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Inbox: It's the X-factor every team is searching for

The journey made Davante Adams’ story so captivating

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QB Aaron Rodgers, Head Coach Matt LaFleur

David from Minneapolis, MN

What day is it today?

Not the day I want it to be.

Jim from Baytown, TX

If I could draft any past player to play in today's game? James Lofton. Can you imagine the numbers he could post in today's game with that combo of size, speed and hands? Imagine him on one side, Davante Adams on the other, and whoever you want in the slot. Defenses would absolutely lose their minds.

Stick a pin in this thread because I'm including it in the 12 questions for Outsider Inbox next week. Last call, by the way, on potential questions. Otherwise, the full list will be in Saturday's Inbox and I eagerly await your responses. This has become a highlight of the offseason for me. I plan to run them on Monday and Tuesday (and possibly Wednesday) while Mike is livin' la vida Spofford.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Wes, a great coach, Pat Meehan, said to me after I asked, "What was the best part of winning a state championship in cross country in Iowa?" He said, "It was the process on how we got there, not winning the championship." What process does Coach LaFleur need to do to win a Super Bowl in Green Bay? Have a great week!

I would've replied, "Not puking and passing out at the finish line." Anyway, LaFleur needs to bottle whatever formula the Packers built inside that locker room last year. That was perhaps the closest Packers team I've covered and that contributed mightily to Green Bay's success. It's the X-factor every team is searching for. I think that's a credit to LaFleur, as a first-time head coach, that he was able to cultivate that type of environment.

Zak from Verona, WI

Jarrett Bush was always my favorite Packer on special teams when he was with the team. I remember him working really hard on the field and it seemed like he was around the football an awful lot. Do either of you have any stories to share about Bush?

What I'll always remember is Jarrett doing sprints up the stairs at Lambeau Field after practices, wearing a weighted vest. I can't imagine how tough that must have been. I get winded enough when Spoff and I have to climb the 60 stairs to get to the press-box elevator after shooting our pre-game livestream before home games. I loved covering Jarrett Bush, though. I wish I could've been there for his whole run and not just the last three years. He's a great story.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

One of my favorite aspects of the offseason is watching training highlight videos. Some all-time greats include the J.J. Watt box jump and the Alvin Kamara Jeep pull. I'm looking for creativity and crazy athleticism or strength. What workout video would you like to see a Packer player post to Twitter?

I think Kenny Clark's videos are hard to top but I feel like Aaron Rodgers ' would be highly educational. He doesn't like to give too much away about his offseason regimen but I'd love to learn more about it, as someone sprinting into his 30s.

Jay from Altoona, WI

Randall Cobb, Ahman Green, and Bubba Franks are three left-handed players over the past 20 years that immediately come to mind. Do you know of any other current or recent Packers players who are southpaws?

Off the top of my head, all I could come up with was Jamaal Williams . You can Google the rest.

Brianna from Farmington, MN

What are some interesting things you think our defense may bring us this year that we did not see last year?

More sideline-to-sideline speed.

Mike from Manchester, UK

"If the Packers weren't sure Crosby's their guy, they wouldn't have given him a new contract right after the season ended." I believe the Packers always knew Mason Crosby was their guy, even when they brought in Ficken last year. How much of that do you think was for preparation in case Mason's well-documented and terrible personal family issues meant he had to miss prolonged playing time?

The Packers signed Ficken a week after the 2018 season ended, so that didn't have anything to do with Molly's cancer battle. She wasn't diagnosed until the summer. I think it was merely the Packers wanting to take a look at another kicker they liked who also had NFL credentials. It was a win-win. They were able to evaluate Ficken and take a few kicks off Crosby's leg.

Mike from Cheshire, MA

Would you agree that if Johnathan Franklin did not get injured in 2013, he and Eddie Lacy would have been one of the more dominant 1-2 punches in the league? I'd imagine something of the likes of a Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.

Perhaps. Franklin's ball-security issues were confounding but he showed he was the real deal in that Week 3 game against Cincinnati. The aftermath of his neck injury made me reconsider my position on the kickoff return.

Stephen from Seven Devils, NC

All-time underrated Packers? Bob Skoronski needs to be on any list asking that question. Lombardi and Starr would agree, as would every offensive lineman who played with him.

Facts.

Brian from Hartford, WI

It seems many fans discount improvement via the development of young players already on the roster. It begs the question why they were drafted in the first place. Few were grabbed as instant starters plugging gaping holes. Many who start early exhibit growing pains. Fans talk about "upsides," and so many appear unwilling to watch it develop. I'd like to think that the Packers have a fair idea of the current receiver corps, with reason to expect improvement.

Some folks just want to watch the ending instead of enjoying the entire movie, and that's a shame. It's the journey that made the stories of Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson so captivating. The Packers' receiving corps has a lot to prove, maybe more than any other position, but you also have to give those young players a chance to grow and become who everyone hopes they would be.

Tim from Lino Lakes, MN

Teams are always looking for that once-in-a-lifetime quarterback, but do you think there's a shift, or at least another tier, where the QB is viewed as more "functional"? One that keeps his wits about him especially in crunch time and doesn't lose the game with a pick?

Maybe that's the way some look at it but my response would be to look at what Patrick Mahomes did last year for Kansas City. Stars aren't always readily available but they sure make a huge difference when you find one.

Steve from Davenport, IA

ANY WAY THE PLAYERS CAN WEAR A MASK WITH HELMETS OR GET A NEW DESIGN FOR THE HELMETS?

WE'RE LESS THAN A MONTH FROM CAMP, SO I WOULDN'T COUNT ON IT. UNLESS, OF COURSE, THE NFL HAS SOME KIND OF TOP-SECRET PLAN.

Eric from Honolulu, HI

Do you think the stadiums will play at a reduced capacity during the season until a cure is found?

I don't see how any NFL team could have 80,000 fans in attendance this September without a vaccine and mass testing, so I guess I agree with the premise of your question.

Tony from Appleton, WI

Doesn't the NFL realize how hard it is to schedule my fantasy draft? I normally like the third Sunday in August but I am uncertain this year.

My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

Very often a comment or question still comes in regarding the Packers' loss to the Seahawks in the NFC title game. My question is a bit different and hypothetical. If you're a fan of the Seahawks, would it have been better to lose to the Packers in order to avoid that most heartbreaking loss to New England in the Super Bowl? Now you talk about being haunted by a football memory, that Seahawks SB loss would be the one.

If you get a ticket to the dance, you don't wish it away. Regardless of what happens when you get there, you made it. A Super Bowl lost is still a Super Bowl earned.

Joshua from Houston, TX

Does Cam make New England a threat again or is he just a small Band-Aid over a large wound?

He makes them a heck of a lot more interesting. But yeah, I expect the Patriots to be in the running again until the AFC East proves otherwise.

Tyler from Cross Plains, WI

Coincidence or smart PR play by the Pats to announce the Cam Newton signing the same day the NFL issues a $1.1 million fine and loss of a third-round pick for taping the Bengals' sideline?

The smartest thing of all was dropping that on a weekend in June.

Gary from Chippewa Falls, WI

I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the Cam Newton signing. His accomplishments are better than most backups and they make more in base than he. Injury history aside, this is a bad look for the NFL. If Kap signs for more, it is a really bad look.

I'm saving any comment on this until Newton talks. It's now the end of June. If Newton felt like this was the best offer out there, I don't begrudge him for taking it. And if he plays winning football, he'll be compensated for it next year.

David from Fairmont, WV

Is John Kuhn still alive?

Yes. Or at least I assume so. He returned my text the other day.

Eddie from La Crosse, WI

Thirty-seven questions? Wes, you must have seen the film "Clerks" or perhaps "Monty Python and The Holy Grail." Maybe even both of them! Then again, you may just be a fan of irregular prime numbers that are also hexagonal numbers as well as anagrammatic primes. ;-)

All the above.

Ron from Green Bay, WI

Hi Spoff, just wondering if you could share a favorite story about Tom Oates. I will truly miss his articles. Tom is definitely a class writer and person.

I know Spoff already handled this but I just want to say Oatesy is one of my favorite people in this business. He was so kind to me during my first year on the beat and became a colleague of sorts when the Press-Gazette and Wisconsin State-Journal entered into an agreement to share Packers and Badgers content. What I'll miss the most is watching him run into press boxes on the road after taking a morning flight from wherever the Badgers were playing. As media folks, we compete for stories, news and your attention. But many of the men and women on the Packers beat also become dear friends when you're spending half the calendar year with them. Oatesy is one of the most humble people I've ever met and I'll miss him dearly, but so excited for him to take a well-deserved breather. Congratulations my friend.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

When we went to training camp six years ago, my son had a couple players ride his bike to practice and a hat full of signatures from players who didn't make the roster. Everyone missing out on those little things this year feels more important than the big picture on the games and season. We remember a lot of games over the years, but there was only one day like that in our lives and one summer in theirs. Wear your mask, stay home, be safe!

Life is all about experiences, however big or small. And it's up to all of us to do what's necessary to make sure we get those experiences again in the not-so-distant future. Welcome to a new week, folks.

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