Derek from Eau Claire, WI
Was Spoff talking about the Packers or my quest to win Inboxer of the Year? "The same one they've had the last couple of years – embracing the grind. When you're a contender who's fallen short and wants nothing more than another shot, the hardest part is starting over every year and accepting how long the road is just to get back to where you were. If you dread it, you're done in this league."
Chaos is a ladder, my friend. The climb is all there is.
Keith from Dodgeville, WI
Guys, you have said that they key for Sammy Watkins is staying healthy and being able to play in all 13-plus games. How does a player do that? Injures happen or does he need a rabbit's foot?
By controlling what he can control and trusting his training. I really enjoyed Spoff's story on Watkins and our discussion on "Unscripted" this week about the former fourth-overall pick. My argument was, by all intents and purposes, Watkins has had a fine NFL career. He's started 91 games, has 5,000 receiving yards and won a Super Bowl. For some, that would be enough…but Watkins wants more. I respect that. He wants to prove he has so much more to give this game and maximize his prodigious potential. He's in the perfect place to do it.
Andy from Ellsworth, WI
It's difficult to put into words, but they both fascinate me. When explaining his personality Wednesday, Alexander hit it on the head in saying he's an introvert who can be an extrovert. The blend forges a unique personality where he can be very thoughtful and reflective, while having swagger and confidence. Douglas is sort of like that, too. Douglas can be quiet and straight to the point but has some great one-liners. There's no BS with either guy, though. As a writer, it is fun to pull back the layers on the onion and understand the subject on a greater level. I hope that answers your question.
Steve from Decatur, IL
Wes's June 10 article about how money hasn't changed Jaire Alexander hit home for me. I too buy my pants at thrift shops. Most of my clothes, actually. I don't understand why most people buy their clothes new.
I also probably could've just linked to my Alexander story in my previous answer. The young man stays true to himself.
Ryan from Bloomer, WI
I normally don't go anywhere near the click bait stuff, but I felt compelled to listen to Tae in his own words about why he left. I know he said he is not knocking Jordan Love, but how do I interpret the situation to be anything other than that? He has aspirations to do great things. He would not have left for money if he thought JL was the guy to get him there after Rodgers' time. I respect his decision and wish him the best, but I also think it's fair to question if Love can be the man. Movin' on.
You fell in the trap, Ryan. It doesn't matter if you admitted it before stepping in. You still fell for it. The answer to your question is simple – Adams didn't jump into the water to avoid sinking. He left to play alongside the only other established NFL QB he's played with besides Aaron Rodgers – a quarterback who's one of Adams' closest friends and one with whom he could conceivably finish his NFL career. It's taking the bird in the hand over the two in the bush, with Adams knowing he needs to make the most of every game and every season he has left. None of it has anything to do with Jordan Love. It has everything to do with Davante Adams. The next Tom Brady could have been behind Rodgers and I think Adams still would've preferred to play with Carr, a quality QB and known commodity with whom Adams smashed records at Fresno State.
Rich from Caledonia, MI
Nobody can realistically be expected to replace all that Adams did. But if each receiver can carve out a small piece of what he did, it is reasonable to expect that Rodgers can make it work by spreading the wealth. The areas I am most interested in watching are third-and-mid (4-7 yards) and goal-to-go. Matt LaFleur was adept at using motion and scheme to help free Adams in those situations. There is no reason that Sammy Watkins cannot fill that particular void, if he stays healthy.
There's no doubt in my mind Rodgers can spread it out. He has done that many times during his career, including the 2015 season after Jordy Nelson tore his ACL. As I mentioned on Thursday, the challenge for both Rodgers and LaFleur is finding new ways to move the football in third-and-short and fourth-down situations. Everyone knew Adams was getting the ball in those scenarios and rarely could they do anything about it.
Nick from Hamilton, Canada
Looking down the road a bit, it seems to me that this roster is both built to win now, and for the future. Not speculating on "12," but he won't be around forever and when he goes, whoever fills those shoes will take over a team with a good ground game and defense. A young QB will be set up to succeed in GB and not have to helm a sinking ship.
The Packers have invested a lot of time, money and resources into building this thing into a Broadway play, not a one-act show at your local community theater. Aaron Rodgers is the star attraction but Alexander, Kenny Clark, David Bakhtiari and Aaron Jones have all received major deals in recent years because they're viewed among the best of their respective positions, too. There also are several young guys, including Rashan Gary and Elgton Jenkins, who are well on their way to elite status.
Dave from Sparta, WI
Which position group do you feel is the strongest to start the season? At the midpoint? And, to close the regular season out? Let's assume no major injuries, expected injured players to return appropriately, and typical player growth or progression. Excluding QBs also.
There are so many to choose from. I'll go with running back to start out and cornerback at midseason. By the end of the year, I'm torn between picking defensive line and inside linebacker. I feel like both will be in prime position for a late-season push.
John from Palmdale, CA
Thanks again for all the things you do for us, especially during these down times. Thought for the day: Calling AJ Dillon the Quadfather is misleading, clearly the man is sporting a set of Octraceps.
AJ Dillon is just built different. There's really nothing else to say, though I did make a remark to Spoff Wednesday that one of Dillon's quads may be greater in circumference than my waist.
The Green Bay Packers held their first practice of minicamp at Ray Nitschke Field on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.
Rachel from Hayward, WI
Regarding mandatory minicamp, is it still mandatory for Allen Lazard even though he hasn't signed his contract yet?
No, because he technically doesn't have a contract right now.
Greg from Myrtle Beach, SC
This one is for Spoff (Wes may not relate.): NO BAR? At the hottest game – the "2016 Jacksonville starter." OUCH.
On that day, even I would've gladly been in the bar if one was made available to me.
Jason from Austin, TX
Insiders, all teams put the green dot headset helmet on the quarterback and most teams put the helmet on the linebacker on the defensive side of the ball. If you could add another position on each side of the ball to wear a green dot helmet, which would you choose? It could be nice for the center to have some communication from a coach upstairs who could give him overhead perspective. Or for the RB to see where the blitz might come.
Receiver might be interesting.
Dwight from Brooklyn, NY
Every year there's a change in the rulebook. For the upcoming season, which are the most significant changes? And, if you could, which rule would you change/implement?
There really aren't many changes this year other than both teams get the opportunity to possess the ball now in overtime during the playoffs. Oh, and the competition committee also made permanent the change to the free-kick formation and "setup zone." The only change I'd make is to require NFL teams to play no more than 16 regular-season games.
Joe from Wausau, WI
When you guys are doing "Packers Unscripted," what are you looking at on your Microsoft Surface? (shameless plug) 1919 Kitchen & Tap menu? (shameless plug) Sale items at Packer Pro Shop? (Okay, I'll stop).
Spoff and I play Words with Friends (shameless plug).
James from Chicago, IL
Mike, Bears game at Soldier Field in 2007, I was part of the on-field security team during that game and I concur with your assessment about the cold and the wind. It was awful. The field was like concrete and no amount of clothing kept that wind at bay and the Packers lost. The only thing that made any fun at all was a fan got onto the field and we got run him down and drag him off. So, one thing I can brag about in my life, I was on the field, during a game with the great Brett Favre.
I have to correct you on one thing, though. You have it turned around. Brett Favre can brag he was on the field during a game with the great James from Chicago.
Roger from Lakewood Ranch, FL
Good morning, Wes. Now that there is a big lull until training camp starts, what will you and Mike be up to? Any family vacation plans? (Assuming you both have personal time to use up before swinging into the grind ahead of you.)
Nothing major. My family and I are pretty lowkey people, especially since COVID hit. I'm going golfing at the end of next week, have a small vacation planned during the week of Outsider Inbox and then probably a few day trips in July. It's mostly just recharging the batteries for another season.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Wes, when you receive questions from Inboxers, do you develop mental pictures of what these individuals are like? When you meet one of your devoted fans, are you ever surprised the person is shorter, taller, less blond, more bearded...than you expected?
I don't really think about it, but after meeting Derek, Margo and a few other II loyalists over the years, it is easy to now picture them behind their keyboards and tablets.
Lynn from Somers, WI
Weston, on this very special day in Packers lore, please allow me to be the first to send many happy birthday wishes to a special Green Bay Packers fellow who was born on this very day: Ryan from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Oh yeah, and heaven is throwing a party for Vince Lombardi, too. (I share my birthday with Greg Jennings.)
Happy birthday, Ryan…and Vince.
Tom from Platteville Township, WI
Wes's autobiography could be titled "Stranger Than Fiction," subtitled "The True Life Story of the Exception to the Rule" by Weston Hodkiewicz. I'd buy a book…or two. As a fellow aficionado of root beer (1919 on tap) who does not imbibe, I can identify with him. I do not share his cheese displeasure and inquire if he has tried the Havarti varieties from Decatur Dairy in Green Co. outside of Brodhead? Appreciate all the "II" team does. Thanks. GPG!
The book writes itself…and will be flying off the shelves (and into the clearance section).
Sam from Germantown, WI
Wes may be an anomaly, but he's our anomaly, and we appreciate him just as much as our less-anomalous Spoff.
Have a great weekend, everyone.