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Inbox: Football will forever be a game of who wants it more? 

The preseason awaits the Packers’ young running backs

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Packers defensive line squaring off

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Welcome back Wes! If you haven't noticed it's been a wild couple days. Ed from Appleton is gone and the Inbox is in a dither. What are your first steps to unruffle the feathers?

I feel like Argus Filch feebly trying to clean up after the Battle of Hogwarts. It's just me, my broom and fallen rubble everywhere.

Scott from New Orleans, LA

Is Col. Spoff or Major Hod ordering a Code Red for Ed from Appleton?

I'm reminded of how my wife handles our son whenever he's throwing a temper tantrum. The wrong thing to do is to focus on how his actions are making me feel. That just leads to more conflict. The right response is to acknowledge Ed's frustrations and encourage him to take some deep, calming breaths. Then, we can talk. Sometimes you gotta turn down the temperature before you can cook.

Eric from Mequon, WI

What do you see as Jordan Love's biggest challenges going into leading the offense? Could it be learning the playbook, timing with other players, and pre-snap reads? I personally think the speed of live action but what do you think?

I don't think the playbook is too much of an issue at this point. Love is a smart dude and has been studying in the same system with the same coaches for the last 14 months. The challenge is going to be pre-snap reads, adjustments and reacting to the variables developing in the blink of an eye once the ball is snapped.

Jeff from New Franken, WI

Which of the current players in the TE room would be qualified to play as a blocker out of the backfield (fullback or H-Back type roll)? Is that skillset now a pre-requisite for the TE position in Green Bay or more of a specialization?

H-back, at least in this offense, is more of an offshoot to the tight end position than a specialization. The Packers cross-train all their tight ends at it, but Josiah Deguara and Dominique Dafney are the top two options given their size and skill sets. Jace Sternberger also showed he can play there late in the 2019 season. But Deguara has played that jack-of-all trades spot for years and Dafney has the perfect body type to excel there.

Adilson from Rotterdam, Netherlands

Hey Wes, hope you enjoyed your mini PTO. Despite Robert Tonyan being listed at 237 pounds, I recall him mentioning he came into the 2019 season weighing closer to 250. Last year it was noted that he came in visibly even bigger and stronger. Do you reckon he's in the low 250s now like Jared Cook, who also has a 6-5 frame? Big Bob's physical development has been just as impressive as his mental growth in becoming an NFL tight end.

I'd say so after watching some of Tonyan's workout videos on Monday. Tight ends come in all shapes and sizes, though. The key is finding what works for you and Tonyan has certainly done that. At 6-5, he has the frame to comfortably carry that added weight, as well.

Gordon from Newport Beach, CA

Based upon the size and speed now of the NFL players (offensive and defensive backs/receivers) types of offensive and defensive plays, and corresponding body types, is the league evolving into more of "soccer" player being the norm?

I don't think so, because the game is still won by the big guys in the trenches. That's where the battle lines are drawn and tempo is dictated. A quarterback can only play within the pocket his O-line gives him, correct? Speed is the great equalizer at the skill positions, but as long as there are 300-pound bodies in a three-point stance, football will forever be a game of muscle, might and who wants it more?

Dale from Lima, NY

"That leaves Reggie Begelton, Chris Blair, Bailey Gaither, Equanimeous St. Brown, Malik Taylor, DeAndre Thompkins and Juwann Winfree fighting for maybe one roster spot and practice-squad opportunities." Mike, remind me not to play poker with you. Listing these in alphabetical order so we can't speculate about any preferences you might have...very devious. Now what am I going to do to fill the next five minutes?

As the old guy outside the corner store often says to his grandson, "You see that man right there, dear boy? Well, that's Mike Spofford. He knows all the angles."

Jim from Eau Claire, WI

I'm excited about the potential of Kylin Hill. Can you give me your thoughts on how he looked in the OTAs?

Good. I only got to see Hill take a handful of snaps but came away impressed. He cuts well and is explosive at the point of attack. The Packers have three very different backs competing for that No. 3 job in Hill, Patrick Taylor and Dexter Williams. Now, the preseason awaits all three.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning. Do Blake Bortles, Kurt Benkert or Jake Dolegala have practice-squad eligibility left? Thanks.

The changes the NFL implemented last year makes everyone eligible for the practice squad. And before you ask…yes, even Spoff. The only limitations are based on experience. You can carry up to two veterans with unlimited experience, four additions "veteran exemptions" with two or fewer accrued seasons and the rest must be rookies or young players with relatively no NFL experience.

Martin from Evansville, IN

With the news that the Bears are looking into moving from Soldier Field to a different stadium, what are your thoughts about the importance of history and tradition? Obviously, most fans are against that move, much the same as if the Packers wanted to leave Lambeau, but the league is money-driven after all.

I'm disappointed to hear that. As much as I might complain about Soldier Field's surface – which has gotten noticeably better over the years – that stadium on the Chicago Lakefront is synonymous with the Bears football. As someone who loves the NFL's rich history, it would be a bitter pill to swallow if the Packers' bus pulled up to anywhere other than Soldier Field to play the Bears.

Melissa from Germantown, WI

How is the offseason different this year vs. the COVID camps of last year?

Well, last year there wasn't a physical offseason program. Everything was virtual and remote. So, every snap the incoming rookie class took this past spring put it ahead of last year's group. I would assume that also will enable teams to hit the ground running in training camp, as opposed to last year when there was a multiple-week ramp-up period.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

Yeah Aaron Rodgers is 37 and isn't looking to run as often at this stage but Id argue he was way more mobile than Jared Goff and Matt Ryan.

And I would have to agree. Even at 37, Rodgers remains one of the game's most mobile QBs. He's just more methodical about it these days.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Across the country many have refused the idea of being vaccinated despite the ever-growing evidence of its benefits. I'm sure there will be some NFL players who will refuse to get the shot, as well. The league has set its COVID protocols and inside the building work will be difficult for the unvaccinated. With the COVID optout deadline fast approaching, do you see some players using the optout as a way to avoid the issue? Might that be a factor in the league offering the optout? Thanks Wes.

The NFL and NFLPA agreed to again offer the optout to players, but I haven't heard of many who have exercised it. Keep in mind, there is no stipend this year. So, I'm sure that is weighing on the mind of whatever players may be on the fence.

With 75 days until the regular-season opener, packers.com looks back at those who have worn No. 75 in Green Bay.

Jon from Temecula, CA

With all the talk of Rodgers opting out, is opting out for COVID treated any differently? Rodgers is signed for three seasons. If he decides not to play, he still "owes" Green Bay three seasons, unless COVID is a special exemption. Or I guess, I can just wait til Friday to find out if this question is even necessary.

The opt out is the opt out. There is no qualifier. Like I said last week – if a guy exercises that option, then his contract tolls. So, Rodgers' deal would then run through 2024, instead of 2023.

Paul from Gorham, ME

Good morning, each year we have two or three rookie QBs (at least) whom we expect to be the next All-Star, mega-player, Hall of Fame QB. Who do you think was the last rookie QB to live up to those expectations?

I felt Justin Herbert lived up to expectations last year. But if you're talking about a celebrated top 10 pick who has emerged as one of the NFL's top QBs, the clear answer is Josh Allen. Lamar Jackson also would fit into that category had it not been for so many folks sleeping on his talent coming out of Louisville.

Jeff from Athens, WI

Derek Carr has been really outspoken about getting Davante Adams to come to the Raiders next season – at this point wouldn't it be considered tampering for him to be so boldly outspoken about that?

I haven't seen much written or said about that. Maybe the tampering rules are different for players than executives? My apologies…I skipped "Tampering Day" at J-School.

Alex from Lake Forest, IL

My dad and I both have differing strategies for II submission selection. Given the response my dad received on one of his more recent II posts, I became curious. For you, Mike/Wes, what is the more rewarding response for "fans" posting they're fed up with play calling/organizational decisions? Is it posting a response telling them to calm the fudge down (though I didn't say fudge), or hitting the big ol' delete button and never allowing them to see the light of day (or II submission glory)?

Rewarding isn't the right word. Maybe processing? I don't open Inbox everyday looking for an excuse to dunk on people. You gotta see it from our perspective. Spoff and I are busy – no different than I'm sure many of you. There's only two of us and we have stuff to do pretty much every minute of every day that we're not on PTO. We're writing stories, going to practice, shooting videos, doing interviews in Zoom calls, etc., etc. Even now during "the void," Spoff is editing the Packers Yearbook and I'm working on the Gameday Program. We have a very small window to write II. So, the questions need to be something that piques our curiosity. Otherwise, we're slamming delete and moving on to the next one – and there's also a "next" one. It's not that I don't care to hear the play-calling complaints. I just don't have time for it because it's neither creative nor thought-provoking, and there's a dozen of them a day. I want the 1-of-1 rarities, not the duplicated and regurgitated commons.

Bill from Stateline, NV

When reading through the Inbox, do you try to assess the age of the person writing, through content or grammar, and pick out a few that would appear to be from younger people (persons?)? Two question marks. Now, I know that can't be right. My point is, you seem to do a good job of answering questions that range from elementary to complex and try to include everyone in the equation. (See how I snuck that math term in there?) What was the question, again?

That's a good observation. I can't speak for Spoff but I aim to respond in the same tone as the questioner. If someone gently asks a question to increase his or her knowledge of the game, then I try to respond in kind with my explanation. Conversely, if Johnny Know-it-all bulldozes on the scene with all the answers, then I tend to be quicker with my wit.

TK from Grafton, WI

What is the football equivalent of a 10-run inning?

Four-touchdown quarter?

Daniel from Allen, TX

I know it is a small sample size, but Keston is swinging the bat really well in the games since his latest return. If he gets back even close to what he looked like in 2019 and Yeli does the same, the Brewers lineup is suddenly much more potent. Even though Yeli is not hitting lights out, he still gets walked a lot. Respect. The pitching has been decent as well ;). And my new man crush has to be Adames.

I'm gonna be real with you, Daniel. I have no idea who Keston or Adames are. I know Christian Yelich. So, I got that going for me…which is, well, it is what it is. But have no (Brewers) fear, Spoff is back on Friday.

Freddy from Milwaukee, WI

At least MMA and the NHL show some blood. Should the NFL put only a single bar on the helmet to bring some quality blood to the NFL? Mike, Wes, who do you like for the Cup?

Lightning all the way. I covered both Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper (2008-10) and Lightning assistant Derek Lalonde (2011-14) during their respective tenures as the head coach of the Green Bay Gamblers. I got love both those dudes. I'm thrilled to see their successes.

Thomas from Evansville, IL

Do you follow Tom Grossi on YouTube? If not, check him out he's a diehard Packers fan and has amassed quite the following.

Yes, but only because he owes me money.

Justin from San Diego, CA

I see people talking about a sports dead zone. No way! We have a great NBA playoff right now, including the Bucks. We also have the NHL Stanley Cup, which is very high energy and entertaining. My more obscure suggestion? Record the Tour de France each day for the next three weeks and try to get your head wrapped around how phenomenal and tough those athletes are…imagine falling on the concrete at 40 miles an hour in your underwear and getting back on a bike?

I'd rather not. But yes, there are plenty of sports to keep us occupied this time of year – and The fourth-annual OUTSIDER INBOX! The first six questions will be dropped at the end of Thursday's Inbox, so get ready. Make it a great day, folks.

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