Presented by

Inbox: He didn't choose Green Bay by accident

It’s not a wrinkle or a variation on anything

210505-insider-inbox-2560
S Christian Uphoff

Milan from New York, NY

Mike/Wes, I assume I am the only Packers fan reading the Inbox who is old enough to have actually seen Bobby Dillon play. Not only that, but to have seen Ray Nitschke play fullback for Illinois back in the day when starters played both D and offense. Heck, some college teams were still playing single wing and the tailback was today's running QB that everyone is excited about. The more things change … Cheers.

I wonder who would have gotten the better of a collision between Nitschke the fullback and Nitschke the linebacker.

Laura from Pittsburgh, PA

Who is your favorite draft pick this year?

I would say I'm most intrigued by Amari Rodgers, for a couple of reasons. First, because Gutekunst was so determined to make sure he got him in the third round. Second, as was mentioned in yesterday's column, the Packers made a point to get a slot/jet-motion addition to the offense who was not a flyweight, but owns a running back-like build. That body type was clearly a target for what's been a missing (or only occasional) piece in LaFleur's offense.

Justin from New Castle, DE

The not knowing what's going on or what to even believe is unbearable. If Aaron Rodgers would just come out and comment, good or bad, would calm a lot of my anxieties. I just want to know, you know?

Everyone would like to hear directly from Rodgers, but I suspect we're going to have to wait awhile.

Michael from Los Angeles, CA

Rodgers "controversy" aside, what will be the biggest challenge for the Packers this offseason?

That's a big aside, but I'll say just figuring out roles and where guys fit best – on the offensive line in particular if David Bakhtiari isn't back for Week 1, and on defense in Joe Barry's system, regarding the "star"/slot corner and alignments up front.

Will from Morris, IL

How far ahead do NFL scouts look? That is, do they spend any time taking note of a superstar receiver lighting up high school scoreboards with an eye to the 2027 NFL Draft?

They have plenty of time to track these guys in college – three years minimum – so I don't think they're spending their Friday nights at high schools, no.

Matt from Minneapolis, MN

I'm excited for how the team personnel is evolving on offense with Gute and LaFleur at the helm. Drafting interior offensive linemen early, a power RB early, an H-back early, bringing in elite run blockers at skill positions like Allen Lazard and Marcedes Lewis. As these guys develop, our offense could become the type that I hate playing against the most, one that can run the ball every down if the defense doesn't commit to stopping the run, which makes play-action impossible to stop.

It was clear from LaFleur's first few training camp practices how committed he is to making the play-action game a foundational piece to his offensive system. It's not a wrinkle or a variation on anything. It's the basis upon which the passing game is structured.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning. Speaking of small worlds, in the Senior Bowl Christian Uphoff tackled Amari Rodgers on a kick return but was called for a facemask penalty. Later in the game Uphoff tackled Kylin Hill in the backfield on fourth-and-inches. I had Uphoff on my list of sleeper undrafted free agents to sign. Do you think he can make the team as a special-teams gunner and kickoff returner? Thanks.

Special teams will be a key vehicle for Uphoff to earn a roster spot, but the depth chart at safety behind Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage is wide open, too. As talked about as he was in the UDFA market, he didn't choose Green Bay by accident.

Matt from Kula, HI

With all of the players projected as interior OL from this and last year's drafts, it seems that the brain trust may have plans to move Elgton Jenkins to tackle. Is this a reasonable deduction in your view?

Not necessarily. Royce Newman started at right tackle last year for Ole Miss. Cole Van Lanen started two years at left tackle for the Badgers. All three draft picks last year were projected as inside only, but not this year.

Ryan from Frederickton, New Brunswick

I'm both obsessing over and blocking out the distraction of the Aaron Rodgers stuff, fun times to be a Green Bay fan! I really enjoyed the video with Larry and Josh Myers, particularly the parts with personality and talking about social work. I like the franchise sticking with seemingly quality people. What part about Myers' off-the-field personality or qualities do you think will fit in the Packers offensive line room?

Reading (and writing) about what he endured to play through injury at the end of last season told me he'd fit in with Green Bay's offensive linemen just fine.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Wes referred to Josh Meyers as a "new age interior offensive lineman" at 6-5. What's the reasoning behind the evolution to taller guards and centers?

The old-school line of thinking was shorter interior offensive linemen had a better chance of getting underneath the pads of the 6-4, 6-5 defensive linemen. But as athletes have evolved, taller guys aren't necessarily as vulnerable inside anymore. If they can bend, get low and create the leverage they need, the assumptions about taller offensive linemen having to be tackles on the edge have diminished.

Mark from Canton, GA

For those who don't like a pick because he maybe graded a bit lower in his position than another available player (people complaining about taking Myers over Creed for example), I want to quote the great late Herb Brooks, "I'm not looking for the best players, I'm looking for the right ones." I mean, isn't that what the draft is truly about?

It's a beauty-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder event. Always has been. Great line from a great movie, by the way.

Dave from Comer, GA

I guess the Vikings win the "Best UDFA Name Signing Trophy" this year by signing Whop Philyor (WR) and Tuf Borland (LB). They'll Whop you with their offense and their defense will be Tuf. Too bad they didn't sign Amen Ogbongbemiga (LA Chargers) for the trifecta.

I don't know why I felt compelled to post this, but I did.

John from Boca Raton, FL

When a reader asked, "It seems like the NFL has been adapting some to what college has been producing at QB more so recently than 10-15 years ago, no?", I think you missed an opportunity to discuss the improvement of QB coaching at all levels. It's not the NFL adapting to college play, it's the QBs being better coached to immediately produce at the pro level, with notable exceptions.

I agree that QB coaching, which has become an industry all its own, has changed the landscape. But the NFL has changed and adapted, too. It wasn't long ago that QBs with the running profiles of Lamar Jackson and Trey Lance, among others, never would have been first-round draft picks. Russell Wilson was the No. 75 overall pick just nine years ago.

Tom from Palatine, IL

I can't begin to understand what is going through Aaron Rodgers' head right now. Obviously he has been bothered for some time about team decisions but I'm still rather surprised how this escalated. My biggest question is how his teammates are feeling right now. Bakhtiari is rehabbing from his ACL, Aaron Jones took a lesser contract, Marcedes Lewis is in the final years of his career and they all wanted to come back to finish the job and get to a Super Bowl. I wonder what they are feeling?

So do I. So do a lot of folks.

Mark from Pitt Meadows, BC

Will Rodgers' uncertain future affect a new contract for Davante Adams and whether he wants to stay or not? It was just speculation and fear of the unknown then, but this past weekend has me even more interested in your opinion on how that affects his view or the team's view. As always Go Pack Go!

Another common question, and I'd be a fool to speculate on anyone else's thoughts or emotions. What I can say with the utmost confidence is the situation has zero impact on how the Packers view or value Davante Adams.

Brian from Chesapeake, VA

While channel surfing ABC, ESPN and NFL Network, I can't recall which commentator mentioned it, but he made a great point about how important NFL coaching comes into play with a successful draft. While GMs make the pick, it is the position coach who really makes the player NFL-ready and should receive more credit and criticism. Thoughts?

Environment is inevitably a major factor in a young player's success in the NFL. Is he in the right system? With the right team, depth chart-wise? In a city he's comfortable (but not too comfortable)? Coaching is another element, no doubt. But it always starts with the talent, the will and the drive. This business is as competitive and cut-throat as it gets, and it can churn through players and spit them out for any number of reasons.

Travis from Fort Walton Beach, FL

Insiders, how many recent rookies have refused to play for the team which drafted them? I tried to research and came up with Eli Manning and John Elway, but surely there have been others? (I'm also not sure if Michael Crabtree should count...) Were rookie holdouts effectively eliminated when the draft picks had salaries squashed?

Yes. Draft picks have minimal negotiating leverage now with the rookie wage scale, which was part of the 2011 CBA and has remained in place since.

Michael from Morrison, IL

Mike/Wes, with the '21 regular season schedule due out next week, should we expect to see the preseason slate coming out this week? On an unrelated note, I'm pretty excited to see Jack Heflin from nearby Prophetstown (pop. 2,062) land a UDFA deal with the Packers.

With the NFL handling all the preseason scheduling now, rather than leaving it up to the teams themselves, I would suspect the whole enchilada will be coming out all at once next Wednesday.

Jeff from Lake Forest, CA

Now that the draft has come and gone, what are the next important dates to know on the NFL/Packers calendars?

The schedule release is May 12, OTAs are scheduled from May 24-June 10, minicamp will be the middle week of June, and then training camp will start in the last week of July, specific date TBD.

Scott from Green Bay, WI

Another symptom of what's wrong in professional sports.

That the industry is becoming a soap opera with scoreboards? Yeah, I hear you.

Mike from Eau Claire, WI

It'll work out. I have faith.

I'm trying to take that approach as well. Happy Wednesday.

Advertising