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Inbox: That kind of success doesn't happen by accident

Yardage is important but situational efficiency is a must

DL Kenny Clark
DL Kenny Clark

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

Welcome back, Weston. How are you?

You have no idea how much I appreciated that, Arthur. I'm doing well. I hope all of you are, too. Let's get started.

Jeff from Janesville, WI

It's almost time for training camp.

How many times have mom and I told you, Jeffrey? You can't have training camp until you finish your minicamp first.

Kevin from Winnemucca, NV

GOOOOOOOD morning. It's a beautiful Monday! Knowing we've gone 12-1 without Davante Adams, considering the immediate impact our top three draft picks could make, understanding special teams will undoubtedly be better and realizing the smash-mouth potential, is there an air of … complete domination wafting in the depths of Lambeau?

There's no peacocking in June but I do appreciate your enthusiasm. I think it's an air of "team" and understanding that the Packers' success is determined by the sum of all its parts, not just a single player. I have no idea what Matt LaFleur is saying this week in team meetings, but my message would be that every player in this building counts. The Packers will need them all – to push one another, to improve and to ultimately win. Offensively, Green Bay has a lot of different ways it can go this year. The options that prove most successful are the ones they'll ride.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

With all the talk about rushing and receiving yards and where the production comes from, we need to remember that third downs and gold-zone opportunities are what will define the overall offensive production.

Without question. Adams was a cheat code on third and fourth downs, so that part of the playbook needs some retooling. But the Packers still have many tools to choose from inside the red/gold zone. Randall Cobb was money there before his injury. Allen Lazard, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon all were impactful. Obviously, Robert Tonyan was automatic inside the 20 during his breakout 2020 season. Yardage is important but situational efficiency is a must.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

Aside from special teams, what are the two areas you would love to see improvement on from last year?

Red/gold zone is one. You can't expect to score touchdowns on four of every five trips inside the 20 like the Packers historically did in 2020, but they obviously want to improve on that 19th-place finish last year (58.6%). While Green Bay ran the ball well last year, I still think the offense can take a step with the ground game, too. I'm excited to watch an offense where Jones and Dillon are featured playmakers. For a team that strives to win time of possession, those two backs could be catalysts for winning in the trenches.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. The buzz about coach Rich Bisaccia and improved special-teams play this season is encouraging. Are there special-teams players on either side of the ball who wear green dots on their helmets indicating an electronic connection with a coach on the sidelines? Kicker, punter, long snapper, holder, protector or return man? Thanks.

No, which is why you see the special-teams unit circled around the coordinator near the sideline before kickoffs and punts. Like you hear all these coaches say, special teams are just one play.

Dano from Seal Beach, CA

A question with a serious concern. There has been quite a bit of Christian Watson or Romeo Doubs being punt and kickoff candidates. It seems to me that both kickoff and punt returns are high-risk position for injuries, just like Kylin Hill experienced. We may get a few, maybe even quite a few yards, but we may also lose them for the whole season. Is it worth the risk?

We are still a long way from needing to figure that out. The Packers are keeping all options on the table with kickoff and punt returners. Doubs and Watson are just two cards in a much larger hand. We're months away from the Packers having to play anything.

Robert from Harris, MN

Being a Green Bay fan residing in Minnesota, I've (had to) watch Adam Thielen for years. I'm not too worried about Christian Watson's transition from a small(er) school to the big stage.

That's the least of my concern. Playmakers play. Watson knows what he's doing and welcomes the expectations that come with his position.

Ken from Dallas, TX

How have the depth pieces in the secondary looked in practice? Has anyone made any impressive plays, or could it still be a good idea to sign another veteran safety and/or cornerback?

Rico Gafford has made a few plays in 7-on-7s. His prodigious speed has come as advertised. I wasn't here for Aaron Rouse, but Tariq Carpenter is the largest safety I've ever seen.

Matt from Waterloo, IA

Dear Wes, I consider myself both a Packers and Browns fan due to them being in separate conferences and only playing once every four years. I root for the Pack obviously when they play. Was wondering how common it is for other Packers fans to root for a team in the AFC and will this get me banned from the inbox?

Not at all, especially as an Iowan. I subscribe to Bill Simmons' old maxim of NFL fans from states without a pro team can cheer for whomever they please.

Logan from Dublin, GA

What game are you most excited for?

It would be easy to say the Giants in London, but I'm excited for Tampa Bay in Week 3. I don't know how many of you caught the Q&A Ernie Johnson did with the four QBs after "The Match" last Wednesday, but it was powerful listening to Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady talk about the end drawing near in their NFL careers. It's an unexpected surprise getting Brady and Rodgers squaring off one more time and I'm thankful for it. Enjoy greatness while it's here.

The Green Bay Packers held practice on Tuesday, May 31 at Ray Nitschke Field as organized team activities continue.

Connor from Grand Rapids, MI

"The third, and perhaps final, time that future Hall of Fame coach Bill Belichick will lead a team into Lambeau." Did I miss Coach Belichick announcing he was planning on retiring?

No, but Belichick is 70 and the Patriots only play at Lambeau Field once every eight years. Unless New England schedules a preseason game here or the two teams get matched in the 17th-game rotation, it's plausible this would be Belichick's final go-around in Green Bay.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

I am a Packers fan by accident of birth. I am admittedly a homer. Still, I have always considered the Packers unique to the NFL. AJ Dillon talked culture a lot in the most recent interview I saw. Is the culture in GB now palpable, measurable, tangible? Can you see or sense a difference compared to other professional teams, other Packers teams? Is it real, as opposed to a sports cliche that all athletes reference as a talking point?

It's real and it's spectacular. Perennial winning obviously helps create culture, but I think it's also the emphasis the organization has placed on the character of players it's acquired, the veteran leadership council that leads the locker room and the way football operations go about their business. That kind of success doesn't happen by accident.

James from Ottawa, Canada

Morning, gents! Over the last couple of years, doing your jobs to the professional standards you hold yourselves to must have been frustrating due to the vicissitudes of a league (and world) in flux as we collectively dealt with the pandemic. I know there has been previous talk about the aspects impacted in your line of work. But I'm curious, what is the biggest activity/privilege that you are each most looking forward to returning to normal, on the work front?

Just getting back out on the road again. Many years ago, I talked with the Press-Gazette's Packers analyst Eric Baranczyk about his desire to get a press pass to home games. Eric does a weekly column with Pete Dougherty but doesn't typically go into the locker room. So, I was perplexed as to why he wanted it. Eric told me there's just things you can't see on TV that are visible from the press box. Over the past two years, I finally understand what he was talking about. Covering games off TV is doable, but it's not easy. You miss a lot. Hopefully, Spoff and I are back on the team charter this year and can get back to covering games with more substance and detail. Also, the face-to-face interaction allows you to better connect with players in the locker room.

Jeff from Muskego, WI

How serious was Dillon's injury last year? Do you think he'll be ready for camp?

It was serious at the time. Broken ribs are no joke. But Dillon is good to go now. He's 100%.

Earl from Marietta, GA

Ha! Is it AP (All-Propose) Dillon or AJ Dillon?

Or Algiers Jameal William Dillon Jr.? Your pick.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

To follow up on Dar from Mansfield's (er, my own) question about the kicking game, the Packers believe Mason Crosby's misses last year were attributable to issues in the overall operation. I agree. That said, Rich Bisaccia brought in Dominik Eberle as seemingly more than just a camp leg. Is there some potential succession planning going on here, perhaps for 2023 or beyond? Or am I getting ahead of myself?

Having a succession plan at kicker wasn't really a thing until the expansion of the practice squad. But with 16 spots and the ability to "protect" up to four players each week, it's now possible to develop a specialist for the future. As you mentioned, Bisaccia has a history with Eberle. We'll see how it shakes out this summer.

Jason from Austin, TX

Insiders, thinking back on the movie "The Replacements," is it even possible for a player to not be dressed for the start of the game, but come in after halftime? If you included them in your list of 48 active players for gametime, would it matter that they're watching the start of the game from their boat house?

I don't think so, though I'm not sure anyone has ever tried. If you're active, you're active.

Craig from Sheboygan, WI

I've been to Camden Yards in Baltimore, too. Just a special environment to be a part of. Old mixed with new. Fenway Park is on my bucket list.

I'm mostly useless when it comes to baseball, but one of my favorite memories of Baltimore came during the 2019 preseason. The workout room at the Packers' team hotel overlooked Camden Yards. I stood, or ran, in awe. It's a beautiful ballpark. I hope to catch a game there someday.

Ron from Mitchell, SD

I realize this question might be absurd and most likely will get passed on, but speaking of holograms, how cool would it to be to have Vince Lombardi's hologram projected onto the field standing next to Coach LaFleur at the start of each home game? Gives me chills!

It would be a sight to see but I feel images and depictions of Vince are best in their current form. Part of what makes Lombardi special for younger people like me is all we know are the stories, photos and small bits of video. That's the legend of Vince Lombardi and that's good enough for me.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

Wes, I stopped on my way to work for a soda. I tried an A&W zero sugar root beer. It wasn't very good. But I thought of you when I chose it.

You broke the golden rule, Jeffrey. When you're drinking root beer, there's no cutting corners, saving calories or reducing sugar intake. You're either in or you're out.

Drake from Huntsville, AL

Mike and Wes, forgive me if you've already answered this question. Are there going to be any organized fan activities in London? It would be awesome if hosted a fan event, or even better, hosted a site for fans to "virtually" meet prior to going over. I'm going over as a single, and it would be great to be able to hang out with other fans, drink beer, and root for the 13-time world champion Green Bay Packers, from Green Bay, WI, home of the 13-time world champion Green Bay Packers.

I believe there will be some festivities for fans in London but none of those details have been finalized yet. Stay tuned.

Lawrence from Milwaukee, WI

Get rid of the server, but don't tell anyone. Then you can blame it every time you make a typo. That's what Costanza would do. You'll never make a mistake again!

It's like the great Ron Zook once said, "It's not a problem until it's a problem and then it's a big problem."

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Minicamp! That means we're one calendar step closer to Outsider Inbox, training camp, Family Night, preseason games, and the regular season. I can't wait.

That reminds me. Outsider Inbox officially will run July 4-9. The first six questions will be posted on Thursday, June 30, with the second batch of six being posted on Friday, July 1. Have a great week, everybody.