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Inbox: The possibilities seem endless

The best way to beat blocks is with anticipation

Wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard and TE Robert Tonyan

John from Madison, WI

Wow, how did that guy even get in here? I thought we had a bouncer now.

Ed from Appleton generated a lot of responses, which I knew he would. And yes, I thought about hiring Dan some help, but then Dar channeled some sort of Col. Jessup alter ego here …

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Ed from Appleton, you'll be back. You want us and you need us. You may not admit it now, but Packers banter is the essence of your soul, which is why your opinions are so passionate. Go have a brat and a beverage, tuck your tail in, and come back to us when you've calmed down (have a sheepish apology) and realize we're the best thing you've got. Love and hugs, your fellow Inboxers.

All righty then, back to the task at hand.

Thomas from Oviedo, FL

Does the league keep stats on which team they deem to be "the whiney child of the NFL"? I would think the Patriots would be up there too. And what about the Cowboys? They're still whining about Bryant's non-catch. I think the Packers need to step up their whining before they can claim that title.

This cracked me up for some reason. OK, sorry, now back to it, honest.

Justin from Eau Claire, WI

With the potential growth of AJ Dillon and the uncertainty of Aaron Rodgers, will there be a little more smashmouth football with the power run using an actual fullback, or has that position disappeared altogether?

LaFleur's system will line up a tight end as a fullback on occasion, but most of the running plays are designed for a single back. Even when a tight end is used as a fullback, his assignment often is to make a backside block on an edge player, not as a lead blocker through the hole.

Sam from Janesville, WI

Hi Mike. In regards to Rick from Brookfield, WI, and the second bye week, you stated the players lost a week of the offseason. I was under the impression they didn't lose a week because the preseason was shortened to three games. Could you please clarify?

A popular question today. The total number of games was kept at 20, but the players are still reporting for training camp at the same time, so they're "on the clock" for the same number of weeks. The three preseason games are still scheduled when the first three used to be. There's just no longer a fourth preseason game a few days before final roster cuts. That game was taken out.

Guy from Telford, UK

How many players earn enough in their career to live at a high level for the rest of their lives? Whilst four of the current Packer squad have a current cap number over $10M, the majority are less than $1M. With careers, especially at the lower level, so short, a lot of the players, even ones fans readily recognize, earn surprisingly low amounts relative to the stars of the game. The pressures on the younger players to make it big and secure their financial future must be huge.

Indeed. There's a ton of money to be made in this game, but overall only a small percentage of those who at some point collect an NFL paycheck actually see the gonzo dollars.

Kyle from St. Charles, MO

If the combine were to be held in Green Bay where would it actually take place? Lambeau seems awfully susceptible to some inclement conditions in the middle of February. That seems less than ideal for athletes trying to perform their best for their prospective future. I wonder if more potential draft picks would opt out of the combine.

There's plenty of room in the Hutson Center to conduct all the on-field drills they've done at Lucas Oil Stadium over the years. The question would be setting that up for NFL Network's live broadcasts, which doesn't strike me as realistic.

Will from Stewartville, MN

With the talk of a traveling combine and the current traveling draft, what do you think the chances are of a non-NFL city hosting something such as St. Louis, Memphis, Portland, etc.?

Maybe down the road, but I would imagine the NFL is going to give its league cities all the initial opportunities before opening the door to other locales.

Branden from Hartford, WI

With the talent and versatility we have on offense combined with the creativity of ML and NH, what personnel group are you most excited to watch this season? I can't wait to see what they come up with putting Aaron Jones, Dillon, Josiah Deguara, Amari Rodgers, and Davante Adams all on the field together.

There are plenty of intriguing combinations, and the possibilities seem endless. Mentally for me, the starting point is Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling on the outside, Robert Tonyan in the slot, Jones in the backfield, and A. Rodgers running jet motion. From there, mixing in Allen Lazard, Deguara, Dillon and others can build one helluva playbook.

Jeff from Milwaukee, WI

Which receivers will make the final roster?

Barring injuries, the four I see as locks are Adams, MVS, Lazard, and Rodgers. Devin Funchess would have an inside track for a fifth spot, but I wouldn't call it guaranteed. That leaves Reggie Begelton, Chris Blair, Bailey Gaither, Equanimeous St. Brown, Malik Taylor, DeAndre Thompkins and Juwann Winfree fighting for maybe one roster spot and practice-squad opportunities. That's how I see it at the moment.

Stev from Colorado Springs, CO

To set the stage of this question, Bridgewater replaced Brees and won five games, and then went to Carolina the next year and just cracked five wins for the season. Obviously, the Saints were a better overall team. So, here's the question, do you think a Jordan Love-led team, with the talent we have on offense and defense, can have strong winning record (over 10 wins)? While Bridgewater wasn't a first-time starter, do you think Love could do it? I think it's possible, but I'm just an amateur observer.

The truth is we just don't know. Possible? Sure. But not having seen Love take a snap in an NFL preseason game let alone a regular-season one gives us nothing to go on, if we're being honest.

Greg from Sydney, Australia

Hi Mike, if a team's defensive or offensive coaching staff comes up with an innovative way to counter opponents, do they share these ideas with their internal opposition coaching staff, which may counter their own innovations, or do they play them out during training to prove their own worth?

They'll experiment from time to time and then collaborate later to gather thoughts and input. That was a little more common back in the age of two-a-days, when there were more practices and more reps. But it still happens now on occasion, too.

Mike from Austin, TX

G'mornin'! Happy doldrums (or is that an oxymoron?) Do college rivalries play out in any way once the guys hit the NFL? Will Ohio State's Josh Myers push extra hard or with more vigor against Michigan's Rashan Gary in practice? Will Rashan be extra pressed to sack Justin Fields this year? I know they're all consummate pros, but aren't they also driven competitors? Also, why is Amari Rodgers not listed on the Packers' roster page?

Rodgers is listed at the bottom as an unsigned draft pick. Once again, the offset language in deals for third-round picks is producing the usual delay. As for college rivalries, I've never seen anything play out on the field. I've seen teammates from rival schools engage in some fun locker-room banter and place some side bets.

With 76 days until the regular-season opener, packers.com looks back at those who have worn No. 76 in Green Bay.

Jim from St. Pete Beach, FL

With the COVID situation with NC State and the College World Series, do you see this helping NFL teams get fully vaccinated?

It's certainly the type of unfortunate circumstance that can be used as a cautionary tale in the effort to ramp up vaccination percentage.

Robert from Chandler, AZ

Green Bay's defense might be great, barring major injuries. But the one area of concern seems to be ILB. What exactly is the role of ILBs? Can excellent down linemen, edge rushers, and secondary cover up weaknesses in the middle?

Inside linebackers must be able to beat blocks and cover backs and tight ends. Scheming can help compensate for some coverage deficiencies, but opposing offenses will do their own scheming to get a matchup they like. Down linemen can help keep blockers off the 'backers, but they won't be able to do it all the time, so they have to be able to get off blocks. Usually the best way to beat blocks is with anticipation, which is why the best inside 'backers are usually the ones with the best instincts.

Joe from Wausau, WI

On another online Packer forum, I conducted a poll on which three Packers have the best chance to be selected to their first Pro Bowl. I went with Robert Tonyan, Preston Smith and Darnell Savage. The top three vote-getters so far are Rashan Gary, Tonyan and Savage. Thoughts?

That top three would be my top three, but I'd put Adrian Amos right there with Savage, too.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Has LaFleur given any indication on whether his role will be expanding in some way on the defensive side of the ball? In both his words and his actions of retaining all coaches on defense and only changing the coordinator, it suggests that he feels only some key decision-making will put the defense over the top.

I don't see him changing his role with the defense. Regarding the leadership on that side of the ball, I've heard him talk about wanting more energy and pushing to be more aggressive in certain situations. That's what he's counting on Joe Barry to bring.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

To be fair to Love, one skill set he brings to the table that a 37-year-old QB does not is foot speed. He was credited with a respectable 4.65 40 time at the combine. As a longtime Packer fan, I vividly recall the trouble a mobile QB can give a defense. Does LaFleur have a history of designed QB runs from his time coordinating other teams? It does not seem he has had that weapon in his arsenal with prior quarterbacks he has coached (Ryan, Goff, Rodgers).

I don't see LaFleur exposing his quarterback that way, with designed runs. He was RGIII's position coach in Washington his rookie year and saw first-hand how dangerous that approach can be.

Derek from Norton, KS

Good morning! Do you expect there to be a competition for the punting job through the preseason, or is JK Scott still the guy?

I expect to see a competition between Scott and Ryan Winslow, but I think it's Scott's job to lose.

Mike from St. Louis Park, MN

Hey Mike, in honor of your baseball pilgrimage to watch a good (and perhaps pivotal?) NL Central matchup, I was wondering 1) how many stadiums you have been to and 2) which one is your favorite? I had the fortune to attend the Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway over the weekend and that place is special. I had Lambeau vibes while there.

My list isn't as long as I'd like it to be, but someday I'll remedy that. Outside of Milwaukee, I've seen MLB games in Chicago (both current parks), Minneapolis (the Metrodome, not Target Field, yet), Cleveland, San Diego (only a few innings, unfortunately), San Francisco, St. Louis, Baltimore, Kansas City and Seattle. If all goes well later this summer, I'll hit Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. My favorite aside from Milwaukee is definitely Wrigley Field.

Dale from Prescott, WI

Mike, please bring back two victories from Miller Park.

I'll do my best. Happy Tuesday.