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Inbox: He’s ready to open some eyes

LB Oren Burks
LB Oren Burks

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Wes, have you ever played racquetball with Mike? I'm curious whether his experience or your youth (and athleticism?) would prevail.

I’ve heard stories about Spoff’s racquetball games. I don’t have the right constitution to play in that environment. Weak knees. Good morning!

Mike from Somerset, WI

Wes, Davante Adams is at 39 touchdowns in his five seasons with the Packers. What are his chances to hit 100 touchdowns in his career?

If he stays healthy, I’d say the chances are solid. Adams reminds me of Jordy Nelson in a way because his game goes well beyond his natural ability. Adams’ work ethic and footwork are going to make him a legitimate threat to NFL defenses well into his 30s. He’s built to last.

Ross from Roswell, GA

Gents, do you feel Oren Burks is ready to step in at ILB alongside Blake Martinez?

I do – because a lot of the same questions were asked about Martinez after his rookie year. Burks is as intelligent as he is athletic, and once the game slows down for him, I think you’re going to see how talented this young man really is. The Packers are counting on Burks to not only be Martinez’s stablemate, but also his primary backup in that every-down linebacker role. The guy is hungry. He’s ready to open some eyes.

Packers TE Jace Sternberger celebrates his birthday on June 26.

Grant from Charlotte, NC

If you were to craft the Packers’ all-time offensive line who would you choose? You can place linemen in different positions than they are most known for.

Left to right – David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, Jim Ringo, Jerry Kramer and Forrest Gregg. An argument could be made for Gale Gillingham or Bob Skoronski, too.

Jeff from Green Bay, WI

I get the feeling from Packers fans locally that Thompson didn't do anything right after about 2014, but that 2016 draft class is looking like a lot of hits, rather than misses. Do you expect Gutey to lock up Blake Martinez around the bye this year to avoid inflation during free agency in 2020?

As I’ve said before, Brian Gutekunst has a lot of tough calls to make with the 2016 draft class – and that’s a good thing. Martinez, Kyler Fackrell and Dean Lowry are all worthy of extensions. The Packers bought themselves a little breathing room by exercising Kenny Clark's fifth-year option, but that’s also a guy they’re going to want to lock up sooner than later. Martinez is a solid inside linebacker, but I don’t know what the chances are of a deal getting done by the bye week. It’s been Green Bay’s M.O. to do extensions near the end of the season as of late.

Mackenzie from Fort Worth, TX

Speaking of a bajillion DBs, when we were first married, my husband explained a lot of the football terms to me and we spent a lot of time on defense. He explained the nickel and then asked me what I thought a dime would be if a nickel means that five DBs are on the field, I paused for a moment and before I could answer he said "Please don't say 10 corners.”

Ha. That’s funny and makes me wonder: If dime is six corners, quarters is seven and dollar is eight…does that make nine DBs a two-dollar package or five?

Trevor from Seattle, WA

Biff, when you draft your fantasy teams, do you find yourself drafting a disproportionate number of Packers players based on your deeper knowledge of those players? Or do you do a decent job of analyzing the available pool? I feel like the former could really get you into trouble, especially with an auction draft.

Very rarely. I actually won my league last year without any Packers on my team. As I’m sure is the case with most Wisconsin-based fantasy leagues, everyone typically overdrafts Packers players. Most fans don’t have a deep knowledge of the roster of all 32 teams, so instead they take Geronimo Allison in the fourth round.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Hi Wes, Matthias from Hartford, WI stated, "the Rose Bowl and Coliseum both being world class venues for football in the area." I have not been to either stadium, but aren't they too old, too-spread-out venues that were lousy places to watch a football game? I appreciate nostalgia very much, but re-vitalizing venues is necessary to keep them viable, or a new one is needed.

I’ve never been to the Rose Bowl, but watching a game at the LA Coliseum wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The food was terrible and the press box was a construction trailer, but I had no problem watching a game there.

Daniel from Delta, PA

A little idea for this dead time zone next year. What would it take to get the video department and others needed to find the top 100 Packers plays of the last 100 years and post them on the site (roughly three vids per day for six week-ish dead zone)? You can post them by ranking or in no particular order. Either way, it would give the fans something to watch until you guys get behind the cameras again.

It’s a noble idea, but you also have a major misconception about how big our department really is.

Tad from Oshkosh, WI

In the secrecy of the NFL Draft , if a team wants to trade up like Green Bay did with Seattle, do the teams just discuss the draft picks/capital to be swapped or does Green Bay have to tell Seattle who they are moving up to get?

Most teams won’t disclose who they are trading up to take. Knowledge is power. You don’t want to pass that around and have the trading partner use that information to get another team with a similar need to up the ante.

Zack from Christiansburg, VA

I believe MVS is going to do great things this year, but can we quit speaking about him before expectations get out of hand? What realistic possibility would John Kuhn have for the Hall of Fame? He was a workhorse, has really good stats and TDs for the position. A lot of times was brought in for extra protection and has the highlight plays against other soon to be Hall of Famers. Is the FB position just that undervalued?

John definitely will be in the Packers Hall of Fame, if that’s the Hall of Fame you’re referring to. He was the face of the position for a decade, so I have no doubt about that. If you mean the Pro Football of Fame, then your disclaimer about not letting things get out of hand with MVS makes for a good laugh.

John from Madison, AL

You had mentioned technology eventually calling balls and strikes in MLB. What about technology determining first downs in the NFL instead of measuring sticks? It could happen quickly, accurately and speed up the game. Now I'm certainly not smart enough to figure out what kind of technology could do this, but out of seven billion people who live on this planet, there's got to be somebody, somewhere, smart enough to figure something out! Could this happen in the next 50 years?

The question you pose is one of my main gripes about how the NFL and college football goes about determining where a ball should be placed. Tennis has technology to show umpires exactly where a ball hit. So you can’t tell me the NFL won’t have technology available in the next 50 years that gives a precise indication where a ball should be placed.

Chuck from Sun Prairie, WI

When MLB implements automated strike zones, it's going to be interesting to see managers and players tossed for arguing computerized ball/strike calls. Hopefully, the strike calls won't be delayed and the punch outs exaggerated like some of the men in blue do today.

Hopefully, there’s a Johnny 5 or C3PO bot for managers to come out of the dugout and argue with.

Todd from Eau Claire, WI

Wes, will you be participating in the Packers 5K run this year?

Yep. It’s in my contract.

Bobby from Courtland, VA

Thanks for answering my question concerning Alex Light. Coming from a small school, we don't get many players in the pros. Hope he can make a career for himself.

The Packers were smart with Bryan Bulaga's workload this spring, which afforded Light a lot of first- and second-team snaps. He came out of nowhere last summer to make the roster and we’ll soon see if Light can do it again. As Spoff mentioned, Light’s versatility gives him a chance.

Jeff from Greenville, SC

What is going on with Bryan Bulaga? It’s hard to believe he is only 30; seems like he has been around for so long!

This is your annual reminder that Bulaga is the youngest player to ever start a Super Bowl at only 21 years old.

Chris from Woodbury, MN

Each year I wait in anticipation to see if Jason Spriggs has finally made "the jump" to be a legitimate player on the offensive line. It seems like time is not on his side. Do you recall of any O-lineman, on the Packers or elsewhere, where it finally clicked in Year 4 or after? Marshall Newhouse is the only example I can think of a lineman who remained a contending pro elsewhere after a less than stellar career in Green Bay.

Allen Barbre is probably the best modern example. The Packers’ fourth-round pick in 2007 went on to play 10 years in the NFL, starting 28 games for Philadelphia in 2015-16.

Rob from Brookfield, WI

A lot was written when Cole Madison came back, but not much since he returned. Even though the pads weren't on, I was wondering how he looked from the practices you were able to attend in minicamp and OTAs?

Madison looked fine. I mean it’s tough to give a detailed scouting report after watching a handful of offseason practices in sweatpants. He’s a reserve offensive lineman who has yet to put on NFL pads. Stick a pin in that question until we get through the first two weeks of training camp.

Steve from Messel, Germany

Once cuts to the 53-man roster are made, which opponent from this season would benefit the most from picking up a former Packers player to get some possibly potential tidbits from MLF's strategy? And the Packers, if they had an open slot?

I still think signing a former player of an upcoming opponent is largely overblown, but if there was ever a time to do it, I’d say it’s right away in Week 1 because there are few secrets after the opener with every NFL team having dozens of coaches and scouts breaking down the film.

Sean from Baltimore, MD

Is the Green Bay Packers’ annual Shareholders Meeting always held the day before the first training camp practice? Just planning some travel next summer with my retired father and longtime Packer fan, and considering kicking off the travel in Green Bay followed by a road trip west.

That’s how the cookie usually crumbles.

Mark from St. Pete Beach, FL

Gentlemen: The question about the practice squad got me wondering: what is the contract structure for practice squad players and what is it for draftees and undrafted rookies? The answer would give us a better understanding of how and why the salary cap is structured as it is. Thank you.

Contracts are slotted for rookie draft picks. Salary, guarantees and bonuses all have set guidelines under the current CBA. Undrafted rookies receive a modest signing bonus, while a few will get part of their base salary guaranteed. Practice-squad players will make a minimum of $8,000 per week once the 2019 regular season begins ($136,000 if they’re on the roster all 17 weeks). Teams can pay more, but that counts against the cap.

Clay from Goodyear, AZ

The bicycles at training camp is a great tradition. My son rides a unicycle. Have any players ever ridden a kid's unicycle? Who on the current roster would be most likely to possess this skill?

I don’t know anyone who rides unicycle, but Ha Ha Clinton-Dix liked to sit on the handlebars and bike backwards after practices. To this day, that’s one of the most impressive things I’ve witnessed at training camp, on or off the field.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

The MVP trophies are an impressive story for Wisconsin sports. The question is what defines the treble as in whose season starts first? Since Giannis won in a sport that started in ‘18 and Yelich won in ‘18, does that mean they both have to win again and Aaron win to make it a treble? Or does just Yelich now have to repeat since Giannis won in a sport that finished in ‘19 meaning that either year could be a treble? That would be a lot easier I think. So just tell Yelich to repeat as MVP.

It’s like Connect-Four, or I guess, Connect-Three. As long as the three MVP awards fall in a row, then I think it can be termed a trifecta regardless of whether it falls in the same calendar year.

Nate from New Berlin, WI

If we're talking about consistently making crazy catches, I didn't see Deandre Hopkins drop one catchable ball. He sure caught a few uncatchable ones, too. I'd be hard-pressed to choose anyone but him as a receiver.

OK.

Nick from Portland, OR

Wait, what? Wes is an MMA fan? How about that Korean Zombie finish! Do you just follow UFC or is Bellator on your radar? During the offseason, does Spoff come over to watch Saturday night fights? Lastly, Tom Cruise or Justin Bieber?

Anything and everything MMA is on my radar. Also, one of the first things I did when I got back from vacation was showing my colleague, Mike Vandersnick, the Zombie’s knockout from Saturday. Incredible. He’s one of my all-time favorites. Sorry, but I’m ignoring the last part of your question.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, if Cam Newton offered you $1,500 for your first class airline seat, would you give up your seat for him?

Shooooooooooooooow me the moneyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

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