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Inbox: He's one of the best at what he does

There’s no question the Packers are a worldwide team

DL Kenny Clark

Jeremiah from Denver, CO

Assuming Aaron Jonescontinues to evolve and stay healthy, how does Matt LaFleur manage his stable RBs? Do you think Jones gets bell-cow duties and does him being in a contract year influence anything with how he's used? Is there a forgotten back in the mix, maybe Dexter Williams, who will surprise everyone?

I see Jones becoming a featured player on offense; a true weapon who can line up in the backfield, motion out as a receiver and perhaps even line up in the slot here and there. I've been banging the drum all offseason for the Packers to get two (or more) running backs on the field at the same time and Jones' versatility is a big reason for that. If you call that a "bell cow," then OK.

Jamey from St. Croix, USVI

Hi. Good morning. There's been a fair amount of discussion regarding rookies acclimating to the NFL without the benefit or OTAs or preseason games. Would you also anticipate some kind of learning curve for Christian Kirksey calling defensive formations?

Not much. He already has experience playing for Mike Pettine and had an entire offseason to get comfortable with the defensive calls. There won't be any preseason games but a proper training camp will be required for NFL to get to a regular season, so I expect Kirksey will get the on-field reps he requires. He's a seventh-year veteran. He's a pro.

Matt from Sioux Falls, SD

While I truly hope they got it right with Jordan Love but how big of a setback would it be to miss on Love? How long would it take the Pack to recover from the missed opportunity?

Not long. I mean they still have one of the league's best quarterbacks. Plus, Derek Sherrod, Nick Perry and Datone Jones never went to a Pro Bowl and the Packers were still arguably the league's best team from 2011-14. You just need to make up for it with middle-round picks (e.g. David Bakhtiari and Mike Daniels) or free agency (Julius Peppers).

Tony from Marinette, WI

I liked the growth our D showed last year with Preston Smith, Za'Darius Smith and Adrian Amos coming in. As well as the growth of young guys such as Jaire Alexander, Kenny Clark and Darnell Savage. But I'm concerned we haven't done enough to shore up that run D that got gashed by the 49ers. I was hoping for an added big body that could be a NT type of plug in the Ryan Pickett mold. Do we have anyone on our roster that could play that roll and do you think that the Packers will regret not having added another D-line option?

There isn't a guy like Pickett on this roster. The Packers moved in a different direction with their nose tackles seven years ago and haven't looked back. So Kingsley Keke and Treyvon Hester are two guys I feel will push that position this summer. Green Bay needs more competition on the defensive line to deep that rotation. Kenny Clark is one of the best in the business but I don't know if it's in the best interest of the defense for him to play 80% of the snaps every year. The D-line needs to step up and lessen that load.

Christopher from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

I think the Packers' tight ends could make a big leap this year. I think there is some talent; just not a lot of opportunity last year. I think Jace Sternberger will be a bigger weapon then people think. Do you see any other big jumps in the position?

I think Robert Tonyan reminds everyone he's still a part of this discussion at tight end.

Brian from Twain Harte, CA

As I reside outside of the Packers' local broadcast area, I typically venture to a local watering hole to watch Packers games. With the bars being closed due to Covid-19, I will not be able to watch a lot of the Packer games this season. I am hoping that streams more games this season for general viewing or allows another website to do so. What say you?

That seems like a great idea but again I'm not a broadcast expert. I don't know how those contracts work. To the novice's eye, it seems like everything the NFL is doing is to make sure it fulfills its broadcast agreements right now – not stacking more on the pile. But here's hoping you get to watch every game this year.

Shilo from Murrieta, CA

If there's only five refs on the field, do you think the league might reconsider a sky judge for this season? The league will have to move fast, but if they don't and ref crews are short-staffed, they're just begging for another 2012-like referee disaster. I'm praying Hail Marys for no Fail Marys this year!

You'd need to have some type of oversight to help officials, whether it's a sky judge or someone in the New York office. The game is too fast to expect five referees to see everything with any consistency.

Patrick from La Crosse, WI

Insiders, Tyreek Hill is eyeing seven Super Bowls for the Chiefs to match Jordan. I think the Packers should also put their aim on seven Super Bowls as a goal, am I right? Seven is the key number here. Think about it. Seven-Elevens. Seven dwarves. Seven, man, that's the number. Seven chipmunks twirlin' on a branch, eatin' lots of sunflowers on my uncle's ranch. You know that old children's tale from the sea. It's like we're dreamin' about Gorgonzola cheese when it's clearly Brie time. We need to get our priorities right.

It's so hard to win one in the NFL – let alone seven. There are so many more players and variables than the NBA. If I'm KC, I have my eye on going back-to-back this year and then getting that three-peat that's eluded teams in the modern NFL.

Sal from Hailey, ID

I've heard a number of times that this should be the healthiest group coming into the season (with the looming exception of COVID threat). Is it just that fewer pads-on practices and no pre-season will mean fewer Jordy's ACL-type injuries? Or does it involve a longer rest period being better for bodies? I'd love to repeat the sports med magic of the 2019 season.

Just wear and tear on the body. I think most NFL teams average two ACL tears throughout the course of the offseason program and training camp. So keeping guys healthy for as long as possible is the only silver-lining I can find in all this madness.

Mike from Ames, IA

Putting together all the pieces of info from this week: The 90-man roster will be cut to 80 before camp, then down to 53 but with a 16-man practice squad added after for a total of 69. Does the bigger practice squad/smaller amount of outright cuts make the competition any different in your eyes?

I don't think so. The stakes largely remain the same – a player on the active roster makes roughly four times that of a practice-squad player. More guys will get to stick around, which is positive, but the 53 is still the 53.

TK from Grafton, WI

Every year there are players "on the bubble," right at the edge of making the roster/practice squad or being sent home. Does there seem to be one common trait that most often accounts for a player making the cut vs. not?

How much does the team have invested into the player? In many cases, the tie goes to the draft pick.

Rob from New York, NY

Watching baseball opening day, I saw the ESPN commentators were calling the game from a studio rather than traveling to the site of the game. Mike/Wes, do you see a scenario where at certain stadiums, the only media presence at the game is a skeleton camera crew, and you end up reporting on games from the TV broadcast?

Rob, I have asked myself this same question 100 times over the last four months and there has been no catharsis. I could see a thousand different scenarios playing out and I'm prepared for anything. I just want to do my job in a safe and efficient manner. It would be my preference to cover the game in-person, though.

George from North Mankato, MN

The list of potential 'international partners' made me smile. I can't be the only one who would love to partner with Ireland to see the tailgating and pregame parties that could occur when Packers backers and Sconnies travel to the Emerald Isle.

The UK and Irish Packers fan club is fantastic. Stephen and Ryan are great guys and do a great job bringing international fans together. I also gotta give a shout out to the Packers fan groups in Italy and Brazil. There's no question the Packers are a worldwide team.

Robert from Harris, MN

When I heard Washington Football Team, my first thought went right where Wes' did. It should be the Washington Football Club. Not only does it roll off the tongue much better, but it also is kind of a throwback thing. Kind of a nice place to be when you are trying to hit a reset button.

If you're not going to have a name for 2020, I think 'Football Club' would be awesome. A name like that can stand on its own. Seeing the "Washington Football Team" Twitter handle made me cringe. Why not "Washington TBD" then?

Aaron from Scottsdale, AZ

What if you aren't the one who gets to call the coin toss?

Then you better get your finger-pointing finger ready.

Rick from Des Moines, IA

Only an observation, the winners of NBA, NHL and MLB should not have any blemish on the title. To come back from COVID, with all the obstacles play and hoping to finish with a title, will be talked about forever. The players will be telling their kids and grandkids about this for years of how they played through the toughest of conditions during a horrible pandemic. Keep up the great work. Good luck to the NFL and go packers.

A title is a title. I'll continue to say that. If the Bucks win this year, Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin will be over the moon. I don't expect to hear much complaining from players or fans about being the champion of the "COVID" year.

Dale from New Holstein, WI

Looking at changes in sports, what are your thoughts on WIAA plan for fall sports?

I think the WIAA is making the best of a bad situation and acknowledging there's still a lot it doesn't know. I have some real concerns about teenagers playing sports without adequate testing and social-distancing protocols but I know there's pressure to allow kids to play. I liked the idea of differentiating low-risk sports from high risk, and possibly eliminating formal state championships for fall sports. I don't want to turn this into a political debate but for any anti-mask folks out there, this is probably our last shot to get a hold of this thing before high-school sports get going. However you feel about masks personally, I'm telling you there has to be a certain level of confidence in schools safely returning to session for sports to happen. If not, then it's going to get shut down again like it did in the spring. That's not an opinion. That's based on what I'm already hearing in regards to how schools are handling COVID-19 cases that pop up during summer workouts.

Matt from La Crosse, WI

Which sports talk shows do you people tend to watch? If you watch at all. May I recommend McAfee and Hawk, featuring former Green Bay Packers Linebacker A.J. Hawk and the Indianapolis Colts former punter Pat McAfee.

Nothing against McAfee, but I don't watch or listen to a single sports talk show unless Matt Schneidman texts me that there's something compelling I need to hear.

Scott from Noblesville, IN

Do you believe most teams will keep three "extra" specialists among their sixteen practice squad players? A Mason Crosby midseason coronavirus, could be as devastating to us as about any position player. Is it too easy for us fans to just say, "add three spots to the practice squad," of each team?

No. I'll go back to something Tim Masthay told me a long time ago – there's no playbook for a specialist to learn. So there's no real need to keep an extra one on the roster unless it's someone you feel strongly about developing personally. If God forbid something happens to a specialist, the Packers will have their rolodex ready just like it did when JK Scott and his wife were awaiting the birth of their child in 2018.

Justin from Trabuco Canyon, CA

DCFC. 'Nuff said.

Ohhhhhh, I like that.

Ben from Spokane, WA

Spoff, Vampire Weekend has a song called "Oxford Comma." I just thought you should know. Have a great day.

Great band.

Phil from Marietta, GA

This will even the score and provide proof: The Astros say that knowing what pitch was coming didn't really give them an advantage. So this year the Astros' catcher needs to tell the batter (and umpire for verification) whether the upcoming pitch is a fastball or breaking pitch. Let's see how THAT works for them...


Ben from Menomonee Falls, WI

So obviously after having two of my questions posted this week (thank you guys by the way. Made my week), I am not banned. I do wonder, how does one go about being placed on the "banned" list?

I could tell you…but then I'd have to ban you. Have a good weekend.