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Inbox: He's one of the game's very best

Brian Gutekunst won’t neglect an opportunity to improve the overall depth of the Packers’ roster


Darren from Wakefield, MI

Hi Wes, in Tuesday's Inbox you started a response with…if my math is correct... I'm not the accountant, though curious if a quarter went in the jug? It is kind of sad the busiest II days are after a loss and brings out more "Negative Nellies." I say we collectively try to change that.

Good luck with that, my friend.

Steve from Phoenix, AZ

The draft brings excitement with new players and anticipated second-year jumps, but I am particularly excited to watch a healthy Jaire Alexander this year. It seems that since the coin-flip silliness, he has done everything right and is ready for serious football. I think we may see him reach another level in Jeff Hafley's system, which would be saying something!

Seeing Ja smile made me smile. Again, Alexander could not have handled the fallout from Carolina last year any better than he did. I felt like he was back to his All-Pro form in the playoffs. When healthy, there's nobody quite like Alexander at cornerback. He's one of the game's very best. That hasn't changed…and this defense needs him to achieve what it hopes to achieve under Hafley.

William from Newburgh, IN

In regard to Alexander showing up, it could be money but my feeling is it's a super-pro wanting to jump feet first into our new defensive scheme.

I don't want to speculate or speak for Alexander, and I'm sure he'll be asked that question six ways to Sunday the next time he addresses the media, but the guy loves football more than anything else. There's fire burning inside that young man that few truly understand. Simply put, Alexander takes pride in the product he puts on the field.

Matthew from Clarkston, MI

Mike's response about Jaire and Christian Watson's media access days was interesting to me. As part of the Packers' media team, I would assume you both have better relationships with the players and coaches than national media. Is all media restricted from discussions with players, coaches, etc., outside of media access time slots? Can you utilize your relationship with players to ask questions outside of normal media access?

I'd like to think Spoff and I both have pretty good relationships with players but we also know there's a time and place for the conversations you outline. What's more, do you have any idea what the outside response would be if Spoff and I got free rein of the locker room to conduct interviews and write stories before an official media availability was held?

Joe from Hampshire, IL

Wes, your position article on receiver and tight end highlights talent and depth. Many Packers fans may pontificate about positions to not draft high in 2024, like the person on Wednesday theorizing edge is off the table. As Gutey says, we cannot predict our needs in a few months or seasons, and injuries happen. If you have the chance to improve the positional-talent level, you take the player, or another team will.

Brian Gutekunst won't neglect an opportunity to improve the overall depth of the Packers' roster, especially as the draft moves along. I feel like that's what he did in 2022 when the Packers drafted Rasheed Walker in the seventh round and again last year with Carrington Valentine. Neither was a huge position of need. One might have even wondered if there would be room for either guy on the 53-man roster at the time. However, Green Bay saw value where it was picking. Turns out, both players proved essential due to injuries at their respective positions.


2024 Prospect Primers

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, do the Packers have too many valuable pass-catchers with inexpensive contracts? What a great problem to have!

I would never say such a thing, Lori. But Green Bay is in an interesting spot with its most veteran pass-catchers still two years away from free agency. Watson and Romeo Doubs aren't even eligible for an extension until after this year.

Doug from Onalaska, WI

Somewhere, I read/heard that the sweet spot in this draft is from Round 2 through early-Round 4. If we were to move up in Round 1, it will take one or two of the picks we have on Day 2. To replace those picks, is it likely that can be achieved with our numerous sixth- and seventh-round picks, or do many teams not attach much value to them?

The late-Day 3 picks don't carry nearly as much value as the Day 2 selections. Listen, I don't know what Gutekunst is gonna do next week. I've just covered enough of his drafts to know he'll likely do something.

Josh from Napoleon, OH

I am surprised Kenny Clark isn't the youngest player on the team. Wasn't he drafted at like 12? It sure does seem like he hasn't aged and am glad he is still representing the Green and Gold!

Listening to Mike Daniels talk about 20-year-old Kenny Clark during the Tailgate Tour sendoff sure made me feel like the old man at the end of the bar.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

One week to go before the draft! The Packers are putting together a hell of an offseason already and this draft could be the ultimate cherry on top. It's interesting, for the latter half of AR12's tenure the fanbase would clamor for an immediate impact player as opposed to a developmental prospect. One would think that early in JL10's career we might see more acceptance of growth and development. But after that sizzling second half the Super Bowl window is wide open again. Football is funny.

I get it's tough for fans to be patient. They're investing time, money and effort into their football team and want to see a winner. I know Spoff has probably tossed a water bottle or two after a Brewers loss over the years. My only issue is when draft picks are clearly long-term investments (e.g. Rashan Gary, Jordan Love and Lukas Van Ness) and fans bemoan Year 1 production. In those instances, you must look at progress more than just the numbers. Gary and Love both got there, and I feel like Van Ness was getting there, too, by year's end. Just give the Polaroid a second to gather the image.

Steve from Colorado Springs, CO

I was surprised to hear that the most II submissions are always after a loss. It has to be hard to provide measured replies when you are dealing with your own game frustrations. We owe you two a debt of gratitude beyond sportswriter praise. I know I have to wait for the emotion to die down in me before I write, so thanks again guys for all you do. As an actor president once said, after all there is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit.

Spoff wins the pony for that one. He takes the full brunt of it after games. I just have to deal with the backlash a day later.

Donna from Darien, WI

I noticed in the photo gallery of Monday's offseason workout program a picture of Kingsley Enagbare looking like he was running at full strength. How is that possible after the injury he suffered at the end of last season? Or were my eyes playing tricks on me?

I'd caution against framing expectations off a couple workout photos, but it is great to see Enagbare out there. He was moving around well after the season, to the point I wondered if he'd even torn the ACL (Enagbare confirmed to Bill Huber during final locker room that he did). So Enagbare remains on the comeback trail. Hopefully, it's the smoothest trip possible.

Dave from Apache Junction, AZ

Regarding Watson's hamstring rehab, what would the medical professionals in Madison know that the professionals in Green Bay wouldn't know? It would seem that if a rehab strategy is available, the sports world would know about it.

The Packers are utilizing a resource made available to them through the NFL's partnership with Badger Athletic Performance, which received a four-year, $4 million grant from the league in 2021 to study hamstring injuries. It's part of the league's multi-year effort to better understand and prevent lower extremity injuries, including soft-tissue strains.

Edward from Canton, SD

With the Packers facing the originators of the "tush push" in the 2024 opener, it is time to make some changes, as the "Love shove" had at least two failures late last year. My suggestion: Have AJ Dillon or our largest tight end get the center snap, and two reserve linemen push him across the first-down line. Thoughts?

All this April talk of tush-pushin' and Love-shovin'. Just remember the goal-line shove isn't always done from the huddle. Many times, the offense rushes to the line of scrimmage and quickly pushes for that extra yard with the personnel it already has on the field. If you make a substitution, you're allowing the opponent to match personnel.

Gregg from Arlington Heights, IL

'Tis the season of hope. And I hope moving Zach Tom to center is a smokescreen. Viewing Prospect Primers should be mandatory for all II readers and for everyone under the sun. In a way, the Primers remind me of the Christmas calendars we taped to our refrigerators when we were kids. Each morning a door was opened, a surprise was revealed, excitement grew, and the month grew shorter. Sounds a lot like how the Prospect Primers affect us, doesn't it?

Spoff also has been around the draft block a time or two. He does a great job of building to a crescendo with the most popular names coming closest to the draft.

Nhoj from Windsor, WI

Do you think playing in South America will be an easier transition back compared to Europe? You mentioned jet lag, but it's only a two-hour time difference. I know it's still a long flight and weekend.

I would hope the long weekend and two-hour difference will make for a smoother transition than the 2022 trip to London. But we won't know until we know and even then, we might not know.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Wes, just one week until the draft! We know there are at least a dozen players that have no chance of falling to Green Bay's selection No. 25. Of those prospects ranked somewhere between 13 and 20 on most mock boards, which one or two do you really hope are still on the board at No. 25?

First, it was wonderful to meet you in-person last week, Al. Second, ask me that again early next week. As soon as I wrap up my portion of the position series, I'll start sinking my teeth into which prospects the Packers probably won't take at No. 25.

Scott from Palos Park, IL

Will a new DC with a new defensive philosophy alter the Packers' draft board? The PP for Edgerrin Cooper mentioned that he has "been knocked for playing so fast he's out of control at times." Does a more aggressive style of defense help move Cooper up the board?

I'm having a tough time figuring out where Cooper is gonna land. Spoff and I even discussed it on Tuesday. Daniel Jeremiah has Cooper at No. 26 on his board. Others project him in the 40s or even 50s. I'm no scout, but I love Cooper's playstyle and ability to shoot the gap. I think he'd be a dynamite pickup for Green Bay.

Kirsten from Madison, WI

Do division rivals' draft-day moves affect the Packers' decisions? I know, I know...BAP. But say that, hypothetically heading into the draft, the Packers thought the offensive line was sufficient, if not exactly stellar, and the team really wanted to focus on defense. But then Minnesota selects an elite pass rusher. Does that change the Packers' calculation?

You can't be playing catchup with draft picks. Draft night is not the time for retaliation to a division rival picking a player who might not pan out. Teams have to trust their board.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

I'm in Duluth this week. The wind was so strong it tipped over a semi-truck on the bridge that connects Duluth and Superior. How would you like to play a football game in that?

Hopefully, everyone is OK. I've driven on that bridge a few times. I couldn't find an "official" windiest Packers game ever, but the Halloween 1994 matchup with the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field has gotta up there. Green Bay prevailed 33-6 in a rain-soaked contest in which wind gusts were in excess of 60 mph.

Dan from Catonsville, MD

Hi Mike/Wes: The question of sitting or standing while watching the Packers play at Lambeau came up in Tuesday's Inbox. I have to confess. I went to the KC game at Lambeau Field last season and stood the entire game! It was the most intense game I have ever watched in-person. I was not alone, 95% of the crowd also stood through the entire game! I think we all knew what the game meant to the Packers. For me, it is my only way to release nervous energy. Just saying! What's my penance?

Nothing. I'm glad you stood for the full duration. I wish more Packers fans would. I was only offering a compromise to the 60-minute sitters.

Brandon from, GA

A Packers game in the Roman Colosseum would give the record books a run for their money, eh?

The grounds crew, too.

Josh from Playa Majagual, Nicaragua

It's the offseason so maybe this non-football related question will slip through the cracks. What is your favorite vacation destination? Most exotic? As a future resort owner on the most beautiful beach in the world, if you come visit me, I promise to personally hand you an Inbox submission so you can put the whole trip on your expense account.

Spoff may bite on that invite. My dream vacation is the Maldives. My favorite family vacation is Florida. My favorite Wes vacation is Vegas (baby, Vegas).

Zane from Jacksonville, FL

There were some really good draft questions in yesterday's Inbox. On a more personal note, do you guys have any yearly draft night traditions? Favorite snacks?

I watch "Draft Day" the night before and stop by Luna Café in De Pere for coffee the morning of. I typically have a bag of Nerds Gummy Clusters in my backpack (thanks for that, Kelsey Tehan) but I'm training for the last Green Bay Half Marathon this year so it may just be apple slices.

Hugh from State College, PA

Tim from Allouez has a good point on the reverse on the ball the southern hemisphere. What people tend to forget is the receiver of the ball is also reversed. So, it all works out. The tricks of the trade as they say. Sorry just had to inform people of this…OK, maybe not. Lol.

I was told there would be no physics.

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