Presented by

Inbox: Their opportunity is massive right now

There’s no need to overthink this

220504-insider-inbox-2560
CB Shemar Jean-Charles

Randall from Grand Junction, CO

I see Lambeau Field hosting a soccer game this summer. Is there a chance for a for a Vic sighting in the crowd? Just wondering.

If Vic were to ever close the curtains in a press box, July 23 would be the day.

Patrick from Oronoco, MN

I see the Raiders declined to exercise the fifth-year options for all three of their 2019 first-round draft picks. Have the Packers decided to pick up Rashan Gary or Darnell Savage and what is the salary cap cost?

The Packers did exercise the options on both Gary and Savage. They get guaranteed fifth-year pay based on an average of the third to 25th highest salaries at their positions over the last five years (third to 20th for Savage due to greater playing time). The cap cost only applies to 2023 unless an extension is worked out before then.

Andrew from Burke, VA

The Hopkins suspension got me thinking – how does a suspension impact the cap? If a player of that caliber is suspended for six games, is that another $5M the team can now spend in free agency knowing that money will not be paid to the player?

It gets credited to the cap once the regular season starts, I believe.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

Spoff, you crack me up when you refer to BG as "Gutey." Do you get to call him that at work? You better be careful before you become the one who doesn't have a lunchbox left in the fridge.

He's actually good with just about anyone calling him Gutey, which says a lot about him. When I first met him, he was a regional scout I'd only see rarely, but somehow at least once every training camp (when all the scouts are around), I'd happen to walk with him across the parking lot to practice, and he'd give me a couple of nuggets on young players that I wouldn't publish but mentally filed away. Stuff like that is invaluable in a job like this.

Ed from Hilltown, PA

Why do you feel Gutey drafted Quay Walker over Devin Lloyd?

Good question, and a popular one. I saw some scouting reports that questioned Lloyd's consistency, but I think that goes for almost any prospect. Maybe the personality/culture fit just felt better. My best guess is he liked the faster defender (4.52 for Walker vs. 4.66 for Lloyd in the 40 at the combine) and their crystal ball – whatever that contains – projects Walker to become the better player in the long run.

Brett from Lakewood, CO

Hi, Mike. Thanks for your work. You had surmised on Monday that Gutey was willing to trade his two seconds to get up to 34 because he believed he was getting a player "better" than the 34th pick. How might you reconcile that worthy thought with Aaron Rodgers spilling the beans that the Packers only had six receivers with first-round grades (which I took to mean the six that were drafted in the first round)?

Valid query. I'm not sure what to make of Rodgers' comment because Gutey mentioned multiple times to the media they don't put "round" grades on players, per se. Also, if the reports are accurate Gutey offered the Vikings the same two second-rounders for the 32nd pick, he apparently wouldn't have had a problem taking Christian Watson in the first.

Chris from Bettendorf, IA

Read an article about the Packers' draft shaping the team to emphasize defense and rely less on an explosive offense. The article went on to ponder if Rodgers can accept a lesser role in the team's success. My take is if Rodgers is half as aware of the game as he is portrayed to be, he'll realize that has been the path to recent Lombardi trophies. Make the plays when they are there to be made, but don't chase them. Is that a viable path for success this season?

I'm getting paralysis by analysis here. There's no need to overthink this. Let Rodgers be Rodgers, count on everyone to do their jobs, and as the season goes on we'll see what it takes for the Packers to win games. To be positing some kind of "winning formula" the first week of May is absurd.

Mark from Walford, IA

Given the need to allow the WR room additions to learn the playbook, improve technique and understand what Rodgers wants, it seems like the offense needs to get passing game production out of RBs, TEs and slot WRs. Do you envision the Packers to become more of a running offense initially in 2022?

I envision LaFleur putting the ball into Aaron Jones' and AJ Dillon's hands an awful lot. Those two will be key to moving chains and crossing goal lines, however they get the ball.

Will from Milwaukee, WI

Good morning, Mike. Now that everyone has caught their breath after the excitement of the draft, can you run us through what happens for all these draft picks after their names are called? When do they report to the team? Is there a staff member in charge of on-boarding the new rookies? Do they get playbooks right away? Does anyone help them with housing? Is it different for the UFAs? Thanks for all you do!

All the rookies – draft picks, UDFAs, tryout players – will report for rookie minicamp on Thursday, and they'll get an introduction to the playbook. For the most part, they'll stay in a hotel out near the airport with a shuttle service bringing them back and forth to Lambeau. Those with roster spots will be incorporated into the offseason program with the veterans as the month progresses, with OTAs starting in a few weeks. The rookies' exposure to the playbook will grow accordingly. There are team resources to help secure housing for those who want it right away. Others will wait and stay at the hotel until they make the team.

Kevin from Fond du Lac, WI

Seems like with Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Rodgers, Watkins, Watson, and Romeo Doubs it will be hard for anyone else to make this team at WR as I don't think they will keep more than six active roster WRs.

I'm not trying to be crass regarding those whose dreams might be shattered over the next few months, but from the team's perspective, if good players have to be cut, so be it. It beats the alternative.

Douglas from Bemidji, MN

While I thought this was a great draft, it is noticeable that we didn't draft any corners or (true) safeties and we only added one of each from the UDFAs. Will we look back at this in a few years with regret or is this just a reflection of how good our DBs are right now?

The assumption isn't that the Packers are satisfied, but that they're going to find out what they really have with some of these young prospects who have been here. At corner, that means Shemar Jean-Charles and Kabion Ento. At safety, that's Vernon Scott, Innis Gaines and Shawn Davis. Based on how the draft fell, their opportunity is massive right now.

Brian from Maple Grove, MN

Based on the offseason thus far, it seems like the Packers aggressively pursued personnel to upgrade a run defense that gave up 4.7 YPC and special teams with the one of the best coaches in the business. Were there other areas on the team that were problematic I may have missed (e.g. penalties, drops, etc.)?

It would have been problematic had they not rebuilt their depth on the offensive line. Before the draft, they would've been in no position to withstand the injuries that have struck that unit in recent years.

Tim from Rosario, Argentina

Hello Insiders, can we get a picture of either Wes or Spoff standing next to Packers rookie free agent Caleb Jones?

Something tells me neither one of us will have a lunch.

Scott from West Richland, WA

Hey II, lots of talk about getting the young receivers up to speed for their transition to the NFL level. Rasul, Stokes and especially Jaire Alexander will certainly give them all they can handle over the summer. My question is how far back do we have to go to get to this level of DB play? '09 with Harris and Woodson, Tramon, and Nick Collins at safety?

I mentioned on a recent "Unscripted" that in my mind the Packers' current nickel secondary (Alexander, Eric Stokes, Rasul Douglas, Adrian Amos, Savage) is the strongest five since the '09 group you mentioned, which had Bigby as the fifth.

Jacob from Superior, WI

Probably not a fun question to answer but a lot of the talking heads in sports are saying Green Bay doesn't have a No. 1 receiver and one even said he doesn't believe they even have a No. 2. Do you think we really are down a true No. 1 receiver?

I'm not sure I care, to be honest. While I won't back off on my belief the Packers had what they needed to win a Super Bowl the last two years, with Davante Adams a huge part of that, there are other ways to win. Green Bay's last two championships featured leading receivers with 56 catches (Antonio Freeman, '96) and 76 catches (Greg Jennings, '10). It's going to get done in different fashions this year, we just don't know exactly how. But having one of the best to ever do it taking the snaps gives me faith they'll figure something out, collectively.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

A fun weekend. Much will be written and talked about our new wide receivers in the coming months. We know what we have at QB and TE. Would you agree that the key to the Packers' passing game for 2022 will depend more on their veterans such as Watkins and the development of returning WR Amari Rodgers than the play of the rookies. I would think we would see flashes from the rookies throughout the season, but game in and game out our veterans will be key. Thoughts?

To some extent, but as I said on a recent "Unscripted," I anticipate Watson being presented with opportunities that didn't exist for the Packers' previous second-round successes at the position because of the current makeup of the group. If he maximizes on his chances, there's practically no limit to his rookie impact.

James from Eagle, ID

Am I wrong or didn't a seventh-round pick (from Wisconsin) step in at right tackle as a rookie and stay there for years?

Mark Tauscher got the call in 2000 when Earl Dotson got hurt, and he answered it all the way to the Packers Hall of Fame.

Jack from High Point, NC

I count 89 players on the roster right now, including the draft picks and Allen Lazard. Does that mean we can expect another free agent signing coming soon?

Not necessarily soon, but the spot is there to add another player without having to release anybody.

Josh from Adams, WI

Do you think the coaches will let Christian Watson return kicks? Who do you think wins the punt returner job? It seems like a two-horse race between Rodgers and Doubs, a lot of potential but also inconsistent and unproven. There still seems to be a lot of questions in our return game, hopefully the coaches pull out all the stops and the competition pushes someone to step up and seize the opportunity.

I don't see either return job as anybody's right now, and I agree with the competition thought. Bisaccia has been doing this a long time, and now he's got options. He knows what he's looking for. He'll demand it and see who responds.

Alex from Madison, WI

Will special-teams play get a WR a spot this year? I'm remembering how Janis' ability as a gunner seemed to get him on the roster sooner.

Entirely possible.

Jim from Eau Claire, WI

Which one of the UDFAs intrigues you the most?

Not knowing much about any of them (just being honest), I'm curious about B.J. Baylor, the running back from Oregon State. Size-wise he's similar to Aaron Jones, and he didn't play much for three years before busting out last season as the guy. Young backs who have proven they can produce but with plenty of tread left on the tires are always worth a look.

Stephen from Chicago, IL

The NFL is a passing league that makes a lot of LBs two-down players in favor of nickel and dime personnel. What's the scouting report on all of the Packers LBs regarding their coverage skills in terms of who would most likely have that responsibility and the experience they have in tackling that role?

The Packers want two big, long, rangy guys they can trust in coverage to match up against backs and/or tight ends, and they're hoping they'll have that with the duo of Campbell and Walker. Should it come together as planned, it'll dictate to offenses if they'd prefer to go against a six-DB dime, they'll have to put a fourth wide receiver on the field, which removes one back or tight end from the mix.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Mike, I was thinking of you during my lunch on Tuesday for reasons you'll soon understand. I ordered a value basket and Flavor of the Day (caramel cashew) at Culver's and was given my number, a cup and the dessert. Just as I finished my custard, the employee brought a tray with a burger, fries and another caramel cashew. She forgot she gave it to me ahead of time so I was forced to eat another one. Does a lunch get any better than that?

The Davenport Culver's is now on my must-visit list. Happy Wednesday.

Advertising