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Inbox: The position still has a purpose

FB Danny Vitale
FB Danny Vitale
FB Danny Vitale

Bruce from Appleton, WI

The Packers had a great first season under a new coach. Will they try to keep the same game plan for next year or do they try something different?

If you ain't changin', you ain't tryin'…or something. Good morning!

Chun from El Monte, CA

What are the biggest things we can expect in Year 2 of Matt LaFleur's offense? More up-tempo, better communication and execution?

All of the above and I think that's a reasonable target with how many key playmakers the Packers return in 2020. Keep in mind the McVay and Shanahan offenses weren't built overnight in LA or San Francisco, respectively. The Packers were ahead of schedule this past season.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Thanks for the work you guys put into the Inbox during the offseason. I've always been intrigued by the fullback position. With all the emphasis on speed and dual-threat RBs lately, it seems like teams have gone away from the importance of FBs. The Packers seem to value Danny Vitale's contribution, and watching Kyle Juszczyk of the Niners in the Super Bowl was fun. Do you think the fullback position is making a comeback in the NFL?

The reports of the fullback position's death have been greatly exaggerated. The mixed skillsets of Juszczyk, Patrick Ricard, James Devlin, C.J. Ham and Vitale have brought fullbacks back to forefront to the point I feel the Associated Press should put the position back on its All-Pro ballot. I don't know if we'll ever get back to the days where teams carry two or three fullbacks but the position still has a purpose.

Glenn from Mechanicsville, VA

Does Brian Gutekunst and staff adopt a different approach toward player acquisition when having a lower draft choice versus a higher draft choice? Does the lower draft choice push them towards free agency to find proven talent?

Draft positioning won't factor into Green Bay's approach to free agency. It is true Gutekunst's first-round picks so far have been inside the top 20, but he's been in the Packers organization for 20 years now. This isn't new territory or anything.

Kari Bernier of Dyersburg, Tennessee was named to the Green Bay Packers FAN Hall of Fame on Feb. 17, 2020.

Jim from Milwaukee, WI

On average, what percent of the front office is turned over every year?

Maybe five percent. NFL front offices don't turn over as quickly as coaching staffs.

Kevin from Grand Rapids, MI

With college players sitting out bowl games prior to the NFL Draft, do you think it'd be smart for Trevor Lawrence or others like him, to sit an entire season prior to being eligible for the draft? Wouldn't Lawrence be a top-five pick right now if he was eligible? Why risk it?

Because it's not just about where you get drafted. It's about being ready for the show once your number is called. Lamar Jackson was probably ready for the NFL after he won the Heisman Trophy in 2016 at Louisville but there was still something to be gained from his junior year. Lawrence can use next season to develop before the weight of the NFL world really falls on his shoulders.

John from Schuett, WI

In reference to the Alan from Madison question, John Ross III might be a good example of a player rising up the draft ladder due to his 4.22 in the 40.

Ross showed early signs of progress before injuries sidelined him. To this day, 40 times seem like one of the hardest areas for scouts and pundits to ascertain. Like how does Raheem Mostert get no sniffs with a 4.32 40, but Dri Archer out of Kent State becomes a third-round pick with a 4.26?

Eric from Honolulu, HI

How can players stand out at the scouting events?

Whether it's in the individual events or during media interviews, make your mark when the cameras are rolling. Begin building your brand.

Remirito from Oxnard, CA

With talk about slot receivers, would you rather get a receiver with above-average skills across the board but below average in the slot, or one with just average skills but above average in the slot?

The former. Most good boundary receivers are proficient in the slot but many good slot receivers struggle to win outside.

Nate from Kewaskum, WI

How about an II writers combine? How fast one can eat a PB&J sandwich, answer a ridiculous question and put on a Packers zip-up jacket? I'm sure at least 12 people would tune in to that video.

I could see it. Throw in a typing competition, short-shuffle to the printer, and maybe fastest to fill the coffee maker. That'll put butts in seats.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Assuming Aaron Rodgers plays four more high-level seasons, he would have a chance to be fifth all-time in passing yards and passing TDs. He could also very well retire with the highest passer rating of all time and will almost certainly retire as the QB with the best TD-to-INT ratio. Besides Super Bowls, is there anything statistically you are looking for from Rodgers as he begins to near these very impressive career marks?

One more MVP, to complete the trifecta, which I believe is possible. Tom Brady (40) and Peyton Manning (37) both accomplished it in the fourth quarter of their careers.

Jessi from Sterling, KS

I had to watch the play twice on the A-Rod highlight reel. Starting at No. 10, the fans go bonkers with Marquez Valdes-Scantling's catch, but so does a Lions fan smashed in with them. I think he had one too many and forgot who his team was!

My two favorites were the go ball to Allen Lazard for a 35-yard touchdown against Detroit and the 58-yarder to Davante Adams. Both windows were so, so tight.

Steve from Davenport, IA

Can Equanimeous St. Brown make a difference in this offense or will he not make the team in 2020?

He'll be in the conversation for a roster spot again. St. Brown has all the tools and only got better throughout his rookie season. He doesn't turn 24 until September.

Markus from Aurora, CO

Insiders, thank you for last week's upcoming key dates for the Packers. This is a handy list for those of us fans who tend to drift off a bit between postseason and the next training camp.

That was an "Insider Inbox FAQ" special.

Richard from Clearwater, MN

Under Mike McCarthy, the weekly coaches' press conferences included a variety of assistants, not just the coordinators of the main three units. Under LaFleur only the main coordinators were included. Is it safe to assume this is a head coach decision on who is available to the media during the week?

Assistants were still available but just the coordinators were at the podium. I'm sorry you couldn't watch those, but I honestly like this format much better than 1½ hours of continuous interviews at the podium every week.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Wes, how would you assess the defensive back positions of cornerback, safety and nickel?

Strong. The core four – Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage – are all in place. Chandon Sullivan and Josh Jackson provide great depth and will contend for roles, too. The only questions now are whether Tramon Williams returns at nickel, and who mans the hybrid safety spot?

Jeff from Eveleth, MN

You mentioned the success of the 2016 and 2017 Packers drafts. My question is how many "hits" do you think it takes for a draft to be considered a success? Also, what somewhat recent Packers draft would you consider the best?

Ron Wolf always liked the analogy of getting as many swings at the plate as possible with draft picks. I look at hitting on picks like batting averages, with home runs, triples and doubles factored in. If 30-40 percent of your picks play out their rookie contracts, I believe you had a solid draft.

Mike from Niles, IL

Totally agree with your response to Donna from Farley, that cornerbacks have the next most difficult jobs (than QBs). My favorite position.

There really is no position quite like cornerback. You have to be intelligent, fast, tough and supremely conditioned. I have the utmost respect for corners, especially those who live under the microscope on an island 16 times a regular season.

Mike from South Dakota, SD

What's the highest Brian Gutekunst has ever drafted a MLB?

Oren Burks. Third round (88th overall). Thanks for your question.

Fred from La Crosse, WI

I'm looking for tips to be better prepared for offseason, free agency, combine, draft, training camp, preseason, season and ultimately postseason. Any for loyal II readers?

The biggest name isn't always the best player.

Joseph from Salt Lake City, UT

After a few weekends of the XFL, do you think the changed kickoff rule will inspire the NFL to tinker some more with theirs?

It should at least consider it. I was hanging out with some friends on Saturday night who don't work in sports and XFL kickoffs were all they were talking about. The NFL did the right thing with kickoffs a few years back. The play needed to be retooled, but I still believe there's a happy medium between safe and exciting – and the XFL might be onto something.

Nicholas from Portland, OR

If the XFL continues successfully, do you see a point where practice squad and usually inactive NFL players begin to play in this league? I can't imagine they get too worn down by standing on the sidelines throughout the NFL season and I'm sure they'd benefit from the experience. Thoughts?

NFL Europe was the right format at the right time but I think we've moved beyond that, especially with the emphasis the league has placed on player safety. Practice-squad players who last the entire season – and the Packers had six of them this year – have a busy enough schedule from April through December. The best way for them to improve isn't by playing 10 more games. It's practicing daily against Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Za'Darius Smith and Co.

Young Packers fans were invited to a sleepover at Lambeau Field for behind-the-scenes tours, scavenger hunts, movies, and a bedtime story read by Packers Alumni, Johnnie Gray.

Matthias from San Antonio, TX

Remember Brandon Jacobs? He was the thunder to Ahmad Bradshaw's lighting in New York when the Giants won their first Super Bowl vs. Tom Brady. He stood 6-4, weighed in at 265 pounds and ran a sub-4.7 40-yard dash! Derrick Henry has a similar forte of monstrous human being, runs like an antelope, Larry Allen could have been that for the Cowboys at 6-4, 325 and a 4.6 40. Any Packers players from the past that could just dominate on sheer size and speed?

You've piqued my interest to do further research. I'm going to look more into this. I will say the first name that came to mind was James Lofton. He was a remarkable athlete on top of being a Hall of Fame football player.

Ross from Roswell, GA

NBA All-Star Game. Did you catch it? What did you think of the format? Even in the All-Star Game, everybody makes a run in the fourth quarter.

I didn't watch the All-Star game. My wife was watching "90 Day Fiancé" and I didn't care enough to leave the room. I did catch the dunk contest, though. That was pretty cool. Pat Connaughton paying tribute to "White Men Can't Jump" brought back some great memories.

Al from Green Bay, WI

I was on the running track at the Y. I came upon a guy wearing a Lions jersey (No. 10, Charlie Batch). It made me smile. We Packers fan really have nothing to complain about, do we?

Wait, you're saying there was an actual fella working out in a Charlie Batch jersey? That's a new one for me.

Dave from Roswell, GA

So what are your thoughts on Manfred's decision to grant the players immunity? Personally I think he set a terrible example showing everyone that you can cheat and get away with it.

Weak sauce.

Clifford from Brockport, NY

I just went back and read your views of "Charlie Hustle" and couldn't agree more. No doubt he played hard and has HOF numbers, but in my opinion, he was a self-centered showboat who broke the cardinal rule of baseball. He got caught and lied forever. He accepted the lifetime punishment, live with it. His lifestyle after baseball reflects his wanting to gamble. I'll also never forget his ruining Ray Fosse's career!

History isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, as a society, I think we need reminders of what is at stake if you veer too much down the wrong road. Our stories are written in pen, not pencil, and what we choose to put on that page defines us.

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