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Inbox: The definition of the position has evolved

You never know what life will throw your way

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TE Dominique Dafney

Bill from Ames, IA

First, of course, a big thank you for all you do, year-round. Not really a question, but…You have no idea how happy I was to wake up this morning and find a horse and not Aaron Rodgers was the leading story on every sports feed. Thank you, God!

I'm with you, Bill. Between horse-gate and Tim Tebow reportedly signing with the Jaguars, Monday was a nice break from the 24/7 coverage of Rodgers' whereabouts.

Al from Green Bay, WI

As we wait and wonder who will be under center when the Packers open the 2021 season, perspective requires we recall that a year ago we were wondering whether there would even be a 2020 season. We're already in a better place!

You never know what life will throw your way but that's the beauty of it.

Mark from Westminster, CO

What position on the Packers do you feel has been a juggernaut over the past decade besides the QB position? I'm thinking left tackle or center but want to say a WR. What are your thoughts.

It's impressive what the Packers have accomplished with David Bakhtiari at left tackle, but center really stands out to me. Everyone, myself included, was writing in the summer of 2014 about how JC Tretter had been anointed the team's starting center (even though the Packers weren't using that terminology). Corey Linsley was quietly drafted in the fifth round to be a backup, and one knee injury to Tretter later, the rookie out of Ohio State was snapping to Aaron Rodgers in the opener against Seattle. The moral of the story? Giving yourself options is never a bad thing, especially when the offensive line accounts for nearly 50% of your personnel on the field.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

One thing I noticed this offseason is that we seem have gone back to no FBs on the roster. Does it seem with both our TE and WR groups expanding and returning from injury, there may not be space for a FB this year?

The Packers merged fullback with the tight end room last season, with Josiah Deguara, John Lovett and Dominique Dafney all playing that pseudo-H-back role. There's still a place in the NFL for fullbacks but the definition of the position has evolved. It was cool to see Dafney – a special-teamer without a fixed position in college – thrive there.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Is there an advantage to being drafted in the seventh round vs. being a coveted UDFA? Are draft picks given a longer window to prove their value? Is there a different level of guaranteed contract? Are players hoping their name gets called at the end of the seventh round, or are they fine becoming a UDFA with a team who has really had their eye on them?

I think so. I've talked with plenty of agents and undrafted free agents over the years who say they prefer to choose their destination, but I'm a bird-in-the-hand type. I'd prefer the guaranteed five-figure signing bonus and bet on my skill to prove to the team I deserve to stick around. Plus, wouldn't you want to play for a team that valued your talent enough to use a draft pick on you? I would.

Chris from River Falls, WI

What is our largest remaining weakness after the draft?

There aren't many glaring holes other than finding a No. 3 quarterback. An argument could be made for another defensive lineman or inside linebacker but the Packers have a lot of options.

Tony from Chanhassen, MN

What are the chances Yosh Nijman starts the opener? Seems a bit overlooked in the offseason.

*I don't know whether Yosh Nijman will be starting at tackle in Week 1, but with all this talk about the six offensive linemen the Packers have drafted the past two years, don't sleep on the former undrafted free agent. Green Bay has invested a lot of time and energy into Nijman's development – and for good reason. He's another one to watch. *

Ethan from Germantown, IL

Good morning Insiders! Not a question but just wanted to say how happy I️ am that my buddy Royce Newman got drafted by us.

Congrats!

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

If you had to pick one city for the Packers to play a primetime road game this season, where would it be?

If I'm covering the game in-person, it's absolutely, positively New Orleans. NOLA is in my top three of favorite cities to cover an NFL game and it was disappointing not being able to make the trip last year.

Steve from Wichita, KS

As much as it would sting to see Rodgers play in a different uniform, this team and organization has never been about one player. Yes, if AR12 is gone, there will be growing pains but look at this roster. Solid top to bottom.

I've said it since the morning after the Packers re-signed Aaron Jones – this team is built to compete to win a championship in 2021. Again, I get why the relationship between Rodgers and the organization is a story, but there's very little that can be added to that discussion right now. And most who have tried over the past few days have either A) been incorrect in their reporting or B) contributed nothing constructive to the conversation. Personally, I have June 8 circled on my calendar. Because until mandatory minicamp begins, this is all speculation and innuendo in my mind.

Steve from Land O' Lakes, FL

Over the past few years, it seems going "all in" for GB has been to surround AR with a quality player or players. Now it seems like going all in for GB would be to do whatever it takes to keep AR. Does it feel like that to you? It was tough being a GB fan in the '70s and '80s, but I'm still here no matter what happens to AR.

Like I said last month, the Packers feel like they're close. They wouldn't have brought back as many veterans as they did if they didn't feel like the development of young players and a strong draft class weren't enough to put them over the top. Rodgers is the kingpin, though. To steal a phrase from UFC announcer Jon Anik, Rodgers is the man for whom this card has been built. The Packers need him. They need his talent. They need his voice. They need his leadership. I'll keep saying that until No. 12 is no longer on the roster. Because it's the truth.

Mick from Decatur, IL

Do you think the voluntary minicamp on May 24-25 and 27 will tell us anything about Rodgers' intent?

No. Not this year with all the veterans, leaguewide, who may sit out of the voluntary portion of the offseason program. That's why I have June 8 circled and not May 24.

Matt from Los Angeles, CA

Two questions: 1) Should I feel like a chump for watching the entire run of Aaron Rodgers on "Jeopardy!"? 2) Would I feel better about my choice if I watched two weeks' worth of "Wheel of Fortune"?

If you're a chump, then I'm a chump, too, because I also watched all 10 episodes and I enjoyed the heck out of it. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at how well I did.

Tom from Iron River, WI

What resources do you have available to answer questions like the "last tackle-eligible to catch a TD pass?"

That 8-pound object mounted atop Spoff's neck.

Matt from Burlington, WI

Insiders, is there a piece of work you are particularly proud of that didn't get enough reads or attention that it deserved?

My 2016 profile of Morgan Burnett and his late father, Cap. That's my fault, though. I missed my Friday deadline before the Falcons game (Burnett's home state), so we had to run it on Saturday instead. I was proud of the story but it was difficult to get much traction on the weekend.

Matt from Waterloo, IA

Mike/Wes, one more interesting note on Jay Berwanger. He was the first Heisman Trophy winner and attended school at my high school, Dubuque Senior. A replica of the Heisman actually sits just outside the gymnasium in a trophy case. We were always told that Heisman winners received two trophies, one for them to keep and one to give to either their college or high school.

I didn't expect to be the guy who opened the doors to six degrees of Jay Berwanger, but here we are.

James from Milwaukee, WI

Any information about Dave Hampton when he played for the Packers back in 1969-71? Any pictures, etc.?

James, please send this same question to Cliff's notes. If we have any information on Hampton, Cliff is the man to ask.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Wes, I knew there was something off about you. No Packerlander has EVER used the word "soda." Ever! Us Packerlanders use the word "pop."

From where I come from in the 920, it's soda. All day, every day.

Rob from Louisville, CO

As I was buying my economy-class ticket to the East Coast this weekend, I started wondering about the Packers' plane. Are there special oversized seats for the O-linemen? Is there a section in the back for writers and other normal-sized people? Are there free peanuts?

The Packers don't have some fancy private plane. In typical years, we all ride on a standard commercial Delta 737 with seats between everyone. Due to a shortage of those larger aircrafts, however, the organization flew on two separate planes prior to the pandemic. We had meetings about it and everything. And yes, we get free snacks…and soda.

Dave from East Burke, VT

I imagine there is an art to figuring out the juxtaposition of questions to build things forward.

It's a very scientific process that involves me placing all 20-25 questions on a dart board and throwing a baseball at it.

Randel from Jonesborough, TN

I've been a Packers fan since the early '60s. Here's the bottom line: No matter who the Pack has at QB – or any other position – they're my team and I'll support 'em, hoping they can put it all together for a title run. I was asked over the weekend what happens if – you know what. I replied that it's "next man up." Do the job. It's a game. It's entertainment. That's all.

Bless you, Randel. I wish more folks had your perspective – not just on football but life, in general. Make it a great day.

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