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Inbox: Both groups must do their part

His task is to carry it over to training camp


Brandon from Summerville, SC

In regard to your interrogation of Wes, would he have still gotten the job if you had thought to ask him if he liked cheese?

Not drinking beer might've been the bigger deal-breaker for me. Had it not been a working lunch …

Kevin from Rockton, IL

I didn't know there was a synonym for "cow" that started with an "s". The II readership should be thankful we have an English major like Spoff to help guide us through these delicate verbal quagmires.

I do what I can.

Bruce from Bloomington, IL

Another perspective on Stan Kroenke winning the trifecta of championships is one of disappointment. As an owner, he treated St. Louis terribly in the debacle of a relocation of the Rams. Short version is that a settlement of around three quarters of a billion dollars was reached for his (and others in the NFL) behavior that many consider deplorable. Every time one of his franchises wins a championship it's like a twist of the knife to St. Louis sports fans. A blot on the NFL reputation.

Point taken.

Daniel from Fairmont, NC

Lots being said about the youth and depth at the WR position, but I think I'm more intrigued by the sudden athleticism and explosiveness we have in the TE room. While I'm excited to see both on the field, it has been awhile since we had that to work with. Brings an underrated aspect of the game to our offense that has been long missing. I hate predictions, but based off what you've seen so far this offseason, which do you think has a bigger impact on the offense and overall team success?

Both groups must do their part for this offense to get where it needs to. The additions at tight end definitely rank as the bigger change, but if the young receivers aren't able to put defenses in tough spots coverage-wise, the potential impact of the changes at tight end will be minimized.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Interceptions happen. Sometimes it's a poor throw, sometimes a route miscommunication, sometimes it's just a great defensive play. The best receivers come away with more than their share of 50/50 balls, but are receivers coached on how to transition to defender in the blink of an eye to break up potential picks?

That's an instinctive thing. If the receiver feels he can catch the ball, he's going to do everything he can to catch it, and often that goes hand in hand with preventing the defender from catching it. Truly becoming a defender? A receiver has to decide he's got no realistic shot to make the catch, and that's all instinct.

TK from Grafton, WI

I recently read "Collision Low Crossers" for a look into the minds of Mike Pettine and Jim Leonhard as part of the N.Y. Jets. I was surprised how often coaches would come up with brand new play designs in the middle of the season. Is that common in the NFL? Do Packer coaches do that?

All the time. They're usually variations of plays or concepts they already run, incorporating a wrinkle they see from another team. So I don't know if I'd call them "brand new," except in the sense that specific play hasn't been run before.

Josh from Adams, WI

I think we all expect big things out of the defense this year considering the number of first-round draft picks and high-quality free agent acquisitions, and if they underperform there is likely to be a reckoning. If that were to occur, does the blame lie with the GM for his roster construction or with the DC for failing to get the most out of his players?

That's a valid question, but a hypothetical that's impossible to answer, with more factors in play than your coin-flip scenario. When it comes to failure, attempting to narrow and pinpoint responsibility, while a natural reaction, is counterproductive to the most helpful process, which is working to understand the full, wider scope of the story.

Ned from Laguna Woods, CA

I understand there are three top-level unsigned rookies in camp. Since there is a sort of league salary structure for this group, how might his salary be affected if he gets hurt during this time?

Unsigned rookies participating in OTAs and minicamp are protected via the CBA should they get hurt. Any contract details being haggled over are not subject to health discussions.

Steve from Surprise, AZ

Are either of the Packers' drafted rookie tight ends attending Kittle and Kelce's Tight End University at Vanderbilt next week?

Both Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft are going.

Mike from Rhinelander, WI

Good morning II. Concerning the question asked by Vinny from Arlington, VA, about Grant DuBose. Has there been a Packer player that started out under similar circumstances and actually got it together enough to make an impact? Any one in particular that you were pulling for that just couldn't make it happen?

You're always hoping guys, especially late-round picks, get a chance and can make it work despite any injuries. But injuries are so common there are too many answers to your second question. As for your first, the obvious reply is James Starks, a sixth-rounder in 2010 who due to injury didn't appear in his first game until December of his rookie year, and the rest is history. A more subtle example is from the year before, seventh-rounder Brad Jones. He was on the sideline a lot throughout the spring and start of training camp, even missing the first preseason game. By the end of his rookie year, he was playing regularly and had four sacks.

Steve from Land O'Lakes, FL

Good morning ll. I've seen some recent discussions about QB arm strength. Maybe this has been addressed before and I missed it, so forgive me. Who do you think had the greater arm strength, Rodgers or Favre?

I'd say Favre, but not by a significant margin.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

I'm as much a Packers fan as the next person, but for placekickers in the NFL nothing could be less important than what is happening in practice. Most NFL kicking prospects have strong legs, so it's how they perform in the pressure of games that counts. The career kickers are able to handle the pressure during real games. We'll just have to wait and see.

True enough, but consistency in practice shouldn't be underestimated. It doesn't guarantee anything and improves only the chances of success in games, but without it, there's practically no chance.

Jeff from Victorville, CA

Hi Mike! I know every player is different but in your time in Green Bay what is the average time you've seen for a return from ACL injuries? The fastest? I'm thinking the average is around 10-11 months before full go. Do you feel the same?

I'd lean closer to 11 months, but the fastest I've seen here was Bryan Bulaga, who tore his ACL on Nov. 6, 2017, and was taking some snaps in the preseason finale on Aug. 30, 2018. He was then at full duty for the opener that year on Sept. 9. Robert Tonyan wasn't far behind, with his injury occurring on Oct. 28, 2021, and getting cleared for last season's opener on Sept. 11, 2022. Rashan Gary's injury last year was Nov. 6 and this year's opener is Sept. 10, so we'll see.

Kevin from Grand Rapids, MI

I've been reading about Malik Heath making an impressive catch nearly every day. Other than Doubs and Watson, how does Heath compare to the other WRs?

Heath stood out in the spring at the practices we watched. He's got good size (6-2, 213), and he's not a burner but I wouldn't call him slow. He showed reliable hands. His task is to carry it over to training camp when the pads go on and the jams at the line of scrimmage get a little more serious.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Schematically, how will the Packers compensate in the running game for the loss of Marcedes Lewis?

I'm not sure they can, short of running more out of spread formations and stressing defenses in a different way. He's a third offensive tackle as a blocker, and I've never covered another tight end who fits that description.

Blake from Itasca, IL

I think Aaron left us a parting gift in Tom Clements. That is all.

I agree. That is all.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

Jordan Love appears to be calm, cool, and collected. Is that accurate from your interactions with him? How do you think he will handle adversity?

It is accurate, and it should serve him well. No one can say for sure, but I'm confident he'll handle adversity just fine based on what was witnessed in his first start. He had endured a rough day through 3½ quarters, putting no points on the board, generating less than 250 yards of offense to that point, and seeing his last pass intercepted in the red zone, when he put together a touchdown drive, completing a fourth-down pass for the score, to give his team a chance. He wasn't rattled and kept fighting.

Joe from Dartford, UK

Having seen Jordan Love throw the ball in the flesh, which former or current NFL quarterback does he remind you of, if any, in terms of mechanics/technique/throwing style? As a bonus question, do you know if any of the players read the II? Thanks for all you do.

He doesn't remind me of any one QB in particular. Partially, I see some combination of a young Matt Ryan and the current Geno Smith in him, if that makes any sense. Probably not. I have no idea if any players read this column.

H.R. from Henderson, NV

Few things in this one. First, H.R. is not my real name; it's a shout-out to Harold Ramis, who left us way too soon. Second, the Knights hoisted the cup because of the amount of bench depth – four lines, six D, and a fourth-string goalie – they had in the playoffs. Defense wins championships? No, depth does. So I ask you, which Packers unit do you think has the most depth, and which one do you think has the least?

Offensive line has the most. Edge rusher and QB probably the least.

Scott from Salem, OR

Musicians sometimes discuss differences between studio recording and playing live. Often, they draw a clear distinction in terms of perfection; there seems to be a tendency to say "it's gonna be that way forever so get it right" in the studio and a "mistakes happen, just shrug it off and go" attitude about live shows. Do you two prefer the adrenaline of writing the live blog and game recaps, or the (slightly) less pressured articles like the Inbox and player profiles throughout the week?

I appreciate the mix and variety this job and our content plan offer. But I do love the adrenaline of game day. Going full speed in the live blog for three-plus hours, posting the bulletin capper to Wes's quarter-by-quarter updates as the clock hits zero, and then getting the full game recap written and posted as quickly after the press conferences as I can … it's as fun as it is exhausting. The hardest part is after all that I still have an editorial and the next morning's Inbox to write. But I'm not complaining, because game day is what we do this for. For me, the rest is just the bridge to get there.

Elaine from White Bear Township, MN

Mike or Wes, are the two of you shareholders? My two sons and myself have that privilege. Just curious, and not sure if this has ever come up in II. And thanks for your great work week in and week out.

I am not a shareholder, nor is anyone in my family. Wes's parents are. He's a much better son than I am.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

How come Mike and Wes never take us Insiders on a team-building exercise? We can call it the "Dead Zone Olympics." I'll look up plane tickets from NY to Wisconsin today.

Wes's Outsider Inbox isn't enough team-building for you?

Jackson from Wausau, WI

Now I'm imagining Spoff interrogating Wes like Newman interrogating Jerry for mail fraud. I'm sure Spoff was only straightening out some inconsistencies.

You prompting me to re-watch that scene made my day. Newman got all hot and bothered and wanted a sip of Jerry's drink. What was it? A root beer. No lie. Happy Friday.

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