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Inbox: The seeds of promise are sprouting

The Packers already have a competitive nucleus in place

WR Jayden Reed
WR Jayden Reed

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, who reaps the benefits of the quarters collected in the math jar?

How do you think Spoff funds all those fancy vacations?

Troy from Westminster, CO

I need to push back a bit on the narrative regarding the WR room. Without a doubt, I'd much rather have the collective of the current Packers group than Davante Adams with a bunch of second-rate receivers. However, the notion the Packers are better without a premier WR in this group is simply wrong. Clearly, adding Adams right now would put their offense over the top. For those who argue the QB would focus too much on Adams, well, the onus is on the QB to use all the weapons he has at his disposal.

Don't get it twisted. Adams is a Hall of Fame talent, and any NFL team would be lucky to have him. But given the reality of the situation, I think the Packers and Brian Gutekunst maximized the returns and expediated the rebuild at receiver. Without question, however, Green Bay's offense would greatly benefit from one of these young wideouts emerging as a 100-catch, 1,300-yard target. Maybe someone will next season. The seeds of promise are sprouting.

Zak from Huntington Beach, CA

In regards to the "Pony" package after Aaron Jones' departure: how likely are we to see a speed/gadget player like Jayden Reed line up in the backfield next to AJ Dillon or Josh Jacobs? We've seen him in pre-snap motion and on the end-around, but I can't recall if he was ever in the backfield at the snap during any plays in his rookie season.

Anything is possible. In fact, I think Reed lined up in the backfield once or twice last season. When you have a unique talent like Reed, you don't want to put a cap on his potential. His 1,006 all-purpose yards speaks to the type of all-around playmaker he can be.

Pat from Hudson, WI

In no way am I a college football savant but I have to imagine that the physical metrics of Power 5, D1 QBs, like height, weight, arm strength, etc., have to be similar so what do you think it is that separates them from good to fair to bad once they get to the pros? I realize that many of the top QBs end up going to the NFL teams in the worst shape and in most cases are forced to learn on the fly, but is it really as simple as not having enough time to develop to the NFL game?

It's not necessarily that. C.J. Stroud joined what had been the worst team in the NFL and instantly turned Houston into a contender. Every QB learns at his own pace, further evidenced by Stroud's and Bryce Young's contrasting rookie campaigns. You can scout a QB until your heart's content, but you never know how he's going to respond to the NFL game until he's out there. The game is infinitely faster and more physical. Like Urban Meyer said a few years ago, "every week in the NFL is like playing Alabama." If a team has time to develop a QB, I think it does help in the long run. But the clocking is always ticking.

Al from Green Bay, WI

We know the "second-year jump" is a real thing. Rasheed Walker was the poster boy for this phenomenon last season. Who do you foresee the 2024 best jumper to be?

I'll say Colby Wooden. His opportunities were limited last year, and I think the switch to Jeff Hafley's defense will serve Wooden well.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

I was surprised with your answer to Paul from Ledgeview on the "current roster as is" to start the season. "As is," the Packers appear to be short one starting safety and one starting LB and appear to have no experienced depth on the OL. They need to have to have real competition and talent to fill those needs. I think BG needs to ace the draft again and hopefully find a bit more in free agency before Week 1. Am I overstating this, Wes?

The need is always there for GMs to ace the draft because that's what fortifies a contender. The original question reminded me of something Andy Herman posted on Twitter back in January while breaking down the depth of Green Bay's current roster. As is, the Packers already have a competitive nucleus in place. My response is a simple compliment to the makeup of a current roster, but certainly there's still work to be done.

Paul from Johannesburg, South Africa

Following up on Paul from Ledgeview, WI's question (ATMR he has a great name), Wes said he has no roster concerns. I am still, if not concerned, curious about linebacker. This is not a dig at the current linebackers it is more about how many true 4-3 linebackers we have vs defensive ends. Or maybe I am just getting hung up on the semantics of an NFL that no longer exists. I am 55, so I have officially reached old-man status.

Defensive end is a more known quantity than inside linebacker, but I believe Quay Walker and Isaiah McDuffie could be a strong combination in nickel. Re-signing Kristian Welch adds depth to the position and maybe Eric Wilson returns, too? Regardless, Green Bay likely will draft at least one ILB next month, adding to a room deeper than it's given credit for.

Stephie Rae from Flowery Branch, GA

I know, I know, we can't keep everybody. Thought Yosh Nijman was our ace in the hole as swing tackle and hated to see him go. But then you listed the many backups competing in that role and once again I am reminded of the wisdom of our leaders and to trust the process. Excited for another fun season. Thanks for all you do. GPG! Oh...a question, hmm...what's Ma Hod making for your lunch this week? Isn't it nice you can go to work without fear of hunger pangs?

Both my heart and stomach are full. As far as offensive line is concerned, it's all about jars on the shelves, right? That was part of the logic in developing Luke Tenuta and Caleb Jones the past two years.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Wes, I concur with your roster analysis. Still, the final 53 will not be the current depth chart. I expect the greatest changes to occur with ILB, OL depth, and secondary help. It will be interesting to watch the draft unfold and see which veterans GB may sign in free agency. Knowing your time and attention are focused on the hometown team, is there any team you are aware of in a vastly superior position from a personnel standpoint today compared with the Packers or the rest of the NFL?

Kansas City is set to return Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Chris Jones, and L'Jarius Sneed, making the Chiefs the leaders in the NFL clubhouse. However, the Athletic recently did a power ranking following the first week of free agency and listed the Packers fifth behind Kansas City, San Francisco, Detroit, and Houston. That's good company to be in.

Tim from Allouez, WI

Read an interesting piece comparing tackles per miss for Xavier McKinney and Darnell Savage over last four seasons: McKinney: 277 tackles, 21 missed tackles, 13.2 tackles per miss. Savage: 245 tackles, 49 missed tackles, 5.0 tackles per miss. Open-field tackling is not easy. What would film study of the two players reveal as important attributes of a proficient tackler? In short...what does McKinney have that Savage does not?

I don't want to turn this into a McKinney vs. Savage debate, but the point you outlined is why McKinney, at 24 years old, was widely considered the top safety on the free-agent market. We've talked a lot about his athleticism and ball skills, but McKinney also is a sure tackler. That is not an easy attribute to possess when tasked with stopping world-class athletes in the open field. I believe it was Spoff who asked McKinney about that last Friday, to which the safety replied: "I critique myself a whole bunch. I get better at the small things. I try to perfect my craft. That's always how I've been. Obviously, like I don't go into it like I'm not trying to miss a certain number of tackles. I just go out there and play and see where the ball lands. That's kinda just how it is." Yet, McKinney still wants to lower his missed tackles even further in 2024.

Jim from Franklin, WI

Have you had a chance to evaluate the proposal of the new NFL hybrid kickoff? I personally want the kickoff saved. While it's a massive change, I'm OK with it. Thoughts guys?

It's a modified version of what the XFL did last year; a bit gimmicky for my taste. I, too, am on board with trying to save the kickoff return and will support the measure if NFL teams feel this is the best way to do it. Beyond that, I'd like to hear what Matt LaFleur has to say about the competition committee's proposal before making any further comment. It's intriguing. I'll leave it at that.

Joe from Hampshire, IL

Wes, please send our collective II sendoff greetings to the Tailgate Tour bus. On the draft prospect side, does Gutey and staff take measures for Top 30 visits to stay under wraps? Do they insist those prospects not spread the news of their visits on social media?

It's virtually impossble to keep a lid on that can in 2024, especially since teams have to report visits to the NFL. What's more, the Packers bring in a number of top draft prospects for visits nowadays. It's difficult to throw a blanket on bright lights.

Lori from Bloomfield, CO

I know a game plan is, in effect, weekly. How much improvising off that is done? Can a position group gather themselves and create options based on coverages, personnel, and defensive scheme? Or is this strictly coaches territory. I would guess combatant's firsthand knowledge is critical to on-game adjustments.

It happens every week. LaFleur referenced how several of his assistants, including offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich and tight ends coach John Dunn, offered in-game suggestions based on what they were seeing last season. The Packers also ran that "leak" play-action pass to Luke Musgrave for a wide-open, 37-yard catch in the opener against Chicago off a suggestion from running backs coach Ben Sirmans.

Rudy from Rhinelander, WI

Do you think Aaron Jones will get selected for the Packer Hall of Fame? I sure hope so. Great player but a better person! I will cheer for him – except for two games per year.

I don't have a vote, but Jones is a Packers Hall of Famer in my book. He's the third leading rusher in team history. Comparatively, Ryan Grant is the only Green Bay running back inside the top 10 not already enshrined.

Joe from Duffield, Canada

Hey Wes, no question but wanted to thank you for reminding me of Bill Belichick's interview about long snappers. I remember watching that clip, and if I remember correctly, he thanked the reporter for such a good question. It also to be one of the best responses he has ever given the press. I recommend for people to look that one up when they want to learn a thing or two about the long snapper.

Find someone who talks about you the way that Bill Belichick talks about long snappers.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

Are there any former players that you wish you had a chance to do a longform story on, but for whatever reason, didn't get the chance to before their time in Green Bay came to an end?

I wrote a lot of stories on Marcedes Lewis but still wish I could have done a piece on his passion for mixed martial arts, which he incorporates into his offseason training. COVID sort of robbed me of that opportunity. That's really the only one on my "miss" list. Looking back on it, though, I'm glad I was able to write about Aaron Jones and his bike kid, Carson Vandevelde, last summer.

Dan from Grayslake, IL

Wes, as a big Marcedes Lewis fan, do you continue to track what's next for him? Will he play another year? I live in the Chicago market and have heard/read nothing about Marcedes (nor Robert Tonyan for that matter), other than neither are included in any TE conversations for the future Bears. Obviously, you cover the Packers, not the Bears, but bringing up these two former Packers favorites since they were involved in the numbers carousel you mentioned in a Wednesday II response.

I stay in touch with Marcedes, who fully intends to return for an unprecedented 19th season for an NFL tight end. He may have to play the waiting game like he did last year, but I'd love to see Lewis lace 'em up again for his age-40 season.

Aaron from Denver, CO

Wow Hod, what a flashback! If I remember correctly was that the UWGB team with Tony Bennett that beat Jason Kidd and California in the first round? I have always had the Phoenix in my heart living on campus for a short time while my dad was the housing director.

You are correct. It was a special time. I mean, who could ever forget the run UWGB got on with Tony Bennett Sr. in the 1990s? (I hope at least one person watched Virginia vs. Colorado State and understands that reference).

Brian from Twain Harte, CA

Any chance in the future the Tailgate Tour makes it to my neck of the woods?

Maybe once they put in a high-speed rail from Green Bay…or teleportation becomes a thing.

Kyle from Los Angeles, CA

Hey Wes, your pulling double duty while Mike is away got me thinking: is Insider Inbox an obligation of yours as a staff writer or do you guys do it to keep Vic's tradition alive? Also, I'm very curious about whether you have a contractual number of articles in season vs. offseason. Are you told what to write about or is it your choice? Finally, what's an average day in season and offseason, hours-wise? Thanks for everything!

Inbox is a sponsored piece of content that is part of my job, but it's also a chance to connect with readers. I think that type of interaction is important, especially for an NFL team website. You might not always agree with what we have to say, but we're here every day of the week to take your calls. Nobody tells me which questions to answer or how to respond. Love it or hate it, what you see is what you get with me.

Arthur from Franklin, MA

This might be a little close to violating Rule 1, but is there a preference from your perspective on how readers access content? I often see articles first pop up on my Twitter feed, but return to the Packers app to read them, with the (perhaps misplaced) belief it matters.

You do you, Arthur. All engagement is good engagement, and we greatly appreciate your patronage.

Mike from Lake Villa, IL

OK, Wes. Doesn't the fact that you acknowledge posting certain responses to questions for your personal amusement violate the first rule of the Inbox? If so, do you have to throw another quarter in the jar?

That might be worth two. Have a great Thursday.

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