Rich from Grand Rapids, MI
Your observations about a running game putting fear into a D are spot on. Dalvin Cook worries me when GB plays Minn, but not as much as Adrian Peterson did – not even close. And then there is the terror that was Barry Sanders. Other backs in the division over the years have been very good, but Peterson and Sanders put fear in a defense. Your comment about fear in the run game reminded me of those two backs in particular. That GB held Sanders to negative yards in a playoff game still amazes me.
It remains the pinnacle, as far as a single game is concerned, of Fritz Shurmur’s career as a defensive coordinator. The defense he built in ’96 was super, of course, but what that unit did two years earlier against the greatest running back of his era was unmatched.
Scott from Palos Park, IL
In terms of second-year jumps is it safe to say that Eric Stokes may have an inside track due to teams trying to avoid the other side of the field? I suspect Stokes will get tested in an attempt to find a hole on the perimeter.
Entirely possible, if not likely.
I assume the dead zone is very much alive for the coaching staff. What’s their primary focus over the next few weeks? Are they working on things we average folks may find surprising?
Actually, the coaches take an extended break after this week, too. They’ll come back in advance of the players to start their grind, but this next month is their rest, recoup and recharge time.
Any under-the-radar guys to keep our eyes on this fall?
Someone will emerge during training camp, because someone always does.
Gentlemen, I have had discussions with people who are so down on the team based on off season moves or lack there of. I am a glass-half-full guy and tried to explain that we will be better due to a stronger defense, better special teams, and a renewed emphasis on the run early in the season. This will give the pass game time to develop. They weren’t buying it. Is there any way to get the naysayers to buy in to this team?
I don’t know. I think it’s fine to be skeptical, and as I always say, it’s a long season. Maybe ask them who else they believe is positioned to win the NFC North. I see the Packers as clear favorites, and no matter how it looks, a division title gets you a shot. I’ve maintained all along the offense will evolve. They’ve got 17 games to figure out what works best, and then who knows.
Would it be a possibility that we see more two-back sets with Davante Adams gone?
Matt from Kolesin, Poland
Hi! Much has been told about WRs but what about new O-linemen? What are your first opinions? Is there someone who shows more potential than others?
Sorry, I always have to see young linemen in pads first.
Looking back at consistent offensive lines and how important they are, it was clear there’s only a few years where they had the same five like in 2003. Who would you say are the best offensive five to play at their positions this year?
As of now, I would expect the Packers’ starting offensive line for Week 1 to be (left to right) David Bakhtiari, Jon Runyan, Josh Myers, Newman and Yosh Nijman. But at some point the group should get Jenkins back, and as I mentioned on “Unscripted,” there’s also no way of knowing if one of the rookie draft picks surprises in camp like Newman did last year. Will Sean Rhyan, for example, pull a Royce Newman? We just have to see.
Hi II, how do we tell? Rashan Gary didn’t have an impact in Year 1, but looks like a rising player now. Jordy Nelson did very little for two years and became an exceptional WR. Do you think you’ll be able to tell if the 2022 draft class will make real 2022 contributions by the time training camp is over? Is it as simple as some of them being told to practice alongside the other likely starters?
That’s exactly what we’ll be watching for in training camp. How much are Walker and Wyatt getting reps with the No. 1 defense? How often do Watson and Doubs rotate in with the first offense and QB1 in the huddle? Opportunities seized beget more opportunities.
James from Ottawa, Canada
I’ve come to accept the three certainties of life: 1. There’s no gambling at Bushwood; 2. Chortling never pays; 3. AJ Dillon’s quads will always be newsworthy.
Of life? Life? What have we done here?
Mike, your reply about wanting to see a World Series game brought me back to 1982. I was a student at UW-Platteville and my roommate had tickets for the World Series in Milwaukee. But I had tickets to see The Who in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the same night. When making my decision, I remember telling him, “This is the Who’s Farewell Tour and the Brewers will be back in the World Series soon so I’m going to the concert.” Could I have been more wrong? The Who is still touring 40 years later.
So you’re saying you won’t get fooled again? Sorry, couldn’t resist, and I’ll see myself out. I was at the Wisconsin-Michigan State football game with my dad at Camp Randall at the same time Game 4 was being played (tickets were purchased way in advance, obviously). Even though I missed a big Brewers win, that day – the day after my 10th birthday – remains one of the fondest memories of my life. All sorts of Badger fans brought either transistor or Walkman radios to listen to the World Series, so we were following along every step of the way. At one point during a timeout in the football game, the crowd absolutely erupted as the Brewers were rallying from behind. It was both surreal and unforgettable.
Richard from Eau Claire, WI
T-minus 40 days and counting until the first practice of training camp. Happy Friday.