Everyone learns just by keeping their eyes open

What’s bigger, the second-year jump for a player like Christian Watson or the second-year jump, so to speak, of the opposing defenses who now know they have to scheme for that player?

The former either overcomes the latter, or vice versa.

I understand that Josiah Deguara doesn’t have many numbers, but I wonder if that was more a reflection of confidence in Rodgers rather than skill in the system. It appears he was targeted a much higher percentage with Jordan Love in game situations. Do you think he will make a much bigger impact this year with his knowledge of the system and familiarity with Love? The critics have all but written him off for the season.

We will see. I won’t speak to Rodgers’ confidence or lack thereof, but I would urge it more to opportunity and role. That said, Deguara’s opportunity this season could be bigger than it’s ever been, especially early on while the rookies are figuring things out.

I recently read a comment by Alex Smith in which he said that it is better for a quarterback coming into the league to begin his career with an offensive head coach. I tend to agree with that belief. Wondering if you think it matters one way or the other?

I think it helps, but that’s not all. Flacco and Jackson found their way under John Harbaugh. Brady had Belichick. Roethlisberger had Cowher and then Tomlin. Allen has McDermott. None of the head coaches came from the offensive end. But it has certainly benefited Mahomes, Burrow, Rodgers, Favre and others. If I was a young QB, I’d want my head coach to be an offensive guy, because then you’re that much more connected to the top of the management pyramid. But I also think that elite players eventually find their way regardless.

Most content I’ve read suggests that Jon Runyan is the top candidate for RG, while RT is between Zach Tom and Yosh Nijman. If we were to take PFF rankings as gospel, that would indicate that Runyan is the lowest ranked of the three. I would love to see ZT at RG with YN at RT during the preseason. Does it seem possible to you too?

That’s fair enough not to rule out, but based on observations from OTAs and minicamp, it wasn’t a lineup combination that got a direct look.

Lots of questions about bench press reps lately. Probably very low reps would be as detrimental as a bad 40 time, but do you know of any players who have had successful careers after a bad bench press? Anyone who couldn’t make one? Or can a player get away with refusing to take that test?

Players will skip it if they are dealing with or recovering from an injury. Wisconsin native Jared Abbrederis did just four reps — the Badgers program was known for not emphasizing the bench in its weight training — and he played three years in the NFL (two with the Packers, one with the Lions).

Greetings, editors. How many non-padded drills are there to start camp? Will we see pads on in week 1 or will it wait until week 2?

If I remember correctly from last year, they practiced three days without pads, and then one day with shoulder pads before the padded pads went on.

Mike, expanding on the comments from Tom from Newville (is there a sister city) and your previous comments re: Love – don’t teams play to lose for 55 minutes resulting in one possession games? Does the reality of the current game drive us to this style? At the end of the day, it’s about quality football for me, no matter what.

The reality of the current game is that so many teams are so evenly matched that if one team gets up a few scores, it’s hard to hold them down. They’re going to get up and fight back because they’re capable of it, and getting behind by 14 or 20 points is just a bad stretch that typically doesn’t define a team. It’s hard to win a game in the first three quarters, but you can certainly lose it. If you know you’re in a 60-minute game, stay in the game and then outplay the opponent down the stretch when it matters most to take command because there’s no time left for the aforementioned rally.

Dan from Golden Valley, MN

Spoff, you’ll get to see both the classic Falcons and Oilers uniforms worn this season. The Falcons have designated it as a regularly worn alternate (dumping their gradient home jersey), and Tennessee is doing a one-date throw-back this season (uniform reveal on 7/23).

I have to think this is a make-or-break year for Joe Barry and his staff with seven first round picks on defense. What do you think is the minimum front office expectation for the defense this year? Thank you.

Great to hear about the uniforms. I’m not going to speculate on any specific thresholds for the defense, but as I’ve said since we heard from Brian Gutekunst on draft weekend, the front office has made it clear that expectations for the unit are very high. No one runs and hides from it.

Mike, glad to hear you’re not a fan of the .200 hitters on a roster and waiting for the long ball to win you the game. I think .300 hitters today are .400 hitters of yesteryear. At least bring a tiny little ball back to baseball, or has analytics taken over baseball completely?

The fact that infield shifts had to be regulated by the league without one team trying to design a lineup to hit shifts and play the game differently than everyone else — thereby perhaps forcing opponents to rethink shifts on their own — answers your question.

Following up on the response to Hank from CO, check out episode 4 of “Quarterback” on Netflix. It increases your understanding of what NFL quarterbacks have to learn and the amount they are relied upon to do for their teams, even Kirk Cousins.

Great series overall, but that episode in particular should be pretty eye-opening for any football fan.

Bruce from Travelers Rest, SC

I’d venture that even more important than close games to keep TV audiences watching is fantasy football. I’m always amazed at how engaged my three sons, all in their 20s, are in games that involve teams they don’t care about but have fantasy implications.

True. I played fantasy football for three years in my 20s and quit, never to return because it changed the way I saw and reacted to the game, not for the better.

I agree with Tom from Newville, PA regarding dynasties and rivalries. The characters and personalities of those days were the identity of their teams. The times are changing. Free agency allowed players to get more of their fair share. Fans changed. Younger fans want to be entertained and prefer instant gratification to watching dynasties along the way. For those of us who are older, traditional fans, our cheese has been moved. How we react is up to us. GPG!

Two more weeks of fear (not dead, stole it from a Saturday post) zone, but it still seems like a long way to September. Just enjoy the summer.

Not much of that left for us in this business, but I plan to. Happy Monday.

Leave a Comment