Nothing boosts a defense’s performance like takeaways

Scott from Palos Park, IL

There has been a lot of concern around the run defense with a couple of young DL guys that have been heavily relied upon. But how much could a second-year bounce from Quay Walker help the run defense? I realize Walker had a very good rookie season, albeit with some maturity issues, but is it possible that experience can get him to the right hole faster so that 5-yard gains become 3-yard gains? How important is the MLB play in today’s NFL run defense?

The run defense is as team oriented as it gets in this game. Everyone has to watch their holes, get out of blocks and chase the ball at the right time. So it’s hard to say that one player’s improvement can boost the entire unit. But there’s no question with the experience Walker gained as a rookie that he should be able to read and react quicker than he did a year ago. How much of an impact it will actually have, however, still depends a lot on his teammates.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

I don’t think Rodgers cared (or cares now) about his passer rating for its own sake. For the most part, he hated turning the ball over and felt more confident holding on to the football himself if he took a sack (see the plays before fourth-and-Janis or third-and-cook in the playoffs) than throwing one up for takes hold. Would a QB of Jordan Love’s age even think about passer rating as the best stat to sum up his overall performance? Or would he look at QBR or his rating in Madden?

I couldn’t care less about your questions (no offense), but I totally agree with the beginning of your post.

My friend argues that Favre’s penchant for taking risks was driven by a lack of weapons during his career. Can you objectively say that Rodgers had better supporting casts or not?

This isn’t the definitive statistical comparison, but I took a look at the Packers’ Pro Bowl selections at wide receiver, tight end and running back over the two QBs’ tenures, and here are the totals: Favre 21 (Green 4, Sharpe 3, Chmura 3, Franks 3, Driver 3, Jackson, Freeman, Levens, Henderson, Walker), Rodgers 15 (Adams 5, Kuhn 3, Jennings 2, Driver, Lacy, Cobb, Nelson, Jones). Make of it what you will.

Joshua from Milwaukee, WI

As for Rodgers throwing fewer INTs than Favre, there’s no doubt that Rodgers was surgical and careful with the ball. As Wes suggested, analytics may have led to an increased focus on ball security. But rule changes are the biggest driving force. Can’t touch the QB, can’t hit a defenseless receiver, the continued emphasis on the PI and illegal contact penalty. No wonder INTs are down. I would love to see illegal contact beyond five yards eliminated as a penalty. Give something back to the defense!

The college game does not have illegal contact penalties and it seems to work fine. As long as the defender does not grab/hold the receiver, he can make contact beyond five yards until the ball is in the air.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

Not really a question, but it blew my mind that Crosby never made a single Pro Bowl! The consistency/life he brought to the kicker position in Green Bay is something I hope we don’t miss.

For all the stability the Packers have had at kicker throughout the Jacke-Longwell-Crosby run (with the one-year Dave Rayner interlude in 2006), none of those guys have ever made a Pro Bowl with the Packers. The last Packers kicker to be selected to the Pro Bowl was Chester Marcol in 1974.

Hey guys, a follow up to Craig from MKE’s question about special teams. When was the last time the special teams didn’t allow a blocked kick or punt in a season?

2019. Before then you have to go back to 2013.

Is Lukas Van Ness a better fit for 5-technique or pass rusher at LB?

At 6-5, 272, Van Ness is nearly identical in size and body type to Preston Smith (6-5, 265). To me, he’s a classic two-way, on-the-ball outside linebacker who is strong enough from a stand-up position to set the edge against the run and nimble enough to get after the QB. I think Van Ness could play inside and attack from there in passing situations, but he’s not a hands-in-the-dirt defender at this level.

Raymond of Marquette, MI

Generally speaking, how many “plays” does the average NFL team have in their playbook (tablet these days)? I would suspect the offense and defense would have separate plays, but how many – 20, 30, 40-plus? Would of course like to know.

So would I. Honestly, I don’t. I’m not even sure how the coaches would count them when there are so many variations of a concept running out of a certain formation, and then running similar plays from altered formations, etc. I don’t think it’s an easily identifiable speak up.

Brent from Janesville, WI

Hey guys. When I click on a player’s link in II, I often wish their draft year, round, and number were easier to find, even years into a player’s career. What is the fastest way to find this information on Thanks for all you do!

My best suggestion would be to bookmark our “How to Build” page. We lost the page for a while during the recent site update, but we eventually brought it back and are doing our best to keep it up to date.

Mike, while watching the Brewers on Monday night, I noticed that Willy Adames wears a piece of rubber around his right thumb while he is hitting. How does that help his batting?

I think it’s just a small device to minimize vibration after contact from/near the handle. Have you ever noticed that when Adames makes a mistake on a back straight, he puts the tip of the bat up to his nose to sniff the burning wood? It is like smelling salt to him. Always cracks me up.

Christopher of Hagerstown, MD

As Christopher from both Frederick and Hagerstown, I can now say that I have hit the II cycle! I’ve had my submission affect the headline, the caption, I’ve had two in one inbox before, I’ve been closer and now, thanks to Monday, I got the elusive leadoff post. I guess what I’m asking is… now what?

Randall of Manasquan, NJ

Even with no gambling allowed and being a novice gambler at best, I thought I’d take Jim from Westland’s idea and give it a try. To my surprise, the numbers only go to 69, so I had to think about the Powerball number. I picked 22 as my favorite player as a kid, Elijah Pitts, and crossed my fingers. GPG

I just want to say good luck to you both, we are all counting on you. Happy Wednesday.

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