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Inbox: That’s what it comes down to

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Justin from Sonora, CA

Not a question just a comment on your subtle way of injecting “A League of Their Own” into the II just days away from the start of the new baseball season!

Just trying to keep everyone on their toes. Good morning!

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

I hope that No. 12 pick turns into a player that strikes fear in the heart of the opponent. Position is irrelevant. You can patch need later.

This is a chance to acquire a generational talent. Does it guarantee one? No, but the odds are exponentially higher than when drafting at the end of the round. So I don’t care if it’s Oliver, White, Sweat, Gary, Taylor, Quinnen Williams, Jonah Williams, Greedy Williams, Wilkins or Hockenson. Find a playmaker, a tone-setter. You’re building for the future – not just 2019. That’s what it comes down to.

Jim from Pawleys Island, SC

Unlike Terry from Tomah, I think Wes would do fine drafting for the Pack. The listing of first-round wide receiver busts begs the question if some positions are easier to draft surer things in the first round than others. Running backs? Oops, Maurice Clarett. O-linemen? Oh oh, Tony Mandarich. Wait, maybe Wes and I (and Terry!) should leave it to the professionals. That said, I'm taking one of those Iowa tight ends if available...you, Wes?

All I wanted to do was debunk this myth about can’t-miss prospects, specifically at skill positions. Everyone has questions this time of year. But yes, I’m paid to write. I leave the scouting to the folks upstairs.

Andrew from Falls Church, VA

Of the 16 proposed rule changes for owners to vote on, which two would you most like to see installed for the next year?

Making 15-yard and spot-of-the-foul penalties reviewable for a year tops my list. The NFL Competition Committee appears to not be interested in Sky Judges. I honestly thought that would get a little more traction.

Mike from Madison, WI

When Green Bay drafted Equanimeous St. Brown, I couldn't help but think he would fit in on the rosters of Key & Peele's East-West All-Star teams. Of the three receivers drafted last year, does E.Q. seem to have the most potential to have a breakout season?

All three are talented in their own right, but St. Brown intrigues me because he’s still only 22. He has a very bright future. If you know anything about his story, St. Brown puts everything into this. His second year should be fun to watch.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

Our new offensive lineman Billy Turner reminds me of Mike Singletary. When he is out of uniform he could pass for a librarian, but with his game face he could scare the heck out of you. I hope he helps out as good as predicted. He seems versatile and athletic.

These are the acquisitions the Packers historically have had good success with – players who flashed potential, but maybe don’t have the most established resume (Jared Cook, Erik Walden, etc.) Turner, a former third-round pick, seemed to put it all together last year in Denver. The Packers are banking on Turner to stay on that incline.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Will the Rams or the Cowboys be on the schedule this year? If so, home or away? I've relocated my No. 52 jersey to the back of the closet (next to No. 4) and I need a new backup to go with my gameday 12. Looking for someone who projects to still be here 6-8 years down the road. Any suggestions? Thanks Wes.

The Packers travel to Dallas this year. Jaire Alexander might be your best bet. If you have Bill Belichick singing your praises, chances are you’re going to be a decent player.

George from Sturgeon Bay, WI

With regards to the question about our latest FA acquisitions assuming a locker room leadership role, how long was it before Charles Woodson did so?

Everyone goes at their own pace. I think Woodson, Mike McCarthy and Joe Whitt Jr. all spoke about how it took some time for Woodson to warm up to his new surroundings. Once Woodson did, however, he became one of the greatest leaders in franchise history. He grew into the heartbeat of the Super Bowl XLV team.

Matt from Albany, NY

With all the questions about finding the heir to Rodgers, it got me thinking. Eventually Gute will have to find the heir to Rodgers, albeit four or five years from now. What will define his tenure as a GM more, winning a Super Bowl(s) with Rodgers or finding his replacement? I’d like to think it's him winning Super Bowls with Rodgers, but each of our last GMs made their claim in Packers history by finding a Hall of Fame QB.

Success in this business is defined by winning Super Bowls. That’s first and foremost, but if everything goes well and Gutekunst remains in the GM chair, he understands he’ll have to cross that bridge someday and find the next franchise QB. That same question was asked in his introductory news conference. Gutekunst embraces that.

Andrew from Memphis, TN

With all due respect to your assertion that short-area quickness is the paramount trait for slot receivers, I would have to say that awareness is at very least of equal importance. Whether it take the form of finding the soft spot in a zone coverage, reading the shoulders, eyes, or feet of a DB knowing he won’t be able to turn on your route, or simply using hours of film study reading the tendencies of a defense as a whole and its individual units, awareness can also create separation.

Sure, but I think awareness is critical for success at any position and as crucial for perimeter receivers as in the slot. If you don’t know where you are on the field, you’re in trouble.

Todd from Brighton, MI

With the way the NFL is positioning itself, quarterbacks that are good will be able to play for 15 or 20 years. This will have obvious implications on all-time NFL records. However, it will also mean that eventually all 32 teams will most likely have a good quarterback. Some will still be better than others, but we won’t have teams with terrible starters. This is not 1970s NFL.

You’d be surprised. The greats are playing longer, but I cannot envision a day where every team is satisfied with its QB. The position is too difficult. The game is too complicated. Unless you have one of the 10 or so elite guys out there, teams are always trying to get better regardless of your definition of “good.”

Ross from Hudson, WI

Seeing the question and answer about Trevor Davis's talent as a punt returner got me thinking. Have you ever heard why Jaire Alexander wasn't our punt returner? He excelled at it in college. Might we see him back there this year?

The Packers used Alexander on punt returns a few times last season, but he also had a couple muffs. Plus, he’s the de facto No. 1 cornerback. Considering Alexander’s role on defense, I don’t know how much the team wants to mess around with deploying him back there.

Bill from Wake Forest, NC

Hi Wes, my favorite Clay Matthews moment was in his rookie year against the Vikings. I was not sure if he was going to be a "good enough" player or a great player. Adrian Peterson carried the ball into a pile. Clay not only stripped the ball, he took the ball, and ran it back for long touchdown. Yes, it's on YouTube, so enjoy it! I thought to myself that only a special player could make that play.

Matthews sure had a prodigious start to his NFL career. One thing I didn’t fully appreciate until this week was the fact Matthews is the only player in franchise history to score a defensive TD in each of his first three NFL seasons.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

The association of numbers with players probably tells of our age. Packers No. 80 is not Donald Driver for me – it's James Lofton! (I'm not half a century old yet, but that Robin from Kenosha must be a pretty young whippersnapper).

No. 80 will always be J.P. Moneyhands to me: Justin Perillo.

George from Marquette, MI

Seems to be questionable after the most recent signings how much cap space the Packers have left. What is the cap space situation?

I don’t want to delve too much into this topic because there are a lot of layers to it, but I’ve been getting inundated with comments/questions/concerns about the cap. The Packers know what they’re doing and remain in good standing. Moving on.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

When a player’s number is retired and on display in "the ring of honor" is there any format that must go into the process? Like a player must be on the team wearing his number for X amount of years or a DB must have X amount of interceptions...Do you think maybe Jordy Nelson has a chance to receive this honor?

The ring of honor is reserved for former players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who played a bulk of their career with the Packers. That’s why Jerry Kramer was first added last year. Jersey retirement is far more exclusive. Those are the cream of the 100-year crop; once-in-a-generation players.

Theologos from Athens, Greece

Wes. How are we doing on the compensatory scale? We signed four free agents but also lost four (Clay, Cobb, Ryan, Breeland). If another former Packer signs elsewhere do we get a comp pick for 2020?

It’s going to be tough for Green Bay to get any picks next year based on the net-loss formula. Za’Darius and Preston Smith alone are going to net their previous teams third-round compensatory picks. Adrian Amos likely will be worth a fourth-rounder for Chicago, as well.

Lowell from Mission Viejo, CA

Insiders: When an NFL team selects a player in the first round, there is an expectation that the player will, at a minimum, have a successful career of some significance. For those No. 1 picks, is there one position group for which there is, seemingly or statistically, an overabundance of flat-out busts?

You mean other than quarterback?

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares some of his favorite images of the 2018 season.

Willie from Hayward, WI

With a new head coach in town, offseason work out can start sooner under the current CBA. Are these workouts considered mandatory or voluntary? Do the players receive extra compensation for the additional time?

Teams with new head coaches can conduct an extra mandatory minicamp. However, the other seven weeks of the offseason program, including OTAs, remain voluntary.

Mike from Las Vegas, NV

Do you think the Packers should have had a veteran backup QB for Don Majkowski instead of that Favre kid?

Yeah. If only they held onto Mike Tomczak for one more year.

David from North Potomac, MD

“I can’t remember if I told this story before in Inbox or not. I was signing a Packers helmet for one of our departing interns when I noticed the only autograph on it at the time was Larry’s. Talk about reducing the value of Packers memorabilia with a few simple strokes of a Sharpie.” A smart intern would take some rubbing alcohol to the other signatures.

Our brand and marketing interns prefer to use pencil erasers.

Ryan from Merrimac, WI

With the Cowboys taking on the Rams for the first preseason game next year, how strange will it be for Clay Matthews’ and Randall Cobb’s first game with their new teams to be against their former teammate in a new (different) jersey as well?

Highly coincidental, but hey you’re in Hawaii.

Jordan from Lawrenceburg, KY

People often explain that their postings never get selected for the Inbox. How many posts do you usually get in a day? I bet the chances to get your post selected are slim...

At the time I started writing Saturday’s column – Friday afternoon – I’ve sifted through more than a thousand submissions dating back to Sunday. It still doesn’t compare to the regular season.

Jake from Brooklyn Park, MN

Wes, I have the answer. Try to trade for Julian Edelman. Not only would the Packers get a high-level slot receiver, they would also be able to employ a former Super Bowl MVP at backup QB. That's what everyone wants, right?

Two birds with one slot, am I right?

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

Wes, here is an answer to your question on if there was an ex-Packers that ever hurt us in the playoffs. On Jan. 10, 2010, Kurt Warner threw five touchdowns and completed 29-of-33 passes for 379 yards in a 51–45 victory over the Green Bay Packers. I believe that is enough said. Does that take me off the banned list as I have not seen one of my comments for a while?

If only the Packers would have held onto Warner for another 15 years.

Dan from Rothschild, WI

Wes, didn't a former Packer punter burn us on a fake punt in the NFC championship loss in Seattle?

That’s right. Jon Ryan. The irony of that story is former Packers executive and current Seahawks GM John Schneider was the one who pushed for the front office to cut Ryan in favor of Derrick Frost.

Tom from Blaine, WA

Seattle. 2014. Do you really want the onside kick? The onside kick is a gimmick to add drama, and in my opinion, it detracts from the importance of the first three quarters of the game. If you want to win, play like you deserve it the whole game. I don't need a chance for an under-performing team to steal a win it probably doesn’t deserve.

Slowly, but surely, you guys keep winning me over with this argument.

Ian from Charlotte, NC

I read concerns about a four-and-15 opportunity instead of an onside kick keeping offense and defense in the equation, with the disparity in quarterback quality causing a distinct advantage for some teams. To fix, simply replace the QB for the kicker. This would ensure you have only Madden ratings of 12 under center. To take it a step further, if he hands off to the punter, maybe you only need to gain 10 yards for the conversion. Thanks for entertaining me daily, II.

Problem solved. I ship off to the NFL Owners Meetings Sunday, so our next Inbox edition will come to you from beautiful, sunny Arizona. Have a great weekend, everybody.

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