Thomas from Irving, TX
Happy Memorial Day from a thankful American. Last October, I wrote II about my leukemia diagnosis. This past Tuesday, I got that news that I am in remission. Just wanted to thank the II family for your prayers and thank Spoff and Wes for your work which helped me through chemo. Other good news is that my wife and I are retired and decided to move back to Wisconsin just in time to enjoy another exciting season of Packers football with the faithful. GPG.
The best news of the weekend. Congratulations, Thomas. We continue to pray for your good health, and wish you and your better half safe travels back to Wisco. Good morning!
Tad from Two Rivers, WI
Anything you can tell us about the offense after the major changes in the coaching staff?
From practice, not really. They're not running modified "Statue of Liberty" plays out there. But the rhetoric is what has my attention. The Packers said they want to win with speed and physicality, and the practice tempo reflects that vision. Also, there probably hasn't been enough written about the importance of getting Tom Clements back in the building, too – for the QBs, offense and even the coaches.
Alex and David from Riverwoods, IL
As a father-son duo making this Inbox submission, we think it's pretty cool that Christian Watson and his father both share the experience of being drafted by the Packers. Do you think Christian Watson's development will be accelerated by going up against the "No Fly Zone" corners in practice every day?
I do, and it's fitting Jaire Alexander just signed his extension. It seems like only yesterday he was a rookie cornerback lining up across from an ascending Davante Adams in practice. Now, he likely will be the veteran who's sharpening Watson and these rookie receivers in practice. But yes, Watson will benefit from working against that entire cornerback contingent.
Eric from Fairfield, OH
Do you think the second-line edge rushers will improve or do the Pack need to take some cap money and look at free agents?
Drafting Kingsley Enagbare was a good start, especially with Whitney Mercilus' retirement. Beyond that, Green Bay is counting on Jonathan Garvin, Tipa Galeai and the young outside linebackers to grow and compete for larger roles. The durability of both Rashan Gary and Preston Smith has made the depth at OLB less of a concern than other spots, but you also don't want to tempt fate.
Duane from Sheboygan, WI
Devonte Wyatt and Mike Daniels. Do you see any differences or similarities in their games? I'd be pleased if Wyatt has as good of a career as Mike did, but does he have a chance to be better? It seems to me that he might not be as strong, but he might be quicker and harder to handle than even our good friend Mike was.
Daniels was part of that wave of shorter, but powerful defensive tackles who took over the NFL trenches in the 2010s. Aaron Donald, Geno Atkins, Daniels and several others showed the NFL that you don't need to be 6-foot-4, 330 pounds to play every down, and by being more athletic, a defensive lineman can make a huge impact as an interior pass rusher. That's what I see in Wyatt, who was a selfless impact player in the heart of Georgia's defense. His 27 pressures tell the story of how disruptive he was.
Michael from Hammond, IN
Do you believe our defense will be a top 10 defense?
Paul from Ellensburg, WA
Hey Wes, what do you think happens if a best-case scenario unfolds that Jordan Love has a dynamo preseason or two, while Aaron Rodgers continues to play at this level and wants to play? Love won't re-sign to be a backup, but it's tough to let a first-round pick walk in his prime while committing to a 40-year-old legend.
If that's what happens, then it goes back to the "investment" I've been talking about with Love for the past two years. You get through this season, exercise his fifth-year option and see what the market looks like. In a sport where there's a dearth of elite quarterbacks, it's not a bad thing to have two good ones.
John from Livermore, CA
Minicamp soon, what are you looking for? Anything that you want to see from the team during this build to the season?
Just seeing how all the pieces fall into place, whether it's the rookie receivers working with Aaron Rodgers potentially for the first time or Sammy Watkins integrating himself into this version of LaFleur's offense. It's just looking for who steps up and stands out. It's never too early to make a statement.
Jack from Chicago, IL
In response to Derek, I would like to suggest an additional theory as to why Green Bay gets to play host to joint practices. Mid-summer weather in Northern Wisconsin is, in my opinion, as good as it gets. It might not be a coincidence Houston and New Orleans decided to take a break from the smothering heat and humidity of the gulf.
No question about it. There's a reason so many NFL teams used to host training camps in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula. Not that it doesn't get hot here in August, but it doesn't compare to the South. Thomas, one our loyal readers, recounted in an email last week about how Tom Landry used to bring the Dallas Cowboys up to Marquette, MI, for summer practices because of the cooler climate (thanks in part to Lake Superior).
Alex from Duluth, MN
Hey guys, thanks for all you do. Any David Bakhtiari sightings at OTAs?
Yep. Matt LaFleur said Bakhtiari has been doing a nice job. The Packers kept it light with him, Dean Lowry and a few other vets during the practice portion of Tuesday's OTAs. We'll see how much he does this spring. My guess is the Packers want to have him ready to go for training camp.
Bret from Hertel, WI
Dear Wes, Coach LaFleur has continued to improve his coaching staff each year. He lost some coaches to promotions and replaced some coaches that he felt needed to be upgraded. How hard is it to replace a coach that you thought was right, but after a year or two, you replace him to improve the team? Enjoy the holiday weekend and thank you to all the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedoms and protect others!
It's a part of the job. For example, I can't imagine how difficult it was for LaFleur to move on from a tremendous man of character like Maurice Drayton. But it comes down to wins and losses, and it's LaFleur's responsibility to put the Packers in the best possible position to win. You're not going to get every decision right, but one of the big reasons Bill Belichick has been successful for so long is knowing when to move on when a situation isn't going to work out.
Cliff from Alexandria, VA
Wes, can you explain what the difference is between OTAs and training camp?
OTAs are the first run through of the installs. It's everything from how the guys line up in their formation to the execution of the plays. The Packers worked a few 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 periods last week, but it was mostly at a jog-through pace. The intensity ramps up during training camp, especially once the pads come on. Simply put, it's the test run.
Steve from Bloomington, IL
Apparently, the new NFL/NFLPA practice squad rules state a "maximum of six free agent players per club with no limitations as to their number of accrued seasons." Can you elaborate on how that differs from past years and what impact it has for veteran players vs. rookies vs. UDFAs, etc.? Thanks.
Great question. So, this is pretty much the only change from last year. Teams may now carry up to six veteran players on their practice squad with unlimited playing experience (e.g. Rasul Douglas in Arizona) rather than last year's maximum of two. In 2021, the other four "veteran exemptions" were for players with fewer than three accrued NFL seasons. I believe the other 10 spots still are reserved for rookies and first-year players with fewer than nine weeks on an active roster in a single season.
The Green Bay Packers held practice on Tuesday, May 24 at Ray Nitschke Field for the start of Organized Team Activities.
Clayton from Wauwatosa, WI
Who passed the eye test at OTAs? Did somebody stand out?
It's only one practice, but I thought Amari Rodgers had a great day. He looks stronger and more confident, especially in his routes. He looked snappy and explosive in his breaks. We didn't get a chance to speak with Rodgers last Tuesday, but he really seemed to practice with a purpose.
Jose from Bridgeport, CT
Hey Wes, do you think based on some of the Packers moves this offseason adding multiple linemen that the offense might feature more of a power run game and less zone?
That's sort of what it feels like to me, but I'm sure the Packers would say they remain an outside zone offense with inside concepts depending on the matchup. The thing is the offense has been so proficient at running inside since the very beginning of Matt LaFleur's time in Green Bay, especially in gotta-have-'em situations. I'll be curious to see what impact Adam Stenavich's promotion to offensive coordinator may have on the direction the Packers go with the run.
Chad from Town of Middleton, WI
Yes, young Wes, you will need all the help you can get finding good food in London. From "meh" local dishes to overpriced Italian food to the worst "ribeye" I have ever had, London truly has the worst food I've encountered in all my travels. Maybe try for a good curry?
Man, some of you were really, really hard on English cuisine over the weekend. I have heard good things about the curry, though.
Ted from Amherst, NY
If you are looking ahead to food in England, once you get past the obligatory fish and chips, there is roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, various sausages and meat pies and a reputation for the worst cuisine in Europe. But breakfast is not to be missed and for those not worried about calories, High Tea. What's served at High Tea? Let's just say the average British grocery store carries at least 15 of the 62 known grades of sugar for a reason.
Very cool. Now tell me more about these "various sausages."
Johnny from Fort Myers, FL
Wes, when in England I have three simple words of advice in terms of what to eat there: Fish and Chips. Magnificent! FYI: In the UK, what they call chips we call fries. What we call potato chips they call crisps. Enjoy! GPG!
What do they call crisps then?
Jacob from Zionsville, IN
Adding to the burger joint discussion, have either of you been to Workingman's Friend while in Indy? It's definitely not a chain like the few mentioned last week, but it's fantastic! Similar smash-burger style to a few of the places mentioned. If you haven't been, you'll have to add it to your list to try when you're in town. Most days it's only open for lunch and it's cash only, just a heads up.
I'm hoping to be back at the combine next year, so I'll give it a try. And cash isn't problem. I don't cut checks.
Rick from Selinsgrove, PA
I confess, my reading of II has been spotty lately. So, Saturday morning I was catching up, when at precisely 9:30 a.m., the new II popped onto my screen. I was surprised to see a fresh post on Saturday. Don't you get the weekends off this time of year? Thanks for all you guys do to keep us informed, especially during the drier times! If you quill it, we will come!
Nope. We get to do this six days a week, 52 weeks out of the year. My heart is full.
Jake from Decatur, GA
I've been doing my own research on this II Manual thing, and, from what I can tell, it does not guarantee due process or anything of the sort. Accordingly, Wes, as your attorney, I suggest you do everything in your power to keep the manual a secret. You are not obliged to disclose its contents, nor to justify your interpretation or enforcement of any provision. You're also free to change the rules willy-nilly as you see fit… at least while Mike's still on vacation.
My attorney? Did Ma Hod hire you?
Todd from Valparaiso, IN
How did Spoff place at the competition?
Reed from Kansas City, MO
Wes, two more ideas for Outsiders Inbox before you get full: A) What is your favorite memory of watching a Packers game at a stadium other than Lambeau Field? B) If they were to change it, what song from the 21st century would you want to replace "Bang the Drum All Day" to celebrate touchdowns? Thanks for all you do!
Done and done.
Dennis from Parrish, FL
The last time I was in Las Vegas for 12 days I had In/Out Burger four times. It stands at the top!
Hold up…you were in Vegas for 12 days? The most I can do is three, tops.
Richard from Madison, WI
This doesn't have anything to do with football, but I heard this story on the radio this morning, found it very moving, and figured I'd share it with a couple of my favorite writers. The author (and narrator), Ron Weber, is a DNR forester in Weyerhaeuser, Wisconsin.
Richard, you destroyed me with this. Ron did a tremendous job with this piece. It's beautifully written and voiced. Thank you for sharing.
Dan from Tomah, WI
As service members, I feel many of us undervalue the "thank you for your service" we get from people out in public. It's very nice to hear, but since it's our job, we mostly downplay it. However, when I think back to 2006 and how I felt when a hometown friend of mine died within two weeks of us coming home, the first thing I want to do is thank him for his service and sacrifice to his country. RIP RDJ. Have a great Memorial Day weekend, II.
I'm terribly sorry to hear that, Dan. May God rest his soul. Thank you for your service.
Andy from Ellsworth, WI
I thought your readers would like this somber information during Memorial weekend. Here are some facts concerning our NFL family of players, coaches and staff that have been killed in action: 22 NFL members KIA in World War II, two NFL members KIA in Vietnam and 1 NFL member KIA in Afghanistan (Pat Tillman). May God rest their souls and all servicemen KIA.
We are forever indebted to each and every one of them for their bravery, fearlessness and sacrifice. I wish you and your families an appreciative and thoughtful Memorial Day.