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Ask a former NFL player: Will the Packers’ new OL coach completely change their technique?

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Retired lineman Geoff Schwartz is back with a new mailbag. This week’s topics include PED use and life after football.

All right folks, I’m back from vacation and ready to roll. Hope you had a great Fourth of July!

The first NFL training camp is less than three weeks away. We will have football so soon, and I hope these mailbags can help fill that void. As usual, you can send a DM to my Twitter or Instagram with your questions.

I’ve heard the new Packers O-line coach, Adam Stenavich, doesn’t advocate James Campen’s “hug” technique. How do you think that will affect the line this year?@CallMeMatub

So the “hug” technique is something that’s been unique to the Packers and it drives “holding” social media wild. The Packers tackles, and especially standout left tackle David Bakhtiari, attempt to block their counterparts with their hands wider than usual, and it looks like a hug.

It’s NOT holding, since the Packers linemen still have their hands inside the framework of the defender and — a key point here — they keep their feet moving.

Lastly, remember the officials watch film, get reports, and speak to coaches. If it were holding, it would get called more often. So stop bitching about it.

Now back to the question. This shouldn’t affect the older players, like Bakhtiari, if Stenavich allows those players to continue to use the techniques that have worked for many years. It would be a poor coaching decision to attempt to change the successful techniques of linemen who’ve practiced these over and over.

I’ve been in that situation where an offensive line coach wanted to change my stance, change my punch and so forth, when I was already been established — and it didn’t go well. It strained our relationship as I rightfully pushed back.

Where Stenavich will make his mark is with the younger players who are willing to be molded and who want their coaches’ full input. Another way that Stenavich might change things is his terminology and his identification system. This happened in Dallas last season until a change was made at offensive line coach.

So as the average fan, you might not notice much.

Given that you were in multiple locker rooms, how common is PED use in the NFL? — @LennyLongShoes

Good question. I think I was fairly naïve to PED use in the NFL. No one discussed it openly (sometimes we discussed it privately), and there’s not much public stigma about PED use in the NFL. I started to understand more about the possible use of PEDs in the NFL later, when you’re just older, wiser, and pay attention more distinctly to whispers.

I believe more players use PEDs toward the end of their career just to stick around. We’ve seen more veterans in recent years get busted for using PEDs and it’s honestly not surprising.

Players, including those in baseball, use PEDs to help with training and rehab from injuries. As you get older, it’s tougher to rehab and train, and PEDs can help that. So, I think there’s more PED use than I (or we) think, but I don’t have a number or percentage to give you.

What’s the biggest adjustment in life after football? — @foximane88

I could probably write an entire article about this topic, but I’ll keep it simple. Adjusting to “regular” life is the biggest adjustment. Just being at home all the time. Being around your wife and kids.

During your career your life revolves around you: where you’re training, what you’re eating, training camp, the season, etc. ... you’re often away from family and they’re doing their own things. After your career is over, that ends. Your family is now a priority and it can take some time getting used to that.