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Inbox: That's how developing is done

It’s a numbers game and the math is never easy


Derek from Eau Claire, WI

I'm looking for the coveted two questions in one column, a missing feather from my cap. If you could take three players from the XXXI team and add it to the 2018 team, who would you take?

That's bold. Conor McGregor would be proud. To make this a bit more interesting, I'm going to leave out the Pro Football Hall of Famers, so I'll say LeRoy Butler, Adam Timmerman and Gilbert Brown. Scroll down see if Derek reached champ-champ status. Good morning!

Josh from Denver, CO

I had kind of forgotten how many accolades Josh Sitton had while he was here. I think part of that has to do with how seamlessly Lane Taylor transitioned into the starting role.

Josh Sitton will go down as one of the best to ever play the position in Green Bay, but one eye must always be turned to the future. That's how NFL teams build and sustain success. The Packers developed Lane Taylor for three years before giving him the keys to the car at left guard. He rewarded the Packers for their patience and dedication with a seamless move into the starting lineup. That's how developing is done.

Elizabeth from Sylvania, OH

An observation first - Mike Daniels is really funny and also seems very loyal to Aaron Rodgers. My question is the hype around the Packers during this offseason is pretty much non-existent, with the exception of Tony Romo, who is now my favorite commentator because of that. I don't know how any person in their right mind could count the Packers out as long as they have Rodgers, but how much of a weapon do you think it is that most consider this a rebuilding year?

You don't rebuild with a quarterback like Rodgers. You reload. That's fine if the league wants to sleep on the Packers, but there's indisputable evidence of how potent Green Bay's offense is with a healthy Rodgers at the wheel.

Brian from Moncks Corner, SC

Did the Vikings just start their salary-cap death spiral?

Time will tell. Minnesota has invested a lot of resources into its defense. Now, those prospects are becoming veterans who want second contracts. It's up to Rick Spielman to separate the replaceable from the indispensable. Those aren't always easy calls to make and directly impacts how wide the window remains open for the Vikings in the coming years.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Interesting list of names on Matthews' sack wall. I noticed Brady wasn't on the list. If they're both healthy, it might be an interesting side note for the Nov. 4 game. Any other interesting matchups within the games this fall beyond the obvious that you're looking forward to?

Matthews has only had two cracks at Brady in his nine NFL seasons. In fact, New England is one of only eight teams Matthews has yet to score a sack against. The under-the-radar game I'm looking forward to the most is the Packers and Rams in the Coliseum. It's a good matchup and the beginning of a season-defining midseason stretch.

Darren from Kingston, Ontario

How did Wes come up with that list of QBs sacked by Matthews so fast?

I'm a genius…with instant access to a media guide.

Nick from Chicago, IL

In response to the Dane from Franklin, WI, question: I think the biggest thing from college to NFL is keeping both feet in bounds for a WR. College rules only require one foot in bounds for a catch but I know most colleges teach to get two feet down.

Footwork and body control. They can make or break a receiver at this level whether it's at the line of scrimmage, breaking in and out of routes or maintaining awareness near the sideline.

Ben from Denver, CO

Wes, how are you going to reference what you consider one of the most powerful quotes in NFL history and not give the quote? To make us all come back the next day to find out? If so...genius. Give this man a raise.

Wolf told reporters after the game, "We're a one-year wonder, just a fart in the wind." It's hyperbolic. I think everyone agrees Wolf built something bigger than what he gave himself credit for that night. However, the quote hits home for me because it perfectly illustrates how emotionally invested scouts, coaches and players become in their quest for greatness and legacy.

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

There's been a bit of discussion on Super Bowl XXXII. It always felt like something we didn't talk about around here. I was too young to watch. What do you remember of that game and what are the largest lasting effects of it? I've watched Super Bowl XXXI and XLV dozens of times. I have XXXII on a DVD and have always been curious to watch, but I have never brought myself to it.

To this day, Super Bowl XXXII remains largely a blur to me, which is a shame because there were some big moments in that game (Antonio Freeman catching nine passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns, and Eugene Robinson picking off John Elway in the end zone). I get why fans can't watch it because time doesn't heal all wounds. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess Spoff never has re-watched any of the 2011 NLCS between the Brewers and Cardinals?

Ken from Long Beach, CA

Insiders, you stated the biggest challenge for most college players is learning the 150 different route combinations. Yet it is legendary how Rodgers draws up game-winning plays "in the dirt." What are we not being told? 150 routes isn't enough?

It's still based on concepts. Rodgers might be calling a certain play, but the checks and calls are all based on concepts the Packers have repped hundreds upon hundreds of times in practice. Receivers put in countless hours in the playbook and meeting room to be ready for those moments.

Matthias from Hartford, WI

The Packers seem to have a lot of defensive tackles, but no true defensive ends. Is this reflective of Pettine's defenses?

That's not necessarily true. It's not a stretch for either Muhammad Wilkerson or Dean Lowry to play end. They're also versatile enough to also play inside as a three-technique rusher on passing downs. Pettine's defenses look to generate pressure from everywhere, but especially inside. I think that's where you begin to see the parallels between how the Packers built their roster and what we'll see in September.

Griffin from Belmont, NC

Does it seem like there are more teams than usual with decent QBs battling for the No. 2 and 3 spots? Bills, Cardinals, Ravens, Saints, Jets and Packers come to mind as having a mix of promising rookies and veterans that are more than capable of a backup position. Will this translate to more teams carrying three QBs or more trades going into the season?

It could, but it's always going to be a year-to-year struggle for most teams to determine if they want to carry three quarterbacks on the roster. It's a numbers game and the math is never easy.

Check out photos of fans sporting their sunglasses as we celebrate National Sunglasses Day.

Shawn from Kissimmee, FL

Wes, it definitely seems like you've hit your second- and third-year leaps. I hope you don't become a free agent after your fourth year, but I guess we could always use our franchise tag for two consecutive years. Do you plan to stay a writer in football or do you have other goals? If you had to change teams like Vic did in his career, are there any other teams outside of Wisconsin that you would love to write for?

Thanks for reading and the kind analogy, Shawn. Every writer has his own journey and so far mine has kept me close to home. A few opportunities popped up during my time at the Press-Gazette, but it was important to my wife we stay in Green Bay. When we finally decided to start our family, it only made sense to make the jump to Plus, who wouldn't want to work with Spoff?

Tom from Loomis, CA

First it's T.O., now Jerry Rice thinks he could still play in the NFL. It must be a big blow to the ego to be one of the best and a has-been at 35. Do writers have the same problem? How old are you?

It ain't easy to move on when you've identified with a single sport, activity or job your entire life. I'm 30 now. I don't feel tangibly different than when I was 20, but I am. You cannot escape reality. To be honest, I wish reporters would stop asking these questions. These are non-stories. They serve no purpose.

Nathan from Milford, IA

Fans tend to see their rookies as the "next best thing." From limited knowledge on them, who do you compare the Packers' rookie wide receivers to (skill-wise) in the NFL?

During the pre-draft process, compared Equanimeous St. Brown to Andre Holmes and Marquez Valdes-Scantling to Charone Peake. It didn't have a comparable for J'Mon Moore, but I see many of the same traits in Moore that James Jones and Davante Adams possessed coming into the league.

Charles from Ripon, WI

Your comment about Armando Galarraga made me realize outside of Doc Holliday's perfect game in the playoffs, and even that might have been just a no-hitter, I can't remember the name of any of the other perfect games. I can guess and land on some, but no game stands out like that imperfect game and Jim Joyce's reaction afterward. Outside of the "Fail Mary," are there any other instances where a mistake made it more lasting than a mistake-free one?

Are we talking strictly about an officiating error? Then, it has to be the "Tuck Rule." When it comes to player mistakes, I still have a soft spot in my heart for the "Butt Fumble."

Billy Bob from Hustisford, WI

Just a heads up, I work at a printer and an upcoming Sports Illustrated (Sammy Sosa on the cover) has an interesting story about Percy Harvin with an ending the Inbox has been addressing lately. That said, I only watch the Vikings when they play us. How good was Percy Harvin? If he had a full career, would he have been on the same page as Rice, Moss, etc.?

I don't think so. Harvin was talented, but he only made one Pro Bowl (as a rookie) and never appeared on an All-Pro team. It took two seasons for Rice to do the double-double. Moss needed only one. I think Harvin was one of the most dynamic receivers in the league at one point, but the window closed quickly.

Stephen from Roswell, GA

So since "everything is on the Insiders table," I'll try these questions again. How is the NFL commissioner chosen? Who does it? What, generally, is the background they are looking for?

Roger Goodell worked his way up the ladder in the NFL before he was chosen by the owners to succeed Paul Tagliabue in 2006. Historically, the background of NFL commissioners can vary, but Goodell, Tagliabue and Pete Rozelle all worked decades for the league before their appointment.

Aaron from Sour Lake, TX

This summer has been brutal for me without sports. Football is over until August and I don't really watch any other sport, so I've had to refresh my Internet Explorer 1,000 times a day to see if anything is going on in the NFL.

Still haven't upgraded to Chrome yet, huh? I highly recommend it (especially if you're reading this site).

Lambeau Field Live made its debut at Summerfest in Milwaukee

Glenn from Muskego, WI

Wes, if you could retire on any planet which one would you choose? A) Endor B) Hoth C) Kashyyk D) Dagobah or E) Alderaan?


Matt from Chicago, IL

Love the "They Live" quote the other day. What's your favorite under-the-radar cult classic?

Since it's too easy to say "Fight Club" or "The Big Lebowski," I'll go with the original "Hellraiser" series and "Eraserhead."

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Who are the best golfers on the Packers' roster?

Well, Derek did it. The double-champ does what he wants. Mason Crosby is fantastic. I followed him around the course at North Hills Country Club a few years ago. Bryan Bulaga and Aaron Rodgers also are terrific golfers by all accounts.

Kevin from Onalaska, WI

Hey Wes, as a Grampa, my one tidbit of advice for you is this. Along with the burp rag and clothes, put in an extra T-shirt for you in the baby's diaper bag. He can be changed on it, sleep in it and oh yeah, you always have a clean shirt when needed.

Not a bad idea, Kevin. Not bad at all.

Zach from Virginia Beach, VA

Question: "I listen to anything but country and heavy metal." Then, your music selection sucks.

Sucks might be the worst commonly used word in the English language. It's combative and unnecessary. It impedes discussion and broader thinking. It's the period that ends the story.