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Inbox: He's a big part of the Packers' future

That’s what you have to do to make it in this league

LB Rashan Gary
LB Rashan Gary

Marcus from Tofino, Canada

Let's face it, Rashan Gary isn't going to be our starting OLB anytime soon. No shade on him, The Smiths are too just good. What are the odds of switching positions and starting him as a DE? I even had high hopes in 2019 of a Martinez and Gary ILB duo.

The Packers don't need to move Gary. They just need to find more ways to get him on the field – no different than what Baltimore did with Za'Darius Smith for his first three years. He's not an inside linebacker. He's not a defensive end. He's an outside linebacker and he's big part of the Packers' future.

Jim from Bayonne, NJ

One thing I've always wondered, with players such as Chandon Sullivan, Raven Greene, Lucas Patrick or others who are more under the radar, how do scouts/front office guys usually find and zone in on them? I'd have to imagine perhaps they show one really great quality and hope to develop the rest or is it part a gut feeling?

It's all over the board but having a standout quality or trait helps. Sullivan posted a few impressive numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine to get some attention as a smaller-school prospect. Greene had a prodigious career at James Madison, so that had him on the Packers' board as a priority free agent. Patrick played at a more high-profile school (Duke) and still didn't get any offers as an undrafted free agent. He had one tryout offer, Green Bay, and caught the Packers' eye. That's what you have to do to make it in this league.

Vince from Flagstaff, AZ

Looking back at the 2016 draft, both Antonio Morrison and B.J. Goodson were picked ahead of Blake Martinez, and Cory Littleton went undrafted. It's examples like these that make me glad that I'm not a GM and illustrates that talent can be found throughout and outside of the draft.

In Indy, Larry mentioned how inside linebackers, specifically, can be such a crapshoot in the draft. First-rounders can flame out and former undrafted free agents can become perennial Pro Bowlers. The NFL game is so much faster and you never know how linebackers will react to it.

Steve from Cedar Falls, IA

I was interested in the question regarding the offense helping the defense or vice versa. I remember some games in the Brett Favre Era, where the defense made a stop and then the offense scored right away putting the defense back on the field and they seemed a bit gassed. We would usually end up winning in a shootout. My question is, does it figure into play-calling for the coaching staff to go for the points or try to slow the game down to help the defense recover?

Absolutely. Coaches also have to take into account game situation and tempo but I can think of times this past year where offensive players talked about how a win was due in part to how it gave their defense a chance to catch its breath.

Simon from Baltimore, MD

With all the talk about ILB, I'd like to throw my two cents in about Blake Martinez. I really hope the Pack are able to keep him in Green Bay. Wes made a great point about the difficulty if replacing the defensive play caller for the past three years, and he's been a tackling machine on top of that. Plus, as a Mexican American, it makes me happy to see the last name Martinez in the Green and Gold.

It's not so much the player, but the plan. If Martinez isn't back, what's the Packers' plan to move forward in 2020. I'm sure Brian Gutekunst is on top of all of it.

Tim from Rochester, MN

Bryan Bulaga made the statement that he'd like to remain in Green Bay for the rest of his career. Should his expressed interest in staying give more hope that the Packers can come to a team-friendly agreement with him?

I don't know. Quite honestly, you guys need to cool it with these questions about will Bulaga sign a team-friendly deal or will 'Free Agent A' sign a team-friendly deal for a chance at a ring? They're playing one of the most brutal and physical sports known to man. They want to get compensated for it and they should be. The team-friendly thing is all relative.

Fred from La Crosse, WI

I'm concerned about the rumors of how the Packers replace Bulaga. All of the possible replacements mentioned have short arms.

Fred, open your patio and walk outside. Take a big deep breath and enjoy your weekend. We have better things to worry about on March 7 than hypothetical arm size of Bulaga's hypothetical replacement. We'll cross the short-armed bridge for right tackles when we come to it. Bulaga is still a Packer at this point in time.

Luke from Fort Worth, TX

Who is your favorite player to follow on social media? I ask because Za'Darius' workout videos have me thinking he's peaked for sure, but we don't know his ceiling yet.

Za'Darius is a good one. I really like Kenny Clark's Instagram. It's low-key but provides a cool glimpse into the life of a professional athlete without all the over-the-top antics. He's pretty funny, too.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Wes, there are lots of articles discussing NFL free agents, and their "projected value." It makes me wonder who is projecting, and how accurate they typically are. Do you have any insight here?

The modern NFL media landscape is really broad, and with that comes a broad range of opinions — some more qualified than others. My advice is always consider the source when analyzing those reports because there's going to be misinformation littered in those projections. Agents want to promote their players and some front offices want to muddy the water.

Benjamin from Evergreen Park, IL

Mike/Wes, what was your take on the incoming safety class? PFF didn't exactly have glowing reviews, overall it looked like a good group. Is there room in Mike Pettine's D for a Roy Williams-like box safety?

It's not a deep group. It kind of reminds me of last year's class. Fortunately, safety isn't high on Green Bay's list of needs. I like Greene in the box safety role. If that's an area the Packers want to improve, I'd be more on board with eyeing another inside linebacker in this draft.

Neal from Ft Worth, TX

Wes, you're the GM and it's 12 a.m. on the first day teams are allowed to legally negotiate with FA. For the sake of my question, let's assume you've already either re-signed our own FA or let them test the market. Aside from Cousins Subs, what's the first phone call you make?

I said this once on our "Total Packers" combine recap show but Snacks Harrison is the "affordable" free agent I'd be calling. If I could sign anyone, though, it's Austin Hooper. I think he's just different and players who can dominate at his position don't hit the open market every year.

Jim from Hainesville, IL

Terrell Fletcher. Ron Dayne's backfield mate at UW and a second-round pick by the Chargers. Never became a star, but an 8-year-career says he wasn't a bust either. Probably a better NFL career than Dayne.

That's why they play the (NFL) games.

Maximino from Apodaca, Nuevo León, México

Is there any chance that the Packers will play at Mexico next season?

Any conversation about the Packers going to Mexico won't heat up until they go to London.

Matt from Fort Worth, TX

I just moved from Waukesha to Fort Worth and I am genuinely surprised at the number of Packers fans there are in the area, you know with America's team and all being right here. Which stadiums are your favorite to host Packer pep rallies at?

They're everywhere. We don't do any stadium pep rallies but my first one (Jacksonville in 2016) might still be my favorite. It was outdoors on a beautiful Florida day and we had more than a thousand people there.

Larry from Greensboro, NC

Well, your series on the combine was great and we have a lot of choices. Do you think G-man will go defense first or offense? And by the way, it should be Brett for president. Real tough skin.

Ten of Green Bay's 12 first-round picks since 2009 have been on defense, so that's always the safe hedge. I also forgot Tim Masthay, by the way. I'd vote for him as President.

Tony from Chanhassen, MN

What does one need to do to be banned for the year? Is it the offensive submissions? Is it repeated bad questions? Is it referring to oneself as one?

Offensive submissions. There are no bad questions.

Corey from Henderson, NV

Wes, wish I would have known you were gonna be out here in Vegas; I could have given you all the insider tips to our fair city, including the best cup of coffee you'd ever drink. Perhaps there will be a next time and you can hit me up!

I'll still take that coffee suggestion. I'm here til Tuesday.

Phillip from Corona, CA

From Wes on Friday the 6th: "Charles from Riverside, CA

What is the probability of turning Blake Martinez into a blocking running back? I'll take "Signs we need free agency to begin for 500," Alex. Good morning!" Brilliant Wes. Good job this week. Have a great weekend.

Thank you, Phillip. It was a fun week. With that I'm off to grab breakfast. Have a great week, everyone.

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