. Anyone make a step forward?

The Lions are making strides, but going from three wins to contending for a division title in one year is asking an awful lot, particularly when one of your first-round draft picks is missing (probably) half the season. The Vikings invested early and often in retooling their secondary, but there's no telling how quickly it'll take. The Bears also went hard at their D-backfield, but overall their progress largely hinges on Fields and where he goes in Year 2 with a new coaching staff.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

Who is a sleeper draft pick that might surprise us all?

I have no idea. But what stood out to me from watching the rookie minicamp practices were the size of Quay Walker and Kingsley Enagbare (for their positions), the speed of Watson, and the strength in both the game and hands of Doubs. I confess I didn't watch the linemen much because I can never glean a whole lot until they've got pads on.

Phillip from Wonder Lake, IL

We can see the results soon?

You'll have to define what you mean by soon.

Chang from St. Paul, MN

Hi Mike, last night I re-watched Rasul Douglas' videos and I noticed one that stood out a lot. It looks like Rasul knew ahead of time where the receivers will go on their routes. I know he studied films but how can a player remember so much from different teams and receivers? I like Douglas when I first saw him in Chicago game. Thanks.

Players focus on the game in front of them. They aren't studying the film of opponents three or four weeks down the road and trying to mentally catalogue it all. Every week is a crash course in what's coming up Sunday.

Bill from Iowa City, IA

I'm wondering if Allen Lazard can make a jump similar to one Adams made after three years. That is move up to about 75 catches, 800-plus yards and double-digit TDs. Last year he had 40 catches, 513 yards and eight TDs. He likely will get more balls from Rodgers. How do you see his season going if he stays healthy?

I see no reason to believe Adams' Year 3 numbers (75-997-12) aren't within Lazard's reach.

Steve from Milwaukee, WI

Did they have size 17 shoes in stock for Rasheed Walker or did they have to special order?

I've never known Red and T-Bone to get caught unaware.

Phil from Playa Blanca, Spain

Outside of QB, what position do you think is the most difficult for college players to make the step up from college football to the NFL?

We've talked a lot about tight end before because of all the duties required and how rare it is for college tight ends to be proficient at the full list. If I had to pick another one I might say defensive tackle, full-time that is (all three downs), because one of the hardest things to learn is how to defend the run on the way to the quarterback.

Jon from Andover, MN

I like the picks. I really like the picks. It seems every year though we forget about the guys picked in the later rounds of last year's draft, or the year before. Who selected in the later rounds is still around, and is there anyone primed to make an impact this year? Hill is my hope, but who else?

Well, a sixth-rounder from two years ago started all last season at left guard. But along the lines of my previous answer, though I don't see him in an every-down role, I'm definitely keeping an eye on T.J. Slaton this year.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

At the time Joe Barry was hired he was the alternate when Jim Leonhard passed on the job. Many considered him no better than Pettine, more of the same. The fan base was not overly enthusiastic about his hiring. Has the perception of Joe Barry as a coordinator changed?

How can it not? Just look at how the defense performed in its first game last season, and its last.

Chris from St. Louis, MO

This isn't as drastic or impactful as the '09 draft but it occurred to me today a slight similarity between the two in adding the two defensive players in the first round specifically for the scheme of the new coordinator. I think Joe Barry showed us all last year that he's the man for the job. Maybe now Gutey, as you so affectionately refer to him, felt the need to commit to his scheme further. Did either of you get that feeling?

That wasn't really my take. To me, it was a combination of two angles. One, the obvious impact a linebacker with De'Vondre Campbell's physical traits had. And two, having a defensive lineman they liked enough available late in the first round after investing just one pick higher than a fifth-rounder at the position over the previous five drafts.

Andrew from Shalimar, FL

I don't understand how making our defense stronger (possibly the strength of the team now) will "force Rodgers into a game manager role." Just because the defense rises doesn't mean the offense will fall. Obviously Adams leaving hurts and no single player can take his place, but I don't envision the offense being unable to move the ball.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The day Rodgers truly becomes a game manager is the day he walks away.

Nathan from Manitowoc, WI

What player would benefit the Packers the most by having a big offseason improvement?

I know Wes answered this on Saturday, and while I wholeheartedly agree with his selection of Josiah Deguara, I'll make a pick on the other side of the ball in a slightly different context: Eric Stokes. Given how well he performed as a rookie, if he has anything resembling a traditional second-year jump, this defense's cornerback trio goes to another level and more options open up for Barry.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Mike: Bettendorf, next to Davenport, has a Culvers just down the street from a great brewery called Five Cities. I'd be happy to cover your first Schwifty Hippy IPA. Great way to wash down your butter burger.

My road trip planning keeps getting easier. Hope all the Moms out there had a great Mother's Day, and Happy Monday.

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