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Inbox: It's often just a matter of opportunity and circumstances

All those little checkpoints add up to what happens on gamedays

WR Bo Melton
WR Bo Melton

Jeff from Janesville, WI

A special thanks to all vets for their service.

All gave some, some gave all. I hope everyone took time on Monday to reflect and honor the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great nation; those who gave their life for us to live ours.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Regarding the question from Johnny (Town of Nasewaupee, learned something new), Jayden Reed is my early pick as the likeliest 1,000-yard receiver next year. Do you see another or more likely candidate? In fact, I would expect Reed to lead in receptions and yards.

Reed's receptions alone probably make him the early favorite in the 1,000-yard clubhouse, but Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson, and Dontayvion Wicks have the talent to do it depending on how snaps and targets are allocated. At various intervals last year, they all flashed the potential to be go-to wideouts.

Hannes from Vienna, Austria

Good morning II. Following up on the answer to Stephie Rae on requirements for scout team players: Are some players kept as practice-squad players because of their ability to simulate different playing styles? A mediocre quarterback with good skills of acting like a pocket passer for one hour and like a mobile one in the afternoon might be more helpful than a quarterback who is slightly better overall, but one-dimensional.

I don't think so. Some practice-squad players might be better scout-team players than others, but those 16 or 17 guys are there because the organization feels they have the potential to play on Sundays. It's often just a matter of opportunity and circumstances that lead to that elevation (e.g. Bo Melton and Corey Ballentine). I do think an individual's effort and work ethic show up in those practices, though.

Roger from McGrath, AK

In a recent "Packers Unscripted," Wes said, "...what worked in the past still works." During the Ted Thompson era, we relied on the second-year jump. We think of that jump being mental as players describe the game slowing down, but part of that jump is just growing up, young bodies getting bigger. Just based on size (which is about all you can see right now), who among the young bodies at OTAs shows that growth?

Colby Wooden and Carrington Valentine probably caught my eye the most and really the former wasn't much of a surprise after Wooden talked earlier this offseason about his intentions to play heavier in Year 2. Valentine, still only 22, strikes me as a young guy continuing to grow into his body. I know he put a lot of work in during the offseason to get where he's at. I also must say QB1 looks a little bigger in a good way, as well.

Eric from Kenosha, WI

Hello II. As a follow up to the question about which non-quarterback positions have the most to learn, how about tight end? Don't they have to learn routes like a WR and protection schemes like a lineman?

I always felt like tight end was up there as one of the game's trickiest positions to master in Year 1…and then the 2023 draft class did what it did. Of course, that tight end class could wind up being generational but I was still surprised how quickly Sam LaPorta, Dalton Kincaid, Luke Musgrave, and Tucker Kraft acclimated to the NFL game.

Rudy from Rhinelander, WI

Are the joint practices more valuable than intra-squad practices? It would seem that allowing other teams to observe and evaluate your personnel and plays gives away valuable information. On the other hand, it would appear the action against other teams provides the Packers another chance to evaluate players. It is obvious which way Matt LaFleur thinks, but many other coaches seem to think the other way. Which is better?

When done in good faith, joint practices are extremely valuable. Of course, the Packers aren't busting out their "extra special" unscouted looks in those sessions, but players can still work within their schematic framework and gain valuable reps against new faces. Also, it breaks up the monotony of training camp. If I can feel that as a casual observer, you can be sure the players do, as well.

Frank from Alameda, CA

In II and on social media I hear about competition for starting positions on the Packers' roster. In positions that involve violent contact (most positions in the NFL) how can serious evaluations be done before pads are worn in training camp? It seems the only thing that could be evaluated are height, weight, conditioning, quickness and perhaps attitude. How do coaches evaluate running backs, lineman, etc., before real tackling and blocking are allowed?

In the NFL, the final exam comes most Sundays, but teachers can have a good idea whether their students are ready based on how they perform in the classroom on a daily basis – their attention to detail, ability to answer questions and handling pop quizzes. That's what the meeting room, installs and practice is for. All those little checkpoints add up to what happens on gamedays.

Joe from St. Louis, MO

Hi Mike and Wes, the story on Xavier McKinney made me smile and say to myself, "Awesome." What have you thought listening to McKinney?

The Packers need a guy like this…he also happens to play safety.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. In his article about Xavier McKinney, Mike said the new Packers safety might as well have a sign on his forehead that says, "bring it on." What teen movie title should you have on your forehead?

"Bring It On: All or Nothing?"

Mark from Genoa, IL

Spoff's article on McKinney was great! But, every year, prior to the start of the season, someone (often more than one) defensive player says that the defense is going to be special, top 10, etc. I sure hope X is a true prophet.

To be special, you gotta have swagger and I feel like the Packers' defense has that once again. At the end of the day, we'll see how it all translates on the field later this year.

Matt from Kula, HI

Are there physical characteristics that distinguish an ideal RT from an ideal LT? Would shorter arms be less of a factor for a RT? Is being lefthanded or righthanded an advantage for one over the other? What about height?

Back in the day, it seemed many NFL right tackles were heavier "plodders" who were good run blockers but maybe missing something to be considered a franchise left tackle. I'm not sure how much that applies anymore because of how premier pass rushers will line up across from the right tackle. Also, some tackles are just more natural on one side over another. I guess this is just a long-winded way of saying, "I'm not sure anymore."

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Wes, what do the Packers need to address between minicamp and training camp? P.S. Hope all had a very special Memorial Day weekend remembering those who died protecting the freedoms we all enjoy.

Amen. I don't think the Packers have to do a whole lot as long as the team stays healthy these final three weeks of the offseason program. The Packers are hovering around full participation, so they've obviously gotten in their reps.

Mark from Cape Coral, FL

First, I love your work for and II and consume it all. Regarding the question Wes answered from Dale from Fenton, MI, I, too, am only a fan of the Green Bay Packers and not of the NFL. I rarely watch any NFL games (including the Super Bowl) if the outcome does not concern the Packers. I have myriad reasons that I will not go into here, but my follow-up question is: Do you believe there are many Packers fans who feel this way and if so, is this true for other fan bases as well?

That's a good question. When formulating my answer, I used hockey as my muse. I don't really watch hockey but feel like I probably would be a huge fan if Wisconsin had an NHL team. What makes the question difficult is most states without an NFL franchise pick a regional team to cheer for. Well, could any of you admit to backing the Vikings, Bears and Lions? Sure, maybe if the Packers didn't exist but that's a dark rabbit hole I'd rather not jump into. Answering honestly, I probably don't love football enough to watch it without the Packers' presence. I'd pick a different sport.

Kerry from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Do you ever remember the Packers having this many first- and second-round draft picks on their roster?

Fans think so much more about this sort of thing than I do. Maybe with undrafted free agents but not so much with draft picks. For example, I didn't perseverate too much on Micah Hyde and Corey Linsley being former fifth-round picks once they established themselves. They were just really good football players.

Edward from Racine, WI

Hi II, could you tell me how Rasheed Walker slipped to the seventh round of the draft? Hopefully we find gold from Penn State again in the seventh. Go Pack Go!

I see a lot of parallels between Walker and Kalen King. Like King, Walker had serious buzz going into his final season at Penn State, but it just didn't all come together for one reason or another. Even still,'s Lance Zierlein had Walker projected as a "Round 3" pick in 2023. Why he fell to the seventh? I couldn't tell you. But Walker always had the strength and measurables to stand up to premier rushers. That doesn't surprise me.

Brian from Sugar Land, TX

The recent record-breaking salary deals for WRs raises a question in many quarters. The 2024 draft saw seven selected in the first round, 34 altogether. They work cheaply, and the Packers are an example of their value. The WR room is nothing but first-contract values. With "elite" WRs now getting $30 million per annum, is the position pricing itself into a cut-rate future, like RBs have? Years ago, ol' Vic opined WRs were dime a dozen. What's your assessment?

I've always somewhat disagreed with Vic on that assertion because most top contenders have an elite receiver on the roster. Now, I get Kansas City didn't have a true No. 1 last year but Patrick Mahomes still benefitted from having arguably the game's best pass-catching tight end. That helps. Overall, I'm a bit confused by the narrative that increasing contract values for top wideouts will drive down the market at some point. Maybe that happens, but it looks like a flourishing position to me at the moment.

Michael from Baraboo, WI

Which rookies do you feel will make the biggest impact on the offense and defense this coming season?

I'll say MarShawn Lloyd and Edgerrin Cooper. I think both will have opportunities and can add something unique in their respective phase of the game.

Monty from Velva, ND

As it relates to the rookie pay scale, is it fair to say that the Sam Bradford contract was a tipping point for the owners that facilitated its creation?


Jerry from Rockford, IL

On Memorial Day, I hope everyone remembered our fallen and their families, for this is why they sacrificed. I'm Spoffballing here, with an additional 18th game and two more playoff games, there is more revenue in the cap also. Can there be an 18th game before the next CBA? I'm also assuming, with a longer season the roster would be bigger. Thanks for all you do and hope you got to relax and be with family on this beautiful day. GPG

More revenue means a higher cap because of the split between owners (51.2%) and players (48.8%). I used to be under the impression an 18th regular-season game wouldn't come until the next round of CBA negotiations (the current deal doesn't expire until March 2030), but reports suggest the NFL might try to get the NFLPA to the negotiating table before then. Stay tuned.

Bob from Jensen Beach, FL

Wes. Your answer to my question about lasers setting the first down line brought up another question. Who actually puts the chain marker in the ground? Is it an NFL referee or a local (perhaps partisan) employee? A few inches shorter for the home team and longer for the visitors could make a big difference at the other end.

The referees.

Joan from Eau Claire, WI

This may be a different type of question. But can you tell me what ATMR (WCBW) means. I have looked online and cannot find it anywhere and cannot figure it out. Thanks

According to my research (which could be wrong). As you can see, we run a tight shop here, Joan.

Ben from Guffey, CO

Wes, I listened to your interview on CHTV. Good stuff. Although through some of your stories and IIs and "Packers Unscripteds," I feel like I already knew some of your answers to his questions before you answered them. I don't know what that means but do with it as you will.

Maybe next time you can do the interview for me.

Bill from Mediapolis, IA

Thanks, Wes! For doing II on Memorial Day. My wife and I made the trip up. I just read the column while having lunch at 1919 with my wife. Thanks for all you do, you do an exceptional job of writing!

I hope it was worth it…the lunch, too. Have a great Tuesday.

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