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Inbox: That’s what happens when you stick with it

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Don from Cedar Rapids, IA

Would you ever invite Joey Chestnut over to your house for a cookout?

For some sandwiches? Of course. Good morning!

Darin from Owensboro, KY

We’ve got tickets to Family Night, the first time my three boys (14, 9, and 6) will ever see Lambeau Field. Will Aaron Rodgers participate in the scrimmage? Also, is there a chance we may get to meet you or Mike?

Terrific. I wish you safe travels and hope the family has a blast. Family Night no longer is a scrimmage, though. The Packers converted it to a practice about four years ago. The good news is Rodgers will be out there. He and the offense usually do at least one Lambeau Leap, so keep your eyes peeled. The bad news – it’ll just be me in Green Bay that night because Mike will be in Canton for Jerry Kramer’s Hall of Fame induction. 

Matt from Reedsburg. WI

Do you think there is too much pressure on Davante Adams going into the season? Being considered the star WR in an offense that has high expectations and limited depth at the receiver position is a lot to handle for a 25-year-old who hasn’t been in that role before.

The guy might not have been in that role very often during his first four seasons in Green Bay, but Adams is tailor-made for it. He’s a confident individual who has the work ethic to maximize his God-given abilities. You want to talk about pressure? What about the pressure Adams faced two years ago coming off that disappointing 2015 season. Adams tuned out everything to put together a breakthrough season when fans were calling for him to be cut. Now, that’s a disposition you cannot coach.

Tom from Fairfield, CT

Will Aaron Jones be permitted to fully participate with the team, training camp, preseason, games and everything else prior to the season opener?

Yes. Players suspended for the regular season are allowed to participate in every training camp practice and preseason game. The NFL also recently made changes that allow players to workout at team facilities during their suspensions. They just can’t practice or go to team meetings.

Pedro from Porto Alegre, Brazil

Who do you think is going to step up for the first two games now that Aaron Jones has been suspended?

The easy answer is Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery. The Packers are going to need both to play well in two key early-season matchups against division rivals. I still stand by what I wrote earlier this week. The Packers are in a good spot with their backfield. Williams is as steady as they come at running back and Montgomery is a true jack-of-all-trades who can burn a defense in so many ways. They’ll do more than just stem the tide.

Dave from Arlington Heights, IL

I was watching the Packers road to Super Bowl XLV collector’s edition that features the full game for every postseason game they played. The amount of talent that team had with its depth players was simply astonishing. Erik Walden, Frank Zombo, Jarrett Bush, Jordy Nelson, and James Starks didn’t even play until the 49ers game that year. T.J. Lang even came in during the NFC Championship Game to replace a hurt Chad Clifton. Out of all the depth players who do you think had the most underrated season and career?

T.J. Lang and Jordy Nelson were the best players on that team who weren’t bona fide stars yet at the time. However, I think James Starks had the most underrated career. He was a great sixth-round pick and a good player on some talented Packers squads. He’s a guy who continually got better throughout the course of his career, especially in pass protection, and did whatever was asked him without complaint. Starks was the definition of underrated.

Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

No, I have never seen “Rudy,” nor have I ever seen “Draft Day.” Should I? And as long as you are getting the unhealthy movie popcorn, you may as well get the butter on it, too.

Lori, I just spit out my coffee. Whatever your plans are for the day, please cancel them. If you’re working, call in sick, make some popcorn (with butter), and watch “Draft Day.” It’ll change your life.

Paolo from Turin, Italy

It seems to me that around the world, more and more people are becoming fans of a particular player rather than the team. They pledge their allegiance to whatever team is currently featuring LeBron, or Cristiano Ronaldo, or Leo Messi. Do you see that happening in the U.S. too? Could it happen in football? Thanks for your reply (fingers crossed) and happy Fourth of July.

It takes an icon to do it – players who are equally dominant and charismatic. I think it’s never been commonplace in the NFL because careers generally are shorter in comparison to the NBA and MLB. That makes it an honor typically reserved for quarterbacks. Since QB is the most valued position, you don’t see those players change teams often.

Steve from Niagara, WI

Could you see Tramon Williams transitioning to coaching at the college or pro level when his playing career comes to an end? Do you know if he's ever hinted at it? He seems to have the knowledge, the leadership, the communication skills, and the moxie. Thanks!

I’m not sure if coaching is what Williams wants to do when his playing career is over, but I definitely think he could be a good one. Tramon is a people person and his humble beginnings as a walk-on at Louisiana Tech make him easily relatable. I also think he’d be terrific in media if he chose to go that route.

Kian from Newark, NJ

It seems like Rip has faded out of the picture since last season. Do you think we are still going to utilize him even though we are going to run a lot of two tight-end formations?

I know there are a lot of fans asking about Aaron Ripkowski this offseason. He’s still part of the Packers’ plans. He was present throughout the entire offseason program. It’s just Green Bay has three very capable young halfbacks right now and only one football.

John from Redford, MI

How do you think the Packers’ corps of linebackers will fair this year?

I like where the Packers stand at inside linebacker. It’s the best spot the Packers have been in at the position dating back to 2010. That’s what happens when you stick with it. Blake Martinez is going to be a player in this league. Jake Ryan is an experienced veteran who can plug in against the run and Oren Burks has blue-chip upside as a coverage linebacker. Durability and development are what I’m looking for at outside linebacker. They need Clay Matthews and Nick Perry to stay healthy, and a young guy (or two) to help fill out that rotation.

Zach from Merrill, WI

Speaking of Packers license plates. I saw one that said RELAX quoting Aaron Rodgers. That got me thinking – how about RNDATBL? Think folks would get it?

You better get to the DMV and lock that one down.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

To clarify: it was an "official date" without us being in an "official relationship.” While I don't remember the score, I know the home team won and I won't forget those eyes ever. I'm also going to try and convince her to watch a few Packers games with me and explain the game as we go along. Between our DBs, who would you give more probability to have a Pick-6? One of the older fellas, or one of the young hungry rookies?

Very nice. Best of luck moving forward. Just remember to take it one date at a time. Jaire Alexander has Pick-6 written all over him based on his film at Louisville. He has the necessary speed and ball skills to take one to the house.

Alex from Hartland, WI

As a Packers fan, I'm ecstatic with how the Vikings handled their QB. Case Keenum was decent as a rookie and second year player in Texas, without many starter reps, and no QB exactly thrived under Jeff Fisher's Rams. I don't really consider him a 'Cinderella.’ Kirk Cousins, on the other hand, is multi-year starter whose original team didn't think he was worth a long-term deal. Now the Vikings won't have as much money going forward. I just don't see Cousins as an upgrade, especially at that price.

That’s a fair point. The Vikings rolled out the red carpet for Cousins. While he’s had a few big statistical seasons, Cousins doesn’t have much on his postseason resume. The wagon is hitched to his cart now. I’d still rather pay whatever the Packers will owe Aaron Rodgers than what Minnesota is on the hook for with Cousins the next few seasons.

Jeremiah from Madison. WI

NFL.com had an article mentioning that a team once offered Jerry Rice $1 million to never play for another team. Which brings me to a two-part question: 1) Would something like that count against the salary cap? 2) I know that all money in a contract counts somehow against the cap, but what about for non-monetary items. As a completely weird hypothetical, "The quarterbacks coach must make me a PB&J sandwich every day for lunch." Or does everything have to boil down to a monetary value?

Yeah, that would be illegal. You can’t pay players to not play for a team (or teams). Now, if a team wanted to hire a player to be an ambassador or front-office position, and pay him $1 million, that’s fair game. As far as non-monetary items, there’s a limit to “gifts” active players can receive from teams.

Ryan from Johnston, IA

Wes, I’m disappointed in you. Aaron Rodgers would very clearly be a Stark and you know better. It’s because he’s obviously the King in the North. Duh.

How dumb of me. The script writes itself. The King of the North who was born in the California sun.

Steve from Reedsburg, WI

Wes, I am a 65-year-old cancer patient. In 1977, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa. Being somewhat off the grid, I missed “Eraserhead,” and had never heard of it before. I just watched the whole of it on YouTube. Wes, I am so impressed. It takes a true closet intellectual to appreciate this kind of art. If my colon goes south, which is its natural direction, I shall be eternally grateful to packers.com for bringing this classic to my attention while there was still time.

Steve, you are in our thoughts and prayers here at packers.com. Kick cancer’s ass. I sort of wish I would have turned you on to a more uplifting movie, but “Eraserhead” definitely takes you on a trip. I just enjoy movies that don’t fit a stereotypical Hollywood beginning, middle and end.

Anthony from Milwaukee, WI

Guys, I recently moved to Tennessee this last year. I figure I might as well at least see what the Titans are all about, maybe they can be my AFC team. My question is, do you look at other teams’ content posted on their websites? Do you view others just to see what they are doing and see if it would fit here?

If you’re not paying attention, you’re falling behind. So I’m constantly consuming content from all types of sources – NFL team sites, newspapers and other digital media properties. I don’t limit my scope to the NFL, either. I think the UFC digital and social teams do some phenomenal work. The NBA obviously is very cutting edge. They push me to produce the best content I possibly can on a daily basis.

Jered from Denham Springs, LA

The year was 1993. I was about to go off to Naval Boot Camp. I was young and quite nervous about this endeavor as I had no idea what to expect. Deep down I wasn't sure if I had what it took to make it through basic training. I went to see the movie "Rudy" and it somehow gave me the inner strength and courage to let me know I could go and do it. I figured if a guy who had no athletic talent whatsoever could make it onto the Notre Dame Football team then I had good chance of making it through basic training.

Believe and achieve, brother. We are bound only by the limits we set for ourselves. Thank you for your service.

Aaron from Sour Lake, TX

Happy Fourth of July, Insiders! Any fond memories from this day you can recall?

When I was little, my grandparents used to come over to the house and I’d line up all my fireworks – smallest to biggest – for our big show. Afterward, my dad would take me up on our roof to watch the actual Green Bay fireworks. I never got to go on the roof (or climb a ladder for that matter), so I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

Dick from Four Oaks, NC

I totally blew it. I misunderstood how the Outsider’s Inbox was going to work. In response to the three Packers I’d like to meet, I have just one: former head coach Lisle “Liz” Blackburn. He was my dad’s basketball coach at Washington High School in Milwaukee. If I could sit down with him and my dad, I’d love to hear them reminisce!

And that’s the type of story that gets you a late post in the Inbox. That’s an awesome story/answer.

Paul from Cumming, GA

Are you asking about “Rudy” to put us off the scent of the fact that you haven't watched “The Sandlot”?

It’s always good to carry a shiny object in your pocket at all times in case of a much-needed distraction. My son taught me that.

Rick from Kenosha, WI

If I am lucky enough to have both of my Outsider Inbox submissions posted, and then get this question posted, would that qualify for the elective trifecta?

I think you went two-for-three, which isn’t bad. That’s a good night at the dish.

Ralph from Oklahoma City, OK

Question No. 13 - not really a question, ok, it is. Why do you come to this site? Well, I'll try to tell you. Wes. I've never been to Wisconsin, let alone Green Bay. But yet, you and Mike make me feel connected. Some dude writes in from Southington, CT. I used to live there. Another one from Kissimmee, FL. I lived in the same area for 15 years. I recognize some of the towns as places I've been through or near. A writer from Edmond, he/she is almost a neighbor! You guys bring us together.

And that is the beauty of the Inbox. We strive to be an oasis from the darkness of the Internet. At least, I do. Thanks for stopping by.

Mitchell from Edmond, OK

Wes, great Job with the Insider Outbox…or whatever it was officially called. My favorite quote of the column was hands down, “I question the realism of a hobbit of the Shire tackling a Division I athlete.”

That was one of my favorites, too…along with David’s wish to sing karaoke with Max McGee. I had I fun with it. I hope you guys did, too. I look forward to doing it again in the future.

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