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Inbox: That's been the blueprint for the Packers

Green Bay could put Jaire Alexander anywhere and he’ll succeed

S Darnell Savage
S Darnell Savage

Alan from Fresno, CA

Aloha! I just spent 10 days on vacation in Maui. While on vacation I told myself I wouldn't worry about GB, the AR drama, or OTAs. Nothing personal, but I didn't even read the Inbox. Now I'm home. Did I miss anything?

Just the party, it would appear.

Cindy from Mesa, AZ

Good morning! I have a question about the star position. Is it a static position or would it change depending on the defensive call/game situation? For example, if the star CB turns out to be Jaire Alexander, does he stay in that position for the whole game, or are there times when the defense might disguise its roles and shift another player into that role with Jaire still on the field?

That depends on the defense and the coordinator. As Joe Barry talked about on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Rams occasionally used Jalen Ramsey inside but he didn't play there exclusively like Chandon Sullivan did in Green Bay. There's different ways to handle that "star" role. Charles Woodson, in 2012, played safety in the base defense before moving back to the slot in nickel and dime. Tramon Williams was an outside cornerback in base before sliding inside in sub back in 2017. With Alexander, I could see it being based more on matchups and a desire to have him shadow a stud receiver. The guy is the Elgton Jenkins of the defense. Green Bay could put Alexander anywhere and he'll succeed.

Lee from Conifer, CO

The article on the assistant defensive coaches translating for the players was cool and it created a question for me. What exactly is a "defensive quality coach"? What role do they play, whom do they report to, and are they a part of the game-time group, or is it just in the locker room? Thanks!

Quality control coaches do a lot of the grunt work in breaking down film of upcoming opponents, filing reports and coordinating scout team plans in practice. Often times, they report directly to the coordinator. I remember Scott McCurley, when he was in that role, was tasked with taking Dom Capers' handwritten notes and curating them digitally.

Cliff from Alexandria, VA

I know the discussion about Mason Crosby's value was "so last week," but why aren't kickers more highly valued in drafts? It seems it wouldn't require much guesswork on who can make the jump to the NFL, and having a reliable and powerful kicker can easily impact games just as much if not more than many early- to middle-round prospects ever will. If you knew you were drafting the next Vinatieri, wouldn't it basically justify a high first-round pick to have that much stability at such a clutch position?

The problem is there's no guarantee you're getting next Vinatieri, though. The last three kickers taken in the first three rounds were Roberto Aguayo, Mike Nugent and Nate Kaeding. Even Sebastian Janikowski, who played 19 years, didn't necessarily live up to the expectations of being a first-round pick. Some of the greats of this era – Vinatieri, Justin Tucker and Robbie Gould – were undrafted.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

Gute mentioned they like what they have in Love. I imagine they also can tell what they don't have in a given player. How can they know what they have or don't have if that player doesn't actually play in games that count, especially at the all-important QB spot? Do they factor in classroom, practice, or other measurements?

It's like a college midterm. You can study, prepare and have a good idea of how you'll do, but the only thing that matters is what you put down on that paper. Scouts and coaches have a good idea of what a player can do based on practices and how he makes the corrections, but live games create the right amount of chaos to see how those lessons have been applied to the playing field.

Dale from Lima, NY

Running back Aaron Jones said Tuesday: "He's [Jordan Love] had a year under his belt, he's had time to watch and learn, so you can tell it's a little bit different from what it was before. He's going to continue to grow, and I'm happy to be here working with him." Aaron Jones is a class act.

Jones is the perfect teammate. He talked about how he and Jamaal Williams would stay back and work with Love on Saturdays last season. Everyone wants Love to succeed. Heck, Aaron Rodgers wants Love to succeed. The guy has had the right attitude and done everything asked of him since he came to Green Bay.

Craig from Laramie, WY

Matt from London asked about defensive pressure stats and I was reminded of Clay Matthews' roughing penalties a few years back. Do you think the more recent dearth of QB knockdowns might reflect a more disciplined intensity (or controlled aggression) while still avoiding penalties for roughing the passer?

Possibly. While I never thought anything Matthews did was over the line, pass rushers have to be more cognizant of how they treat the quarterback – not only to avoid penalty but also fines.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning. Please fill in this sequence: 2013-David Bakhtiari, 2014-Davante Adams, 2015-Za'Darius Smith, 2016-Kenny Clark, 2017-Aaron Jones, 2018-Jaire Alexander, 2019-Elgton Jenkins, 2020-??? This impressive stream of Pro Bowlers has already left their mark on Packers football and could be approaching legendary status...along with some big contracts. Who's next? Thanks.

Darnell Savage. Rashan Gary is trending in the right direction, too, but Savage could be on the cusp of a special season, especially with being an every-down player. We can talk until we're blue in the face about signing Veteran X or Player Y, but a team's year-to-year success is usually tied to the second- and third-year players who emerge as bona-fide playmakers. That's been the blueprint for the Packers.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

You guys are both fairly trim. Do you think either of AJ Dillon's quads are bigger than either of your waists?

Dillon probably has more muscle in his left quad than I do in my entire body.

Rusty from Eustace, TX

Loved the direct and straightforward answers from the player interviews. Of course, it's about the money (and future earnings by becoming a better player). No pat responses and their brutal honesty were refreshing. I obviously live out of the area and this isn't what I see from other teams/players. Where did this culture come from? I don't know, but I hope it stays and grows!

The Packers tie a lot of bonus money to offseason workouts because of how much value they place on them. I understand and respect the NFLPA's stance but I don't think anyone blames Kenny Clark and Adrian Amos for wanting to collect well-earned cash in their contracts.

Rodney from Colleyville, TX

Will the absence of veteran players at OTAs have an effect on team morale?

Likewise, I don't think so. These guys are professionals. They all know each player's situation/contract is different.

Alex from Dallas, TX

I know nothing about the expectations of voluntary practices so maybe it won't have any impact, but is Equanimeous St. Brown established enough to not attend? With a stacked receivers room and the arrival of Amari Rodgers, it seems like St. Brown should be fighting for targets and to climb the depth chart.

I'm not going to litigate who should or shouldn't be here. That's up to the player and his camp. OTAs are voluntary.

Mike from Novato, CA

Hey II, just a quick thought on why the veteran WRs aren't at OTAs. Primus, aren't they all in contract years? They might not want to risk injury in a non-mandatory camp. Secundus, the NFLPA is calling for a boycott anyway, so they can claim solidarity. Tertius, if/when Rodgers comes back, they can claim solidarity with him. If not, they can point to the first two reasons.

When the receivers are back, I'm sure they'll be asked about it. I'll let them speak for themselves. Again, this is all voluntary…except for Spoff and me. We'd have to use PTO.

Chuck from Gold Canyon, AZ

Namaste Wes. Regarding Spoff's response to Ned in yesterday's II and looking at this week's OTA practices, last year proved that quality football can be played without the full offseason program. To me having an almost full complement of defensive players there is important due to having a new DC, but the veterans on offense not so much. I know the impression with the A-Rod situation angers some but the product come September is all that really matters. What is your opinion?

If there was ever a player who could miss the offseason program and not skip a beat in the summer, it's Aaron Rodgers. Defensively, however, there's no question this is an important time for returning players to get familiar and comfortable with Barry's scheme – especially the key communicators at inside 'backer and safety.

David from Oak Hills, CA

Depending on how this offseason with Rodgers plays out, the NFL may feel a sense of urgency to get the Packers to London sooner rather than later. It would be a bummer to the European fans, and a disservice to the NFL on an international level, to miss such an opportunity to showcase one of the greatest players of all time playing for the most historic franchise. For all the right moves the NFL makes how could they not capitalize on that?

As much as I enjoyed covering the Packers-Chargers game in the LA Galaxy's 27,000-seat stadium, it's a crime that game wasn't played in London. I wish the NFL could've found a way to cover the difference and convince the Chargers not to block the league from sending that game overseas.

James from Asheville, NC

What is the status of the minority coaching fellowship program led by Ruvell Martin? Is it still active? I'd love to know more about its mission and how it works. Martin always struck as someone who could be an excellent coach. Has he expressed interest in doing so?

I'm not sure if it was a two-year fellowship but Martin is still with the team in that role. He works with Jason Vrable and the Packers' receivers.

Scotty from Lombard, IL

Insiders, it appears to me most jet sweeps are run from the left to the right. Am I correct? If I am, why would this be?

I'm guessing that has to do with a right-handed quarterback and drawing up the play to his strong side. Otherwise, the QB is throwing across his body and possibly the hashes.

David from Appleton, WI

Hello Insiders! Has there ever been a player you saw at rookie camp who you thought was a lock for the roster only to see his name on the cut list prior to the season opener? If so, who was it and what do you link to their demise from promise to purgatory?

This guy wasn't a "lock" by any means, but one of my favorite stories was the time Mike McCarthy praised Kansas State running back Angelo Pease after rookie camp in 2013. I think everyone wrote stories based on those comments. Come to find out, days later, the Packers hadn't even given Pease a signing bonus (a general indicator of which undrafted rookies the team is high on). Pease carried the ball three times in the preseason, for minus-6 yards, and was let go during the initial cut to 75. After that, I was always careful about making proclamations about players coming out of rookie minicamp.

Jeff from Wentzville, MO

Evan from Durango, CO: "Favorite athlete/coach press conference moments?" Spoff: "They are … who we thought they were! And we let 'em off the hook." Mine…

1) "We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time." – Vince Lombardi

2) "Winners never quit and quitters never win." – Vince Lombardi

3) "Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser." – Vince Lombardi

4) "You lose with potential. You win with performance." – Bill Parcells

"Cannot win with 'em, cannot win with 'em, cannot coach with 'em. Can't do it. I want winners. I want people that want to win." – Mike Singletary

John from Livermore, CA

What is your favorite preseason activity? Mine's preparing the grill and supplies for tailgating.

Having the day off after preseason games. I missed that last year.

Ronald from Komoka, Ontario

Your smart-aleck response to my question yesterday was not appreciated. By the way, I guess that Ted Bruschi and Dan Patrick are 6-year-olds, as well, as they both recommended the same trade on live programs. No worries, you will never receive another question from me again.


Eric from Oshkosh, WI

Wes, for the love of all things Packers and for the sake of the readers of the Insider Inbox, tell Mike where those gosh darn binoculars are! He's trying to glean critical information that we all need to know.

I would…but then I would have to ban him.

Jake from Daufuskie, SC

All right, Wes. Mike asked for it, so I'm gonna let you have it. Indiana Jones vs. Han Solo: Who's your guy and why?

Han Solo. I'm not familiar with the other dude.

Mike from Altamonte Springs, FL

"No tags on our pants" – There's your Inbox T-shirt. You guys need to start making shirts to sell. Have a safe holiday weekend everyone.

By the way, we received our "I got my question answered in Insider Inbox and all I got is this lousy shirt" from Maniac marketing. Maybe we'll pass those out as Outsider Inbox prizes in July.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

Thank you to all the veterans that served, especially the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice, for our freedoms. The reports about Aaron Jones and the loss of his father are very heart touching. I propose that his seat near the end zone be covered with an American flag for the first home game to honor him as a father and as a veteran. Everyone who sits in that seat for the other games should do something to honor Alvin Sr. The family deserves at least that much. Happy Memorial Day weekend!

I don't work in ticketing and have no say in the matter, but that would be pretty dang cool. I'm handling the Monday Inbox this week, so I'll talk to you again on Memorial Day but I wish everyone a safe and fulfilling holiday weekend.