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Inbox: That says everything about him

It takes two to dominate on defense

RB AJ Dillon
RB AJ Dillon

Robin from Ashburn, VA

What is your greatest expectation this season?

I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams…I hope.

Rick from Trempealeau, WI

Hey Wes, do you relax a bit this week knowing your lunch is safe? And would you agree that a DB's best friend is a strong pass-rush? Do you see the boys in the back giving extra encouragement to the guys upfront as sort of the flip-side of a QB rewarding his offensive line?

I never get complacent with my lunch. Spoff could be around any corner at any time. Everyone knows the best defenses have a pass rush and secondary that complement one another. It takes two to dominate on defense, which is why I felt so strongly about LeRoy Butler's Pro Football Hall of Fame candidacy a few years ago. The Packers didn't have the No. 1 defense in football that year just because of Reggie White. It took a superstar in the secondary, as well. In 2009-10, Green Bay had Charles Woodson at the peak of his powers working in concert with Clay Matthews.

Phillip from Wonder Lake, IL

Who could be the star of the Packers' team besides Jordan Love?

Rashan Gary. He lives and breathes ball, and his teammates respect the heck of him. You always know what you're getting with Gary, too. The guy works for every penny on his paystub. If Gary stays healthy and puts it all together this year, he has everything it takes to be a star in this league.

Hannes from Vienna, Austria

Good morning II. I hope following question does not sound too much like wishful thinking for the Packers 2024 season: Has there ever been a team with three 1,000-yard players receiving?

It's happened five times in NFL history, two of which included future Packers. In 1980, John Jefferson joined Kellen Winslow and Charlie Joiner to become the first receiving trio to register 1,000-yard receiving seasons with San Diego. Eric Metcalf combined with Terance Mathis and Bert Emanuel in 1995 to complete the 1,000-yard trifecta in Atlanta. Other teams to achieve the feat were Washington in 1989, Indianapolis in 2004 and Arizona in 2008. Given the pass-heavy nature of the league, it's somewhat surprising we're in the biggest lull between trifectas since Don Coryell's Chargers first accomplished it.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Let me get this straight: The Packers have three kickers in camp – one from the Packers, one from the Vikings, and one from the Lions. What will it take for Gutey to get Cairo Santos (Bears kicker) into camp?

Well, there's still another month before the start of training camp. I chortled a little when the Packers claimed James Turner from Detroit. It's funny to see Green Bay finally acquire players from other NFC North teams after years of Minnesota, Chicago and Detroit jumping on so many former Packers.

Stephie Rae from Flowery Branch, GA

Hi Wes, Hope you're well. Thanks for keeping us entertained and engaged. Referencing Sam from Skokie's question about the kicker competition, after enlightening us about his history, you answered: "To win these jobs, specialists mostly need a chip and a chair. James Turner now appears to have both." Please clarify do you mean by that? Thanks!

This went over a lot of people's heads. It's a callback to legendary poker player Jack Straus winning the 1982 World Series of Poker Main Event after being down to one chip earlier in the tournament. It's just another way of saying all you need is an opportunity.

Rich from Manitou Springs, CO

Good morning II. It appears there will be a lot of messaging going on during the season as to how teams will adapt to the new kickoff rule. It looks like the Chiefs will use a DB to do the duty instead of Harrison Butker. Do you see the Packers maybe doing something similar? Using somebody to prevent our kicker from getting dinged up or more serious injury having to make possibly more tackles? Kind of make sense in a way as to not jeopardize our kicker any more than you have to.

It may sound like a good idea, but that player still needs to put the ball inside the 20-yard line. We'll see how the Packers handle it. We didn't see any kickoffs during offseason practices open to the media, but Jason Wilde and I asked Zayne Anderson about the upcoming changes. He joked about asking Anders Carlson for some pointers while adding this on the kickoff play: "It might feel a little awkward at times because guys who've been in the league have been doing the same thing forever. It changes a lot of the techniques but it's also kind of learning on the fly, too. Everyone's learning the same, coaches included. So, you're trying a lot of things on the fly, which has been awesome for these OTAs to see what works, what doesn't work, watch film from the UFL, see what's working there."

David from Bastrop, TX

Following up on the QB pay discussion and how QB1 salaries eat up 30-40% of the cap, would the league ever consider something similar to the MLS designated-player structure where a team can pay up to three players literally any amount they want, but that player's cap hit counts at the max salary budget charge (highest allowable value per non-DP). It's convoluted, but the gist is that you could pay one player QB1 money, but it would hit the cap at the level of the second-highest paid player.

That seems more likely than capping a QB's earning potential, but it still would be up to owners to approve such a measure. I could see them being reluctant because it not only would increase player costs but also give an advantage to a team like Kansas City with arguably the league's top QB.

Terrance from Sun Prairie, WI

Who will be a surprise on defense this year?

Colby Wooden. He had a nice offseason and I think the added weight will help him.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

Which one of the rookies has been the most enjoyable to interview and why?

Oh, there have been numerous but I gotta give a shout out to MarShawn Lloyd, who was generous with his time to help me with the post-draft feature I wrote on his family. He reminds me of Aaron Jones – kind, approachable and super respectful. I also enjoyed talking with Kitan Oladapo at rookie minicamp and heard great things about Evan Williams, though I haven't had a chance to interview him yet.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Wes, I have seen posts of AJ Dillon working out and getting for the upcoming season. He has been a valuable running back for this team since being drafted and positive leader on and off the field. Even with injuries last year, AJ had a down year. The negativity from some fans and media is a little over the top in my opinion. He loves Green Bay, his team, and community. He would be my choice for one to watch to have an outstanding season. Thanks!

Dillon has been a consummate professional through it all. His re-signing flew under the radar this offseason, but I truly felt like Dillon had unfinished business in Green Bay. Dillon said he's in the best shape of his life and I believe him. He definitely looked leaner this spring. He's also reliable in many of the overlooked aspects of his position, including pass protection and special teams. Dillon is ready and willing to do whatever the coaches ask of him. I think that says everything about him, especially at this juncture of Dillon's career.

Bruce from Appleton, WI

How would you rate the Packers' receiving corps against other years?

Top down, it's the deepest I've ever covered. The Packers have had All-Pros and Pro Bowlers but nothing quite like this from Nos. 1-8.

Dave from Huntsville, AL

How did Alex McGough look at receiver during the underwear league?

McGough (hamstring) unfortunately was one of the few injury casualties of the offseason program, so we didn't really get to see him at receiver yet. He'll look to come back healthy next month and give it his best shot.

Jake from Colorado Springs, CO

I'm hoping to be able to take my two young sons to see the joint practice with the Broncos in Denver this August. I see the practice will be on August 16. Any idea when the time will be announced, and how one might go about angling for a few autographs effectively at this type of event? Thanks!

According to the Broncos' website, practices start at 10 a.m. local with gates opening at 9. Tickets are complimentary but required for entry. I have no clue about autographs. Maybe check Reddit.

Larry from Canandaigua, NY

Do we have a mean and nasty snot-bubbler on the O-line? If so, whom might it be? Really enjoy your work. GPG

I don't know if he's a traditional "snot-bubbler," but Elgton Jenkins plays with an edge that we rarely discuss. You don't get under Aaron Donald's skin the way Jenkins did by accident.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Wes, aside from signing Jordan Love to a contract, what is the most important thing the Packers must do before training camp?

Stay healthy.

Joe from Liberty Township, OH

The Packers are regularly criticized for not already having a new deal in place with Jordan Love. Yes, they've had since early May and had the ability to negotiate prior to that, but both sides have to agree. Joe Burrow got more money by waiting for Jalen Hurts and Justin Herbert to sign their deals. Jared Goff and Trevor Lawrence recently signed new contracts, but Tua and Dak are still out there. Maybe Love's team is waiting for them to set the bar even higher.

I have no knowledge of negotiations, but it also wouldn't surprise me if we don't hear a peep until a contract is signed, sealed, and delivered. Whatever happens, don't confuse silence with stillness.

Gary from Fayetteville, NC

Hi Mike and Wes! With all the questions about capping quarterbacks' pay, it occurs to me there is a certain equalizing effect on not capping their pay...very few teams have a quarterback of elite level as they are hard to come by, so the teams that have their guy must pay dearly hence they can't keep all the other top talent they may have. That, in turn, allows other teams without "the guy" to afford those players, thus keeping things a little more even. Does this make any sense to you guys?

It does…and it also seems the teams with "the guy" at quarterback often outperform those without.

Gregg from Arlington Heights, IL

Wes, who was the first Packers player featured in your first article? What were your questions, what were the answers, and what did you learn about your job that you could use moving forward?

I wrote a smattering of articles on the Packers during my first six years at the Press-Gazette, which makes it difficult to identify one single story. What I vividly recall from my first training camp in 2012 was writing my first story on Jarrett Bush getting the first shot at the starting perimeter cornerback job that Charles Woodson vacated with his move to safety in the base defense.

John from Free Soil, MI

Dead-zone comment: Late-round network draft coverage has always bothered me. The draft is for many is the single BIGGEST day in their lives and I had to listen to the NFL Network crew complain about the aroma and "finishing on a high note." Some don't even get their names mentioned. I don't expect complete analysis of each pick, but there is near-complete ignorance of some picks. I find myself feeling for these late-rounders. Kudos to you for giving us the understanding they all have stories.

We're all human. The only thing that bothers me is when analysts act like fortune-tellers…and they can act that way because their commentary usually goes in one ear of the audience and out the other. Cliff did a great job calling everyone to the carpet last month.

Mike from Franksville, WI

Funny you think of the Raiders as the in-laws to Ron Wolf's Packers, because I've always thought that part of the reason John Madden loved Brett Favre so much was because Brett reminded him of his quarterback, Kenny Stabler. Both were devil-may-care southern boys who had an exciting, win-at-all-cost style of play teammates loved.

And both teams won…a lot.

Thomas from Jacksonville, FL

C'mon, man! No one has mentioned the St. Louis (now Arizona) Cardinals, 1898, as one of the great original NFL teams. The Giants didn't exist until 1925, Steelers and Eagles, 1933.

You have no idea how far my pettiness runs for any team named the "St. Louis Cardinals."

Rick from Trempealeau, WI

Wes, you jokester. I gotta admit I about spit my coffee when I read "These games should be about rewarding far-flung fans and expanding the global footprint of American football more than the almighty dollar."

I know, I know…but a staff writer can dream.

Richard from Menasha, WI

I like Lori from Brookfield questions. There is an obvious follow-up question. What kind of BREAD?

Honey wheat!

Phil from Madison, WI

What happens on the grass!? What happens on the grass!? Don't you mean what happens on the Desso Grassmaster system of Kentucky bluegrass interwoven with millions of artificial grass fibers? Or FieldTurf artificial grass over a bed of tiny rubber pellets when on the road?

Sure, if you're not into the whole brevity thing…

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