Inbox: A true legacy is more than catchy soundbites

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Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Any Julius Peppers stories?

Peppers is one of the most interesting and thoughtful athletes I’ve covered. He didn’t talk much. When Peppers spoke, however, those words had value. He was a puzzle I don’t know if any NFL beat writer completely figured out and that’s OK. In a world where everyone must know everything about everybody, Peppers kept a tight circle and was simplistic in his approach. I appreciated that. It’s a reminder a true legacy is more than catchy soundbites. It’s in your actions on the field, in your community and what you’re doing when cameras aren’t pointed at you. In that regard, Julius Peppers has few equals. Good morning!

Eli from Yardley, PA

Say it ain't so, Julius. Was there a hint of indecisiveness about retiring? He said he physically feels good. Insiders, get everyone on the horn and pitch him the idea to come back for one more year in Green Bay. A one-year contract as a situational role player and impressive leadership impact would pay big dividends. Especially in a group that will most likely have turnover and more new young faces.

I don’t take Peppers as a man who is going to hem and haw about retirement. He made his decision. He seems at peace with it based on that goodbye video the Panthers posted, which was expertly executed.

LeeAnn from Corydon, IN

Thanks for the nice article on Julius Peppers, Wes. I found it curious that four of the top all-time sack leaders started their careers in 1985. Not at all familiar with the ’85 draft but that must have been one heck of a year for defensive prospects. Any other notables from that draft? Thank you.

It was a monumental year beyond the defensive prospects. In addition to Reggie White – who started his pro career in the USFL in 1984 – the first six 1985 draft picks all made at least one Pro Bowl. The seventh? Ken Ruettgers is considered one of the best left tackles in Packers history. Also, three of the first 16 selections that year became Pro Football Hall of Famers. Incredible.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Julius Peppers announced his retirement. Where does he stack up in NFL history? How will he be remembered?

He’ll be remembered as one of the best to ever do it and in the conversation for the most durable player of his era, if not NFL history. Only two missed games due to injury in 17 seasons of professional football? Are you kidding me?

Mitch from Orange, VA

I was happy to hear Peppers enjoyed his time in Green Bay. I miss the impact he brought to the defense. Who could be the next Peppers for this year’s draft?

There’s only one Julius Peppers and even players comparable in size and explosiveness aren’t available in every draft class.

Jason from Lake View, NY

I took a lot at the Titans’ stats from last year to get an idea of how LaFleur may operate the offense. One thing that caught my attention was that Dion Lewis, their backup running back, was second on the list for receptions with 59. Seems like Coach likes to heavily involve RBs in the pass game. Does either back seem to have the skill set to be a big part of the passing game like Lewis was?

That’s exactly why I wrote this is the perfect time for Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams to take another step. That wasn’t just lip service. The McVay/Shanahan offenses like to capitalize on the matchup problems dynamic running backs create. I think both Jones and Williams have the necessary tools to be a factor in LaFleur’s offense as pass catchers.

Adilson from Rotterdam, Netherlands

Venny from Mongomery, AL, forgot Jermichael Finley (drafted in the third round) and Jared Cook (also third round). Drafting a TE in the first round is by no means a must. Just get the best player.

Travis Kelce, Jimmy Graham, George Kittle, Jordan Reed and Austin Hooper are also examples of how teams don’t need to invest a first-round pick in a tight end to find a stud. They’re out there.

Ryan from Oshkosh, WI

With the hiring of a new special teams coach, what’s the biggest area for improvement that needs to be made?

I think the main thing Shawn Mennenga must do is clean up the little things that result in penalties and breakdowns. That’s easier said than done when you’re dealing with first- and second-year players, but that’s the first step. From there, the Packers need to get their return teams straightened out and also some swagger back on special teams. There’s a lot of work to be done.

Dylan from Bozeman, WI

You're the man, Pep. Thanks for giving GB a chance. Sorry we couldn't get you a ring, bruh.

It goes back to a conversation I had with Andrew Quarless years ago. When the Packers won the Super Bowl his rookie year, Quarless didn’t fully appreciate how difficult it is to get a ring. In Peppers’ case, he went to the Super Bowl during his second season and never made it back. It’s an honor even the game’s greatest don’t always attain.

Rob from Plymouth, MN

Hi Wes and Mike, thanks for keeping the Ask Vic format going with the Insider Inbox. Simple question. What do the Rams need to do in order to beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl on Sunday?

There are three things the Rams must do to come out victorious – start fast, establish the run early to diversify the offense, and pressure Tom Brady from the interior for a full 60 minutes (and more if that’s what’s required). If LA does that, it’ll have a trophy to decorate its new stadium.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

I was looking at some pictures of the first Super Bowl between the Packers and the Chiefs and found it hard to believe but there were a lot of empty seats. When did the Super Bowl gain attention to become so popular?

It didn’t take long. Super Bowl I was the only one not to sell out.

Jerome from Midland, MI

Day after the Super Bowl, Monday is usually the most inefficient work day, fake sick days, and football game gossip through the morning. Who is working Monday and will the Insider Inbox be on time, delayed or even canceled to Tuesday? Are Packers’ staff allowed to have Super Bowl parties at the stadium?

I have no big Super Bowl party planned, so expect Inbox to be delivered on time Monday. The only reason it’s ever delayed is because we have four other written elements to turn around for the site after night games.

Sean from Glen Ellyn, IL

Looking through Evan Siegle's "Photos of the Year,” my favorite one is without a doubt Kenny Clark tackling the Washington RB. Offensive and defensive linemen truly have to be the meanest, nastiest people on the planet once the ball is snapped.

Evan’s work is out of this world. It’s also an interesting dichotomy with Clark, considering he doubles as the nicest guy in the locker room.

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares some of his favorite images of the 2018 season.

Andy from Deerfield, WI

Did Luke Getsy call plays at Mississippi State? If so, that's three offensive play callers from last season. Honestly I'd be offended if the offensiveness didn't improve. It's a good thing.

Getsy did not call plays at Mississippi State – Joe Moorhead did. Whether they called plays or not, the Packers have three bright young minds in the offensive and quarterback rooms now with Matt LaFleur, Nathaniel Hackett and Getsy. Plus, Getsy has a history with Rodgers and this offense when it was at its best.

Ryan from Fort Worth, TX

With the hiring of Luke Getsy as QB coach it made me wonder how a coach, whose history was primarily coaching receivers, transitions to coaching another position. I know it’s common, but how well-versed is he on the nuances of the position such as footwork?

Ben McAdoo went from coaching tight ends to quarterbacks, so it’s not uncommon. Getsy, in addition to working with receivers, also played quarterback at Pittsburgh and Akron. He also worked closely with Alex Van Pelt during the year AVP coached both QBs and WRs.

Trevor from Carmel, NY

Ron Rivera said on the radio this morning that his one regret about his first staff was not having a veteran head coach somewhere on the staff to consult with. He pointed out how the success of Pederson and McVay was accelerated by having former guys like Phillips and Schwartz heading up the defense. It's one thing to hear it from an analyst, but to hear it from a current coach? Gotta love the way this staff is coming together.

Head coaches need to hire good people and be capable of delegating because the job is too big to handle everything themselves, especially when they’re the offensive or defensive play-caller. Holmgren and McCarthy had the offense. Shurmur and Capers had their respective defenses. Now, we’ll see whether LaFleur and Pettine can put their stamp on a championship run.

Cody from Thunder Bay, Ontario

If the Packers had decided to keep Joe Philbin on as HC, would that still be considered a new coach, allowing the April 1 start date? Or would they then have to wait until April 15?

A new coach is a new coach is a new coach.

Chase from Ft. Huachuca, AZ

Coming up on 15 years in the military, I didn't think there was a profession that moved as much as we do, a new location about every three years. Reading about all the new coaches, it amazes me how much these guys move around the country as they move up the coaching ranks. A lot of people probably don't understand how hard that can be, especially on the family.

First, thank you for your service. Second, you’re Spoff on. One journeyman coach who stood out to me was Steve Marshall, who assisted offensive line coach James Campen in 2014. Look up his Wikipedia page at some point. He’s coached at 19 different places since 1979.

Photos of Lambeau Field from 2019

Evan from Middleton, WI

When will you get a chance to interview some of the new staff that LaFleur has put together?

As soon as the staff is finalized. Spoff is going on vacation, so I assume it’ll be next week sometime.

Kent from Oshkosh, WI

Why don't the Packers have open tryouts, like the Vikings do? The Vikings have starters on their team that were discovered at open tryouts.

The Packers do the same exact thing. They hold tryouts at their rookie orientation camp and minicamp. The scouts also bring in free agents on a weekly basis to keep an updated rolodex of potential practice-squad players. What do you want? A public notice in the legal section of the paper?

Greg from Sydney, Australia

Love your work guys, but I have been wondering how you deal with responding to all the post-loss negativity from some Packers fans?  

I bite my lip and order an extra shot of espresso.

Kelly from Ellsworth, WI

You can't compare wind chills across eras. All you can do is ask, did the wind chill dominate its era?

Comment of the day. No, week. No, year.

Dylan from Chapel Hill, NC

What is the best non-Packers stadium tradition you have witnessed around the NFL?

The Wisconsin-Madison student section showing up in the second half for “Jump Around.”

Ivan from Ventura, CA

Why do you guys answer repetitive and meaningless questions that can simply be Googled?

Why do you ask a repetitive and meaningless question that can simply be assumed? It’s Insider Inbox. You ask. We answer. Any other brainbusters?

Deb from Shawano, WI

I'm sure the question quantity has increased to the inbox because of the Packers Perks connection. By how much? Has the quality of questions asked improved, remained the same, or worsened?

Maybe Spoff would say differently, but my feeling is the number of submissions has increased and the overall quality has decreased because of the “I’m just here for the Perks” crowd. Such is life.

Lori from Brookfield. WI

Wes, as you look forward to Super Bowl Sunday, are you most excited about the game, the commercials, the II questions on Monday, or time in the bonus room?

The Puppy Bowl. As parents of a rescued pup, my wife and I make it a point to watch it every year. Then, the Super Bowl, II questions and commercials way down the list…a notch above Maroon 5’s halftime performance.

Andy from Grand Rapids, MI

With Wes taking charge all next week, could the Insider Inbox please be changed to “Weston's Wisdoms,” pretty please?

Or “Weston’s Wisecracks” if my mood sours. Have a great weekend, everyone. Enjoy the big game.

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