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Inbox: That'll be quite a sight to see

The shiniest object isn’t always the most valuable

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Frank from Poy Sippi, WI

Wes, thank you for Scott from Grovetown's post. I used to manage a group of laborers, every day I greeted them with "Good morning everyone! Today is going to be a good day." One Monday morning after a tough weekend I came in and mumbled, "Good morning everyone." One of my guys said, "Sir! Aren't you going to tell us it's going to be a good day?" I smiled and said the words. The team lit up and as I glimpsed at him, he subtly said, "We need to hear that." Thanks Wes, we needed to read your words.

We're going to get there, folks. I don't know when and I don't know how but there is football in our future. On that day, I will be grateful. Watching the Packers run out of that tunnel, now that'll be quite a sight to see. Good morning!

James from De Pere, WI

Which Packers draft pick contributes more in 2020/2021: A.J. Dillon or Josiah Deguara?

Great question. Based on position alone, I would say Dillon has a clearer path to the lineup, but there really isn't anyone on the roster quite like Deguara. If Matt LaFleur wants that guy on the field and Deguara proves he can handle it, then the rookie is going to play.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Would you prefer Davante Adams to have the same stats as last year and a single receiver to have 60 catches for 750 yards, or the receiver with the second-best stats for each game to have 60 catches for 750 and it be a different receiver from week-to-week? It seems to me better to have rotating WR2 each week because defenses would have a tougher time matching up.

I think another Pro Bowl season from Davante Adams and a No. 2 receiver with 60-750 would be ideal for this offense. That means that 1) someone grabbed the brass ring and 2) the Packers have established a consistent threat defenses have to scheme for. It's great to mix it up over the course of a long season but stability matters, too.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

As much as we are all talking about the strength of schedule, we have to acknowledge playoff teams change every year and teams that were strong in Year 1 are not as good in Year 2, even with stable rosters. While it may seem incomprehensible that the Vikings and 49ers could be teams with losing records, that is what history is telling us. Which teams from last year's NFC playoffs seem the least likely to have a down year?

I predict the 49ers and Saints will again be formidable. San Francisco did lose DeForest Buckner and Emmanuel Sanders but there's still a lot of firepower on both sides of the ball – so long as the 49ers can put their Super Bowl disappointment behind them.

Rene from Port Huron, MI

How will the Packers overcome the disappointment from last year's playoff loss to San Francisco?

You gotta learn from those losses but not linger on them. This is a new year with two new teams. Quite honestly, I think the bigger challenge is going to be traveling cross-country to play in the 49ers' house on a short turnaround.

Lane from Calgary, Alberta

Hey Insiders, first glance at the schedule I was excited to see two late December home games but then quickly retreated that thought process as they are against two elite running backs. A smaller advantage than it would be against other opponents. I guess we have to play with what we are given.

You gotta play the ball as it lies. Fortunately, the Packers are playing their home course quite a bit over the last six weeks of the regular season.

Cole from Rutland, VT

I don't think it'll ever happen, but every offseason I hope the Packers get a decent nose tackle and then have Kenny Clark drop weight and take on an Aaron Donald role at end. Do you think the Packers would see an uptick in his production if that happened?

Well, Donald is a three-tech defensive tackle, not an end. While they both play the same position, Clark and Donald have their own strengths. Donald obviously is the gold standard right now but Clark is doing just fine on his own. He's 24 and only getting better. It's also not like he's carrying much bad weight.

Brandon from Omaha, NE

Watching some highlights from last season and I noticed something in the Week 7 game vs. the Raiders that surprised me. On the long TD catch by MVS in the fourth quarter, you can see Allen Lazard sprinting from the middle of the field and he was running just as fast if not faster than MVS at full speed. Lazard ran a 4.55 coming into the league and MVS ran a 4.37. If Lazard can learn how to create more separation on routes, he's going to show everyone he deserves that No. 2 spot on the depth chart.

Lazard is faster than his 40 time indicates, especially with how he trimmed down last year. He said he played last season around 212-215. He was north of 230 in Jacksonville.

James from Sioux City, IA

I'm really excited to see what Jaire Alexander is going to do this year. Only 23 and he's arguably already a top-15 CB in the NFL. Great instincts, impressive speed and constantly breaking up passes. My biggest concern with him is tackling. He missed eight tackles in 2018, 12 in 2019, and at least one of those resulted in a TD (vs Dallas). For perspective, division rival Kyle Fuller missed 43 tackles his first three seasons but has missed only 10 in two years since. How does Jaire make a similar jump?

Yeah, Fuller came on strong after the injuries and has developed into one of the league's best cover corners. Alexander has that kind of shutdown potential. You're right he needs to shore up the tackling but his unshakable confidence should enable him to reach his full potential. He welcomes contact. As long as you do that, you got a chance.

Scott from Grovetown, GA

Be honest now Wes, when you looked at the schedule did you count the number of noon games (eight)? By my account, you should be home before midnight on 14 out of 16 game days, and several of those even before 10 p.m. possibly. That means only two early morning returns – San Francisco and New Orleans. Looking at it from a work aspect, does this schedule meet your approval?

It does. The first three things I do are look for the bye week, scan potential holidays and then count up the number of noon games, especially for the home games.

Mike from Los Angeles, CA

In 2018, we took two CBs a year before the first CB off the board was at pick No. 30. In 2019, we sign the Smiths, and draft Savage and Gary, a year before the first-round sees no safeties taken and only one pass rusher selected in a historically weak class for the position. Now, in 2020, we draft Jordan Love with a weak QB class predicted for next year. This can't be a coincidence, so kudos to BG and our scouts for staying one step ahead so we don't have to reach for the "best" of a bad class.

The Packers have been one step ahead with how they've approached player acquisition. The Packers have their quarterback of the future and probably won't be heavily focused on what the 2021 class looks like one year from now.

Chase from Ft. Wood, MO

Are you surprised they didn't make Rodgers/Brady primetime?

If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than when I saw the Packers and Buccaneers game wasn't on Sunday Night Football.

Dan from Lowville, NY

For me, the first thing I look at when the schedule is announced is, when is the bye? Week 5 is way too early for a team that expects to be playing Week 18, 19, and beyond. Do you agree?

It's not great but as a wiser fella than myself once said…sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear, well, he eats you.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

Something that immediately struck me about the Packers' schedule – after the Week 9 game in Santa Clara, the farthest they travel from home is either Detroit or Indianapolis, both of which are only about an hour flying time from Green Bay. Could be an integral part of a recipe to get hot on the way into the playoffs!

And what you outline is the other side of the schedule coin.

Sal from Mullica Hill, NJ

In this virtual offseason, there are no tryout camps. Is this something that can be done later in the offseason or is it too late? The tryout players are long shots at best, but it is a shame for the one shot to be lost.

Great question. Keep in mind, Darrius Shepherd was one of those individuals last May and he wound up being the only undrafted rookie to make the 53-man roster. I hope for those players' sake, the league does something at some point to help those rookie tryouts get exposure.

Ashley from Chicago, IL

I'm glad the NFL released their schedule because it brings a bit of hope for tomorrow's world. With that said, what are the very early projections? I do fear the early bye week, yet the last eight games of the schedule seem to be in the Packers' favor. What are your thoughts?

Spoff was spot on in his analysis about this year's schedule. They'll be tested. They always are. Like 2019, that middle part of the season will be tough but I like how it ends for Green Bay. A Week 5 bye is pretty early but I wasn't expecting another Week 11 one, either. The schedule is never perfect but I thought it was pretty balanced and fair.

Dale from Aurora, CO

Do you see LaFleur using his three running backs creatively? I envision him using Jamaal Williams at right half, A.J. Dillon at fullback and Aaron Jones at left half. Yep, the old T-formation. What do you think?

Anything is possible. The Packers didn't draft Dillon to keep him on the shelf. If he's ready, LaFleur will find a place for him – just like he did late last season with the snaps Tyler Ervin received in the offense.

Brian from Urbana, IL

Do you think the extra dissatisfaction this offseason is due to cabin fever and slow news, or would fans have reacted this way regardless of context?

I don't think it helped matters.

Tyler from Peoria, AZ

Why do people hop on bandwagons so easily? It is really annoying and every time they do it nothing good comes out of it (cough cough, 2020 Bucs, cough cough, 2019 Browns, both had proven players so we can draw a connection). Also, everyone is acting like we didn't sweep a Vikings team last year that has recently lost key components. Do you believe that the Bucs and Vikings will be as outstanding as everyone is saying, or should I just let it go knowing that they are unproven?

The comical thing is the real up-and-comers are rarely preordained. I mean which national pundits saw the 2011 49ers, 2019 49ers, 2017 Rams or 2019 Packers coming? The shiniest object isn't always the most valuable.

Baxter from Magic City, ID

Insiders, I know it may sound cliché, but I'm bringing it anyways. Do you think Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon are going to form that lightning-and-thunder tandem you hope for?

And don't forget about Williams. A trio like that could be thunder, lightning…and maybe heavy rain?

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares more of his 2019 favorites.

Tom from Machesney Park, IL

Can you give us an update on Cole Madison? Have a lot of respect for him and the trials that he has faced and overcome. Hope he is doing well and still playing football. What a wonderful example of courage he has been! Thank you.

I have no update on Madison other than it's going to be a long road back for the young man. I've said it before but I have so much respect for him as a person. It was great getting to know him a little bit this year and I wish Cole well in his recovery.

Ryan from Sun Prairie, WI

If the season starts without fans would it sound different at U.S. Bank Stadium? I am guessing pumping in crowd noise will still happen.

It would become exponentially more difficult for the Vikings to toot their horn.

John from Madison, WI

In Mike's answer about differences between the NFL and CFL, he neglected to mention that the Canadian field is only 80 yards long. :D

A massive oversight on Spoff's part.

Tony from Chicago, IL

Insiders, with arguably the toughest schedule in the NFL and TB gone, is this the year the Patriots regress and miss the playoffs?

I'll never count Bill Belichick out but he has his work cut out for him this year. Packers fans keep asking about Brian Gutekunst not drafting a receiver. I was convinced the Patriots were going to take a quarterback. Nope.

Travis from Bowie, MD

How do we fix it, so that Mike can watch a game with his dad?

While I fully appreciate Spoff's sentiment, I hope there's no reason for him to literally find an alternate location to cover games in 2020. We need him in the press box.

Darrin from Sparta, WI

Not a question, but a reflection on Mike's answer to Lori from Costa Rica. I know it's your job to be at every single Packers game, every single practice and everything in between, but if you can, try to watch more games with your dad. My father passed away in July 2018 and the two seasons since have not been the same. Mind you, he was a "fire everyone" kind of fan and at times hard to watch games with, but I miss that…a lot.

Spoff knows better than anyone sacrificing Sundays in the fall is a job requirement but he's a good son who finds other ways to spend time with his parents. I actually got to meet Mr. and Mrs. Spofford at the Wisconsin-Illinois game in 2018. They're wonderful folks. Speaking of which, I'd like to close Inbox by wishing Ma Hod a very happy birthday today. She's a wonderful woman whom I owe my life to. We love you, mom/grandma, and also Happy Mother's Day.

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