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Inbox: That's the best thing about training camp

The best players don’t just want the ball in crunch time – they produce

WR Allen Lazard

Neal from Ft Worth, TX

Welcome back, Wes! That's all I have to say today, but it works for me if it works for you.

Works for me, Neal. It's good to be back.

Augustus from Eureka, CA

Welcome back, Wes. Did you enjoy any traveling during your time away? If you made it out to Eureka, I hope you got a chance to see our zoo and redwood canopy walk. I hope you're ready to cover whatever big news lands now that Spoff is on vacation.

My family actually was in Eureka last month. Unfortunately, I was unable to go because of minicamp. But I did enjoy my time away last week. My wife was working, so I just took a quick trip down to Kokomo, Ind., to check out Geek Street. I saw a few Hollywood shooting locations, including the "Breakfast Club" high-school location in Des Plaines. I went to a few antique stores and card shops, and finished it up with my first trip to Gurnee Mills mall in two years. I also enjoyed spending time with the kiddo, golfing a little with my dad and visiting my grandma. I wish the break could've been longer, but it's only Spoff and me carrying the writing bricks here. If one is gone, it just puts more burden on the other. And Spoff isn't as chiseled as he once was.

Tyler from Crane Lake, MN

Giannis misses two key free throws and is looking like the goat. Then, he lays down the winning alley-oop on such an athletic play I can't even fathom how someone pulls it off. He even got the rebound on the next missed free throw to ice it. People are always going to nitpick but I won't. What a game and what a performance.

Huge win, huge moment and now a huge opportunity. I'm not even an NBA/basketball fan and even I can't wait for Tuesday night to get here.

Dan from Hudson, WI

Are we living in the golden age of Wisconsin pro sports right now? When have the Packers, Brewers, and Bucks all been this competitive with recent league MVPs on their rosters? Championships are king, no doubt, but this has got to be the best we have ever had it overall. I'm 37 but if I am lucky enough to go 30 more years, I'll be telling the young folk about these times.

This run has been special and perhaps without equal. The Packers went 3-9 when the Braves won the 1957 World Series and were entering the dark ages when the Bucks won their NBA title in 1971. Meanwhile, the Brewers and Bucks were struggling throughout the Packers' renaissance in the 90s, including their two championships in 1996 and 2010. Hopefully, the Bucks can seal this run with one of their own.

James from Appleton, WI

Khris Middleton's last 3 on Saturday – he says give me the (darn) ball, feints a drive and sinks the 3 to reset the Bucks' lead to eight in the closing minutes. That's Davante Adams saying, "Run that play again, only throw it better." Some players luck into key plays, but we venerate the players who will plays to happen. The Packers have a few of those players. I can't wait.

It's what the best athletes do. They don't just want the ball in crunch time – they produce in crunch time.

George from Kennebunkport, ME

As a Packers fan dating back to the Lombardi days, we have had some 'loaded' offenses. Right now, the starters (assuming no change at QB) and depth seems as potent as I can remember – similar to the '96 and 2010 Super Bowl teams. The challenge I see for 2021 is an unforgiving schedule, with more strong defenses on the slate than last year. I am counting on an improved D to make up for that so the offense doesn't have to score 30 to win like we did in 2020. Your thoughts?

Embrace competition. It may seem scary, but it'll make you better in the long run. The Packers are a good football team. Good football teams worry less about their opponents' win-loss records and more about what they're doing to get better. As long as this team continues to evolve and improve throughout the year, it'll get to where it needs to be.

With 56 days until the regular-season opener, packers.com looks back at those who have worn No. 56 in Green Bay.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

Who would you consider to be the best Packers back at both blocking and picking up a blitz? Also, I read that Preston Smith has come into this year's camp with a bit of weight loss but in much better playing shape. Have you noticed in practice if his speed improved as well?

I think the two best blocking backs I've covered are John Kuhn and Jamaal Williams. Aaron Jones and James Starks steadily improved over the years, but Kuhn and Williams were so natural at pass pro. Preston Smith looked good this spring. I don't know how that compares to last year, but you can tell he put the time in the weight room this offseason.

Alessandro from Belo Horizonte, Brasil

How many times do you guys watch a given game? You guys watch it live, and I've heard some comments about watching the All-22 footage after. But, by end of the day, does that amount to how many replays? How about coaches and players? How many times do you figure they watch and re-watch a game?

I re-watch the TV copy after the game. Since the All-22 doesn't come out on GamePass until Wednesday, I usually read Mike's One Last Look column after he reviews the tape on Monday and leave the in-depth review at that.

Bob from Des Moines, IA

Clem asked you why a franchise like the Lions are bad year-in and year-out. You gave a non-in-depth answer, but I would like to know specifically: why are the Packers good year-in and year-out? Probably the same answer in reverse I suspect.

The Packers hit on the quarterback…twice…and protected that quarterback supremely. They also identified and developed All-Pro-caliber skill-position players and established strong, ball-hawking defenses. That's how you win in this league. It's a four-course meal that requires every entrée.

Charlie from Mount Joy, PA

Hi Mike, I would like to thank you and Wes for the fantastic work you do in providing Packers fans with information about their beloved team. I wish both of you were around during the Lombardi era. My question is, do you have any plans down the road to write a book on your experiences while covering the Packers? Keep up the good work.

Yes. It'll be called, "The Big Demoski: My Years Talking Rob Demovsky Down from The Smallest Hills to Die On." Or were you referring to actual experiences covering the team, itself?

Bill from Stateline, NV

So, I see 61 hasn't been a very popular number. Is there a reason? Has it not been issued, or just not worn by more notable players? When are numbers issued? When a player is released, is his number mothballed for the duration of the season? Is there a "Bermuda Triangle" somewhere in Green Bay where all the 61's disappear, never to be seen again?

Who wants to wear a double-digit prime number? Not this guy…or any offensive and defensive linemen, evidently.

Phillip from Wonder Lake, IL

Is Aaron Rodgers keeping a low profile so he can return to the Packers?

I think it has to do more with the fact it's July. Anyone with PTO to burn is keeping a low profile this time of year.

Jason from Vernon Hills

Do the Packers have any holes in the position groups? Or did the fix everything in the offseason and draft?

The 90-man roster is set for training camp with competition at every position. Now, we have to see where all the chips fall at positions where there were question marks such as inside linebacker, and the offensive and defensive line. But that's also the best thing about camp. Playmakers will emerge that no one ever expected. What we think we know likely will change by the end of August.

Ryan from Noblesville, IN

Alrighty Wes, time to dust off the keyboard and grease the mouse. People keep talking about the need to re-sign Adams but what about Jaire Alexander? In my opinion, he's a more important signing since it's harder to find a shutdown corner in this offensive-driven league.

I was in Noblesville for a few hours last week and thought of you. It's really as simple as the Packers buying themselves an extra year by picking up Alexander's option. That's not to say they couldn't reach a long-term deal with him during this calendar year, but there are more pressing needs that must be addressed right now.

Jeff from Seminole, FL

Excluding Rodgers, who would you say is the one person Packers would miss the most if he couldn't play? I never thought I'd say it but I think Kenny Clark might be.

Clark or Jaire. Adams is the best receiver in the game, but the Packers have a dozen other skill-position players who can help carry the load. If Clark and Alexander are out, the plan shifts dramatically on defense.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Welcome back, Wes. I hope you enjoyed your time off. We're only a week away from camp and determining the roster. With the jersey countdown, my question is this: Build the best all time Packers 53-man roster without reusing the same number twice. So, James Lofton and Donald Driver can't both make the team for example or Clay Matthews and Frank Winters. It would be amazing to see what that roster would look like and who gets left off.

Shannon!!! Why, oh why, didn't you submit this for Outsider Inbox? It's a great idea. Let me put some more thought into a response and get back to you later this week.

Tony from Chanhassen, MN

Welcome back, Wes! As a fellow root beer enthusiast, what are your favorite brands of root beer? I am a fan of Sprecher and Hank's but can get by with A&W in a pinch.

I think it's pretty well-documented that Sno-Cap is my favorite. So much so there's actually a reader who sends me Sno-Cap swag once or twice a year – and it's always appreciated.

Patrick from East Dubuque, IA

Will Delta variant of COVID threaten in-person attendance at games if it continues to escalate?

It's so difficult to say with a full throat because I approach everything with an overabundance of caution nowadays. All we can go off is what the NBA, MLB, UFC, WWE and other sports-based presentations leagues have done. To date, their returns to full capacity crowds have been a success. Undoubtedly, there are still challenges will face this fall but I remain optimistic for full stadiums.

Luke from Kenosha, WI

Good morning, Wes. A while back I commented on ACL surgery and recovery mentioning my 13-year-old son was having his surgery soon. Well, he is five weeks removed and still can't bend his knee. He can finally walk a little bit without crutches. He is doing well but it is a VERY LONG recovery.

It's great to hear he's doing well. We'll continue to send positive vibes his way!

Drew from Dubuque, IA

Do players get paid time-and-a-half when a game goes into overtime? Welcome back, Weston.

No, but Spoff has that provision written into his contract.

Daniel from Waukesha, WI

Should the Brewers bring back Braunie for the stretch run?

Find someone who looks at you the way Wisconsin sports fans look at bringing back inactive/retired players.

With 57 days until the regular-season opener, packers.com looks back at those who have worn No. 57 in Green Bay.

Bill from Clive, IA

Wes, a while back you recommended a book to read if a reader wanted to understand the game better, namely Pat Kirwan's "Take Your Eye Off the Ball." I'm currently through Chapter 3 and I have to say I'm stunned by the overwhelming level of detail and sophisticated strategy that needs to be internalized at the level of the NFL game in order to either play or coach it at speed. Wow. I'm reminded of Psalm 139:6 - "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain."

Yeah. It's my favorite book that was first sent to me as a prerelease. I love self-improvement books, especially when it relates to my profession.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. Mike's story about the Packers' financial report mentioned an "underground surge tank" at Lambeau. What is that? Does it have to do with rainwater? Thanks.

Yeah. It helps control water runoff and reduces flooding, which in turns reduces pollution in the water systems.

Matt from Greensboro, NC

While he's probably is doing the right thing by staying away so not to be a distraction, it's has to be killing a certain partial owner of the Milwaukee Bucks not to watch them live right now. Should we look in the crowd Tuesday for someone wearing funny nose glasses with a hat pulled down?

I know it's become the accepted norm for everyone to do a 12-degrees of separation from Rodgers to every public event this offseason, but this is about the Milwaukee Bucks right now. I'm sure wherever Rodgers chooses to watch the game on Tuesday, he'll be loving every minute of it.

William from Speedwell, TN

If Aaron Rodgers reports to Green Bay because he has a lack of options, but remains disgruntled and possibly not all in, can the Packers win a championship in that scenario? I'm not typically a championship-or-bust guy, but given the issues with Rodgers, and their salary cap issues regarding key players who will be due new contracts, this year feels like championship-or-bust.

There are so many things you guys can justifiably worry about right now, but Rodgers not being "all-in" isn't among them. He may be the most competitive person to ever place on a Packers uniform on his shoulders. If Rodgers reports, I expect him to be as motivated as he's ever been. You're talking about the greatest QB to ever play the game here. Not Disgruntled Bob from accounting.

Craig from Johnson City, TN

Welcome back, Wes. I really hope AR returns but I understand that this is a business and he is free to exercise all of his options. It disheartens me to see him criticized so severely. Speaking of being severely criticized, I think if Ted were still alive that he could probably help fix this. Even if it's not AR at QB, it'll still be a fun season. Excited to see what Jordan Love can do. Who do you think has looked better between the young QBs: Jake Dolegala or Kurt Benkert? And I'm not talking hair.

Some may know one of my favorite movies is "The Outlaw Josey Wales." There's a scene near the beginning of the film where Fletcher (played by the venerable John Vernon) implores Senator Lane to leave Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood) alone. The quote goes something like, "I've had enough of your money, Senator. Let Wales be. Let me be. I'm finished with you." That's where I am on the Rodgers situation, folks. There are no tea leaves to read or breaking news to write. Rodgers is under no obligation to say anything to anybody. Just let the man live. Training camp begins July 28 and I hope to see him there. And I like what I've seen from Kurt Benkert, both hair and playstyle.

Bob from Oakdale, MN

I'm a teacher, and I display grammar corrections from II, including this from March 25, 2020: Who will the Packers draft? – Whom, and I don't know....Whom, of course, is correct. Mignon Fogarty (a.k.a. Grammar Girl) says if you are trying to decide to use who or whom, you should ask yourself if the answer to the question would be, he or him. If it's he, then it's who. If it's him, then it's whom (both end with m). Who(m) will the Packers draft? They will draft him. GG calls it the Him-lich Maneuver.

And there you have it.

Renee from Black Creek, WI

Are you ready for some football?!

Not sure. I guess it depends on how these next nine Inboxes play out.