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Inbox: It's genuine, and it's been fun to observe

Running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams
Running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams

Jean from Lakeland, FL

Why don't you answer my questions? They are real!

And they're not spectacular.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

When are the official start dates of FA?

Free agency officially begins, with players eligible to sign contracts with other teams, at 3 p.m. CT on March 18. The negotiating window, also known as the legal tampering period, starts two days earlier, on March 16.

Corey from Henderson, NV

A question in Friday's II about broadcasts got me thinking about the television contracts with the NFL, and that they are expiring in a couple of years. Most notably, the contract with DirecTV. With the number of viewers cutting the cord, what are the chances that the league finally allows streaming of individual games on platforms other than just DTV? Would the Packers consider streaming their games on their app, considering the number of fans that don't live in Wisconsin (such as myself)?

I think streaming of individual out-of-market games for a fee or via a subscription service is only a matter of time, but I have no idea on a time frame. It seems inevitable, though. As far as the Packers streaming games on the app, it would have to be part of a league-wide move in that direction. Individual clubs don't have control over game distribution.

Stephen from Winchester, VA

It's not really a question. Nicholas from Portland is greatly overvaluing the pressure that fans put on an athlete. If fan pressure mattered more than the pressure he puts on himself, he wouldn't have ever made it to this level. Top performers eat pressure for breakfast, and that applies to more than just sports.

I hear you, but pressure is one thing, and hyper-intensive media scrutiny is another, whether it's warranted or not. I think Nicholas was referring more to the latter. Pressure can build in different forms.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Aaron Rodgers will need to better fit his game to the scheme and take his performance to another level next year, acting counter to past seasons. Is he capable of another gear? Can he step his game up in alignment with Coach ML's offensive philosophy?

I believe he absolutely can, especially if he has more playmaking talent around him at receiver and tight end.

Paul from Hennepin, IL

Perhaps I am jumping the gun, but I am ready to begin making plans for next season. Do you yet know the date of next year's owners meeting? BTW, thank you for all the great work year round keeping us engaged and informed.

For 2021? No, I don't have those dates. This year, the owners are getting together March 29-April 1 and again May 19-20.

John from Portland, OR

My favorite play of the year was the TD pass from Rodgers to Williams against the Chiefs, not just because it was a great throw and catch, but because the first player to run over and hug Williams was Aaron Jones. When two players competing with each other for snaps are also each other's biggest supporters, you're likely to have a winning culture and winning team. Every aspect of that play said "character." Thanks to you guys for all of your work year round.

There's been something special about the connection between Jones and Williams since the day they showed up here. It's genuine, and it's been fun to observe.

Jeff from Agat, Guam

If there was a Hall of Fame for "Grace and Dignity in Disappointment," LeRoy B. would be a unanimous winner. So impressed by the way he handled not getting in and saying he was genuinely happy for Atwater. First class.

Amen.

Max from Madrid, Spain

Now in the offseason I guess it's time to ask these questions. I heard a story that when Favre's case was to be made to the HOF committee the man who argued it just put his hands up and said: "It's Brett Favre." And that was it. Case closed. All in agreement. Move on to the next one. Do you know if there's any veracity to this?

It is thoroughly veracious. Wes and I both know (and used to work with) the individual who did that, Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette. I suspect whoever is presenting Peyton Manning at next year's selection meeting will do the same thing. I know I would.

Robert from Verona, WI

Do either of you ever lead or participate in the Lambeau Field tours?

No, but I could totally see myself guiding one in about 20 years.

Matt from Oshkosh, WI

Gentlemen, there is lots of speculation regarding Josh Jackson's future in Titletown. I still believe that he is a very good football player and could yet be an asset to the Packers, but I guess sometimes you just need a fresh start. What is your take on Josh, how he has progressed and what his future in Green Bay will be?

I'm of the belief you never have enough corners, and I'd want to see how a healthy Jackson competes for playing time in training camp after the injury setback last summer. It pretty much wrecked his season on defense, though he got after it on special teams and proved his value there. I wouldn't be giving up on a second-round pick this early, especially not at a premier position like corner. The Packers still have two years to develop his talent at a very affordable price.

Kenny from Anaheim, CA

I'm not sure about Pete Rose as a middle linebacker. I think he'd gamble and bite too hard on the play-action.

I don't know whether to chuckle or groan.

Carl from Sussex, WI

My QB from another sport is Oscar Robertson. Six-foot-five, muscular, mobile, able to see the whole field, and could distribute the ball like nobody else. He even wore the right numbers: 14 and 1.

I never saw Robertson play, but I've heard enough to really like that selection.

Andrew from Fullerton, CA

Regarding the "new throwback" for 2020, considering the last two were from the 1920s through 1940s, I'm hoping they choose one from the 1950s. In fact, 1950 had four options: all green, all yellow, green jersey with yellow pants, and yellow jersey with green pants. If Murphy left it all up to you, what do you choose?

All green, baby. I want that green jersey with gold numbers and stripes, plus the green pants, from the early '50s.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Which position or position group do you feel is "good enough" going into next year and we don't need to see improvement?

Dangerous question. Someone out there is getting better, so if you're not getting better, you're getting worse relative to the competition.

Colin from Tripoli, WI

Guys after a week or so of retrospect I've come to the conclusion the SB teams both separated themselves in one undeniable fashion. Team speed. Real, tangible and functional speed. It only makes sense after the league has crippled the defensive side of the ball. A new type of player has emerged. These smaller burners can cross the field without worrying about having their heads separated from their bodies. Do you think the league will continue to get smaller overall? Or just at the skill positions?

There will always be a place in a physical game for big bodies to move other bodies, but that aside, I don't think the league is getting smaller. The athletes keep changing. Sure, Tyreek Hill is a smaller guy, but Deebo Samuel is 5-11, 215. Travis Kelce and George Kittle are in the range of 6-4/5 and 250/60, bigger dudes who can really run. Defense? Nick Bosa is 6-4, 266. Kwon Alexander is 6-1, 227. Fred Warner is 6-3, 236. Chris Jones is 6-6, 310. They're better athletes than most guys their size. That's what getting an edge has always been about.

Josh from Denver, CO

LaFleur was a rookie head coach last year, while Rodgers was in his first new offense since 2006. What kind of changes might we see from them entering Year 2?

I think LaFleur will have a better understanding from the start of the season what his players do best, and I believe Rodgers will have a better command of what LaFleur is trying to accomplish from play to play, series to series and game to game.

Don from Riverton, UT

An II mechanics question…is II dealing with a clean slate every day or is there a potential backlog? For instance if my question just misses the cut on Day 1, might it make the cut in two days when the Day 1 responder is back in the saddle?

Entirely possible. Wes and I have our own methods of constructing the column when it's our turn, and I think we both do it different ways at different times, too. The total lack of rhythm and predictability is part of the charm.

Chase from Ft. Wood, MO

I just read that JK Scott finished 28th in the NFL with 44 yards per punt. I don't know the stats from last year but by the eye test he looked better. What needs improvement? Accuracy? Hang time? Distance? Coverage? How do you see the front office and coaches attacking this issue?

Gross average might be the most meaningless statistic to look at when it comes to a punter. Even though that number fell from 44.7 to 44.0 from Year 1 to 2, Scott improved considerably. In roughly the same number of punts (71 as a rookie, 77 this past year), his net average went up from 38.8 to 39.9, his touchbacks dropped from nine to four, and his inside-the-20s increased from 19 to 29. He had some regrettable moments, but that number changed for the better, too, and he's not a finished product by any means.

Mike from Novato, CA

Just a quick follow-up to yesterday's question about how our young receivers didn't develop like we thought they should. Given that the Packers fired their WR coach, do you get the feeling that the Packers' brass think there's more talent there than outsiders believe? It's hard to believe that MVS didn't get better and Allison didn't pick up where he left off a couple years ago, so perhaps Gute/ML think that was more an issue than we knew.

I think when the entire offseason runs its course we'll see the responsibility for the shortcomings being shared.

Dan from Wausau, WI

Just a comment. I am really happy the Chiefs won, but the inevitable and ridiculous narrative by so many that the Chiefs are the next dynasty drives me nuts. The Chiefs will soon find out that life changes dramatically once you pay the man and the margin for error gets really slim. I am not sure why so many in the media overlook this. The cap is the great equalizer and I would not be surprised if history shows that this ends up being the best team the Chiefs had in the Mahomes era.

Wouldn't surprise me, either, but no matter the final verdict it's going to be entertaining to see it play out.

Brian from Waukesha, WI

The 2020 season won't be the 2019 season for anyone in the NFL. Coaches change, players change, even venues change. There are just so many variables, even on a daily basis. Fixing one aspect may come at the expense or neglect of another. As we witnessed this season, anything is possible. As was pointed out, success one season does often carry over into the next. That's the fun or frustration of being a fan.

It's as much as year-to-year league in the offseason as it is a week-to-week league during the season.

Take a look at photos of Packers RB Tyler Ervin from the 2019 season.

Michael from Santa Cruz, CA

I know (the great) Ron Wolf got a little fired up because he felt like he needed to defend his son (as we all would), but he made an excellent point that exposes the downside of analytics obsession: If things go well, what a genius I am; if things don't, well don't blame me, I just did what the numbers said to do. Because you know, human dynamics don't have any influence in a locker room culture (sarcasm alert). Teams that think analytics alone are the golden ticket are desperate.

It's about finding the right balance, with anything, and keeping it all in perspective. For example, I still cringe a little every time I hear the "analytics" on how important explosive plays are to scoring points. They are, to a great degree. I'm not disputing that. But it also becomes self-fulfilling statistically to a certain extent. If you keep trying to make big plays happen, and end up failing and punting, more possessions without big plays will not have resulted in points. So the numbers, analytically, look even more convincing. I like to point to Week 1 of 2018 when it comes to "big-play" stats. What was the biggest play of the game? Randall Cobb's 75-yard TD to beat the Bears, right? It was a 10-yard pass to the sticks on third down that ruptured into the explosive play, yet the analytics will call it a "big-play TD" when the design and intent was anything but. Again, not trashing all the statistical models. They're meaningful, but they don't define everything. Just my .02 to end the week.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

What are the keys to victory for the Packers this Sunday?

Have a great weekend, everybody.

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