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Inbox: He continues to be everything the Packers need him to be and more

It’s exciting to venture into the realm of unknown

RB Aaron Jones
RB Aaron Jones

Al from Green Bay, WI

Day 1 of training camp is in the books. How does the energy and enthusiasm compare with the start of camp last year? Sometimes a new QB1 and a young cast of characters can re-energize the team as well as the fan base.

We watched all of practice and were in the locker room for close to an hour. As I headed back to my desk to write, I was reminded of my biggest takeaway from the offseason program – this team is loose, motivated, and focused. I feel like Love projects all three of those virtues. Love riding a bike down to his first practice as QB1 Wednesday was a nice touch, too. It's a young team embracing who they are.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

How often do you anticipate Jordan Love will play in the preseason games?

TBD. We'll know when we know and not a second before then.

Richard from Madison, WI

Regarding the Zach Tom/Yosh Nijman issue, I'm reminded of an example from a college course in management. Your small village has someone who's the best baker in town and also the best doctor in town. Which profession should he concentrate on? Put another way, would your town be better off with its second-best doctor or its second-best baker?

That depends. Can either play right tackle?

TK from Grafton, WI

Is Zach Tom big enough to be a starting tackle? 6-4, 304 seems to be on the smallish side.

A long time ago, there were folks who didn't think Colorado's David Bakhtiari was big enough to be a starting tackle. The best offensive linemen aren't always the biggest and strongest. It's the individuals who use their gifts to the fullest and I think Tom has shown he has that potential.

Jason from Austin, TX

People used to give Mike McCarthy a lot of heat because he didn't use Aaron Jones enough and would rotate running backs instead of running with Jones 99% of the time. Looks to me like he had the right approach. If you have a superstar running back, or a running back that has the potential to become a superstar, maybe it's best to prolong their career instead of burning them out in 3-4 years. I haven't looked at the numbers, but I'd be curious how many snaps Jones has compared to other top RBs.

As much as people wanted Jones to play more during his first two seasons, I don't think the Packers suddenly go from a six- or seven-win club to Super Bowl champion if Jones gets 50 more carries on the season. What those two seasons did was preserve Jones for the long run and it allowed him to adjust to the speed and physicality of the NFL at a proper pace. Aaron Jones is the best running back I've covered and one of the most electric football players I've ever seen. He continues to be everything the Packers need him to be and more.

Thomas from Cedar Rapids, IA

As you said, RB pay is a slippery slope. The NFL would also need to define exactly who is a RB. Would John Kuhn and his 217 lifetime attempts count? William Henderson at 123? The game evolves and RB is still a skill position with skill pay, albeit typically a shorter career. But isn't part of that being easily replaced with just a younger version? I can see the WR position eventually being paid less due to replacements being so similarly skilled right out of college. Slippery indeed.

Rookie contracts are what they are. I don't see any way to make them position specific. The idea I threw at Spoff was creating a baseline floor for the utilization of a franchise tag. For example, teams wouldn't be able to tag a position if the top five contracts at the position don't reach a certain threshold ($8-10 million average per year). Or maybe make it regardless of position and say a position cannot be tagged if its highest paid player isn't in the top 75-100 of all players or something (based on APY). My point is this – if you're not willing to pay a running back more, then teams shouldn't be able to label him a "franchise" player. Fin.

Kenton from Rochester, MN

In yesterday's II, there was a question about Jordan Love's injury potential. Part of me hopes that all the QB protection rules instituted over the past few years work to his advantage. On the other hand, I fear that being a newer QB might work against him. That is, there seems to be a feeling that "established" QBs (Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees) are afforded more protection by the refs than someone like Jordan who might be expected to "pay his dues." Think there's any truth in that?

I don't think so. Maybe a veteran is more likely to pick up a ticky-tacky penalty, but the quarterback rules are put there for a reason – to protect all QBs. Love, by nature, is more of a pocket passer and I fully expect he will get all the protections granted to him.

Pete from Minneapolis, MN

I was wondering what percentage of Matt LaFleur's plays were audibled out of by Aaron Rodgers at the line, and will Jordan Love be kept on a shorter audible "list," if you will? I am stoked that we are finally going to see LaFleur's team in action, and now we will see how much of the success was due to Rodgers, and how much due to Coach.

For the 88th time, you've seen LaFleur's team in action. The past four years weren't a mirage in a Looney Tunes cartoon. It's the same restaurant since 2019. Just a different sous chef collaborating with LaFleur on the risotto.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

Was the WR room between 2008 and now really substantially different? While having Donald Driver in the room was definitely advantageous, Greg Jennings was entering his third year, James Jones entering his second, with Jermichael Finley and Jordy Nelson coming in as rookies. Also, Ryan Grant was entering his second season. I think that 2008 group was relatively young as well. However, I agree that this defense should be a step ahead of the 2008 group.

The Packers had a little more experience back then with Driver in his prime, Jennings on the rise and Jones looking like a player. However, I believe the ceiling is just as high for this current collection of pass-catchers.

Brian from Sussex, WI

There's really only one thing I'm truly interested about from first practice – who doesn't practice, and why?

LB Rashan Gary (knee/PUP), CB Eric Stokes (foot/PUP), WR Grant DuBose (back/PUP), T Caleb Jones (illness), S Tarvarius Moore (illness) and S Tariq Carpenter (illness). All six attended practice, though.

Sebastian from Erlangen, Germany

Insiders, does this training camp seem a little more different than recent years? For myself, the past few training camps Packers Nation seemed to know what the team was made of, and the start of the season couldn't come any quicker. Not knowing what this offense is bringing intrigues me at the highest level. Because of this, my eyes are glued to every article written on this website.

And for that, we are forever grateful. It's exciting to venture into the realm of unknown. We have an idea of what the pieces look like but not how they'll be aligned in Chicago. When you have a first-year starting QB, every practice has a different energy associated with it than when there's a multiple-time MVP running the show. Most importantly, this locker room stands firmly behind Love.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

The Packers regularly bring in players for a "workout." Have you ever had a chance to observe a workout and generally what would they look like or consist of?

I have not. I'm not sure what a "workout" fully entails but it's not like they're running 40s or doing verticals. It's mostly running players through positional-specific drills to see what kind of shape they're in.

Brendan from Warren, MI

In response to Jason from Austin, TX, I think most fans in GB always expect to win, and Aaron Rodgers has said himself plenty of times that he enjoyed those expectations here. I think any "anxiety" or pressing fans were doing the past few years might've been because we've known, especially since 2020, that the window with "12" was closing. I hope I speak for everyone that though there are many unknowns surrounding this young team, my expectations haven't gone anywhere.

My only request is fans understand and appreciate Titletown wasn't built in a day. Promise and progress are the starting point for Love and this football team. If production comes immediately with that, then all the better. But the window is wide open for the Packers right now and the breeze feels great.

Sean from Belvidere, IL

With camp now underway, could you please explain what a typical day looks like for a player?

It's a marathon of meetings, workouts, studying, practicing, eating, and resting. Matt LaFleur likes to talk about the importance of embracing the grind. That's a requirement to succeed at this level, not a suggestion.

Juan from San Antonio, TX

Yesterday, Mike listed some X-factor players. I'm intrigued with Brenton Cox Jr. it seems he has all the talent in the world, and this may be his last chance to turn his football life around. Any thoughts on his chances to make the roster and where his contributions will be needed?

I'm not going to go chapter and verse on Cox's story and background. You can Google it, but the talent is undeniable. He was a five-star college recruit with a lot of ability. He also plays a position where Green Bay could use the depth.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Wes, if the temps heat up during camp, at least you guys can now find shade under your new, officially licensed Foamation Cheeseheads! When will you break yours out? I'd also say to stay hydrated, but I was at that infamous 109-degree Cowboys-Eagles game a few years back. Put my water bottle in the seat holder before those dark seats started simmering, and a quarter in I burnt my tongue as I squirted water in my mouth. I'd take a 26-degree, shirtless, Lambeau day over that nonsense every time.

Everyone likes to make fun of Green Bay for its frigid winters, but I'll take the other three seasons over any place else. Kudos to you for toughing it out in Dallas, though. I would've boiled over.

Charleyne from New Berlin, WI

Who do you see as the hardest opponent on this year's schedule?

Any matchup with an NFC North foe. I think the black-and-blue division goes back to its roots this year and it's anyone's for the taking.

Tim from Windsor, CO

Watching players riding kids' bikes to practice always warms my heart; great tradition for all! Hey Ed from Windsor, CO, let's meet for a beer!

It's what I missed most at training camp during COVID-19.

Robert from Verona, WI

"His teammates call him Shakespeare because he makes so many plays." That's from the Green Bay Packers Facebook post on May 12, 2016, about Jayrone Elliott and it's stuck with me since. Sounds like it could have been a tag line for II.

Everything Spoff said and more. Jayrone is one of the nicest guys to come through the Packers' locker room. Running into him and Sam Barrington at Lambeau last year was a thrill for me.

Mike from Verona, WI

When the Packers bring in a potential player for a workout, who pays the costs for transportation? The Packers or the player?


Mitch from Eagle River, WI

Regarding the possibility of renaming the Commanders again. I think the Washington Mud Daubers has a nice ring to it.

Sting 'em.

Mike from Manitowoc, WI

Hey Wes, I can relate to the "out of the blue" moment of attack. At this stage of life I stopped counting sometime after 50-plus stings. The worst is stepping on two yellow jacket nests a few years and decades ago. They truly are vindictive little (things). Are you aware of any players, coaches, other personnel getting stung while at practice or on the GBP grounds/facilities? Does the medical staff have the required supplies should someone be stung and allergic to said stings?

I never noticed during my 11-plus years covering training camp, but the Packers' training staff has everything it needs in case of a medical emergency. They know their players and any allergies they may have.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

I've posted about my time working in the golf industry as it relates to football season and my schedule. After four years away due to injury and less opportunities in my area to get back, I am happy to report I just started as the assistant pro at a top public course in my area. I've known the head pro since I was 8. His first question was about my desired days off. To my disbelief, he agreed to give me Sunday AND Monday off. Be patient but also persistent; the goal is attainable.

Now, that's living the dream.

Eddie from Fort Myers, FL

New football facilities and we can't get the "Unscripted" boys a new studio? Enjoyed the latest episode and am excited to hear how the open practices go this week in the next one!

If you're not first, you're last…and we ain't first, y'all.

Cheryl from Strawberry Point, IA

Trying to finish the month strong, got to get one more chance for lunch with Mike and Wessy!

I'm just glad a few people entered the contest. I feared Ma Hod might have to do a sympathy visit.

George from Edinburg, VA

That's what makes II so special. Wes, you have an innate ability to convey the person behind the player. Mike, you're a Packer encyclopedia ("all we want are the facts"), either confirming or denying what we've thought, heard, or read. Thank you both.

And that's why we go to Packers practice dressed like a 1980s WWF tag team. Perfect combination. Have a great Thursday, everyone.

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