Surviving Sunday: Packers news, notes and links for the football deprived

As of today, the three most intriguing Packers storylines as training camp approaches appear to be the following:

  • Will Eddie Lacy return to form?
  • Which receiver will be the odd-man out on cutdown day?
  • Can Mike McCarthy revive the Packers offense after a down season and throw cool water on the warming coaching seat he's currently sitting on?

You can probably add the return of Jordy Nelson to that list. All of these storylines are legit and will be interesting to watch play out. But you know how NFL storylines go. What we predict to be season-long storylines end up getting pushed aside for unexpected new storylines that develop throughout the season.

Here are three Packers storylines that I predict will take over the narrative at some point in 2016:

What's up with Clay Matthews?
I hope I'm wrong about this, but I don't think we're going to see the edge-rushing Matthews of old. When Matthews did rush from the outside last season, he often crashed into larger tackles and was swallowed up and pushed out of the play. I'd rather see Matthews moved around the front seven and rush from all over the place instead of exclusively coming the from the edge. By week four, I think we'll see people questioning whether Matthews best days are behind him. Again, I hope I'm dead wrong about this.... 

Breakout player: Quinten Rollins
Here's a storyline I hope I'm right about. I think Quinten Rollins is going to be a helluva player and that will become apparent early on. The former basketball player is still relatively inexperienced on the football field, meaning he has plenty of room to get better after a promising rookie season. Plus Rollins is a tough dude. He's coming back after dislocating a finger that resulted in a bone sticking out of his skin. Yuck!

Holy crap the offensive line good
I'm banking on the offensive line staying healthy and returning to their 2014 form, where they were one of the best units in the league. Yes, Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang are another year older and Bryan Bulaga always seems to be hobbling around with some type of injury, but the 2016 line should be better equipped to handle injuries thanks to the addition of Jason Spriggs and J.C. Tretter having another year under his belt.

Those are my votes for three storylines that'll pop up in 2016. Of course, Jeff Janis catching 200 passes and 30 touchdowns will become a storyline as well, but that one was too obvious to list. The Janis Monster taking over football is simply a given at this point.

Packers news, notes and links

  • Ralph at Lombardi Ave. featured Jermichael Finley this week in a series on the Packers greatest headcases. Finley probably was a headcase, but sometimes I worry that the line between simply being open and honest like a real human being instead of a pre-programmed robot like most NFL players gets blurred.
  • Matt Bove at PackersTalk argues that the Packers should go for most fourth downs. As long as they don't call a fullback dive, I'm cool with going for it more often.
  • YouTube will begin streaming the Packers last two Super Bowl wins, as well as Brett Favre's legendary game against the Raiders from 2003. I think I'll watch these games instead of any exhibition games this summer.
  • Attention gamblers: The Packers are tied with the Seahawks and Patriots for best odds to make the playoffs. As long as the Packers have Rodgers, they're a safe bet to qualify for the postseason.
  • I'm looking forward to the new Jason Wilde/Mark Tauscher Packers show on ESPN Radio.

Non-Packers links and other nonsense

  • I grew up reading Dr. Z in Sports Illustrated, so I've enjoyed Dr. Z week over at Peter King's MMQB.com. Here's Dr. Z at this best, profiling offensive guru Sid Gillman.
  • Adnan Syed from the first season of the "Serial" podcast is getting a new trial. 
  • Mass shootings and manufactured fear equals huge profits for the gun industry. As a hunter myself, it's been depressing seeing "wannabe SEALS" replace hunters in the gun marketplace.
  • Book recommendation: "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City." Man, this is the best book I've read in a while. It's the story of eight families in Milwaukee, six who are in poverty and struggle to pay rent on their crappy apartments and two who are landlords who specialize in renting in low-income areas. 
  • Cancer update: Might be headed to New York this week to consult with another surgeon on possibly taking another crack at HIPEC (the procedure they tried on me in January, but had to abort). Stay tuned.

 

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Comments (34)

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NickPerry's picture

July 03, 2016 at 06:50 am

As always Adam good luck in the upcoming week, hopefully the new procedure is a go. Whatever helps beat this!

I completely agree on Matthews, people forget he had 2.5 sacks in the 8 games before the move to ILB in 2014. He had 8.5 after the move. Capers can't be stubborn about moving Matthews all over the defense, he's best when he has the freedom to blitz from anywhere especially inside.

I'm hoping Montgomery is a full go by week one. If he is I'd put him right there with Rollins to "Breakout" . Some sites think he'll be a go at the start of camp, others seem really pessimistic about the possibility. I guess we'll find out. I re-watched the week 2 game from last year against Seattle and Montgomery had a nice game for his 2nd game in the NFL. It was a shame he got injured because that dude is strong and quick as hell, he could be as good or better as Cobb if healthy, especially out of the backfield sets. OMG the possibilities!!!

The last "Breakout" will be Rodgers and Cook. They'll catch over 100 balls and 12 TD's combined this season. I think McCarthy has several new wrinkles and looks this year with 2 TE sets especially in the Red Zone.

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dobber's picture

July 03, 2016 at 07:50 am

"The last "Breakout" will be Rodgers and Cook. They'll catch over 100 balls and 12 TD's combined this season."

I think that 12 TDs could be a possibility, but in the McCarthy era there has been exactly one season where TEs have combined for over 90 catches (2009 behind Finley and Donald Lee) and only two where they topped 75 (2009, 2012). I think 70-80 catches out of RRod/Cook would be a really good year. While I'd like to see productivity out of the TE position, a healthy Packers team has plenty of pass-catchers. My fear would be that 100 TE receptions could be a sign that the WR position hasn't recovered from 2015.

In edit: the more I think about it, a combo of Cook/RRod looks a lot like Finley/Lee...if RRod improves his blocking.

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NickPerry's picture

July 03, 2016 at 11:40 am

I think McCarthy will make it a point to go to Cook early and often in the season, especially if McCarthy has become tired of the lack of FA Thompson brings in. Might sound childish, I'd describe it as stubbornness which we know McCarthy has loads of. McCarthy's been asking for a big, fast TE, it took 2.5 seasons to get him another so McCarthy will use him IMO.
Also I believe there will be some changes to this offense this year. Too many times the word predictable has been heard about MM offense. More 2 TE sets, more passes down the seam, and definitely more chances in the Red Zone for the TE position.

Maybe 100 is a little high, I'm TOO ready this AM for Packer Football!! : )

I

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The TKstinator's picture

July 03, 2016 at 03:00 pm

"Predictable" is secret code for "unsuccessful"...

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adamczech's picture

July 03, 2016 at 01:40 pm

People: Let's not forget about Justin Perillo! He'll lead the team in TDs and start an 80s metal cover band!

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NickPerry's picture

July 03, 2016 at 01:47 pm

Sorry Adam, I can't believe I forgot Justin.

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dobber's picture

July 03, 2016 at 07:48 am

As always: give 'em hell, Adam.

My breakout prediction(s): Datone Jones goes for 9 sacks in 2016 and Damarious Randall nets 6 picks.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 03, 2016 at 08:09 am

I hope all goes well, Adam.

Agree on your prophecies, including CM3, Rollins. I'd add Cook (and Ryan becoming at least an average starter at ILB).

I'll have to read Evicted. I read the reviews from the NY Times and The Guardian. I'd be interested in what the 2 landlords had to say as the reviews were wholly one-sided. I remember inspecting slumlord's properties (bringing these units up to current code often was not possible and usually would cost more than the unit was worth. My Father-in-law owned several units: they were in a nice neighborhood when he bought them in the 60's and 70's. Not so nice when he sold them in the 90's. I know a bit about the economics of this issue.

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adamczech's picture

July 03, 2016 at 01:38 pm

Agree that the reviews are one-sided. I found the book to be balanced. Sometimes I found myself agreeing w/ the landlords and sometimes I thought they were garbage. Sometimes I felt really sorry for the circumstances the poor renters found themselves in and sometimes I shook my head at the poor decisions they'd make that also contributed to their poverty.

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Ferrari Driver's picture

July 03, 2016 at 03:12 pm

Adam,

I live in CA and in the latter 70's, I built and bought properties and had to pay interest rates ranging between 8.5 and 12 percent. The positive was that CA property was increasing in value between 18-22 percent on the total value which was tremendous and now seems like it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

However, as the owner in any dispute, the court system and laws are designed to protect the tenants. I was fortunate and only had a couple of issues since all my properties were higher priced and required people a higher income by the prospective renters to qualify for a lease.

Bottom line, I tend look a the disadvantages the owners have in dealing through the court system if they happen to latch onto dishonest tenants.

In the 90's I sold them all and while it was lucrative, I wouldn't want to be in the landlord's shoes in California during this 2010 era.

Hope your medical issues continue on the positive side.

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gr7070's picture

July 03, 2016 at 09:29 am

I've been saying Matthews is the most overrated player in the NFL for years.

That doesn't mean he's not good. But he's not great.

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Ferrari Driver's picture

July 03, 2016 at 03:16 pm

"Most Overrated" may be stretching it, but I do worry about the effectiveness of Mathews this next season and beyond compared to his current contract.

I fully expect him to well above average and vital aspect to the Packers' defense for the next several years.

He has quite the pedigree with a father and uncle who played in the NFL at a high level for a great many years.

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gr7070's picture

July 03, 2016 at 05:58 pm

I point to a San Fran playoff game 4 or 5 years ago when their LT (Staley?) was injured and barely able to stay on the field. He embarrassed CM3. That was not uncommon against better LTs.

Matthews is good, maybe very good, but most think he's elite and he is far from elite. Probably hasn't been elite since year two?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 04, 2016 at 12:29 am

Since year two is perhaps an exaggeration. CM3 had 13 sacks in his 4th season (2012) to go with 9 passes defended. He had 11 sacks in 2014, but dipped to 6.5 last season. As a pure pass rusher, he might not be elite, but he has an all-around game that is still very good. He does need to exercise good discipline in his run defense as he hurt us taking wide rushes only to open a gap for running QBs.

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NickPerry's picture

July 04, 2016 at 06:51 am

You also have to consider Matthews is the ONLY player most teams have had to game plan for since Jenkins left. Daniels obviously has gotten better, but he started being more effective in 2014. Peppers was much better in 2014 than 2015 as well and is 36 now. Genetic freak or not he's still playing a young mans game closer to 40 than 30. Matthews might not be "Elite" but put him on the other side of Von Miller and a D-Line and secondary like the Broncos had last season and he'd have 15 sacks...EASY.
It all goes hand and hand. hopefully Capers is smart enough to not run him into giant LT all season long and moves him around. Hopefully Perry is healthy and Jones take to his new position and the play like 1st round picks. Bottom line is the Packers need more than Daniels, Matthews, and a 36 year old Peppers to be a concern for an offense. Just my opinion...

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MarkinMadison's picture

July 03, 2016 at 09:38 am

No one beats father time - at least when they are under the microscope. CM3 should now be known as CM30. The shift inside has been really good for the Packers. It's probably going to be the best thing for CM30 as well.

Have some fun while you are in NYC. Avenue Q has been around for a while off Broadway, but if need a good laugh it is still the best. And the tickets aren't too bad now.

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Michalske's picture

July 03, 2016 at 11:17 am

People are completely misunderstanding Matthews move back outside.

Everybody concentrates on th 8.5 sacks he got in the half season he played inside in 2014 and completely ignores that in 2015 he got a measly 6.5 sacks playing inside the whole season. His passes defensed dropped form 9 to 3, too.

Why did Matthews have a (relatively) sucky year last season? Because NFL offenses ADAPT. When Matthews was in the middle they planned their receiving routes to force him into coverage (and then did not usually throw there); when Matthews moved outside it was almost always an obvious passing down so they double teamed Matthews and allowed the Tackle to take away the outside move because there was help on the inside.

But if Matthews plays outside all the time the offenses wont have the advantage of knowing what he is going to do or flooding his coverage area (Coverage at OLB is a stunt, not a continuous responsibility).

Everyone who thinks Matthews is a better pass rusher when he can come at the QB from any direction and with any combination of other rushers should be absolutely ECSTATIC that he will move back outside.

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Ferrari Driver's picture

July 03, 2016 at 03:21 pm

Good points. I like your take and give you a thumbs up.

BTW, I met Mike Michalske when I was a teen and he told me about being a Packer lineman. I was surprised because at the time, I was at least as big or bigger.

Of course, he is Hall of Fame lineman, so he surpassed his peers by a large margin.

Also, a very nice man ... and I was respectful.

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Michalske's picture

July 04, 2016 at 09:27 am

Appreciate your Mike Michalske story.

Curly Lambeau built a championship franchise with huge powerful linemen who stood around 6-2 and carried 240-260 pounds of muscle.

30 years later Vince Lombardi built a championship franchise around quick, agile linemen who stood around 6-2 and carried 240-260 pounds of muscle.

30 years later the huge powerful linemen stood 6-5 and weigher about 300 pounds, these days they are the quick agile guys and the bruisers are 325+

The beat goes on.

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 03, 2016 at 11:38 am

" I worry that the line between simply being open and honest like a real human being instead of a pre-programmed robot like most NFL players gets blurred. "

Can we not include ' fans' and ' commenter ' along with players in this statement.....I think so.

As to the Matthews section, another reason I wanted Fackrell and still believe he is what the DR ordered and not another failed lineman moving into the over crowded elephant squad in hope of being an adaptation success. Which has yet to win true applause for its overall performance. I wonder which of the heralded lineman this season will be awarded that status next year with the departure of Peppers and possibly Jones if another less than stellar play season. : )

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WKUPackFan's picture

July 03, 2016 at 12:08 pm

"Can we not include "fans" and commenter" along with players in this statement "?

Yes, of course. However, (in general, not specific to Taryn) it helps when those comments are reasonable, or at least within the realm of possibility. Being open and honest doesn't necessarily equate to being right.

Also, while each of us have differing standards regarding class and dignity, hopefully most agree that constant references to coaches and players with juvenile modified curse words is difficult to respect.

Otherwise, I 100% support individualism!

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 03, 2016 at 12:34 pm

" Being open and honest doesn't necessarily equate to being right. "

Neither does dismissing the assumed ridiculous since ridiculous is often the adjective used in the NFL and things thought impossible, landing on the Moon, Mars etc.
Most simply deny the possibility of the improbable but the improbable should never be viewed easily as impossible.
Right or wrong isn't the point but merely accepting opinion regardless of its extent because all is possible. : )

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WKUPackFan's picture

July 04, 2016 at 06:41 am

Taryn, I totally agree with you! Nothing should be considered impossible.

My thought was more along the lines of someone posting "why doesn't MM run 20 sweeps a game? It worked for Lombardi ". That can be extrapolated to FA discussions. We get posts (and sometimes articles) every year b*tching and complaining about TT's lack of FA involvement. By this date people should know exactly how this issue is handled. Therefore those comments are really a waste of our collective time.

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PaulRosik's picture

July 03, 2016 at 11:46 am

I hope you are right on the O line. If they are healthy they can be a strength of the team. But it seems they are always banged up and never practice as a unit.

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PETER MAIZ's picture

July 03, 2016 at 12:56 pm

I'm glad Adam has a sense of humor (in regards to Janis, ha, ha, ha). Nowadays what you need is a very good tight end and we all hope Cook can be that guy. And I agree about Rollings.
In my mind, there is little doubt about an improvement on the offense. The big question is will it be a substantial improvement or a so-so improvement. McCarthy is a good play caller but at times too afraid to take risks that would lead to rewards. I think all the cards are in play to make the playoffs but remember that the Vikings are getting better, much better and that will be the big if. If McCarthy doesn't take the NFC North he will be on the hot seat. McCarthy has got to get creative and stop repeating "player performance" a thousand times. We also expect impeccable coaching staff performance.
In conclusion, I think the Packers will be hot this season.

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Tundraboy's picture

July 03, 2016 at 05:34 pm

Excellent point about coaches. I too expect that they too will up their game this year as well.

Best wishes as always Adam. Keep battling.

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EdsLaces's picture

July 03, 2016 at 02:26 pm

Good luck in NY bud..

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Amanofthenorth's picture

July 04, 2016 at 07:40 pm

"warming coach`s seat" I had to use cannabis to fight the nauseau

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John Galt III's picture

July 04, 2016 at 08:13 pm

"Mass shootings and manufactured Fear"....and the something about Navy Seals.

You know Adam, some of us believe in defending our families. If the US government is insistent upon unlimited Muslim immigration when the FBI director, and CIA director appointed by the current president by the way, have said the our government can't possibly vet these people and the Islamic State has promised to infiltrate these "refugees" then to rational people there is a huge problem, Adam.

Mass shooting these days seem to always involve someone named Mohammed. Have you noticed that, Adam? Not just the US but all over the world. If you have not read the Koran, Hadith, Sira, Reliance of the Traveler (takes you about 2-3 years) and understand 1,400 year of Islam's supremacist nature you don't have the remotest clue what is going on.

Speaking of Navy Seals, my congressman is a Navy Seal, and he was commander of Navy Seal Team Six (the same unit that got bin Laden). He lives in my small town in Montana. He and most of the people who are close to him are all ex-military (including myself) with an extremely high understanding of Islam.

To you this is something about television and Hollywood movies. To the adult world outside of wherever you live whether it is the Middle East. Europe and now the US it is frighteningly real.

Don't mind your drifting off the Packers but when you pontificate about stuff you demonstrably don't know much about, expect someone to call you on it. I will continue to do so.

Wish you well with your cancer treatment.

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zeke's picture

July 05, 2016 at 12:43 am

"If the US government is insistent upon unlimited Muslim immigration..."

That might be a problem if it were true.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 05, 2016 at 04:40 am

Zeke, it might be a problem even if it isn't strictly true, or as in this case, just an exaggeration. The government tells us it is going to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the US, and paints them as widows and orphans who need and are deserving of compassion, but also strongly implying that there aren't trade-offs or some danger to the public involved. Instead, about 70% of the 10,000 (roughly 7,000) are men between the ages of 18 and 40. One reason is that fighting-age men in Syria are being pressured into fighting for one side or another and are trying to avoid it. That is understandable. People have been avoiding serving in the armed forces (by going to Canada, going to college to get a deferment, or in earlier times paying for a substitute so some other poor sod has to serve, or perhaps in this Syrian case, because there isn't a side worth fighting for). It may be that these men are also deserving of compassion.

But there is a potential cost to US residents. The testimony by Administration officials to congress does point out that the widows and orphans narrative is not representative of this influx. The administration's own officials freely admit that the vetting process is of very questionable value because it is very hard to do any kind of background check given the breakdown of Syria. Indeed, many refugees can't show that the names they write down on the forms are their own, making the already inadequate background checks of the refugees wholly meaningless if the government is checking fictitious names, which is perhaps not a rarity. The balancing act between the potential cost to US residents and compassion for others is one that each of us must weigh. Denying the existence of the potential dangers and costs would be intellectually dishonest.

The whole immigration issue is complex. My father-in-law (he was 12) and his parents fled Latvia during WWII as the Red army advanced; they walked to Germany, where they spent years in a relocation camp. After relatives in the US agreed to sponsor them, they were allowed to immigrate here. My in-laws were delighted with the US, with the opportunity and the freedom. My father-in-law was successful, and in turn sponsored immigrants from Latvia to come here after Latvia gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. There was a lot of paperwork and he had to agree to provide housing and food for those he sponsored, and to re-pay the government for any expenses it incurred. Indeed, one of those people he sponsored had an accident and had to go to the hospital. Under the terms of his sponsorship, my father-in-law had to pay the couple of thousand dollar hospital bill, and he did pay the bill. These conditions no longer obtain. My father-in-law's family and those folks he sponsored later probably qualify as your tired, your poor (your huddled masses - modified by the phrase "yearning to breathe free"), as do many of the current refugees, but they almost uniformly weren't interested in subverting our government, of course, nor of desiring to change the fundamental nature of our constitution and laws. Nor did they want to modify our rights to freedom of speech and of the press (as applied to Islam - criticisms thereof or pictorial representations of Muhammad in print, for example), of religion, or a fairly significant swathe of current statutes. We are a nation of immigrants, but I am not so sure that it is an apples to apples comparison.

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zeke's picture

July 05, 2016 at 06:58 am

"Denying the existence of the potential dangers and costs would be intellectually dishonest."

I agree, and I didn't mean to imply that there is no cost or inherent risk (if that is how you perceived it) to immigration. I myself am (or was, until I moved back) a first-generation immigrant who benefited enormously from growing up in the US. I was afforded opportunities in America that I likely never would have been able to achieve anywhere else, all because we were lucky enough to get in. My brother and sisters still live in the US, and consider it the only home they have ever known and will ever have. My brother is career US Navy and will fight anyone who so much as thinks they are more patriotic than him.

I am biased, but I consider the US to be an amazing place in large part because of its diversity. I do believe it is stronger because of how inclusive it has been, and hate the idea that others may not have the same opportunities that I had because they happen to have been born into the wrong family or religion or country at the wrong time.

Again, just my (biased) two cents. At the end of the day, I think we can all agree that the Bears suck, Viking fans are the absolute worst, and Terrell Owens fumbled. Go Pack, and happy 4th.

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Tundraboy's picture

July 05, 2016 at 06:35 pm

Great analysis and insight. Like the ending statement in particular. Sad but true.

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lucky953's picture

July 04, 2016 at 11:59 pm

Adam, good luck with your treatment. You're a courageous dude.

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