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Inbox: He isn’t flying under any radars

WR Davante Adams
WR Davante Adams

Jeff from Littlefork, MN

Spoff, does that mean we beat Golden State in seven?

I’m not jumping the gun.

Paul from Manitowoc, WI

Wes, how can you have a special teams top five that doesn't include Mason Crosby?

I’m sure he was focused on return and coverage players, not the actual specialists.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

Wes – Wait, what? Janis doesn't make your top five ST all-star list? Wonder if he makes Mike's.

It’s a close call between Janis and Richardson, but I have no qualms with Wes’s picks.

Steven from Rockford, IL

For a while now on third down it seems we have great difficulty making a first down and when on defense the opponent seems to make it too regularly. With all the roster changes do you see that situation changing anytime soon? I think if we fix that the W's will take care of themselves.

It’s called the money down for a reason. The Packers’ third-down struggles on offense last season were well documented. Only twice all season did they convert 50 percent in a game and they ranked 23rd in the league (after finishing second just two years prior, in 2016). The defense actually improved from 28th in 2017 to 13th last year. That’s a huge jump. Climb a couple more notches and generate more turnovers and the defense will be right there.

Jon from Eden Prairie, MN

Ah yes...the classic malcontent fallback: calling the team writers "cheerleaders." That never gets old.

For some.

Tom from Columbus, GA

What are the practice rule for OTAs, pads allowed, 11-on-11, etc.

Team drills (11-on-11) are allowed for the first time all spring, but no pads. Shorts and helmets.

Randy from Raymond, IA

All the talk about watching/not watching previous games, I have a DVD of Super Bowl I that I pop in and watch every few years. It's really unbelievable how much the game has changed (for the better). Cheap shots, very few camera angles, missed calls, the "big" guys up front would be considered small today, lots of rough stuff after the whistle. Almost seems like a whole different game.

Because it is.

Ross from Roswell, GA

Mike/Wes, what do you think about there being an NFL draft lottery prior to the draft? At first thought it would seem that it would really be a disruption to a team’s draft plans but after some thought BAP is BAP. Pick who is available where you have them slotted.

I’m not crazy about the idea. The current system has worked quite well for a long time, and there hasn’t been any widespread “tanking” for draft position, which is what led to the NBA’s lottery in the first place, if I recall correctly. Twenty of the 32 teams in the NFL don’t make the postseason. That’s too many ping-pong balls anyway.

Scott from Fredonia, WI

An unfruitful 2015 draft caused us to spend big in free agency this year. With a pretty darn good 2016 draft, do you think next offseason might look more like the old Ted Thompson offseasons? It looks like we might not be able to keep everyone we want.

I’d rather play at least 16 more games first to decide who I might want to keep.

Benny from Modesto, CA

It seems Blake Martinez has been bulking up in the offseason. I would have thought he would have tried to slim down to better cover running backs and tight ends and on occasion rush the quarterback. Do you believe this was a personal decision or a decision suggested by the coaching staff?

It sounds like he did it of his own accord. I don’t think it will necessarily make him slower, or that dropping weight would have made him faster.

Max from Glen Ellyn, IL

Za’Darius recently appeared in a PFF article highlighting defensemen achieving the football triple double: double-digit sacks, hits and hurries. If he can continue to perform on that level in Pettine's system us fans are in for a wild ride this year. Is there another stat of a current Packer that most may not know but jumps out at you?

Kenny Clark has 10½ sacks in his last 18 games.

Jon from West Des Moines, IA

I still think Josh Jackson was a steal and I'm hoping this is his breakout year. Who would be your pick as to who will really make a name for themselves and exceed expectations once the season is over and we're looking back?

Kevin King.

Joe from Dundee, IL

Wes/Mike, do you think Eliot Wolf will be in play for the Jets GM job? Would he even want it? Or he is better off to have a couple years showing success and learning more under Dorsey?

I’m not sure how much more Wolf has to learn, but with how Cleveland appears to be such a team on the rise, success there could translate into multiple opportunities elsewhere. The situation with the Jets would require some serious examination if it were me.

Paul from Beijing, China

Not sure how to say this without it sounding snarky so please know the intended snark factor is about two out of 10. Regarding the special teams comment: “It's also difficult to have starters on defense run down to cover punts and kickoffs, and then have them line up to defend first down right after an all-out 60-yard sprint.” Seemingly every kick is followed by 2-3 minutes of TV timeout before the next play is run. Doesn’t this give the players time to recover before going back on the field?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. There aren’t TV timeouts after every kick or punt, and I’m not sure the players and coaches know in advance of a special-teams play when such a timeout is to follow.

Mike from Winfield, IL

TT made a lot of moves which fans were highly critical of and in hindsight were the right thing to do. What one move in hindsight do you think he regrets making?

Cutting Ryan Taylor.

Will from London, UK

I just watched a clip where analysts gave their biggest WR matchup nightmares. Antonio, Hopkins, Evans and Edelman. No mention of Davante...I like it. Let our weapon fly under the radar until the games that matter roll around.

Trust me, he isn’t flying under any radars, at least not any that matter. Earlier this week I chatted with King to bank an interview for a Packers Yearbook story, and I asked him who was the toughest receiver he’s matched up with in his first two years in the league, wondering if he’d say Julio, Antonio, A.J. Green, or someone I wasn’t thinking of from his young career thus far. Without any hesitation, he said Davante.

James from Easton, MD

Do you have any insights on how the new Green Bay Packers’ coaching staff will manage the preseason games in terms of offensive and defensive schemes in order to maximize the advantages Green Bay might have over Chicago in the first game of the season? It behooves Green Bay to maximize competitive game-time conditions trying new schemes while holding enough back so that Chicago coach Nagy and defensive coach Pagano have little to go on in devising game plans.

I have no particular insight, but even though Matt LaFleur is a first-time head coach, I know this ain’t his first rodeo, as they say. Same for Mike Pettine.

Fred from Shorewood, WI

In the discussion of there being a new coach with a new playbook, the term "concept" has come up a number of times. What are examples of concepts in passing and the run game, and what's the difference between a concept and a play in the playbook?

I’m no expert, but simply speaking I consider a concept to mean a particular route combination in the passing game, or a blocking scenario in the run game. It’s more than just a play, though, because a concept can be run out of different personnel groups and/or formations, meaning it takes up multiple pages in the playbook.

Collin from Kirkwood, MO

I don’t think it’s crazy for you to say Aaron Rodgers can benefit the most from a new system. There’s more to it than the freshness giving him a new challenge. He’s dominated in a system that relied heavily on tight window passes and extending plays with his unique ability. The new system will generate more high-percentage plays and take pressure off of Rodgers. He’ll still make plays only Rodgers can make, but it won’t be such a grind to move the chains. Anticipating a huge year from 12.

I shall remain optimistic without expectations.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

Regarding the question of the three rookie receivers from last year learning a new playbook this year, do you know whether there are things picked up in Year 1 working with ARod under McCarthy's scheme that still will translate in Year 2 with a new scheme? I would think things like recognizing coverage and blitzes are universally applicable, but a year with ARod must help a receiver to be on the same page with the QB, regardless of offensive scheme. What role does a new scheme play?

It’s about understanding the greater complexity of NFL defenses, adjusting to the speed and frequency of on-the-fly checks and adjustments, and seeing the game the same way Rodgers does. The more those things become second nature, the less it matters what scheme you’re running.

Chuck from Sun Prairie, WI

Mike, going along with your “Seinfeld” Soup Nazi reference maybe you should change Inbox bans to "No II for you."

I’ll think about that.

Jeff from Fayetteville, NC

My grandson is a senior in high school. I attended his final baseball game last night. They lost 2-1, but were definitely the better team. More hits, fewer errors, pitching was on...just a few breaks that did not go their way. In your opinion, is the better team always the team that wins?

Not at all, especially in baseball. But that’s why seasons aren’t just one game, and one-and-done postseason structures can be equally exhilarating and frustrating.

Steve from Plainfield, WI

I got a fever, and the only prescription is more bell cows!

Nicely done.

Justin from Dacula, GA

Which members of this decade's extraordinary Seattle defense would you predict make it into the Hall of Fame?

Bobby Wagner is the top choice, for sure, and he might be only halfway done at this point. Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman will get consideration as well, but I don’t think their candidacies will be as strong as Wagner’s.

David from Appleton, WI

I remember reading Packer Report when I was a child and one letter to the editor (Cliff Christl) lamented how the Packers were not playing well, how they needed to boost their defensive production, and where should the writer send his suggestions to the coaching staff. Cliff, in his gentle manner, told the writer to not send the letter, but rather go outside, teach his children how to love the outdoors, and spend time with family. Is Cliff still this insightful today?

Always.

Bob from Racine, WI

Insiders, in the investment business, a common saying is: "Past performance is no guarantee of future performance." The same is true for sports. The managers, scouts, etc., can do everything right in evaluating talent, making trades and drafting players. But that doesn't guarantee success on the field. We need to give management, coaches, and scouts credit for doing their best to create winning teams. Their reputations are on the line every time they recommend a player. Let's respect that.

Whether in the investment business or sports, in the end, all that matters are the results, and everyone involved knows what’s at stake.

Dan from Allen, TX

RE: Meagan from IL question as to whether football season misses her. Megan, the answer is "Yes." For me, it started at around the age of 6. I knew that I needed football, and that football needed me. The times with my friends in the vacant lot playing pickup games. Only three guys? A game of kickoff return. Packer football and I were meant to be lifetime partners. Question: With the offense being new, is it unreasonable to think the D might carry this team early while the O gets it together?

I get what you’re saying, but what sounds “unreasonable” to me is talking about a defense carrying a team quarterbacked by Aaron Rodgers. I expect there to be times early, particularly in the first two games against very good Chicago and Minnesota defenses, for Green Bay’s defense to need to rise to the occasion at certain points in those games for the Packers to emerge victorious. But I think I’d be saying that regardless. As I’ve noted before, ultimately you want a complementary team – one whose offense can pick up a struggling defense at certain junctures, and one whose defense can maintain momentum once it’s been seized by the offense, and vice versa, etc. Consistency is almost a fruitless goal in such an ultra-competitive environment. Managing and maximizing the various important moments is what it really comes down to.

Judy from Channing, MI

My husband asked me the passcode on my phone. I said, “Rodgers to Nelson.” He was frustrated and didn’t understand. I’m thankful for II, and a community who gets it.

Sure thing.

Mike from St. Paul, MN

Spoff, if you're going to Winnipeg, Go to "Joey's" for that beer. You won't be disappointed.

Duly noted. Happy Friday, everyone.

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