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Inbox: All they've done is innovate

It was a position Corey Linsley was destined to play in Green Bay

Head Coach Matt LaFleur

Chun from El Monte, CA

The offense made a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2. What else can it improve on in Year 3? Defenses usually find ways to stop the top offenses in the league the following year so MLF still has a lot of tweaking to do to stay one step ahead of opposing defenses.

It's a smart and creative staff, so I don't expect Matt LaFleur and Co. to fall behind the curve. Since they arrived, all they've done is innovate. For me, it's about consistency. The Packers scored at a prolific pace this year, but there also were times when they struggled to get the water from the well. If this group can pick up where it left off, however, I'd expect Green Bay to be a real problem for opposing defenses in 2021. Yes, 2021. I got that one right today.

Miro from Bratislava, Slovakia

Hello II, I have noticed there are several groups of QBs. And Aaron Rodgers is one who could set the market. But there is also another category with Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes, who are first to restructure their deals to reduce their salary but giving team budget for signing additional players. Why do you think Aaron is not in this category? GB wants to see what is behind Jordan Love's door. Or Aaron still trying to maximize his salary? Or are they both, considering the current contract is still a bargain for a team?

But Aaron Rodgers has restructured his contract before. He did it in 2019, the year after his extension. Yes, the Packers could go that route again but that would mean driving up Rodgers' cap number even more in 2022 and 2023. Russ Ball is the best at what he does. I promise if that's the route the Packers feel was best to create space, they'd do it. But we need to end this myth about Rodgers and restructures and recognize everything that goes into those decisions.

Curt from Algonquin, IL

We kept Aaron Jones but that very probably was the reason we couldn't afford Corey Linsley. When deciding between two players at the very top of their respective positions last year, what do you think pushed team management to the running back instead of the center? Was it a bet on the depth of the offensive line room that made them comfortable with their in-house replacement, more than putting Jamaal Williams as the feature back? Do you think the 3½-year-age difference was a major factor?

The Packers typically are younger than most NFL teams, so it's not surprising to see a running back on a second contract return while a third-contract center departs. While Linsley is one of the best centers in the game, there's no way the Packers could let Jones out of the building with another championship pursuit on the horizon. He's too important to the offense's ability to put the ball in the end zone.

Ryan from Baldwin, WI

Wes, hope you enjoyed your time off. In my opinion, tackle is the most difficult position to play along the offensive line. This might be an off the wall question, but if that is the case, why wouldn't all NFL teams draft athletic college tackles that they can convert to G or C? I would think if you had the footwork to be able to play tackle at a DI program, you would be able to learn the technique to play inside?

The truth is somewhere in the middle. Converting tackles has been a prudent way to go about developing the Packers' offensive line, but scouts also can't ignore the interior. Just look at what Corey Linsley and Lane Taylor achieved after being overlooked despite having distinguished careers at big-time college programs.

Bob from Rome, NY

Good morning - Not sure if this was previously discussed but who could forget Corey Linsley's first start at center at Seattle in place of JC Tretter. It was evident that he was going to be special the way he handled the position under those circumstances. Good luck Corey. You will be missed!

I don't know how Corey did it, but it was a position he was destined to play in Green Bay. And he did it at a high level for seven seasons.

Casey from Frisco, TX

The Packers selected Linsley with a fifth-round pick, got seven great seasons out of him (on and off the field), and will receive a fourth-round pick (at worst) next year in return. Seems to me that this is the stuff of a consistently winning organization.

It could be one of those rare insistences where a team drafts an All-Pro player and manages to get a compensatory pick that's higher than the round it originally drafted the player.

Jerome from Monticello, MN

Hi Wes, thanks for all your insight. Do you think Jon Runyan and Jake Hanson are ready to make that next step up? Do think that was part of the reason certain players will be let go?

Runyan passed the eye test for me last year and Spoff did a bang-up job last week of providing evidence for why the younger Runyan could factor into the Packers' O-line equation next year. It was no accident Green Bay invested three sixth-round picks into the O-line last year. The Packers were aiming to find another gem in the later rounds. Runyan has the pedigree, versatility and that edge the Packers look for in O-linemen.

Tory from Milwaukee, WI

Good morning, are we forgetting that we drafted Simon Stepaniak last year as well? I seem to recall he played center and was coming off injury and if he hadn't been injured would have likely been drafted higher than he was. Does he seem like a good contingency plan at center moving into next year or just some nice added depth on the roster?

Stepaniak played guard at Indiana and is still coming back from his knee injury. Beyond that, it's hard for me to offer anything too substantial on him yet. I haven't seen him do anything other than light individual work.

Aaron from Prairie du Sac, WI

Hi Insiders. I keep seeing people talk about the Packers desperately needing inside LB. How high are the Packers on their rookies from last year?

This always has been a talking point for years with the fan base but the Packers like where they stand right now with Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin. With Christian Kirksey's release, Green Bay has room to add another linebacker but Barnes and Martin are the inside guys right now.

Lorin from Muscatine, IA

Longtime reader, first time asking a question. With Joe Barry's talk of playing, "fast and furious," and "doing everything possible to get the ball back in No. 12's hands," do you think this could be Josh Jackson's time to finally shine? He was a ball hawk at Iowa, and just never seemed to fit in Pettine's scheme. Maybe we have that second star corner already on our roster?

I've said it for three years – Jackson has everything you look for in a perimeter cornerback. It's just taking the training wheels off and trusting his instincts as a corner. I still believe he can be a corner in this league if he cleans up the penalties. The Packers need Jackson to push the corners and compete for a defensive role this summer.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Though Jamaal Williams was a beloved Packer, he is now a Lion. I wish him well. Nevertheless, let me be first to put it out to the universe that his first professional fumble lost will be against the green and gold.

All good things must come to an end, right? But that's a great pickup for the Lions. Williams can bring a lot of stability to their backfield if utilized appropriately.

Kyle from Baldwin, WI

Back in 2018, we brought the kids to training camp. At the end, we were the only ones left watching Tramon and Kevin King run sprints across the field. I was explaining to my 7-year-old who he was, his great plays leading to the Super Bowl, and how much of a fan I was. When Tramon got to our side of the field, I told the kid to yell "HI TRAMON." Tramon turned around with the biggest smile on his face and waved at him. It made our day. Best wishes No. 38. You made an impact on my kids and Green Bay.

Williams was always quick to credit others when it came to his development as a player, but also set the standard on defense when it came to leading by example.

Duane from Oak Creek, WI

Do you see a career in coaching for Tramon Williams?

Possibly. He's already done a great job with his own children and James Jones' youth football team. Tramon is going to be successful in whatever walk of life he chooses to pursue. He's that talented. He's that smart. He's that real.

Michael from Pound, WI

Morning gents. Or gent. What does it say about the Packer organization, as a whole, from the front office to coaching to scouts that we get so many compensatory picks compared to the rest of the league on average over such a long period of time?

The Packers and Ravens are two of the best. And the only reason Green Bay fell off Baltimore's pace was the Packers having to rerack two years ago through free agency.

Sean from Boulder, CO

Regarding professionalism and character, it's one thing to root for a team that wins and competes but the fact we can be proud of the people they seem to be off the field is special. Most of us didn't choose to root for the Packers, we were born into them. At one point in my teens, Forrest Gregg fielded a team that was an embarrassment to that endeavor and I almost walked away. Thankfully, that moment passed and they have once again become something to be proud of beyond the wins and losses.

Wins and Super Bowls are great, but the about-face the Packers made in terms of character after Bob Harlan took the reins of the organization is underrated. The coaches, personnel folks and executives that have followed have made sure the organization has maintained that standard.

Tony from Chanhassen, MN

The signing of Trent Williams as the "highest-paid OL" has me wondering. When and why did it become the norm to publicize pro athlete's compensation? That is not the norm in the private sector and leads to natural comparisons of relative value and compensation. This can inevitably lead to I want to make more than "X."

1993 and the start of free agency, bay-bay. Everyone wants to be next.

Eric from Mequon, WI

Looking at the fact that Detroit and the NYJ end the season with a losing record on a consistent basis and the Bears can't buy a QB for 17 first-round picks, it appears we have some teams that are "cursed." What makes an NFL team a consistent fixture on the loser wall? They have had decent coaches, GMs, and the like but these teams always have the same problems year after year.

I think you answered this yourself. Everything comes back to the quarterback – and not only identifying a franchise QB but also surrounding that individual with talent.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers S Darnell Savage from the 2020 season.

Robert from Saginaw, MI

The last time the Packers introduced a new throwback jersey it was done at the annual shareholder meeting. This should be the answer to the question.

I'm not one to lean heavily on precedents during unprecedented times.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Good morning. How far out can a team trade a draft pick, not that a team trades Player X for a first-round draft in 2028?

I believe it's three years out.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Wes, now that the NCAA tourney is underway, I feel safe asking a basketball question. When you were a hoopster, what type of player were you? I imagine you as a crafty point-guard type with sharp elbows.

Crafty? Not so much, but I was a sweaty try-hard. Pete Dougherty has a theory, about how you are on a basketball court reflects who you are in life.

Charles from Omaha, NE

Good morning, Weston, I hope this message finds you will. This week was an emotional roller coaster ride with me being fired last Friday and finding out today that I have an interview next Monday at my dream law firm. What was a moment in your life where you received bad news but it almost immediately was fixed?

I'm sorry to hear that, Charles, but I wish you well in the interview! For me, it probably goes all the way back to when Olsen's Piggly Wiggly didn't hire me, but then McDonald's did. I met a lifelong friend there, Dave Vandermause, whose father was the sports editor at the Press-Gazette. I caught on as a part-time sports clerk and the rest was history.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Wes, what will the cap hit be when David Bakhtiari comes off injured reserve?

I love you, Scott.

Mike from St Louis, Park, MN

Do you guys ever not answer a question from Dean from Leavenworth? Sorry Dean, nothing personal.

I laugh every time we get these kinds of submissions. That's like asking Aaron Rodgers why he targets Davante Adams. Because his questions are thought-provoking. You have no idea how many "Are we gonna re-sign Jordy?" questions we sift through to find one Dean, Dar, Derek, Margo or Margeaux.

Chris from New Canaan, CT

Hod, in your answer to Dean from Leavenworth, IN, regarding compensatory picks for Aaron Jones (now moot point) and Linsley, you mentioned the importance of not "rushing to conclusions." You could have also mentioned not "reaching any snap judgements," if you know what I mean...

Now that's punny.