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Inbox: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Early experiences play a role in a player’s development


Chris from Victor, ID

"Wes and I just recorded our 300th episode." That's nothing to sneeze at, gentlemen.

Ah-choo. Good morning!

Dan from Saint Louis, MO

Thanks for helping us achieve the quad-fecta the other day. You guys always bring valuable insight to us readers as well as providing some fun entertainment. Keep up the good work!

The four-question parlay. Bold strategy, Cotton.

Kyle from Los Angeles, CA

Mike Pettine mentioned a couple things that stood out to me during that press conference. First, CBA time limitations make defenses that champion complexity that much more difficult to install. Second, he values the interior pass rush as much or more than the outside. In theory, we should see a simplified defense that doesn't rely as heavily on our outside pass rush, right?

There's more than one way to rush the passer. That's been the blueprint of the defense Pettine and Rex Ryan designed in New York. It's proven to be an adaptable and successful scheme in the current NFL environment, as well. Likability will get veterans to buy in and learnability helps the young players on the roster get up to speed quickly. It's not about one position group or player – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Dan from Phoenix, AZ

What are your thoughts on using a lineup consisting of Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis as TE, then out wide we roll out Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, and Lance Kendricks? How do you defend that? I can't wait to see the combinations McCarthy comes up with using his new TEs.

These are the possibilities Lewis is most excited about. If a defense goes with base personnel, it likely is lining up a linebacker on Graham. If it goes nickel, the Packers can gash you that way, as well. It's by far the most experience the Packers have had at tight end in 20 years and definitely could be trouble if it all comes together.

Spencer from Durango, CO

Not keep a fullback?! Watching film of GB's running backs I see Aaron Ripkowski paving the way on a good amount of snaps. Will we see Graham or Lewis clearing the way for the running backs? Besides, we all need to see more of the Triple Aaron backfield, eh!?


Daniel from Delta, PA

I really enjoyed the story of Jones helping the woman at the airport. It brought a smile to my face despite the troubling times in my life right now. Not sure how much Packers football I'll be able to see this season but I'm excited to see how the season unfolds. There are some great personalities to go with great talent. GO PACK GO!

I was texting back-and-forth with a friend of Jones after we posted the story behind Aaron Jones' random act of kindness at the Appleton airport earlier this week. While his close friends and family obviously are happy to see him offer to help the lady, it also comes as no surprise to anyone who knows him. That's Aaron Jones. He's a grounded, generous individual. What you do when no one (you think) is watching tells you everything you need to know about a person. Sending positive thoughts your way, Daniel. Thanks for reading.

Sean from Portland, MA

I read an article about Aaron Jones adding size in the offseason. He played at 208 pounds last year. Do the players weigh in each year when they report? Do we know his current weight? Can you see the difference when you watch him at OTAs?

Players weigh in when they report for the offseason program, but I don't know if it's tracked as closely as it is during the season. "Adding size" isn't strictly based on weight, though. It's body composition. I remember last year Kenny Clark talked about how he bulked up but stayed in that 312-315 range. Jones didn't make a drastic change with his body, but rather wanted to strengthen the lower half to stand up to the wear-and-tear of the season and help in pass protection.

Jerry from Kansas City, MO

Why does tight end take so long to develop in the NFL versus other positions? Is there a defensive position comparable to tight end as it relates to development time?

The college game is producing fewer and fewer in-line tight ends, which I think has slowed the position's immediate impact at the next level. Sure, there's always an Evan Engram who breaks the mold as a rookie, but by and large it's a position requiring patience.

Jeremiah from Denver, CO

It seems to me that having an all-world QB teach you how to be his WR would increase a player's ceiling and slacken the learning curve. In other words, it seems a good-to-great QB could make or break some careers for players who could otherwise go in either direction. Can you comment further on how good players or the lack thereof affect the development of younger players?

It's crucial. To this day, there are pundits who believe David Carr's career might have played out differently if he sat for a couple years in Houston or landed with a different team. The start doesn't always dictate the finish (i.e. Alex Smith), but those early experiences play a role in development. To your question, catching passes and working with a quarterback like Rodgers gives a young receiver every chance to let his talent shine through.

Kyle from Appleton, WI

With all the versatility we have at tight end, do any of the players have a good skill set at H-back? In the past, has McCarthy designed plays that would use a tight end like that? Thanks for keeping us updated and engaged in the offseason.

The H-back position has been incorporated in the Packers' offense as long as I've covered the team. Lance Kendricks has played that role his entire career and lined up there at times last season. I think Emanuel Byrd naturally could slide in there, as well.

Matthias from Hartford, WI

Do you see Clay Matthews in the same role he had in Dom Capers' defense? Or is his role changed?

The recipe will be similar, but Mike Pettine will add a few of his own spices into the mix. You want to keep Matthews on the move. That isn't new, but I wonder if Pettine might add to the unpredictably of where Matthews is on the field.

Collin from Omaha, NE

It seems like Gute is dedicated to making the team better not only through draft-and-develop, but also through free agency with Graham, Lewis, and Bell. For years Packers fans have complained about not being active enough in free agency, but I think Gute has found a healthy balance. My question is this, what position do you think Bell will fill?

Most of Bell's NFL experience has come at the two tackle positions, but Tennessee used him at guard in a pinch. The Packers are in good standing at tackle, but taking out a veteran insurance policy is always a good idea. We've seen in the past how quickly a strength today can become an area of need tomorrow. By getting the deal done now, it also gives Bell two months to get up to speed before training camp. He also should be a positive influence on the young tackles on the roster.

Rob from Edmonton, Canada

Any thoughts on adding the third-string quarterback to the 53-man roster to make it unofficially a 54-man roster and to the game-day active roster? He can only play if the starting quarterback and the backup are both injured. I think this needs to be looked at.

Not bad, Rob. Not bad. If this would make teams reconsider pushing an injured player at another position to be on the game-day roster, I'd definitely get on board with this idea.

Matt from Green Bay, WI

When we sign new players this late in the year, do they get stuck with a locker on the end? Or does everyone have to move down a locker so he can be by his position group?

There are usually a few open lockers this time of the year, though the signing of Byron Bell pushed Josh Jackson to the other side of the room. Jackson previously had a locker between Lane Taylor and Adam Pankey by the offensive line because the defensive backs were filled up, so it made sense.

Stan from Menomonie, WI

What's up with the stitched circles on each side of the names on the players' jerseys...sensors for timing and force?

Sort of. I'm guessing what you're seeing is the Packers' GPS technology they use to monitor players during practice.

Keith from Dearborn, MI

From Coach McCarthy's press conference, he mentioned that he would never turn away a former player that wanted to get into coaching. What player on the current roster do you see as being the most likely to coach one day?

Aaron Rodgers (if he has any desire to) or Tramon Williams.

Charlie from Superior, WI

Since we're heading into the doldrums of the offseason and we're heading to peak BBQ season, what's your go-to recipe for a weekend BBQ? Among the players, who strikes you as the best cook?

My go-to recipe is to grill steaks and stay away from BBQ. I leave that to Pa Hod. I'd have to say Brett Hundley is the best cook based on what I've seen on Instagram. He seems to have a passion for it.

Stephen from Neenah, WI

Hoping this is an interesting or unique question, but do you guys have any favorite sounds at OTAs? I remember from my high school playing days nothing sounded more satisfying than getting a good pop on the blocking sled/bags.

Rob Demovsky interacting with his peers.

Rick from Hercules, CA

People keep writing "In regards to" and "With regards to," and it's driving me bonkers. The correct phrases are "In regard to" and "With regard to." It's almost as bad as my daughter always saying, "On accident," not "By accident." Can you please edit out the offending "s"? Thanks from the grammar police, keeping the internet grammatically hygienic, one website at a time.

Wait, with regards to what?

Marcio from Santa Monica, CA

I'm not trying to be a brat, but velociraptors look more like a 6-foot turkey...

What do you have against turkeys?

Martin from Tisovec, Slovakia

Longtime reader here. I see that there is an all new website. I am sad to see that it is not possible to look up any older Insider Inboxes than a few days. Can you tell me if this is just temporary or it won't be possible at all? Will you have any kind of archive for Insider Inbox/Ask Vic, like it used to be?

This was a very common question the past two days. It will be possible to see past Insider Inbox/Ask Vic entries in the future, but we're still in the process of bringing over past content. For now, you can access Inbox entries from the past year at this link.

Vincent from Auburn, WA

With the new format, is the Disqus forum gone now forever?

Keep scrolling down.

David from Janesville, WI

You want the new format? You can't handle the new format! We live in a world that has football websites, and those websites are manned by writers with keyboards. Who's going to man those keyboards? You? You Insider readers? Packers.com has a responsibility that we can't fathom. You weep for the old format and you curse Wes and Spoff. You have the luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what they know; that the new format brings readers.

You don't want the new format because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me to evolve, you need me to evolve. We use words like engagement, user experience and mobile traffic. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent informing people. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a reader who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very content I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a coffee and sit at a keyboard. Either way, I don't give a (hoot) what you think you're entitled to. Have a great weekend, folks!


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