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Inbox: It'll be a process

Venturing a guess now would be difficult

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Defensive coordinator Joe Barry

Al from Green Bay, WI

I need your coaching here. The local kickoff time for the London game is 8:30 a.m. For those of us not traveling across the pond, what time must we light the grill to cook the brats? When is it socially acceptable to pour that first frosty drink? We're in unchartered waters here!

Oct. 9 needs to be declared an "anything goes" day for Packers fans.

Jim from St. Pete Beach, FL

Hello, Insiders! Looking ahead to October's jaunt across the pond, when have teams historically travelled in preparation for a game in London?

LaFleur has made the trip a couple times on previous squads he's coached, and he suggested the team would be flying over on Thursday.

Jeff from Muskego, WI

Will the players need passports for the London game?

Yes, just as they needed them for the preseason game in Canada three years ago. But only 80% of the players had them, apparently.

Jon from Somerset, UK

Hi Mike/Wes. Thanks for the great Packers draft coverage. I can't pretend to understand all the nuances and machinations of the NFL draft, but I was surprised (even shocked!) at how little the Lions gave the Vikings to move up 20 odd places in the first round. And whilst I was happy to see the Pack do likewise in the second round, the price did seem a little steep. From an NFC North competitor point of view, do you think the Vikings made the most of the extra picks they accrued?

I, too, was surprised the Vikings didn't get more from the Lions for the No. 12 overall pick. Chart-wise, they made up what they lost in the Lions trade by holding fast on getting the Packers' two seconds. As the draft progressed, it became clear the Vikings' new GM was intent on moving around, a lot, and getting players he targeted in certain value ranges/slots. What we don't know is, after moving back 20 spots, did he want to move back up in the first round (like Gutey did in '18) but couldn't work out a deal? Frankly, we'll never know.

Bob from Fort Atkinson, WI

Hi guys, I recall seeing some pre-draft information about a very good long snapper who may be drafted by the Packers. Since he was not drafted by us and not signed by us an UDFA do you know what happened to him?

If you're talking about Cal Adomitis from Pitt, he signed with the Bengals as a UDFA.

Michael from Chicago, IL

I like this draft. I like the decision to take Walker over Dean mainly because of size. Dean at 5-9 would be a mismatch covering 6-4 and taller TEs. Walker can stay on the field. He fits also with Barry's philosophy of letting linebackers be linebackers and corners be corners. I am excited to see the possibilities. What excites you most about the defense?

The idea of seeing true companion players, in terms of size and skills, to both Kenny Clark and De'Vondre Campbell in the middle of the field.

Nick from Cincinnati, OH

An observation more so than a question. Two years ago I thought the Bucs defense was a bad matchup for the Packers because of their two inside linebackers (David and White). It is tough to scheme against two guys that can get downhill as well as sideline to sideline. After this year's draft, I am excited to see Campbell and Walker on the field together. I think it drastically changes the dynamics of this defense. And oh yeah, add in a stellar defensive line with it…LOOK OUT. Agree?

I have no interest in jumping the gun, and if Walker and Wyatt are going to play as much as I think as rookies, the defense in September will evolve into something different come November and beyond. It'll be a process. But I do think Joe Barry has even more pieces now to play the type of defense he wants to play.

Jayson from Fayetteville, NC

Going to have to agree to disagree with Bret from Hertel, WI, and even Wes a little. We have an elite defense in my opinion barring injuries. Our first-rounders should be expected to start this year and help the defense become even more elite. They are amazing athletes and were productive in an elite defense that just played 15 games, mostly in the SEC and in the CFB playoffs. There will not be a rookie wall for them. We will just be better with them on the field with depth behind them.

I tend to agree with you, and we'll see how it shakes out. I do have "rookie wall" concerns, though, because Georgia did play 15 games last year, and since early January these guys have been training for the combine, then pro day, now they're here for minicamp, followed by OTAs, etc. Training camp, preseason and 17 games plus (hopefully) playoffs is another six months of football. It's going to be a long haul for them, and I expect the coaching staff to monitor their workload accordingly.

Steve from Wauwatosa, WI

Every year we get treated to highlight videos of the incoming class. When scouts grind tape, I assume they analyze the lowlights as well (and maybe see how adversity was dealt with and if growth was achieved). I sometimes think we get oversold on a class's abilities, resulting in expectations being set too high. I for one would like to see some plays where a player didn't make a great play, or missed a block, or dropped a ball. Wouldn't that help us to be better prepared for the inevitable?

Sure, but that's why the scouts watch everything, and they ask questions about the good and bad. If all that mattered were watching YouTube highlights, anyone could do their jobs.

Kurt from Germantown, TN

With the explosion in QB, WR and OL contracts has it become a better business decision to build a dominant defense instead of offense?

The top edge rushers, corners and D-linemen aren't exactly getting paid peanuts. The key is getting the production needed from the players making the biggest bucks, no matter what positions they play, and then having others outperform their contracts to raise the level of their offensive or defensive unit.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Is it justifiable to feel more optimistic for a greater contribution from this year's rookie class than past years? What is the over/under on draftees starting at some point this season, four?

It's probably three, with the first three picks expected to play plenty and a fourth being dependent on whether one of the O-linemen wins a starting job. But be careful about lumping too many "past years" together. The rookie contributions from the '18, '19 and '21 classes were significant.

Nicholas from Janesville, WI

What do you think the Packers are going to do with Jordan Love? Keep him and try to groom him to be Aaron Rodgers' successor or trade him away and look for another QB?

They're going to continue to develop him, see where things stand with Rodgers a year from now, and go from there.

Dave from Edina, MN

The Packers website used to have a "How Built" page that showed the year players were acquired and if they were drafted or free agents. It was a fun reference point and would save you the trouble of answering my question. Excluding Mason Crosby, how big is the gap between when Rodgers was acquired and the next player currently on the team?

Yeah, we hated losing that page in the most recent platform changeover, but we are working on bringing it back. Here's the link for you. That page is also published within every version of the Dope Sheet that gets posted to the site, for your reference. To answer your question, excluding Crosby as well as Randall Cobb, who was drafted in 2011 but left and returned, it's David Bakhtiari, drafted in '13, eight years after Rodgers.

Todd from Winona, MN

Regarding the eye test question: Julius Peppers is the Packers player that blew the eye test out of the water. You just couldn't appreciate the dimensions of this guy unless you saw him in person.

Very true. Chad Clifton and Aaron Taylor were two offensive linemen over the years who struck me the same way.

Take a look at photos of the Green Bay Packers' 2022 rookie class arriving to Lambeau Field for the start of rookie minicamp.

Chris from Toronto, Canada

Andrew from Bay City states that Christian Watson was a "steal" and should have been taken "before many other first-round WRs." C'mon, let's pump the brakes a little. There was a gap between pick 18 and 32 for a reason. Don't get me wrong. I like the Watson pick, think his athleticism positions him very well. But he's got some catchin' up to do. I might have bought this argument had he played in the SEC or Big Ten, but wouldn't you agree NDSU could only teach him so much?

Also true, and one strong week at the Senior Bowl does not prove anyone is ready for the NFL, whether he played for the Bulldogs or the Bison. Holding one's own against the incoming draft class is a solid starting point, but nothing more.

Peter from Wellington, New Zealand

I get it's hard not to overthink when all scouts/teams do is analyze these players for the better part of two years, but is too much thought placed on what these prospects can't do instead of what they can do? Watson dominated his competition but "he played lesser competition" among a few other negatives. Trey Lance went third, what gives? Watson is a freak, I'm excited to watch his progression.

I think we all are, but "what these prospects can't do" is what their opponents will know and how they'll be challenged on a weekly basis now. It's how the game works at this level.

Kevin from Superior, WI

The first thing I thought about when the Packers drafted Quay was, David and White from Tampa Bay. Great pick. If I remember correctly The Seahawks had a couple decent linebackers in the Legion of Doom days. What's your favorite linebacker combo?

I have to give the Bears a lot of credit here, because growing up in Platteville in the mid-'80s, that trio of Singletary, Marshall and Wilson was unreal. Then in this job, it became a treat to cover games featuring Urlacher and Briggs. I regret not being a little bit older so I'd have more appreciation for Lambert and Ham with the Steelers. That dynasty was winding down just when I started watching football.

Kevin from Suamico, WI

In regards to improving our special-teams play, I often wondered if veterans have any say if they play on special teams or not. I know typically teams tend to guard against putting their starters on that unit, but I wasn't sure if players "earned" the right to decline playing special teams or not. If not, what veteran might we be surprised to see on special teams next year in order to solidify that group's performance?

Interesting question, but venturing a guess now would be difficult. I expect a lot of discussions between LaFleur and Bisaccia as to how this comes together. LaFleur has suggested several options will be on the table, without getting into specifics. This one falls in the "stay tuned" category for me.

Greg from Perkasie, PA

If the Packers were interested in adding one more veteran free agent, which position do you think would benefit most?

Probably edge rusher, but an affordable option given the Packers' cap situation may not exist.

KB from Lucas, TX

Where will Zach Tom likely play? Is it possible that Zach Tom starts at center, and Myers moves to guard? (Myers has less than one season of experience.)

The center job is Josh Myers' barring injury. It was his from Day 1 last year as a second-round pick until he got hurt. My best guess is Tom gets a shot to compete for a starting guard spot and also works at center to back up Myers.

Jerry from Luck, WI

I believe I've read Vic once or twice mention about the "lights being too bright" for certain players. They had all the physical tools and maybe even knew the playbook but the game on the NFL level was simply too big for them. Have you seen any player that fit this example who eventually turned it around and had a good career?

Looking back through old draft classes in my time here, players I believe to one degree or another experienced that type of transition include Desmond Bishop, Jermichael Finley, Morgan Burnett, Kyler Fackrell and even Aaron Jones to a certain extent. It's easy to forget Jones was on the game-day inactive list in Week 1 of his rookie season.

Dave from Comer, GA

Do you ever call Larry "The Snapping Turtle"?

Would you?

Dan from Kewanee, IL

When traveling to Davenport's Culvers you will most likely find yourself on Interstate 88!

Not if I go there from my parents' house. I'll be forever steering clear. Happy Friday.

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