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Inbox: Indianapolis is where it all begins…again

Underdog stories are what make this league special

DL Devonte Wyatt at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on March 5, 2022.
DL Devonte Wyatt at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on March 5, 2022.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Happy Mardi Gras Wes!

One of my favorite days on the calendar. I hope you were all able to enjoy a paczki or four. All right, let's talk football.

Al from Green Bay, WI

We know combine performance can cause players to rise or fall – sometimes dramatically. If I was a scout (and I'm not), I would base my player evaluations almost entirely on in-game effectiveness. What is the prevailing philosophy on how much weight to put on combine metrics?

Physicals are the most critical part of this process. It's vital for teams and their doctors to examine prospects and ensure all the medicals are in order before making a huge investment in April. Testing is a key part of the puzzle, too, though I think it's used more as confirmation for scouts than anything else. For example, Christian Watson's speed wasn't news to the Packers or any other NFL team. Still, there's no question the stock of some will rise exponentially after a strong combine (e.g. Bryon Jones, John Ross, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Shaq Griffin, Bruce Irvin, etc.).

Drew from Croton on Hudson, NY

Might take getting more draft capital from some dark place, but wouldn't it be cool to see Bob Skoronski's grandson being coached by Dick Butkus's nephew?

Now wouldn't that be something. Unfortunately, we won't be in Indianapolis long enough to talk with Peter Skoronski. Offensive linemen don't speak with the media until Saturday. However, the Northwestern tackle is a blue-chipper who takes pride in his family name. It certainly looks like Skoronski will be one of the first offensive linemen off the board in April.

Joel from Mosinee, WI

Good morning, Insiders. I am amazed by the speed today's athletes are running. A 4.3 forty is now common and only the Lord knows when we see even faster times. My question is when did 40 times change so drastically and to what can you attribute this to.

A lot of it has to do with the training these players do after their college season ends. There are facilities around the country that are tailored specifically to combine prep and it makes sense. A bad 40 time for a receiver can be the difference between being a second-round pick or an undrafted free agent. There have been offensive linemen who have plummeted two days because of a poor performance in the bench press. For prospective rookies, and really the entire NFL, Indianapolis is where it all begins…again. You have to be ready for it.

Dustin from Kansas City, MO

So, I guess the draft is being held here in my hometown this year. I have to admit, I'm not the type to sit around on draft night anxiously waiting on every pick to be made. I usually go on about my business, then Google who we picked before I go to bed. With that said though, is it a lot more fun to watch it go down live and in-person? Or should I just avoid the crowds and do something else? I trust your judgment.

I've never attended the draft, but I know from experience the NFL does a stellar job of hosting marquee events. I have great memories from the 2011 season kickoff in Green Bay. The league spared no expense, turning Armed Forces Drive into a football plaza during the lead-up to the game. If it's me, I'd go to the draft just to say I did it and head home if it's not my scene. If you choose to attend, I hope you have a great time. If you don't like it, blame Spofford.

Jason from Des Plaines, IL

Grading performance of young pass rushers has been hard for me ever since we drafted Rashan Gary. Sack numbers only tell a small part of the story when analyzing an entire season of film. Can you enlighten me on Kingsley Enagbare and how he may be graded for his rookie year? My inexperience leads me to believe that J.J. could be a legit No. 2 alongside Gary, but his statistics showed us he has a lot of work to do. Do we really need a first-round pass rusher this draft?

Bill Huber takes an interesting approach and grades players on a curve based on pay and expectations. Using those guidelines, I thought Enagbare had a solid and productive rookie season. He had eight quarterback hits and three sacks but also did well holding the edge against the run. As I alluded to earlier, Enagbare probably gets drafted a round or two higher if he was a tick faster in the 40 at the combine. Certainly, he played above his fifth-round selection.

George from Duluth, MN

Kyle Juszczyk is a fullback, who plays as an H-back, right? Josiah Deguara is an H-back who doesn't play fullback really at all, right? Or am I all wrong? Wouldn't we benefit from having a guy who can block as a fullback and catch? Both positions seem to be Swiss Army knife positions, but are they really different positions?

They're one in the same. The title of their positions differs, but the Packers view Deguara the same way the 49ers see Juszczyk. Deguara is that Swiss Army knife who catches passes and also blocks out of the backfield. He was playing well at the end of the year, too, both on offense and special teams.

Chris from Rhinelander, WI

Prior to his injury, Eric Stokes didn't seem to take the second-year leap hoped for. If Stokes can come back and be healthy at some point, what can he do to take his game to the next level?

The first thing Stokes needs to do is get healthy again. The second thing is to forget last season ever happened. I think it was just one of those weird years where everything works against a player. Stokes has so much athleticism and upside. I don't worry about his confidence whatsoever. It's just getting back on the bike and showing he still possesses all the promise he displayed in 2021.

Jerry from Rockford, IL

Good morning, Wes, and all Insiders. With coaching being a large factor in a team's success, I have noticed a trend I am curious about: How long has a defensive back coach also been the pass coordinator? Thanks for all you guys do.

Joe Whitt had defensive passing game coordinator added to his title prior to Mike McCarthy's final season with the Packers in 2018. That's the first I can recall someone being called a defensive pass game coordinator in Green Bay.

Rob from Louisville, CO

Wes, greatness often reveals itself at a young age. Which do you think is more impressive: Kenny Clark playing in the NFL at age 20, or Mike finishing grad school and breaking into sports writing at age 22?

As impressed as I am by the Spofford family's penchant for earning college degrees in no time at all, I have to go with Clark playing as well as he did as a 20-year-old rookie at a position that favors age and experience. I'd throw Bryan Bulaga in the same category after starting a Super Bowl as a 21-year-old buck.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

The mention of the chips in the balls and Sean Payton. When he came on the "Pat McAfee Show" leading up to the SB, Payton mentioned how one item that would be fixed is where the ball goes out of bounds on a punt. Like, nine times out of 10 they've gotten that spot wrong, and where a team starts on the field after a punt is important.

I'm sure the batting average is a little higher than that, but over the years I, too, have struggled to understand how they can accurately gauge where the ball should be placed.

Joe from Hampshire, IL

For the chip in the ball, I have read that one holdup is getting an accurate signal thru the pile of bodies due to water content of humans. So, guessing the chips can be used for field goals and punts going out of bounds before first downs. That said, I would love to see some of the stats live such as ball speed during passes, ball height during kicks and punts.

Fair enough. Maybe I'm putting the cart before the mule here, but I'm eager to explore the chip possibilities. Maybe that's just the kid in me who enjoys statistical breakdowns and analytics.

Nathan from Manitowoc, WI

How long do you have to play in the NFL to receive a pension?

Players now need three accrued seasons following the 2020 collective bargaining agreement. It used to be four.

Dean from Nekooda, WI

Who (whether it's the GM, a position coaches, strength coach, or trainers) is involved in making offseason training program for the Packers players who are returning? Listening to Mike Wahle today, he indicated that a lot of places, it is left to the player to improve as they see it. Thanks Wes.

The strength and conditioning coaches offer suggestions and put together plans for players, but it's ultimately up to the player how he prepares his body. That's especially true for veterans such as Aaron Rodgers and Marcedes Lewis who have a long, established routine.

Dave from Germantown, TN

Since big news seems to happen when Spoff is on vacation and we are in Day 2 of Wes week, which day should we expect a Rodgers announcement? It seems to me his four days of solitary confinement are up.

Don't confuse the customer for the chef, Dave. I don't make the meal. It just often falls on my plate.

Derek from Sheboygan, WI

If the Packers trade Aaron Rodgers, will there be another veteran QB brought in to compete for the starting job in camp??

If I've said it once, I've said it 88 times: the Packers' starting quarterback in 2023 will be either Rodgers or Jordan Love. If Rodgers isn't back, Green Bay could sign or draft another QB to fill out the depth chart…but Love is the starter.

Doc from Racine, WI

Since it's dumb-question time and I don't recall having seen this one, do you know which Packers jersey number has been worn by the most players all-time? How about the least? And which number has been worn by the most Hall of Famers?

Based on my research, which could be wrong, the No. 23 has been worn the most (39 times) and No. 1 the least (Curly Lambeau). Interestingly enough, only Charlie Mathys (1925-26) and Crosby (2007-present) have worn No. 2 for the Packers. It's difficult to answer the Hall of Fame question because of how many players wore multiple numbers in the early days of the NFL. For example, Mike Michalske wore nine numbers during his time with the Packers. Arnie Herber wore a total of eight, including No. 12 in 1930.

Gary from Tompkinsville, KY

I'm a big fan of Randall Cobb. Is there another player on the team that can play slot besides Randall Cobb?

The Packers train all their receivers to play the slot. Allen Lazard did quite a bit of it. Both Watson and Romeo Doubs have seen snaps inside, too. On the current offseason roster, Bo Melton is probably the most natural fit with his size and explosiveness.

Dean from Ottawa, IL

I read Green Bay let go Adrian Amos, Mason Crosby, Dean Lowry, Jarran Reed, Marcedes Lewis and Robert Tonyan. Why would they release them so early, and does this mean they have no interest in re-signing them?

The Packers didn't let them go. Their contracts voided Monday, and this is just the bill coming due after Green Bay used "void years" to stay under the salary cap last year. The Packers could still re-sign any of those players. There's just a dead cap hit involved after pushing money out.

The Green Bay Packers Foundation and Greater Green Bay Community Foundation host the sixth annual Give BIG Green Bay giving day, highlighting donations towards 45 nonprofit organizations.

Richard from Lac du Flambeau , WI

Hi Wes, I'd like your opinion on using Roman numerals for the Super Bowl. What would look better; Henry VIII, or Henry the 8th, or Henry The Eighth? I'm hoping the Packers get to, and win, Super Bowl LVIII.

Henry VIII. I hope the NFL never does away with Roman numerals. I know we had some fun with them a few weeks ago, but Roman numerals make Super Bowls feel more official and prestigious.

Daniel from Ellettsville, IN

Brock Purdy is most likely going to miss the entire season next year. Do you think he gets a shot at starting in the NFL again? His story was amazing, from Mr. Irrelevant, to nearly starting in the Super Bowl. It would be a shame if he wasn't at least given another shot.

I hope so…because those underdog stories are what make this league special.

Mark from Apollo Beach, FL

Good morning, Wes. Will you guys get to start parking underground (heated)? If so, will Spofford steal your space with his monster truck?

We get no such luxuries. I count myself lucky when the espresso machine is working in staff dining.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Wes, I saw you inserted a tweet in Tuesday's column so that we could see what you were talking about. Although I enjoyed your use of a tweet inserted in the text, I have to mention one of my biggest pet peeves when reading online stories. Why do some sites quote a person's tweet and then show the tweet right below it? I end up reading the same quote twice and it drives me crazy. Why put a tweet in an article that repeats what you just said? Have you noticed that and why is it done?

It's just meant to provide a frame of reference, like a bibliography in a school paper.

Larry from Carney, MI

Hi Weston, here's a what-if speculation question only you can answer. One of the other 31 teams contact you and offers a job to establish a larger media department and wish for a format similar to Insider Inbox. What do you do?

It takes dedication and resources to effectively operate a daily Q&A, but you still need the right fan base to make it work. Ask Vic was a perfect marriage of a writer who was fully committed to his column and hungry readers with insatiable appetites for the content. We're very blessed to have the engagement we do at I don't take that for granted. What do I do in the situation you outline? I'd probably say, "I wish y'all lots of luck...Pull, Lemuel, pull."

Dan from Kenosha, WI

Wes, am I the only one that immediately had Schoolhouse Rock's "I'm just a Bill" start playing in my head when you finished yesterday's answer with, "And that is how a bill becomes a law?"

Conjunction junction, what's your function?

Mark from Ocala, FL

Thank you, Mike, Wes and to all of the Insiders Inbox. The year is always green and gold. Most importantly is the HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the Insiders Inbox. And there you have it. GO PACK GO

Our baby is almost a teenager. They grow up so fast. Safe travels today and tomorrow to all our readers in Wisconsin.

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