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Inbox: Ideally the question won’t be easy to answer

RB Dexter Williams
RB Dexter Williams

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Fear the Deer!

One of the best sports rallying cries ever.

John from Peoria, IL

How do you think the LaFleur running game's blocking scheme will differ from the Mike McCarthy zone blocking scheme?

Not much, but it sounds like LaFleur is more pure in his adherence to the zone scheme, like McCarthy was initially with Ahman Green in 2006 and Ryan Grant in 2007, before he started incorporating a greater variety of run concepts.

Ryan from Hartland, WI

Who will be the most impactful draft pick in five years?

I don’t know, but ideally the question won’t be easy to answer five years from now.

Scott from Neenah, WI

Was that a test? Reminding the "people" that this is a "football column," and with a repeat on "football," then using a basketball question as the next question?

The Inbox never ceases to amaze me, in this case how many readers apparently didn’t get the joke. How can they be so obtuse?

Robert from Plymouth, WI

I was all for Green Bay hosting the draft in the upcoming years once the arena has been renovated. However, after seeing the turnout in Nashville (600,000-plus attendance) I am concerned that Green Bay might not have the infrastructure to handle it. Do you foresee any solution to this, or has the draft turned into a beast that will continue to grow?

My hope is the league gives all the NFL cities that want to a chance to put their own stamp on the draft. There are plenty of people smarter than I am who can figure out how Green Bay could do that.

Tim from Greensboro, NC

Mike, I know you have been infatuated with the SEC for a while, but "the premier college football league in the land"? You may want to update your research. Over the last five years, it appears the ACC has a winning regular-season record head to head. For the last three years, the ACC has a better combined bowl record than the SEC. Oh yeah, and two of the last three years they won the national championship over the premier school in the SEC. The last one in blowout fashion.

Wasn’t it just two seasons ago the last two teams standing in the College Football Playoff were from that league? And let’s take a look at last year’s final AP rankings. From the ACC, Clemson was No. 1 and Syracuse was No. 15. From the SEC, it was Alabama at No. 2, LSU at No. 6, Georgia and Florida tied at No. 7, Kentucky at No. 12, and Texas A&M at No. 16. That’s 6-2 in teams in the final top 20, and the SEC’s Missouri and Mississippi State were both ranked in the top 25 before losing their respective bowl games by less than a TD. The year before, it was 5-2 in the final top 20, with the ACC adding two at the bottom of the top 25. I totally respect what Clemson has done (and become), but c’mon man. Get real. I have no special affinity for the SEC, but if my research needs to be updated, then so does that of all 61 voters in the AP poll who cover college football for a living.

Nick from Portland, OR

I take it the punt/kick returner job is wide open...

Looks that way to me. Even though I believe Davis starts the competition first in line, I’m not sure I agree with Wes that it’s his job to lose. At least not in the same way I believe the No. 2 receiver spot is Allison’s to lose. Semantics maybe, but it feels different.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Insiders, I've been trying to ask this question without sounding offensive or critical, but is it realistic to expect every draft pick to make the team?

In a year with eight picks as opposed to double digits, it’s more realistic. But even in 2009, when the Packers were coming off a 6-10 season and drafted eight players, one didn’t make the 53 (Jamon Meredith).

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

We will agree to disagree on what made Micah Hyde special on punt returns. I think it was his ability to catch the ball in such a seemingly relaxed manner. He gathered in the ball like he was playing catch in the backyard.

His natural skills in that regard made him an attractive candidate for the job from the first day of rookie minicamp, but it took more than catching ability for Hyde to return three for TDs in his first two seasons.

Blaine from Fennimore, WI

What is next to look forward to this offseason?

Well, OTAs start the week after next, but if that doesn’t float your boat, training camp begins July 25. Not much else to go on right now.

Tyler from Kaukauna, WI

What are our chances to win the NFC North?

That’s a great question for around 3 p.m. on Sept. 15.

Jacob from West Allis, WI

On paper it looks like this Packers defense could be really good. What odds do you give the unit to end up in the top 10 for scoring? What about top five?

I think going from 22nd to the top 10 in one year would be a tall order, but I think top half of the league is a very achievable goal.

Jason from Austin, TX

If the NCAA started paying the players, do you think the players that are projected to be drafted in the mid-rounds would stay in college for another year? Going beyond the morals argument of paying the college players, wouldn't this be better for both leagues in the long run? Colleges would have better players staying with their schools for longer and the NFL would get a more polished player coming into the draft.

I still think the lure of NFL dollars would be too enticing for many. I had an interesting conversation with a scout around draft time about the huge number of early entries this year, and he said a lot of players are simply getting bad advice. The overriding push from agents and others is convincing players the sooner they get into the league, the sooner they get to their second contract, which is where the big money is made. It’s a short-sighted approach, and I’m not sure it’s going to change.

Jeremiah from Madison, WI

Injuries are inevitable. I hope for a 100 percent healthy roster, but chances are that by the time the season starts, at least one semi-notable player will be out for the season. QB aside, which position (right now) would hurt the most to lose a contributor?

As of right now, I’d say the most indispensable and difficult-to-replace players on the roster after Rodgers are Bakhtiari and Adams.

Darrell from San Antonio, TX

With the draft over I'm waiting to see how everything pans out this summer into the fall.  I'm hoping Oren Burks takes the next step which will fix a defensive void opposite Martinez. I hope Allison takes the No. 2 receiver job and excels. The elephant in the room is the interior offensive line. Don't you agree it has to improve for this team to have a chance to win the division or make the playoffs? If Rodgers can't stay upright and healthy it doesn't matter what offense we run.

I don’t know how you can call it the elephant in the room when the Packers signed a high-priced offensive lineman in free agency with the bulk of his career starts at guard, and spent a second-round draft pick on a center who also is going to play guard. Are there still unknowns? Sure, but it’s not as though the issue wasn’t noticed and addressed.

Elliot from Minneapolis, MN

A great offensive lineman can go a long way to making a QB’s life easier. How much does a QB with Rodgers’ talent make an offensive lineman’s job easier or if so more difficult?

I think Rodgers’ penchant for extending plays makes a lineman’s job harder, on balance. With a new system, I’m anticipating a greater focus on timing and rhythm, and less living and dying by the extended play.

Dan from Allen, TX

Watched the May 9 “Packers Unscripted.” Great as always. Liked your training camp battle discussion, re: WR & RB. My first thought was G. I think that LG position is up for grabs, and I think Jenkins could really push Taylor or maybe even Turner. Will Turner work some at RT? Anxious to see what Cole can do, as they seemed to like him last year. Will Cole maybe be tried at RT? A lot more depth it appears this year. Thoughts?

Taylor-Jenkins could be a competition to watch at left guard, yes. Turner is experienced enough to move to right tackle if needed, but I think he gets every chance to start at right guard first. I’ve seen and heard nothing to indicate Madison is getting a look at anywhere but guard for now, but we’ll see if that changes when we have access to OTAs in the coming weeks.

Adam from Ventura, CA

Ted Thompson specifically addressed the possibility of a CTE diagnosis in his address to the fans. Gives me the sense that he may have been getting out in front of a possible report a la Rodgers and McCarthy. Any sense from the Insiders that this was the case?

No, I think he was just quelling any speculation or follow-up queries that would naturally arise when a man in his mid-60s who played a decade of NFL football announces there’s an issue with his nervous system.

Evan from Middleton, WI

I noticed that Jawill Davis was assigned No. 1. Do the Packers often assign that number during the offseason and then, if the player makes the final 63, give them a new number?

Happens all the time.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

Have you ever done a story on why No. 1 isn't a retired number? You would think Curly's number would be hanging in a stadium named after him.

I think it’s actually fitting there isn’t a number retired for Lambeau. From 1919-24, roughly the first half of Lambeau’s playing career, the Packers didn’t have jersey numbers. Then starting in 1925, he wore 1, 14, 20 and 42 at different times through the rest of the decade. I don’t see the point in picking a number to retire for him, officially anyway. He’s still the only player to ever wear No. 1 in a game, in the 1925-26 seasons, and naming the stadium after him is a more appropriate honor, given he was so much more than a player.

Robert from Harris, MN

Just a comment on the ongoing concern about "junk food" writing, young writers taking a short cut, and readers being less than discriminating. The cream always rises to the top. It doesn't matter who is drinking the milk, the cream still always rises to the top.

I’d like to believe that still applies.

Brett from Oshkosh, WI

I feel like I’ve been noticing a bit more criticism lately from you two towards clickbait, hot takes, etc., really just all the sloppy journalist types. Has there been something recently that has you more agitated toward this style of journalism, or just being really, really sick of it? Or am I reading too much into this? I’ll just say, I love reading you guys ’cause you give us either facts, or if you don’t have them, you’ll make it clear you’re speculating. Honesty is the best policy.

I think it’s just our fatigue from being asked repeatedly to respond via this forum to all the clickbait, hot takes and lazy garbage out there. Don’t get me wrong, we appreciate the readership, but when you’re parsing through (and deleting) so many questions per day from those who took the bait with both their mouse and brain, it gets exhausting after a while. Also, however true or false, it starts to feel like a segment of the audience just lumps us in with the rest, which is depressing and discouraging, and speaks to my point the other day about making distinctions. In the end, I try not to take myself too seriously, and do my job the way I believe it should be done.

Matthias from Hartford, WI

Who's the most vital "forgotten man" on the Packers’ roster?

Based on the national coverage of this team through the offseason and the draft, I’d have to say Geronimo Allison. Here comes another Mike who agrees with me.

Michael from Federal Way, WA

Why does it seem like the “experts” and even some fans have forgotten about Geronimo Allison? He was on pace for something like 1,100 yards last season. Is an emerging homegrown talent just somehow less exciting than a free-agent signing?

Nature of the beast.

Randy from Bayfield, WI

I ask this question every year. Which team in the NFC will come out of nowhere and shock everybody this year? I'm thinking Detroit.

Of the 2018 non-playoff teams in the NFC, I put the Packers, 49ers and Panthers on the surprise contenders list.

Sean from Boulder, CO

For as much joy we take in from our Packers, I want to acknowledge two of the greatest events in sports. First, is there anything more exciting than the 1-2 minutes late in a Game 7 with a team down by a goal and the goalie pulled? Purely an edge-of-the-seat thing to watch. And how can one not appreciate the postgame handshake after seven physical, nasty games? I love when players stop and chat with their foe while showing huge admiration for a hard-fought battle. I feel the NFL can learn from this.

I love the NHL’s postseason handshake tradition, but I think it works because it comes at the conclusion of a four-to-seven-game series. In the NFL every playoff confrontation is a one-and-done scenario. It doesn’t feel the same, and the way players seek out specific opponents after games to shake hands or share a word is enough for me.

Dave from Bentonville, AR

So watching the Blues/Stars game Tuesday night I counted nine different corporate logos on the ice (not including the dozens on the boards surrounding the rink). Do you think the NFL will ever go that route and put corporate logos directly on the field?

Wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest. It’s probably just a matter of time.

Matt from Waukesha, WI

Last year Kumerow was the longshot fan favorite that was able to snag a roster spot. Who is your early prediction for a player fans will latch onto?

Based on one interview thus far, I’ll guess Ty Summers. If he makes the noticeable impact I think he’s capable of on special teams, his story as a former QB turned speedy, athletic linebacker is one toward which I think the fans will gravitate.

Geoff from Omaha, NE

Are your family members huge Packers fans because of your professions or are they only interested enough because it is your job?

I have family members in both camps, and I’m perfectly fine with that. Happy Friday, and here’s to a great Mother’s Day weekend to all the moms out there.

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