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Inbox: He’s positioned to have a career-defining year

LB Blake Martinez
LB Blake Martinez

John from Onalaska, WI

I think the Raiders had to be the obvious choice for “Hard Knocks” this year given the personalities on that team. But I'm just excited to watch it for their preseason game against the Packers. I want to challenge you guys to find a way to get yourselves in front of one of those HBO cameras and get yourself on the show.

I’ll be the reporter with “Hi Mom” written in Sharpie on my forehead. Good morning!

Ivan from Garden Grove, CA

Who is going to be the RB starter this year?

Aaron Jones took the first snap with the starters during the six offseason practices open to the media, but we’ll have to see how training camp unfolds. Regardless, it won’t be a one-person job. Jamaal Williams and whoever fills that No. 3 job will be a part of the plan, as well. The Packers want to be multiple.

James from Murfreesboro, TN

How many running backs will the Pack keep this year?

I have no earthly idea. Dexter Williams caught my eye this offseason, and Danny Vitale seems like an ideal fit for Matt LaFleur’s offense. I know this much – my eyes will be glued to the field watching all of those guys in the preseason.

Alex from Winter Haven, FL

Insiders, at what point do we stop calling our three receivers who were drafted last year rookies?

I turn the page to the new season on opening day of free agency.

Chris from Woodbury, MN

Since Charles "Peanut" Tillman was brought up in Friday's Inbox, I would love to hear who else could emerge as the "puncher" of the football on this defense? Blake Martinez is definitely someone who leads by example, and is considered a leader of our defense. However, he rarely forces fumbles/turnovers. Is this something he is trying to improve on?

That’s what Martinez must do to bring his game to the next level. He’s talked about his desire to generate more takeaways in 2019. His new position coach, Kirk Olivadotti, believes that’ll come with Martinez mastering the defense and getting a step or two ahead of plays. He’s positioned to have a career-defining year with the work he put in this offseason.

Dave from Tomah, WI

So much is made about players’ abilities but very little about the coach behind those players, especially position coaches. I remember the days of Kevin Greene and now Mike Smith and I see a strong resemblance. The results will prove the coaching element if our OLBs have a breakout year.

I didn’t know much about Smith before he came to Green Bay, but he strikes me as someone guys want to play for. That was part of Greene’s charm, too. Greene is a Hall of Fame player, but what separated him as a coach was his connection to his players.

Sean from Suamico, WI

With the recent addition of another tight end through waivers, how many TEs do you see making the final roster? There seems to be at least four solid TEs plus others with potential.

The addition of Pharaoh McKever is a response to Davis Koppenhaver’s retirement and Marcedes Lewis missing minicamp due to his requirements at UCLA. It is possible, though, Green Bay keeps four again like it did last year with Jace Sternberger and Robert Tonyan developing behind the vets.

Stephen from Palos Park, IL

Do you think the Packers did enough to get Aaron Rodgers better protection in the offseason? Yes or no, why or why not? I don’t think they did, how about you?

I think the Packers did enough. They filled a hole at right guard with Billy Turner, who doubles as a backup tackle. There’s also a competition behind the starters with Elgton Jenkins, Cole Madison, Lucas Patrick, Justin McCray, Jason Spriggs, Alex Light and the list goes on. On paper, this is the deepest the Packers have been through their first- and second-team units during my time on the beat.

Blake from Orlando, FL

Short-area quickness safe to say is a need to be a good slot receiver. I would also say being a great route runner is more important in the slot than the perimeter in our new offensive scheme. If that is true, who is the best route runner of the young receivers after Adams?

I’d say it’s probably Allison right now based on what I’ve seen over the past three years. As far as the returning draft picks, St. Brown really impressed me with how he played in Cobb’s stead late last year.

Jack from Edinburgh, Scotland

With a crowded safety room and a talented crop of young defensive backs, do you think it’s possible Tramon Williams gets cut? Or is his contract such you don’t see the Packers absorbing the dead money? Could be his play doesn’t justify getting cut either, but it is a young man’s game.

I have a story running next week about five things we learned this offseason. Spoiler alert: One of the five topics is Tramon Williams isn’t going anywhere. The guy knows every position in the secondary, and more importantly, he can still play. More on that next week.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

With all the talk about the defense being surprisingly ahead of the offense this early, isn't that the way it usually is? In the past, I thought I always heard that it took the offense a little longer to get coordinated with each other to work together as a unit than it did for the defense?

To some extent. The defense forced several three-and-outs in team periods this spring. I don’t recall seeing that very often in the past. It is somewhat expected for the defense to be ahead with most of the defensive starters now engrained in Mike Pettine’s scheme for a second year and the offense still getting adjusted to LaFleur’s.

Paul from Ellensburg, WA

Hey fellas, I think it’s funny how much the media is making of the lack or the perceived lack of depth at WR behind Davante. Do they remember when Rodgers took a playoff game into overtime without his top three receivers? For me, the difference last year was that the depth was all rookies with typical mistakes/issues. They’re not rookies anymore...

And I’ll always take young receivers who make a few mistakes than a veteran off the street whose best days are behind him. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, St. Brown and J’Mon Moore will all be better for what happened in 2018.

Lucas from Stevens Point, WI

With Teo Redding wearing No. 88 this year, are we going to see him lined up in the backfield at all? #AhhhTheDeadZone

Don’t sleep on Redding. He has some burst to his game and will have the chance to show it this summer, especially on returns and special teams.

Jim from Tucson, AZ

I think we managed to go through the entire OTA season without mentioning the backup quarterbacks. Tim Boyle or DeShone Kizer was never, or seldom, mentioned. This lack of mention of a good performance by either, and the presence of several veterans still available on the free-agent market, tells me that there is a good possibility that our backup quarterback is not currently on the team. Am I missing something?

I think the backup QB is on the roster, but it’ll be crucial for both players to take a step with the offense when the Packers reconvene. I didn’t draw many conclusions from OTAs and minicamp for that position, though, because Kizer and Boyle only took a handful of snaps. The real test comes in July and August.

Anders from Kinna, Sweden

Hey Insiders! I heard Mike Silver address something the other day. He was talking about how in Coach LaFleur’s system there’s not much along the lines of checking off at the line, and no real opportunity for audibles, something that Rodgers can do and does well (and that can’t be said about that many QBs in the NFL today). Do you think LaFleur wants to try and retain this ability? And somehow expand his system to accommodate some audibility in there? Or are A-Rod’s checks at the line of scrimmage over?

LaFleur tackled this topic earlier this offseason. Rodgers will still have the authority to make checks at the line. LaFleur just wants to hone the communication and make sure Rodgers is confident in the menu of plays in the game plan. Rodgers is one of the brightest QBs in NFL history. At the end of the day, who doesn’t want that guy getting the offense in the best possible play?

Wayne from Green Bay, WI

So much is constantly made about the receivers being on the same page with Rodgers and doing exactly what he wants. I don't remember this much talk about chemistry with Favre. From 1994-1996, he had three straight years with a different No. 1 and we won a SB with his first TD going to a guy who was only with the team for a few months. Favre turned Bill Schroeder into a 1,000-yard receiver. Can you explain?

Evolution, plain and simple. It’s a lot more difficult for a receiver to come off the street and jump into an offense like Green Bay’s than it was 23 years ago. The introduction of no-huddle offenses and run-pass options have altered the landscape for quarterbacks and skill-position players. Checks and audibles within routes are common now, depending on what the defense is showing.

Casey from Kansas City, MO

Any merit to the idea that a player can only account for X percent of the salary cap? The only position it would negatively affect would be quarterback. It would raise the value of all the other positions including the players at the bottom of the roster. Owners would still pay out the same, many players would make more money, and it would allow teams to have more "star" players.

This would never fly because you can’t put a ceiling on what a veteran can make. The NFLPA would never allow it. There also isn’t a need for this type of measure because the cap has steadily increased in $10 million increments each year. Rodgers is one of the highest-paid players in the league, but the Packers are in good standing with the cap because they were smart about it.

Caleb from Milwaukee, WI

Do you anticipate Gute using the leftover cap to get a one-year veteran deal with maybe a WR or safety?

Just because you have money in your bank account doesn’t mean you need to spend it, Caleb. That’s how you stay in good standing with the salary cap – and with your checkbook.

Marlon from Eagle River, WI

If he stays healthy, does Aaron Rodgers have the ability to pass Drew Brees in passing yardage?

Rodgers is trailing Brees by nearly 30,000 yards at the moment. With Rodgers five years Brees’ junior, the Saints quarterback would need to retire soon for it to be realistic.

Packers players have six weeks off until the start of training camp July 25

Joshua from Fremont, WI

Wasn't Mark Chmura a three-time Pro Bowler?

He was, but what does that have to do with being a first-team All-Pro?

Rick from Beloit, WI

My question is, "If the playing schedule ain't broke, why do so many seem intent on fixing it?" I agree with Wes. Sixteen regular-season games is just right. Try to squeeze in more and you have even more injuries, more marquee players unavailable for postseason games. Since I started following packers.com, I try not to miss seeing preseason games. I become familiar with new faces on the team and want to see how they perform in a game. The whole process has become much more interesting.

Let’s say it goes to 18 regular-season games. So when does the regular season start? Mid-August? No, thank you. If you keep Week 1 after Labor Day, then the regular season is now leaking into mid-January? So, when’s the Super Bowl? February 24? The preseason is the perfect lead-in to the regular season. It allows people to enjoy the last few weekends of their summer, too.

Bill from Eagle Lake, MN

I have a $50 bet with my brother, who is a Packer shareholder, that there will be a dome on Lambeau by 2031. He is steadfast against this. My logic is that the NFL will expand to an 18-game, 20-week season that will run from September through January. The playoffs will be held in February. This schedule dovetails with prime TV viewing in this country. Packers will be against this but will be dragged into this schedule by 31 owners who agree enough is never enough.

You might as well pay your brother now. There’s a better chance the Packers relocate to another city than a dome ever being placed on Lambeau.

Dave from East Burke, VT

Interesting discussion about the Blues winning so many road games to win the Stanley Cup. And now, of course, the Raptors did the same thing! Seems very unusual. Any explanation for why this might be happening now?

I have no idea how the Blues won the Stanley Cup, but Golden State lost two of its top three players. I’d say the Toronto Drakes caught the Warriors at a good time.

Rob from Aiken, SC

If you inherited $300 million, but had to spend $30 million in 30 days to get it, how would you do it? The catch is at the end of the 30 days you could own nothing of value. You cannot give it away nor donate it. There is a wimp-clause where you could pass and get $1 million.

By doing the same thing Brewster did…adjusted for inflation, of course.

Sheila from Denver, CO

Will there be dates during the July training camp that will be open to the public? What are these if you know? If you don't know, how can I find it out or where and when would they be posted? Thanks for your help.

It’ll be announced soon here on packers.com.

Jeff from Fayetteville, NC

Six weeks!? Really? Give Vic a call and see if he can suit up and come in off the bench.

Gosh, what Spoff and I would do for someone to handle Inbox between the end of minicamp and training camp.

Zach from Stevens Point, WI

What are your plans for your time off? Wisconsin Dells with the family? Golf? Fishing?

This is actually my last Inbox for one week. My nephew graduated from fifth grade on Thursday, so I’m flying out Monday to join the rest of my family in California. We’re heading to Disneyland for the opening of “Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.” My nephews and niece are excited. Have a great week, everyone. Be kind to Spoff.

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