Sun. Jan 24th, 2021

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The stakes have never been higher

5 min read
The stakes have never been higher

With all the injuries always happening during the season do you think there will be a push to expand the practice squad to 12 players in the contract negotiations this year?

This idea has been gaining steam with NFL personnel execs and coaches, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

Preseason always brings inspiring stories of young men who have overcome various challenges in life (loss of a parent, living in a car, etc.) to make it to an NFL training camp. Some make it as a pro, some don’t. As a member of the media, which of your favorite stories went on to have a solid career, and which of your favorites sadly didn’t make the cut? Which stories do you wish you could still tell, but they moved on after not making the team?

It’s funny. That last part of your question is what led to our Mitchell Henry profile earlier this summer. My favorite story who went on to have a solid career was Taysom Hill. I know, I know – but take football and emotions out of it for a second. Hill is a standup guy. I’m happy for not only his success but also how he’s avoided the injuries that plagued him at BYU. My favorite story who didn’t make it was Gilbert Pena. He was a 26-year-old undrafted rookie in 2013 who gave up football for two years to care for his ailing mother.

Being this year’s joint practices appeared to have gone well, do you foresee the Packers scheduling another joint practice for next year? And, if so, who (besides Gute) generally handles all the logistics involved in selecting, contacting and scheduling that team?

Yeah. I could definitely see them becoming a staple under LaFleur, who runs point on lining those practices up.

Dave from St. Michael, MN

Why is there a limit on IR players returning during the season? Isn’t it in the best interest of both the team and the player (and the league for that matter, for premium players) for any player to be able to play once he is healthy? I know in the distant past it was feared teams would use IR to stash players, but I believe the current data and scrutiny on injuries and player safety wouldn’t allow for that. It seems some players may lose out on experience or opportunity.

And before 2012, teams couldn’t even bring one player back from injured reserve. I think the NFL is just trying to keep the playing field level for all teams and not allow teams to abuse the option. I will say if the NFL sticks with the current format – eligible players must be on the initial 53 and cannot return to game action for at least eight weeks – I don’t see a reason for a limit.

Jon Marc from Columbia, MO

If a player is claimed off waivers this weekend, can the team make room for him by putting one of their original 53 on IR? If so, that would make me feel better about risking the next man up by keeping a guy just to place him on IR.

How soon after a player who makes the initial 53 is placed on IR can that position be filled? What is the turnaround time?

That depends. If a team is signing a veteran, then it’s however long it takes for the general manager to pick up the phone. If a team is claiming a player who isn’t a vested veteran, then after that deadline expires at 11 a.m. CT Sunday.

Christopher from Green Bay, WI

Good morning II. Longtime reader, first-time writer. With Greg from Downers Grove, IL, asking if you’d expect more, what’s your take on adding more challenges if the two allotted plus the third are correct? I’m not a fan of slowing down the game, but if ML gets two correct in the first half, should he be forced to hold onto his third and final whether he gets it correct or not if it’s “too soon”? And has there been a situation where a coach has gotten three correct? Thanks!

If the refs keep getting it wrong and the coach keeps getting it right, why are we penalizing the coach? I don’t get it. I’ve always said let a team challenge until it gets one wrong.

A “Please don’t go” chant over booing? Give me a break! In the same token, then why didn’t Mr. Luck take a poll of the fans before making his decision? I may offend with this statement but let’s all just toughen up a bit and let people have their emotions and reactions without judgment please.

It’s a fan’s right to boo Luck as he leaves the field for retiring early from a game he gave so much to. But that fan also can’t have it both ways. If you want to boo, then boo. But if I want to call you a whiny little baby for booing, then you better react without judgment to that, too. Or toughen up…

Andrew from Cincinnati, OH

Given the new pass interference rules, do you think we will see a shift in how teams manage the last few minutes of a game this year? The defense might play softer to make sure they don’t have any reason to be called. Teams that are trying to manage the clock and get out of bounds might be more inclined for the long ball with a higher pass interference chance. In the end I think big plays will increase during the end of close games with both sides trying to push the rules to in their favor.

Possibly. I didn’t learn as much as I thought I would from the new pass interference rules. Based on the little I did see, officials seem have a fairly high bar set to overturn a call.

Do you think the NFL considers the effects on less savory businesses like sports gambling when considering rule changes such as eliminating kickoffs?

How about 16 games over an 18-week season with two bye weeks? This way, an extra week is added to the TV deal, players stay healthy, and Packer fans get two weekends to rake leaves.

The closer we get to the start of the regular season, the less I care about solving the preseason conundrum. Ask again on a Friday in February.

Wes, for our reference, how well have you done at predicting the final 53 in the past few years?

My memory erases after 365 days, but I got 49 correct last year. I don’t know whether that’s good or bad.

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