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Inbox: He's coming into his own and it's showing

There’s still so much more out there for Aaron Jones

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LB Rashan Gary

Scott from Lincoln City, NE

Wes, what were your initial thoughts/feelings when Aaron Rodgers began his response with, "That's kind of a big question there, Wes"?

I should have stopped talking 10 seconds ago and just let the man answer the (dang) question.

John from Bethlehem, PA

Good Morning II! All these fans planning their next week's lunch while still holding today's sandwich in their hands-on break! Let's enjoy 2021 first, the next offseason is plenty long for those discussions. With that said, we have a three-headed QB rushing machine in the Smith Bros. and Rashan Gary coming off the edge. I have a feeling Preston Smith might be playing more edge protect (safer) this year while they try to let Gary go get after the QB. Thoughts? Thanks for all the hours of entertainment!

The Smith Bros. are great. Za'Darius Smith is a proven pass-rusher and you can hear in Preston's voice how motivated he is to bounce back. Still, my eyes are on Rashan Gary. Gary has looked good the past two summers, particularly in one-on-one drills, but now you can see he's coming into his own and it's showing. He has that rare combination of speed and power that every scout covets in an elite pass-rusher. He's on the rise.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

To dovetail on Jeff from Milwaukee's question, who is the player (other than stars like Rodgers, Davante Adams, Jaire Alexander, Z, etc.) the Packers can least afford to regress? In other words, who (in your opinion) is the player that took a significant step forward last year that this year the team most needs to play at the same level? Rashan Gary? Darnell Savage? Marquez Valdes-Scantling?

Robert Tonyan. Over the last 15 years, the Packers' offense has been at its best when there's a difference-maker on the field at tight end. If Tonyan has another 500-plus-yard, eight-plus-TD season, I think Green Bay is going to be hard to stop with all the other weapons it has on offense.

Mike from Novato, CA

Quick question on rookie playing time in preseason. We have two rookies who are most likely going to be starters: Josh Myers and Eric Stokes (I like Kevin King, but he can't stay healthy). How much do you play them? They need all the reps they can get, but you don't want to risk injury.

I think you play Stokes more than Myers, because King is still the "starter" opposite Jaire Alexander and Stokes can use all the reps he can get right now. Myers is an interesting one. You would think he should play a lot, but the Packers also don't have a returning veteran who is a true backup at center. Lucas Patrick and Elgton Jenkins can play there but have other obligations at the moment. So, I'm curious to see how the Packers handle Myers in the preseason.

With 39 days until the regular-season opener, packers.com looks back at those who have worn No. 39 in Green Bay.

Dan from Eagan, MN

Will AJ Dillon have more yards than Jamaal Williams did last year?

Rushing? I could see it.

Ian from San Juan, Puerto Rico

Can you clarify how accrued seasons work? Ben Braden is 27, entered the league in 2017, and is listed as being in Year 2.

A player earns an accrued season once he's spent at least six regular-season games on a team's 53-man roster, injured reserve or physically unable to perform list. Braden has spent a few years bouncing up and down from the practice squad, but has only qualified for one accrued season (2018 with the New York Jets).

George from Oakland, FL

Good morning Wes! With so many talented wide receivers and tight ends in camp, do you believe Aaron Jones can still be an effective asset in the pass game? Thanks for all that you, Mike and the rest of the II staff do for the fans!

As long as Matt LaFleur is in Green Bay, the backs are going to be involved in the passing game. The challenge will be different this year, though. The secret is out now on Jones so adjustments will need to be made. But there's still so much more out there for Jones as a pass-catcher.

Glen from Leesburg, FL…or VA…or GA…

Hey guys. I noticed the Packers signed another FA tight end yesterday. Is there any news on Josiah Deguara? He is one of the guys I am very excited to see come back to the Packers' offense because he's such a versatile player. I think he has some talent that can make the TE position for the Packers that is one of envy across the league.

It's funny you should ask. Deguara was activated off the physically unable to perform list Wednesday and presumably will practice for the first time today. It's not too surprising. He's been running and cutting at full speed during his rehab sessions off to the side.

Ty from Jamestown, IN

I was a big Krys Barnes fan the moment the draft ended and have been ecstatic since with him, but even I didn't see his role being what it was last year. The way this guy seems to always be either making the tackle or mere steps away from the one being made, is it too early to say Barnes might just be the ILB No. 1 with the communication helmet on even with De'Vondre Campbell here and Kamal Martin healthy this year?

Barring injury, I don't see anyone other than Barnes playing "Mike" linebacker in Week 1. He's been taking every rep there in the first week of camp, with Campbell playing the Will in base and nickel. It also appears Ty Summers is still the primary backup to Barnes at Mike with Kamal Martin now rotating outside.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Juwann Winfree is garnering attention from multiple sources as making plays and drawing eyes in camp. Can you describe his body type? Is there another player to whom he bears a resemblance? Can't wait to see No. 88 catch a touchdown from No. 12!

Winfree isn't as thick as Adams but has that same 6-1 frame where he can play outside or in the slot. The guy caught nearly every pass thrown his way and made some big plays this spring. There have been many feelgood stories at receiver over the years such as Chastin West, Ty Walker and Darrius Shepherd. But what separates Winfree is he was a former sixth-round pick by Denver. The guy has credentials. The preseason is going to be huge for him.

Marcus from Tofino, Canada

If the Packers go with six WR on the roster, who do you think would make the final spot? Is Devin Funchess a lock or are there some sleepers in camp?

Again, that's where the preseason is going to tell a lot. Funchess looks good but he has to fend off some young, hungry guys at his position. In addition to Winfree, the Packers also return Equanimeous St. Brown and Malik Taylor from last year's 53.

Matt from Bolingbrook, IL

Which position competitions will you be watching the closest in the first preseason game?

Receiver, offensive line, running back and cornerback.

John from Yakima, WA

Currently which five players are first off the bus on game day as intimidation?

Dennis Kelly, Marcedes Lewis, Ben Braden, T.J. Slaton and David Bakhtiari.

Joe from Wauwatosa, WI

Lucas Patrick made a joke in the question video about putting all the slowest guys on a relay team and then having Davante bring up the anchor. Do you think of those three "slow guys" either of you could beat any of them in a foot race?

No chance.

Robert from Wauwatosa, WI

Is it common for offensive players such as Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams to coach defensive players like Stokes or offensive/defensive players coaching each other?

Yeah. I remember Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews doing that all the time with young tackles (including David Bakhtiari). I don't think they're telling them how to play the position or anything, but more just giving their perspective on things and what they're looking for. Bakhtiari does a lot of that, too.

Jim from Tucson, AZ

The peanut gallery objects. Aaron has called Randall Cobb "a dear friend." Sorry folks, friends don't win championships.

So, what do you call Brady and Gronk?

Tom from Sturgeon Bay, WI

II, as a Badger alumnus any good, bad or ugly to report on the two Badgers players? Do either look to stick on the final 53 or practice squad. Go Badgers! Go Pack!

I couldn't give you a scouting report yet on Jon Dietzen. I've only been able to watch one of the developmental periods and have barely seen him practice. Cole Van Lanen has been fine. He's regularly been rotating in at both guard and tackle with the "threes." Like receiver, there's a lot of competition in the O-line room. Yosh Nijman and Dennis Kelly are competing at tackle, and Ben Braden, Jon Runyan, Royce Newman and Jake Hanson have all worked inside.

Dennis from Ottawa, IL

Training camp has hardly started and it seems that we have already had several reserve/retired players. I don't remember that happening in previous years. Is this usual and I didn't notice before, or is something else happening?

It happens. Former Marshall basketball player Michael Clark was a great story in 2017 and then retired before camp in 2018. Cole Madison did the same for a year before returning to the team in 2019. Players have to make the best decision for them and their families. I wish nothing but the best for Simon Stepaniak and Bailey Gaither.

Josh from Nicholasville, KY

No question, but I think "The Janis" is the best accidental nickname of all time. (Unless it was intentional. Then, it's still a great nickname.)

For the record, there was nothing accidental about it. Ask my boss. I threatened to quit if they changed it.

Shane from Dundas, MN

Jeff from Ripon asked about MVP receivers, and I think one was forgotten. While he got it for special teams, Desmond Howard was a Super Bowl MVP.

You guys and your technicalities. The NFL's official Record & Fact Book lists Desmond Howard as a KR-PR because he didn't have a catch in the Super Bowl. So, take it up with the league, not Spoff.

Jeff from Eveleth, MN

Reading one of the articles on the Day 6 practice, David Bakhtiari was quoted, "I'm in the Hutson Center just sipping a martini and relaxing..." When have you ever seen Bakhtiari sip on anything?

Bakhtiari's entire presser, all 21 minutes of it, was just one Easter egg after another. It was glorious.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

There are lots of ways to enjoy being a Packers fan, and it is perfectly fine for you – as the moderators of II – to choose not to dwell on future years' rosters and salary caps. But those who enjoy looking at the team from more of a GM perspective do not need advice from those focused on the present, such as Col from Ludlow, on how to enjoy their fandom. That is not a criticism of Wes, Spoff or Col, but more of an acknowledgement that there are myriad ways for fans to follow the team.

That's totally fair. It's just the wrong way.

Tim from Duluth, MN

Hey Wes. Not a question, just a comment. I loved your response to Katherine from Milwaukee's "How important is the preseason for veteran players?" question. Your response was one of the best analogies ever: "Not very. It's like that gas station hotdog that's been on the roller for an hour too long. Sure, it'll fill you up, but not sure what you get out of it." Keep up the good work. I can't get enough of that kind of stuff.

And we've all been there at 11:15 p.m. You're tired. You're hungry. And there's that dehydrated, stale frankfurter, staring you in the face and shouting, "It's me or the corn nuts, bro. Your choice."

Paul from West Allis, WI

It's said there are two sides to every story. After watching Three Things, I believe this. Somewhere in Wisconsin, there is a cave painting of two figures wrestling while a third (with bent pinky) is shown scaring the bologna out of a bear. The Bears have been chasing the Packers ever since. Proof of the oldest rivalry?

And this is why I love Inbox.

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