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Inbox: Football is all moves and counter moves

The Packers will have decisions to make in the secondary

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Defensive linemen Kingsley Keke, Dean Lowry, Kenny Clark and LB Krys Barnes

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

I don't know why, but all of a sudden, I have this yearning to play John Lennon's "Give Peace A Chance."

I'll grab the boombox.

Matt from Minneapolis, MN

When Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji left Green Bay, we went away from having massive 330-plus-pound defensive linemen. The theory was that we needed big guys with a bit more quickness for today's game, and for a while we didn't have anyone over 315. Last year, we brought in "Snacks" and Anthony Rush late in the year, and now we've drafted T.J. Slaton. All these guys are between 330 and 350 pounds. Do you think being able to plug in a guy this big on running downs will be a key improvement Joe Barry brings?

Football is all moves and counter moves. When defenses started going light in the box, offenses countered with bunch formations with multiple tight ends. So, I think what we've learned is you need some bulls to clog the middle on early downs, and smaller and quicker defensive tackles in third-down situations. Of course, there are a few rare breeds like Kenny Clark who can do it all – but even he has a snap count. D-line was one of the few obvious needs Green Bay had in the draft, so there is a massive (no pun intended) opportunity for Slaton, and perhaps Rush, to contribute right away to the run defense.

John from Charlottesville, VA

Good morning. Can you please explain the role of the star position in the new defensive scheme? A lot has been talked about this position but I haven't seen it explained. It reminds me of Charles Woodson's role as a rover/slot defender. Is the star position the same? How is it different?

Pretty much. I don't think the star position will be drastically different than what the Packers have done in the past. It's more a question of who will play that spot and under what circumstances. Does Jaire Alexander rotate inside? Could Eric Stokes play there exclusively? And where does Chandon Sullivan fit in? So, the Packers will have some decisions to make in the secondary. It's a good problem to have.

RW from Eden, NC

This young man from App is great. My son knew him in the strength and conditioning program. I'm glad to see a Mountaineer on the Pack! What is the more in-depth feeling about him with the coaching staff?

As Larry said on our show recapping the draft, any defensive back who puts up 19 bench reps of 225 pounds has my attention. Shemar Jean-Charles is one to watch. We haven't talked to the coaches yet, but I can tell you the guy created an island for himself at Appalachian State.

Dave from Sparta, WI

I can't be the only one to suggest Amari Rodgers similarity to No. XX (same number as the Colts HOF wideout), Ty Montgomery? Maybe Amari is the guy that we all wanted Ty Montgomery to be? Was Ty moved to RB more out of necessity, or is that truly a better position for him?

I think running back was the right spot for Montgomery but Rodgers very much projects as a prototypical slot receiver to me. He's a smooth, natural route-runner who also can do the jet-motion stuff. I was talking to Rodgers' college position coach, Tyler Grisham, and he reiterated how Rodgers plays bigger and faster than he's listed. He's the total package.

George from Manassas, VA

Regarding David Bakhtiari's return, didn't Bryan Bulaga return quicker than expected from a torn ACL to start the next season? I understand injuries can be very different, but what was Bulaga's timeline?

Bulaga did return ahead of schedule, in time for the 2018 regular-season opener, but he also tore his ACL on Nov. 6, 2017. While Bakhtiari is a physical freak, every injury is different. My advice to fans would be to keep your expectations reasonable and let the rest surprise you.

George from Kennebunkport, ME

A big factor in the NFCCG was which team gave their QB better protection. Bakhtiari's absence was critical. I have always been concerned about O-line depth. The Packers have stocked up the O-line: Three picks last year and three this year. But we also lost Corey Linsley and Rick Wagner. Do you think we will be better situated in 2021 if we face a similar ill-timed injury, like what happened prior to the NFCCG?

The Packers were situated pretty darn well last year. Believe it or not, it's not easy to replace a starting left tackle, let alone the best one in the NFL. What I will say is the Packers have responded well to the departures of Linsley, Wagner and Lane Taylor. They've given themselves options.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning. The versatility of fourth-round draft choice Royce Newman was on full display at the 2021 Senior Bowl. He took practice reps at center, guard and tackle. In the game itself, he started out at right tackle for the first series or two but then switched over to left tackle for the duration. I think he played every snap. Are these decisions about positions made by the player, coaches or NFL scouts? Do the Packers require this type of O-line position versatility to make the 53? Thanks.

The Senior Bowl is about giving prospects the best chance to showcase themselves to prospective NFL teams and moving around is part of it. I think coaches and scouts can request players line up at different positions (within reason), but it's a fairly common practice for offensive linemen to take snaps in multiple spots. Newman knew what he was doing.

Nik from Moore, OK

It looks like the third- and fourth-string QB we need to sign are going to be more important than we previously thought. Does this change the way Gute approaches it? Do we need a vet now that can start if needed? Does this infuriate Rodgers even more? Honestly, the GM must prepare for everything, and no "12" is a real possibility. I think the UDFA QB is not what we need now, rather a proven vet that has the ability to pick up the offense quickly and play some snaps. Hoyer or Foles after Bears cut him?

This is new territory for me. I don't recall a time where the Packers came out of draft weekend with only two QBs under contract. At the very least, they'll bring in a quarterback or two to throw during rookie camp. Obviously, the Packers could sign a veteran without any issues with next year's compensatory equation (that process ended Tuesday), but most of the top guys have already been swooped up.

Ben from Northbrook, IL

Is it OK that I am sick of the whole Aaron Rodgers saga and don't care how it turns out? Good Lord, it's a game. The man makes more money to play each game than most of his fans will make in their entire lives. Whatever he does, he does. I refuse to agonize about this or even pay attention. Enough.

Predictably, most of our submissions this week have been Rodgers-related– and I totally get it. But I'm just not in the business of reacting to the latest in an endless line of "reports." We got something real? Is someone putting something on the record? OK, let's discuss it. Until then, I'm kind of numb to all this.

Joe from Swansea, IL

Do you think the uncertain status of Rodgers will have any impact on how many primetime games the Packers get this fall? Is that pretty much set at this point, with the announcement coming soon? After Packers fans, staff and players, are NFL TV execs and their network counterparts worried the most about what his decision will be? And Jake and that insurance company have to be wondering, too, right?

No. There are questions about Rodgers' future but I don't see the NFL upending its schedule at this point with the release scheduled for six days from now.

Paul from Gorham, ME

Good morning! Can a player who is a potentially high draft pick, choose to not go pro (or stay in school) and then enter the league after the draft as an undrafted free agent, thereby choosing his team? Of course not, but what process prevents this?

No. A player must go through the draft process before he can sign with a team. If you declare after this year's draft, then the only way into the NFL would be through the supplemental draft, which takes place in June.

Kristin from Sister Bay, WI

Good morning! I'm curious how you think Jordan Love is feeling these days – is he sleeping at all? How many Tums is he taking at any given moment? How much texting is he doing with present and former teammates? Seriously though – do you think he is in the loop much with ML, or is he feeling like there isn't much love coming his way right now? I cannot imagine being in his shoes!

I've heard a lot of these sentiments. He's a grown man who has played quarterback his entire life, folks. Like his college coach David Yost said last spring, the guy is a sponge who enjoys soaking in as much information as he can. He's not shaking in his boots or anything. He's preparing to be the best quarterback he can be for this franchise. Because one way or another, Love is in line for a promotion to QB1 or QB2 and he'll be ready for whatever role awaits him.

Sal from Hailey, ID

Our team has been THISCLOSE to that big game the last two years. Barring one draft pick, the changes GB has made in the past few years have been laser-focused on getting us back to the SB. If my anguish level is turned up to 11, I can't imagine the players feel it less. I guess whatever happens, we will have 52 guys on the field that first week of September, and I will be cheering my heart out for them. But I'm not sure how many more media "leaks" I can take before June 1.

I'm with you there.

Chris from Clive, IA

Good morning! What a blessing to not have any glaring positional needs after the draft. With that said, and I believe with the compensation pick deadline in the rearview now, is there a certain position you think the team might be looking at for a cost-effective free agent? I like our young guys, but I wonder if the linebacker spot might get an addition.

Maybe I'm misreading tea leaves but it sure sounded like the Packers might still be in the market for an inside linebacker, based on Brian Gutekunst's post-draft comments. They have a few (Krys Barnes, Kamal Martin, Ty Summers, Isaiah McDuffie and sorta Oren Burks) but nobody older than 25.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere. The Packers let Tim Boyle walk in free agency, understandably so at the time. I'm hard-pressed to believe that would happen if the front office had any idea there would be a question of Aaron Rodgers returning this season. It seems logical they would've wanted Boyle's talent and experience in the LaFleur offense on board as a fallback plan. Nickel, the dachshund, backs me on this thought. Whatcha think?

I think you make some good points. I stand by what I said two months ago – Boyle was a smart and savvy, low-risk signing by the Lions.

Lynn from Butler, IN

Since when do players have the right to tell their employers they will not work for them after they signed a contract? What would happen if you told your employer you were not coming back tomorrow? I think you know the answer to that. I love the play of Aaron Rodgers as much as the next guy, but he has left a sour taste in my mouth after he announced he wasn't coming back.

You guys always go there, but for the umpteenth time, it is not apples to apples. You cannot compare our jobs to that of a professional athlete. What happens if I don't show up at work? The Packers find another writer but there are few human beings proven to reside on Rodgers' level.

Keegan from Atlanta, GA

Do you believe the recent controversy surrounding Aaron Rodgers impacts his chance to be the full-time host of "Jeopardy!"?

Is it the weekend yet?

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