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Inbox: That’s the challenge

Head Coach Matt LaFleur
Head Coach Matt LaFleur

Brad from London, Ontario, Canada

No question. Just a statement. I don't care if this gets posted or not. I hope you read it, though. Reading these answers is phenomenal! It is so cool to hear all the history. So many stories about football and family. I love it. Thank you for putting this together

I hope everyone enjoyed the second-annual Outsiders Inbox. We also crowned our first Insider Inbox MVP, Lori from Brookfield. As I note in the comments yesterday (and assuming we keep doing this), I think we’ll crown a new Inbox MVP every summer, Hall of Fame-style. Now, let’s get back to the questions. Good morning!

Justin from Appleton, WI

What do you think will be the biggest challenge for Matt LaFleur during his rookie season as head coach?

Learning what he doesn’t know and applying it to the future. That’s how you get better. No coach is undefeated. LaFleur is going to win games – and he will lose games. To win consistency, however, he must keep evolving. That’s the challenge for LaFleur and every first-year head coach.

Andrew from San Diego, CA

Based on all the roster moves this offseason, which position besides QB, excites you most? Which one scares you the most?

A multifaceted pass rush is the spice of defensive life, so I’ll say outside linebacker because of all the options at Mike Pettine’s disposal. I wouldn’t say the safety position scares me because Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage could be a special tandem, but there are a lot of moving parts behind the two presumptive starters right now. I want to see how the dust settles there.

Jason from Des Plaines, IL

If you still have your doubts about our 12th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, go follow him on Instagram. Rashan Gary is a monster. Watching him prepare for his rookie season allows us to disregard the worthless sack numbers that fans care so much about in college. The kid has quick hands and feet, and is physically freakish. Ten-percent body fat with that kind of power – what’s there not to be excited about?

Gary is still a rookie so I want keep expectations realistic for this young man. At the same time, he has pushed all the right buttons this offseason to get his hype train moving. Gary looks like a potential superstar on both film and paper, and that’s what you want from a top 15 talent.

Sean from Green Bay, WI

Which game are you most excited about this season? Concerned about?

The game I’m most excited about is the opener in Chicago. The NFL does these big events right. It’s going to be a cool atmosphere. The Week 4 game against Philadelphia and Week 16 game in Minnesota are the two with the most cause for concern. Facing the Vikings, Broncos and Eagles in an 11-day stretch is going to be a tough task to start the year. If the Packers are in contention late in the season, that Vikings road game will be critical. U.S. Bank Stadium has become a house of horrors for the Packers so far. High risk also means high reward. That game could launch them into the playoffs.

Gary from Hamilton, GA

In years past, Aaron Rodgers has often not played during preseason games allowing backup quarterbacks to gain experience. I personally felt this has slowed his start to the season. Do you think we will see more of him in preseason as he adjusts to a new coach’s new system?

Death. Taxes. Should Rodgers play more in the preseason?

Justin from Sheboygan, WI

Of all the young receivers on this roster, who do you think will make the biggest improvement in their game this season?

Marquez Valdes-Scantling is my best bet because of how high his ceiling is and how well he played as a rookie. He has the speed receivers covet but what I believe will truly make the difference is a season spent with Aaron Rodgers. J'Mon Moore didn’t have the rookie success MVS did, but he’s as athletic as any receiver on the roster. I’m excited to see what kind of strides he’s made once camp begins.

Matthias from Hartford, WI

How many Hall of Fame players were on 2010 Packers roster? Are there more than two?

There definitely were three Pro Football Hall of Fame talents – Rodgers, Charles Woodson and Nick Collins – but probably only two Hall of Famers.

Gabe from Chicago, IL

Every once in a while I hear commentators refer to a player as a "Gamer.” Randall Cobb fit that to a T in my mind. I don't think I've ever seen a receiver who you knew no matter what else was going on (injuries, poor play, etc.) he was going to show up during big games. The fourth-and-long touchdown against the Bears (2013) that put us in the playoffs and the third-down conversion to ice the Patriots (2014) both come to mind. His biggest impact came in the biggest moments.

He had some tough luck with injuries, but I believe Cobb’s lasting legacy in Green Bay is how he didn’t shy away from the bright lights of a big moment.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

Wouldn’t it be a little unfair to hand the reins over to a kicker who really hasn't kicked in frigid conditions or when the game is on the line? How do the coaches keep this in mind when grading Mason Crosby and Sam Ficken this summer? You can make longer and more accurate kicks when it's warm and a game is not on the line. I would hate to see Crosby get picked up by the Bears. That could bite us in the butt!

And do you know why the Bears are in the position they are now? Because they cut Robbie Gould after training camp in 2016 and have yet to find a reliable kicker since then. Crosby has one of the hardest jobs in the NFL kicking in Green Bay. Yes, he had a bad game in Detroit last year, but Crosby didn’t let that performance define him. I’m going to let the competition play out, but I still don’t believe Crosby’s job is in imminent danger.

Zach from Clarkfield, MN

In your tenure with the Packers, what is your favorite Family Night memory?

Brandian Ross’ pick-six.

Tony from River Falls, WI

Wes, what is your earliest or favorite Packers memory growing up?

I used to think it was the Packers’ 17-16 loss to the Patriots on Oct. 2, 1994, but I actually recall Green Bay’s 30-20 loss to Detroit in the 1993 regular-season finale. I just turned 6 and was watching the game from my aunt’s apartment. I only remember that because my mom tried feeding me microwaved cheese curds and I hated them. Anyway, I got yelled at for being upset the Packers lost, but then they came back and beat the Lions a week later in the playoffs.

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

Someone smart enough out there should be able to sensor the football, and they can synchronize it with the refs’ whistle and with the game clock. Then, use the replay to frame where forward contact was made and using the time in replay, the sensor tells you where to spot it at that moment.

That’s what I’m saying. Again, I wouldn’t use to overturn a two-yard ruling on a second-and-8 carry. I’d only institute it for third-and-1 scenarios with the game on the line.

Stan from Merrill, WI

Regarding technology helping with ball placement: where would the sensors be located in the ball? It would need to be an outer skin, wouldn't it?

I’m not a scientist, but I feel like it could be either on the surface of the ball or woven into the leather fabric.

Jeff from Green Bay, WI

Very sorry to hear about Kendrick Norton this week. The Packers have been blessed with quiet summer vacations for a number of years. What kind of fallout do non-football injuries cause for teams at the start of training camp and even into the regular season?

It’s incredibly sad what happened to Norton. Life happens just like injuries happen. Teams must adapt. While not to the severity of Norton’s situation, a situation like this occurred back in 2016 when the Packers had to lean on Ty Montgomery as an every-down back after James Starks was involved in a car accident.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

I thought I would check in with you guys as I prepare to board a plane to GB. I am taking the Legendary Tour during my visit. Will I get special treatment if I mention that I am an II contributor? Where on the tour should I look for your nameplates on the office doors?

Haha, you think I get an office, Margeaux? I’m lucky I still have my cubicle. I hope you enjoy the tour, though. If you see the ESPN.com office down in the media area, that’s where I once lingered during my days at the Press-Gazette.

Peter from Isumi, Japan

The “How I became a Packer fan section” had me crying. It reminded me of why I am a Packers fan for 50 years

Thanks to all those contributions. Simple, heartfelt stories are all I need.

I enjoyed the question because football is where life interjects. Every fan has a story – and the sum of our stories is the only real currency in life. 

Brandi from Hutchinson, KS

Greetings. Does the Packers organization have any prospects in their sights in this year’s supplemental draft? I read that the Packers sent scouts out to at least one pro day. Thanks.

The Packers perform their due diligence on the supplemental draft, but it’s been 21 years since they last drafted anyone. Draft picks are the lifeblood of NFL teams, so you really have to like a player to spend one on a supplemental pick, who many times have an off-the-field incident on their resume.

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

In their respective prime years, who do you consider the more dominant? Tiger Woods or Joey Chestnut?

That’s a tough one, but I’m going to say Tiger when you factor in his dominance in a sport ruled by parity (and occasional luck). I would have said Chestnut had he not lost to Stonie in 2015.

Nick from Portland, OR

Wes, I've only got a couple weeks left where I can get away with UFC questions. And with possibly the biggest card of the year coming up I'm really hoping you're doing a Saturday column. Obviously Jon "Bones" Jones can't lose, but do you think Holly Holm can pull off the upset against Amanda Nunes? Would you enjoy a Jorge Masvidal victory over Ben Askren as much as most fans? Lastly, how did you get interested in MMA? Were you a wrassler?

Tell me you’re not asking a born-and-raised Wisconsinite like myself to root against Hartland’s own Ben Askren? Come on, bro. I have Jones, Nunes and Askren winning Saturday night. I never wrestled, but I’ve always liked combat sports. I was hooked on the sport after watching Ronda Rousey’s first UFC fight against Liz Carmouche. I was actually at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine at the time.

Samuel from Washington Island, WI

Your favorite ‘80s flick?

“Breakfast Club” or “Bull Durham.”

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Wes: Hey, Inbox? How ‘bout a little something...you know...for the effort?

Inbox: There won’t be any money, but upon your retirement you shall receive total consciousness.

Wes: So I got that goin’ for me....which is nice.

Oh, and this one too.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Wes, not sure how many submissions you went through the last two days to create the Outsiders Inbox but my hats off to you for the hours of effort, on a holiday no less! My question is, did you have to go in to work on the Fourth or were you able to work from home and post from there? Thanks Wes.

Much to my boss’s chagrin, I came into the office Thursday morning to write Friday’s Inbox and work on this year’s game program. With an 18-month-old at home and a dog who hates fireworks, it’s just easier for me to write from the office. However, I was home by 2 p.m. in time to go swimming with my son. It was a good day.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, would you and Mike please consider answering some of the 12 questions from the Outsiders Inbox?

Congrats on your major award, Lori. I’ll gather my thoughts and answer the ones I haven’t previously addressed (e.g. the memorabilia, which game I’m excited for) for Monday’s column. Have a good weekend, everyone.

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