Wed, 12 Aug 2020

Inbox: It's the next best thing

Packers
31 Jul 2020, 18:12 GMT+10

We all gotta take this thing one day at a time

Kevin from Oshkosh WI,

I would like your input on the Aaron Rodgers interview. My take, he was a class act answering tough questions about his future in GB, saying he thinks this will be his last year, what a shame if it is! I have lost all faith in the Packers' front office and believe they should be ashamed of themselves for not doing more for Rodgers and the Packers to be successful. I see steady decline to an 8-8 mediocre team for the next decade. Way to go! You fools!

I didn't hear anything different than what Rodgers has been saying for the last three months. He's been a class act at every turn. At the same time, I take it you are the same Packers fan who lambasted the organization for moving on from Brett Favre and handing the keys to Aaron Rodgers back in 2008. None of us knows how these things will turn out. Rodgers obviously was surprised by the decision to draft Jordan Love but he also gets it. It's a business.

Ed from Henryville, IN

I watch the "Top 100" every year and it still amazes me that Aaron Rodgers hasn't ever been No. 1! He's one of the best, if not the best QBs to ever play the game! It just dumbfounds me. Do you have any idea of why he's never been No. 1? Also congratulations to Aaron Jones! No. 33 is No. 33 on the list!

Rodgers was No. 1 in 2012.

Steve from Davenport, IA

Do you think Rodgers is on a two-year deal with the Packers moving up to get Love?

I think Rodgers has one hell of a 2020 if the NFL gets these games in. That's all I care about. I'm ready to cover the team on the field. I'll leave the rest for talking heads to pontificate until Rodgers and Love are no longer teammates. The reality is nothing has changed since April, other than Rodgers did an interview this week during a dead period before training camp begins. That's it.

Bill from Manitowoc, WI

Hearing that Devin Funchess has decided to opt-out, does that mean there is no turning back? If WR was hit with a rash of injuries, would he be able to come to the rescue? How does his decision affect the salary cap?

If a player opts out, he's out until next year. Funchess' base salary will be tolled until 2021 (meaning he remains with the Packers and won't be a free agent again) but his signing bonus will count against Green Bay's 2020 cap.

Andy from Tomah, WI

So if a player lost to free agency and signed to another team opts out, how does that affect the compensatory pick equation?

It's my understanding that player no longer would count towards the compensatory equation and that makes sense to me. Because if a player gets cut before a certain point of that first season with his new team, the compensatory formula also gets reconfigured. It happened last year with Mike Davis. The Bears released him last November to save them a compensatory draft pick, which also cost Seattle one. Now, what I don't know is whether that player would then count the following year to the formula since his UFA contract tolled.

Matt from Waukesha, WI

Good Morning II! With Funchess opting out, what are the chances of Gutey reaching out to Jordy Nelson to come out of retirement for a season on a one-year deal? A guy can hope can't he?

It was only a matter of time before someone submitted this.

Gary from Stevens Point, WI

I can't believe the few tens of thousands of fans not attending games live would significantly alter the television ratings by watching from home. Don't millions of people watch any given game?

Correct. If TV ratings rise this year - and I do believe they will - I think it'll have more to do with people wanting to use football as an escape from our everyday troubles than the 60,000-80,000 fans a week no longer watching inside the stadium bowl.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

I read that players will be tested daily for the first 14 days, but I couldn't find what happens after 14 days. Do you have any insight?

After those two weeks, the NFL and NFLPA will examine the rate of positive tests for those tested. If that rate of positive tests is below 5%, then testing moves to every other day. We all gotta take this thing one day at a time.

Al from Green Bay, WI

If four of the 16 practice-squad players can be "protected" by the team, do the four have a higher compensation level than their unprotected colleagues? If not, there would be no upside for them, right?

I would think so. There aren't many benefits to being on the practice squad other than you're free to sign to an NFL active roster at any time - and get a raise four times over. So there has to be something to compensate those players for that, if enacted. Again, I haven't read all the details yet. I'm just trying to get to training camp.

Craig from Appleton, WI

I am curious how the expanded practice squad is going to affect the salary cap. Does the salary of all 16 still take a full bite from the cap? If you sign veteran players to the practice squad, do the veteran minimums still apply to the contract you have to offer to a practice-squad player? Would teams that are up against the cap potentially not take advantage of the extra spots to save salary?

If a team signs a veteran, it wouldn't be at the same veteran-minimum rate as the active roster. And if those four extra spots are all making the practice-squad minimum, it would only add about $500,000 to the salary cap.

Bob from Grand Rapids, MI

Wes, you said that there won't be any scrimmages under these conditions, even if they are intra-squad. Mike talked about the probable increase in unscripted 11-on-11 practices. I am someone who has never been to a training camp. Could you explain the difference between the two?

Contact. I think of scrimmages as players tackling each other to the ground. During 11-on-11 periods, the offense and defense thump and run through the play. As Spoff stated, I expect plenty of 11-on-11 work. It's the next best thing to in-game action, and depending on whom you ask, it's the truest indicator of what players are capable of.

Lloyd from Rancho Cordova, CA

We seem to use number of snaps as a measure of a player's worth. What is the average number of total snaps per season offense and defense?

I don't have any 10-year averages for you but I can tell you there were 1,078 offensive and 1,040 defensive snaps in 2019.

Christopher from Bullock, NC

Can you confirm the NFL plans to have the message "End Racism" painted in every end zone of every team on opening day? If so, isn't that more than most folks will tolerate? I know I won't be watching...

I can neither confirm nor deny that, but are you really telling me having the words "End Racism" painted on the field is something you wouldn't tolerate? I didn't realize ending racism was a controversial stance?

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

Florida has been doing everything backwards in regards to medical experts' advice for this pandemic. The Marlins are in Florida. Need I say more?

No, I think you covered it.

Joseph from Fargo, ND

If the college football season is suspended or cancelled, is there any chance the NFL may "flex" the schedule to be able to show more games on Saturdays?

The December schedule has already accounted for that. The date of the Packers' game against Carolina is still to be determined because the NFL left the door open for it to be played on either Saturday, Dec. 19, or Sunday, Dec. 20.

Michael from Montreal, QC

I know this sounds outlandish, at first blush, but what about playing the entire regular season in New Zealand? Talk about a bubble-league - no new cases of COVID means you simply quarantine players, personnel, family members, league staff, camera crews, media, etc. With no tourism, there are abundant hotel rooms. And rugby pitches can easily be converted to football fields. You could even have real crowd noise (probably by giving tickets away for free). And a new international venue to boot. Thoughts?

New Zealand has a good thing going right now. It enacted stringent rules at the onset of this thing and requires a 14-day quarantine for any New Zealanders traveling back in. Not just from the public - but even the individual's family. For that reason, I don't think it would want to risk welcoming 3,000 foreign-born NFL players and personnel onto the island.

Bill from Clive, IA

According to an article I saw today: "...last month, the NFL's 32 teams were required to submit team-specific protocols. As of Tuesday, the NFL Players Association had approved 25." Is Green Bay's plan one of those approved? Any idea, even from scuttlebutt, which teams are struggling with this?

The Packers' plan has been approved.

Joe from Milwaukee, WI

Assuming each team had to house 150 people within a bubble, the cost would not be prohibitive. 150 people at $200/night and 120 nights = $3.6 million per team. Yes, I'm just spit-balling here, but that's pocket change for the NFL and a drop in the bucket compared to a lost season. This is not an unreasonable proposition and I have to think that many hotel owners would be thrilled to be booked solid for four months during a pandemic that has throttled tourism.

The cost of lodging would be the least of the NFL's concern. How much will it cost to feed every team and its personnel? Who is providing this food? Are they in the bubble? Are they tested? What about the medical professionals? Are the Packers going to ask Dr. McKenzie and all these doctors to close their practices for 3-6 months, depending on the season length? Would all surgeries take place in the bubble? What about uniforms? Is Marge and her part-time staff living in the bubble? Spoff said it perfectly - there are so many more people involved than the NBA. That means more variables, which increases risk of infection at some point. I think we gotta try to play in this modified football bubble (daily testing, players living at home and asking them to be accountable to each other in their actions away from Lambeau Field) or not play at all. I love what the NBA is doing, though. I hope it works out for everyone.

David from El Segundo, CA

Mike answered a question from a Jeff in El Segundo about face shield inserts. Can you please let Jeff know that I'm the one from town that asks questions here on II? I've got it covered, he'll have to move to another town. Thanks.

I'll pass that along.

I'd just like to close this morning's Inbox by mentioning that today is the last day for our 2019-20 digital intern Ana Hoosier, who had the misfortune of working with Spoff and me the last 16 months. I usually like to joke around and give her a hard time, but I'm shelving all that for one day only to give her a heartfelt thank you. We have had some terrific interns during my time with the Packers, but Ana will go down as one of my all-time favorite coworkers. She's a very hard-working and driven young lady, who never needs to be told how to do something twice. And I probably learned more from her than she learned from me or Spoff. Ana also was critical in helping us, as a department, stem the COVID-19 tide until Joidon and Madeline were brought onboard this summer. I'm going to miss you, Anastasia, but I'm so excited to see what the world has to offer you. "Enjoy the best things in your life. Because you ain't gonna get to live it twice."

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