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Inbox: The anticipation jumps with every phase of the NFL offseason

The Packers are in a great spot to improve a flourishing roster

GM Brian Gutekunst
GM Brian Gutekunst

Steve from Dodgeville, WI

Hi Wes, hope all is well in Hodville. At Matt LaFleur's season-ending press conference he said players would be getting a couple things to work on from the coaches to be better when they come back. Any thoughts on what that might be for an established player like Kenny Clark as opposed to a rookie phenom like Jayden Reed. Thanks for all you do. GPG

Even for a Pro Bowl player like Clark, the mindset still must be how can I be better for my team next season. That drive is what pushes premier players to evolve. Aaron Jones, for example, would not be in the position he is today if he didn't keep growing his game after that first 1,000-yard season. I'm sure the notes LaFleur and his coaches pass along to a rookie like Reed are more exhaustive than veteran players, but there are always things to improve upon during the offseason. Five years covering Marcedes Lewis drilled that ideology through my orbital.

Dwayne from Rock Rapids, IA

Good morning. When thinking about the upcoming draft with the number of high picks (five in the top 100) and projected overall picks (11). I don't ever recall the Packers having so few absolute needs offensively. Needs yes but every offensive position is rock solid as is. Is this the draft that opens our SB window wide open for a number of years to come? Look forward to Inbox II daily. Thank you for what you do. GPG

Longtime readers know what my answer is going to be here. Look at any recent Super Bowl team and chances are it's recently had some solid draft classes. The Packers just had two of their best…so what does that tell you? The more hits, the fewer needs and Green Bay has hit on a lot of picks the past couple years. Now, the Packers are in a great spot to improve a flourishing roster.

Ross from Summerville, SC

Gents, with free agency starting before too long now, what part does quality of life, mystique, and fan base factor into where players choose to go? Is it more or less a factor than years past or does the money rule? Thanks.

It's definitely part of it. I don't want to give a name here – because this was a personal conversation – but a recent Packers player who signed elsewhere remarked how much more difficult transportation is in his new NFL city. If you spend five or six years here, you take for granted how there is no traffic, and everything is 15 minutes away. Cost of living is also very favorable in Green Bay. Players go where the job is, but I still think everything I just mentioned makes the Packers a solid place to work.

Craig from Sussex, WI

The NFL has created an engaging offseason with the combine, free agency, the draft and extensive coverage of training camp. I actually enjoy the offseason. Anticipation is as much fun as the real thing.

It's a slow, methodical build and the anticipation jumps with every phase of the NFL offseason – from the combine to free agency, owner meetings, draft, offseason program and eventually training camp. You blink and it's already Week 1.

TK from Grafton, WI

How to assess a defense? Let's say GB struggles in the first part of the season, does "OK" in the middle portion, and dominates in the last third. Thus, their season averages would look pedestrian, but we know a hot defense heading into the playoffs would be advantageous!

Look no further than the 2014 Green Bay Packers. While everyone wants "full consistency," teams will always take a defense peaking in time for the playoffs than a unit that dominates September and trails off.

Terry from Green Bay, WI

Good morning, Wes. With Mike out this week, I'm hoping we can break one of the rules of II. Statistics show about 95% of PATs and about 55% of two-point conversions are successful. So, if you score 100 TDs, you will theoretically score 95 points on PATs or 110 points when going for two every time. Do you think a team would ever follow the stats and go for two after every TD?

Good call not asking this when Spoff is in the state of Wisconsin. While it's an interesting question, I'd argue game situation must be considered because not every two-point attempt is equal. Who are the opponents? What is their red-zone defense like? Are we still going for two while leading by four touchdowns in the fourth quarter? Statistics matter but only tell half the story.

Joe from Hampshire, IL

Hey Wes, speaking of yoga, hamstrings, and kinesiology, I imagine Aaron Hill will make a visit to UW-Madison to "talk shop" with researchers who the NFL has granted funds to understand soft-tissue rehab and health. I recall an article on a yoga studio in De Pere that Randall Cobb and others utilized. Are current Packers are using that and other local studios?

There's a long list of players who have worked with Ryanne Cunningham at her Flow Yoga studio in De Pere, including Cobb. Football is a rough-and-tough sport, but soft-tissue injuries can subdue the biggest and strongest. I know Jaire Alexander, Kenny Clark and Eric Wilson are three current Packers who have publicized the off-the-field activities they do to keep their bodies healthy.

Dennis from De Pere, WI

Given what we've seen from Jordan Love and the elevated expectations from his play, does it make sense to get a more seasoned backup QB for next season, who can bridge a gap if needed.

I ain't looking for bridge-gappers, Dennis. I want bridge-builders and Green Bay has a good thing going right now with Love, Sean Clifford, and Alex McGough. Clifford had a great preseason and looks like a solid developmental QB. Personally, I'd rather Green Bay allocate any money a seasoned QB would require to more pressing needs. Remember, the Packers aren't out of the woods quite yet with the cap. There's still some balancing to do with the checkbook. Now, if you want to bring in a rookie QB to compete with Clifford and McGough, that's fine. Beyond that, I'm not touching that QB room.

Randy from Billings, MT

Indeed, Karl Brooks was a great find. With the defense most likely going to a 4-3 as a base, could we see Brooks as a defensive end at times? He played there in college, didn't he? Once again, position flexibility is a strength.

Perhaps, but this goes back to my answer on Colby Wooden. Everything is speculation until we get an idea of what Jeff Hafley wants to do and how this defense is going to look. But yes, both Brooks and Wooden are versatile enough to play across the defensive front.

Jim from De Pere, WI

Greetings Wes. What are your thoughts on the kicker competition between Anders Carlson and Jack Podlesny? Is it a true competition, or will Carlson have to kick poorly to lose his spot on the team?

That's difficult to say until we see Podlesny kick. Last year at this time, Parker White was on the roster but was cut in May and Carlson went without competition the rest of the year.

Brian from Fort Atkinson, WI

Good morning, Wes. Regarding the question by Ray from Phoenix yesterday, while I appreciate your answer, it didn't answer what came to mind for me when I read the question. Is it legal for Aaron Hill to contact Christian Watson regarding his hamstring and tell him what kind of offseason training he would like him to do to help strengthen it? LaFleur made it very clear in one of his pressers, figuring out CW's hamstring issues was going to be high on the list of things that will help the team.

I don't believe Hill can have those discussions yet. This is the only extended break players have in the calendar year, which is why the NFL and NFLPA prohibit instruction until the start of the offseason program. Regardless, my point was incoming coaches have many, large-scale responsibilities to prepare for the upcoming season. Put it this way – the teacher can't ask the students to begin their project until the pencils and paper are in the drawer.

Bruce from Travelers Rest, SC

Wes, I could not agree with you more about how assigning Micah Hyde a role as safety would have benefited the team. It seems like the Packers have been "chasing" that position for years now. To have had one high-quality player manning one of the two starting safety slots for a decade would have paid off directly in better safety play, but also would have freed up resources for other needs.

I remember talking to LeRoy Butler during the 2014 offseason and he was so convinced Micah could be a Pro Bowl safety. Even if that didn't come to pass, I think we all would've had a better feel for the type of player Hyde could be at this level if he'd been at safety all along. But again, that's how this game is played. I'll always tip my cap to Buffalo. The Bills made a big investment in Hyde based on his limited work at safety and it worked out brilliantly.

Thomas from Jacksonville, FL

Wes, you stated to Clipton how only when the ball is thrown to a receiver and egregious d-holding should result in first down. QBs throw to open receivers, not covered ones. Haven't QBs gambled on ref making a call and lost? Besides, DCs would coach DBs to hold best WR and let lesser WR run with trail technique. Would you hold me or Doubs? Wicks? Etc.

QBs also can throw receivers open and force the issue, but I get what you're saying. It wasn't a rhetorical question. I wasn't trying to be a Spoff-aleck. I legitimately wanted to gain more perspective on it. Even if you disagree with me, the rule isn't changing so you can take solace in that.

Jonathan from Nashville, TN

I don't understand how the $10 million dead money works. If we weren't going to re-sign Keisean Nixon, Darnell Savage, and Yosh Nijman, why wouldn't we just release them and avoid that extra hit? And if we were going to re-sign them, why not just do that? I'm sure it's more complicated than I'm making it, but the headlines make it seem like an odd situation to me.

That's money that's already been paid, so it has to go on the cap. The use of void years allows Green Bay to spread that hit out rather than taking it all upfront on one-year contracts. Whether the players re-sign or not, the Packers still have to pay the piper.

Gary from Minneapolis, MN

Could you explain the difference between a pre-June-1 cut and a post June-1 cut? What does it mean for the teams and the players, and why has the league set things up this way?

Without driving too far into the details ditch here, cutting a player with the post-June 1 designation allows a team to spread "dead money" over two seasons instead of one. It's just another means of delaying the credit-card payment.

Jerry from Rockford, IL

Good morning, Inbox. I have so many questions I hope are answered in the next few months. I also have one comment. Thank you for all you do for this organization, and for enriching us, and our lives every day. OK, so maybe I have a question. If a player is released today, can we sign him? And as always GPG.

Yes. Any released player is free to sign with another team. Mitchell Trubisky need not wait until the start of the unrestricted free agency to sign with a new team because he was released by Pittsburgh.

Dan from Tallahassee, FL

Good morning, Wes. In response to Arthur from Eau Claire, let me join the chorus pointing out that part of Vince Lombardi's compensation for coaching the Redskins was a 5% ownership stake in the team.

I'd be curious to find out what happened with that stake after Lombardi passed away. Again, those are practices I doubt you ever see again in today's NFL.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Wes, I was surprised to see you declare Justin Fields as a "top 15 QB". His career win/loss record is 10-28. His career quarterback rating is 82.3, below the league-wide average of 89.0 last season. Is your assessment based on his superior athleticism, or is it something else you have seen?

I just think Fields has all the tools to be a starting QB this league with the right coaches and personnel. Yes, the numbers are what they are, but the Bears also underwent some heavy renovations the past three seasons. Fields kept battling through it all. Also, there are so few "sure things" at QB. If there was, would the New York Giants have paid Daniel Jones all that money last offseason?

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

I, too, am expecting the Bears to select Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick. But Williams has said repeatedly he won't play for Chicago. John Elway and Eli Manning managed to steer clear of certain franchises. Will history repeat itself?

That sounds like a Chicago problem, as I humbly relinquish my hypothetical position as GM and retake my spot as a casual observer.

Chris from Marshall, WI

Since KC going for a three-peat will be talked about all next season, I did some research on teams that have made the Super Bowl at least three times (Super Bowl era only – Packers three-peat were mentioned in an earlier II). Three teams have accomplished it: Miami Dolphins (1971-73 seasons); they lost the first and won the next two with '72 season being their undefeated season. Buffalo Bills (1990-93 seasons) lost all four. New England Patriots (2016-18 seasons) won the first, lost the second, and won the 3rd.

Making that even more impressive is the competition the Chiefs have faced in the AFC, dispatching several of the league's top QBs along the way. Kansas City truly is the NFL's final boss right now.

Lane from Monroe, WI

Hey Wes, now that the Packers' coaching staff is set, when will the next press conference be for coaches? I'm very excited to hear from LaFleur, his thoughts on Jeff Hafley, the offseason, the draft, whatever it may be. I'm even more excited to listen to Hafley as he seems very energetic and knowledgeable about the game.


Etienne from St. Joachim de Tourelle, Canada

Any concern over AI making an appearance in II?

Maybe we'll let ChatGBP handle Saturdays. Have a great day, everyone.

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