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Inbox: He showed us all what it means to be a dad

Drafting players coming off injuries is a gamble, not a disqualifier

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Aaron Jones and his father

Sean from Chicago, IL

My heart breaks for the Jones family. Unbelievable the 2021 season opener will be the first time in nine years Aaron Jones won't have his father watching him.

The news of Alvin Sr.'s passing floored me Wednesday. Even now, as I stare blankly into this screen, I struggle to find the words. In a weird way, I got to know Alvin Sr. before I even knew Aaron. I talked with him shortly after the Packers drafted Aaron in 2017 and built the entire lede of my first profile on Aaron around how excited Alvin Sr. was about his son. Aaron has a great story but Alvin's was truly extraordinary. He grew up without a father and sacrificed his own athletic dreams to work multiple jobs in high school to support his family. Alvin enlisted in the military and served for 29 years, retiring right before Aaron and Alvin Jr.'s senior year of high school. I owe Alvin Sr. a great deal for all the interviews he granted me over the years. I bugged him quite a bit over the last four years and he was always gracious with his time. I still have the text in my phone from him congratulating me on the birth of our son. It was wonderful finally getting to meet him in-person before the NFC Championship Game in San Jose. This man travelled the world, but at the end of the day, wanted nothing more than to sit in the stands and watch his children play the game they loved. In the process, he showed us all what it means to be a dad.

Skip from Spread Eagle, WI

Aaron and the Jones family...You are in the thoughts of many. May the memories left with you, warm your face and your heart each day of your life until he opens his arms to welcome you again.

What an incredible life well lived. May God rest Alvin's soul and grant the Jones family peace.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Since both you guys have chosen writing as a profession, can I assume that all this salary cap stuff makes your head hurt? Don Miguel Ruiz says live life without making assumptions so I thought I'd ask.

I used to enjoy the salary cap and player contracts in my former life. I sort of made that my "thing" at the newspaper. As I mentioned, it's gotten a lot more complicated with simple restructures and voidable years. Still, I'd take that discussion every day of the week over discussing every spring how NFL bye weeks should be in Weeks 9-10.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

I've never put much stock in mock draft predictions of specific players to teams in the draft once you get past the top 10 picks. With the Packers usually picking late in the first round, I look more at what positions are mocked. This year, I've seen OL, DL, ILB, CB, S, and WR all projected at 29. Seems like a lot of positions are being seen as "areas of need" for the Packers, or is this more an indication the Packers are seen as being solid across the board with no glaring needs or holes to fill?

Draftniks always have the Packers taking a player at a position the media believes they need to address, but that's rarely how it plays out. There's literally been one example over the past 10 years where the Packers have used their first-round pick on a presumptive starter (Darnell Savage, 2019). So perceived "needs" don't mean much to me. Instead, I prefer to use the past as a compass for what the Packers might do. Over the past 10 drafts, they've taken four defensive backs, four defensive linemen/edge rushers, an offensive lineman and a quarterback.

Luc from St. Thomas, Canada

To me, Matt LaFleur has already said all we need to know about how good Allen Lazard is. When a coach says there is an entire section of the playbook that is not usable when said player is out of the lineup, that should tell you all you need to know about a player's impact. I hope he can avoid the injury bug this coming year and we can see what he can do with a full year.

Going back to what I wrote Tuesday, I really thought Lazard was on the verge of a major breakout after that performance in New Orleans. It's crazy he was still an exclusive-rights free agent this year. It kind of feels like he's been in Green Bay for five years already.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling from the 2020 season.

Matt from Bloomington, IN

How do you feel about college players who show tremendous skill and athleticism and seem to fit perfectly into the Packers system, but have injury problems and have trouble staying on the field? Do you think that can usually be overcome at the next level, or do you view it as more of a red flag?

Every player is different and requires thorough vetting, but sometimes I think NFL teams overthink these matters. Yes, it can bite you in the tushy from time-to-time but a lot of teams have missed out on good prospects (Myles Jack, Jaylon Smith or Jeffrey Simmons) due to injury concerns. It's a gamble, not a disqualifier.

Statham from Pineview, GA

Furthering the talk about the first three picks being QBs, has there ever been four in a row to start the draft? The Falcons could certainly take one at four, and if they don't, I expect they trade back and another team (NE, WFT, CHI) swoops in to snag their QB of the future in that slot. We very well could see history made. Does the draft actually start at pick five this year?

No, that would be unprecedented. In fact, I kept digging on Wednesday, and from what I gathered, the 1971 and '99 drafts were the only two times (at least since positions became publicized in 1950) that players from the same position were drafted with the first three picks.

Bryce from Kenosha, WI

Of the five usual regular-season game times: Sunday (three), Monday night and Thursday night, which is best for the regional economy? Which is worst?

It's Sunday Night Football and it's not close. Monday is No. 2 and Thursday is a distant third.

Paul from London, England

It's 3,800 miles from Green Bay to London, give or take a No. 12 Hail Mary pass. What's the distance the Pack have to travel for their farthest road trip in the U.S., and how would a road trip to London be different compared to the farthest one in the U.S. if say we played Sunday one week and were due in London the following Sunday? I'm guessing the team wouldn't fly out the day before, and what about the logistical side of things, kit, etc.? Also, and most importantly, would you guys be on the plane?

I answered my last time-interval question on my ACT. I also have no idea how the Packers would handle a trip overseas because, well, they've never done it. The four-hour flight to Seattle is the Packers' longest road trip, though.

Phil from Madison, WI

Regarding Sawyer's question about the Packers' desire to keep their primo matchups at Lambeau and send a game against a lesser opponent overseas, the league may view this in a different light. The Packers sell out every game, so this is the league's chance to send a great matchup overseas without hurting the home team's local economy.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single "great matchup" that's been played overseas. That's not to say there haven't been great games in England but I don't recall Tom Brady squaring off with Peyton Manning at Wembley.

Darrel from Pueblo, CO

II, it is my understanding that for away games, the players are required to file tax returns in said state. How are overseas games handled, tax-wise?

Spoff is the money man who does his own taxes, so he might be the better guy to ask on this. I do know I paid $16 to the Controller of Pennsylvania last year. So I got that going for me…which is…something.

Larissa from Minnetonka, MN

Everyone knows Fitz went to Harvard. I know it's subjective but who on the Packers would be considered the most educated? I don't think we have any Ivys do we?

Not anymore after John Lovett (Princeton) was released a month ago. So, I'd say it's probably Aaron Rodgers or Oren Burks. Lucas Patrick was a Duke grad, as well.

Doug from Neenah, WI

The Bengals released Giovanni Bernard today. He was the first running back taken in the 2013 NFL Draft, ahead of Le'Veon Bell, Montee Ball and Mr. Eddie Lacy. Who has had the best NFL career? Any idea what Eddie is doing these days? Thanks.

I actually remarked to Spoff Wednesday how it's funny that Bernard played five years longer than Lacy and yet Eddie probably had the better NFL career. I'm not sure what he's been up to, though. I just hope he's happy and doing well.

David from Cable, WI

In football more than any other major sport, situation matters – like coaching and talent around a player. I believe more QBs have been ruined and discarded than developed in the last 20 years. Which is why I am rooting hard for Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Sam Darnold.

I agree. This is the exact reason why I was such a huge Alex Smith fan earlier in his career. A mixture of bad teams and misfortune hampered Smith during his first three seasons, but his career turned around as soon as Jim Harbaugh got to San Francisco. Ultimately, players succeed and fail on their own merit but the situation does matter.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers G Jon Runyan from his rookie season.

Scott from Wausau, WI

I think how the league handles the 17th game is going to be pivotal in how the fans and players warm up to it. I see the inevitable "if it weren't for the extra game, we make the playoffs" or other opportunity to complain. To keep it the least intrusive to "balance," I think they need to make all the 17th games international. There should be eight home games and eight road games per year for each team, with one neutral site (international) game each, resulting in 16 international games.

Each conference sends seven of its 16 teams to the playoffs now. So, if you don't make it, that's still on you – or your team, rather. I still have my reservations about a 17th game, but I'm trying to keep an open mind. It's not like I haven't been wrong before.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

If you could pick one game in the history of the Green Bay Packers to have a seat on the 50-yard line for, which would it be?

Super Bowl I.

Matt from Eau Claire, WI

After reading about Lynn Dickey being a pick for the Oilers I had to go and read up a bit more on him. I can't believe that Green Bay got him in a trade by giving up John Hadl.

The Packers made plenty of mistakes between 1967 and 1996…but trading for Lynn Dickey was not one of them.

Mike from Burnsville, MN

How many players/coaches are left from the XLV team?

Just two players: Aaron Rodgers and Mason Crosby.

Nic from London, UK

What color light saber would Mace (Crosby) have?

Silver.

Jeff from Muskego, WI

What do you think…"Jeopardy!" host or sports announcer after Rodgers' football playing days?

"Jeopardy!" host. I think Rodgers would be a very talented analyst but I never got the sense he would want to be part of that world.

Jason from Austin, TX

"Teams that gave up a home game were provided a stipend from the league based on expected/normal revenue." Not to knock on the Jags, but is this why they elect to play so many games overseas? If they have a tough time selling seats in their stadium, the stipend might be more than hosting the game in Jacksonville?

I mean, they aren't doing it for the Delta miles.

Carolyn from Minneapolis, MN

Not a question, but a comment on what a great guy Mark Murphy is. I have a friend here in Minneapolis who's a vet and a huge Packers fan. He's been dealing with some health issues in the last six months and was having a birthday early in February. I called Mark and explained the situation, and he offered to send my friend a nice note for his birthday, which he did, and included a nice pin. I was privileged to also know Bob Harlan, but I have to say that Mark is just as accessible, and kind.

I'm posting this because I know Mark would be too humble to, but what a tremendous gesture by the Packers' President/CEO. That's not the first time I've heard of such a deed from him, either. Please pass along my best wishes to your friend and thank him for his service.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins from his Pro Bowl season.

Charles from South Amboy, NJ

Because of the 17th game the Super Bowl is going to fall right in the middle of the Winter Olympics. Do you think that will cause less of a rating for the NFL? What other factors could be a problem during the Olympics?

No, the Super Bowl is a monster truck on the television highway.

Wags from Marinette, WI

You both answered my question, how often does that happen? (And thanks, now Frogger owes me two cases of beer since you did not answer his!)

Frogger asks good questions, but do you know what kind of minefield we would be setting off if we allowed a question from "Frogger" in the Inbox? At least, "Wags" is part of your name (I think).

Rich from De Pere, WI

A comment as opposed to a question...I enjoy watching my favorite sports TV network, but in recent weeks they've insinuated that Aaron Rodgers is sick of playing in Green Bay, he is tired of his GM and coach not giving him a chance to win a Super Bowl and, most recently, that 2021 will be his last year in Green Bay because he will force a trade or retire to become host of "Jeopardy!" I'm going to have to switch and start watching the Food Channel!

Might I also suggest "The Great British Baking Show," "90 Day Fiancé" and "Country Boys" to pass the time until training camp?

Brock from Oxford, IN

Good morning Wes! With it being Wrestlemania Week (or is it Wes-tlemania?) any predictions for the Super Bowl of wrestling?

Unless the Hurt Business reunites, I couldn't care less about Mania this year. That's a shame, too. Last year's was one of my all-time favorites.

Thomas from Madison, WI

No question, but regarding the diversionary entertainment offered at the Inbox buffet: I'm here mainly for Packers info, but the lighter and less football-focused content give this forum a more personal and well-balanced nature. Also, with less than a month to the draft, it feels like most news sources have dried up and are just talking about "Jeopardy!"

Facts.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Mark from Byron should take a lesson from our dachshund before complaining about offseason II content. Nickel enjoys lots of sunshine on our kitchen rug during the fall and winter, when the sun is lower in the sky and covers more of the room, longer. In spring and summer, it's just a sliver of sun for a short time, so he finds other activities. Some times of the year have less sunshine, so take what you can get then go do something else.

The moral of the story: Enjoy the sunshine, for as long as it lasts.

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