Presented by

Inbox: Coaching is in his blood

Head Coach Matt LaFleur
Head Coach Matt LaFleur

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

If the dream Jerry from Grantsburg, WI, had goes to overtime, then that means the Chicago kicker missed the PAT. I see what you did there, Mike.

He’s a sneaky one, that Spofford. Good morning!

Shane from Orlando, FL

Love the dig at the Bears kicking game. How valuable do you think having the best kicker in the league is? Justin Tucker is great but what would the Ravens take in a trade for him? I don’t think a mid-second-round pick gets it done.

I think of a kicker like a poor man’s quarterback. An All-Pro maybe doesn’t guarantee victory like a QB does, but the peace of mind he provides is critical to the long-term success of a franchise. Just look at the carousel of kickers Tampa Bay, Chicago and Minnesota have used over the past few years. My advice: Stand by your kicker and show the world you love him. Keep giving all the love you can.

Tom from Douglassville, PA

Other than a divisional game, which game do you seeing being the toughest on the Packers?

I’d say probably the back-to-back road swing against Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers. Those are two tough opponents and a lot of travel in a seven-day span. If the Packers get past that gauntlet, however, they have a bye week waiting for them on the other side.

Benjamin from Bear, DE

It's obvious that the offense goes as Aaron Rodgers goes. A healthy, productive Rodgers easily puts the Packers’ offense in the top 10. Who's that player on defense? I have two candidates. Clark and the new kid in town, Savage. I'm rooting for Savage because he played his high school football at the same school my son played football, Caravel Academy in tiny, little Bear, DE! Thanks.

Let’s give Darnell Savage a minute or two to work his pads in before we anoint him as the captain of the defense, but I agree with the suggestion of Kenny Clark. He has a real chance to be a torch-bearer for the next generation of defensive tackles in the NFL. He’s a tone-setter.

Al from Corvallis, OR

I wonder how well Matt LaFleur's outside-zone run scheme will hold up. Bill Belichick blew it up in the SB and the Rams couldn't get their play-action game going. Any indication that LaFleur has other run options in the mix the way McCarthy did (even if he underused the run?)

I think it’s a different situation. The Patriots dared the Rams to beat them with Jared Goff’s arm and won that bet. I doubt they take the same approach with Rodgers. The outside zone is a core principle, but I don’t view it as a rigid system of offense. There’s always going to be room for adjustment, both in-game and from week-to-week.

Ken from Racine, WI

I have a lot of good, positive feelings about our new head coach, with one possible exception. It seems nearly impossible for a professional sports season, let alone a career, to run to completion without a moment arising where the coach has to definitively lay down the law and hold people accountable for the expectations that have been invested in them. When that inevitable moment arrives, have you seen the necessary fire in his belly for Coach Matt to properly motivate this team?

I’m not in the rooms, so I can only go off what players are saying. So far, the locker room has been saying LaFleur isn’t one to mince words. He’s level-headed, but don’t confuse that with meekness. When the time arrives, LaFleur is as passionate and fiery as they come. Everything LaFleur has done over the past 39 years has been building to this moment. Coaching is in his blood. He’s ready for this.

Aaron from New York, NY

In regards to your response about longest consecutive game streaks, what constitutes a start? Is it simply being on the field for the first play from scrimmage on your side of the ball? How does that work with variations on formation? Would a tight end not get credit for a start if the first play just happened to be in a set with only backs and receivers?

Correct. A starter is defined as any player on the field for the first snap of offense and defense. That’s how Jimmy Graham started 12 games last year and Marcedes Lewis finished with four.

David from Appleton, WI

Truly great QBs are having longer careers (Favre, Brady, Brees, Rodgers). How long, in your opinion, should a team take to determine whether to keep a QB or to draft/trade for one? And what factors would you look for in order to determine when to move on from the incumbent?

There are positions where it makes sense for teams to have an heir apparent waiting in the wings, but I don’t view quarterback as one of them. QBs are playing longer than ever before. If you have an elite one – and he’s steadfast about his desire to play for the foreseeable future – then I say you drive that car until the wheels come off because you never know when an endless pit is hiding behind Door No. 2.

Markus from Aurora, CO

Insiders, your discussion of the backup QB situation (DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle) in the latest podcast has me intrigued: The "battle" between second-year Boyle and Kizer (who was a starter for the Browns) will surely be interesting to watch and follow. Can either of them truly break through or stand out with Rodgers at the helm? (I guess it's a constant question for any prospective backup behind an elite QB.)

They definitely can, especially with how careful the Packers have been with Rodgers’ summer workload over the past four or five years. Kizer and Boyle likely will see a lot of work in the preseason. That’s their shot to show not only that they can be Rodgers’ backup, but also their upside as legitimate QB prospects.

Jordan from Lawrenceburg, KY

There seems to be a good number of fans that are already looking for AR12's replacement (I am not one of them). I'm surprised we haven't heard from any of them asking to move Ty Summers to QB to be the next franchise quarterback...

Making Summers the “Brandon Stark option” to succeed Rodgers on the green-and-gold throne.

Max from Annapolis, MD

I think there's beauty in simplicity. That said, I think the ideal change to the NFL's overtime rules would be simply to treat the end of the game like the end of a quarter, and move immediately to sudden death. The circumstances of the game, and not the result of a coin toss, determine the odds.

You know, the more I think about it, the less I hate this idea.

Chun from El Monte, CA

With very little depth at ILB, do we need a big jump from Oren Burks or will maybe Josh Jones have to play more in that role? If anything happens to Blake, we might be very thin there.

It doesn’t concern me. While it’s true the Packers are counting on Burks making a big jump in Year 2, the picture at inside linebacker has changed in today’s NFL. I don’t know if teams need to be four-deep at ILB anymore with how frequently defensive backs are playing in the box now.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

The depth chart questions make me giggle. Week 15 will arrive and the Packers will be playing their best lineup ready to take the NFC North, but no one knows what that best lineup will look like. Unforeseen injury and young players stepping up will dictate who's on the field.

And never underestimate the power of development. I mean how many of you had Kyler Fackrell, Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster anchoring the defense at the beginning of last season? The NFL is a stock market. Players rise and fall by the week and preconceived notions today don’t have any bearing on tomorrow.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

Knowing the roster only on paper at this point, if someone were to set 8½ as the over/under line on the number of offensive linemen to make the 53, what are you taking?

Over. Definitely over.

Daniel from Liverpool, UK

I loved what I saw from James Crawford on ST last year, and I'm expecting big things from him and our ST this year. Who do you think will be the most important player on our special teams?

JK Scott. The Packers could have the league’s best offense in 2019, but there will be times when Scott needs to flip the field with his foot. The guy has dynamite in his leg. He needs to harness that power. If Scott does that, he’ll make everyone on that coverage unit better just like Michael Dickson did for Seattle last season.

Ryan from Hartland, WI

How would you grade the Packers’ draft?

I give it a P…for promising.

Joshua from Houston, TX

Do you think Teo Redding could also play RB? He could fill either the Cobb role or that other guy.

Are you saying that because you like Redding or because he’s wearing No. 88?

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, as strength and conditioning coach, does Chris Gizzi develop workout plans for individuals, or just position groups? How does he assess the needs?

Position players will emphasize the same principles in training, but every player is different. With that in mind, the strength coaches tailor specific plans to each player. It’s not different than what the nutritionist does with players’ diets.

Nick from Plainwell, MI

Should we start seeing some more free-agency signings around the league now that OTAs are starting up?

It’s already started. We’ve passed that May 7 deadline, so now any veterans who sign contracts with new teams no longer count towards the compensatory formula.

Andrew from Fort Belvoir, VA

I have to call bologna on the answer to Justin from Toronto. I respect how the II toed the line between being fans, but not obviously being homers. When asked to choose between OBJ and Davante Adams I laughed out loud in my office when you said Adams. I'm a Packer fan, and I love Davante, but picking him before OBJ is an absolute joke! OBJ has a legitimate chance to be one of the best ever, and is on pace to set all sorts of records! Would you take Brandon Jackson over AP too?

Did you just compare Davante Adams to Brandon Jackson? Am I processing that correctly? And if OBJ is unilaterally better than Adams, then why was he traded this offseason and Davante wasn’t? They’re both 26 years old and one year into their extensions. So why would the Giants let OBJ go? Even after a down year, the Packers seem content with their No. 1 receiver. Get some facts…and come back and see me. I’m kidding about that last part. I just wanted to work a Jim Calhoun reference in there.

Taylor from Hull, IA

How difficult is it for the media people to find pictures without players who are no longer with the team? When players leave, such as Clay Matthews and Randall Cobb, I find it interesting how quickly they disappear from any official images the Packers put out.

It’s really not that difficult with 53-man rosters. Maybe it’s tougher for sports with smaller rosters such as the NBA and MLB.

George from Olympia, WA

Do we really need so many tight ends?

Four? The Packers have carried as many as five on the 53-man roster during my time on the beat.

Thomas from Evansville, IN

Who do you predict to be our main receiving TE this year?

Jimmy Graham. Barring injury, he’s “the man” at tight end for the Packers this year. There’s still gas left in the tank and Rodgers trusts him implicitly.

Dave from Germantown, TN

I just saw where the Packers are Brooks Koepka's favorite football team. Do you think Rodgers will contact him about playing in next year’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am?

I don’t know about that. Rodgers sure seems to have found a favorite in Ho-sung Choi.

Corey from Whitehall, PA

I watched Quinnen Williams' recent interview about how he was star struck when meeting some of his new teammates. I love his energy and excitement just for being where he's at and I hope he has a long, healthy career. Do you have any stories of being star struck or in awe when interviewing a player?

I don’t want this to come off as too cool for the room, but I don’t get star struck. Because this is my job. It’s how I feed my family. Once you’re in that groove, you kind of get tunnel vision. That’s where I am. I’m sure it’s no different than any of you in your respective fields of expertise.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Who is your favorite athlete of all time, and why?

I grew up idolizing Allen Iverson. He was smaller, like me, but he dominated the competition. What he did on the basketball court was magical.

Brian from Sussex, WI

Do the II writers watch for the posting of II on their day off from writing it, then take a work break to read it like the rest of us? If not, you should so you get to experience the normal readers’ anxiousness waiting, and excitement when it's available every day.

It’s usually the first thing I do when I get into the office because I need to know which direction the conversation is heading.

LeeAnn from Carefree, IN

Final episode of “Game of Thrones” or final episode of “Big Bang Theory”?

I didn’t see the final episode of “Big Bang,” so I’ll go with that one.

Matt from Janesville, WI

Wes, I’ll admit I was kind of disappointed with the final season of GoT as a whole. What were your thoughts about the finale last night and the final season, in general?

I think the showrunners outkicked their coverage, to be honest. Maybe George’s ending will work better with more room for character development in the books, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Wes, Mike, Larry, and John – you are the eyes and ears of information for starved Packer fans throughout the world. We're counting on you. Are you ready? And so it begins.

Every day, we’re tirelessly working to shorten the gap to Sept. 5.

Advertising