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Inbox: That’s what you want to hear

RB Aaron Jones
RB Aaron Jones

Jeff from Madison, WI

Nine days until the draft.

April 25 cannot get here fast enough. Good morning!

Brad from Escanaba, MI

With Blake Martinez adding muscle in his offseason training this year, will it slow him down for coverage with the faster tight ends in the league?

Not necessarily, but the sub-defense nature of the league also pits more cornerbacks and hybrid safeties against those hybrid tight ends on an every-down basis. Martinez carries the weight well. I think the adjustments he made this offseason will benefit him in the long run.

Richard from Greenwich, NY

Hi guys, there's always talk about players making the Year 2 "leap" on-field. Are there any Year 2 guys that look significantly bigger/stronger after the first week of workouts?

I haven’t seen Aaron Jones yet but it sounds like the third-year running back had quite an offseason, according to his quarterback. That’s what you want to hear. Jones strengthened his lower body last year and returned more toned this spring. I’m not sure what the media availability is going to look like for next week’s voluntary minicamp, but I’m excited to see him work.

Kary from Sheboygan, WI

Now that we know the extent of Rodgers' injury, is there any doubt the Packers should have benched him after Arizona with the "hopes" of losing to everyone? If they do drop the Jets and Falcons games, they are around pick No. 5!

You play to win the game. Hello? You play to win the game! You don’t play to just play it. That’s the great thing about sports. You play to win. When you start telling me it doesn’t matter, then retire. Get out. Because it matters.

Dan from Cross Plains, WI

Spoff mentioned the Packers potentially holding on to some of their cap space for an upcoming contract extension. In your opinion, who would you want to see get that extension?

The Packers have plenty of worthy candidates from their 2016 draft class. Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell are not only starters, but also the bedrock of Mike Pettine’s defense now. Free agency is fun and exciting, but the telltale sign of a fertile development program is the ability to lock up your own.

Mark from Dallas, TX

In 2009, TT spent two first-rounders on a NT and OLB, the key positions in then-new DC Dom Capers' defensive scheme. Any positions you think deserve particular attention due to their importance to new coach LaFleur's offense, or perhaps second-year DC Pettine's defense? Particularly wondering about the former, if there are any major known differences between the personnel he wants vs. what McCarthy did.

I think the Packers are in a good place with Pettine’s defense. They gave him two ascending edge rushers and a well-rounded safety. It’s hard to make any strong predictions about the type of players the Packers will pinpoint for LaFleur’s offense, but whatever direction they go in the draft will tell you a lot about the vision.

Roger from Rice Lake, WI

A lot of talk suggesting the Packers should think about drafting a QB to replace an aging AR. Is there any feel as to the possibility of Boyle being that replacement? Not much has been said about him but I would like to think he could be the one. Thoughts?

I detest the word “replacement” because really what’s a replacement? Was I a replacement for Vic? We do entirely different jobs. Furthermore, how many times in NFL history has a team successfully acquired “a replacement”? Tim Boyle is a prospect with a lot of great tools to develop. That’s the extent of it.

Chun from San Gabriel, GA

Who should we expect to make a big jump in Year 2 of Pettine's defense? Oren Burks?

Bingo. That’s my pick. Like Martinez, Burks is an intelligent player with a lot of ability. He brings some serious talent to the party once the game slows down for him.

Dan from Catonsville, MD

Can you fill us in on the progress of J'Mon Moore?

We’ll get a better idea of that once we get to training camp, but I’m expecting him to make a big jump in Year 2. Moore is as talented as any receiver in that room. He just needs to put it all together. I think Alvis Whitted will be a great addition for Moore.

Michael from Pewaukee, WI

Why does anyone show up to the draft in person? It's probably nerve-wracking as hell, being monitored by hi-def cameras for every minute you aren't selected. Joe Thomas had it right. Go fishing in a warm place with your family.

I can see why prospects would want to attend the draft. You have to remember they’ve spent their entire lives working for this moment – to be drafted into the NFL. If it’s me, I’d love to be sitting at a table with my family and loved ones who helped me get to this point. There’s some risk involved, but I think it’s worth it to walk across that stage.

Dennis from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

I understand scouts are assigned to an area, and they can't specialize by position or even position group as that would bloat the size of the staff and likely lower the quality as a whole, but since QB is such an important position...when it's time to draft one does the team have more than one scout look at quarterbacks they are considering drafting so as to get multiple perspectives on them?

My answer is basically the same as what I said Saturday. There is a hierarchy – no different than your workplace. College scouts handle their regions, but Brian Gutekunst, Milt Hendrickson, Jon-Eric Sullivan, John Wojciechowski, Matt Malaspina and Sam Seale are all following prospects closely, as well. A lot of opinions are taken into account before Gutekunst turns the pick in.

Robert from Flat Rock, MI

Do you think the Packers and other teams look at the most recent past drafts to try to determine how the draft will play out? And if they do, how far would they go back?

That’s a big part of player evaluation. Gutekunst mentioned an exercise he and his scouts perform during the offseason is reviewing previous drafts and determining where they might have missed on prospects who either flourished or didn’t work out at the next level. You can’t predict the future, but you can learn from the past.

Brian from Fanwood, NJ

With the draft coming up, teams have been having pre-draft visits with potential draftees. Is there any actual listing of the players the Packers have brought in leading up to the draft or do we have to go solely on the "sources" that report who is visiting which teams?

NFL teams have to report pre-draft visits to the league, but they are under no obligation to announce them. That’s why you see lists pop up through other media entities.

Bob from Lexington, SC

The sky is falling! Drew Lock visits GB! Possibilities: (A) Replace Rodgers. (B) Becomes new backup? Or (C) Gute is messing with everyone's minds, and just got everyone looking for a QB panicking, and maybe offering GB a great trade? (D) Changed the current subject about McCarthy and Rodgers? I believe it is C. What do you make of all this?

I’ll answer this with a line Gutekunst used at the combine about his philosophy with pre-draft visits: “I think it was just me wanting to get to know these guys a little bit better. I remember one year I brought in some quarterbacks who had been at the combine and (Ted Thompson) was so mad at me for doing that. We try to get a healthy mix. There are some guys we want to bring in to answer some questions that might be high draft picks.” The pre-draft process is about gaining information. Visits are another avenue to do that.

Jim from Woodbury, MN

If you got the chance to put any former Packer in the Packers Hall of Fame who is not already enshrined, who would it be?

Earl Dotson.

Alex from Kentwood, MI

I gotta say, I think Gutey is ready for some Ficken competition come training camp! Also no worries, I already saw myself out along with everyone else who submitted a Ficken response.

Oh, how I am looking forward to these comments in the coming weeks and months. Ficken has a great leg but accuracy has been an issue during his short NFL career. I’m curious what played into Gutekunst’s decision to claim him because I still view Mason Crosby as “the man.” He had a nightmare game against Detroit last year, but otherwise made like 88 percent of his field goals.

Sean from Glen Ellyn, IL

So in the NBA teams will trade for picks a handful of years down the road, but in the NFL it's rare to see picks traded beyond the next draft. Any thoughts as to why?

NFL teams have more draft equity than the NBA with seven guaranteed picks each year. It’s also more of a young man’s game. You need to keep those draft pipelines full.

Steve from Neenah, WI

Do you think the Packers might trade up in the draft?

Yes. I also think it’s possible they trade back. It’s also not out of the realm of possibilities they stand pat. The one option I am taking off the table is the Packers passing on their two first-round selections…or trading them for a pair of cruise tickets.

Joshua from Houston, TX

Did y'all make sure to get a Hunter Renfrow Primer due to our slot receiver need?

No, we made it because he’s Hunter “Freakin’” Renfrow.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

I know it's still just workouts and such, but I'm curious if there will be any ML press conferences in the near future? I've enjoyed him talking about his hiring and the coaching staff, but I’m still trying to get a feel for the new coach football-wise. I know that will become clearer once August arrives, but I'm hoping for a few more opportunities to hear from him about the football side of things before the draft. Any chance that will happen?

Matt LaFleur will speak again after the NFL Draft wraps up on April 27. Gutekunst will do his pre-draft news conference next Monday and then address the media again after all three days of the draft.

Ryan from Noblesville, IN

Sad day in Paris with the Notre Dame Cathedral catching fire. I know as they were trying to put out the fire they were also rushing to get as much artwork and relics out. Have either of you been there?

I have not, but my wife was there about 10 years ago. She said it was an incredible experience. That’s a terrible, terrible loss for history and the arts.

Eric from Reedsburg, WI

When can we expect another podcast?

Today. Spoff and I recorded a new episode on Monday afternoon. Also, be sure to subscribe and like on iTunes.

Tim from Green Bay, WI

Have you guys played football and if so, at what level?

Yes. Flag.

Megan from De Pere, WI

What is the best part of working for the Packer organization?

No layoffs. That sounds basic, but you tend to place a lot of value in job security after working for a newspaper for 10 years.

Scott from Salem, OR

Is the pep really prior to the season opener in Chicago that Mark Murphy mentioned in his monthly Q&A going to be a “special one” and in addition to the typical three per season of the past few years?

If by “special one” you’re referring to whether Spoff will bust out a new pair of slacks for the occasion, then yes. I have no clue how many pep rallies there will be this year. Hopefully, there are enough to keep the fans happy but not too many that I can’t occasionally enjoy a relaxing Saturday night on the road.

Bob from Chilton, WI

If the Packers draft North Dakota State QB Easton Stick, will Weston interview Easton? Or will never the twain meet?

The “East Meets West” interview – coming to a packers.com near you.

Dean from Sandusky, OH

NFL schedule release this week (hopefully) and draft next week. It's like being a kid in a candy store. Football is back and I am excited. Other than it ending, what is your favorite part of the offseason?

The lost PTO.

Eli from Yardley, PA

Wes, with Hodor gone – who keeps pushing Bran's wheelchair around Winterfell. There is two feet of snow and Bran keeps showing up in random spots during obscure times with no explanation how he got pushed there. I'm baffled by this. What's your theory?

That might explain why he was just sitting in the courtyard the entire episode.

Joe from Sun City West, AZ

Insiders, I do not take any stock in all these mock drafts. Now with that being said, there is one moment that still amazes me and brings a smile. Three days before the 2005 draft, Mike Mayock stated that Aaron Rodgers would be taken by the Packers with the 24th pick. Rich Eisen nearly fell off his chair laughing. Well, we all know how that turned out!

He fixes the cable?

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