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Inbox: He lived up to all of it

No one really knows what’s going to happen until it happens

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Former Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji

Col from Ludlow, UK

Mike/Wes, whilst we in the UK have our fingers crossed for a London game, we might be missing the bigger picture. Who would pass on Germany, Packers Everywhere pep rally, Oktoberfest, Burgermeister Spoff? It all works if Wes can double his workload on game day, and pass half of it off as Mike's. Are you both in?

Let's do London first and go from there. I might have to work my way up to Oktoberfest.

Rodney from Colleyville, TX

What do you think about Aaron Rodgers on "Jeopardy!" this week?

I plan to watch, and I plan to be entertained. I expect he'll make the gig look as natural as throwing a back-shoulder fade to Davante Adams.

Daniel from Waukesha, WI

Do you think Aaron Rodgers will ever be a TV commentator?

For football games? I think he'd be outstanding at it, but he's never indicated that's something he wants to do, so I'll bet against it for now.

Craig from Elkton, MD

I mowed the grass today. So that happened.

I got my yard all raked up on Saturday. I feel so ahead of the game.

Joel from Sand Springs, OK

Mike and Wes, I'm starting to get a little uncomfortable with the new wave of Rodgers feeling uncertain regarding his future. I know the core of his statement is true and just part of the business of being a professional athlete, but given that this has now been reiterated I'm starting to wonder if there is a rift growing between 12 and the higher ups, or if they should make some sort of move now to make it clear in some capacity for him. After playoffs felt emotional, this feels different.

I don't know. Nothing I've heard or read has sounded much different to me. I think there was this desire, at least from the outside, to gain some additional clarity over the last 2½ months, and that hasn't happened. Why not? I don't know. I'm not going to assume that's a problem until I hear from one of the principals it's a problem. In the meantime, I'll go back to what I said last week – I hope Rodgers continues to play so well the Packers have no interest in moving on for a long time. That's where my headspace is.

Neal from Fort Worth, TX

I've been waiting two weeks to ask this of you, as Wes was probably stealing lunches in the school cafeteria in 2005. When Rodgers was drafted as Favre's heir apparent, I don't recall the media pundits speculating on a bunch of crap like they are with Rodgers/Jordan Love. Frankly, I'm tired of it. I don't trust my memory so I'd like to hear how you remember 2005 and why are the two very similar situations being viewed differently in the media?

Kudos for the well-crafted dig on Wes's age. This is the one piece that has a simple answer in my book. Because Favre had been musing about retirement since 2003, and Rodgers declared publicly long ago he wanted to play into his 40s and spend his entire career with the Packers. The contexts are completely different, and that's not the media's fault.

Fariborz from Flower Mount, TX

If we now have AFC vs. NFC for the 17th game, why bother with division? Why not go No. 1 vs No. 1 all the way to No. 16 vs. No. 16? Thanks for all the extras on the website in addition to the daily mandatory II posts.

There's merit to your suggestion, but I don't know whether the league considered it.

John from Livermore, CA

What positions will Packers target in the draft and do you see any surprises in Day 1 of the draft?

We've mentioned potential position targets a lot already. The offensive and defensive lines, plus cornerback, are at the top of the list for me, with linebacker and wide receiver next on the list. I've yet to cover a first round of the draft without surprises. Teams keep their intentions so close to the vest and send out a lot of phony signals to further disguise them. No one really knows what's going to happen until it happens.

Don from St. Paul, MN

Will the Packers draft a tight end or wide receiver in the first four rounds of the 2021 draft?

I'm not about to guarantee anything after how badly I misread what the Packers might do in last year's draft, but I'd say the odds are better for a receiver than tight end.

Wags from Marinette, WI

Who was your favorite Packer draft pick before they played a down?

B.J. Raji. I remember thinking he was the perfect fit for the new defensive scheme Dom Capers was bringing to Green Bay, and Raji was really engaging on his conference call the day he was drafted. He lived up to all of it.

Curt from Algonquin, IL

I just saw that PFF ranked Allen Lazard as the highest-graded run blocker out of 108 eligible wide receivers over the last two seasons. That, to me, is a very important stat that doesn't get enough attention and explains part of the success of our offense. The commitment to blocking from the receivers is a testament to the character of the team. Am I suffering from homer bias or have the Packers consistently had the best blocking WRs in the league for most of recent history?

I don't have a mechanism at my disposal to compare them across the league over time. I just know the Packers have had their share of good ones for a while now. Whether they've been front-line guys like Donald Driver and Jordy Nelson or further down the depth chart like Ruvell Martin and Geronimo Allison, the blocking prowess has been there, and the duty has been demanded to an even greater extent in LaFleur's offense.

Steve from Lake Stevens, WA

Whether referring to players or the front office, how would you define loyalty in the NFL? Personally, I don't see any or expect it.

This business is as cut-throat as it gets, and if your job is connected to winning games, that's what comes first. Loyalty can be a byproduct of that, but it's never the other way around.

Daniel from Pueblo, CO

II, do you think the opponent for the London game would think it is a Packers home game given all of the support the Packers have from across the pond?

I think the Packers fans over there are going to do everything in their power to turn Wembley or Tottenham into UK Lambeau.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers S Will Redmond through the years.

Carmen from Trimbach, Switzerland

What would it take for the Packers to have "defensive dominance"? I'm sure Spoff is right in saying that one CB won't get them there, but what will? Is it a matter of personnel, scheme or something else?

Another Pro Bowl defensive lineman, greater depth at corner, and a presence in the middle that can generate turnover plays. That's a ton to ask, but that's my wish list. Nobody has everything, not the way the game is geared toward offense these days. The Packers have a lot of pieces with regard to pass rush, coverage, and stopping the run. But they need more. Everybody needs more.

Richard from Madison, WI

"Another Kenny Clark would do just fine." On behalf of the American Institute for the English Language, I am pleased to award you this honorary doctorate for setting a new world standard in the art of understatement.

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

Dan from Toledo, OH

By saying the chances of an O-lineman at the end of Round 1 are better than a D-lineman you've now virtually guaranteed we take a D-lineman. (Perhaps a reverse jinx executed on purpose?) I look forward to what "player to be named" can accomplish next to Kenny Clark.

You give me too much credit, but if you're right, I'll take it.

Sam from Greendale, WI

Unlike the MLB and NHL, the NFL has not retired a player number league-wide. I don't see that ever happening. Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and Wayne Gretzky has several untouchable records. What would an NFL player have to do to get their number retired league-wide? The only one I can think of even coming close is Brady who has won more Super Bowls than several franchises.

I don't see the league ever retiring a number in that fashion. If the league were so inclined, it would have done so for one of the game's pioneers by now. That's not an indictment or accusation of an oversight, but more a reflection that some of the most influential people in shaping the NFL as we know it today never put on a uniform.

Dick from Four Oaks, NC

Following up on Matthew from Teaneck, NJ, re: the bye week. It's always bothered me that, as an example, the Pack might have their bye in Week 5, the Bears in Week 7, the Lions in Week 9 and the Vikings in Week 10. Why can't the entire division have the same bye week? NFC East – Week 6. AFC South – Week 7. NFC West – Week 8, etc. Seems the most fair to me and really doesn't hurt the TV schedule. Please pass along to Mr. Goodell with our highest recommendation. Thanks!

The weekend Inbox was chock full of ideas for how to disperse the bye weeks more fairly. Have a whole conference off one week, the other conference the next. Cram all the byes into Weeks 8-11. By division, as outlined above. The list goes on, and the Inbox had them all and then some. I think it's time to realize the NFL doesn't care about the bye weeks being fairly distributed or it would have devised a system accordingly by now, don't you? The league cares about having as few markets as possible without a relevant game to watch on any given Sunday. It doesn't want a whole conference, or whole division, off in a given week because the fear is it'll take too many eyeballs off the games. Are there more fair and equitable ways to schedule the bye weeks? Of course! But that's never been the question.

Terry from Sun Prairie, WI

What player do you think was the most surprising from last season?

Easy. Krys Barnes. For him to do what he did as an undrafted rookie, without any OTAs or preseason games and while battling some injuries too, was remarkable. I look forward to seeing where his game goes in Year 2.

Packers LB Krys Barnes celebrates his birthday Apr. 2. Take a look at photos of him from the 2020 season.

Eddie from La Crosse, WI

Not a good start for the Brewers, Mike Spofford! They made their former arch-rivals from across the river look good! No, wait … maybe the Twins are good. Never mind.

The Twins are a good squad, and the Brewers were lucky to take one from them. Milwaukee's offense tagged Minnesota's pitching staff with just two earned runs in the entire series – on a bases-loaded walk and a solo homer. Not a good start for the bats.

Jerry from Erie, PA

Hello Mike, I would like your valued opinion on the baseball extra-innings rule to put a runner on second base. I follow baseball almost as well as the NFL and I love both sports. I just want to know from you, please, being a huge fan of baseball yourself. What is your take on that rule?

I admittedly struggle with it. I completely understand wanting to do away with the marathon 15-inning regular-season games that deplete pitching staffs and produce roster moves galore for the next week. But the purist in me doesn't like things that feel gimmicky, and winning (or losing) a game via this extra-inning rule doesn't seem like it should count the same as a more traditional victory (or loss). I've decided I can live with it, even if I'm not crazy about it, and I suspect I'll get used to it over time.

Jim from McLean, VA

Being a college basketball fan for 45 years and having spent eight years at Carolina, I've witnessed a lot of great games. The UCLA-Gonzaga game has to be one of the best games I've ever seen.

I concur. Considering the stakes, the underdog status of the Bruins, and the undefeated record for the Zags, that was one of the greatest games in the history of the tournament for me. And I felt that way before the last shot went in. Tonight's game has almost no chance to measure up, but wouldn't it be something if it even comes close? Happy Monday.

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