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Inbox: In the game of playmakers, the more the merrier

The investment the Packers made into the receiver position will benefit the offense for years to come

WR Romeo Doubs
WR Romeo Doubs

Graydon from Menomonie, WI

You answering Insider Inbox questions two-days-in-a-row reminds me of a movie that Bill Murray starred in with a groundhog where the day keeps repeating. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the movie...Good morning!

Maybe it'll come to you. But I am happy to report Spofford woke up Thursday and saw his shadow. Only six more weeks of the offseason…or something.

Steve from Hilton Head, SC

Can't believe all the clickbait about sources saying Packers are ready to move on from Aaron Rodgers. I believe Murphy, Gutey and LaFleur are men of their word. If they told Aaron they would give him time to make his decision about coming back or not, they aren't talking to anyone.

There's a popular football phrase that I feel perfectly applies to this situation: "The process is the process." I get we live in the information age and people want news two minutes ago, but sometimes no news is no news. You want an update? Well, Aaron Rodgers teed off at Pebble Beach on Thursday…was hitting 'em pretty good, too. There's your update.

Mike from Socorro, NM

More of a comment than a question. The offseason is still fairly young and I am already sick of the clickbait Aaron Rodgers stories. I am of the opinion that he will be in Green Bay next season and with so many rookies having gained so much experience this past season the Pack will again rise to the top.

So much ink was spilled last year speculating on Aaron Rodgers' future that everyone, myself included, was caught off guard when Davante Adams was traded. That's why I find it better to wait for news than to chase it. You'll save a lot of breath that way.

Bob from Rome, NY

Wes, not sure if you fielded any questions on this but in the interest of player safety how was Brock Purdy allowed back into the game with an injury so severe, he couldn't throw a football? Seems like SF medical staff would have sent him to the locker room for further evaluation after being examined in the blue tent. Thank you.

The most salient point raised during Rodgers' Tuesday appearance on McAfee was the NFL probably needs to revisit the idea of permitting teams an emergency No. 3 quarterback. We're already doing that with teams being able to carry 48 players on the gameday roster if there's an eighth offensive lineman active. Whether that third-string QB is on the active roster (for protection) or practice squad, I think it would be wise for the league to allow for an emergency option again from both a competitive and safety standpoint.

Johnny from Salt Lake City, UT

Wes, I'm getting a little nostalgic here. The last 30 years has been an unprecedented run of HOF QB play in Green Bay. We are very lucky to have been along for the ride. My question: If you had to take two traits each from Bart Starr, Brett Favre, and Aaron Rodgers to create the perfect AI Green Bay Packer QB of the future, what would you choose? What should we call him?

From Starr, I'd take leadership and being clutch in key situations. From Favre, it would be arm strength and toughness. From Rodgers, I'd go with accuracy and field awareness. I wanted to say improvisation with Rodgers, too, but that kind of applies to all three to varying degrees.

Ross from Summerville, SC

Gents, do you think the front office and coaching staff is pretty well set in their evaluation of Jordan Love? They gotta know what they got by now. I for one hope they throw him the keys and let me cook.

I think so. There's a line in "The Departed" where Frank says to Colin after his graduation, "No more pencils, no more books." I think that's where Love is at in his development. He just needs to play at this point whether it's in Green Bay or elsewhere in the NFL. That's the only way to know how high this young man's ceiling runs. He's put his time to good use.

Bruce from Jackson, WI

Hi Wes, while many felt the loss of Tae was all bad there was a silver lining we realized this past season. Whether it's Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love, or someone else we can only hope we continue to spread the ball around. The team is far better off having three or four good/great receivers than one superstar. You can't double-team more than one receiver. Develop them all and we'll be far better off in the long run. Agree or disagree?

In the game of playmakers, the more the merrier. The Packers have featured deep receiving rooms more often than not over the years. It just so happens that Davante Adams was at his professional peak at a time in which Green Bay didn't feature as many highly touted draft picks as it did from 2006-11. In the post-Adams era, however, I do think it's a plus to have Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and the rest of the young wideouts growing together simultaneously. The investment the Packers made into the position last spring will benefit the offense for years to come.

Matt from Bloomington, IN

Hey Wes, when are you going to tell us which former Packers rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs reminded you of early this season? February has arrived, sir.

James Jones, even though James Jones says Romeo Doubs reminds James Jones more of Greg Jennings than James Jones.

Tony from Edinburgh, UK

Hi Wes, hope you're finding more time for yourself and family, and thanks for taking postseason questions! It's probably up to the individual, but is one year of veteran mentoring enough for rookie WRs? Packers potentially have three great, young WRs, but Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard might leave, so would there be any impact? Also, in October, you answered my question about TEs in first round and you provided an insightful answer. WR Quentin Johnston stands at 6-4, so what about drafting him as a red-zone target? Thanks!

As high as I am on the young receivers' potential, it wouldn't be unwise to still retain at least one established veteran on the roster. For example, even though most Packers fans were ready to move on from Casey Hayward in 2015, I was reluctant to let Hayward walk because of how young the cornerbacks room was going to skew without him. Ultimately, Green Bay's secondary took a step back after Hayward left and it took a few years to right the ship. I feel like the omnipresent experience level of the Packers' receivers room helped expedite the development of James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Cobb and Adams. It could go a long way for Watson, Doubs and Co., too.

Adam from Rapid City, SD

More of a statement than question. I agree that the defense in 2022 looked better in September than in November. I know no one forgets but the questions don't seem to acknowledge the pass rush suffered greatly after Gary's injury which would account for some of the difference in defensive performance.

I go back and forth on this. The defense definitely went into a lull after losing Rashan Gary and Eric Stokes in Detroit, but it also played better as a unit during the four-game winning streak. Overall, it was just an uneven year on that side of the ball.

Andy from Ellsworth, WI

Good morning, Inbox! Do you have any information if Jordan Love will be working with his receivers during the offseason?

I've yet to see a sign-up sheet in staff dining. I'll keep looking.

Erik from Sisters, OR

With all these young QBs in the playoffs this year, is this due to those young men being more productive in the run game? Do the stats of QB rush yards and offensive rankings match up, meaning that running QBs equal productive offenses? If this is the case, it may be an anomaly or a trend and I'm sure some Moneyball manager is looking for QBs who rush for X yards per game.

I don't think it's that complicated. We're just in the midst of a new generation of elite QBs developing and flourishing, just like the Quarterback Club of the 1990s.

Dave from Emmalena, KY

Looking at the five finalists for the MVP how would you rank them? I know who my No. 4 and 5 are but I'm having a hard time deciding the order for the top three.

I wish Justin Jefferson would get more consideration because I feel like he's the difference between Minnesota being 13-4 and 9-8, but MVP admittedly has become a QB award. With that in mind, I'll go Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen and then JJ.

Troy from Houston, TX

I wholeheartedly agree that second-year jumps are key for a team's success. In that vein, can you tell us what key second-year players fueled the Eagles' and Chiefs' run to the Super Bowl? Which Year 2 players should we be keeping an eye on next Sunday?

The two biggest were Philly's top two 2021 picks, DeVonta Smith and Landon Dickerson. In Kansas City, Creed Humphrey already is in the conversation for being the best center in the game, but Nick Bolton, Trey Smith and Noah Grey have all been solid, as well. If a team makes the Super Bowl, chances are its recent drafts have been pretty darn good.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Last Sunday, Patrick Mahomes dropped back, began his passing motion, then stopped it. The ball slipped from his hands and fell to the turf. Incomplete pass because of the forward motion of his arm. But no receiver was in the vicinity, and he was in a collapsing pocket. Why shouldn't this be intentional grounding? It seems like it should either be grounding or a fumble.

Truthfully, I don't think the NFL knows what it's looking at anymore. Football is a highly subjective sport guided by black-or-white rules. Theory is not meeting application and we're having to take plays on a case-by-case basis. That's no way to govern.

Nick from Fredericksburg, VA

Why would a team not roll over extra cap space from one year to the next? Would that also raise the salary floor, requiring them to pay more to the players? I can't imagine many teams struggle to reach the floor.

I found the team, by the way. It was the St. Louis Rams in 2014. The Rams had only $72,000 in cap space leftover after the 2013 season, so I guess they just opted to not even bother rolling it over.

Joe from Liberty Township, OH

I don't recall the use of void years in player contracts until the salary cap contracted due to COVID. Was this used before and just not as common? Did some team "find a loophole" and now everyone exploits it? It's obviously allowed by the CBA or the NFL wouldn't allow it. I guess it's not all that different from prorating a signing bonus, but adding fake years to a contract seems a violation of the "spirit and intent" of a hard salary cap.

Maybe some teams used void years pre-COVID, and I never noticed, but it definitely became a common practice after the regression in the cap. The potential problem with so many teams "borrowing" against future years is it impacts the amount of money available to unrestricted free agents in the now. Chicago may have a ton of cap space but not every top free agent is going to sign with the Bears. You still need a healthy surplus to make sure established players are getting what they're worth.

Bruce from Savage, MN

Teams without salary cap issues tend to have quarterbacks still on rookie contracts. Correct?

That and usually plenty of losses the previous season, too.

TK from Grafton, WI

What do you see as the next big trend in the NFL?

The short handoffs on pre-snap motions are all the rage, but I also see designed passes and routes off that motion being the next phase of offensive evolution.

Gordon from Newport Beach, CA

Wes…which Pro Bowl skills contest is your must-watch: dodgeball, kick-tac-toe, or something else?

I'll take "Something else" for 500, Alex.

Mark from Seattle, WA

Wes, I asked this question during the regular season and was told to ask it again during the off season. Do the Packers utilize their practice-squad players (to the active roster) more than most teams?

I'll run the numbers on that Mark and get back to you. My assumption is yes, if the measurement is just purely gameday elevations.

Bruce from Travelers Rest, SC

If the Eagles win the Super Bowl, I think they will join the 1989 and 1994 San Francisco 49ers as the only teams that will have won Super Bowls within five seasons with both different QBs and head coaches. That's pretty impressive.

I don't know if any team has shuffled the deck as often as the Eagles have over the past decade and still managed to win two Super Bowls. Win or lose, it still impresses me what Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts have accomplished in just two years together.

Bill from Clive, IA

Good morning, Wes! It seems crazy to me that the Manning brothers never met up on the same field in the playoffs, but only in the regular season. And I believe that the big brother of the two had a decisive edge in that short series. With all the hoopla now for the Kelce brothers meeting in the Super Bowl, have they ever met up in the regular season, and if so, which brother has bragging rights so far?

Travis holds a 2-0 advantage over Jason.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

So, I have a couple close friends who are Buffalo and Philadelphia fans. BUF fans fall on and break tables. PHI fans apparently like to climb poles. They asked me what GB fans do to celebrate big wins. I said maybe an extra beer and/or bratwurst. What y'all think? Maybe it's because we have more of a tradition of winning so we don't act too crazy? Or? That doesn't count as chortling, right? It's an honest question.

It's more the culture. I believe tailgating is the hallmark of this fanbase, albeit much less broken lumber. When I think of Lambeau Field, I see smoke billowing from grills and laughter in the air.

Steve from Missouri

Why do you guys have a problem with answering a question about GB possibly being on "Hard Knocks" next season? I think all fans would love to get a look inside our facilities and get to see some of the personalities that make up the team. Didn't seem to hurt Detroit's season at all.

Because we've already answered it on several occasions. The Packers aren't required to be on "Hard Knocks" next season, so I feel confident in saying the organization won't be raising its hand after missing the playoffs for the first time under LaFleur.

Dan from Rice Lake, WI

I refuse to read the prognostications of talking heads re: the future for Aaron Rodgers. Nor will I suffer the endless stream of mock drafts. Tell me I'm a good man.

You're a good man, Dan.

James from (in winter) Clearwater, FL

You got me laughing right away Weston with your lack of knowledge on what Danny Etling was up to. Thanks for getting the Inbox off and running yesterday!

My apologies again everyone. I hope to get to the bottom of this soon. Have a great Friday.

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