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Inbox: Maybe there’ll be more than one

CB Josh Jackson
CB Josh Jackson

Ryan from Hartland, WI

Who will be the Packers’ breakout second-year player this year?

There are legitimate candidates in all three phases from the 2018 draft class. Maybe there’ll be more than one.

Barton from Tulum, Quintana Roo Mexico

Have the Pack already made their hotel reservations for away games? Have they decided not to stay at an airport hotel in Detroit like they did last year? I'm a big believer that the electromagnetic radiation around an airport is not conducive to the best mental and physical athletic performance. Sleeping in a hotel at the airport the night before the game is not a good idea!

So that’s why Wes was so grumpy in the Ford Field press box last year. I thought he just hated the food.

Vince from Flagstaff, AZ

Good morning, fellas. How large is the Packers’ scouting department? It seems like a large task to scout all collegiate players and then all NFL teams during the preseason. Do certain scouts focus on individual positions across the league or do they look at entire teams?

The Packers divide the duties for scouting college and pro players. Various directors and co-directors in personnel have a hand in both, while several individuals have the title “college scout” and are assigned a region of the country. When they hit the road for their campus visits, most of the rest of the personnel department is focused on the pro side through camp and final cuts. In all, not including Gutekunst as GM and Thompson as senior advisor, the personnel department currently has 17 people.

David from Appleton, WI

Was the price for Savage too high? The Packers have feasted on fourth-round draft picks for years (Sitton, Lang, Daniels, Bakhtiari, Martinez, Lowry, Williams). Even Larry McCarren pointed this out when interviewing Ted Thompson after his GBPHOF enshrinement. Yet to move up nine slots to secure Savage, Green Bay had to forgo picks No. 114 and 118. In your opinion, how good will Savage need to be to outweigh the capital cost of moving up to draft him?

I can’t answer that, because guys like M. Underwood, C. Rodgers, McMillian, Bradford and Biegel were also drafted in the fourth round, so you don’t know. I’m not trying to pick on anybody, but nobody knows. It’s why you simply must have the courage of your convictions in making a move like Gutekunst did that you’re getting worthwhile value for your pick(s). The rest has to play itself out.

Visitors enjoyed the free exhibit with activities, photo sessions, and interactive games. The traveling exhibit will stay at Chippewa Falls until July 14.

Jim from Woodbury, MN

Besides being part of a winning team, what would make it a good year for Rashan Gary? (and you don’t necessarily need to provide a statistical answer)

Film that shows him affecting games regularly by the end of his rookie season. That’s what the film showed with Kenny Clark back in 2016, despite minimal stats to show for it.

Todd from Brighton, MI

20 practices, four preseason games. Longer than your typical job interview, but doesn't seem like enough.

If it doesn’t seem like enough for a given player, you probably have your answer, don’t you?

Cindy from Los Angeles, CA

Hey Insiders, I want to introduce my new squeeze to the Packers by taking a weekend trip to one of the road games this fall. Which of the Cowboys, 49ers, or Giants games would you pick and why? Point of origin is irrelevant.

Well, I got a friend tickets to the ’16 NFC Divisional game in Dallas, and she said the fans were so hostile to her family she’d never go back. And there’s no redeemable value to the giant tin can of a stadium in East Rutherford. So I’d go with San Francisco for the Rodgers v. Garoppolo, LaFleur v. Shanahan, and Wes v. trolley car storylines.

Derek from Sheboygan, WI

Who do you think will win the backup spot at quarterback this year?

I honestly don’t know. This is the first camp I can recall in a while for which there doesn’t seem to be a favorite to take the job.

Eddie from La Crosse, WI

Mike, you've received many questions and comments about "stealing first base," so one more won't hurt! It comes down to this: The pitcher/hitter contest is the ultimate game within a game. Both contestants spend their entire careers mastering the art of defeating the other. The hitter has to EARN his way onto the bases. Taking off for first base during the at-bat is not earning his way.

Thank you.

Jake from Atlanta, GA

My instinct is to agree with you about not introducing a rule to allow players to steal first base, but on the other hand, is it so different from the dropped-third-strike rule? I’ve never really understood the logic behind that one either.

The purpose is to make the defense complete the out. The catcher not catching a third strike is (theoretically only, mind you) equivalent to the first baseman missing the throw from the shortstop. It’s just never been allowed with first base occupied and less than two outs so the defense can’t use the rule to its advantage.

Scott from Boring, OR

Man, scoring 6, 6, 6, 6, 12 and losing reminds me of the 2014 championship game. Brutal defeat. I feel for Federer.

Quite the contrary, I’d call it a most noble and honorable defeat, entirely unlike the game you referenced.

Bill from Coeur D’Alene, ID

If a player like Robbie Gould hasn't signed his franchise tag by the start of training camp, is he considered a free agent, able to be signed by another team? If he's not a free agent, is there any way another team like the Packers could sign him?

Only in the event the 49ers rescind the tag. The deadline for a franchise-tagged player to sign a long-term deal is today at 3 p.m. CT. If he doesn’t agree to a long-term deal by the deadline, he can only sign a one-year deal (with the team that tagged him) unless the tag is removed. This applies to Gould and Houston’s Jadeveon Clowney.

Andrew from Simi Valley, CA

Those profits though...looks like this year’s Christmas bonus is just a membership to the jelly of the month club.

I hope your humor is a reflection of the lack of concern anyone should have over those financial numbers. The franchise’s corporate reserve is still in the neighborhood of $400 million. Rodgers’ contract, four major free-agent signings, concussion settlement money, a coaching changeover, 100 Seasons celebrations, and a second straight non-playoff season all added up to basically a break-even year. So it goes.

Jeremy from Bowling Green, KY

I've decided to storm Area 51 in search of that stupid football measuring computer chip thingy. You in? Sure I know it's dangerous, but the risk is worth putting an end to these questions, right?

Anything is worth the risk.

Jordan from Walpole, MA

I know many people won’t be on board with the proposed 18-game schedule but I’m very intrigued by it. The added strategy of when to sit players for their games would be interesting. I also like that it would make having a strong, full 53-man roster more important. It would also give more players chances especially backup QBs. I understand some drawbacks, but it gives us more games, more intrigue and it protects the meaning of a season’s stats at the same time.

You and others showing interest in this sound like folks who’ve never spent your hard-earned money to attend a game. How do you tell the ticket-paying public, some of whom might be attending their one game in a decade, or first game in a lifetime, that it’s Aaron Rodgers’ or Ben Roethlisberger’s turn to sit? And if you make an exception for QBs, what about stars at other positions people are paying to see play? Antonio Brown, Khalil Mack, Ezekiel Elliott, Aaron Donald, etc.? You can’t make exceptions at every position. This is such a colossally bad idea I can’t believe there’s been any legitimate discussion of it. Sorry for the rant.

Jeff from Chandler, AZ

Jaire Alexander hosts goat yoga. I didn't see that headline coming. This redefines dead-zone reporting. What are some of your favorite out-of-the-ordinary things you have seen and reported on for the website?

My favorite dead-zone headline? Wes successfully retains lunch (with video link).

Scott from Fredonia, WI

In your time covering the Packers, which player (at any point in time) was most underrated by the average Packers fan?

My top four would be Chad Clifton, Desmond Bishop, Scott Wells and Sam Shields.

Paul from Shoreview, MN

The Packers seem to have some really tough calls to make at WR, TE, RB, DL and CB. There appears to be come quality depth. What factor ultimately determines the final roster spots? Potential or current production?

It depends on the position, the situation, the player, the makeup of the rest of the roster, and a host of other things. There’s no one factor that decides everything or roster predictions would be easy to make. How much a player is projected to help the team in the current year and in future years is always a dual element in the equation.

Adam from Lemont, IL

I’m sure this has been discussed before, but I haven’t heard the answer. I know Thursday games are not loved by the players and to be honest, I prefer watching the Packers play on Sunday. Has there been consideration of moving the Thursday night games to Saturday night? Seems like it would be a win for both the players and the fans.

Not for fans of both college and professional football.

Zach from Virginia Beach, VA

So Gary thinks old Yankee Stadium was a dump and the Bronx is a bad neighborhood. As I recall Queens and old Shea Stadium were a lot worse. Perhaps the worst ballpark I've ever been to. Spoff, what's the best/worst ballpark you've been to?

I’ll take Miller Park anytime, but outside of that, Camden Yards certainly ranks as a favorite. The Metrodome was probably the worst baseball stadium I’ve been to, but I still enjoyed going, especially when Kirby Puckett was playing.

Marty from Grafton, WI

Mike, I agree. It would be a mistake for the Raiders to get rid of or change the name, colors, and logo. Can you please expand on how the circumstances surrounding Modell and the Browns were different?

Part of Modell’s deal to move the team included a promise from the league to Cleveland that it would get a team back within a few years, so the Browns name, logo, history, etc., all stayed, and the Baltimore Ravens were in effect an expansion team (with all player contracts remaining in place). It was a rather unique relocation.

Packers CB Jaire Alexander helped instruct a goat yoga session at The Children's Museum of Green Bay.

Ed from Minneapolis, MN

Welcome back, Mike. Your career began before the internet. How do you think the 24/7 demands of the inter webs has changed journalism?

In a nutshell, it’s made the media business in general more about entertainment than public service, and as a result the profession is held to less accountability from the viewing/reading public, because the consumer is, on balance, less interested in informed analysis than simply being entertained. Accountability is now on the content producer him/herself rather than the consumer, and that’s a shame. But I don’t want to come across as an old curmudgeonly complainer, because without the internet I wouldn’t have this job. So I simply set my own standards and do the work the best way I know how.

JoAnne from Seattle, WA

Hi II, have you heard when Jordy might do a one-day signing so as to retire as a Packer? I truly enjoy your column. Thank you.

I have not heard an official date, but it is in the works. Stay tuned.

Jeremy from Evansville, IN

Mike, do you ski? Growing up in southern Indiana, we only had one hill and few weekends to ski. Even then, it didn’t take long for fake snow to turn into ice. I was always jealous of the folks in Aspen, where the beer flows like wine.

I did ski a fair amount in my younger days. Then life got in the way.

Randy from Ooltewah, TN

I have every Packers Yearbook since 1978 (except for 1988). When will this year’s edition be available? I assume in time for me to get it when I am in Wisconsin Aug. 11 for my class reunion. You guys do great work on those, and the II too, of course.

As Yearbook editor, I signed off on all the editorial content last Friday, so it’s being printed as we speak. It should be available by the start of training camp. Anyone interested can pre-order one here on the Pro Shop website.

Dan from Fort Wayne, IN

My take for a successful season this year isn’t in pass/run ratios or how good our defense/special teams can be or even how many turnovers we create. It’s all on Rodgers and the O-line. Fewer sacks and fewer throwaway passes will put us squarely in the playoff hunt. What say you?

It’s as good a starting point as any.

Paul from Cumming, GA

On Friday evening the LA Angels all wore No. 45 to honor the passing of young pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Also on Friday evening, the LA Angels no-hit the Seattle Mariners. Is there sometimes more comfort in the things we can't explain?

Sometimes.

Ryan from Westfield, IN

When answering a question with multiple questions in it, do you answer in the order they’re written or in reverse order?

Sure. Happy Monday.

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