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Inbox: Charles Woodson elevated the game of football

Family Night is going to be an emotional experience for everyone involved

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Former Packers CB Charles Woodson

H.R. from Las Vegas, NV

To add to the conversation about offense/defense players coaching each other, I remember a story James Jones told about his first practice against Charles Woodson. Jones ran a route rather precisely, and Woodson still picked off the ball. When Jones asked him how he knew what was going to happen, Woodson replied, "You ran with your head down, so I knew you were counting steps until your break." Jones never put his head down when running a route again.

That's Charles Woodson. He was a technician and the personification of professionalism. Woodson is one of the most talented players of my lifetime, but what I'll remember most about him was how he elevated the game in which he played. He walked the walk and talked the talk. Woodson went about everything he did, on and off the field, in a first-class manner. He's one of my all-time favorite NFL players and this weekend he takes his rightful place in Canton.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Family Night is here! I love the rookies getting their first taste of the Lambeau experience. Yes, those rookies are both players and spectators alike. The Packers are truly special.

I think tonight is going to be an emotional experience for everyone involved. Personally, it's going to be so strange to hear, and see, a crowd again inside Lambeau Field. To anyone going, I hope you have a safe and memorable night.

Laura from Arlington, VA

What is the status of the O-line right now?

Solid. Elgton Jenkins has looked great at left tackle and there's a good competition brewing at guard. Replacing Corey Linsley and Lane Taylor won't be easy, but the Packers have the horses (second-round pick Josh Myers and four other picks the past two years) to pull it off.

Joseph from Ashburn, VA

Is Jordan Love getting many reps now that Aaron Rodgers is back?

While Rodgers is getting almost all the first-team snaps, Love is taking most of No. 2 and No. 3 reps. On Thursday, he may have even taken one more two-minute period than Rodgers did. Rodgers is back but Love's development continues. The Packers remain committed to bringing him along.

Ben from Menomonee Falls, WI

A comment in response to Keith from Fishers' question. Marquez Valdes-Scantling was our second-best WR last season. The guy leads the league in yards per catch with (I believe) 20.9. He probably had the best game out of any one in the NFCCG. Adams' first few seasons he had issues with drops and look at him now! I think MVS is going to have a huge season. That championship game performance had to have built his confidence! With that said, who do you think will be the most productive between him, Allen Lazard, and Cobb-o?

It depends on your definition of productive. I could see Lazard having the most yards, MVS having the best average and Randall Cobb finishing with the most catches of the three. MVS is a true home-run hitter, though. The table is set for him to have a career-defining year.

Nick from Charlottesville, VA

Jenkins vs. Gary, whom do you root for? Is the team better with an unbeatable blocker or an unstoppable rusher?

I gotta give credit to Jenkins. Rashan Gary balled out during the first day of one-on-ones, but Jenkins stonewalled him on Thursday. He is the real deal.

Eric from Mequon, WI

Hey II, to put into perspective the football phenomenon we are witnessing. We are fielding a team with the best QB, WR, RB, LT on offense and top-five talent in DT, OLB, CB, and S on defense. How often has a team been able to field a "super team" like this in the NFL during the salary cap days? We need to appreciate what we are witnessing because that piper is going to have to be paid soon, which is why we don't see a roster like this often anywhere in the NFL.

It's rare in the modern era. I get some Super Bowl XXXI vibes from this team. This year's squad reminds me of those Packers teams that fell short against Dallas before putting it all together in 1996-97. Nobody wins a Lombardi Trophy in August, but this team is fully loaded.

Brendan from Mount Clemens, MI

I have a question regarding Devin Funchess and the tight competition for the last WR spots. Do you think Funchess' decision to sit out last year due to COVID is a detriment to his chances of making this year's roster? If he played last year, built some rapport with 12 and showed he still had a lot in the tank, he probably wouldn't be looking over his shoulder as much with these youngsters showing the upside they can provide, given their age and the risk that they get claimed if we decide to keep DF.

It's an uphill climb for Funchess after almost two full seasons away from the game, but age is on his side. He's still 27 and his body has had two years to rest and recover. It's obviously a more competitive receiver room than last year but Funchess sat out last year for all the right reasons.

Sean from Chicago, IL

Good morning Wes! Are there any shifty moves with the preseason games to try and hide a player? For example, would ML ever limit Juwann Winfree in hopes that might increase his odds of clearing waivers if need be?

No, you gotta do right by the player. Also, keep in mind a player is not obligated to sign to a team's practice squad if he clears waivers. If someone doesn't feel he received a fair shake at making the 53-man roster, he's free to sign on any other team's practice squad, too. You have to let guys earn it, even if it means possibly losing a guy. Players and agents will respect your organization more in the long run.

Bob from Oconomowoc, WI

In response to Dean from Leavenworth, the NFC West is a juggernaut and the Packers will be playing all of them. At Arizona and SF…again. I'm happy Seattle and LA have to visit Lambeau. They should all be quality games. I wouldn't call any games this season easy but dang do some stretches of the schedule look daunting.

Yes, but the Packers aren't too shabby, either. They're the daunting part of many teams' schedules, as well.

Nick from Plainwell, MI

With Randy Ramsey possibly out to start the year, does Gutey look towards Clay Matthews as a possible rotation guy? I don't know if he's at the point in his career to still be a starter somewhere or if he would take a pay cut and rotate at a chance for a ring. A reunion with Coach Barry doesn't sound like a bad deal either.

While never say never (see: Cobb, Randall), I'm not holding my breath. I'm confident Matthews could've played last year if he wanted to, but my guess is there wasn't a contract that made sense for Clay at this point of his career.

Steve from Toronto, Canada

With rosters now coming into clearer focus, which stretch of the schedule now stands out as the most critical? I myself see Weeks 8-12: at Cards, at Chiefs, vs. Seahawks, at Vikes, vs. Rams – as the deciding gauntlet. Seattle, KC, and LA are SB contenders, Arizona's arrow is pointing straight up, and a game at a raucous U.S. Bank Stadium will always be tough. What say you?

It's that November stretch for me, too, with road games in Kansas City and Minnesota, and home games against the formidable Seahawks and Rams. It's high risk and high reward. If the Packers can weather that stretch, they have a Week 13 bye and then three of their last five at home.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Wes, Mike mentioned Jonathan Garvin a couple times Friday. What are your thoughts on him? Seems he has great upside, especially at 22 years old.

He's a big dude with a lot of athleticism. My scouting report ends there because Garvin was a healthy scratch through the second half of the year. We just didn't see much of him. Like many others, the preseason will be big for Garvin.

Brian from Sussex, WI

Correct me if I'm wrong, but for a player to be eligible to come off IR in the season they have to be on the 53-man roster when placed on IR. I assume Mike's comment about Randy Ramsey starting on IR has him first making the initial 53, which means another player initially is cut with intent to bring back hoping another team doesn't claim them.

This is correct. The Packers would have to keep Ramsey through the initial cut to 53 before placing him on IR for him to be eligible to return this season.

Duane from Oak Creek, WI

Do you think we carry three QBs into the season?

That depends on how Kurt Benkert looks this preseason. Fortunately for Benkert – and many young QBs around the league – there no longer are limits on practice-squad eligibility. The fact the Packers felt comfortable enough to proceed with just Benkert as the No. 3 before camp shows they're committed to his development whether it comes with him on the 53 or the practice squad.

Former Packers DB Charles Woodson received his gold jacket from the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 6, 2021.

Monty from Hazen, ND

Top of the mornin' to you Wes! One last AJ Dillon question for you. Pass protection is the most underrated tasks of a running back. How does AJ stack up to other backs in that department? Aaron Jones has become very good there.

The Packers haven't done much pass pro in camp yet but Dillon has the perfect build to be strong in that area. The rest is just technique – and Ben Sirmans is one of the best when it comes to teaching fundamentals.

Dave from Bentonville, AR

As professional journalists both, what word do you see amateurs use unnecessarily all too often? A manuscript editor friend of mine says it's "that." As in, "He told me that he went to the store." Thoughts?

I think many editors spend way too much time fixating on the use of "that." There's only one medium (newspaper writing) where I can see a legitimate argument for limiting that's use. To me, it's a very small hill English majors like to die on.

Linda from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning Biff! And there's that dehydrated, stale frankfurter, staring you in the face and shouting, "It's me or the corn nuts, bro. Your choice." What do you choose, indigestion or a trip to the dentist?

Bring me to the dentist, Linda.

Tom from Douglassville, PA

No question just a thank you. I'm going thru another round of cancer treatment, about halfway done. Well, it takes a lot out of me and checking out the Inbox is one of my few pleasures right now. Can't wait for the season to start. Go Pack Go

I am so very sorry to hear that, Tom. You're one of the good ones. Thanks for making us a part of your day. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

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