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Inbox: He'll be another interesting story to follow

A better player is a better player

T Andre Dillard
T Andre Dillard

Allen from Austin, TX

I'm just here so I don't get fined.

Me, too. Actually, I had to work through Tuesday to get the 2024 Packers Yearbook off to the printer. The deadline has come and gone, and the biggest project of my offseason is done. Onward …

Matt from Albert Lea, MN

Another possible title for our new team president's column could be "Discussion with Mr. Ed." Actually, I am just horsing around and will see myself out...

Please do.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

We have talked about how choices made by Ron Wolf or Bob Harlan or insert-any-Packers-name reverberate across time, but we don't need to go to such esteemed positions to see the impact. The number of Outsiders who mentioned Vic in some way is incredible to say the least. I hope Vic knows just how impactful his time here was, and still is.

At the request of several readers, I texted Vic to see if he had an update he wanted to pass along. Here's his reply: "Well, I moved to the mountains of western North Carolina. It was time to be new. I belong to a golf club that owns my heart. It's a Donald Ross original, 117 years old. This past April, it gave me one of the biggest thrills of my life, a match-winning eagle on a signature par-4 in a weekend event the club bills as its Ryder Cup. I still enjoy football but wish the Packers didn't play so many late-night games. Tell the fans I said thanks. I miss them and I miss the column."

Ross from Grand View, WI

What is your prediction for how teams will manage kickoffs this season? If it's me I'm still going to try to keep a big leg around. The way the rules are set up I see average field position being easily between the 25 and 30. Or more. With a more likely incidence of plays breaking open. It might not take long for teams to start kicking away again. For a ball in or out of the end zone to be spotted at the 30, it doesn't seem to penalize the kicking team enough to be discouraging.

I think kicking teams are going to try their darndest to have that kickoff come down between the 5-yard line and the goal line, and if they can consistently cover kicks inside the 30, they'll stick to that. If they can't, they'll just boom away and let them take the touchback on the 30.

Matt from New York, NY

Coached to bend the rules? If you don't believe you can beat the guy across from you on any given play, no tricks, then you have no business being a professional athlete.

As I said with regard to coaches, you won't last long.

Mike from Geneva, IL

In yesterday's column Mike spoke about the Packers' OL depth and mentioned adding a first-round pick. He failed to mention adding a former first-round pick in Andre Dillard. If he can rekindle what led him to being the 22nd overall pick, then their competition and depth are even better. Let's hope that becomes one of the best competitions of training camp and all season as it leads to protection for Love and running lanes for the RBs.

You're right, I neglected to mention Dillard yesterday. My bad. He'll be another interesting story to follow in camp.

James from Appleton, WI

With Lukas Van Ness, Karl Brooks, Colby Wooden and Devonte Wyatt, the defensive line has taken a page from the receiving corps, with many young and talented players cycling in to keep the heat on the opponent (and each other), any one of whom could have the hot hand in a game. Do you think Kenny Clark might see fewer first downs as the best way to keep him fresh through a game and the season?

Tough to say. Clark is the best, most complete interior D-lineman this defense has vs. run and pass, so it's difficult to decipher where/when best to get him the breathers he needs over the long haul. I suspect rotations up front will be extensive through the first month of the regular season to see who's best for which roles to get everyone settled in.

Gerard from St. Germain, WI

Your early prediction: Do you think the Packers will keep two or three QBs on the final 53? And who will be Jordan Love's main backup… Michael Pratt or Sean Clifford or someone else?

I'd be shocked if it's not one of those two. As for whether both make the 53, it could depend on how strongly they feel the No. 3, if they want to keep developing him, could get claimed on waivers.

Carl from Antigo, WI

Will the Packers sign a veteran QB by training camp?

I'm not expecting them to.

Richard from Caledonia, WI

Good morning. In the early sessions how well was the kicking competition going? Any insights as to who you think will be the Packers kicker at the beginning of the season?

We got to observe OTAs only one day per week and then for the two minicamp practices, but based on that limited sampling, I thought Anders Carlson had a slight edge over Greg Joseph in a close competition. Podlesny was clearly third and I wasn't surprised at his release. We have not seen the new entry, James Turner, at all, because he was claimed after minicamp.

Tom from Iron River, WI

What will be the first big story from training camp?

Hopefully it's Jordan Love's new contract so that's out of the way. Or getting Zach Tom and Tucker Kraft back to full-go from their pectoral injuries. If not, then probably who's getting more starting corner reps opposite Jaire Alexander on the first-team defense, Carrington Valentine or Eric Stokes.

The following is the second installment in a series of photos examining the Packers' roster position by position. This installment examines the running backs.

Bill from Imperial, Canada

Why are top kickers paid only $1 mil to 1.3 million per year when they put points on the board in almost every game? Plus the pressure has to be intense being out there with everyone watching.

There are currently 19 NFL kickers making $3M or more per season, with the two highest paid – Baltimore's Justin Tucker and Philly's Jake Elliott – making $6M per year.

Joe from Ridgway, CO

Someone recently asked who was the biggest offensive acquisition in Packers history. This goes back quite a few years, but bringing in John Jefferson to play alongside James Lofton was huge and expensive! Lynn Dickey was amazing and we were exciting to watch.

As a big fan of the Air Coryell Chargers in my youth, I remember that trade and couldn't believe the Packers were getting Jefferson to pair with Lofton (and tight end Paul Coffman). But, **as Cliff detailed several years ago in a history post**, the Packers really didn't get their money's worth. Green Bay gave up a first-round draft pick, two seconds, and veteran receiver Aundra Thompson for Jefferson, who was just 25 and coming off a 1,340-yard, 13-TD season in San Diego. But over four seasons and 50 games with the Packers, Jefferson caught just 149 passes for 2,253 yards and 11 TD. He had only five 100-yard games, plus a big performance (6-148-2) in the '82 playoff win over St. Louis. In their respective best seasons with the Packers, Thompson had 609 receiving yards, Jefferson 830. Looking at the draft picks the Chargers got in return, they traded both second-rounders and used the first-rounder on USFL star running back Gary Anderson, who was an all-rookie and Pro Bowl selection in '85 and '86, rushed for 1,000 yards in '88, and then faded.

Jeffrey from Brooklyn, NY

Hey guys, the expectations are high for these young men this season but they seem to be oblivious to the pressure. When do the butterflies stop and the plays just come natural to a rookie?

I don't know if the butterflies ever stop, to be honest. I've talked with countless veteran players over the years who said they always got nervous before games, their entire careers. The intensity and pressure at this level is immense. As for the game coming naturally to young players, there's no timeline that applies to all. For some it's the back half of their rookie seasons. For others, not until Year 2 or even 3. That's where internal scouting is key, because the personnel department needs to know if players are showing improvement and promise that makes them worth hanging onto, or if it's just not happening and it's time to move on.

Josh from Seattle, WA

How does a GM analyze the risk of subjecting someone to waivers versus trading said player if they believe they will not be able to keep them on the practice squad? Let's use Caleb Jones as the example, he's been a 53-man roster investment, but may have been passed up and could be a cut-down casualty. The problem then is to not come up empty on the investment of the previous years. How big of a win is it to trade a UDFA for a sixth- or seventh-round pick?

If the player is not going to make your team, any such trade like that is a win. The personnel department analyzes other teams' needs and its own evaluation in determining the risk (because waiver claims, remember, have to be placed on the 53 by the claiming team). Whether or not the progress and potential is still evident (see above answer) also factors into the equation. It's not a science. But teams are wary of the sunk cost fallacy as well. A better player is a better player, no matter how much has been invested in another player.

Drew from Dubuque, IA

I've been watching the tape on Josh Jacobs in an effort to convince myself that he is an upgrade over Aaron Jones. I notice he has a tendency to extend the ball toward the goal line when in close. This makes me nervous. Do you think the staff will try to coach that habit away? Goal-line turnovers kill.

Jacobs' history does not indicate a fumbling issue. In five NFL seasons, he's touched the ball 1,502 times and fumbled 11. For comparison's sake, Aaron Jones has 1,449 career touches and 15 fumbles.

Etienne from St. Joachim de Tourelle, Canada

Good morning II. Is there any chance we keep four running backs on the team once the season starts? I would imagine that was more common in the '60s and '70s and more of the trend that the pass-happy league of these days.

Four on the 53? I doubt it, but I'll never say never. A fourth and maybe fifth on the practice squad? Absolutely.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

What's a realistic number of games it will take for this new defense to hit its stride and overcome the inevitable growing pains? Do you expect more playing time for the starters in the preseason to speed up this process?

I don't know how anyone could peg a number of games. I don't want to speak for the coaches, but preseason playing time could depend on how things go in training camp – particularly during the joint practices against other teams. How everything looks and feels as camp progresses will be monitored for sure.

Jason from Austin, TX

I'm also not concerned about the Packers reaching a deal with Love. Assuming that gets done, when was the last time all first-round QBs in the same draft (even second round) got extensions with the team that drafted them? 2020 could be among the best QB drafts in a long while.

Yes, yes it could. But sorry, I don't have the time to research your question. If anyone else wants a go at it, feel free.

David from Janesville, WI

It's July, we've inside-outed the Outsider Inbox, and it's getting closer to real football time. Got those vacation days used up yet?


Linwood from Travelers Rest, SC

Mike & Wes, I appreciated all the levity and sincerity from the OI answers. Now, what is your focus heading into the last days before training camp starts?

Well, I'm going to take the rest of this week off to catch some more Brewers games. That's all I'm focused on right now.

Steve from Lampson, WI

You are supposed to pickle the asparagus before you put it on the brat? Man, I have been missing out. Just slapping asparagus on there trying to look cool like Wes was not the way to go.

And "trying to look cool like Wes" makes its Inbox debut.

Dave from Waterford, WI

Are the Packers starting training camp yet?

T-minus 12 days and counting until the first practice. See you next week. Happy Wednesday.

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