Tue. May 26th, 2020

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Inbox: Cinderella stories are real

5 min read
Inbox: Cinderella stories are real

Drake from Huntsville, AL

I’ll admit it, you got me on ending with “Happy Thursday.” I went up and checked, saw it was Friday, and then I lolled. Good one!

Mike Spofford. Full-time senior writer. Part-time comedian. Good morning!

Insiders, I know people want the team to succeed but it amazes me how some fans expect ALL late-round picks, fifth round and beyond, to not only make the team but be significant contributors almost from the start. More often sixth- and seventh-round draftees get replaced with future sixth- and seventh-round picks.

Cinderella stories are real, so it’s not like this ridiculous pipe dream hoping a late-round selection becomes a Pro Bowler, All-Pro or even Hall of Famer. At the same time, fans have to temper expectations. Not everybody is going to become Bart Starr or Donald Driver. These are young men trying to find themselves as pro athletes. If a GM takes four or five swings on Day 3, the hope is he can hit at least one double into the gap in right field.

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

If the fourth-and-15 onside kick replacement comes to be, I am already pulling out what little remains of the hair on my head in anticipation that a ticky-tack illegal contact penalty on a defensive back will affect a game’s outcome. Please, please tell me the league won’t let something like that happen.

I’m going to write about it for Monday but the idea is still a bit too gimmicky for my liking. I could see how the conversion probability is comparable to an onside kick IF you could guarantee a penalty-less down. But it’s a lot more likely to get converted by a defensive penalty resulting in an automatic first down than on an actual onside kick. What I fear is what ramifications a suspect call could hold in the fourth quarter of a pivotal playoff game. The question I keep asking is whether we could go back to overloading on a side if the team ONLY performs an onside kick. From everything I’ve gleaned, the real danger of the play wasn’t from that short-yardage contact inside 10 yards.

I’m not sure about this fourth-and-15 thing. Seems too tricked up. Do we know what percentage onside kicks have been successful prior to last year vs. the success rate of fourth-and-15? I’m too lazy to look it up…even with a three-day weekend, and am relying on the crack reporting staff at the II.

This is actually more difficult to find than I thought it would be. First, tricked up is a great phrase. I wish it was mine. The onside-kick conversion rate in 2018 and ’19 was 10% (11-of-109), down from 21.1% in 2017. Now, it’s up to the NFL competition committee to decide if those numbers are drastic enough to make a fundamental change to one of the league’s most timeless plays.

OK guys, a Packer is getting some love from the sports folks. Za’Darius Smith was ranked as the second-best disrupter in the NFL by an “Around the NFL” writer, ahead of Nick Bosa, Aaron Donald and Von Miller. Now, that’s one thing we can build on. Don’t need to worry about a WR we didn’t get, let’s build on a player we do have. You go Z…

It’s only one season but what a season 2019 was for Za’Darius Smith. I wrote it last year – he has the rush versatility of Clay Matthews and can play a three-technique inside in the dime like Julius Peppers. He’s up there with Reggie White and Charles Woodson on that Mount Rushmore of the Packers’ top signings since free agency began in 1993.

I would have to agree with the opinion of Dave from Lake Zurich, IL, about NFL owners influencing the diversity of general managers. As a teacher I’m always impressed by the immense self-segregation of individuals at public events or gatherings. Not just students either, but teachers as well. Human nature is what it is.

If there’s a problem, you need to address it. Statistics indicate there is indeed an issue here and we need to make steps in this area of hiring today, so it can be better tomorrow and the day after. That’s progress.

Which current assistant coach on the Packers (leave out OC and DC) do you feel has the right stuff to be a future head coach? I don’t have much to go on, but I like how Adam Stenavich molded the O-line in his first year!

There are so many worthy candidates but I want to give a shout-out to Ben Sirmans. Over the last two years, he’s suddenly become one of the longest-tenured coaches on staff. His resume in Green Bay has been impressive. From molding Ty Montgomery into a running back in-season to developing Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, Sirmans has a lot to hang his hat on right now. He’s also eloquent, even-keeled and received praise from the likes of Aaron Rodgers for how he addresses the room when given the opportunity.

John from Charlottesville, VA

I have always been disappointed James Jones was never able to reach 1,000 yards in a season. He put in all the work and had the talent but was mostly surrounded by other talented receivers. At least, he will go down in history for his hoodie.

It’s OK. I don’t think JJ is losing any sleep over it.

What year do you feel was the best Packer football team?

1962. That team went 13-1, had 10 future Hall of Famers and won the NFL title.

Hi II. I’m still learning plenty about the game; can you help me understand this proposed rule change: “to provide the option to the defense for the game clock to start on the referee’s signal if the defense declines an offensive penalty that occurs late in either half.” What’s the point of that?

It’s the Bill Belichick rule, to prevent an offense from taking a delay of game just inside opponent territory and draining the clock when the defense declines the penalty (as to not give the punter more room).


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