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Inbox: It's up to the Packers to strike the right balance

By tripling up, you infuse talent into a position and hope for positive gains

RB Josh Jacobs
RB Josh Jacobs

Jim from Eau Claire, WI

Spoff and Hod, I keep referring to them as Cooper and Hooper or Copper and Hopper. Please help me.

You're seriously asking the guy who can't keep Ballentine and Valentine straight to help you on this?

Kyle from Los Angeles, CA

Have you looked at Aaron Jones's and Josh Jacobs' career stats? There is surprising parity in many categories. If you were coach, would you limit a healthy Jacobs? Seems pointless if we ship RBs before they turn 30.

I don't even think it's about workload as much as giving a defense different looks. At least, that's been Matt LaFleur's approach to the backfield in Green Bay. Of course, the Packers want to give Jacobs touches. He was an All-Pro for a reason and it wasn't only because he led the league in rushing in 2022. Jacobs brings a lot to the party. But AJ Dillon, MarShawn Lloyd and Emanuel Wilson each have something to offer, as well. It's up to the Packers to strike the right balance with whomever is on the roster Week 1.

Daniel from Chillicothe, MO

Two of our first three regular-season games will be played against teams that have a new offensive coordinator this year (Eagles and Titans). Do you think it helps our defense, which will be working out the kinks in the first few weeks under a new defensive coordinator, to play a couple teams early that are in the same situation on the offensive side of the ball? Or does the mantra "it's a week-to-week league" trump this thought?

Aside from rule emphases, I've always felt the NFL is more of a defensive league during the first month of the year. In that regard, it may benefit the Packers, but Philadelphia has a veteran nucleus that's played together for several years. Plus, Kellen Moore is a first-year coordinator in title only. He's coached a lot of football, so I wouldn't take anything for granted out of the chute.

John from Green Bay, WI

Regarding player safety vs. economics, I believe the two are totally connected from the league's perspective. Seems like we are seeing a gradual but systematic attempt by the league to institute player safety measures with the goal of making the game less physical, with fewer injuries and wear on players in order to extend the season. Call me a cynic but I believe the league's player safety movement is driven by dollars first and foremost.

I want to steer clear of speculation street. I just hope we keep the long-term interest of player health in mind with these decisions. Because once the 18-game door is opened, that toothpaste is not going back in the tube. It's here to stay.

Fredrick from Okatie, SC

With the possibility of an 18-game season, do you see the league increasing the number of players on each team? Maybe have a backup practice squad getting paid a below-average salary. They could give the option for teams to use it or not use it.

I doubt it. If anything, maybe the league relaxes the practice-squad rules to allow for more gameday elevations than just three per player.

Craig from Sussex, WI

Much has been said about an 18-game schedule and two-game preseason. However, back in the day ('60s, '70s, '80s), players would actually play in all the preseason games and at least half of the game. That means players played in six preseason games and 14 regular-season games. Without a bye week! Training camps were brutal, two practices per day with pads! Today, starting players seldom play in preseason games and they seldom wear pads during practice (one practice per day). An 18-game schedule will work.

Well, I don't think I'd necessarily use the NFL from the 1960-80s as a beacon of light for player safety. I've never said an 18-game schedule couldn't work. I just don't think it's a good idea. You also can't convince me it's better for the on-field product.

Arn from Kenosha, WI

I know there's no math allowed in the Inbox...however, in response to Craig from Brookfield and many others, there is one simple and immutable formula to remember: More games plus more teams equals more money.

Sure…as long as the quality of football doesn't diminish. I can only imagine what the stretch run will be like for two- or three-win teams.

Yotam from Atlit, Israel

With the recent talk about Eric Stokes' fifth-year option, I was wondering what is the Packers' track record with exercising the option? And relatedly, how is next year's option candidate, Devonte Wyatt, looking? Do you believe he is on track to having the option used?

I think Wyatt is a great talent and definitely is a prime candidate for it depending on how Year 3 goes. Same for Quay Walker. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was the first player the Packers exercised the fifth-year option on. The team then picked up options on Kenny Clark, Jaire Alexander, Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage. They did not exercise the option on Derek Sherrod, Nick Perry (later re-signed), Datone Jones, Jordan Love (signed a one-year extension) and Stokes. Damarious Randall was traded to Cleveland before his fifth-year option was addressed.

Shane from Philadelphia, PA

In regard to the having Jaire Alexander and Denzel Ward vs. Tyreek Hill and the associated costs, I think the biggest thing to remember in that scenario is if Tyreek Hill just "wins" three plays in a game that could easily be three touchdowns and 150-plus yards. Obviously, that is what makes being an NFL corner so hard but just shows the value of the top receivers.

I side with Spoff on this one. I believe it's more difficult to find a pair of elite cornerbacks than it is to get a top-tier wideout, especially given everything working against defensive players in today's NFL.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

Do you think that the most challenging decision the Packers make this offseason will be the selection of the starting kicker? I can't think of a position where the difference between practice performance and actual game performance can be so wide. In deciding, I think GB should be more focused (they may be already) on how Anders Carlson compared to other rookie kickers over the years as well as the relative difficulty in kicking outside in the cold at Lambeau. I'm glad the decision is not mine.

If a team drafts a kicker, it must be prepared for the ups and downs that come with that decision. Minnesota wasn't and paid for it until lucking into Greg Joseph in 2021. Carlson would be wise to follow Joseph's **“me vs. me”** approach and focus on improvement rather than the other kickers on the roster. More than anything, the Packers want to see expected signs of progress from Carlson this summer.

Robert from Brookeville, MD

In regard to the blazing hot kicking situation, if Jack Podlesny performs comparably to the better of the other two, would you expect there would be an impulse to pick the other and stash Podlesny on the practice squad? Am I correct the other two would not be eligible for the practice squad?

Everyone is now eligible for the practice squad under the new rules. The only restriction is how many veterans a team can carry on its practice squad, which I believe is six. But Green Bay has never come close to that. The Packers typically favor developmental rookies and first-year players. It wouldn't be unprecedented to keep an extra kicker on the practice squad. Ramiz Ahmed stuck around in that capacity throughout the 2022 season.

Jim from Denver, CO

Does it surprise you that in a country of 342 million people, we can't find 32 men who are starting QB-level caliber?

Not really. At the highest level of any sport, it's difficult to find individuals who excel well beyond their peers – let alone 32 of them.

Tracy from Jacksonville, AR

Hello fellas, when the Packers take three swings at a particular position in the draft, does that mean the guy that we had doesn't really have a chance to start? What I mean is the GM and coach willing to see what the young guys have and live with the growing pains? Is that why Mike mentioned the rookie next to Xavier McKinney? And tell the reader from yesterday, don't feel bad or be shy, I've been reading this column since Vic first started and I don't get any of the inside jokes.

The Packers drafted three running backs in 2017 and still started Ty Montgomery in the opener. The same was true at receiver in 2022. Even this summer, Anthony Johnson Jr. has been the "starting" safety opposite McKinney in the No. 1 defense. At the end of the day, you get what you emphasize. By tripling up, you infuse talent into a position and hope for positive gains.

The Green Bay Packers held a team-building event at Buzz Social in Suamico, Wisc. on Wednesday, June 5, 2024.

Andrew from Quincy, IL

Regarding the international games, do you feel it's the NFL's goal to have teams located in other countries, or is it more of an effort to grow the fan base? I could see if it is deemed profitable that the NFL would be open to teams in England, Canada, and Mexico, but any farther distances would become a logistic nightmare.

I doubt we see an NFL team in another country on a permanent basis. Logistically, there are just too many problems. Instead, I'm expecting the league to continue exposing the game to new markets like what it's doing with the Packers and Eagles in Week 1. The NFL also has started its global marketing program to promote clubs as the "home team" in various markets (e.g. Las Vegas Raiders in Mexico). In this increasingly global landscape, we've learned you can plant seeds internationally without having a physical team in those markets.

Chris from Marshfield, WI

I don't need to hear the officiating discussions to know they make mistakes. But I would like it if they participated in postgame interviews to some degree. Players and coaches are obligated to discuss the game, I'd like to see officials have some form of accountability.

The PFWA representative in each market can request to interview the referee. The transcript is then provided to the media in a pool report.

Paula from Apple Valley, MN

CJ from Cedar Rapids asked whether Aaron Jones can get away with a Lambeau Leap in a Vikings uniform. I'd like to think Aaron has too much respect for Packers fans and traditions to do it. The only way I see it happening is if Packers fans invite him to leap. Even then, I suspect he will respond in another way. It's been painful seeing him on the local news here in Vikings land, but he remains respectful of the green and gold, unlike a few others who ended up in purple.

I'd be surprised to see Jones attempt a Lambeau Leap. He can be a showman (see: Dallas), but I don't think he'd disrespect Packers fans like that. They mean too much to him.

Chris from New Canaan, CT

Hi fellas. Not a question. Be sure the read the article in today's Athletic about the state of officiating in the NFL. Long read, but pretty sobering stuff. Just thought I'd point the article out to you.

It's a worthwhile read. It goes back to my original point that the league needs to invest more resources into officiating, especially from a technology standpoint.

Noah from Eldo, KS

I saw on social media that Mike Daniels was at a few practices this week. Was this some kind of coaching clinic? Daniels was always one of my favorite players, do y'all have any memories covering him as a player?

Mike was visiting with his younger brother, Sean, who's the head coach at their alma mater, Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, N.J. It's very common for the Packers to welcome coaches and former players for offseason practices. Former Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst and longtime Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz have both attended practices this spring. There are too many memories of Mike Diesel to pick one, but the common denominator for me was how Daniels was always, unapologetically, himself. He was who he was, and that's what made him a Pro Bowl defensive tackle.

Mitch from Eagle River, WI

You guys drop a lot of movie references in II, many of which I love, and some go over my head. Perhaps this is a question for the dead zone, but what are some movies that you recommend us readers check out so that we can further become Inbox fluent? Thank you for all the work you both do! It is sincerely appreciated and enjoyed.

I must say it was wonderful being back in Eagle River last week. Pa Hod and I had an amazing time golfing Eagle River Golf Course. We have a lot of random movie references, but my most common are probably "Caddyshack," "The Outlaw Josey Wales," "Airplane," "Dodgeball," and "Big Lebowski." Spoff speaks fluent "Fletch," too.

Bob from Fredericksburg, VA

Don't you think it's a little ironic that these new Vikings unis are made to look arctic or something? They want to trot out these new "winter warrior" duds while they PLAY INDOORS! In all honesty they do look kind of cool, though. (no pun intended)

The Vikings seem to be "Game of Thrones" people. No problem there. So am I but also acknowledge the series ended five years ago. Have a good Monday.

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