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Inbox: It's a great foundation to build on

We’re going to learn who really wants it

S Darnell Savage

Thomas from Cedar Rapids, IA

Will there be muffin tops served on the Spoff/Hod reality tour?

Top of the muffin to you! I've always wanted to open Inbox with that. Good morning!

Bill from Maple Grove, MN

Two things: 1. I just watched GB beat SF 20-17 in overtime on EA Sports simulation. 2. I just saw Love lead GB to a 27-23 preseason win on EA Sports simulation. What a 2020 season so far!

Yo NFL, just mail the Lombardi to Green Bay already.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

Matt LaFleur had a pretty good rookie season. How much of a second-year jump do you expect from him?

I expect a big jump from LaFleur in Year 2. The car is out of the driveway. He's on the highway now.

Tom from Oviedo, FL

Speaking of so-called "experts" who know less than me, I am sick of the "Packers aren't doing anything to help Rodgers" rant. Last year, because of the great moves they made on defense, the offense no longer had to score 35-plus points per game to win. This year they got a big RB, a vet WR, a TE who can play almost anywhere and a bunch of offensive linemen to help protect him. Do the national "experts" ever really look at teams or just run with the latest click bait?

It's easier to build a story around "They didn't add a receiver" (even though they did) than the Packers had to be smart this offseason if they want to re-sign David Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark, Aaron Jones, etc., before their contracts expire next year.

Todd from Brighton, MI

If the players have extended time away from on-site structured team workouts and practices, teammates and coaches will get to see which players are self-disciplined and which are not, correct?

That was Aaron Rodgers' point two weeks ago. This offseason has been a test for everyone on the 90-man roster. We're going to learn who really wants it.

Rod from Chugiak, AK

Know-it-all pundits take perverse pleasure dissing 13-3 as fluke luck and projecting 2020 to end on an 8-8 refuse heap. Doesn't it look to you that we'll start out, before injuries, at least as strong or stronger at every position but RT? Can't we be confident of development from within, in the second year of ML and staff coaching the new system and players playing in it? For one, I'm betting on the much beat-up-on WRs. Barring injury to Davante Adams, how can that group not play better with Aaron Rodgers?

I don't care what the pundits think because they're not held accountable for their projections anyway. If a pundit says the Packers will go 5-11 and then they do go 5-11, you'll never hear the end of it. But if that same pundit says they'll go 5-11 and they win 13 games, then it's quieter than crickets. Until there's something else to chirp about, of course.

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares more of his 2019 favorites.

Matt from Pittsburgh, PA

I tried to answer the question, "Is it really possible in the NFL to be a fluke 13-3 team?" If my math is right, an average NFL team would have a 1.2% chance of getting at least 13 wins against the Packers' 2019 schedule (using FiveThirtyEight's end-of-season ELO ratings). Reasonable people could disagree, but my interpretation would be "not a fluke."

A credit to you for putting the work in, Matt. I'm not a statistician but playing 16 NFL games and winning 13 of them, including seven of eight at home, seems to suggest you weren't that bad. But maybe it's just me.

Karl from Fort Collins, CO

Tape shows that Darnell Savage had some problems taking bad angles with very fast runners/wide receivers last season. In Year 2, will that be adjusted via coaching, or just Savage recognizing the situation and knowing how to correct it? Whichever, if he makes adjustments for the speed of the NFL game, can we expect him to have a big contribution in Year 2?

It's going to be Jerry Gray honing Savage's technique in the classroom and practice, and Savage thinking less on the field and playing faster. He has so much physical talent and ability that I'm expecting Savage to maximize the value of those 800 snaps he played last year. It's a great foundation to build on.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

Josh Jackson's stats during his first three years at Iowa: First season (14 GP, two passes defended, zero INTs). Second season (12 GP, four PD, zero INTs). Third season (13 GP, 18 PD, eight INTs). If we can get half of this jump in production during his third season with the Packers, pass-happy offensive coordinators will have nightmares. I hope this odd offseason doesn't hamper his progress.

This is Jackson's year. It has to be. This is a golden opportunity for him to find a place in this defense, especially with Tramon Williams still a free agent.

Ashton from Bluffdale, UT

With Aaron Jones' contract coming up, I had a few thoughts about RB contracts. A lot of people say that a second long-term contract isn't good for RBs because their physicality gets lost very quickly. However, what if you kept giving 1-2 year contracts? The team can keep the RB, but have a very quick out if the RB loses a step, and the RB can just keeping playing as long as they are still healthy/good. How do you feel about this idea?

That's the way the league is trending. Not a single running back signed for more than two years this offseason. But ultimately, that's up to the player and his agent what they feel he's worth.

Steve from Cedar Falls, IA

Not really a question but does anyone really care what a team's record is if they make the Super Bowl? The only two that most fans would have come to mind are the undefeated Dolphins and the Patriots losing after coming in with a perfect record.

I don't. Aside from the Packers' 10-6 record in 2010, I don't think I could name many of the regular-season records of the Super Bowl combatants over the past decade. Just win, baby.

Casey from Frisco, TX

Like you, Wes, I don't understand how Eric Bieniemy isn't a head coach in the NFL yet. And while my main hope for this upcoming season is a SB victory for the Packers, my secondary hope is that the Bears and the Lions do "just enough" for Nagy and Patricia to not get fired. Because I'd really hate to see either of them end up with Bieniemy as head coach for the next couple decades.

I don't know what NFL teams want in a head coach but Bieniemy's work with Kansas City speaks for itself. He's the coordinator of one of the league's most exciting offenses and just won a Super Bowl.

Scott from Hamlin, NY

"How Eric Bienemy is not an NFL head coach at this exact moment is beyond my comprehension." And yet we have the rule now. So either the rule doesn't work or there's something the owners know that you don't, much like GMs and the draft.

We have to do better. We gotta find more to create opportunities for minority coaches in the NFL. That's not a suggestion. That's a fact. I don't know if the draft-pick proposal is the right answer but we gotta do something.

Dan from Norfolk, VA

Hi II, the cafeteria "virtual tour" comment got me to wondering how the team is fed while traveling. Is there a catered event at the hotel, off the menu at the hotel restaurant(s), the players are on their own, some combination of the above, or none of the above? How about for home games – is there a team meal before the game?

There's always a pregame meal for players – either in the cafeteria at Lambeau before home games or catering on the road. Players get a stipend for dinner the night before road games and have snacks available at the hotel.

Check out photos of Packers players showing their strength during the 2019 season.

Jason from Austin, TX

I haven't been paying enough attention to the rule changes (except for the potential onside play), but do you know if the NFL has done anything to address the time-wasting loophole that was exploited last season? The loophole was when a team would false start on a punt, then take a delay of game, then false start again so the play clock would keep resetting while the game clock kept ticking.

The league approved a new rule on Thursday that says the clock will now stop if the offense commits any accepted dead-ball foul at any point during the fourth quarter or overtime.

Mark from Parkville, MO

I know the league is considering options for fans, but have they thought about accommodating those who had the virus and are fully recovered? Tickets get expensive for those having to buy and travel to games. If you can prove you have immunity, do you think they would give thought to allowing us in to cheer? By the way, you guys are a wonderful lifeline to us out here away from the comforts of Green, Gold and truly great cheese.

Thanks for reading and I appreciate these questions, but Spoff and I couldn't possibly guess how this process will go of reintroducing fans into stadiums. Truthfully, we're just trying to get back in the building ourselves right now.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

May 29, 2020. Merriam-Webster's word of the day: assail. Mike's word of the day: penultimate. Advantage Mike.

Penultimate is one of my favorite words. I try to work it into my vernacular whenever possible, even though using "second-to-last" would save readers a lot of time.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Wes, who do you know besides Mike that would ever use the word "penultimate"?

The "Game of Thrones" showrunners.

Dan from Rothschild, WI

Everyone talking about how they are so bored without football and baseball they'll watch anything. I'm still not bored enough to watch soccer, golf, or NASCAR.

Preach. You like what you like. A pandemic isn't going to change that.

Mark from Appleton, WI

Responding to Ryan from Noblesville you said, "Beggars can't be choosers." If I were a writer I would avoid clichés like the plague. Seriously though, I appreciate this column ardently.

Oh, come on. I'm not even joking. We give it 110% every day we write this column and it sells like hotcakes. We're not crying over spilt milk, Mark. Because when it rains, it pours, and the rest is history. Now, I'm going to let my hair down. What? Cat got your tongue? Just a chip off the old block, aren't you? Don't mess with the Biff or you'll get the horns.


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