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Inbox: Let's see what these young guys can do

You look for guys who consistently battle in one-on-one drills

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Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Welcome back, Wes! What insight do you have to share from your week away?

I learned three things during my paternity leave - how often diapers can/need to be changed, what exactly "Fortnite" is and how to play it, and why it's important to occasionally step back to focus on family. I'm happy to be back. Good morning!

Gary from Kewaunee, WI

Maybe the wrong time to ask this question, as this is a draft-related question. But I was wondering about the area scouts. I am sure they are evaluated somehow. However, let's say a five-year scout seems to have a propensity to unearth late-round receiver talent within his scouted area. Is it possible that scout is then asked to evaluate receivers in other already scouted (by a different area scout) areas? Thanks. First time questioner, longtime reader.

It's June 26, exactly one month from the start of training camp. There is zero media availability between now and then, putting every question on the Inbox table. The best NFL scouting departments are a family. While each scout is expected to be an expert in his area, scouts constantly bounce ideas off each other 12 months of the year. There are no cheat sheets. The only way to get better is to communicate with those around you.

Eric from St. Paul, MN

Regarding one-on-one drills in training camp, I always wondered whether we want to see any one individual do really well or not, because that could point to one individual's failure rather than someone else's success. I'm generally a glass-half-full guy, so can you give me a better way to think about that scenario?

You look for guys who consistently battle. An offensive lineman isn't going to win every rep. A defensive lineman or edge rusher definitely won't, but how competitive are they in their reps? That's how Lane Taylor and Justin McCray caught my attention as first-year players. Win or lose, you could see how hard their engines revved on every rep.

Markus from Sea Ranch, CA

Jimmy Graham isn't on your basketball team?

Did you read the question and Spoff's answer? Help me, help you, Markus. Also, I'd like to add in Aaron Rodgers and Cole Madison. I want to see the big guy play.

Dustin from Leverkusen, Germany

Dear Insiders, I'm a Packers fan by heart and I was born and raised in the same hometown as E.Q. St. Brown, so the pick was unbelievable for me. A dream come true that a guy from my town is a Packer now. Here overseas it is hard to get information about him. Can you tell me does he have a realistic chance to make it to the 53-man roster?

I thought St. Brown had a nice offseason. While he is the son of an accomplished weightlifter, it's not like St. Brown is too muscular. He has a lengthy, balanced frame with good quickness. What stood out to me the most was how comfortable St. Brown looked from the slot. That versatility helps for a 6-foot-5 receiver looking to make the roster. He's another ingredient in the competition brewing at receiver.

Rick from Montello, WI

With all the competition at so many positions it seems we're neglecting our backfield. A ground game so crucial to our offense, who needs to step up?

Devante Mays needs a strong training camp because of how Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones distinguished themselves last year. All I look for from the other three backs is just continuing to take the next step. Don't press. Trust your skills. Develop your talent.

Matthew from High Point, NC

Why the freeze on safeties? And what made Morgan Burnett (in my top five favorite Packers) stand out from the rest of the market? Was it his run-stopping ability or solely his price tag?

I think it was a combination of his age, price and versatility. It also should be a smooth transition from Green Bay to what the Steelers do under Kevin Butler. To me, safeties are the defensive equivalent to running backs. They're vital to the success of the defense, but it's not always easy to get big, long-term deals done. This isn't new. The shepherds of the back end have been fighting this battle forever.

Jay from Land O' Lakes, FL

Guys, if the Packers secondary improves to the top half of "QB rating against," do you think they are legit Super Bowl contenders? I think that is the most important metric in 2018.

Say what you will about Dom Capers - and I know many of you had strong opinions - but he couldn't have been more right about how winning the battle of passer ratings and turnovers equates to winning. If the Packers get back into the top 16 in opponent passer rating, they'll be in the hunt given who is throwing the football for Green Bay's offense.

Take a look at photos of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers from the 2017 season. Photos by Evan Siegle, packers.com

Bill from Lenexa, KS

How does the Packer hierarchy feel about Jimmy Graham's acrobatic flying? Got to imagine it makes them nervous.

I think they're in support of it. It's not like he's new to flying. It's been a passion of his for a long time and I know for a fact it's been a conversation starter with many of his new coaches and teammates.

Steve from New Britain, CT

Brandon from Omaha asked when, if ever, the last time a rookie WR made a significant contribution. Yet Mike left out Billy Howton's sensational 1952 rookie season. Has Howton's 1952 rookie season of 13 TDs and 1,231 yards ever been surpassed by another Packer rookie WR? Why not acknowledge his contribution when asked about Packers rookie WRs?

To be fair, Spoff mentioned right off the bat Greg Jennings and James Jones were the best examples from his time on the beat and then brought up how Lofton/Sharpe are the only rookies to post big numbers since the '50s. Lo and behold, you pinpointed that player from the '50s. Howton doesn't get a lot of publicity because his success came during some lean years, but his rookie season still sets the standard for receiving yards and touchdowns by a Packers rookie WR.

Lane from Kihei, HI

Who is your favorite football announcer? Favorite pregame show? I love Tony Romo and FOX pregame.

It's in vogue to say Romo, but I really thought he was fantastic with Jim Nantz last year. They were my favorite combination last season and it was not close. My favorite pregame show? Of course, it's Packers Preview featuring yours truly.

Greg from Perkasie, PA

Is there any specific reason why regular season and playoff stats are kept separately? I remember watching an interview with Brett Favre a while ago and he was talking about his stats. He said something along the lines of not understanding why you wouldn't count playoff stats and regular-season stats together and I don't understand it, either.

Because it keeps everyone on a level playing field. If you want to factor in a player's playoff performance into his statistics, go right ahead. Just head to NFL.com or Pro Football Reference. Same player, but two separate seasons.

Tyler from Marion, IN

What is the longest attempted field goal? I remember Mason Crosby attempting a 69-yarder in 2008 against the Lions.

Sebastian Janikowski attempted a 76-yarder that same year. It didn't go well, to put it mildly.

James from Greendale, WI

Not a question, but a comment. I think the greatest non-play in Packers history was a few years ago when the Bears fooled the Packers' punting team into believing the punt was to the other side of the field. It would have been an easy touchdown if not for the penalty.

And if not for the lack of talent, I'd be a pro baseball player.

Jeff from Farmington, UT

Can you define "deflection"? If a field goal can be deflected by the offense and still be good, then at what point does a deflection turn into a catch and throw through the uprights?

A field goal can only be deflected by the defense.

Richard from Telford, TN

I remember watching a game where Willie Wood stood in front of the goal posts, jumped up and with his hand blocked what would have been a successful kick. Amazingly, Wood in football gear and only 5-foot-10 could jump that high from a standing start. When did that rule change to prevent such a block?

This was more of an issue when the goal posts were located at the front of the end zone. I believe a rule was put into effect after R.C. Owens blocked a field goal at the goal line in 1962.

Sean from DeSoto, TX

I'm going to go out on a limb and say your worst call ever was the "Fail Mary." I don't see how it could be anything else. I remember watching that game with my 3-month-old son and my dad. After it ended, I remember looking at my dad and saying, "What the fudge just happened?" Only I didn't say fudge...

What brand of soap did your dad use to wash that filthy mouth?

Jeff from Grafton, WI

Hey Wes, I hope you had a great vacation. I don't believe it will ever happen, but what do you think of T.O. wanting to play for the Packers? I wouldn't want him, but I was impressed by the 4.4 he ran recently.

Like how Herschel Walker allegedly ran a 4.3 at 53 years old? Or how Jeff George was still throwing footballs over mountains in his late 40s? It's a young man's game. As difficult as it might be to let go, this offseason was the truest testament to that for the Packers. I'd rather bet on the upside of a J'Mon Moore than kick the tires on a veteran who has been out of the league for eight years. Let's see what these young guys can do.

Jordan from Dallas, TX

Why doesn't the NFL do protected draft picks like the NBA in trades? It makes things more complicated, but you would think that the Texans would have loved to make the first-round pick they traded to get Deshaun Watson top-five protected, so they wouldn't have had to give up the No. 4 overall pick in the draft this year and be able to give up their first-round pick next year in which they are more likely to be much better if Watson stays healthy.

I despise protected picks. It's one of several reasons I can't get invested in the NBA. I think everything they do regarding free agency is a mess from the restricted contracts to the max deals. Plus, I don't hear the Texans complaining. They found a franchise quarterback who has unlimited potential. That's priceless.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

After watching Green Bay's Hail Mary win against Detroit, I wondered which emotion is greater - the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat?

Stealing a line from the 1998 movie, "Rounders" - In "Confessions of a Winning Poker Player," Jack King said, "Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career." The thrill of victory is powerful, especially at the game's highest level, but the agony of defeat sticks with you. In the moment? Victory. In memory? Defeat.

Keith from San Antonio, TX

Mike, was that Tim Lewis with the 99-yard INT return in 1984? You know he is now the head coach of the Birmingham Alliance of American Football team. Any thoughts on the new league? A lot of recognizable names involved in coaching and management.

I never heard of it until Greg Hardy hurt his knee last week.

Brian from Schertz, TX

I read Houston expects J.J. Watt to be full speed for the regular season. His last two years were robbed by injuries. Do you feel he has already done enough for Canton? If he never gets back to dominant, does he make it?

That question made me think. If Watt's career ended today, I think he's probably in given how he and Lawrence Taylor are the only three-time NFL Defensive Players of the Year. The reality is he's only 29 years old and still has a lot of football ahead of him. If he plays well over the next two or three years, I think his spot is solidified.

Paul from Minneapolis, MN

Are you planning an Inbox meet-up in Canton? I'll be attending the festivities and would enjoy meeting you and other readers.

You'll have to run this one by Spoff when he gets back later this week. He'll be "the man" in Canton. The current plans have me handling our training-camp coverage in Green Bay.

Take a look at what the Packers have been up to this summer during the offseason.

Al from Wollongong, Australia

What music do you listen to? Do you listen while you work?

I have a very eclectic taste in music. Duke Bobber would say almost too eclectic, but I'll listen to anything. Well, anything but country and heavy metal. The only time I listen to music is when I'm writing Inbox. Otherwise, I find it too distracting when writing stories.

Eddie from La Crosse, WI

You get to play in an NFL game for one play. Full pads, no chance of injury. You get to lay a perfectly legal, by-the-book, yet "very physical" tackle on someone. Who would he be?

It has to be Jay Cutler, right?

Matt from Verona, WI

I think I'd put Jimmy Graham in the end zone on every long FG attempt by our opponents. Goaltending.

Good on you thinking outside of the box. I figured most fans would just say Michael Clark…or Jeff Janis.

Peder from Rockford, MI

Word on the street is Joe Thomas is converting to tight end and signing with the Pack. Can he long-snap?

Oh, how I've missed you all.

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