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Inbox: It's the nature of the position

The Packers have stars in all the right places of their defensive galaxy

DL Kenny Clark

Brendan from Mount Clemens, MI

It is not lost on Packers fans that we have a great player in Kenny Clark, but am I wrong to get the impression that he is pretty underrated outside of the fanbase? Obviously, All-Pros such as Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Jaire Alexander will garner majority of the attention, but Kenny is the glue up the middle that sets the tone for this D, and I feel like the national "pundits" don't mention him very often, if at all. Is that because DT isn't a "sexy" position, or because Aaron Donald sets the bar so high at DT?

Based on his sheer dominance, Donald is sort of the exception to the rule but defensive tackles, generally speaking, have a tough time getting widely recognized. That's the nature of the position. Geno Atkins and Jurrell Casey were the two the best at the position for a decade, and weren't exactly household names. Clark might fly under the radar on the national level but his value to the defense, and locker room, cannot be overstated.

Ron from Mitchell, SD

Looking at the headshot photos and it looks to me that Mason Crosby hit the weight room this offseason! He looks stoked!

I was a few feet away from Crosby last week and thought the same thing.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

With all the outside noise and clickbait stories out there now, can you please address what you've both observed at practice between Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love last year? I know Rodgers has specifically said that he has no issues with Love and that he enjoys having him as a teammate. Love, in turn, mentioned that Rodgers reached out to him before this year's minicamp. Can you please put to rest that there is this divide and tension between Rodgers and Jordan Love? Thank you.

Didn't Rodgers already take care of that? Whatever is going on between Rodgers and the organization, I saw absolutely zero signs of tension between him and Love. Rodgers had a great rapport with both quarterbacks last year. I think you could see some of that in Evan Siegle's photos. Love had the right approach since the day he was drafted and I think Rodgers appreciated that.

Kyle from St. Charles, MO

Listening to Za’Darius’ presser and reading Hod's writeup has me more convinced that this defense with Joe Barry calling the shots is going to be a formidable task for opposing offenses this season. Sifting through the schedule and you quickly realize it may very well need to be. Do you guys get that sense, as well? Could we be looking at a dominant defense this year?

As I wrote last week, the Packers have stars in all the right places of their defensive galaxy. For that reason, my expectations are high for the defense – perhaps as high as any Packers defense since I started covering the team. And Za'Darius Smith, aged 28, is a big reason for that.

Eric from Mequon, WI

Do you see any reason why we haven't been hearing about an Adams extension? Is it just not the time for it or are other "12" things going into the equation we aren't hearing about? Further if we keep hearing about how solid our WR group is, does that make AR12 more willing to show up to training camp?

Did you hear about David Bakhtiari's extension before it happened? Clark's? Adams' previous one? It'll happen when it happens.

Mike from Allen, TX

Gentlemen, there is a waterfall of words this time of year, from both coaches and players. Everything from injury recovery to offseason workouts to OTA performances. How much do you believe and how much is just hype or wishful thinking?

Yes, everybody says the right things this time of year but I go by what my eyes tell me. What I saw this offseason was David Bakhtiari and Josiah Deguara doing a lot more than I expected them to be doing at this point. I saw a young QB in Jordan Love who looked much more comfortable by the end of minicamp. Jaire Alexander was dominant and several up-and-comers (Eric Stokes, Rashan Gary and AJ Dillon to name a few) made their presence felt. What does it all mean? We'll find out in training camp but it's a good first step.

Dale from Lima, IA

Is Jake Dolegala the tallest QB ever in the NFL? It's amazing to imagine him throwing "downhill" to all the Packers WRs and TEs.

Dan McGwire (6-8) is tallest to ever play quarterback in the NFL, while Frank Patrick (6-7) is the tallest QB to ever play for the Packers. So, Dolegala will be hanging out with Patrick in Club 6-7 should he ever play in an NFL game, along with the likes of Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch and Mike Glennon.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Wes, great question asking De'Vondre Campbell about his familiarity with Matt LaFleur. It helped to learn about De'Vondre but also gave us further insight on Matt as well. Did you already know the answer and put it out there to further familiarize us with both men?

I had no idea how much Campbell and LaFleur knew each other, if at all. Teams are so big it wouldn't be surprising to me if an inside linebacker and a quarterbacks coach didn't cross paths hardly ever. But it was interesting listening to how often Campbell and LaFleur talked in Atlanta. I think that speaks volumes about both the player and the coach.

Mike from Appleton, WI

Hello II, which position besides QB do you think is hardest for a rookie to excel at in his first year? My expectations for T.J. Slaton are already tempered.

They're all hard but tight end is always my answer to this and the statistics bear it out.

Herman from Clarksville, IN

If I was Rodgers, I'd show up every day, draw my money/theirs, and tank every play. Force them to trade me or pay me.

That's not Aaron Rodgers. He's played to win every time he's taken the field over the last 13 years. Listen, I know there were a lot more Rodgers questions but I don't know what to say about where things stand. So, I'm not going to say anything other than this locker room, this team and this organization is better when Rodgers is in the building.

Benjamin from Evergreen Park, IL

How does a guy like Ben Braden go undrafted and land on a practice squad for us to claim? Great measurables, 329, 34-inch arms and lean in the waist. Did he just need the right coaching staff to improve weaknesses in his game? Or just a chance to succeed?

I was stunned to read Braden's NFL.com draft profile. It gave him a 5.1 grade (chance to be in a training camp)…which is pretty much as low as it goes. It's not like we're talking about a 6-foot-6, 329-pound guard who starred at some Division II program. He was a second-team All-Big Ten offensive lineman at Michigan. So, I think scouts and draftniks overthought this one a little. The fact Braden has stuck around the NFL this long is a testament to that. He still has a lot to prove but the Packers obviously like him.

Kyle from St. Charles, MO

Game days, understandably, are your biggest workdays. It's unfortunate that you aren't able to take on the fan experience for the team you seem to passionately cover. So I'm curious what are your Sunday rituals on Packers bye weeks? Are either of you super into fantasy football? Are there other teams you follow? Or do you simply disconnect from it all during those weeks?

I did play fantasy football but announced my retirement after last season. Life is just too hectic with a toddler who is increasingly mobile to pay adequate attention to my "team." I really don't have any bye-week rituals other than I do not watch football. I actively make it a point to take a weekend off from the sport, which is going to be even more important in 2021 with an 18-week regular season. My wife often plans for a small daytrip or something with the kiddo.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Wes, with all the players who have donned the green and gold, who is deciding which ones make the cut in the jersey by number countdown? I thought it was very cool that the only No. 92 photos were of Reggie White. Please pass along my thanks.

Madeline, Spoff and me. We run a small shop, Scott.

Guillaume from Perros-Guirec, France

In light of the Christian Eriksen event, I was wondering: Is it possible to practice CPR on a fully equipped football player? Also, are players taught about those techniques? It would be a great team-building activity, right?

I'm not sure about players, but the Packers' training staff is well-equipped to handle those situations. The team doctors are often on-site during practice, as well.

Keith from Wallace, ID

I saw the pic of Ezra Johnson today on the countdown and it reminded me how fun that '78 team was. It was such a glimmer of hope in the middle of 20 years of purgatory. Then, I started thinking about how incredible Ezra would have been in our current defensive scheme. Man, he would have been Za'Darius Smith+++

It's a shame Ezra's sack totals from 1978-81 weren't officially tallied because he never seems to get the credit he deserves. I know Johnson was inconsistent at times, but the guy still played 15 years at the game's highest level. His career was so much more than what it's remembered for.

With 90 days until the regular-season opener, packers.com looks back at those who have worn No. 90 in Green Bay.

Bill from Stateline, NV

One of my favorite "slipped through the cracks" player was Ted Hendricks.

Would Hendricks fall in that category, though? Everyone knew how good Hendricks was even before he came to Green Bay. It was kind of a weird quirk how he ended up with the Packers in the first place.

Jaimito from Corona, CA

Last night at our favorite Mexican restaurant (lots of beer choices and an excellent shrimp cocktail) the table placard for our order was No. 88. I had this weird feeling of deja vu. Do I owe II for this strange phenomenon?

I'm not sure "owe" is the right word. Maybe resent?

Christopher from Hagerstown, MD

Good morning, Wes. Would you help me with a shout-out and big thank you to lifelong Packer fan, Sarah "Ma" Wojciechowski? She is a great friend who just sent me a handmade Packer quilt! I know she'd get a kick out of seeing this in II. Thanks!

You're tugging at my heartstrings, Christopher. It reminds me of when my Aunt Paula made a Packers quilt for my son shortly after he was born. Enjoy yours. Have a great day.

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

Good morning, II. Any chance you could give a shout-out to Lori from Brookfield? I know she said she was going to sit back and just read along, but I do miss her. I know she's had a rough year and I hope she's OK. People care, Lori.

Absolutely. Lori is the best. Whenever Lori wants to pop back into the column, she's always welcome in II. We love you Lori.

Juan from San Antonio, TX

Did Mike get lost trying to find Miller Park Monday?

Fortunately, Google Maps still recognizes Miller Park on the GPS. And to be fair to Spoff, it was a good five years before I stopped calling Miller Park "County Stadium." From where I come from, I ain't used to stadium names changin'.

Justin from Ivins, UT

Not a question but I just got back from a week in Oahu. I was amazed how many Packer fans I ran into while there. There was of course an occasional tourist with some apparel from another team but almost all car/home and local apparel sports stuff featured the Packers. It was great to feel home away from home!

Thank you, Justin. You just gave me a great idea for an Outsider Inbox (or is it Insider Outbox?) question! Even better? I actually have written an Insider Inbox from one of the Subways in Ivins once before. True story. Small world.


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