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Inbox: Perseverance never goes out of style

All three division foes will evolve quite a bit

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Former Packers WR Donald Driver

Jake from East Lansing, MI

One-on-one, Davante Adams vs. Jaire Alexander, who you going with?

Whom.

Brian from Maple Grove, MN

How would you gauge the rest of the division based on the offseason?

This offseason ranks up there as far as the most significant change we've seen across the NFC North as a whole. Minnesota has revamped its personnel on defense, while the Bears and Lions both have new QBs, and Detroit has a new head coach. I expect all three division foes will evolve quite a bit throughout the 2021 season.

Wags from Marinette, WI

Is training camp here yet?

It can take its time. I don't need my summer to fly by.

Cameron from Cincinnati, OH

When AJ Dillon takes a handoff, runs to the right, then pitches the ball to Amari Rodgers heading back to the left, can we call it anything besides a quadrilateral? #fillingthevoid

Then again …

Tim from Rosario, Argentina

Follow-up on the Tuesday response "Rodgers did some jet motions, too." Who else took reps for the jet motions?

I saw several guys do it here or there. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Devin Funchess, Kylin Hill among them, plus a couple others.

Scott from Wausau, WI

Ball security has always been my first priority on punt returns. I might be in the minority, but I was always a fan of Mike Prior as a PR because he just never dropped the ball. Micah Hyde would definitely rate high on my list due to his great hands. Both of them appeared to have a natural gift for fielding punts. Does Amari Rodgers appear to have that natural punt catching ability?

Yes.

Bob from Port St. Lucie, FL

It may be the "Dead Season" but I have a question about player activity for the next month. If they stay in GB, can they use the facilities such as weight rooms? More important, can there be contact with coaches, film review, or other activities that might help the young players?

Players can use the team facility on their own, but there's nothing organized with the coaches. If players are studying film or their playbook, they might text a coach a question or something, but that's about it.

Kevin from Asbury Park, NJ

Referencing the question Robert from Verona asked about parting ways with players, I still think about the effects of not re-signing Jared Cook after a very impactful postseason in 2016. Even though he was injured for much of the regular season, it just felt like the team spent several years after that trying to find a tight end similar to Cook. I know signing a player is a two-way street, but I remember being upset about letting him get away.

I don't know everything that went into that failed negotiation, but that was regrettable on a number of fronts, yes.

With 82 days until the regular-season opener, packers.com looks back at those who have worn No. 82 in Green Bay.

Al from Green Bay, WI

At the risk of coming off as a "name dropper" I will tell you I had a conversation with David Bakhtiari yesterday, and I asked his thoughts on the expanded 17-game season. He spoke at length about the toll a 16-game (plus playoffs) season imparts on a player's body. He, like many players, was opposed to the change. With that in mind, do you think an 18-game season is really likely to come down the road?

Eventually, but not this decade during the current CBA for sure. I don't doubt Bakhtiari's concerns, but collective bargaining is just that, collective bargaining. At some point the owners will concede on certain things the players deem more important so they can get their 18th game. It might not be for a couple more CBAs, like 20 years, but it'll happen.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

It is exciting to hear Jaire Alexander has come back in prime shape. Have you noticed by watching him practice if he is playing faster than last season?

I'm not sure how he would accomplish that.

Kevin from Starr Pass, AZ

Good morning Insiders! I hope you are both enjoying the "void season" this year. I wanted to say I appreciate the guarded approach the Inbox is taking to the AR12 situation. Not unlike other GB fans, whenever people learn I'm a Packers fan they immediately ask my opinion on the QB situation. I tell them if the Pack has to rebuild around a new QB it's better to do so after making it to the NFC Championship rather than from the cellar. Am I wrong?

No. McCarthy always used to say it's not just about a young QB being ready, it's about the team being ready for a young QB. As constructed, this team is more than ready for it. That said, when you're on the cusp as the Packers have been, you'd like to see if the next step can be taken before undergoing a major change.

Ed from Minneapolis, MN

Hi fellas, thank you for filling "the void." It seems like the rookies miss a lot of their last year of college. Do you have any good stories about some of these student athletes going back and finishing their degrees?

I remember interviewing both Casey Hayward and Randall Cobb for offseason website stories after they finished. Both guys sounded more proud in those conversations than during any discussions I had with them about football.

Craig from Elkton, MD

So I harvested my garlic crop today. I got 53 bulbs. We had kind of a weird growing season so some bulbs are really well developed and some others are just kind of average. Now they are all hanging for drying and curing. I won't know how they taste until I get to use them in a recipe. The not knowing is part of the appeal and mystique of growing garlic. I look forward to the process of discovery that will stretch out over many months of culinary pleasure. Sound familiar?

I once had a junior high teacher who pranked the class clown by giving him a piece of garlic gum. True story.

Ted from Las Vegas, NV

Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Your opinion on which of these great Packer QBs had (have) the greatest on-field input during a game, considering their head coaches?

That's impossible to answer. Of the three, I would say Rodgers makes the most pre-snap adjustments at the line of scrimmage, Favre did the most post-snap improvising, and Starr called plenty of his own plays in the huddle. So I don't know how you differentiate.

William from Fairhope, AL

We saw DeShone Kizer and Brett Hundley on the field in important regular-season action. For the most part, their performances were underwhelming. We have not seen Jordan Love in these same situations. That said, what are realistic expectations for Love – versus how the coaches and other experts felt about Kizer and Hundley as they were in their understudy phase?

Again, I don't know how to answer that. We have yet to see Love play in a preseason game, and he's being developed by an entirely different coaching staff.

Randy from Bayfield, WI

Which team in the NFC will surprise everyone this season?

As far as the non-playoff teams from 2020 that have the best playoff chances in 2021, I'd put Arizona and San Francisco at the top of the list.

Joe from Wausau, WI

Will NFL COVID protocols mean no Lambeau Leaps?

Possibly. The current protocols are through training camp and the preseason, and they stipulate no contact between players and fans that isn't physically distanced.

Stan from Merrill, WI

Rich Gannon was the latest of the late bloomers that I can recall. He became a Pro Bowler after 12 seasons in the league, getting an MVP after his 14th season (or was it 15th?). Who are some other late bloomers that developed long after they entered the league?

Kurt Warner certainly qualifies at QB. James Harrison was cut a bunch of times and then went to a bunch of Pro Bowls, won a DPOY award and made one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history. Adam Thielen caught only 20 passes through his first two seasons in the NFL. Donald Driver caught only 37 through his first three. Perseverance never goes out of style.

Gary from Davenport, IA

I was very disappointed to hear about a recorded private conversation regarding the Badger basketball team and Coach Greg Gard. The student who did this was unethical. I also don't have much regard for the Wisconsin State Journal either. Nobody forced them to reveal the recording though I suppose if they didn't, somebody else would have. As a journalist I respect, I would like to hear your opinion on this issue.

The Wisconsin State Journal did what any reputable news organization should when given newsworthy material. The newspaper verified the contents and the details, gave all relevant parties an opportunity to comment, and published a story that was balanced, factual and non-sensationalized. That's good journalism, and any other approach would be negligent if not journalistic malpractice. The only person to be upset with is the one with the agenda who recorded the meeting and distributed the audio. That's an unforgiveable violation of trust given the situation. But I also wouldn't simply assume it was one of the student athletes.

Patrick from Gulf Breeze, FL

Am I just grasping at UFOs or did Wes throw in an X-Files reference? The truth is out there somewhere…

He really needs a vacation. Yesterday he was battering a ram through floodgates, scaling walls and playing basketball, all in the same column.

Kristina from Chino Hills, CA

This Father's Day I'm remembering my father who was a near bottomless well of Packers knowledge and who passed away almost four years ago. I thought I'd never have relationship like that again. But then I became a daily II reader. Reading II helps me to feel closer to him, not just reading about the Packers, but the sense of humor, and the camaraderie between regular readers and our beloved writers. Thank you showing me a little bit of what healing looks like.

This came in late Sunday night after I had finished Monday morning's column, but I felt compelled to post it, even a little late. Thanks for the meaningful and kind words.

Tom from Orlando, FL

Wait until you become a grandpa. Better than being a father.

Yet another milestone with which I'm willing to be patient.

John from Salt Lake City, UT

Gents, regarding the third (throwback) jerseys, I learned something from one of my other lunchtime reads, Uni Watch, last week. They were interviewing a 49ers person who said the NFL does not allow third jerseys to be revealed until July 1. If you're coming out with a whole new set, those are usually unveiled prior to draft day. So, we should not be asking about the throwbacks until the calendar flips to July, sounds like.

Duly noted.

Faith from Milwaukee, WI

Is Hinkle Field heated for December practices?

It is now that it's been redone. Previously, only a portion of Nitschke Field was heated for outdoor practices in the cold. Now Hinkle is heated as well.

Jason from Austin, TX

I was doing my usual offseason reminiscing when I started thinking about the famous Ketchman Defense (0-0-11). I'm surprised we haven't seen that play out in a game. It also got me wondering if you had any special self-named plays you've thought of. Is there a Hodkiewicz Offense? Or a Spofford Special Teams?

The Ketchman Prevent, now there's a memory. It's going to make its debut someday. It has to.

Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

Remind me again how the Insider Outbox works. I want some extra time to mull over and polish up my submissions.

Toward the end of next week, Wes is going to post a list of questions for the readers to answer. Then the week of July 5, the column will feature a selection of submissions from the readers.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Go Bucks! Hoping health and home-court advantage propel them to the NBA Finals.

Opportunity is knocking. Happy Wednesday.

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