Presented by

Inbox: He's a portrait of professionalism

Cole Van Lanen has right attitude for the perfect opportunity

210520-insider-inbox-2560
K Mason Crosby

Mitch from Orange, VA

"Ninth-hour biology." Not sure where you went to high school Wes, but nine hours is too long of a school day.

Science wasn't my strongest subject.

Michael from Burnsville, MN

Any word on who will be participating in voluntary workouts?

I don't have a list of names in front of me, but Matt LaFleur said he and the coaches have a good idea of who will be there. The first practice that's open to the media next week will be our first straw poll of who plans to participate in OTAs over the next month.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning. You said during "Unscripted" the Packers' 90-man roster was now complete. Could there be a June 1 designation (cut) to help the team's poor salary cap position? Thanks.

Yeah, I wasn't promising the offseason roster was set or anything. There obviously will be a few changes still between now and the starting of training camp, but this is the first time the Packers have been at the full 90 this offseason.

Andrew from Placentia, CA

I liked Mike's quip about the perception we haven't surrounded AR with talent on offense. Does it frustrate you as much as it does some of us to hear that? I mean, in 2020, we had six of the staring 11 on offense listed as a Pro Bowler and/or All-Pro (Aaron Rodgers, Elgton Jenkins, David Bakhtiari, Linsley, Davante Adams, and Aaron Jones) with another a legitimate Pro Bowl snub (Robert Tonyan). Maybe we haven't spent more early picks there because we haven't had to. We've needed those picks more on defense.

You don't get frustrated when you know the facts…and the fact is that this is the deepest roster the Packers have fielded since 2014. There's no doubt about that in my mind. But yeah, that was indeed a nasty, nasty line from Spoff.

Sreedharan from Pewaukee, WI

Hey II. Regarding Mike's answer to Dave from Shakopee, MN, with respect to Mason Crosby: Crosby had the misfortune to play almost all his games alongside Aaron Rodgers. It's not easy to come away with a high point count when a substantial number of scoring opportunities are reduced from three points to one point because the other members of the team are not cooperating.

Spoff says it wouldn't feel right for anyone else to wear No. 2 after Crosby retires and I agree – but maybe not for the exact same reason. While Crosby is the franchise's all-time leading scorer, "2" also happens to be the second least-worn jersey number in the history of the franchise. Charlie Mathys (1925-26) is the only other player who has worn it in a regular-season game over the past 103 years. So, even if the Packers don't retire No. 2, it wouldn't feel right rushing to give that number out unless for good reason.

Evan from Durango, CO

I feel like I take Mason Crosby for granted. Not only a reliable kicker, but a true professional and a stellar human. I like Spoff's take on retiring his number after he's done. He's earned that honor.

Crosby is one of the all-time good guys in the Packers' locker room. His story has become something so much more than that turbulent 2012 campaign. In addition to Crosby being the franchise's all-time leading scorer, he and his wife Molly have given so much back to the area. Professionally, Crosby has provided the Packers with unrivaled peace of mind over the past 14 years. Crosby has his process and the Packers trust it. He's a portrait of professionalism.

Reggie from San Diego, CA

Speaking of Crosby's longevity, both Rodgers and Crosby are among the longest-tenured players at their positions and in the NFL. Plus, they were drafted around the same time ('05 and '07). Rodgers has talked plenty about playing into his 40s, but I haven't heard about Crosby's plans, so who do you think retires first? Similarly, who do you think will play more seasons when it's all said and done? They've both had remarkable careers, and I've enjoyed every season from this duo!

Crosby is 36 and playing a position where it's not uncommon for guys to last well into their 40s. So, I don't see Crosby slowing down anytime soon – especially after going 16-for-16 on field goals last season.

Shel from New York City, NY

I. Now. Understand. NFL. Contracts. Better. Thank. You.

Spoff. Got. You. Fam.

Kyle from West Valley, UT

You talked about "a contract isn't a contract in the traditional sense." Would it be more accurate to think of an NFL contract as simply, "This is what you'll be paid, assuming you're still here?"

Spoff hit this out of the park already so I don't have much to add other than pointing out the Packers have been upstanding citizens (for the most part) in this area over the past decade. I'd argue more players see the full duration of their contracts in Green Bay than any other NFL city.

Matt from Fort Worth, TX

Wes, if you could play any position at an elite level which would you choose and why?

Cornerback. It's the most difficult position to play outside of quarterback but it's gotta be fun to be Stephon Gilmore or Jaire Alexander – top-shelf performers who shut down their side of the field to the point the QB doesn't even bother throwing in your direction. I want to live on that island.

Eli from Kalispell, MT

In this offseason of angst, the story on Cole Van Lanen was a breath of fresh air and, as usual, a masterfully written piece. Thank you, Mr. Wes, sir! GPG

I appreciate you reading it, Eli. After Cole Van Lanen called getting drafted by the Packers a "one-in-a-million chance," I thought about the hundreds of thousands of young Wisconsin kids who dreamed over the years about playing in the NFL, and more specifically, for the Packers. Van Lanen is one of the few who has a chance to actually do it. And he has the right attitude for the perfect opportunity. A big thanks to Gary Westerman, Joe Rudolph and the fine folks at Bay Port and Wisconsin for their help on the story.

Johnny from Madison, WI

It seems like an inordinate number of professional athletes have another professional athlete in their lineage. First off, do you agree? Secondly, how much of that do you think is DNA vs. having a professional athlete as a mentor to both coach your technique and inspire your work ethic?

It's a combination of both. You can only work so hard and go so far if you're devoid of natural athleticism, so having rich bloodlines certainly doesn't hurt. But it's only one small piece of a much-bigger equation. What has surprised me the most is watching the children of athletes I watched as a kid blow their parents' careers out of the water (e.g. Steph Curry and Patrick Mahomes). And it's only going to keep happening more and more.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

Good day, II. You can easily divide the 17-game season into quarters. Just call the fourth quarter a "leap quarter" (five games). You work at Lambeau Field...and this didn't occur to you? C'mon, man!

Thanks for ruining all the fun, Craig. You must be fun at mathlete parties.

Elliot from Hopkins, MN

Outside of the Packers, who would be your must-watch QB (not named Mahomes), non-QB offensive player, and defensive player (not named Donald) for the upcoming year?

A lot of qualifiers there, Elliot. Must-watch QB would be Lamar Jackson. I don't care what anyone says he's still one of my favorite quarterbacks. My offensive skill-position player is Alvin Kamara and the defensive player not named Aaron Donald would have to be T.J. Watt.

Ron from Mitchell, SD

I realize this has been beaten to death but here goes. I cannot fathom why Aaron would want to leave for another team and start completely over from scratch (learn a new playbook, meet new teammates, etc.). After our recent re-signings and draft, I honestly feel we are just not that far away from winning our next Super Bowl. Oh, so close. Come on Aaron. Come back and finish the deal!

Aaron, if you're reading this somewhere in Hawaii…Ron from Mitchell, SD, wants you back…real bad.

Jake from Lake Mills, WI

Not a question, more so just airing a grievance. I listen to local sports radio every morning on my way to work. This morning, the topic of analysis was the T-shirt Aaron chose to wear to the airport for his Hawaiian vacation and what it means for his current situation with the Packers. This whole "will they or won't they" dance needs to end ASAP! Thank you for letting me vent.

Then, I have an easy solution for you, Jake – don't turn it on. There's airtime to be filled and mouths to be fed, so I don't fault anyone trying to make a living. But I honestly couldn't tell you the last time I turned the radio on in my car. It needs be an exclusive interview or something compelling to get my attention.

Bob from Rome, NY

Good morning gentlemen: A response to Ethan from La Crosse, WI, about the schedule going from 14 to 16 in games in 1978. I was 20 at the time and young with no family. I thought it was a great idea with the season starting two weeks earlier and not having to wait 'til mid-September. For financial reasons the league does not start on Labor Day weekend and now with 17 games will move the SB to mid-February. To me the league has lost the quaintness and uniqueness it used to have. Thoughts?

You really want to get me going again on the 17-game schedule, huh, Bob? Agree or disagree, this is the direction the league is moving. It is, as they say, what it is. I'm now in search of another hill to die on.

Kevin from Holmen, WI

Hello II. I noted our new rookie run-stuffing DL is wearing No. 93. Wow, big shoes to fill, but I'm smiling thinking of it. Your thoughts?

T.J. Slaton has a vastly different body type than Gilbert Brown did, but he's just as imposing in-person. He's the type of guy you want leading your team off the bus. At the same time, the game is played on the field. Slaton has work to do this summer and he knows it.

Craig from Chicago, IL

Will the new draft picks be able to start on defense this year?

What's a defensive starter anymore? You need six defensive backs, five defensive linemen, three edge rushers, two inside linebackers to get through a season, at minimum. That's 16 players. So, yeah, Eric Stokes, Shemar Jean-Charles, Slaton and Isaiah McDuffie will all have a chance to contribute straightaway if they prove they're ready for it.

Gully from Maple, WI

With the trend for taller OL players, do shorter QBs have more difficulty finding passing lanes?

Not the good ones. Russell Wilson, all 5 foot, 10 inches of him, had 6-foot-5 Justin Britt as his center for several years and it didn't seem to affect his productivity. Shorter QBs just need to know how to operate in the pocket.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Let me help you guys with the first few words of your 2021 Packer starting quarterback news update just prior to the season. "Former first-round pick..."

That's a good start, Margeaux. I'll paste that one in a Word document and save it for September.

Ken from Lebanon, TN

My Dearest II, the only possible team mascot would be a Kielbasa eating a bratwurst carrying a kettle of baked beans. Yum.

Ken, how dare you? A Kielbasa eating a brat? That's sausage cannibalism – Sausagibalism! Personally, I think the mascot should be a cartoon version of Spoff in a butcher's costume, holding a kettle of baked beans.

David from Janesville, WI

Insiders, someone has to tell Rick that Mars will need its own league after colonization. With a gravity level of barely over one-third of Earth's it will be a completely different ballgame and require completely different player types. The home team in either direction would have way too much of an advantage to make it fair. And the travel time! Makes a West Coast trip look like a walk in the park.

Are you familiar with that "mind blown" GIF? That's me right now. I can't even process this question. Fortunately, I don't think I'll be around long enough to have to worry about intergalactic sports leagues.

Charles from Omaha, NE

I have been unemployed since March 12. I am currently sitting and waiting for a second interview and am reading Insider Inbox to calm my nerves. Thank you for that.

All the best to you, Charles. I hope it went well. Spoff and I are sending positive vibes your way.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

What about, "My question got answered on packers.com and I still had to buy my own lousy T-shirt"?

The original, first-edition Inbox tee.

Patrick from Oconomowoc, WI

Wes, not a question but just a comment. Please try to get your T-shirt "idea" going. Cost could be minimal, sales would probably be higher than you expect, and all the profits go to a charity of II choosing. I'm in!

I'd be happy to do it, but not sure whether I own my own likeness or not.

Katie from West Chester, PA

Good morning! I humbly submit the following as my T-shirt suggestion: "I got 88 problems, but II ain't one." I hope I'm not in trouble for including the forbidden number.

We ain't topping this one. Have a good Thursday everyone.

Advertising