Skip to main content
Powered by

Inbox: It's showing on the field

Darrius Shepherd’s story is a reminder there’s a human element to this game

S Darnell Savage
S Darnell Savage

Chuck from Poynette, WI

Evan Baylis is wearing the No. 88. Does that mean he's going to play running back? Asking for a friend...Go Pack Go!

Gotta feeling I'm gonna be throwing out bans like Oprah today, aren't I? Good morning!

Nick from Fridley, MN

I hope the offense can really get rolling this week. They seemed very close on multiple occasions after the first three drives against Minnesota. I feel very good about this good as I've felt about a Packers team in a few years.

The offense made a lot of progress in Week 2. As I mentioned earlier this week, that opening series was one of the best the Packers have had during my time covering the team. The key is consistently stringing those performances together over four quarters. You're rarely going to dominate every series at this level, but you can keep the pressure on. That's the next step for this offense.

Edward from Littleton, CO

Good day, gents! Was that a captain's patch on Rodgers' jersey in Green Bay's home opener to the 100th season of the NFL? Not discrediting No. 12 being a captain of the team, but traditionally, weren't those patches to be worn if the Packers were in the playoffs? Is this because of our new coaching staff bucking tradition, or was this just a "McCarthy era" kind of thing – reserving those captain patches for the postseason?

Many teams select captains before the season begins. Mike McCarthy chose to wait until the playoffs and alternated during the regular season. Under Matt LaFleur, the Packers have three permanent captains (Rodgers, Mason Crosby and Za'Darius Smith) and additional weekly ones.

Jeff from Wentzville, MO

Re: Three questions of the buyer to prove they were truly a Packers fan? What would your three questions be? My three questions:

1. In what year/round was Bart Starr drafted? (1956, the year I was born, and in the 17th round)

2. What was John Brockington's number with the Green Bay Packers? (42)

3. Who are Wes Hodkiewicz and Mike Spofford? (Master sportswriters and the "hosts" of Insider Inbox)

Bingo. We have a winner. Unfortunately, these three answers would suggest there are only about 15,000 Packers fans worldwide…and my mom.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Based on the locker room interviews I have listened to, I am concluding the collective football IQ for this team is pretty high. Do you have a similar impression based on what you are able to observe?

Very high across the board. It's not only the veterans you'd expect such as Tramon Williams and Za'Darius Smith, but also even a rookie like Darnell Savage has really impressed me with how thoughtful and reflective he is about the game. This is a smart football team and it's showing on the field.

Garrett from Oro Valley, AZ

What's the word on Kingsley Keke? Has he been getting any snaps? He seemed to impress during preseason.

Matt LaFleur was asked about Keke this week. He says he's ready, especially if Montravius Adams can't go Sunday. The Packers love Keke. They've just been leaning on veterans Adams, Fadol Brown and Tyler Lancaster in that base rotation early on. I'll also mention Mike Daniels and Dean Lowry were once healthy scratches, too.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Throughout the offseason I've seen plenty on the importance of extending Kenny Clark this year and I certainly agree. I would also think if Clark is priority 1A to extend then Blake Martinez needs to be 1B. Though not as highly thought of nationally, I think Martinez's contributions over the last three-plus seasons have been as important as Clark's. Blake's been healthy and a leader and play-caller, and he doesn't have the fifth-year option. Are talks on hold now or is Gute still working on it in-season?

I'm not privy to any of the discussions the Packers have had with their soon-to-be free agents and frankly don't want to get into it. Silence often doesn't mean anything – it sure didn't in Dean Lowry's case. Regardless, this is a good problem for the Packers to have with their 2016 draft class. It means that draft was healthy, productive and successful.

Tony from Lena, WI

Hey guys! I'm sure it could just be coincidence, but do you think other teams have another team they prefer to work with or watch for players that they cut? I mean Oakland has taken James Jones, Charles Woodson again, Jordy Nelson, and now Trevor Davis. They seem to have a good relationship with Green Bay.

Possibly but I think the signing of Jones, Woodson and Nelson in the past had more to do with former Packers executive Reggie McKenzie serving as the Raiders GM. Mike Mayock is running the show there now, and obviously he and Jon Gruden saw something they liked in Davis.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Joe Flacco has a Super Bowl ring. That makes him stand out when compared to the other two QBs the Packers have faced this season. Aside from the ring, how do you compare Flacco with Kirk Cousins and Mitchell Trubisky?

Flacco is 34 now and played a lot of football, so I don't know how much you can compare him to a third-year QB like Trubisky. I do see some parallels between Flacco and Cousins, though. Both have big arms, throw an accurate ball and know what it's like to lead contending teams. The Broncos are off to a slow start, but they've had success turning to veteran QBs in the past. I guarantee the Packers aren't overlooking Flacco whatsoever.

Theologos from Athens, Greece

You can tell the best lies by using numbers. The Broncos are not as bad as their record indicates. It's gonna be another hard battle to get to win No. 3.

I'm with you. Everyone points to Denver's lack of points, sacks and takeaways, but the Broncos still are 10th in total defense, fourth against the pass and a respectable 16th in total offense. You can't sleep on them.

Linda from Lyndon Station, WI

Who would you say is this season's toughest opponent?

I'd say it's traveling to play Kansas City right now. A lot can obviously change in a span of five weeks but the Chiefs look like a well-oiled machine, and I imagine that crowd is going to be into it down at Arrowhead.

Tim from La Crosse, WI

Starting out 3-0, I'm guessing, hasn't been done by many first-time head coaches, if any. Do you happen to have any statistics on this?

It's probably happened a little more than you think. Sean Payton, Bill Cowher and George Seifert all started 3-0. Jim Caldwell and the Colts won the first 14 games in 2009. Bill Callahan and the Raiders won their first four in 2002. Paul Brown's 1946 Cleveland Browns team won its first seven. John Madden's 1969 Raiders won the first three before tying with the Dolphins. Red Miller and the Broncos won their first six in 1977.

Renee from Green Bay, WI

This spring there was a lot of talk how the Packers' new offense was tailored for a player like Trevor Davis, now he is gone. Do you know what changed? I don't know what goes on behind closed doors. Trevor seemed like a team player that was enjoying his time here. I enjoyed watching him play, when healthy a speedy player with the ability to make it to the end zone when he had the ball in his hands.

I don't think anything happened behind closed doors aside from an opportunity presenting itself for the Packers to claim one of the league's top kickoff returners from a year ago and acquire an extra draft pick. Davis was a total team player during his three-plus seasons in Green Bay. It was nice to see him get his career back on track after the recurring setbacks with the hamstring last year. I wish nothing but the best for him in Oakland.

Carolyn from Greenlawn, NY

Is Darrius as impressive as he seems? He's smart, fast, engaging...and hopefully healthy.

Shepherd had a training camp for the ages but what impressed me most about him is he never acted like a wide-eyed tryout player. He also looked like he belonged. His unwavering self-confidence molded him for the NFL. Shepherd's story is a reminder you can't judge every player by his measureables. There's a human element to this game.

Jack from Chicago, IL

Is Tremon Smith going to play CB for Green Bay? I know the Chiefs were using him as a running back as well...and you know, No. 27 could be used at either position. Not to start a controversy or anything.

Smith is listed as a cornerback and he's been working with the secondary in practice.

Ron from Tama, IA

Guys, when do you think Aaron Rodgers will start looking to Jake Kumerow to become a bigger part of this new offense? He looks to have a little Jordy Nelson in him.

LaFleur said this week he wants to give more snaps to Kumerow and the Packers' backup receivers. Not only does that create opportunities for young players but it also keeps the starters fresh. The game flow is ultimately going to decide how much we see Kumerow on Sunday and moving forward.

Dean from Sandusky, OH

Wes, glad to hear I'm not the only Cheesehead who does not eat cheese! Does a low-altitude game have any effect on a team that is accustomed to high-altitude games/practices?

If anything, it should make it easier to perform. I know a lot of athletes who train at altitude to increase their red-blood count. There are two different schools of thought to that approach, but either way, I see no drawbacks for Denver coming to Green Bay.

Greg from Salt Lake City, UT

Wes, after watching the Antonio Brown saga unfold, I think the Packers fan out there can feel even more confident about the personnel Green Bay's front office has brought in. What, based on your experience, are the attributes and/or red flags a GM looks for before offering a contract? When is the talent worth accepting a laundry list of red flags?

I always go back to what I feel is one of the best quotes Ted Thompson ever uttered as GM in response to this exact question – it's about determining if a player stubbed his toe or there's a bigger issue going on. Just like any job where you're hiring people, teams aren't going to bat 100 percent. But I think the Packers' track record speaks for itself.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

If you will, allow me to make a comment on player movement. I have never played on any teams that are as seemingly pathetic as this year's Dolphins. I can't imagine that it would be very enjoyable for a person as hyper-competitive as a professional athlete to play in such an environment. Yes, they are very well paid but if there is an out, why not take it? Once again the fact that the Pack has been blessed with relative competitive success in recent years is a blessing.

The Dolphins are executing a complete and total rebuild reminiscent of what the Cleveland Browns did several years ago in trading away their best assets for draft picks. It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for them.

Ray from Clark, NJ

Regarding the Miami tanking issue, do you think the NFL should consider a draft lottery? I do think tanking is too strong an accusation for NFL teams, but Miami is clearly making moves and plans for next year with no focus on winning games this year. As you stated, how many teams will be in this mode next year with Trevor Lawrence on the horizon? I, for one, believe a lottery for the bottom five teams to decide the top-five pick order needs to be considered.

I think it's a bigger deal in the NBA because roster sizes are so small compared to the NFL and the pool of generational players is fairly well-defined. Yes, Lawrence could be an exception in 2021 but I don't think "tanking" is as big a deal as it can be in the NBA. I've never seen a reason to change it.

Joy from Chippewa Falls, WI

Do you think Dom Capers is sitting at home thinking, "Well, jeez, I could have been equally successful had they bothered recruiting these guys earlier and not waited so long to finally focus on the defense"?

No. My guess is Dom was thinking, "Man, that was a good win last night over Tennessee."

James from Appleton, WI

I just wanted to say that Packers fans are very lucky to have the kind of interaction that they have through II. My favorite team's website (Packers are my No. 2) does a mailbag about once a week and it's usually about 4-7 questions long. Some team sites don't even have a mailbag. I'm not bashing them, I'm sure that they have their reasons but that's the way it is. It's fantastic that you guys take the time that you do to offer this sort of insight into the team. Thank you.

It's a labor of labor.

Dave from Comer, GA

Mike, why in the world would you steal Wes's lunch if he doesn't eat cheese? What's the point?

Precisely. Protecting Ma Hod's investment.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

2-37-1???? 2-37-1????????????????? Good lord Jeff from Appleton! Wear some freaking Bears or Vikings gear with that record! Put your curse to good use!

What's our record, Jeff? 2-37-1? How did we ever win two? It's a miracle. Enjoy the game, folks.