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Inbox: That's where players learn the most

The NFL Draft is a great opportunity for those willing to think outside the box

G Jon Runyan
G Jon Runyan

Christopher from Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

Wes's comment about No. 23: "He doesn't seek out TV cameras, so it can be easy to overlook Alexander's work" got me wondering: Whilst Alexander's play is exceptional, whenever he's in the limelight, Jaire comes across as super confident. He called out Justin Jefferson and lived up to the psych. How can he show both sides of the coin?

I've said this before, but Jaire Alexander is probably the most unique athlete I've covered at any level. Jaire believes, with every ounce of his being, that he is the best corner in the NFL. At the same time, he would be totally fine if nobody ever wanted to talk to him about it. But when the cameras call, Alexander does not waver or equivocate when asked about his playstyle and mindset. He feels he is the best and backs it up – with his words in the locker room, his demeanor on the field and his play when the ball is snapped.

Rudy from Cedarburg, WI

If the offensive line plans to have the five best of the players on the field, will Zach Tom be one of them? He seemed to do a creditable job when thrown into the left tackle (most difficult part of the O-line) with almost no practice time. With that said, Tom should be considered to be high on the list, or no?

I think so, and I'm sure we'll keep talking about Tom's versatility all summer until he settles in somewhere. He was the starting right tackle last week when Yosh Nijman was lining up at left tackle. So, he'll be in the conversation there and rotating in with the ones throughout training camp at other posts, as well.

Tom from Plymouth, MN

I have been hearing a lot of people stating certain Packers are not going to do well because they haven't had enough starts during their careers. However, when I look at most positions, starting isn't always the most important thing. The number of snaps is what is important, and most of the players on the current roster have had a fair number of snaps, even if they have only been in the league for a year or two. Would you agree?

Wholeheartedly. Practice is essential but the snaps a young player sees in those 17 regular-season games are the secret sauce. That's where players learn the most. While Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs often spring to mind, I think about Jon Runyan's rookie year. He didn't start a single game in 2020 but played 160 crucial snaps in a pinch. Runyan used that experience and came back much improved in Year 2. He's been a dependable starting guard ever since.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Did you see the video of Christian Watson racing Simone Biles? I'm so glad to see the team hanging out and having fun off the field. Did the mayor of Door County organize that trip?

I'm not sure who was the organizer but that was pretty cool, wasn't it? I thought Simone might get Watson, too, after he stumbled out of the blocks. As somebody who was born here, it's great to see Watson, Jordan Love and several other young players stay in town over Memorial Day weekend and enjoy everything this area has to offer.

Bob from Myrtle Beach, SC

I don't want a veteran QB or WR. Don't need veteran WR taking away snaps from developing WR. Don't need media and fans calling for Jordan Love to be benched and bringing in the vet every time JL throws an interception. Take this season as a time for a young team to gel.

Sure, but I wasn't given a "neither" option. As I continue to shout from the south end zone, I'm perfectly content with Sean Clifford and Danny Etling backing up Love this season. Bringing in a veteran receiver, however unlikely it may be, makes more sense in my mind.

Dave from Waterford, WI

How is Love looking so far in training camp?

Love and the offense got off to a slow start Tuesday but finished strong in red zone. I'm champing at the bit to learn more on Wednesday.

Megan from Minnetonka, MN

What's the biggest improvement in Jordan Love's game since he got to GB?

Footwork and it's had a domino effect on the rest of Love's game, especially his accuracy.

Ed from Minneapolis, MN

Hey Wes, thanks for taking the Com while Spoff is away. AR12 had years to hone certain skills such as hard counts, 12 men on the field, etc. Is JL10 on his way to developing these tools, or is the sample size too small to determine?

I think so. Love needs to first walk as a QB1 before running the marathon, but the ability to manipulate a defense with one's mind may be the most valuable thing a young QB can learn from Rodgers. Because nobody in NFL history does it better than AR12.

Larry from Chubbuck, ID

I hope everyone had an enjoyable and safe weekend. Several analysts have stated with Love at quarterback, the Packers will attack the middle of the field more. I have not been able to think of why that would be. Do you have the answer?

This draft class. The addition of Jayden Reed, Luke Musgrave, and Tucker Kraft better positions the Packers to attack defenses between the hashes. Reed said last week he's primarily been working the slot this spring. That's a great place for him. That's one area of the field Green Bay's offense has struggled to infiltrate in recent years.

Monty from Hazen, ND

I recently saw a ranked list of NFL coaches that had Matt LaFleur ranked 17th. How is that possible? 47-18 record with two NFC Championship Game appearances and playoffs in three of four years. Matt may be the Rodney Dangerfield of NFL coaches.

Fine. Sure. Cool. Whatever. Just remember that if the Packers exceed expectations this season.

John from Livermore, CA

I know it is still early in the offseason, but I wanted to get your gauge on the status of the special teams. Any surprises or standouts for you yet? Also, a tip of the hat to Brian from Twain Harte, CA. I appreciate the compliment.

I'm excited about the whole unit. Not only because of the returning veterans but also the young players who grew over the course of last season. For example, Innis Gaines and Tariq Carpenter came out of nowhere to become two of Green Bay's top guys by Week 18. One year ago, it was Rich Bisaccia, Byron Storer and Keisean Nixon setting the standard for the first-year players during OTAs. Now, it's Nixon, Rudy Ford, Eric Wilson, Isaiah McDuffie, Dallin Leavitt, Corey Ballentine, Tyler Davis, and the list goes on.

Todd from Laval, Quebec

Greetings Insiders, with regards to the new fair-catch rule, might it not take away some of the advantage of late-season outdoor games when the kicker might not even be able to reach the end zone? How many times might a kickoff at Lambeau land about the 5-yard line and a fair catch puts the offense on the 25 when it might not have made it to the 20? For dome teams, it won't matter. But a dome team playing in Green Bay in December…

Perhaps. Regardless of the season, I could see the change reducing the number of directional "Mortar" kicks we see attempted to the sidelines. To me, it wouldn't be worth the risk of kicking out of bounds if the returner can simply call fair catch and move the ball to the 25.

Joe from Ashburn, VA

Who stood out in OTAs?

Lukas Van Ness. It's not a prerequisite for the top pick to make an impact during the first team practice open to the media, but it helps.

Jackie from New Freedom, PA

Which areas of the offense and the defense are the Packers' greatest strengths right now?

Running back and cornerback have the most proven experience but the Packers' depth on the offensive line is unique. It's not often a team fields a unit with two former Pro Bowlers and seven veterans who have either started games in the NFL or were drafted into the league.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

Well, you don't have to really look too hard to realize that Samori Toure is the leader, by multiple sources, for "Underwear MVP " so far. Our beachcomber buddy gifted us that term! On the money, for sure!

That he is…and it's not a bad place to be for a seventh-round pick who'll again need to earn his spot at a crowded position this summer.

Bob from Emmaus, PA

Good morning, II. Looking at the roster, what are the chances "9, 10, 11" is a winning combination?

Looks like a good set of "Pick 3" lotto numbers to me.

Pat from Hudson, WI

The 2025 NFL Draft provides great opportunities for hotels in surrounding communities like Appleton, Manitowoc, and Neenah to offer "stay and play" packages that include rooms, transportation to and from Lambeau, coupons to local attractions and restaurants, or maybe even entice people to book a week's vacation in Door County or the UP to coincide with the daft. In my opinion, the marketing options for the draft are endless!

To be successful you must accept all challenges, right? The draft is a great opportunity for those willing to think outside the box.

Jim from Tucson, AZ

Mud Bowl, Ice Bowl, whatever. What are your thoughts on heavy snow? I think it levels the game between good and average teams. Generally, nobody gets hurt. From a fan's point of view, it can be the most "fun" game to watch all year.

Nothing beats a good snow game…well, unless it's at MetLife Stadium. Then, it's like driving through a freezing rain. Snow is football's great equalizer. It reduces the speed element and has the ability to turn sprint relays into a wrestling match.

Tim from Clear Lake (near Grafton, IA), IA

Just helping with Jerry from Rockford's question about NFL players during WWII. Yes, Cliff's greatest book about the "Greatest Story in Sports" does address this. The entire league was impacted. Then, in the late 1950s and '60s, Ray Nitschke and Boyd Dowler had to get leaves in order to play in the '61 championship game. More famously, Paul Hornung, with the help of President Kennedy, who was friendly with Lombardi, was allowed extra leave in order to play. Highly recommend this book.

I knew that last part but am unfamiliar with how the Packers, and NFL, operated during WWII. I desperately need to find time to comb through Cliff's book(s) again this summer.

Judi from Caledonia, WI

Thanks for all you do. I thought Mr. Dickey donned No. 12?

Lynn did…from 1980-85. However, Dickey wore No. 10 during his first four – mostly injury-riddled – seasons in Green Bay. Dickey told Marty Hendricks in 2014 that he asked Bart Starr and Zeke Bratkowski if he could switch to "12" in 1980 to change his luck. It obviously worked.

Johnny from Fort Myers, FL

Re: Kevin from Rockton, IL, by the grace of God, I made the football team at Marquette University in 1976 as a middle linebacker. I was the first ever to play the position having been born with cerebral palsy in my legs. To better that? My tutor was Ray Nitschke, who befriended me in 1970! I have pictures!

That's one heck of a mentor.

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, UK

Apart from the press box, what is your favorite place at Lambeau Field and why?

I find the large end-zone openings to the stadium bowl on the concourse level to be breathtaking. There's just something special about that view. You can feel the history and nostalgia.

Larry from Chippewa Falls, WI

Have either of you heard what Jim Leonhard is doing right now? Seems kind of a mystery.

I'm not sure what he's doing at this very moment, but Leonhard is taking the year off from coaching after undergoing hip surgery. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Leonhard had a separation agreement with Wisconsin and is covered financially through January 2024.

Terry from Green Bay, WI

Good morning, II. I read II every day but must have missed something. "No AI"? What did poor Allen do to get himself banned?

Practice, man.

Chuck from New Berlin, WI

Greetings II, could you please explain the differences between the Insider and Outsider Inbox? Thanks so much.

For those new to the party, Outsider Inbox is a six-part column that runs over the Fourth of July (July 3-8 this year). It includes readers' responses to 12 questions I pose and concludes with the naming of the highly prestigious "Insider Inbox MVP" award on the last day. It's completely reader-driven…all the way down to the MVP.

Dale from Prescott, WI

Mike, you should've hit the crappie bite pretty good, lilacs are still blooming. Got a fishing report for us?

You'll get that answer, and many more, when Michael Spofford steps back behind the Inbox wheel tomorrow. Have a great Tuesday.

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