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Inbox: It's a different game today

Vince Lombardi’s story deserves the silver screen treatment

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Head Coach Matt LaFleur, QB Aaron Rodgers

Gary from Cross Plains, WI

Yes, uncertainty to pronouncing II. There must be dozens (hopefully not 7.33 dozen) ways to think/say it. I, for one, generally think double-I. Keep up the great work. An even greater sense of normalcy during these times. And sorry, I know there's not supposed to be math in the I-squared.

Inbox, Insider, Insiders Inbox, I-squared, Double-I, Goldeneye, "eye-eye" or "E-E." I don't care what you call it as long as you're here. Good morning!

Ross from Hudson, WI

If we compare Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in their first two years they are kind of similar. DA – 88 catches, 929 yards, and four TDs. MVS – 64 catches, 1,033 yards and four TDs. Is it unrealistic or unfair to expect a similar third-year jump from MVS? DA went to 75/997/12 in Year 3…

I like the comparison because it reminds you not to write off young players. So many fans gave up on Adams entering his third year and then he just blew up in 2016. At the same time, you gotta temper expectations for MVS – because he's not Adams. He needs to get back to doing what he did well as a rookie and build on that because the talent is there.

Jordan from Sturgeon Bay, WI

This is more of a rant than a question but I hope you post it because people need to hear it. This whole non-story about the Packers not drafting a WR is ridiculous. There is a really good chance any WR they would have drafted wouldn't have beaten Allen Lazard out for the job this year, especially with a potentially shorter training camp. WRs take about three years to develop and we have E.Q. and MVS going into their third year. You draft for the future, and the future we drafted for in 2018 is now.

From your mouth to Spoff's ear.

Thomas from Green Lake, WI

From what I'm reading, it seems like we want to run the ball more this coming year. What kind of impact might that have on the passing game? Would it mean shorter passes to keep the chains moving, or give us opportunities to go deep against defenses? It should be entertaining at the very least. Thanks for providing this forum. I read it every day!

I expect more play-action and traditional West Coast offense, which is high tempo and shorter passes. That's not to say the home-run threat won't be a part of the offense – LaFleur already said he wants to go more no-huddle next year – but the Packers want to win inside the hashes, too.

Nikhil from Washington, DE

Hello II, there were some questions about the team's health last year. I don't recall us being so healthy last year. We had a number of guys exit before the season even started. It wasn't Aaron Rodgers but Equanimeous St. Brown, Lane Taylor, Ty Summers and a few others who could have contributed all exited in the preseason. Plus, Bulaga and Adams missed time and MVS never seemed to recover. Kevin King was in and out. Seems like we still had to test our depth, no?

The depth was tested but not like it had been in the past few years. That was the healthiest team the Packers have fielded since 2014. Like Spoff said, I expect Green Bay to face more adversity with the health of its personnel. So the young guys who didn't receive opportunities in 2019 need to be ready for 2020.

Ken from Racine, WI

Thanks for the top 10 QB seasons since 2010. It's amazing to watch these guys perform at the top of their game. And it was gratifying to see our No. 12 as the top dog for two of those seasons. Drew Brees also took top honors for two seasons. I've been watching the NFL for almost 60 years. Would you agree that regardless of rule changes, QB performance has been on an upward trajectory for several decades now?

It's a different game today. On top of the modern-day protections, quarterbacks are bigger, stronger and more athletic today than they were 60 years ago. Also, the amount of detail that goes into game-planning is ridiculous, and these QBs are so smart and well-studied. It's equal parts chess and combat.

Steve from Middletown, KY

Lombardi had his signature sweep that couldn't be stopped. Packers are successful. The last two years for MM, he advertised he was going to run the ball, yet he was unable to do that. I think it made him slow to adjust and adapt. Last year, ML was able to establish the run. Packers are successful. Besides SF, wouldn't you agree Coach seemed to adjust well? If adding AJ Dillon solidifies the run, wouldn't that help to allow Coach to execute his game plan even more? Take what you want vs. what they give you.

I thought LaFleur did a great job of feeling things out and adapting his offense to the personnel the Packers had. We saw a few changes last year and a couple more this offseason. As the years pass, I believe you'll see LaFleur's stamp on the offense even more and Dillon is a part of that.

Dan from Minneapolis, MN

I fully expect the Packers to carry three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in 2020. Do you think carrying three quarterbacks in 2021 would be a sign Jordan Love  isn't improving quickly enough? A first-rounder should by Year 2 be at least a competent backup.

Not necessarily. I expect Love to push Tim Boyle for that job this year and next, but there's going to be a little more wiggle room to keep three QBs with this new CBA.

Joe from Rhinelander, WI

I can't believe it is already the 10-year anniversary of the Super Bowl XLV championship. Are there any plans in the works commemorating the team this year? I know it's not possible, but if all the players and coaches could all get together in one room there would be some very interesting conversations taking place.

I started at the Press-Gazette in 2006, when the Packers were celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Super Bowl XXXI team. It's crazy to me we're almost at the same point with the XLV team. Cherish those moments, folks. You only get so many of them.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Wes, do you expect any free-agency moves anytime soon?

Not at this point. Frankly, I was surprised to see the Raiders sign Prince Amukamara a couple days ago.

Jeff from Belton, TX

With everything still being closed, how much time does the staff get with players or is it still hands off? I believe the longer things are closed the more difficult it's going to be to install new schemes. You can only do so much via computer but you need muscle memory to get things to stick.

NFL rules mandate all teams must keep classroom sessions and video workouts to no longer than two hours apiece a day.

Tom from Sylvania, OH

First-time, longtime. Is it just me, or is there a striking resemblance between Mark Tauscher and Simon Stepaniak?

I see it, especially if Stepaniak grew his hair out.

Tony from River Falls, WI

What is the earliest Packers game you remember watching as a kid? Any stories are appreciated.

Diehard readers will remember this story but my first memory was the Packers losing to the Patriots 17-16 in 1994. I was 6 at the time. Green Bay pulled ahead late but botched the point-after attempt, and New England drove down to win the game on a 33-yard field goal.

Philip from Fishers, IN

I know a balanced team is the end goal for every head coach, but do you think that teams tend to build their offense and defense slightly more to the strengths/weaknesses of the other teams in their division? Example: Mike from Mount Prospect's question of the AFC West being a track meet and the NFC North having a tendency to run the ball more.

That's how the game has been played in the NFC North during my lifetime. Minnesota, Detroit and Chicago all bolstered their pass rushes and defenses to battle Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre, whereas Green Bay invested a lot of resources into its defensive front to defend Barry Sanders and Adrian Peterson.

Matt from Minneapolis, MN

In terms of the defensive line, the Packers have Kenny Clark who can do everything well, and Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster who can hold the point of attack and control gaps. Do you think Montravius Adams can step up to play in defensive schemes that call for penetration and disruption? Many thought Adams would break out last year and he is already going into his fourth year. If he and/or Kingsley Keke don't improve it could be a challenging year for the D-line.

Adams is right up there with Clark as far as natural ability but he has to put it together in Year 4 because Keke is going to be pushing for playing time, as well. We've seen flashes in each of the last two seasons and a great locker-room guy, but Adams has to be more consistent if he's going to live up to the status of a former third-round pick.

Ben from Los Angeles, CA

Insiders, watching "The Last Dance" and dreaming about playoff basketball, the NBA (and other leagues) seem to have the best method of determining who was the best each year based off the multiple seven-game series it takes to win. In a fictional NFL, where say a three-game series was played in the playoffs, do you think the Packers would have more championships?

Yeah. I think the 1997 and 2011 Packers would have been tough to beat in a three-game series but they also might have lost one or two others, as well. That's the way it goes. Each team has 60 minutes to make its point.

Marc from Gainesville, FL

To Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI, re: referee bias and Spoff's answer: The Wall Street Journal (4/24/20) reported on a study by Swedish economists who looked at the home field/ref bias issue in European soccer. They compared games with fans to games in Italy with no fans due to riots. Small study, but they found that nearly all of home-field advantage came from referee bias – and that the effect was stronger at stadiums where the seating put fans closer to the action.

We are exactly four months away from the Packers' road opener against Minnesota. If fans aren't allowed in the doors this year, it's going to create the evenest of playing fields we've ever seen in the NFL. I won't argue that.

Roger from McGrath, AK

A Bears writer wrote that "the Packers have moved on from Tramon Williams..." Is that a fair assessment? It seems premature.

Premature.

Daniel from Potosi, WI

With the passing of actor Jerry Stiller, I started wondering why hasn't a Hollywood movie been made about Vince Lombardi? I feel like it would make for a great inspirational sports movie up there with the likes of "Remember the Titans" or "Friday Night Lights." Who would you cast as Lombardi and what would you have the movie plot focus on? Early or late in his career? I think it'd make a great movie with the right director and actor.

That's a great question. I don't know why we haven't had a "Lombardi" movie yet. The play was great. I thoroughly enjoyed that but his story deserves the silver screen treatment. I think it would perfect if centered on that first championship season in 1961 and everything that led up to it.

Mike from Ames, IA

Follow-up question from an answer in Mike's Mid-Week Chat: Why did the league need to outlaw 00 jersey numbers? Was it a ploy to sell bobbleheads without owing a player a cut? Or was it just too similar to 88?

I'm not sure but it's the way it's been since the NFL began its numbering system in 1973. That alignment determined quarterbacks, kickers and punters were the only positions that could wear Nos. 1-9, leaving 0 and 00 in the dust.

Nic from London, UK

Have you ever had an II flu game? Like Wes lets Mike know he's not feeling well so Mike gets ready to replace him on II, but at the last second Wes comes marching down the hall clutching his trusted laptop, answers question after question visibly straining and finally signs off with the zinger of all zingers before collapsing exhaustedly on his desk?

I can't think of a flu game, per se, but I wrote Inbox from the hospital on the day my son was born, because Spoff was having to cover the Packers-Panthers game solo in Carolina.

Tom from Platteville, WI

Mike, appreciate your honesty in how/why you answer questions. Writer's prerogative is often overlooked when we are looking for answers. Your response was both refreshing and as it should be. Thank you.

Yes, bow down to your prince. Spoff is right, though. Sometimes, as a writer, you just don't want to answer a certain question on a particular day. I know two weeks ago I took a day off from taking QB questions. The II writers need rest days, too.

John from Topeka, KS

Insiders, do you ever tire of being asked to look into esoteric statistics? Just for fun, here's two: out of Rodgers' top five TD targets' (Drivers, Jennings, Nelson, Cobb, Adams) respective draft classes, only two first-round picks have more TDs – Julio Jones and A.J. Green. Jennings, Nelson and Cobb all have more TDs than their entire first-round WRs combined.

It depends on the day and how many other things I have to do/write.

Andrew from Oconto, WI

Wes and mock trial: "Coach would've put me in fourth quarter, we would've been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind."

OK, that made me laugh.

Ed from Lithia, FL

Big difference between childish and childless. My bad. Big difference between 9-7 and 11-5. Good health and some breaks might achieve the latter. Very good health and breaks equal to last year will possibly result in another 13-3. Of course, none of us never know. I like to predict the win-loss record for all teams when the schedule comes out. Always a few surprises.

Being a Packer fan since 1958 has brought many highs and lows. Some never predictable. The best to both of you.

The best to you, as well, Ed. I don't think I've ever accurately predicted the Packers' schedule. There are twists and turns you never see coming whether it be season-altering injuries or the emergence of young playmakers such as Aaron Jones and Allen Lazard. That's what makes it fun.

Scott from De Pere, WI

Wes, what's your take on the MMA's Fight Island? I personally like the creativity.

It is an intriguing idea to keep international fighters competing but proper medical protocols have to be followed. Are they building a hospital on the island? And where is it located anyway?

Jeremy from Victoria, BC

To Beau from Greenwood, my II routine is to read it with my cup of coffee. That hasn't changed, but I watch "Packers Unscripted" as soon as it's out, and then "forget" and watch it again with a beer in the evening if that helps.

Keep forgetting. We're glad to be a part of your routine.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, let's be optimistic. For you, what has been the biggest unforeseen positive to come out of the quarantine? More sleep? Better health? Neighbor relationships? I'm going with better sleep and no need to nap during the day.

It's definitely not sleep. I haven't slept well in months. The positive is how much time I've been able to spend with my son. I've seen him more these last eight weeks than I did all of last season. You gotta find your silver lining, right?

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