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Inbox: Everyone has a role to play

Head Coach Matt LaFleur
Head Coach Matt LaFleur

Steve from Davenport, IA

I see a lot of rumors circulating about how the Packers should trade for OBJ. Is that even reasonable?

It's February. Radio shows are trying to keep listeners listening and scribes want to keep readers reading. The fire isn't gonna stoke itself, ya know. Good morning!

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

All these questions about when to give up on a guy, I'm curious: Who's the latest bloomer you've seen in your time on the beat, and how long did it take him to find his groove? And what do you think took him so long?

I know Spoff answered this but I loved the question and wanted to add Lawrence Guy, a seventh-round pick in 2011 who started his career on Green Bay's practice squad. He bounced around from Indianapolis to San Diego before finally becoming a starter in Baltimore in 2016. He was a big free-agent signing for New England the following year and started almost every game over the last three seasons.

James from De Pere, WI

With the Packers picking 30th in the upcoming draft and with many saying the wide receiver class is deep, is it better to pick the seventh-best wide receiver or the first- or second-best offensive lineman? Seems to be an easy choice to me. Your thoughts please and thanks for all the information that you provide.

Well, the Ravens got what the NFL considered the "fifth-best" quarterback in 2018 and that worked out OK for them, I'd say. That's why teams have a big board.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

Insiders, how does Darnell Savage's production his rookie year compare with the production of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Nick Collins during their rookie years? I believe the three of them all played free safety.

Neither was a Pro Bowler overnight. Clinton-Dix played behind Micah Hyde to start his rookie season, rotating in when Hyde moved to the slot in sub-packages. He finished his rookie year with 92 tackles and a pick. Nick Collins started all 16 games, recording 84 tackles without an interception. Based on the numbers, Savage is well ahead of schedule.

Take a look at photos of Packers T Jared Veldheer from the 2019 season.

Tom from Lodi, WI

Good morning, what do you believe the chances are that Jared Veldheer comes back for 2020?

Veldheer still loves the game but I'm guessing his decision comes down to whether the 10-year vet wants to go through another offseason program. We're a month away from the new league year and free agency. The free-agency answers will come soon enough.

Jonathan from Hulsberg, Netherlands

All this talk about a future QB. How do we know Tim Boyle isn't the guy? Give him a shot, right? If he proves not to be the guy, we will probably have a high enough draft pick to find him.

Boyle's job is to develop and be ready in case of emergency. Rodgers is 36. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are 42 and 41, respectively. We gotta long way to go yet, folks, before this thing needs to become a thing.

Matthew from Janesville, WI

A lot of fans are quick to dismiss the young talent the Packers have at WR. I'm not on that bandwagon. Although I think they'll add to the group, there is a lot of young talent that's in the process of developing; let that play out. Allen Lazard was a first-year player. MVS/EQ have two years of experience. Everyone wanted to cut Davante Adams after Year 2 and now look what he's developed into. Not everyone is Adams, but let the players develop. Thoughts?

I think you laid it out perfectly. The Packers could look to add to that room this offseason but improvement still must come from within for the passing game to take a step in 2020. These are young players on rookie deals who aren't breaking the bank. Sure, you can add a new piece or two, but still let the current receiving corps develop.

Chuck from Gold Canyon, AZ

I am curious how Spoff/Wes come up with a game plan to cover the combine. Do you each have areas (position groups) you focus on? Do you pay more attention to areas of perceived needs for the Packers?

Divide and conquer, starting with how we cover availability with Matt LaFleur and Brian Gutekunst. Once the player interviews begin, we look to write about the positions and players fans are interested in. There occasionally are area products (e.g. Ashwaubenon quarterback James Morgan) with interesting stories that provide notebook fodder.

Marin from West Lawn, PA

A couple of questions regarding the upcoming combine, if I may. Besides Gute and Coach LaFleur, who else from the Packers' front office will be in attendance? And, are there specific responsibilities each person has, such as interviewing players, administering the Wonderlic, etc.?

Anyone and everyone affiliated with football operations will be in Indy. The personnel execs and scouts will watch the workouts and conduct formal interviews, while coaches perform their due diligence on players with informal meetings. Everyone has a role to play, especially with the constraints associated with the new workout schedule.

Statham from Pineview, GA

What factors go into the league setting a team's schedule? We already know the opponents and whether the game is home or away at this point, but what exactly puts a game to a particular date?

First and foremost, teams can make schedule requests (e.g. the Packers hosting Chicago to kick off their 100th season, Green Bay hosting the Bears on Thanksgiving in 2015, Minnesota opening U.S. Bank Stadium against GB, etc.). From there, the NFL and its broadcast experts use a "Val-gorithm" formula – an homage to former NFL schedule-maker Val Pinchbeck – and begin slotting games in. It ain't perfect but the league strives to be as balanced as possible.

Malcolm from Fennimore, WI

In response to Clifford from Brockport, I believe the reason most of us fans remember the bad punts is because they are easier to spot and make us more emotional than the good punts. Fans don't truly praise the good things a punter does. All the credit goes to the offense or defense.

No doubt. Football is a team game, which magnifies individual moments. That's why you're more likely to critique a kicker, punter or returner if something goes awry. I agree Scott was up and down but I believe it's an oversimplification to say his struggles were directly tied to key moments. He had plenty of clutch punts, as well.

Mark from West Des Moines, IA

What are your thoughts regarding Dom Capers joining the Vikings' staff?

Awesome. Whatever you think of Capers and how things ended in Green Bay, he remains to this day one of the best human beings I've ever covered. He's also one heck of a football coach. I love to see him still out there at 69.

Darren from Oklahoma, OK

I just saw the Vikes picked up Dom Capers as a senior defensive assistant. Does this make him an assistant to all coaches on the defense?

Capers was in the same role last year in Jacksonville. It's become pretty common for older, established coaches to help in that capacity. I imagine Capers will assist co-defensive coordinators, Andre Patterson and Adam Zimmer (yes, he's Mike's son).

Eric from Mequon, WI

So the Monday after the XFL debut and not a single question? Do you have a mandate not to acknowledge the new league or am I the only person that reads II that watched? I thought it was exciting, full of decent talent, and some major changes the NFL should look into (kickoff, replay transparency, etc.). What a weekend of football that got no recognition by the Inbox!

I think Spoff made his point abundantly clear he isn't going to be fielding XFL questions, which is his prerogative. Just like how I don't entertain Brewers (or reserve contract) questions. I watched one game this weekend (LA and Houston) and enjoyed it. The replay reviews were amateurish and there's a dearth of offensive playmakers but it was fine for a February football fix. Pace is important and the XFL kept the ball moving.

Jeff from Athens, WI

I watched portions of two of the XFL games this weekend and came away with only one aspect of the game that I think could be good for the NFL. The XFL's kickoffs do appear to be much safer for the players than the NFL kickoffs. I did not see as much potential for returns for touchdowns, but I could clearly see a safety benefit. Did you watch any of the games and do you have an opinion on this? Do you think the NFL would consider a change like this? I think the NFLPA would agree with the change.

The changes to kickoffs are my favorite adjustment. It's a small sample size but the optics were good. It looked much safer but I still saw room for an explosive play, as well. That's something to monitor these next nine weeks.

Matthias from San Antonio, TX

I will say that I thought that the AAF would be more successful than the XFL, but with exception to the extra-point rule eliminating placekicking and drop kicks, I found the rules of the return game on kickoffs and punts unique and the review process refreshingly simple. Stupid question is, did you watch any of the games and do you see any of the XFL rules filtering over to the NFL?

It did the first time around and I could definitely see history repeating itself. The XFL can freely experiment in ways the NFL simply can't. That's the best way to innovate.

Derek from Norton, KS

Do you feel Patrick Mahomes is being oversold as a "mobile" quarterback? He had a couple of big scrambles when everyone was watching. I believe he has a long ways to go before we can compare him to Steve Bono.

I love how Bono had a 76-yard touchdown run in 1995…and only 181 combined rushing yards on his other 86 scrambles. Football is weird, man. Mahomes is the total package, though. A true five-tool player.

Lou from Wausau, WI

How much does a draft choice's academic record factor into his selection?

It's not the be-all, end-all but it is considered.

Joe from Asbury, IA

GM Spoffkiewicz. Your only move in FA is to re-sign No. 75. You're on the clock and have an ILB, WR, and TE all with the same grade sitting there at 30. What's your move?

Inside linebackers with a legit first-round grade are hard to find. The Packers have a rich history of finding Pro Bowl-caliber receivers in the second and third round, as well. I'd be tempted to go with the linebacker.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers participated in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and finished tied for ninth place alongside pro partner Max Homa.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Any names who could be right tackle of the future pegged to be drafted at the end of the first round?

It's hard to project players at specific spots. Seven years ago, some NFL teams were looking at David Bakhtiari to play center. However, there are several college tackles who could be available at the end of the first round. Tristan Wirfs might not be one of them but I'm a fan of the Iowa tackle, who was the first true freshman to start for the Hawkeyes since 1999. Big, strong, tough and widely regarded for his supreme work ethic. Houston's Josh Jones and Georgia underclassman Isaiah Wilson also intrigue me.

Mike from Augusta, GA

Unfortunately, the new CBA is on the horizon. What do you think will be some key issues this time around, and can you see any "impasse" type issues that would come up?

The 17th game, preseason and guaranteed money are at the top of my list. I think a lot hinges on those three subjects.

David from Stafford, CT

When does the summer camp/preseason schedule get published? I'm trying to plan our family vacation and we would love to time it right when the Packers are in town.

Preseason games are known in mid-April, with the full camp schedule coming out later in the spring.

Markus from Aurora, CO

Insiders, slowly the days get longer, and the nights get shorter. This is something I am looking forward to every year as the tax season shifts into high gear. What are you looking forward to every year after January has turned into February?

Being home by 6 p.m., spending time with my family, fixing toilets and flood lights in a timely fashion, getting my oil changed and putting ALL my laundry away. I just enjoy getting back to equilibrium.

David from Fairmont, WV

My wife is scheduled to be induced next week, then I'll be a father for the first time. Do you have any tips for what to expect?

The best day of your life. Savor every second of it because there is nothing like seeing that little face for the first time. All the best to your wife and the little one.

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