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Inbox: There are opportunities for improvement on every stretch of this highway

Guaranteeing each team a possession is the right move

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WRs Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb

Dan from Edgerton, WI

Have you heard anything new about extending Jaire Alexander to get enough cap space to sign a wideout or two?

The Packers have the space to sign a wideout without extending Alexander, but independent of that, Brian Gutekunst said Monday the Packers remain hopeful to sign Alexander for the long term. It's the next big move to make for Green Bay with Alexander just 25 and already an All-Pro cornerback.

James from Appleton, WI

The discussion has been about putting Alexander in the slot, but I think if Rasul Douglas steps in that spot he could produce a Charles Woodson-type season with his preparation and ball-hawking. How do you think he would fare with the occasional corner blitz?

That's where it gets fun for Green Bay because I could see Douglas excelling inside, too. He's probably the best open-field tackling cornerback I've covered since Charles Woodson. The guy rarely misses. At 6-2, 209 pounds, Douglas also can leave a mark on the ball-carrier. I could see the same exact thing happening if it was the quarterback that Douglas is chasing down.

Ryan from Noblesville, IN

This has to be the most exciting draft in a very long time for the Packers and their fans. Eleven total picks with two in each the first and second. I just hope they use all four picks on four players and not use them to trade up. More potential to hit on a Pro Bowler with four players vs. one or two. Do you feel the same way?

I like the aggressiveness Gutekunst has shown during his first four years as GM, trading up to select Rashan Gary and Jaire Alexander (after trading back once). But this year's class is so rich with talent that I think the Packers could get great value just picking where they are. The writer in me always prefers fewer picks, though. Day 3 can get long when your team is drafting eight or nine guys.

Chip from Sacramento, CA

Listening to BG address replacing '17' reminds me of Brad Pitt's line in Moneyball. He told his scouts that they can't replace Jason Giambi but maybe they could recreate him in the aggregate.

Adapt or die, right?

Peter from New London, WI

All I've been hearing is, 'Let's trade for this receiver or let's sign this receiver in free agency.' Why not just draft two or three receivers in the draft (good class of receivers) and let Aaron and the new guys lead us to the Super Bowl? The best receiver for the 2022 season will be a draft pick. This draft has too many good receivers to waste time on free agents. I truly believe the best wideout on GB will be a rookie.

The future at receiver quite likely will come through this draft class. The Packers lost three receivers in unrestricted free agency, which is why I believe there is room for a veteran. But there are no requirements for how Gutekunst and his scouts build this thing up.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Like most, if not all, Packers fans, I've experienced great concern over the Packers receivers or lack of over the past two weeks. Now I'm thinking regardless of whom he's throwing the ball to, Aaron Rodgers is going to pass for 4,000-plus yards, 40-plus TDs and have a passer rating of 100 plus. We need to trust Gute, trust LaFleur, and trust Rodgers. Trust the process to find the pieces and find the way. Now I just need to take my own advice. GPG in 22.

The message both Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur drove home this week is that roster-building is a year-round process and the 2022 roster is far from complete. It's important to remember, especially for fans, that the offseason is a very long road and there are opportunities for improvement on every stretch of this highway.

Corey from Albuquerque, NM

The II GM has decided to spend one of their high-draft choices on a WR1. What characteristics do you look for, and why?

Speed, size, reliable hands, elite production at the college level…and did I mention speed? Speed, too.

Clint from Port Washington, WI

Hi Wes! With the departure of so many receivers that AR trusts, do you think there will be a big impact on his stats? Will he take more sacks because he's holding the ball longer? Completion percentage goes down because he's throwing the ball away more? Interception total goes up because the receivers aren't where he expects them to be/more tipped balls? I'm afraid we aren't going to see him happy and Zen-like this year.

The Packers lost Adams, but still have several talented skill-position players. Now, it's just a matter of figuring out how to divide out Adams' 123 catches for 1,523 yards. LaFleur's system of offense is QB-friendly and has aided Rodgers in getting the ball out faster the past two years, so that's not a huge concern for me. While I could see the receiving numbers going down among the natural wideouts, I think both Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon could be in for huge years as pass-catchers.

Lior from Anchorage, AK

The Packers can't replace Adams, but they can still be efficient and productive on offense without him. This coaching staff has shown it can adapt to put players in positions to succeed. I also think the talking heads don't give Allen Lazard enough credit. He's made some clutch plays and '12' fully trusts him. This might be the year he fully breaks out.

If Lazard is healthy, he'll be an every-down player in 2022. He can play inside or outside in LaFleur's scheme. His blocking prowess could be even more beneficial this year with Aaron Jones and Dillon powering the offense. I think Lazard and Robert Tonyan are going to play a pivotal role in the offense this year.

Jake from Decatur, GA

With all respect to Steve, there's no way a team with a Hall of Fame QB playing at an MVP-level is going to have defense as its identity. But I would argue that defense has still been this team's best trait for several years now, especially in the postseason. With that in mind, do you expect this draft to tend more toward offense or defense? For me, free agents are for patching holes, and you draft to your strengths because that's where you can most afford to invest in young players' development.

My 1½-cent prediction: After years of favoring the defense in the draft, the Packers go the offensive route and build around Rodgers for a final push.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

How many players will the Packers draft in 2022? I will set the Over/Under at 8½.

I'll say over. The Packers could trade up once, or even twice, but I think they want to keep as many of those Day 3 picks as possible in search of the next David Bakhtiari, Micah Hyde or MVS.

Steve from Middletown, KY

Good morning. With all the speculation about the Pack becoming more of a running team, or more of a ball control team if you prefer, do we need to add more depth at that position? I don't believe there were very many RBs to play in all 17 games last year.

To follow up on what I wrote yesterday, I am high on Patrick Taylor. I love his size and make-up. He's a taller back but knows how to run behind his pads. Again, that's a position the Packers could look to draft next month. I just don't think a Day 1 or 2 pick would be necessary. You have larger fish to broil.

Russ from Henrico, VA

Would Elgton Jenkins potentially return sooner at guard than tackle? A gazillion-dollar QB can throw to multiple receivers if WR1 is covered. What does a team do when their gazillion-dollar WR is taken out of the game by a shutdown corner or gimmick defense? Will a dose or two of this bring WR contracts back down from the stratosphere?

I see the logic there, but I don't have any statistics or evidence to illustrate how playing guard is easier than tackle in the aftermath of a significant knee injury. Everything is cyclical as far as the passing game is concerned. It was receivers, then it was running backs and now it's receivers again. Maybe fullbacks will soon get their day in the cyclical sun.

Patrick from Valrico, FL

It truly saddens me that Green Bay's history and iconic team stature is continually exploited by the league for marketing purposes, but the area remains "not good enough" to host larger events such as the NFL Draft. Detroit was really a better choice? I believe the league owes it to the Green Bay franchise to make a small sacrifice every now and again simply due to their popularity, let alone their history.

Don't lose hope, Patrick. We'll get there. If the LeRoy Butler deal taught me anything, it's sometimes you have to be patient and wait your turn. Both the Packers organization and Discover Green Bay have worked tirelessly to get the NFL Draft here. I'm confident it will happen at some point.

Kevin from Dalton Gardens, ID

There was a lot of talk about Shemar Jean-Charles early last year in camp but he was used sparingly during the season. What's your take on how he fits for the upcoming season?

I thought he showed a few things in the preseason. Certainly, SJC faced a big jump to the NFL, but the Packers' scouts loved him coming out of Appalachian State. It seems like they're prioritizing the slot with Jean-Charles. He'll be back in the running for a roster spot this summer.

Greg from Glen Ellyn, IL

Good Wednesday morning, Wes! How is the pool? You mentioned yesterday Keisean Nixon has outside and inside experience. Is he similar in build or play style to Chandon Sullivan and do you think he might be able to take over some of the slot snaps available following Sully's departure?

The two are comparable in height, but otherwise it's difficult to project. Nixon is like 10 pounds heavier, which helps on special-team coverage units, which is going to be his primary responsibility. From there, Nixon will compete with Jean-Charles, Kabion Ento and others to be in that conversation of "next man up" behind Alexander, Douglas and Eric Stokes.

Dennis from Appleton, WI

The Packers are definitely making changes to the special teams in terms of bringing in experienced coaches and personnel. No longer an afterthought going forward, which is nice!

The Packers know they must improve in all facets of special teams and have adjusted accordingly. Rich Bisaccia was a big-time hire, but there are personnel decisions that factor into that, as well. I can't wait to chat with him in the next week or so.

Anthony from Southington, CT

My two cents for OT: The complaint that both teams need a possession overlooks the fact that if the first team with possession scores, the other team now would always be able to "go for it" on fourth down with no liability. How about just eliminating all kicks until both teams have had the ball for one possession? No kickoff, no punting and no field-goal or extra-point attempts until both teams have had the ball once. A TD on Possession 1 must be followed by a two-point attempt. Team 1 then gets the same chance.

My two cents…is I'm overtimed out. The league and the owners made their decision. Both teams will now have a guaranteed possession in playoff overtime games. Team 2 absolutely is going to go for it on every fourth down and I would think also go for two if it scores a TD. The onus falls on Team 1's defense to stop the opposing offense – just like the original sudden-death rules.

Dan from St. Charles, MO

I think Mike Tomlin's point about sudden-death OT is valid in that no team can blame a loss on the OT rules. I think the real question, however, is one of entertainment and competition. No one wants the old sudden-death format where the winner was often determined based on a coin toss, e.g., the receiving team converting a couple first downs and kicking a field goal. NFL fans want an overtime format that results in a fair competition to determine the winner. What say you?

Agreed. The original overtime rules were bad. Too many seasons ended because one offense converted a pair of first downs and kicked a field goal. In my opinion, guaranteeing each team a possession is the right move to ensure the better team advances in the postseason.

Chase from Fort Leonard Wood, MO

Good morning team. The most on the edge of your seat intense moment of any NFL game is lining up for the game-winning FG with less than 4 seconds on the clock. For overtime, each offense gets one possession (with kickoff and everything - normal rules). If after one possession each, the game is still tied, then go into a FG-sudden death. Kicking units alternate and after both make it, the mark moves back five yards. Think back to that crazy FG game last year, pretty exciting right? Thanks.

I appreciate your idea and many of those other readers submitted, but the problem is the gimmick meter steadily rises from 0 to 100 throughout the span of the submissions. The NFL doesn't want gimmicks. It wants simplicity. Hence, the idea it has implemented for the 2022-23 playoffs.

Carl from Orlando, FL

Long-time listener, first-time caller: While you visit our fair state and enjoy what I call "Chamber of Commerce" weather this week, will you have time for any side excursions? May I suggest the nearby community of Weston, Florida? You might be able to take some photos of Weston landmarks. Enjoy Florida, and GPG!!

Maybe in retirement I drive around to all the towns and villages named "Weston" in the United States and declare them my own personal provinces. I'll begin by appointing my boss as the "Duke of Weston, WI." OK, I think I'm done here.

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