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Inbox: He has everything to gain in Green Bay

It’s a different challenge throwing a receiver open at the next level

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RB Kylin Hill

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning. Ernest Hemingway said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." Have you ever bled on your keyboard?

Every day.

Ron from Mitchell, SD

Stayed up late to watch Aaron Rodgers on Monday night. Seemed like a whole lot of nothing.

To be fair to Aaron, it's not like he was clamoring to be on "SportsCenter" to talk all things Packers. He was there in support of his friend, legendary ESPN broadcaster Kenny Mayne, and that appearance required him to address the green-and-gold elephant in the room. Rodgers obviously loves Green Bay and the friendships he's forged here. Professionally, there are issues right now. Nobody is denying that. But that's for those parties to figure out. Personally, for the sake of everything the Packers and Rodgers have built together over the past 16 years, I hope those bridges can be mended.

Michael from Dover, PA

So how does it feel to be at the epicenter of the "All Things Aaron" universe today? How long is the queue outside your door begging for your Insiders take on things?

It's long but that's to be expected. After all, we are talking about arguably the greatest player in NFL history…or at least on the short list.

Michael from Palm Coast, FL

Is AR skipping OTAs really news?

No…especially given the NFLPA's stance and recommendations to players about the offseason program this year. Again, for the umpteenth time, June 8 is the date I have circled. We'll find out in a few hours here exactly how many Packers veterans chose to sit out.

Steve from Yorktown, VA

Ray from Appleton got me thinking – maybe AR is just waiting for the new throwbacks so he can announce his return in style?

I needed that laugh. Thank you.

James from Appleton, WI

I would say the main reason successful college QBs fail in the NFL is that they can't master throwing to where the receiver will be open instead of waiting until the receiver is open. Sure, some rookies can scramble until they see a receiver get open, or run, but that's not a long-term solution. I'm looking forward to preseason to see where Jordan Love is at. Reckon I'm not the only one?

It's one thing to throw to the open receiver against lesser collegiate talent. It's a whole different challenge throwing a receiver open against the best defensive backs in the country. Now, I don't know how much we'll learn about Jordan Love, the quarterback, in the preseason but that exposure will be a much better litmus test than the handful of training camp practices we got last summer. Everything I know about Love so far is based on the handful of 10-minute "young guys" periods I watched at the end of practice.

David from Appleton, WI

Hello Insiders! I'll dispense with the ubiquitous Aaron Rodgers question. Why, in your opinion, did Kylin Hill drop to Round 7?

Hill had a really productive career at Mississippi State, so I personally was surprised to see him last until the seventh round. I know some draftniks had questions about his vision and instincts but Hill has great size for the position, an aggressive mindset and he loves the game. As a seventh-round pick, he has everything to gain in Green Bay – no different than Aaron Jones did when he arrived as a fifth-rounder in 2017.

Lawrence from Milwaukee, WI

Rookie defensive tackle, T.J. Slaton, weighed 358 pounds (as a junior at Florida). He loses 40 pounds to gain quickness and improve his dunking and Slaton still weighs twice as much as Wes. How much does Wes weigh?

170 on a good day. So, Slaton was listed as two Hods during his senior year at Florida. He's now in the 1.92-Hod range.

Jeff from Milwaukee, WI

Which draftee this year has the best chance of starting right away?

Josh Myers, if he has a good summer. He's the perfect example of talent meeting opportunity. As talented as Eric Stokes is, he's playing a position where virtually everyone is back from last year. People forget Jaire Alexander didn't start Week 1 against Chicago in 2018. Josh Jackson did. NFL teams tend to let those early-round linemen get on the field early if they prove they're more than capable.

Michael from Los Angeles, CA

I'm not sure if "past his prime" is the correct description for him, but do you think the Packers should pursue someone like Richard Sherman in free agency? His experience and insight would be huge for the young corners on the roster.

I still think Sherman has some good football ahead of him but this wouldn't be the right opportunity. Not after the Packers re-signed Kevin King, tendered Chandon Sullivan and drafted Eric Stokes.

Frank from McKinney, TX

Hey Mike and Wes, I hope you are both doing well. Now that the end of the pandemic seems to be approaching, what were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome during last season and what will you personally most look forward getting to do again this upcoming season? P.S. It's too bad Ty didn't switch positions this year. He could have just worn "8" all year and no consternation would have been had.

This sucker isn't over yet, but I'm glad life is starting to get back to normal. We got to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday among family on Sunday, a big improvement over last year when we were scared to even go into her house. Professionally, the biggest challenge last year was doing our job over Zoom. It's not easy to generate unique content off group interviews and it's virtually impossible to get to know the draft class personally. The best stories I wrote were based off relationships I'd already forged with players. At the same time, the pandemic did force us to reimagine our jobs and I believe that'll be a benefit to me in the long run. I look forward to one day having locker-room access again.

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

Wes, I am planning on taking my family to the Packers-Bengals game. Can you look in that crystal ball you and Spoff share and tell me if the Packers are going to win? Yes, I went to the last game and the Packers lost. I do not want that to happen again.

The Magic Spoff ball reads: Favorable.

Ingrid from Superior, WI

Monday there was talk about interceptions/fumbles and Mike said, "Pass rushers don't get the picks DBs do." It made me think, if the pass rushers tip a pass that is eventually intercepted, do they keep stats for a tipped ball?

Yes, it counts as a deflection.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Of the players you've watched in person, excluding quarterbacks, who are the ones you couldn't take your eyes off when a play type highlighting excellence was about to unfold? In other words, the anticipation factor. For me, it's either Reggie White on a passing down late in the game, or Deion Sanders with a punt descending and room to run ahead of him. Thrilling, both!

Two words – Tim. Tebow.

Kyle from Waunakee, WI

Skimmed an article on Mike Trout's injuries and how it could affect his career stats. At 29, I am 99% certain he would be in the HOF if he retired today. It made me look and wonder which NFL players retired before 30 but made the HOF. I didn't find the data other than a list of HOF players with fewest games: Nevers (54 games), Battles, Walker, Parker, Sayers, Pollard (69). Of the players in the NFL today, which do you think could retire before age 30 but still get in the HOF?

Aaron Donald just turned 30 but he could have retired last year and still been a Hall of Famer. It's not a huge list. DeAndre Hopkins and David Bakhtiari would be close. Quenton Nelson and Patrick Mahomes need another two years, but both already are on Hall of Fame trajectories.

Arthur from Washington, D.C.

Good morning, if a player misses team activities for which they have contract incentives to attend, where does that incentive money go? Is it added back to the salary cap? Thank you!

Workout bonuses are already factored into the cap but teams get reimbursed the following season if the player doesn't participate or meet the criteria (usually 80% participation). For example, let's say Mike Spofford doesn't report for the offseason program and forfeits his $250,000 workout bonus. The Packers would get $250,000 added to their 2022 cap.

Chad from Spokane Valley, WA

I think the Packers should trade for Gardner Minshew. What do you think?

Aaron Rodgers is "the man." Jordan Love is "the man" in waiting. If Rodgers isn't here this week, then it's Love's opportunity to get reps he missed out on last year. I don't see any need for the Packers to start currycombing the league for more QBs at this point. Plus, they already have a former Jaguars quarterback.

Brock from Albany, NY

Good morning Insiders, I was curious about how you think the league will handle the stats for a 17th game. Mainly for broken records, will they be kept in separate categories as pre and post 17-game schedule records? Or will they simply shatter and let the old records become a thing lost in time? I think there's still something to be said for the still-standing 16-game season-long records.

No. It'll be the same as when the NFL increased the regular season from 14 to 16 games in 1978. It's a 17-game league now. There will be no asterisks.

Derek from Norton, KS

Will stadium capacities be left up to individual teams this year?

That's a really good question. The NFL has been pretty vague about anything related to the 2021 season other than the goal is to have full-capacity stadiums. It may be difficult to have a uniform law of the land, though, with two dozen different state governments and medical authorities having some say in the matter.

Terry from McHenry, IL

Hey guys. Love your work. Wouldn't it be fun (especially during the "blah" times) for him to have a "guest appearance" or two? This would give us additional perspective. Thanks.

Absolutely…who is he?

Jeff from Eveleth, MN

Wes, I can't believe your list of favorite players didn't include Bakhtiari. A guy that can chug beer like that has to make the favorite list.

I don't drink, Jeff.

Randy from Clarksville, TN

Got to thinking about what Cliff's voice sounded like and I was wondering if you or Spoff ever were play-by-play announcers or color guys at some early point in your careers. Who would be the best if you haven't done it yet?

Confirming what Spoff wrote Monday, I was indeed in charge of live-streaming and broadcasting high school sporting events for the Press-Gazette from 2008-12. It was an adventure, putting it mildly. But it gave me a PROFOUND respect for what play-by-play announcers do. It's one of the most difficult jobs in all of sports.

Edward from Tucson, AZ

Greetings! Just so I know who to direct my future questions to so that I can obtain maximum insight, which one of you has more stays at a Holiday Inn Express?

Without even knowing Spoff's preferred travel arrangements, that's definitely me. I still have unused points from Holiday Inn Express dating back to my days covering preps at the Press-Gazette nine years ago.

Steve from Birchington, England

You guys must love your job! How often do you have a moment to yourself and just take it all in?

Funny you should ask…I thought this exact thing when I missed my kid's soccer game last Tuesday.

Christopher from Frederick, MD

As an II vet, going back to the Ask Vic days, do you think we would have time to explain to Brandon about the stolen lunches and laser goalposts? Or should we keep that as privileged information?

Spoff's mood…and column inches. Saturday was a light day.

Daniel from Columbia Heights, MN

Stop the presses (or screen printers)! The II T-shirt needs to be, "Time flies when you're beating a dead horse." Best line I've seen in a long time.

Entertainment, at its finest.

Jeff from Sioux Falls, SD

Six days of reading down to three? Are you kidding? Oh no, I'm in for the long haul on this deal. Think of all the laughs I would miss out on? All the movie lines planted into your witty responses. In fact, I think II should have TWO columns! Twice the laughs and head scratchin' for the price of one! It's only Tuesday but I will see myself out for the rest of the week.

You made it count, Jeff.

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