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Inbox: There is only one

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Matt from Clarkston, MI

In honor of Valentine’s Day, and an homage to Vic's "OK" response, I'd suggest replying with "Yes, dear" to any disparaging questions in today's column.

OK. Good morning!

Scott from Las Vegas, NV

What is the single most important characteristic or ability that you think Head Coach Matt LaFleur and his staff need to have to improve the team?

There are so many different things I could point to here – leadership, knowledge and how to bring together a locker room. Yet, the word that immediately came to mind was innovation. That was the basis for the Super Bowls Vince Lombardi, Mike Holmgren and Mike McCarthy won. LaFleur’s past experience makes him a perfect fit to lead the Packers in 2019 and beyond.

Theologos from Athens, Greece

In your opinion, what is the best way to address free agency? Do you sign your own guys first, look for external help, or a mixed bag?

The starting point is gauging the roster, making a decision on your pending free agents and then looking at the entire NFL landscape to make a proper judgment about signing a free agent off another team. It sounds simple, but there’s so much projection involved in that process.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

Since they didn't get any deals done with Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb and Muhammad Wilkerson last season, does this mean they are moving on from them?

Not at all. Bryan Bulaga and Cobb re-signed with the Packers only hours before the start of free agency back in 2015.

Amy from Bayport, MN

Wes, when I think of athletes with unique traits I immediately picture Philip Rivers’ throwing motion. It looks so awkward, almost like he’s shot-putting the football. It amazes me that he can achieve so much power and distance with those mechanics.

It’s fascinating how some quarterbacks can be successful with a hitch in their delivery, while it also can be nearly impossible to overcome for someone like Tim Tebow. We’re talking about a fraction of a second in a QB’s delivery altering a play and the course of their careers.

Beau from Indianapolis, IN

Athletic moves that have often been tried but never duplicated? I’m going with Reggie’s hump move. Get the lineman going one way and use your arm to just throw the lineman out of your way like he was small potatoes (or a wedge of cheese, if you will). Nobody has been able to master that like the Minister of D!

Thank you. I knew I’d miss an obvious one. White’s hump move is iconic and nobody did – or does – it quite like him.

Chris from Golden Valley, MN

This year it seems that MLB teams have finally figured out overpaying stars in the back half of their careers hinders instead of helps build a championship roster. What would it take for NFL teams to similarly stop paying aging quarterbacks in order to be more competitive since none of the six top-paid quarterbacks in football even made the postseason this year?

Quarterbacks don’t make anywhere near what MLB and NBA players make in guaranteed money. Even if a player signed a 10-year contract in the NFL, the CBA allows teams to release players after five years without any effect on the cap. The NFL is such a QB-driven league I don’t see it changing anytime soon. There are other outfielders and infielders, but there is only one quarterback on the field at a time. The entire league puts value on that. Just look at the contracts mid-level quarterbacks are commanding. If Aaron Rodgers was on the market, somebody would sign him to another record-breaking contract in a heartbeat.

Robert from Salem, WI

To another individual’s question: “You have the option of trading CB Kevin King for a high third-round pick in this year’s draft.” Mike responded with, “Not a chance.” Why are you feeling so high on King?

I wouldn’t trade King. The guy has flashed the ability to be a perennial starter when he’s healthy and is playing on a modest rookie deal. He’s only 23 and signed through 2020. Give the kid a chance to reach his potential.

Roger from West Bend, WI

Guys, what do you think gives our special teams a chance to be better than it has been? Coaches, scheme, talent, commitment by the head coach that we are going to improve, or is it residual of the team makeup? Interested to hear your thoughts.

I’d say the understanding the Packers’ special teams need to improve at every level. The new coaches give Green Bay a great shot at a fresh start. Shawn Mennenga has learned from some of the best in the business and LaFleur saw how solid special teams can energize an entire team in LA.

James from Asheville, NC

Realizing hindsight is insight, which Packer player of the past decade or so lost to free agency or released outright do you think most impacted the team? Casey Hayward comes quickly to mind but watching highlights of certain games I'm constantly reminded what a force Desmond Bishop was.

Bishop didn’t have a career-ending injury like Nick Collins or Johnathan Franklin, but he’ll forever be one of the biggest “what ifs” during my time covering the Packers. He wasn’t the same player after that severe hamstring tear. Prior to that, Bishop was a perfect fit for Dom Capers’ defense and a vastly underrated playmaker in the middle.

Dale from Wilton, WI

The Packer Valentines made my heart smile.

Ryan Hartwig is one heck of a social-media maven and extremely underrated at what he does. The guy doesn’t get nearly enough credit for the quality content he produces for the Packers’ social accounts.

Derek from Houston, TX

II, purely hypothetical question, but if Nasir Adderley was drafted by the Packers, what number would he have? Asking for a friend.

There are a lot of hypotheticals here – would the Packers draft Adderley? Do they re-sign Bashaud Breeland? If both are true, would Breeland be willing to let Adderley take his relative’s number? Stay tuned.

Justin from Winston-Salem, NC

My favorite part of the folks stating they will never read the II again is knowing that, instead of reading credible articles while occasionally hearing about your interests, they will likely go to websites with click-bait articles containing inaccurate and opinionated information.

And there is some serious garbage that pops up in social media newsfeeds that oblivious sports fans take as gospel.

Benjamin from Evergreen Park, IL

Sir Mike of Spofford or Sir Wes of Hodgkiewicz, in all your travels within your careers who’s the most interesting person you met and talked to? Personally I really would have been blown away by Mel Kiper.

I’d say it was meeting Dick LeBeau at the NFL Scouting Combine two years ago (I’ve discussed that encounter before) and the evening I spent hanging out with Jon Gruden in Green Bay back in 2015. After the first 10 minutes, you feel like you’ve known him for 10 years.

Drew from Green Bay, WI

Vic had stated he wouldn't look at the draft board if given the opportunity. Where do Mike and Wes stand on it? Could you resist the temptation to look if offered the chance?

I’m on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. I find the pre-draft process more compelling than the NFL Draft itself. If someone upstairs asked if I wanted to take a peek at it, I’d tear a ligament jumping up from the chair at my desk.

Darrick from Kimberly, WI

Christian Wilkins seems like the prototypical Packers pick. High character, solid performer, and of course, you gotta take the big guys early. I saw MJD's mock draft has him going to the Pack at 30. What's your opinion on him? Is he good enough to go at 12? Will he be there at 30?

No clue, but I believe it’ll be my turn (good lord willing) to write Inbox during the first day of the draft in April. I’m tempted to have Inboxers submit who they believe will be the Packers’ first-round pick(s) and see who’s right.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Guys, I know who signs your paycheck, but couldn't you have given an objective answer to Rick from Conshohocken's question about one position that could use improvement?

If you’ve been reading, I’ve stated outside linebacker needs more bodies since the season ended but thanks for questioning our integrity.

Take a look at photos of Packers WR Equanimeous St. Brown from the 2018 season.

Tony from Kaukauna, WI

I hereby declare myself a Salt Lake Stallions fan! I know about Brandon Oliver and Matt Asiata, but who else should I be watching?

Former Packers running back Joel Bouagnon, Adonis Jennings, Austin Davis, Chris Odom and Greer Martini are a few other former Packers on Salt Lake’s roster.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

It would be great to see the AAF develop players, but since they have contracts, could they sign with an NFL team?

It’s my understanding AAF players are allowed to sign with NFL teams at any time, but the season wraps near the end of April. So there’s still plenty of time for AAF players to sign onto 90-man rosters after their season and compete for NFL roster spots in the summer.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

Wes, going back to your AAF conversations from Tuesday, I did have one small complaint. I thought that the broadcast audio was too muddled and inconsistent. I don't know this for certain, of course, but it sounded like the censors were just sitting on the "delay" button every time they were picking up chatter from the field mics. Too much on-field cursing caused too many bleeps, which cut out all of the broadcast team? I'd just take away the field mics. You?

I don’t know what CBS is doing for its production team – I’m assuming it’s not the same one it uses for NFL games – but it is a work in progress. There were a couple hard zooms during the game, as well.

Zack from Lawrence, KS

Can you imagine if the NFL did away with onside kicks and established that AAF fourth-and-12 attempt? If I had a guy like Rodgers or Brady, I’d take that chance every single time, given their third-and-long conversion rates. Whole games could go by without the other team touching the ball!

It’s a drastic change, but I give the AAF credit for trying something new. I don’t believe the new NFL kickoff rules are conducive to dramatic and reasonably convertible onside kicks. It’s a big risk considering a failed attempt would give the ball to the opposing team deep in your territory, but I don’t know if fourth-and-12 would be enough of a deterrent given how the NFL game favors the offense. It’s something to consider.

Craig from Appleton, WI

With free agency coming before the draft, how much do the players signed by divisional opponents affect our draft board?

I don’t have any statistics to use as examples, but I don’t see much of a correlation – at least as it applies to the Packers. The Packers lost Greg Jennings to Minnesota in 2013 and Green Bay drafted two receivers in the seventh-round. T.J. Lang signed with Detroit and the Packers waited until the sixth round to take Kofi Amichia.

Zach from Delavan, WI

How often do you and Mike interact with Larry in the offseason? Is he always off doing his own thing or do the three of you have any joint ventures?

Larry is here every day. I say hi to him by the coffee machine each morning. Our next joint venture will be “Packers Unscripted” and “Three Things” from the combine in a few weeks.

Brett from Omro, WI

Does the four-day NFL combine get tiring? What do you do to keep from being exhausted?

It is a long week, but cool having everybody who’s anybody in the NFL together within a few block radius. You get to catch up with writers, agents and NFL folks you may only see a few times each year. The food isn’t bad, either.

Dave from Franklin, WI

Ever get the feeling the fans down on Kevin King are the same ones who complain about not re-signing Casey Hayward?

It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? It’s easy to always be right when you know it all.

Albert from Crystal Falls, MI

Do the players selected to "show their stuff" at the combine pay their own way (plane tickets, hotel, etc.) or does the NFL pick up the tab?

I believe the NFL covers all costs for participants.

Tom from Ft. Wayne, IN

Can you guys work from home if there’s a weather storm warning?

Only if I ask nicely.

Mike from Mercer, WI

Just a thought about a special Inbox forum. With the Packer fan base, have you ever thought of just taking one question from every state and answering that question? You could break it down to 25 questions over two days. As far as the questions from outside the USA, maybe do one question from every country on another day. I try to read this every day because I find the questions and responses very interesting. If you take my suggestion – I hope to be one of the questioners. Thanks

I was told there would be no geography.

Jordan from Lawrenceburg, KY

Wes, my favorite part of “Packers Unscripted” is when Spoff introduces you and you point at the camera. It makes me laugh every time. Sometimes you even change it up and give us different gestures! Keep up the great work!

I like to have a shtick. When I hosted “Three Guys Talking Packers” at the Press-Gazette, I used to throw a pen at the camera (mostly to hit our videographer Kyle Bursaw). The cameras here are way too expensive to do that, so I switched to pointing at the audience instead.

Daniel from Delta, PA

I have a suggestion for the offseason version of “Unscripted”: keep the music (which is awesome, btw) but have clips of the two of you doing your office stuff. With the right editing plus the music, it'll add some edge to your daily grind. Maybe sneak a shot in the end of Spoff sneaking Wes's lunch from the fridge.

You guys would be so bored. The most exciting part of my workday this time of the year is walking over to our brand and marketing interns’ desk and finishing the lyric board they post every day.

Blaine from Fennimore, WI

Wes, are you more excited for “Game of Thrones” or “Avengers: Endgame”?

Ha. Good one #ForTheThrone

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Mike, if you take Wes's lunch, would you please leave the valentine Ma Hod packed for Wes on his desk?

Yes, dear. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

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