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Inbox: He’ll always find a way

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

Cedell from Bloomington, MN

Ringo never got the respect he deserved. Not like John or Paul, for example.

And this thing is now completely off the rails. At least it’s the weekend. Good morning!

Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

Hey Wes, were you in Detroit for Aaron Rodgers’ first successful Hail Mary? What are your memories from that play?

Oh, I was there all right. I’ve told the story before about how that Hail Mary made me throw my 1,000-word running game story about how the season was lost in the garbage. I learned a big lesson on that night – never count Aaron Rodgers out of any game. He’ll always find a way. The rest is still a blur.

Ernie from Fairfax, VA

Do you have any Packers memorabilia that you could never let go? What is it and why could you never part with it?

The old Press-Gazettes my late grandfather mounted of key moments in Packers history such as Vince Lombardi’s hiring, Lombardi’s obit, the Ice Bowl gamer, Super Bowl I and II write-ups, Don Hutson’s obit and more. As a newspaperman, I cherish them all.

Ali from Bloomfield Hills, MI

Hi Wes. I’m originally from Wisconsin, but a resident of the Motor City. We have a huge car culture here – cruises, meets, cars and coffee, drives, and track events. My question: Do you see any of the Packers drive into practice or games with cool cars or exotics? I noticed Antonio Brown tooling around in a Lamborghini Urus SUV in Miami a couple months ago.

It’s rare to see Packers players driving exotic cars to practice. The football season ends in the heart of winter. Winter leads to snow, snow leads to salt trucks, and salt trucks lead to rust. Just ask my car. We see a lot of souped-up trucks around these parts, but that’s about it.

Check out photos of Packers players looking their best.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Hi Wes, Geronimo Allison has been mentioned a lot in II recently. With respect to his great emergence late in his rookie season, Mike wrote something like "the moment wasn't too big for him." However, in Year 2, he had a bad year and did not pass the eye test anymore of being an NFL high-quality receiver (e.g. many drops). Then, in Year 3, he started off great before his injury. Can you comment about expecting a big jump from him in Year 2 versus a "sophomore slump" for him and others?

Every player is different. The slump Davante Adams had in Year 2 was a product of injury, whereas James Jones struggled with catches before finally coming into his own. Sometimes young players meet that crossroad of adversity and never get back on track. The key is having the maturity and mental toughness to bounce back. Adams had that and I believe Allison has demonstrated those characteristics, too.

Steve from Middletown, KY

Can we vote to sell more stock shares to get the invisibility cloak? A lot is made of our WRs behind Adams. I believe there will be more than just one to step up. I think they have all shown flashes. They must be chomping, or is it champing, at the bit for their opportunities to prove they have the right stuff. May work for RB, but can there ever realistically be WR by committee?

It’s champing. I think passing offense is inherently by committee. Sure, Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham play nearly every down, but other receivers and tight ends are constantly cycling through. You’d have to be pretty thin at receiver to do that with an entire passing offense, though. It also would be tricky for a QB to develop a rhythm if receivers are rotating out after every play or two.

Jeff from Ogden, UT

There are lots of OLB on the roster, but thin at ILB. Which of the outside guys do you see sliding inside if necessary?

Kyler Fackrell probably has the most positional versatility of the Packers’ outside linebackers, but a defensive back would slide in at inside linebacker before an edge rusher would.

Kelly from Kaneohe, HI

I remember the Packers staff very early on knowing they found a gem in David Bakhtiari, even before it was evident on the field. What were some of those things that stood out about him, and how did no other team see it?

Even before Bakhtiari was a starter, his athleticism and footwork jumped right off the page. He moved really well for a 300-pounder. Once Bakhtiari put on weight, you could see that guy was a special athlete.

Jim from Huntertown, IN

Hey guys, just curious, you picked DB69 as your all-time left tackle and I was wondering if you had considered Chad Clifton and what were the pros/cons that gave Bakhtiari the edge?

Clifton played the position for a decade in Green Bay and is a Packers Hall of Famer. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but Bakhtiari has been voted to three All-Pro teams before his 28th birthday. He’s currently protecting the blind side of a gold-jacket quarterback at a high-water point for passing offense. Bakhtiari is building a resume for Canton. That gives him the edge.

Bill from Lenexa, KS

I fondly remember a great seventh-round pick that is now headed to the Packers HOF. Which begs the question…I've watched tape on Ty Summers. But we haven't heard much about how he's doing so far. What are your thoughts based on what you've seen of him? In my opinion, he should be in the rotation for MLB. The kid is a beast!

Drafting Summers made sense for a lot of reasons. While it’s going to take time for him to master Mike Pettine’s defense, Summers can contribute right away on special teams. That gives him a real shot at making the 53-man roster out of the gate.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

What are the position coaches doing at this time of the year? Solely getting ready for training camp, evaluating video from minicamp, game-planning, something else?

Everyone who is anyone in the NFL is on vacation right now. Believe it or not, coaches are real human beings will actual emotions, families and PTO, too.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

I am surprised at Wes's answer regarding the changes to the cut-down process and how an early release was a bad look. Often times the early release was a way for a veteran who didn't fit the new system or whatever reason to find a chance to catch on somewhere else before the start of the season. I would think players in general must dislike the last-minute decision-making as it must make it that much harder to catch on meaningfully with someone else. By all accounts, most teams know their players by July.

That’s what GMs often said, but few veterans released at the cut to 75 made their way back to an NFL team immediately. Teams invest months into developing their 90-man rosters. Maybe an undrafted free agent finds his way to a practice squad, but most veterans won’t have a snowball’s chance in Hobart of making a 53 with a week left in camp. At least, that was my experience covering those transactions.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

The roster has stayed at 89 for a relatively long time since the release of TE Michael Roberts due to a failed physical. Any reason why the Packers have not brought in someone to get back up to 90? There should be someone they want to look at.

Because it’s June 28 and a free agent today is likely to stay a free agent tomorrow. It makes sense to keep that spot open until training camp unless another intriguing player comes available on the waiver wire (like Roberts almost was).

Paul from De Pere, WI

Using technology to determine forward progress and absolutely establish if the ball reached the line to gain has value. If the result is a first down, the rest is minute. Do we really care where the ball is spotted?

That’s not what I’m interested in, though. I’m talking about those index-card plays that can change the outcome of a game.

Terry from Springfield, MO

In regards to electronic placement of the football. It could be done conceptually the same way NASCAR uses GPS timed with the yellow caution light to decide position at the time the light was turned on. The footballs would need a small sensor in them but then it’s just a matter of seeing when the ref blew the whistle and syncing the location of the football to that place in time.

Precisely. That’s what I was alluding to. Also, I’m surprised how angry this topic made some folks. I kind of wish I would’ve had Frank Nitti around to give me the same speech he delivered to Michael Sullivan, so I knew what I was getting myself into when I opened up this topic for discussion. “If you go ahead with this, if you open that door, you’re walking through it alone. And all that loyalty, and all that trust, will no longer exist for you…and Wes, you won’t make it. Not on your own.”

Thomas from Dunkerton, IA

I'm glad you gave Gale Gillingham honorable mention the other day. Since his career started toward the tail end of the Lombardi teams, he doesn't always get the recognition he deserves, even though he was a Pro Bowler and All-Pro multiple times. I remember one season Dan Devine shifted him to the D-line because there was a huge need. I'd love to hear Cliff elaborate on how all that came about.

I never saw Gillingham play, but I know what his contemporaries said about him. Cliff and Larry hold him in incredibly high esteem.

Josh from Melbourne, Australia

In terms of records that have stood for a long time and will likely never be beaten, surely Dick Lane's record of 14 interceptions in 1952 is right at the top of the list?

It’s unlikely that record will ever be beaten, but all it takes is one three-interception game to make a single-season mark like that possible. Those career marks I mentioned just aren’t feasible anymore with how the game has changed.

Bill from Mediapolis, IA

A coworker and I were discussing pay for NFL players. He was surprised a player with accrued years will receive a check when he's done playing. I don't remember all the facts. Could you do a quick summary? Thanks.

No problem. Find a dictionary and look up “pension.”

Amy from Bayport, MN

Howdy Wes! Another question about your career path: How different do you think your job would be today if Mr. Ketchman had never brought “Ask Vic” to Green Bay?

Cushier.

Jay from Neenah, WI

Am I a bad person because I look forward to watching Kirk Cousins lead the Vikings nowhere in 2019? Sometimes I go to the Vikings’ and Bears’ websites and read their version of the II just to relish in the heartache and frustration. You know what? I am a bad person. Go Packers.

Do they also write a column six days a week?

Nate from Kewaskum, WI

After meeting and talking with many athletes over the years, which athlete (former or present) would you still like to meet?

If we’re talking any athlete, I’d love to meet Dominick Cruz. He’s overcome so many injuries to become a champion in his sport (and he’s currently working on another comeback). His story inspires me any time I face adversity. As far as former Packers, I hope to meet Lynn Dickey someday and shake his hand. Because why not?

Patrick from Coppell, TX

Wes, regarding your comment about coaches not flying commercially I beg to differ. A few years ago I was on a flight from LaGuardia to DFW and the guy sitting opposite me rang a bell. It wasn't until everyone else boarded (and either asked to take a selfie with him or addressed him as coach) that I realized who he was – Jason Garrett. Granted it was first class but it was still a regular American Airlines flight.

That’s fair. But there’s no way an NFL head coach is flying in 25B anymore the way Lombardi once did.

Daniel from Liverpool, UK

"Put it this way – I’d be sleeping on the couch indefinitely if I told my wife I turned down $1,500 to sit in a slightly less comfortable seat for a couple hours." It was a 10-hour flight, but still I'm with you. Put me in the overhead storage bins for all I care if it pays $150 an hour.

All I know is this – I have to write a whole lot of Inboxes to earn $1,500. If Cam wants to fork over that much for my seat, I’ll tear a hamstring jumping back to steerage. Heck, I’ll even throw in my complimentary almonds and earbuds.

Tim from Chicago, IL

Andy Dufresne got a month in the hole for calling the warden "obtuse." What should Wes get for the same insult to Mitch?

Mitch ain’t the warden here, bro. Spoff is – and he’s back Monday. Enjoy your weekend, folks.

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