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Inbox: That's something special

The challenge is keeping as much of that core together as possible

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RB Aaron Jones

Kevin from Markesan, WI

My kids are now too big for "Little Blue Truck." I can still recite most of it and would like to relate it to the NFL cap: Big Dump is the cap, Russ Ball and Gutey are Little Blue and the Green Toad. The only question is can they push Dump through the puddle in '22? My money is on yes and even with a wink of the eye.

As long as the rest of the organization rushes out like the farm animals to help Little Blue and Toad power Big Dump out of the mud. Man, this analogy hit me right in the feels.

Ty from Jamestown, IN

Between Brian Gutekunst's press conference and Aaron Rodgers' appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show," there truly hasn't been any hint even at what the future holds, so let's not speculate on that. What I gathered from it however was how crystal clear and transparent the relationship between Gute (and the organization) has become with Aaron over the past 12 months or so. There is a peace which both men have given off when discussing the other, and the "situation." Regardless of the future, that has been very refreshing.

That's how I centered my coverage this week. Whatever happens, it's obvious the relationship between Rodgers and the organization is in a much better place than it was a year ago. There's been more direct communication between the two sides and an understanding that everyone involved had a part to play in that. That makes me believe the decision, whatever it may be, will be the right one.

Seth from Garden City, KS

That Rodgers IG post is a real Moby Dick situation. Everyone immediately went into full on analysis calling it "cryptic." My first thought was that he's spent the past two years talking about an "attitude of gratitude." He made a nice post about his loved ones. Sometimes the whale is just a whale.

We live in interesting times. Everyone wants everything to mean something. Sometimes it's as simple as a guy just wanting to give his support system some love. Dude got done with a demanding cleanse and fast. I think I'd be pretty reflective, too.

David from Philadelphia, PA

I feel like I'm stating the obvious but it needs to be said. Can the fans and other sports media stop taking away double meanings from everything Rodgers is doing like they're trying to decipher a Robert Frost poem? Sometimes, a guy just wants to show some gratitude as we all often should. Just because he's eating a cheesesteak one day doesn't mean it's a sign he wants to play in Philly. It makes me appreciate you guys so much for just telling fans to wait and see rather than speculate.

I totally respect the job reporters have to do. Rodgers is one of the most recognizable faces in all of American sports. If Rodgers eats a cheesesteak, cameras are clicking and people want to know why. Unfortunately, that's just how things are now. I don't know if we can walk that back in the social-media age. I'm in a privileged spot where I no longer have to track any of that stuff, and I'm very, very thankful for that. I'm guessing Mike "Social Media Maven" Spofford is, too.

Lou from Edmonton, Canada

Wes, fully agreed with the comments by Dennis from Beaverbrook and you. Just left wondering if you know what method BG prefers for acquiring those pieces of luck that are missing?

I think you saw it last year, Lou, with the addition of De'Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas. Gutekunst has lived up to his word in being in every conversation in free agency. Even when the Packers couldn't afford Campbell in 2020, they stayed in the hunt last year and he made the difference on defense. Green Bay had a Super Bowl-caliber team in 2021. The challenge this offseason is keeping as much of that core together as possible.

George from Manchester Township, NJ

Wes, in today's NFL, do you think when a player signs a big contract, he already assumes he will be restructuring it in a couple of years? It seems like nobody ever seems to be upset the contract they sign ever goes to the end.

Right now? Yes, but only because of the cap contracting last year due to the pandemic. Still, it's a much better option for a veteran to receive a check in the mail than a pink slip. The process works because it carves out cap space for teams, while putting guaranteed money in players' pockets.

Kris from Henderson, NV

Knowing that our special teams need a lot of work. I was wondering how much of Mason Crosby's misses were on the long snapper or the holder. I noticed on several misses he would always look at the holder and was not happy. What say you.

Everyone had a role in it. But how soon they forget Crosby made 27 straight field goals before Cincinnati. Time will tell but it sounds like Crosby will get a shot at redemption. Again, it's important to not rush to conclusions and consider all options. Exhibit A? The kicker who ended the Packers' season that should still be in Chicago.

Nathan from Manitowoc, WI

For young players like Royce Newman, who need to improve their strength to take their game to the next level, who in the Packers organization is in charge of what kind of offseason program they are on?

Chris Gizzi and the strength-and-conditioning staff put together offseason plans for the entire roster. Offensive line is the position you typically see the most significant physical maturation after guys' first and second years.

Dave from Sparta, WI

Unfortunately, the Vikings' webpage will gain a few clicks this year with Mike Smith's departure from GB. Which story did you prefer: How he broke his wrist or his tooth?

Oh, it's 110% the wrist. The guy fell from a tree house and passed out in his kitchen. That's legendary. On any given week, you never knew what you were going to get with Mike Smith.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

Since I am a fan that didn't get to see Bart Starr play and was too young to appreciate LeRoy Butler when he played; I would have to bring up the walk-off to Randall Cobb against Chicago and the Hail Mary to beat Detroit. Another great play came in the Super Bowl against my dad's Steelers. Nick Collins' pick-six was amazing and when Jarrett Bush got the second off Ben Roethlisberger, my father came in (we were watching in separate rooms with separate gameday meals) and sat down to hear my chortling. There was none of it. A memory was made.

The Collins slide is iconic, as well. That play, Rodgers' 29-yard touchdown to Jordy and B.J. Raji's interception return for a TD are my three most memorable moments from that championship run.

Steven from Sauk Rapids, MN

I know Sam Shields played again but he was a shell of himself. In my mind he ranks up there for injuries that ended Packers careers, he was on the verge of being the elite corner in the league.

I really like Sam and I'm happy he ended his career on his terms, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't holding my breath that entire 2018 season with the Rams. He was one of the team's all-time great undrafted finds, though.

Ken from Springfield, OH

Longtime reader, first time submitter. Could we expect to see the Packers in the HOF game in Canton with LeRoy Butler's induction. Perhaps the Pack vs. the Eagles since Dick Vermeil is going in too?

Anything is possible with this draft class. The Jaguars (Tony Boselli) and Panthers (Sam Mills) each got their first Hall of Famer this year. That matchup would make sense, too.

Matt from South Bend, IN

"One Super Bowl does not a Hall of Famer make." I need to bring up Russell Wilson. He has won one Super Bowl, yet many are already sending him to the Hall. I realize in QB rating, he is superior to Matt Stafford, but Stafford leads him hugely in career yards and TDs. Neither has ever received an MVP vote. If both retired right now, who would you say is more deserving? I don't think the Super Bowls can count for much or else Eli should be first ballot with two SB MVPS. Are wins a QB stat?

I lean towards Wilson, but it is difficult to say who's more worthy. It will be interesting how voters handle this QB-driven era because I think Wilson, Stafford, Cam Newton and Matt Ryan all have claims. And their cases are going to be heard after Eli Manning and Philip Rivers.

Steve from Colorado Springs, CO

A comment on Coach Clements: In his 22 years of coaching in the NFL, his teams went 192-157-3, and better yet went 12-10 in playoff games. That includes only four losing seasons from 2001-2020. I know there are a million other things that go into it, but I like that history of winning.

And you didn't even get into his Canadian Football League career.

Andrew from Columbus, OH

Wes, I didn't like the change to the numbering rules this offseason. After one preseason game, I was cool with it. Why did I care about numbers so much?

It's problematic for fans and reporters but it's a good move for the NFL in the long run. I imagine the single-digit jerseys will become a hot commodity for skill-position players and DBs.

Check out photos of Green Bay Packers CB Chandon Sullivan during the 2021 season.

Phil from Bettendorf, IA

Wes, following up on a recent question about other teams that went all-in like the Rams…and how did I it go. Would you agree the John Hadl trade the Packers made in 1974 fits this description?

You weren't the only one to mention this. It probably does fit the description. I need to ask Larry or Cliff about that, though. I'm curious what was going through the locker room's mind when that trade went down. The '74 Packers weren't exactly the 2021 Rams. They went 5-7-2 the previous year. To someone who wasn't alive at the time, the Hadl trade seems more like an overcorrection than finding a missing piece.

Scott from Salem, OR

Wes, if I may interject...I think Spoff is coming up on what the kids call "a milestone birthday" this year. (I'm not saying which one so I don't get banned.) But it's less shocking when he mentions retirement than when you do. He doesn't look like he still gets carded at the door when the Packers Everywhere rally is in a bar. (I'll see myself out.) On a more serious note, I agree with you about Cecil Isbell. He was part of Hutson's success, same as Arnie Herber.

And the franchise took a nosedive within a few years of Isbell's retirement. I believe the Hall of Fame is for players who left an indelible impact on the game. Isbell's team record of 24 touchdown passes in a single season lasted 40 years. Both he and Hutson were integral to the evolution of the forward pass.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Wes, would you or Mike, in retirement, host your own column like Vic or would you have another exciting retirement mission?

I'm so far from retirement it's pointless to talk about. However, I will have the "GBP: The Spofford Years" book on pre-order.

Paul from Green Bay, WI

I am in charge of the playlist at our office. What are your top 3-5 "must have" songs for appropriate easy listening? You have referenced the Monkees in the past (I have my three favorite Monkees songs on the playlist), but what else would you add if it were your playlist?

"Your Love" by the Outfield is a popular song on our floor. That's a good place to start. Then, Smash Mouth's cover of the Monkee's hit song "I'm a Believer" and maybe Papa Roach's "Last Resort."

Matty from Durango, CO

As a tourist in Florida last month, I saw a GB hat on a random guy. Asked: "Where from?" Answer: "Boston." Asked: "Why a Packers fan?" Answer: "I'm a team owner. Can't do that with any other team in any sport." Is this part of our appeal nationwide? The everyman aspect of the Packers?

I think so. And the fact you can go anywhere in the world and happen upon another Packers fan during vacation - that's something special.

Darren from Wakefield, MI

Hi Wes. With the premier lunches this week, why do I picture you skipping the II lounge and kicked back at Mike's desk to eat them?

It's more like blissfully dancing in Spoff's cubicle while eating my roast beef club like Elaine in Peterman's office with the cake from King Edward VIII's wedding.

Jonathan from Medina, TN

Good morning Wes! Just wanted to say thank you for all you and Mike do for us readers on a daily basis. I started reading II in March 2020, and can proudly say I have read every installment since. While I know that is nothing compared to some of the streaks others in this community have going, I just wanted to thank you for the sense of normalcy you have given to fans over the past two years.

You're one of the good ones, Jonathan. Thank you for your patronage.

Scott from Hamlin, NY

Wes, are you aware there's a Halloween "Little Blue Truck?" Christmas too, and several others. Most importantly, do you sing to its rhythm or just read it?

Oh, we sing, Scott. We also own them all with multiple copies of a few.

Joe from Venice, FL

I need to meet and become friends with Eric, from Green Bay. His take was epic!!!! I'm liking the tattoo idea as well Wes!

Temporary tattoo…temporary.

Richard from Madison, WI

"Playing the waiting game also played out well for Rodgers, Steve Young, Matt Hasselbeck, Tony Romo and many others." Yeah, including that young guy who came in off the bench for superstar Drew Bledsoe. What was his name again?

You're right. Michael Bishop had a heck of a run in the CFL, too.

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