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Inbox: Motivation comes in many forms

Time will tell if the approach bears fruit

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WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Kyle from Osceola, WI

Hagga-gazza?

Like, seriously, how did that slip through unscathed?

Caroline from La Crosse, WI

I cannot help but feel badly for Jordan Love, a 21-year-old young man, who on Thursday night saw his NFL dream realized, only to awake Friday morning to hysteria and criticism surrounding not only his selection but him as well. It is still ongoing a week later. To Jordan I would like to say: Welcome. I am glad you are here. I wish you well.

If Love handles the situation into which he's been thrust half as well as Rodgers did, he and the Packers will be just fine.

Perry from Ishpeming, MI

Not a question, but you were wondering how many TD passes went to second-rounders? Here's all 364 Rodgers TD passes by round: First 1, second 191, third 82, fourth 5, fifth 22, sixth 7, seventh 24, undrafted 32. You're welcome.

There you have it. A total of 274 TDs to players drafted in the first three rounds. That's the stat I'll use.

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

Wes, I believe it is now officially the NFL offseason. That is an exquisite drawing of a chipmunk behind you in the videos. Care to enlighten us in its story?

Yes, Weston, we need some enlightenment from the rodent art period. Please share.

Sal from Mullica Hill, NJ

I recall Ron Wolf recalling his biggest regret as Packers GM was he didn't invest more in surrounding Brett Favre with more playmakers. It seems our previous and current GMs will have similar regrets when it comes to Aaron Rodgers.

I recall Wolf saying that, too. I don't think Ted Thompson has anything to apologize for in that regard. Not at all. Look at the pass-catching stables some of those years. Gutekunst and LaFleur are going about building the offense in a different way. Time will tell if the approach bears fruit.

Lane from Louisville, KY

Wes made a good point about the real story being that the Packers appear to be gearing up to have a monster running game for the coming year. My question though is, with the league possibly delaying the start of the season, could this running game serve us especially well given that the playoffs could run deeper into the winter months? I imagine passing the ball at Lambeau in mid-February might prove rather challenging.

Interesting thought. File that one away.

Don from Riverton, UT

Please tell me Favre blowing off steam about the Packers selecting Love is a matter of misery searching for company. And the pundits who echo the sentiments are creating a story. I see AR as being a very different and more balanced personality who gets it, having seen it from the other vantage point. He has time to win another ring(s) AND possibly do a far better job of mentoring his successor, thus distinguishing himself in multiple ways.

Also worth filing away.

Eric from Stramproy, Netherlands

Cliff's great "Packers' most inspirational draft stories" has Larry's story immediately following the one of Bart Starr. That must have put a smile on Larry's face, don't you think?

I can hear Larry in his perfect deadpan now: "Cliff knows more about my career than I do."

William from Palmdale, CA

Mike, do you think 2020 is the last chance for Burks if he doesn't at least earn third-string ILB? It seems like Gutey invested quite a bit of draft capital on a player that is just employed as a special-teams player. Do you think GB can afford to keep someone like that around? I get it for kickers/punters/LS, but...

Burks knows it's time, and he has to stay healthy. From there it's up to him. Last chance? I don't know. Special teams have value, too, but I will say this. Playing time alongside Christian Kirksey will be a competition amongst Oren Burks, Curtis Bolton, Ty Summers and Kamal Martin, and I don't see the Packers keeping five inside linebackers on the 53.

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

After watching the Packers-Seahawks divisional game from this last season, I felt it would be one of the most important games of Aaron Rodgers' career. Then the ugly NFCCG game happened and it seems the prior week was immediately forgotten. Do you think that game is one time will be favorable to, or is it just forever overshadowed by the following week?

It was Rodgers' 10th career postseason win, and not a one is easy to come by in this league. It's to be cherished regardless, but for Rodgers, the 1-3 mark in NFC title games will overshadow a lot until he gets another tally in the left-hand column.

Bill from Windemere, FL

Do you think that with all the draft turmoil that there could be a split locker room? Last year it seemed the Packer team was a close-knit unit.

It absolutely was, and hearing from the players all season I sensed two primary reasons for that – the locker-room leadership and knowledge of roles. Rodgers might be under an even greater microscope this year than he has been, if that's possible, but if he's still the same leader he was last year (along with the Smiths and others), and roles are understood, the rest should follow.

Al from Pasadena, CA

Wes, do you need more coffee in the morning? You seem to have missed a couple (although maybe deliberately?). Vernon Scott: "He can run but he can't…Hyde, right?" And, "Do you think Kamal can get over the hump…'"

Quarantine brain can affect even the youngest of the whippersnappers in this business.

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

The comment Wes made about Vernon Scott's potential to be a "core-four player on special teams" got me thinking about how unestablished players think about their possible career path. I imagine every football player who realizes his dream of making an NFL roster also dreams of playing significant snaps at his position on offense or defense. However, have you ever encountered a player who actually preferred playing special teams to plays from scrimmage?

I wouldn't go that far, because playing on offense or defense is where the money is made. There's a ceiling for pure special-teamers, kickers aside. But if I were to pick two players whose attitudes about special teams come close to what you're suggesting, I'd say Jarrett Bush and Chris Banjo.

John from Yakima, WA

What are the "core-four" positions on special teams? Have not heard that term before.

It's not about positions, it's the main four units – punt return and coverage, kickoff return and coverage. They're often referred to as the "core four" or "four core," take your pick.

Matt from Bozeman, MT

With the offseason program being rolled out virtually to all players on their iPads, should we be worried about critical information reaching the wrong hands in this day and age of technology?

I'm sure there are plenty of security measures in place. Heck, it takes two-factor authentication for me to be able to post anything on our website, or even to get into my own personal drive on the server at work. I also know the football tech guys can remotely wipe an iPad that gets lost or stolen.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, given some of the fantastic backstories of both drafted and UFA, do you find yourself rooting (silently, of course) for some players to make it? Any examples? Or is that taboo in your profession?

It's not taboo as long as any personal affinity doesn't affect how you do your job. A few years ago I wrote extensively about Devante Mays' background and was pulling for him on a personal level, but it didn't change how I treated or wrote about anybody else.

Brandon from Omaha, NE

The Rams are the biggest "all-in" failures in recent memory. Before the 2018 season they signed Ndamukong Suh in FA, traded for Marcus Peters, Aquib Talib, and Brandin Cooks, and gave big extensions to Cooks and Gurley. Before SB 53 those moves looked great. Problem is they didn't win. Since then, Suh, Peters, Talib, Cooks and Gurley have all been traded, cut or left in FA. They're now the third-best team in their division and still don't have a first-round pick until 2022. I'll trust Gutey's plan.

To their credit, they did make it to a Super Bowl, but it took a gift call for them to get there.

Dave from Coloma, MI

Which of the top three QBs drafted do you see as having the most pressure to succeed? Burrow as the No. 1 pick, Tagovailoa as the one who was probably going to be the No. 1 pick before he was injured and now has to prove the injury has no effect on him, or Herbert, who is having to replace a Hall of Fame quarterback?

Splitting hairs, but I think the most is on Burrow. Fans expect a No. 1 overall pick to be franchise-changing.

Tyler from Dixon, CA

Mike, drafting Jordan Love got me thinking about the current rules for the offseason program. Way back when, I think everyone would agree that Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn, to a certain degree, benefited from McCarthy's famed quarterback school. I wonder how many coaches would rejoice if they had a little extra, non-contact, instruction time with their QBs. Perhaps those with less than five years of service. I think the NFL and NFLPA would be wise to implement this and it would make the game better.

Good luck with that. The union isn't going to give back more offseason time after the extra freedom it extracted a decade ago. McCarthy was never one to make excuses, but I believe the 2011 CBA and offseason restrictions played into the Packers' inability, after Flynn (seventh-round pick in '08), to develop a young, effective backup QB without making a major investment.

Rob from Katy, TX

Which NFC North team made the most immediate impact in the draft?

Immediate impact? I think it's a toss-up between Minnesota and Detroit. The Vikings' first two picks (WR Jefferson, CB Gladney) almost certainly will start from Day 1, and their next two picks (OT Cleveland, CB Dantzler) could play right away, too. With the Lions, their first three picks (CB Okudah, RB Swift, LB Okwara) all could start from the get-go.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Hi II, I was looking at Jordon Love's college stats. In 2018, his 32 TDs and six INTs were almost AR-like. In 2019, the 20 TDs and 17 INTs were a step backwards. If 2019 was similar to 2018 then I think he would have been a top-10 pick. Have you heard any explanations concerning the step backwards in 2019? Here's hoping Lori has all the PPE she needs now.

The short version is new coach, new system, not as good a team around him, and trying to do too much to carry the load. All those factors created the varying opinions of scouts who studied him.

Derek from Norton, KS

What are your thoughts on the QB situation for next year? I don't see Jordan Love being ready to play in a regular-season game at any point this year. I know most fans won't like it, but keeping Tim Boyle may give the Packers the best chance to win meaningful games.

I addressed this, and several other topics, in my mid-week live chat.

Jeff from Coventry, RI

Do you think GMs ever tell each other, perhaps even years after the fact so as not to give away intel, "Great pick, I was gonna trade up and select him but you beat me to it"? Or do they take that kind of stuff to the grave?

I suspect plenty of stories get swapped out of public earshot.

Mark from Arkdale, WI

I can't help being reminded on how just over a year ago all the stuff about the feud between AR and MM went public and how all the national media and some former teammates were hammering AR. My point is, he historically has responded positively to adversity with his play. The Love pick would appear to be another of these situations. Your thoughts?

A lot of folks are asking when we're going to hear directly from Rodgers on this. I don't know. He'll address it when he wants to. But I won't be tuned in as much to what he says as how he plays.

Michael from New Berlin, WI

If I'm a WR in the Packers' locker room right now, I would have an Aaron Rodgers-sized chip on my shoulder and something to prove. All the experts overlooking them, saying they aren't that good. I would love nothing more than the WRs we have to light it up and prove everyone wrong.

As I mentioned previously, motivation comes in many forms, and many readers have chimed in with a similar take.

Gary from Bear Valley, WI

If a receiver that's drafted in the first round scores a TD, does his team score more than six points?

My favorite line of the week, and to end it no less.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Each game hinges on turnovers, critical third downs, crunch time. 12, 17, 33, 55, 91, 23 and Co. will need to win the battles that count and make the play when the time comes. Jordan Love and the rest of the rookies can cheer from the sideline. It's easy to get caught up in a draft class, but the Packers have a lot of pieces in place. Now just hope they play the games and hope the Packers win the games.

An even better way to call it a wrap, and start a new month. Happy Friday, and Happy May Day.

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