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Inbox: The years pass but the legacy endures

Training camp last year wasn’t the same without fans at Nitschke Field

WR Davante Adams

Sean from Vermontville, MI

Hey Wes, I'm going to give you a little advice. There's a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it. When people are asking you questions about who we'll draft, who we'll sign off the street, just stop thinking, let things happen, and be the keyboard. And when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness. So you got that goin' for you too, which is nice. Done any golfing recently? How'd you shoot?

"Be the keyboard" is the next Inbox T-shirt. I'm calling it now. Thanks for the laugh.

Scott from Seattle, WA

Would you please post this to let Gute know L.J. Fort became available and shouldn't cost too much (relatively speaking)? I know you may not believe he reads II on a regular basis, but I don't think you give yourselves enough credit.

Hey Brian, Scott from Seattle would like a quick word.

Tim from Warwick, UK

Hi Wes, I always get excited by the draft, despite having extremely limited knowledge of college players. If you were to list the best Packers draft pick by round over the past 30 years, which seven picks would they be? Thanks, love the column!

I liked this question. It gave me something to sink my teeth into during an otherwise boring Monday at the office. After some quick research, I went with Aaron Rodgers (first round, 2005), Davante Adams (second, 2014), Antonio Freeman (third, 1995), David Bakhtiari (fourth, 2013), Dorsey Levens (fifth, 1994), Mason Crosby (sixth, 2007) and Donald Driver (seventh, 1999). By the time I was done, I was reminded how much success the Packers have had drafting offensive players, especially receiver. The years pass but the legacy endures.

Ryan from Ripon, WI

How do you think this offseason is going to go with COVID still having restrictions? Do you think it will ever get back to the point of riding bikes and the crowds getting to enjoy watching?

I hope so. Training camp last year felt so strange without fans at Nitschke Field. It wasn't the same. I haven't heard anything as far as what the plan will be for the offseason program, which is supposed to begin a month from now. At the very least, it's been good to see players across the league fly in and sign contracts during free agency.

Rodney from Colleyville, TX

Can the Packers match the defenses of the other premier teams in the NFC?

That's the goal and the Packers know they have work to do to get there. You think about the common thread among the teams Green Bay has struggled to get past in the playoffs the last 10 years (New York, San Francisco, Seattle, San Francisco again and Tampa Bay): They've all had suffocating defenses that can turn a game on its head.

Nick from Gresham, WI

There seems to be a lot of hurt feelings about the Packers not signing any free agents yet. I don't know about you, but the perfect cure to those hurt feelings may be to look at the list of free agents remaining. In my opinion, lots of quality players available yet, do you agree? Gute said midseason that they will be looking for bargains and why not? It seems like a good approach to me. Keeping our in-house talent and adding some good vets on one-year deals that may be more common this year works for me.

As soon as the Packers re-signed Aaron Jones, I expected a quiet start to free agency for Green Bay. This next phase is where I could see the Packers getting creative if there's a veteran or two that they feel can add depth. Once the big deals start drying up, expect some players to lower their price points in order to find the best opportunity and take another stab at the market a year from now. There's where a team like the Packers need to swoop in.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers WR Davante Adams from his Pro Bowl season.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

Hi Wes, outside of trading down and getting an extra first-rounder in his first draft as GM, has Gutekunst ever traded down in any draft? It seems like he's always been prone to stay at the pick or trade up but rarely if ever trade down. And do you believe it is more likely that GB will end up making less than 10 picks in the upcoming draft due to moving up or is there so much uncertainty due to the lack of a combine, shortened college season and player opt outs that he actually trades down?

Not yet. Other than the first-round dealings, Gutekunst has drafted where the Packers were picking on the second and third day. My outside-the-box prediction, however, is the Packers will make more than their slotted 10 picks this year. You can take that to Spoff's bank!

Dalton from DeForest, WI

With Corey Linsley not returning, how do you see the Packers potentially lining up their line next season?

If I was tasked with forming an offensive line out of the Packers' current roster, it's probably David Bakhtiari, Jon Runyan, Elgton Jenkins, Lucas Patrick and Billy Turner (left to right). But the real question becomes what Green Bay does if Bakhtiari isn't cleared for Week 1. In that case, then the Packers probably need to slide Turner or Jenkins into that spot. Bakhtiari came in and starred right away at left tackle in 2013 but that's a tall order for an incoming rookie.

Joshua from Houston, TX

The "debate" between Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb having better careers comes down to this: who won a Super Bowl? Cobb was a year too late.

Why did I start this fire?

James from Appleton, WI

Wes, I'd take Randall Cobb if a play breaks down and Jordy Nelson if it didn't. The question is, is Davante Adams on the verge of being better in those situations than both?

Possibly. Adams can run the entire route tree from anywhere on the field and is still 28. If the Packers extend him – and I have no reason to see why they wouldn't – Adams could wind up owning most of the franchise's receiving records. He's already fourth in career catches and receiving touchdowns.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

With all the cap problems arising, depending on who is left on the board, would it be better for the Packers to trade away their first-round pick if a second-round pick is projected to be available and is as good an athlete to save dollars? A first-round pick is a higher salary than a second-round pick??

Things aren't that bad, especially after the creation of the rookie-wage scale in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement. History has shown there is a significantly better chance of hitting on a Pro Bowl/All-Pro player in the first round than the second, so I always stick with those odds if there's a player with a first-round grade still on the board.

Hannes from Milwaukee, WI

Casey Hayward and Kevin King were both good when healthy but injured often while playing on their rookie contracts. Are people asking about bringing Hayward back more frequently? I'd rather have the 25-year-old cornerback than the 32-year-old one if both their markets were soft enough for the Packers to make a push.

Don't think that irony is lost on me. Six years ago, many fans were saying the same things about Hayward that they're currently saying about King.

Denny from Lebanon, PA

I saw one of the mock drafts has the Packers picking Micah Parsons with their pick at 29. They say he falls that far down because of character issues. I have not heard anything negative about Parsons. Do you think the Packers would take him if he was there at 29? Also, I was sorry to see Tim Boyle go. I know I only saw him play mainly in the pre-season, but he looked like he had promise.

I saw that and also read LaVar Arrington's impassioned rebuttal. I'll leave it up to you to decide, but if we're talking strictly about Parsons as a football player, I love what I've seen on film. He blurs the lines between outside and inside linebacker, which is in vogue right now. Parsons has a big frame (6-3, 245) but still very explosive for the position. If he can diagnose and play to that speed at the next level, Parsons could be a real player in this league. Now, would the Packers use a first-round pick on a guy who projects as an inside linebacker in this defense? Until I see it, I'm bearish about leading everyone down that path - especially with Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin on the roster.

Dan from Syracuse, NY

How important is it to have a solid third quarterback in camps for the young guys on both sides of the ball to develop with quality competition? Also, is there an equivalent to having a pitch count on No. 12 in the offseason program to minimize the amount of throws he puts on the arm? Go Pack Go!

It's big. Tim Boyle was throwing to Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan and Marquez Valdes-Scantling well before they got to run with the first team. It's going to be important for the Packers to identify a viable No. 3, through either the draft or college free agency.

Shilo from Murietta, CA

Wes, do you ever remember a team that was such a hot mess as the Texans are right now? Bad on the field, controversial ownership, and embarrassing player behavior. I know the Packers had problems in the '80s, but it wasn't like this, right?

Washington has had some rough years, but the Texans probably top the list for organization chaos during my time covering the NFL. At the bare minimum, without getting into all the off-the-field stuff, the Texans went from a perennial playoff team to a complete mess almost overnight.

Al from Green Bay, WI

I understand that our Bears fan friends aren't excited about Andy Dalton. Are there things Dalton can do better than Mitch Trubisky?

Dalton might be a better fit for the offense Matt Nagy wants to run. After thinking about it over the weekend, I could see the Bears viewing Dalton like Kansas City did Alex Smith – a capable QB who can win games while the organization searches for "the man."

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

One of the first things I learned as a very amateur photographer was to be mindful of everything in the frame, not just the focal point. Even the most interesting focal point can turn into a mediocre or bad picture if what surrounds it is not complimentary. The craftsmen of the Packers have exhibited excellence in their field for years now. I look forward to their new release.

For that reason, and the two preceding posts, I have profound respect for what the Packers have achieved over the past 30 years.

David from Appleton, WI

In the Feb. 7, 2020, edition of II, Spoff was asked if the Packers would draft a QB in the first round? "No, I still say it's too soon. That's my story and I'm sticking to it." So when the 500th person asks either of you in the next week's if the Packers will draft Player X in Round Y, point to this article and let them know ... only Gutey knows. Love the II. Keep 'er movin'.

I didn't see the Jordan Love pick coming, either. But I'm not in those meetings or making those calls. Spoff and I are just chilling here with all of you, trying to make sense of the world without rushing to judgment.

Jim from Eau Claire, WI

I heard that a rare mistake by the NFL led to the Patriots getting awarded an extra pick in the 2021 draft. Can you tell me what happened here?

That's correct. The Pats were awarded an extra fifth-round pick on Friday due to a mistake by the NFL while computing the compensatory formula. I told you it was complicated.

Panfilo from Saticoy, CA

Your answer to the Thursday night games rubbed me the wrong way. Some of us don't work Monday through Friday. I was fortunate to arrange my schedule at work to be off Thursdays as my only day. Therefore, l am lucky to get any game on Thursdays and if I'm lucky catch some Sunday night games. So yes, to some of us, Thursdays are a big deal. Also, I concur with no more cap questions.

I wasn't trying to be sarcastic. My thought was those who want to see those games will pay for the service; no different than what I do with ESPN+ for UFC or now Peacock with WWE Network. I don't want to be crass but streaming is inevitable. That train is coming down the tracks.

Allen from Birmingham, AL

II: As an out of market Packers fan, I've had to add Sunday Ticket and NFL Network into my packages to see every Packers game, and I'll make whatever changes are necessary to continue that. It got me thinking, though: Is there a way to approximate the "in-market" number of fans versus the far-flung fans? It would be pretty obvious to DirecTV analytics where my preferences lie.

You would think so. My line about streaming being the future works both ways. The NFL still has work to do on the "Sunday Ticket" front, too.

Packers LB Oren Burks celebrates his birthday Mar. 21. Take a look at photos of him from the 2020 season.

Joel from Green Bay, WI

Regarding backup QB trades, don't forget that the Packers traded Mark Brunell to the Jaguars for a third and a fifth. It worked out well for both teams, as the Jags got their starting QB, and the Packers ended up picking William Henderson and Travis Jervey. It could have worked out far better for the Packers, though. Had they selected Terrell Davis (who went 26 picks later) at RB instead of Jervey. They may have won another SB just by keeping him from the Broncos.

Dadgummit. I knew I forgot one.

Mike from Franksville, WI

For great Packers kick returners don't forget '98 Pro Bowler Roell Preston! I remember the game against the winless Colts in 1997, Preston was the only bright spot because on every one of his returns you felt like he was that close to going the distance. Then, the Packers cut him after the game. My fifth-grade self was devastated.

And yet another name I missed. Boy, I really brought my C-Game on Sunday night. Maybe I should have tried watching the NCAA Tourney while writing Inbox.

Erich from Sheboygan, WI

Regarding what we received with our backup quarterbacks you forgot to add what we got for Brett Favre. That trade had everything to do with the Packers' ability to draft and develop. He was told if he came back to play, he would have to compete to be the starter.

OK, this one I purposely omitted because Favre wasn't a "backup" but Aaron Rodgers' development is what enabled Ted Thompson to send Favre to the Jets for a third-round pick, paving the way for Clay Matthews coming to Green Bay.

Mike from Glendale, CA

Good morning! I'm relieved Sister Jean isn't the Bears' team chaplain.

A strong take on so many levels, Mike. You need just nine words to three or four different points.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

Hey Wes. On behalf of the "other Mike from Berrien Springs," I would like to apologize for his rant. Firstly, I have not been called Mike since reaching adulthood (somehow Michael just took over). Secondly, at my worst I never spew vitriol in my submissions. However, if you are ever able to visit the orchards and vineyards of beautiful Southwest Michigan, look me up and I will be happy to share a meal and a cold root beer on the screened in porch with you.

That's why I was rattled. You're an Inbox Fan of the Year finalist. On Monday, I went back through the weekend submissions, and sure enough, it was a different Mike from Berrien Springs with a different email. It's a small world, indeed. I look forward to that Sarsaparilla.