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Inbox: It’s a crash course in the NFL

CB Jaire Alexander
CB Jaire Alexander

Zach from Rochelle, IL

Well Insiders, I guess we're already back to a slump in the offseason. I just saw someone say that we should move Rashan Gary to middle linebacker, and if that isn't a typical Packer-backer offseason comment, then I do not know what is. Can we get back to football now?

After four days out of the state on assignment, I’m glad to know the Inbox hasn’t changed one iota. Good morning!

Neal from Ft Worth, TX

How much time are tryout players given to make an impression before a decision has to be made? Are they tested in a way similar to the combine drills?

There are no combine drills. That initial phase is over. It’s time to start playing football. Those tryout guys have a two-day window to make an impression in practice. Afterward, a few will sign contracts to keep their NFL dreams alive.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

So excited to see all the new Packers – what usually goes on at the rookie minicamps?

The easiest way to explain it is it’s a crash course in the NFL. It’s a chance to get to know the facility, the daily structure and how to practice in the pros. It’s a crash course because come Monday, every rookie in Green Bay – from Rashan Gary to the college free agents – will be cycled in with the rest of the veterans.

Nic from London, UK

If your best receiver is both your best option outside and in the slot, where should you use him? Assuming your alternatives can offer 80 percent of his production outside or 70 percent inside, do you let that drive your choice? Or ultimately is one position more valuable to the offense than the other? To me, it feels like using Davante Adams predominantly in the slot would be a waste of his ability, but I'm just a layman so I'm curious about your thoughts.

The Packers aren’t going to predominantly use Adams in the slot, though. They’re are going to use Adams predominantly everywhere. You want to keep special talents moving, so defenses don’t key on them. It’s no different than what area high school coaches do on Friday nights.

James from Durango, CO

Given the relative inexperience at the WR position, would you consider signing a veteran WR? Adams is the only home run. It has been a position hard hit with injuries in the recent past and now would be just as good a time as any to give everyone a fair shot for the end of training camp. I’m not writing off the second-year guys nor is a vet a guarantee, but it would not hurt to simultaneously pursue both paths before training camp and see what kind of WR group you have by the end of camp.

Adams is the only home-run threat? He had five catches of 40 of more yards last season. Marquez Valdes-Scantling had four. If you think there’s a veteran receiver still on a market on May 2 that’s better than the young guys the Packers have on their roster, I suggest you reconsider your position on the matter.

Troy from Westminster, CO

I know a lot of fans and analysts are questioning the Gary pick and possibly rightfully so. However, I can't help but wonder, with the Smith signings combined with drafting Gary and Savage, if we're going to start resembling a Baltimore Ravens-style defense with physical beef up front and speed in the back. The Smiths and Gary are classic Ravens-bodied defenders. How much influence could Milt Hendrickson be having in this process?

Hendrickson certainly provided some inside knowledge of Za’Darius Smith, but anything beyond that would be pure speculation on my part. I see a pattern of versatility with all of these acquisitions and players who will stretch the stitches of their positional designation. That’s the common thread.

Paul from Ellensburg, WA

Hey fellas, we’ve intentionally gotten a lot bigger at OLB this year. Assuming the obvious trade-off of gaining power/losing speed or dexterity, why would we specifically make this change? Is there a specific benefit to Pettine’s scheme?

The Packers made the change because the NFL has changed. Edge rusher depth charts feature more body types and skill sets than 10 years ago, particularly in 3-4 base defenses. Gary and the Smiths give Pettine position flexibility up front.

Adam from Toronto, Ontario

I have watched some film breakdown of Jace Sternberger as both a receiver and blocker and am really excited about his potential. In regards to his blocking, he has some great tape as a run blocker and a pass protector. It doesn't seem Jace is receiving any credit regarding his blocking but it seems he is a willing and capable blocker. What is your opinion on this side of his game? How good a fit will he be in ML’s system as a dual-threat TE?

He’s willing. That’s all I can glean from watching a few clips on YouTube. I want to see him put the pads on and square off against NFL defensive ends and edge rushers to accurately gauge his capabilities as a blocker.

Scotty from Lombard, IL

Hi Insiders, I watched Dexter play several times last year. He is the real deal. I think he may be the steal of the draft. It would not surprise me if he ends up as the No. 1 running back in the rotation. Your thoughts.

He’s going to be the No. 1 back in the rotation this weekend. That’s what matters right now. Let’s get through rookie orientation before we start filling out the rest of the depth chart. It’s going to be a fun competition to watch in camp with Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Kapri Bibbs back.

Amy from Bayport, MN

Thank goodness the draft is over. We can dispense with all the prognosticating now that we have concrete things to discuss. I think Ty Summers is going to make this roster. He’s a QB so passionate about football he became a LB in college to continue his career and talented enough to play as a true freshman at a brand new position. Bold prediction: Summers becomes a standout on special teams and throws a pass on a trick play this year.

Summers has a chance, particularly as a special-teamer at the beginning. I’m careful not to hype up seventh-rounders, but he has good measurables for the position and his combine performance is equally promising.

Steven from Chugwater, WY

Here's hoping JK Scott is the player that makes the big leap in Year 2.

I wouldn’t bet against him. He’s only 22 and has the leg talent to get the job done. I think the addition of Shawn Mennenga will benefit him, as well.

Eric from Mequon, WI

I know this is probably an impossible question but I’ll ask anyway. Do you think our roster is set and barring injury the 53 are already on the roster, or do you see another signing with teams trimming down rosters?

The roster is never set. With all the tryout players coming in, there likely will be some roster movement between now and next Monday.

Bosko from Belgrade, Serbia

Can Daniels, Clark and Gary be standard DL with Smiths, Burks and Martinez as LB in standard 3-4 formation? Not speaking about sub-packages.

Gary might play with his hand in the dirt occasionally, but only in passing situations. It won’t be in the base 3-4 defense.

Jake from Appleton, WI

So three of our eight draft picks come from the same school and program. Is that something to say about the local scout and the belief in him, or just by chance or luck based off of the talents of that particular school?

It happens. The draft board is the draft board.

Jack from Chicago, IL

I don’t like the Darnell Savage measurable comparisons to Nick Collins. OK they both are 5-11, ran 4.36 40s, put up 11 bench reps, and are near 200 pounds. Guess what – Hollman is 6-0, 190 and ran a 4.37 with 18 reps on the bench, and Jaire is 5-11, 198 and ran a 4.38 with 14 on the bench press. My point is there are tons of guys on our team, and in the league, with elite athleticism, and that isn’t what set Collins apart from the rest.

Well it’s a good thing the Packers are going to ask him to be Darnell Savage and not Nick Collins then.

Josh from Melbourne, Australia

Why are people so concerned about Savage's height when he's the same height as Nick Collins who we missed so dearly?

The third rule of Inbox is if you don’t have anything to complain about, then find something to complain about.

Tony from Eden Prairie, MN

Why did the Packers wait so long to pick up Kenny Clark’s fifth-year option? Is there a benefit for the team to wait this long?

Is there a benefit to rush it? The deadline is May 3. It’s just checking a box…a well-deserved box, but a box nonetheless.

Tom from Oxford, MI

I remember when Julius Peppers was amazed that 70,000 fans turned up for a "practice" at Lambeau (Family Night). Are any of the new guys in awe of the complex/organization/fan support? 

Yes.

Pete from Stoke, UK

Loved your comments about grading the Packers’ draft. Just for fun, have you ever thought of grading the media “experts” on their mock drafts?

No. I have better things to do.

Dan from Holland, MI

Thanks, Larry, for sharing your draft-day nightmare. Thanks for your time as a player and for coming back. Welcome John Kuhn to the media team. My favorite mainly because the team listened to the fans and he stepped up. Glad you are here. Question is who is going to tell him to turn the logo on his cup so we can see it when he is doing “Packers Unscripted”? Noticed you guys do (don't know if that's on purpose but you do), might want to pass it on. Thanks for what you guys do.

That Larry story was an all-timer. Be sure to watch it if you haven’t already. I also cannot believe the stuff you guys pick up on. We are thrilled to have John on board. I had a blast doing the three-man booth with him and Spoff during the NFL Draft.

Chris from Philadelphia, PA

The journalists I trust all seem to say it takes two or three years to reasonably judge a draft. So, I’m curious: How would you grade the Packers’ 2016 draft?

I’d give it a solid B. Clark is the best first-rounder the Packers have had since taking Clay Matthews back in 2009.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Is this the year that Blake Martinez finally gets some national recognition as one of the best at his position?

If there was ever a year, this is it. Martinez is in a contract season and came back in peak physical condition. He’s put himself in a position to succeed since he first walked into the building. Now, he looks like a grown man. I’m excited to see how he does. The Packers are going to need him.

Jacob from West Allis, WI

Let’s pretend you are the GM for a moment. If Kevin King plays well the next two years but ends up on IR after playing around 10 games each season, would that be enough to warrant a second contract in your eyes?

You’re so vague you probably think this answer’s about you. I mean seriously, if you remove “Kevin King” and replace it with “Player X,” it literally applies to 95 percent of the 2017 NFL Draft class.

Nicole from Trempealeau, WI

Is there a limit of how many undrafted free agents you can bring in to camp?

Only the 90-man roster limit.

Dan from Kenosha, WI

It’s a business, but Clay still checked out the Packers’ uniform number assignments. Loved his tweet!

Did it hurt when the Press-Gazette gave Aaron Nagler my old phone number? ’Course (Brett Favre voice), but that’s life.

Dan from Gladwin, MI

I agree with your analysis of "Bull Durham" as Costner's best sports movie. I also think that "Tin Cup" needs mention along with "Field of Dreams." There were so many great lines in that movie as well, and the Cheech Marin character was the perfect sidekick. Plus, the love interest, Rene Russo, was a role played almost as well as Susan Sarandon in "Bull Durham." "Tin Cup" is to golf movies what "Bull Durham" is to baseball.

No love for “For Love of the Game,” huh? Clear the mechanism.

Jackson from Rothschild, WI

Whom are the Packers targeting in the way-too-early 2020 draft?

I don’t know, but there’s some guy in Menominee already questioning the yet-to-be-made pick.

Brian from Fanwood, NJ

How would you grade the questions about grading our draft?

Happy Thursday?

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