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Inbox: There are drawbacks to everything

It doesn’t happen overnight

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OL Zach Tom, Josh Myers and Royce Newman

Mike from Keshena, WI

So Weston, you do your 1/11th. It's a two-man column. Not much math required.

I have to admit, this made me laugh.

Al from Green Bay, WI

The Dead Zone Genie has popped out of his bottle, and will grant you one specific wish. He can't guarantee wins, but he can arrange for the Packers to have one of the three – top-scoring offense, top defense based on points allowed, or top-rated special teams. Which of the three do you select?

The defense. With Aaron Rodgers taking the snaps and Bisaccia improving the special teams, those units can give the Packers what they need without being the best in the league if the defense is truly elite.

Andrew from Chicago, IL

I don't think any of us are expecting this defense to resemble the 2000 Ravens. But, given the investment in that side of the ball, when compared with the departures on our offense, I am expecting the defense to be our tone-setter while the offense finds its groove in September and October. This is fair, no?

I'd say so.

Mike from Lake Villa, IL

Good morning Mike and Wes! I saw in the training camp article that rookies report on Friday, July 22, yet the veterans do not report until Tuesday, July 26, and the first team practice is Wednesday, July 27. What do the rookies do for five days until the first team practice? Do they have any practice activities before the veterans report?

That time is mostly for meetings and walk-throughs.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

I read a dead zone article about salary cap for the next three years. "Kick the can down the road" and "robbing Peter to pay Paul" both were used and we ranked 28th in overall outlook. With so many young guys and first-round picks still on rookie contracts, how early can a team extend a player's rookie deal? Gary and Savage (first rounders from the same draft) should be next. After that, is there a scenerio where we try to extend Wyatt or Walker before guys taken in drafts before them?

CBA stipulations do not allow draft pick contracts to be extended or renegotiated until the player is three seasons into his career.

Erik from Mansfield, TX

In reference to freelancing on a defensive play, Jaire (I think in his rookie season) came on an unplanned corner blitz and forced a safety, and said afterwards that the coach said something like, "If you do that, you'd better be right." Though he might have already earned the trust by then, being Jaire Alexander and all...

That occurred in the 2020 opener at Minnesota, Alexander's third season.

Paul from Gorham, ME

Good morning, while searching YouTube for a DIY, I was distracted by a video of all the come-from-behind wins Rodgers has led. Between Favre and Rodgers, have they upended every team in the closing minutes? Detroit – the Hail Mary; Chicago – Week 17 Rodgers to Cobb. Is there a famous one against Minnesota, to round out the NFC North?

I don't recall a last-second score by Rodgers to beat the Vikings. I remember the draw-it-in-the-Lambeau-dirt TD to Bradford in '99 and the '04 Christmas Eve game at the Metrodome from Favre's career against Minnesota.

Matthew from Placerville, CA

One of my favorite stats about Barry Sanders is that in his MVP year he ran for exactly 2,000 yards in the final 14 games. I think that makes him only the second person to have done this? Either way it suits him well with the two duds to start the season, and degree of difficulty and brilliance to finish it.

Just for grins and giggles, I looked up the 2,000-yard seasons by Eric Dickerson, Jamal Lewis and Adrian Peterson to compare. When Dickerson ran for 2,105 in '84, he had two games with less than 50 yards (49 and 38), so he had 2,018 yards in 14 games, though not consecutive like Sanders (and O.J. in '73). When Lewis had 2,066 in '03, he had just 69 yards in Week 1, so that meant 1,997 over the final 15. The most notable thing about Peterson's 2,097 in '12 is he had just one 100-yard game in the first six contests, and that was only 102 yards. He had 499 yards in mid-October and then put up 1,598 over the last 10 games. Mercy.

Robert from Verona, WI

The term "one-hit wonder" is used frequently in the world of music, but what is the equivalent phrase in sports? Do you use that term, or is "flash in the pan" a better option? I'd love to know if there is a particular Packers player that comes to your mind when thinking about someone who excelled for one year but could never replicate that success.

In sports, it's often referred to as "catching lightning in a bottle." In my time covering the team, probably the best example would be receiver Jarrett Boykin. Undrafted from Virginia Tech, Boykin had 49 catches for 681 yards and three TDs in 2013, his second season in the league. The years before and after combined, he had eight catches for 50 yards and no scores. He never made another NFL roster after 2014 and had some tough injury luck in the CFL.

John from Livermore, CA

So I am wondering who do you think is the best bargain the Packers have on the current roster?

That's difficult to answer because it depends how you define bargain. If you mean a proven, productive player with a low cap charge that isn't the result of contract-structure gymnastics, then the two at the top of my list would be Eric Stokes ($2.7M cap figure) and AJ Dillon ($1.4M). The Packers also have a handful of guys who have contributed significantly with non-rigged cap numbers under $1M (not by much, but under) for this year. They are Yosh Nijman, Royce Newman, Jon Runyan and Krys Barnes.

Robert from Salem, WI

Do you see any free agent moves before the start of the season?

Most likely. Notable free agents or under-the-radar moves? Hard to say, and injuries in training camp will play a factor.

Tom from Dade City, FL

Mornin y'all. I have been wondering about the size of the contracts being re-signed by Packers players. I know time against money isn't comparable (1999 money vs. 2022 money). But it seems the recent Packers are getting more players re-signed at large contracts than compared to when Ted Thompson had the reins. Ted seemed more inclined to letting guys walk and next man up. Yea or nay?

I think that's a misconception, at least as far as draft classes are concerned. Thompson signed plenty of his draft picks to second contracts. It always stands out, memorably, if a player leaves in free agency and shines elsewhere (Hayward, Hyde), but every year when decisions must be made, the circumstances aren't the same. What I think has changed the most under Gutekunst is his willingness to sign experienced street free agents to fill a hole and/or compensate for an injury, rather than rely on the practice squad or in-house developmental prospects to step forward. And when two such acquisitions by Gutey (De'Vondre Campbell, Rasul Douglas) are hits and get big-money deals on top of it, it makes the difference in the approaches that much more evident.

Don from Greendale, WI

Good morning to all in the II. Regarding your response to the double doink remark I think the best part of that was Da Bears mascot falling down at the goalpost. That was priceless.

That's the enduring image to go along with the unforgettable sound(s).

Steve from Land O'Lakes, FL

I was wondering if Mike from St. Louis Park's sizzling football through the laser goalposts is similar to a big insect hitting an old-fashioned bug zapper. That's the sound he brought to mind.

Indubitably.

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares his favorite photos from the 2021 Green Bay Packers season.

Mark from Eureka, IL

There is much to like about the Packers successfully cross-training their OL. However, does it come at a price? Does learning multiple positions mean less skill and knowledge at any one spot? Limited practice time would seem to inhibit performance.

There are drawbacks to everything, but I think in this case they are outweighed by the benefits. Sure, cross-training might delay reaching top-level expertise at one spot, but learning multiple positions helps players learn the offense better by understanding different guys' jobs, which can make them more effective players in the long run. It also helps the personnel staff as it builds depth. If a team forces itself to have a backup at every spot across the front, then when the fifth guard is better than the fourth tackle, the lesser player is kept on the roster and the better player goes elsewhere. That's not helping the team.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

During the preseason do coaches ever work together to get specific looks for their players? I'm thinking one team wants to look at RBs and the other wants to check out their ILBs, so a bunch of up-the-middle runs get called.

That's how coaches often script their joint practices, with goals like that in mind. It doesn't work that way in preseason games, though.

Craig from Great Lakes, IL

Trust between Rodgers and his receivers means everything. Is it anything more than right place, right time and good hands?

That's a tad simplistic, but it comes down to the QB trusting his receivers are reading the defense the same way he is, so they're making the route adjustments he's expecting them to make, which comes down to knowing the offense inside and out to understand the checks and changes that happen pre- and post-snap. In short, it doesn't happen overnight.

Craig from Bonduel, WI

Realistically, how many more seasons can Mason Crosby perform at peak level?

I have no idea, but the Packers getting their snapping-holding operation squared away this year is the bigger issue than Crosby's age.

Dan from Algonquin, IL

Among the players not projected to be Week 1 starters, please name a player on offense and a player on defense who will have the most snaps at the end of the season.

The easy answers are guys like Dillon and Stokes, who technically may not "start" a lot of games as the No. 2 RB and No. 3 CB, respectively, but are going to play a ton. A sneaky answer would be Elgton Jenkins or Robert Tonyan, who may not be healthy for Week 1. Playing it straight, I'll say Tyler Davis on offense and Keisean Nixon on defense, because I can see both finding roles from scrimmage and playing a lot on special teams.

James from Ottawa, Canada

II, I've got to know about your creative processes. You both have pretty well proven your mastery of one-liners and well-placed pop culture references. Does this come naturally as you're writing your responses? Or do you ever watch a movie/show, hear a classic line, and become determined to work it into an answer? Or do you ever jolt awake in the dead of night with the perfect turn of phrase, scribble it on a bedside notepad, and wait for the perfect question to call it forward?

Twice in a week's time we need a refresher on the first rule of II? C'mon people.

Tom from Lisbon, WI

Now what I really want to know is why on earth would Spoff want to steal a lunch that didn't have either cheese or beer in it?

Because I'm an eternal optimist.

Stephen from Fort Atkinson, WI

"Better luck next time" sums up my II submitted questions.

Happy Monday.

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