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Inbox: It's the most overlooked aspect of the Packers' success over the years

Wisconsin is an extremely underrated sports state

Former RB Dorsey Levens
Former RB Dorsey Levens

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Wes, is having to write back-to-back Inboxes most like: playing both games of a doubleheader, having to visit two sets of relatives on a holiday, or some other arduous twin bill?

It's going to breakfast at Perkins and staying for lunch. Sure, you're full after but what did you really accomplish?

Vincent from Boston, MA

Insiders, now that we are officially in the dead zone, it's time to reflect on the most extraordinary season in generations. So, I want to ask you, in your job covering last season, what as the low point, and what was the high point?

There were two high points – being cleared to re-enter Lambeau Field for training camp and seeing (some) fans in the stands again during the NFC Championship Game. A year ago, at this time, I had serious doubts whether either scenario would happen. The low point was the bye week for me. That's been a time in the past where I could unwind and get away. Not last year. I couldn't really travel and still had to get COVID-19 tested every day. It was a long season without many escapes.

Vince from Sioux Falls, SD

Everyone needs to R-E-L-A-X with the Aaron Rodgers situation. I don't believe he started this whirlwind (but he could end it). I believe the man is in LOVE and wants to spend time with his new fiancée, free from the tolls of football. He has passion for not only football but also life. He is our leader and will not abandon us until LOVE sez it's time.

It's why I despise the endless news cycle of 2021. Because you gotta keep feeding it. Would this be a thing in 1996? I'm sure it would be. Rodgers is the best in the world. But the constant need to keep stoking a fire that doesn't need to be lit on July 1 is exasperating.

Kyle from Ooltewah, TN

"Rodgers REMAINS one of the game's MOST mobile QBs. Was this planted to get us ready for Outsider Inbox by focusing on the definition of "remains" or "most" in the context of this comment or to simply have us pull the stats? I concur that Rodgers is very mobile for 37 but would he even be considered to be in top 50% of mobile starting QBs for opposing defenses?

It depends on your metric. In pure yards? No. But I'd argue he's still more dangerous outside the pocket than "most" the quarterbacks in the NFL. It's not how many yards a QB rushes for with his feet, it's how many yards he generates.

Jeff from Lake Forest, CA

Wes, if Love is the guy this year, how much can a new defensive coordinator help get him ready? You mentioned pre-snap reads and the aftermath as being challenges for him. With Joe Barry's system being a huge unknown for even our offense, how much can he throw at the young QB in training camp to help with his processing speed and recognition?

A fair amount once training camp gets underway. For as much as people want to talk about Barry's history as a coordinator, they rarely talk about how he's coached on some of the top defenses over the past 20 years. He's seen it all from Monte Kiffin's Tampa-2 to Brandon Staley's scheme, viewed by many as one of the league's most innovative at the moment. So, I think the structure of the defense and the talent on that side of the ball will help sharpen Love's skills, if he's still taking No. 1 reps this summer.

Brendan from Mount Clemens, MI

Now I'm sure this Davante Adams quote about reuniting with Derek Carr is going to jam up the Inbox questions. As much as I appreciate you both and the work you do, I don't envy the job you have to do in the Inbox during these slow periods. Between No. 12 and now No. 17...yikes. I hope most fans take a deep breath and realize these words should be taken with a grain of salt, especially considering Adams is on a contract year. Saying "I want to stay a Packer at all costs" isn't the greatest bargaining chip.

Speaking of which…last week Adams talks openly about wanting to get an extension done with the Packers and how he's "not planning on going anywhere" and now people are freaking out about this. Those folks need to recognize Adams is loyal – like "If you got my back, I'm with you until the very end" loyal. Derek Carr and Adams are close friends. I would've answered the question the same way if someone asked me what it would mean to work with Darren Urban or Darin Gantt. Adams has always been a straight shooter. Call me naïve, but I don't believe there was any ill-intent or suggestive inuendo in Adams' words.

Michael from Burnsville, MN

Any good resources for understanding coverage schemes offensively and defensively for those who never played but want to understand terminology a little more?

A lot of good books out there but one I would suggest is "Take Your Eye Off The Ball: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look," by Pat Kirwan. It's a great resource to better understand exactly what you describe.

Jeff from Woodlawn, MD

Can't wait to see Jordan Love play. Let's put things in perspective. Ryan Tannehill is an above-average QB. No one would disagree that he has the skills to take the Titans to a Super Bowl. In fact, he almost did. But we can all agree it was the play of Derrick Henry that took them there. With Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, I bet we have the best running game in the league. Love has to be praying for "Mr. Philosophy" to not show up. If there was ever a team in recent years that can elevate a young QB, it's this team.

We've all been spoiled by exceptional quarterback play for decades, but the running games have been doggone good, too. It's the most overlooked aspect of the Packers' success over the years, from Edgar Bennett, Dorsey Levens and William Henderson to Ahman Green to Ryan Grant and John Kuhn to Eddie Lacy and now Jones. And the tandem of Jones and Dillon has the potential to be brilliant one-two. Whether it's Rodgers or Love behind center, those two backs are going to make their QB's life a heck of a lot easier.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there's no takebacks on the opt-out, right? So even if a solution was found or fences were mended, you can't come back and play? I can't imagine a guy who's so carefully considering his options taking so many instantly off the table.

Correct. Once you opt out, you're out – see you in 2022.

Darren from Wakefield, MI

Hi Wes. Thanks for pulling the double. As a daily reader and I feel a pretty good follower of the Pack I guess I completely missed something. What happened to Tyler Ervin?

Ervin took a visit with Buffalo in March but didn't sign. That's the last update I heard.

Joe from Stanley, VA

Mike's story on Brett Favre's 61 pass attempts got me thinking how it is you all go about writing articles such as those. Do you go back and watch the entire game or just the highlights? What about older games that might not have any film?

Spoff has a photographic memory. I take meticulous notes because it helps me recall things but Mike can remember small details of every meaningful game he's covered. There's obviously research involved in a story such as Favre's 61 pass attempts or Paul Hornung's 33 points, but Spoff's mind is a rock-solid starting point for those features.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Wes, how would rank WI as a sports state with football, baseball, basketball, college hockey, college basketball, women's volleyball, track all at or near the top even some Olympians? Enjoy the Fourth of July weekend!

I know Wisco won't rank high on the list of many, but I feel this is an extremely underrated sports state. We've had Olympians, MVPs, draft picks and World Cup participants. Over the years, there have been numerous NFL All-Pros, NBA and WNBA All-Stars, and MLB and NHL standouts from Wisconsin. We're kind of a jack-of-all-trades sports state and don't get the proper respect for that very reason.

Brad from Komoka, Ontario

So, the Seattle Kraken recently hired their first head coach. That got me thinking about expansion in the NFL. What locations other than in Europe, would you like to see the NFL in?

*Toronto is my answer, but this question reminded me of when "Madden" listed Sturgeon Bay as a possible NFL relocation city during franchise mode. Anyone who's been to Sturgeon Bay should get a good laugh out of that. *

Paul from Barnsley, UK

David Bakhtiari's comments regarding the extra game this season got me thinking. Surely all players should be mentally and physically prepared to play 20 games in a season if they want to win the Super Bowl. Fourteen teams already played at least 17 games last season and all losing playoff teams would give anything to continue playing extra games until the Super Bowl is reached. So why does this extra regular-season game seem to be unpopular?

I'm still not in favor of the 17th regular-season game. I understand that's what pays the bills, but I can't truthfully say I agree with the decision. I don't like how the extra game was formatted and believe the season is already long enough for players. A season that starts at the end of July now extends well into January for players on 14 teams. That's a lot of wear and tear. Competitively, there's also going to be a half-dozen teams playing for nothing but paychecks those last two or three weeks of the extended regular season. So, I get where Bakhtiari is coming from.

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

The Tour de France organization is going to sue the woman that caused the massive pileup trying to get her 15 seconds of fame. I would like to see sports organizations teams/ruling organizations do the same thing (professional and amateur), if anyone goes onto a court or field of play they need to start being held accountable. Yes, even the ones that throw stuff. Do you see this as a possibility or no ?

It's different because A) the outcome of a game hasn't been jeopardized and B) the participants' health and safety weren't impacted because of fan indiscretion. That being said, the punishment for coming on an NFL playing surface isn't a simple slap on the wrist, either. You're getting tackled, spending a night in jail and being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It may not be a deterrent for some, but that's more than I'd ever be willing to wager.

Ben from Menomonee Falls, WI

Is it bad that I don't care at all about "the match," and actually kind of hope that Aaron Rodgers' team loses? Not only am I frustrated with the AR situation in general, but I also really dislike Bryson, and am a huge Phil M. fan...But I also don't like Brady...Which has brought me to the conclusion that I don't care about it, despite it being the vacuum that is the NFL offseason...

You're addressing the dude who doesn't watch golf, so you'll receive no judgement from me. To those who do watch, I hope you have a blast with it. It's an awesome event to hold in "the void."

Alex from Lake Forest, IL

Thanks for the response, Wes! We appreciate you reading all the II questions and helping enlighten us. I personally have learned a ton about football and the cap in this forum. So as not to waste your time, here's another question: What moment or piece of work in your time working for the Packers has led you to feel the most pride in yourself and/or the organization?

This answer will always be the Mitchell Henry piece we did two years ago. The project just meant so much to me on a personal level. But I was proud of a number of stories we produced during the pandemic. It wasn't easy without face-to-face interaction with players, but we found a way. The post-draft profile on Jordan Love was fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing longform stories on Robert Tonyan and Lucas Patrick during their breakout seasons. And obviously the other meaningful story was talking with Molly Crosby last October about her cancer battle and how the family has persevered through tragedy over the past three years.

With 74 days until the regular-season opener, looks back at those who have worn No. 74 in Green Bay.

Jim from Prairie du Chien, WI

Morning Wes! Rarely do you disappoint me, but "Johnny know it all"? It's clearly "Eddie from Appleton know it all." I'll give you a pass being that it was your first day back. Let this be the last we hear about him and move on. He's clearly seen himself out. Moving on, can you provide any insight regarding training camp? Any differences for those of us who are fully vaccinated?

As Spoff wrote, I'm hopeful the training camp schedule will be released very soon. I would imagine those details will be included.

Tony from Bronxville, NY

Hey guys (especially directed to Wes, but Spoff can opine), I was readying an article in Pro Football Talk about Billy Turner. They referenced the article written by Wes, but they sourced it as from "the team's website." Is it common to do this? Other reporter's names show up as sources in articles. Is there something different if the article is written by an NFL team employee? Thanks for all the articles and content you guys, and others like Cliff post (especially in the dead zone).

PFT usually sources our names and affiliation but I don't really care either way. I'm just happy for the exposure. My job is to get people to visit I need to get fans into the building, so to speak. They don't need to be wearing "Wes Hod" hats and blowing "Spoff" kazoos while doing so.

Dave from Green Bay, WI

Hi Wes, after today's column I have to ask: How quick is your wit? How fast can it run the 40?

For the record, I never said I have a quick wit. I simply said it gets quicker in those heated moments.

Jonnie from Garden City, MI

Good morning! I'm looking forward to the Outsiders Inbox this year. Previous years had you submitting all the questions on one day. Was there a reason for splitting it up this year, or did it just make more sense to split days and each of you take on six of the questions each? One thing I've learned from previous years is if you ask 12 questions, by golly you're getting 12 answers! Should we be answering each set of two questions the day before you post them, or are you good with being inundated?

I'm aiming for more thorough replies. We'll see if I succeed. In the past, people try to answer all 12 but one- or two-word answers aren't enough to post. My hope (maybe misguided) is people can dig their teeth into the questions more this way. And now what you all, or some of you, have been waiting for…the first six questions for the 2021 Outsider Inbox (with the day responses will be printed). The early bird is very much going to get posted on these responses, so get it on.

Monday, July 5

How many years have you been a Packers fan and what is your all-time favorite regular-season game?

If you could host (or be a participant on) any game show, what would it be?

Tuesday, July 6

What is your best memory from attending a Packers road game?

What is your favorite sports movie? (And no, doesn't have to be "Draft Day.")

Wednesday, July 7

What is the strangest place/city/country you've encountered a fellow Packers fan? Any cool stories from that experience?

You spot an abandoned DeLorean and travel back to 1921. Hey, look, it's Curly Lambeau! Finish this sentence: "Curly, you're not going to believe it, but 100 years from now…"