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Inbox: The Packers know he's the real deal

If you want to make it in the NFL, find a way

RB Aaron Jones
RB Aaron Jones

Chris from West Allis, WI

"Our stories are written in pen, not pencil, and what we choose to put on that page defines us." Wow. What a mic drop (or pen drop). Do you guys brainstorm the perfect line like this for a good 20 minutes, or does it just come to you in a magical moment of clarity?

As Howard Beale once told Max Schumacher, it was a cleansing moment of clarity. Good morning!

Nic from London, UK

I wondered whether Aaron Jones could be a bell-cow, consistently productive back for a whole season. Then, I saw that he ranked fourth in RB success rate, which means games where he wasn't productive it was due to lack of use rather than lack of performance. He showed he can get you 4- or 5-yard gains and the big runs. Top-five stats across the board that aren't just inflated by high TD numbers, which are variable YOY. Honestly, what a beast! When do we have to pay him?

Jones is entering the last year of his rookie deal and I'm sure the Packers would love to keep him in the fold for the long run. Looking back on 2019, I don't think Jones' emergence came as a surprise to anyone. The Packers know he's the real deal and Jones proved it. I'd argue he's one of the top five backs in the game right now and only getting better.

Bob from Grand Rapids, MI

A question after reading Wes’ article about combine performances, I wonder why teams are looking at the broad jump. Is that a vertical or horizontal type of jump? What does it indicate about possible upside for a player?

It's a way to measure lower-body explosiveness and power. There's some skill involved, too, since the player must come to balance and land without moving. Some experts believe it's one of the better indicators of a prospect's athletic potential, especially running backs. It just happened to be Jones' strongest event at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine.

Ned from Laguna Woods, CA

Why isn't Raven Greene being mentioned among the defensive backs?

He's certainly in the conversation for a roster spot, but the starting safety posts are kind of set in stone. I'm not sure what the Packers intend to do with that hybrid position moving forward. That's a question we'll look for answers to over the next month.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

What's your favorite NFL jersey number, Packer or otherwise, and what's the story behind it? It can be any number from any era of the league.

I've always worn No. 27. Don't ask me why. My favorite NFL number was No. 36 for LeRoy Butler and Nick Collins. I thought that was cool when the Packers gave Collins Butler's No. 36 after they drafted him in 2005. Iconic move.

Mike from Ames, IA

Based on the four more years prediction for Rodgers, if you're Gute, when do you become concerned with finding the next guy? Get someone to learn for three years like Aaron did, hit the middle with two years to go, or wait longer? What's the plan?

Y'all keep asking "Who's next?" but do any teams with established veteran QBs have a bona fide heir apparent identified? The LA Chargers? Pittsburgh? New Orleans (Taysom Hill has thrown 13 career passes)? New England? The Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo six years ago when Tom Brady was 37 and yet here we sit today. That's why I'm not callusing my feet sprinting to the future. I'd rather build toward – and discuss – the present.

Larry from Chippewa Falls, WI

Rodgers may plan on playing until he is 40 or whatever but that doesn't mean the Packers will want him to be playing for them.

So you seriously wrote this, pressed send and thought to yourself, "Good take, Lar." Really? This is a sport with a dearth of high-quality QBs. A month from now, a couple backups might ink $30 million per year deals. You don't deserve Rodgers, Larry. Moving on.

Joel from Mosinee, WI

How does a small-school college player who had a great year get his name on draft boards? I doubt many scouts travel to their pro days. Do they join a larger school's pro day or hope their tape shows their skills?

My favorite story relating to this is the one John Kuhn told me this past year about his pro day at Shippensburg. No scouts showed up, so he rescheduled his workout for another school's pro day. If you wanna make it, find a way.

Ryan from Sun Prairie, WI

When will the Packers release the order of the players they have on their big board for the draft? I did not see it in the key dates update from last week.

We'll get the final numerical listing once the compensatory picks are announced. Last year, they were announced the Friday before the NFL Scouting Combine so…

Take a look at photos of Packers FB Danny Vitale from the 2019 season.

Ryan from Somerset, WI

I have to disagree with all the push back on not expanding the playoffs to at least a 12-team format. The goal is to make the playoffs and if you keep the odds low then you are alienating disadvantaged small-market teams from buying their way into the playoffs. Front offices would be more prone to sign one or maybe two extra guys if they could get to the 9-12 spot. I know it sounds soft and Millennialish but the facts are most owners won't spend the money unless it's a sure thing.

But they have to spend. There's a salary cap and a salary floor. If MLB goes through with its playoff proposal, the NFL will be left with the only meaningful regular season in American professional sports in my estimation.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

With Al Harris' recent induction to the Packers HOF and position as Dallas DB coach, as well as the fact that the Packers WR coach has not yet been filled, it made me wonder, what former Packer WR do you think would make the best WR coach?

Jordy. No follow-up questions please.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

Insiders, do you think during the CBA negotiations, the rookie wage scale is going to be brought into question? On the surface, yes, it seems fair the veterans make more than the rookies. However, in practice, it's creating this system where teams need the cheap talent to outperform their contract to win championships and is now encouraging bottom teams to trade top talent before they pay them if the team isn't ready to win. Thoughts?

The change wasn't just about money and how rookie deals impact veteran players. The slotting system was developed to avoid long holdouts and give rookies the best possible chance to learn and contribute from Day 1. The rookie wage scale isn't perfect – and there probably are areas where it can be improved – but I think it has served its purpose. There are a lot fewer headaches for teams, players and media than prior to the 2011 CBA.

Rob from Buckinghamshire, UK

Obviously a long-term deal would be preferable, but do you think Bryan Bulaga is a candidate for the franchise tag?

It's been 10 years since the Packers used the franchise tag so no scenario could be quantified as likely. Also, keep in mind franchise tags are determined by an average of the top five contracts at that player's entire position. In Bulaga's case, that's every O-lineman in the NFL, not just right tackles.

Steve from Eagle River, WI

How much of the past season's health success should be attributed to the strength and training staff versus workout schedules implemented by Matt LaFleur? What other factors may have contributed to this year's health record?

I'd say it was 90 percent the changes LaFleur, the trainers and the strength-and-conditioning staff made…and the other half was luck.

Kevin from Park City, UT

Curious more than question maybe but I have not heard or seen the term "best available player" once in any draft discussion. Has this gone out with Ted Thompson and Ron Wolf? Are we now in a need-only for draft system in Green Bay?

BAP has worked its way so far into the draft vernacular that it's not even a talking point anymore. It's cliché. Every team drafts the BAP…or at least it will lead you to believe it did.

Elliot from Eugene, OR

Does it get old when fans discredit your position based on what a national media personality says? I don't understand how a reasonable person could possibly conclude that a person who reports on the Packers and only the Packers could have a worse analysis than someone who reads a monitor for a living. Thanks for all you guys do, if you and the other Packers beat writers aren't the most trusted source for Packers information, I think that fan is more a fan of fiction than the Green Bay Packers.

It comes with the territory. It's a free country and people can listen to whomever they choose, for better or worse. ESPN recently put Stephen A. Smith on the post-fight commentary desk for last month's Conor McGregor-headlined UFC card. I found his commentary to be rudimentary and somewhat misguided, but I understand the rationale because Smith brings in the casual viewer. The advantage most national reporters have is they don't need to be accountable for their varying viewpoints, especially in this society where nobody remembers what anybody says 10 days from now. Pundits will flip-flop and filibuster, and reset the following Monday. Beat writers live in the trenches. They follow applicable trends and narratives – not the contrived ones – and try to make sense of it all, not just equivocate.

Wednesday's event was geared toward approximately 140 male middle school students, featuring words from motivational speaker Orlando Bowen followed by presentations from writers and artists Kwabena Antoine Nixon and Muhibb Dyer.

Jordan from Sturgeon Bay, WI

As much as I love the draft, people should do their best to not get too high or too low about a draft pick(s). I remember being upset when the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson. I also remember being really excited when they picked Jerel Worthy and Alex Green. There is only one thing I can tell you for sure about the draft, if you read a certain player is going to be picked by the Packers in a mock draft, that is more than likely who they are NOT going to pick.

You guys have heard me tell portions of this story before, but in all my years following the NFL and college football there have been three QBs I felt were destined to be stars – Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson and Jake Locker. You just never know. I've also only gotten one Packers first-round pick correct (Datone Jones). Predicting who will be available, especially late in the first round, is a crapshoot.

Joshua from Houston, TX

Mike, why are you so lenient and forgiving on Myles Garrett, who was violent and almost hurt a guy, but want more punishment for the Astros' non-violent cheating? Both appear to be repentant for their sins and both were harshly punished, with Garrett maybe even getting off easy-ish.

Mike can comment on this, too, if he wants. But you're comparing the premediated actions of an entire organization to a single player who went too far but in the heat of the moment. Garrett's actions were unacceptable but I wasn't surprised the suspension was lifted. I didn't expect it to carry into the 2020 season.

Shane from York, NE

In regard to Dennis from Wisconsin Rapids and his wife not sharing his interest in sports, going with friends is a great start. However, he should also be mindful of all the non-football activities at the game. For example, the flyover, flags, cheerleaders, band, hot dog or T-shirt launcher, Jumbotron videos, halftime entertainment, etc. There are entire industries that depend on the game, yet have nothing to do with the play on the field. These can be entertaining as well.

My wife couldn't care less about sports and I love her for it. Honestly, the last thing I want to do when I go home at night is talk about the Packers or the NFL. She went to the Dallas game a few years ago, though, because she likes to watch, "Making the Team." I just failed to mention the Cowboys cheerleaders weren't going to be there.

Mark from Fox Point, WI

To Dennis from Wisconsin Rapids – Spoff nailed it. My wife was ready to take a book to read at her first Lambeau game. Thirty minutes into the tailgate the book was ditched and now she is a bigger fan than me. Start with the tailgate and let it build.

That reminds me of the first time my wife went to the Packers-Steelers game with my father and me in 2005 and she brought a book to that one.

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

Are you writers under contract or do we fans have to worry about some team stealing you from the Packers? Also, if you are under contract, what do you think we could get if we traded you to another team?

A six pack of Johnsonville Brats? Spoff may be worth the full dozen. I've never worked on a contract, though I have several friends in the industry who have. I guess I'm doing it wrong.

Bob from Riverside, CA

Those were some really beautiful snow pics by Jennifer Fisher. I loved the angles and composition, especially the low shot of Lambeau Field she opened with.

Jen went the extra mile for that shot of the south end zone, too. She walked out to the middle of Lot 9 in order to not get the sidewalk in the shot. After snapping the photo, she tripped and stumbled into the snow – but she saved the camera and the shot. Gamer.

Lambeau Field was covered in snow on Feb.18 after a winter storm swept through Green Bay.

Tim from Charlotte, NC

Seeing pics of snowy Lambeau reminds me of a funny story. A friend and I took the tour and our group came out to see the bowl. The guide gave some facts about the seating capacity and then commented that the seats were heated. My friend and I looked at each other with skepticism as the guide went on to crack, "Yep, they're heated every June, July and August," to which the crowd groaned. It made an already fun tour even more entertaining. Just another reason the Packers are special.

The Lambeau tour guides are here all week. Try the veal.

JT from Whitewater, WI

From laser goal posts to, "Our stories are written in pen, not pencil, and what we choose to put on (the) page defines us." This is why I come back 313 days a year.

Practicality and wisdom. What more could you want? (Don't answer that).