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Inbox: That's the larger hallmark of his tenure

The pieces are there if they can come together

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Head Coach Matt LaFleur

Josh from Newhall, CA

"This is a sports column, not a dunk tank." That's it! That's the II shirt! Print it! Ship it! There should be an award for a line like that.

Of all the T-shirt suggestions Wes has put forth in this column, none created as enthusiastic a response as that one. The readership was really fired up about it.

H.R. from Henderson, NV

So, what Packers-related non-story am I supposed to irresponsibly obsess over now that Allen Lazard signed his tender?

Just wait a few more days. Something will fill the void.

Joe from Wausau, WI

Do you think Aaron Rodgers has, or will have sometime this summer, a pre-conceived notion of who his No. 1 WR is heading into the season?

He said last week he thought it could be Lazard.

Dan from Waterloo, IA

Who do you think will have more rushing yards and overall yards this year AJ Dillon or Aaron Jones?

All else being equal, I'll say Dillon because I think Jones will get more touches than previously in the passing game this year. But I also think it could come down to health. It would be a miracle if both running backs are available for all 17 games, so it might be as simple as the one who plays more.

Mike from Toronto, Canada

Last year the Packers were 18th in the league in total rushing yards, tied with five other teams for 15th in yards per run, tied with two others for 20th in TDs. Only seven runs better than 20 yards, and one better than 40. And that was after paying a big contract to Aaron Jones. I'd love to be as optimistic about our running game as everyone else, but I'm not. Guys, what am I missing? (Other than they've been great in the passing game, which I get.)

Last year's offensive line included two rookie starters and injuries galore. The unit has to stay healthy and get its best players back, namely David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins. This offense ran the ball just fine in 2019 and 2020 when those guys were on the field regularly, and Josh Myers has all the tools to become another Linsley in the middle. The pieces are there if they can come together.

Michael from Portland, OR

There's still a decent number of veteran player free agents. Is the timeline for teams to see how their current roster plays out in regards to performance (and injuries), or are some of the players not getting the money they want?

Both.

Norris from Horicon, WI

What are the chances Romeo Doubs becomes the STEAL of the 2022 draft? I love his awareness, and the speed he plays the game. Thinking he may be our most ready rookie WR and could turn some heads early. What say you? Will Aaron trust him?

That'll be determined in due time. Doubs reminds me so much of James Jones, both in terms of body type and draft status (third/fourth round). There were plenty of ups and downs for JJ early in his career. As a rookie, one week he was getting shut out. The next he's streaking down the Denver sideline for a 79-yard touchdown from Favre on Monday Night Football. JJ became the player he did because he handled the good and bad like a pro. That's a challenge for any young player, especially at a position where a mistake (like a dropped pass) is so visible.

Dennis from Appleton, WI

The retro uniforms from last season were a favorite. Any idea when this season's selection will appear? Can past retro unis be repeated?

Once a team creates a new alternate jersey, the past alternates can't be brought back during that same time frame. No announcement has been made on the 2022 game for the alternates. I'm hearing a couple different games are under consideration but nothing has been finalized.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

It seems every year under ML the Pack has one or two stinkers of a game and the world declares the sky is falling. At NOLA '21, at Tampa '20, at 49ers and at Chargers '19. Obviously these games did not signal the end of the world, but I do wonder why during ML's distinguished three-year career his losses tend to be by a wider margin than his many wins. Is this just a case of me noticing the losses more because they happen so rarely?

The clunkers have stood out, for sure, and they stand out more when everyone knows the Packers are a good team and capable of so much better. I don't know how to explain them, except that they happen to everyone in the NFL, and LaFleur has had some down-to-the-wire close losses, too (at Indy in '20, at Minnesota in '21). But as much as some of those regrettable performances are head-scratchers, the most important aspect has been the response – his and his team's ability to shake them off, get back to work and continue to succeed. That's the larger hallmark of his tenure in my opinion.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Spoff, with LeRoy Butler selecting his wife and big No. 93 as his Hall of Fame presenters, it got me to thinking. Are there any current NFL organizations without a HOFer? I imagine the Titans count former Oilers players in their history. What about the Panthers? Or Texans?

The Texans have no claim to any Hall of Famers yet. The Jaguars are getting their first this year in Tony Boselli. Kevin Greene (Class of '16) and Sam Mills (this year) each played three seasons for the Panthers, so they probably claim them to some extent.

The Green Bay Packers held practice on Tuesday, June 14 at Ray Nitschke Field for the final week of organized team activities.

Chris from St. Paul, MN

Hello Insiders! Recent Inbox questions about fans listening in to helmet communication between QBs and their coaches has left me wondering...what exactly would we hope to hear? I agree with Wes that there's more excitement in not knowing what's about to happen. I also think some play calls are complex enough that average fans (like me) wouldn't know what they were hearing anyway. Would hearing this communication add value to a viewer's experience?

For some it might, but the verbiage of NFL play calls would make them difficult to decipher. Not so much for opposing teams, though, which is why that type of access will never happen in this league. It wouldn't really matter in the heat of the moment necessarily, but for future preparations, scouting, etc., it certainly could. There are reasons coaches cover up their mouths when they call plays into the headsets.

Laura from Pittsburgh, PA

Who do we really need to step up this season?

Plenty, but the tight end position comes to mind first for me. If Robert Tonyan isn't ready for Week 1, then a lot of eyes will be on Tyler Davis and Josiah Deguara.

Grant from Janesville, WI

Hello Insiders, thank you for your level-headed reporting day after day. Are there any QBs around the league that you find yourself rooting for? For me, I always liked Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown and couldn't help but cheer for the aging journeymen. Now I find myself drawn to Tua Tagovailoa and pulling for him.

Back in the day, as someone who topped out at 5-9, I enjoyed seeing Doug Flutie ball out.

Mike from Niles, IL

NFL owners have had a great thing going for them. Why can they not understand what the word "oversaturation" means?

Because so far every decision to add more has meant more money. At some point, it won't, but we're not there now.

Brian from Reno, NV

Please excuse me for doing math in the Inbox but … Watching the Brewers lose eight in a row was tough, but every time you lose a game in the NFL it equals a 9.5-game losing streak in the MLB. That's why the NFL is so great and every game matters.

And why the last question can be answered the way I did.

Randy from Ooltewah, TN

Just heard that the NFL Network will be picking up two Packer preseason games. While I want to be excited about that, they are both road games. Historically the NFL Network just picks up the home team feed, so I will hear very little about the Packer players and prospects during the game. Any plans for a live blog during the preseason games that will give me good Packer insights?

The live blog is slated to return for the preseason. I need to warm up, too.

Ken from Dallas, TX

While the Packers still have remaining salary cap space for 2022, I've heard that we are already over the cap for 2023 and 2024. Does this mean that the Packers can no longer trade for an established veteran looking for a new contract?

Not at all. Where the Packers' finances stand relative to the cap for 2023 doesn't matter until March 15, 2023.

Chris from Charlotte, NC

Did you ever call out the "draft expert" regarding this item you noted in the last II … "I had one draft expert tell me about a month before the '19 draft (when I had no idea the Packers were interested in him), that Gary was the first-round prospect in that class with 'bust written all over him.'"

Call out publicly? No. He'd never share his thoughts with me again, and he's been right on players a lot more than he's been wrong. My point was even those who study this stuff for a living can be way off base sometimes. Regardless, I prefer to file away what I hear more so than publish it, because it's the aggregate of opinions that creates a more valuable picture, not a solitary thought out by its lonesome.

Dan from Algonquin, IL

Good morning II, the great Earl Campbell was the Quadzilla of his era. He came close to 2,000 yards rushing in his third season, in only 15 games. He was 5-11 and 232 pounds, a tad smaller than AJ Dillon. How does Dillon compare to Campbell regarding ability and potential? I'm hoping Dillon can change the adage, "They broke the mold when they made Earl Campbell," to "They used the same mold when they made AJ Dillon."

Campbell was downright scary when it came to breaking tackles. He ran with incredible power. Dillon has a similar body, and might even be faster in the open field, but I haven't seen the tackle-breaking ability at this level. Yet.

Pete from Umatilla, FL

Greetings Insiders, as a longtime Green Bay Packers fan I have experienced both the highest of highs (NFL and SB victories) and the lowest of lows ('70s-'80s, some '00-'21 playoff endings). I know that both of you are much younger than I, so from your age perspective can you list your three highest Packer highs and the three lowest Packer lows?

My context will be the 16 seasons I've covered in this job. Listings are in order.

Highs: Super Bowl XLV (duh), '16 playoffs at Dallas, '13 finale in Chicago, with honorable mentions going to one other regular-season moment (Hail Mary at Detroit in '15) and the shortest-lived high of all-time, the Janis Hail Mary at Arizona in the '15 playoffs.

Lows: '14 at Seattle, '07 vs. NYG, '20 vs. Bucs, all NFCCGs, with honorable mentions going to Arizona in both '15 (see above) and the '09 wild-card round.

I guess you could say for me the emotions, though always kept inside on the job, don't really kick in except during the do-or-die times.

Cliff from Alexandria, VA

Do you have a rooting interest in the Stanley Cup Finals? Do you plan to watch? Hockey is my favorite sport other than football to watch. The speed and power of those guys is astounding.

I have no rooting interest, but I have to make a point to catch at least one game of the Stanley Cup Finals. The intensity of those contests is tough to match.

Jennifer from Middleton, WI

Practice ends with two-point no good, per Wes on Twitter. Dang, I thought we had broken that two-point curse at the end of last season. Seems an appropriate way to sink into the dead zone.

Happy Wednesday.

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