Presented by

Inbox: That was a highlight in and of itself

Succeeding inside is more a mindset than anything else

210602-insider-inbox-2560
TE Josiah Deguara

Markus from Aurora, CO

Insiders, thank you for all you do! That's it. Have a great (shortened) week.

Thank you, Markus! It feels like it's already Wednesday.

Sean from Vermontville, MI

On a certain level, I can understand people's fascination with stats, but for me it boils down to the eye test and the enjoyment. Is Davante Adams going to smash some new records with a new game? What about Jonesy? Bobby T? Probably. But at the end of the season I don't look back at the stats and smile. I remember the plays, I watch the highlights, and re-live the ride. Serenity now!

That's a salient point, especially as it relates to Aaron Jones. As impressive as Jones' stat line is, it only tells one small part of a much larger story as it relates to his value to the Packers' offense. Perhaps the truest example of this could be Josiah Deguara. I'm not sure if he'll be a fantasy football marvel like Robert Tonyan last year, but Deguara brought a dimension to the Packers' offense I hadn't seen before.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

NFL Network was replaying last year's opener against the Vikings and I watched Deguara carefully each snap before he was injured. He put a lot of good things on film in a limited number of snaps. He is a fluid and dynamic athlete who was nasty at the point of attack.

The offense was better when he was on the field. There was definitely a feeling-out period in the weeks after Deguara tore his ACL. Based on the nature of the position, there will be comparisons to Kyle Juszczyk but I really think the sky is the limit for Deguara's utilization in this scheme. He still has a ways to go with his rehab but it was good to see Deguara at practice last week. That was a highlight in and of itself.

Brian from Chesapeake, VA

Do the Packers intend to make Jordan Love available to the media anytime soon? Would be nice to hear how he thinks he has improved.

We're not privy to the media schedule ahead of time but my guess is Love will speak at some point during the offseason program if Aaron Rodgers continues to sit out. We still have five more "locker room" days – today, the three days of minicamp next week and after the final OTA practice open to the media on June 15.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Part of the emotional attachment to the OTA and training camp activities is rooting for "the underdog" who is humble and has overcome much to get to this point. Do you have any names that would fit that classification for this summer?

There's quite a few this year. Seymour alumnus Jon Dietzen is near the top of the list. He's an area kid who was a versatile, longtime starter at Wisconsin before having to step away from the game for a year due to injuries. Joe Fortunato has a great story, as a journeyman long snapper who hasn't played in an actual game in five years. You still got feel-good stories such as Reggie Begelton, Dominique Dafney and Patrick Taylor, too.

The Packers were on the practice field Tuesday for the offseason program.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

Mike, you'll have to forgive my admittedly potentially biased opinion of AJ Dillon. As a BC alum, I watched our stubborn-as-an-ox, old-school, run-the-football-70%-of-the-time-no-matter-what coach run him into 10- and 11-man boxes 30 times a game for three years. Down 30? Run the ball. Under two minutes, down seven, at your own 20? Run the ball. And Dillon still averaged over 5 yards per carry. He won't compare statistically to Derrick Henry, but with AR12 under center, there's no reason he couldn't be as effective.

I'll take your word for it on the BC stuff, but I think last year provided a glimpse into what Dillon can accomplish in this offense – whether it was as a featured back (vs. Tennessee) or a complementary role (10 touches for 57 yards in the playoffs). The guy's a beast.

Wayne from Stevens Point, WI

How many games per season will it take to make a 1,000-yard rusher just another running back in the backfield? How many games per season will it take to turn a 4,000-yard passing season by a QB into just one more below-average passer? Inquiring minds want to know.

It depends on how many running backs teams want to use. If we're venturing into an era of two- or three-headed backfields, then 1,000-yard seasons could still prove elusive. I am confident 4,000-yard passing seasons will be the norm, though (236 passing yards per game). It's going to take a 5,000-yard season to really get people's attention.

Joe from Wausau, WI

What's more likely? The Packers will have one primary guy at the star position who will need to be able to do pretty much everything, or they will have multiple guys they will use depending on things like down-and-distance and opponent personnel?

I think we'll see more variance this year, if the secondary can stay healthy. It would challenge the DBs' knowledge of the defense, but I felt inside versatility was a strength of the Packers' defense in 2014 when Casey Hayward and Tramon Williams were rotating in that spot depending on matchups.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

What kind of athlete typically fills the roll of "star"? Are they more natural safeties or corners? Seems like a big role to play in on defense to basically be asked to take on several differently built athletes. Imagine being asked to guard Mike Evans 25 yards downfield, then Gronk over the middle, then Antonio Brown out of the slot, then Leonard Fournette out of the backfield. Sheesh!

There isn't a set height and weight for nickel corners but they tend to either be smaller, explosive corners who can quickly flip their hips, or savvy veterans. Safeties can play there, too, but they tend to be more hybrid linebackers who are in the box in the dime and motion out to cover tight ends or running backs. Again, there are no prerequisites to play inside. Succeeding there is more a mindset than anything else.

Tim from Champaign, IL

Responding to Johnny from Madison, WI, about the "star" position, the name is most likely a reference to the fact that some defensive systems represent the slot corner with an asterisk in the playbook. Likewise, the dime DB is sometimes represented by a dollar sign and called "money."

I couldn't find an exact origin for how "star" got its name other than it's a term Bill Belichick's staff used in Cleveland in the mid-'90s. Nick Saban, who was an assistant for the Browns, later told AL.com: "The star really is the Sam (linebacker), so (Belichick) wanted an S-word for that position. When you put six guys in the game, whether it's a sub linebacker or a sixth defensive back, we had nickel, dime, dollar. Different money terms. So we just started calling that the money position." I'm not educated enough to know whether that term started with Belichick. I simply use this as an example to provide some background for why star is called what it's called.

Craig from Milwaukee, WI

Do you think the Packers could end up having two shutdown corners?

Having Jaire Alexander for at least two more years certainly increases those odds. Jaire is like the dude who cranks a 300-yard drive off the opening shot during a four-person scramble…he takes the pressure off everyone else so they can just be the ball.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Mike and Wes, it was a very nice weekend and I hope you both enjoyed it with family/friends. Wes mentioned that Josh Jackson was very much in the discussion for a role in the secondary. Josh has started as a rookie, played special teams and done what has been asked of him. He had some injuries that slowed him as well. A new defensive coordinator gives everyone a second chance to meet new roles. Can Josh be in a new role in this defense or earn a job as a starter?

The competition is going to be stiff with all the cornerbacks back, and Eric Stokes and Shemar Jean-Charles joining the room. That being said, Jackson got reps outside with the No. 1s last week during Alexander's absence. That's important because last year he was playing behind both Keivarae Russell and a returning Tramon Williams by the NFC title game. This is a fresh start for Jackson, who's in the final year of his deal.

Hap from Graham, WA

Good morning II: the long-awaited first week of June is upon us. As much as I have loved Aaron Rodgers since the day we all witnessed his superb character sitting in the green room waiting to be drafted, I have to admit I am blown away by the recent GB/DEN trade package rumors, and I would be hitting the "enter" key on that one! Thoughts?

I have no thoughts. June 1 arrived and nothing happened…other than Spoff caught and cooked some fish.

Nicky from Hamden, CT

Why am I so scared about losing Aaron Rodgers? I had Brett Favre before him but Rodgers is it for me when it comes to growing up with a player. I'm scared also because it is so tough to find a franchise QB and I know how crippling it can be when you don't have one. But why am I so scared? Packers have historically been good at spotting QB talent…but what if that was a Ted Thompson skill? Ease my concerns here lol.

I think you're scared because he's really, really good. I'm still hopeful the Packers and Rodgers can patch things up, but even if they do, there will come a day when he won't be the QB in Green Bay anymore. That's why I've been pleading to everyone, through the highs and lows, to enjoy it.

Randall from Chicago, IL

Thinking of the upcoming 17-game season, here is a favorite never-will-be-broken-record of mine. Dick "Night Train" Lane had 14 interceptions in a 12-game season! I don't see that being broken even with five more games being played.

I agree. It's too tough for a defensive back to have 14 INTs in a season with how well QBs protect the ball these days. And when a QB throws too many picks for his team's liking, he tends to not be the QB for long.

Eric from Mequon, WI

I am a huge Urban Meyer fan so I've been watching a lot about Jacksonville. My question is why does the media (including former players) hate Tim Tebow so much? What has this guy done to be public enemy No. 1? They say he is a "media distraction" to teams but when the media is the one causing the distraction, how can they blame the player?

I always keep it simple with Tebow. Personally, I found him entertaining. I loved watching him play at Florida and in Denver. Since the beginning, Tebow has said all the right things and he's not asking for the media to engulf him. That's just what happens. Frankly, I wish Tebow would've attempted this positional switch six years ago instead of going the baseball route.

Matt from La Crosse, WI

Hey Spoff or Wes, I was wondering if position coaches ever have performance incentives included in their contracts? If so, is it based on the performance of the players or on the coach's own work with those players?

No. That would be counterproductive to the idea of "team." Coaches make what they make for as long as their team is playing football. Just win, baby.

Jon from Brooklyn Park, MN

What would a realistic trade for Julio Jones look like for the Packers?

We've already charted this territory last week with Ronald but I must ask: Doesn't ESPN have a trade generator or something where you guys can live out these fantasies? Must this be asked in Inbox? The Packers have executed like three player-for-player trades in the last decade. Wouldn't that suggest no proposed trade is "realistic"?

Richard from Madison, WI

You guys obviously appreciate sports in general and the Packers in particular, but you make your living by being excellent writers. Which do you love more, sports or language? (You can each take a shot at this if you'd like).

I love to write…and I enjoy the never-ending challenge of improving as a writer. And sports are my favorite topic to write about (if that makes sense).

Jeff from Eveleth, MN

A guy at work the other day made a statement that made me think of the Inbox. He said, "There are no stupid questions, just stupid people asking questions."

…which reminds me of my favorite axiom: "There are no stupid people…just people who choose to act stupid."

Scott from Hamlin, NY

Memorial Day is always hard for me. I lost many of my brothers while deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and live with the pain coming home instead of them. On average, 22 of us each day can't take the guilt and join those lost. It is my message to them on Memorial Day and every day it is our duty to endure so that we may honor the sacrifice they and their family made.

Our deepest sympathies, Scott. I hope the positive memories brought you comfort on Monday as well as the knowledge that every day you walk this earth brings honor to their enduring legacies.

Dwight from Brooklyn, NY

Hello, Spoff and Mike! I'm going for that greatest of prizes, the II trifecta! I've already been honored with one of my questions leading off an II column, and a couple appearing in the middle. All that remains now is for me to close out an II column. Today's my birthday. Will you fulfill my (undoubtedly pathetic) dream and have this be the last one to appear it tomorrow's column? I'll let myself out now.

Happy birthday, Dwight! Congrats on completing the hat trick.

Advertising