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Inbox: There's no substitute for the real deal

The matchups will be different

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CB Eric Stokes

Markus from Aurora, CO

Insiders, how many hours in an average day are you "paying attention" to what credible news outlets (other than click-bait sites) are reporting about the Packers?

The better question is how many hours are we not. Aside from sleeping, almost never. Occupational hazard.

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, UK

Bit disappointed to see the Dallas game isn't a Monday night game. Your thoughts.

The league gives the networks that are shelling out billions of dollars to televise the games some priority picks in the scheduling process. FOX clearly put the McCarthy return to Lambeau very high on its list, if not at the top. I expect the Packers to have plenty of night games regardless.

Mark from North Bay, WI

Other pro wrestlers with Packers connections were Dick "The Bruiser" Afflis who played four years as a guard, tackle and defensive lineman. Honorable mention is Vern Gagne who played three exhibition games in 1949. He might have made the team but there was a disagreement with the Bears on who owned his rights.

Dozens of you mentioned Dick the Bruiser. I'm not familiar with the Gagne story.

Ham from Elkview, WV

Christian Watson is by far my favorite pick in the draft, and by no means do I wish the Pack would've taken someone else, but Watson has never really had to deal with the Green Bay cold. He grew up in Tampa and played in an indoor stadium at NDSU. I just wanna know how you think he will fare in the Lambeau snow.

It's difficult for any college player to be prepared for the upper Midwest in December and January when almost no college seasons include outdoor games in northern climates then. But if you look at NDSU's schedules, the program has played plenty of outdoor games in Midwestern states in November (as well as March in the COVID-delayed season).

Chase from Fort Leonard Wood, MO

Good morning team. I wonder what the national narrative would be if the Packers had traded up to 32 to draft Christian Watson.

I wonder when I'll care.

Michael from Santa Cruz, CA

I've seen a lot of speculation post-draft regarding the WR room for this coming season. They often include presumptions on certain returning players again making the roster. With the addition of three high-potential drafted rookies and the importance of special-teams contributions for those nearest the cut line, are we headed for a surprise (or even two) on final cutdown day for that group?

With a new regime, so to speak, in charge of special teams, some unexpected roster decisions could be in store at receiver as well as another position or two.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

I would think a shutdown defense that creates turnovers and additional possessions for the offense gives your QB even greater freedom, creating the complete opposite scenario from a game manager. If the special teams takes it up a notch, we may see a team which can win in any number of ways. Game manager sounds like a guy trying not to lose the game for you. Aaron Rodgers is not that.

That was basically my point, though I concede there are varying definitions of "game manager" out there, and not specifying exactly what is meant breeds differing perceptions.

Matthias from San Antonio, TX

Football films in the sports genre are hard to find a good story with appropriate, realistic dialogue. "We Are Marshall" had so much potential but missed out on a LOT of storyline. As much as I appreciate "Remember the Titans" I've never rewatched it. One film underrated and rewatchable as a comedic, historical fiction with realistic elements and a fun cast: "Leatherheads." Ultimately, baseball wins the sports genre but is there a football film you consider rewatchable?

I think "Remember the Titans" is certainly worth a second look, and Wes is going to say "Draft Day" all day, every day. But as far as choosing an underrated football movie – and I'm not saying it's the greatest ever or anything – I don't think "Invincible" gets enough credit.

The Green Bay Packers held their first practice of rookie minicamp on Friday, May 6, 2022.

Nicholas from Baltimore, MD

Red-zone efficiency is always a major factor for any team's success, and I fear this is where we will miss Adams the most. While Watson brings great size/speed, I hear more about his ability to stretch the field than convert a third-and-goal for a TD. Do you have any insight to his or another receiver's ability to be that clutch red-zone contributor?

I agree Adams will be missed most near the goal line – he caught 69 TD passes over the last six years, that's a ton – but I don't think putting it on the rookies to score a whole bunch will be the answer. The Packers have players who have done it before. In 2019, Aaron Jones rushed for 16 TDs, most in team history since Jim Taylor. Last year, he caught six TD passes, most by a Packers RB since Johnny Blood. Tonyan had double-digit TDs in 2020. Allen Lazard hit a career high eight in 2021. AJ Dillon scored seven times last year, rushing and receiving combined, and is certainly capable of more. Granted, the vast majority of all that was accomplished with Adams consuming the defense's attention. Without Adams, the matchups will be different, but the Packers still have the proven talent to create favorable ones.

Richard from Greenwich, NY

Good morning, reader since "Ask Vic" days. Much is made lately of Relative Athletic Score when grading draft picks. I read that was the reason Quay Walker was drafted by GB instead of Devin Lloyd. Randall Cobb's RAS was 3.65 when drafted, but he has been a key factor in GB's success. Do you think RAS is overrated, or is it more important in certain positions (e.g. DL, LB) than others?

I think it's one piece of the scouting report pie, and when other elements are relatively equal (size, skills, game tape, etc.) it can serve as a tiebreaker of sorts because it might – I stress might – project to a higher ceiling for a player long term. But in the evaluation process, if one player's game film is clearly superior, an inferior player's RAS isn't likely to leapfrog him on the board.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

It is so gross to me that Steve McMichael, Jim McMahon, and Mike Tomczak ALL exited the home team locker room at Lambeau Field. It should have never happened.

Fans have to let this go. Edgar Bennett and Josh Sitton played for the Bears. Lucas Patrick does now. Adrian Amos and Pat O'Donnell now play for the Packers. There's no point in listing them all.

Larry from Chubbuck, ID

Last year I believe it was said that Eric Stokes' learning curve was quicker by having to go against Adams in practice. Could the opposite be said for this year's young receivers? I would think going against one of if not the best secondaries in NFL would speed up their learning curve.

It'll help for sure, but after training camp almost all of the 11-on-11 in practice is scout-team work. There's a limited window for those benefits, as important as they are. What pushed Stokes further and faster was facing Ja'Marr Chase, Terry McLaurin, Justin Jefferson, Cooper Kupp, DeAndre Hopkins and others in games. There's no substitute for the real deal.

Michael from USA

After watching rookie camp, how did you feel about our new wideouts?

Intrigued.

Scott from Palos Park, IL

With depth of the DL looking as strong as it has been in many years, who is your pick to surprise folks with their impact? I believe Lowry has been gradually stepping up his game and a stronger rotation/fresher legs might allow him to make some additional noise.

I thought Lowry had his best season to date in 2021, so I won't necessarily be surprised by anything he does this year. He's frequently been a steady presence who grew into more than that last year. As far as the veterans, I'm most curious to see what newcomer Jarran Reed brings to the table.

Ken from Dallas, TX

Other than extending Jaire Alexander, are there any realistic ways the Packers could increase their salary cap space? It would be great if we could find the money to sign quality free agents for depth at edge rusher, cornerback, and safety.

Extending Alexander would be the biggie. The Packers have eight players with a cap charge of $6M or more in 2022, and six of them have a "base salary" of around $1M, meaning those deals have already been leveraged for maximum cap flexibility this year. Alexander and Dean Lowry are the other two. Lowry is in the final season of his deal and it was restructured once last year.

Tobias from Front Royal, VA

With the draft over, everyone seems to be looking forward to Week 1 already. What are some things to look out for in the rest of the offseason?

We'll be watching when we can for where the young offensive linemen are lining up during OTAs, which begin in a couple of weeks. We'll be keeping an eye on the depth chart, too, but that'll matter a lot more during training camp.

Rod from Chugiak, AK

Mike mentioned Adams' 997 yards in 2016. A numbers, stats, thresholds nut, that and 2019's identical 997 have nagged my "shoulda-coulda-woulda-if onlys." "Thousand yards" holds a glitter 997 just doesn't, no matter how close. Number of a receiver's career thousand-yard seasons will ring out to HOF voters. Had he but known he'd need only another couple strides for his thousand, there were extras – maybe just once staying in bounds taking contact – I bet he'd have risked for polishing his record.

Adams admitted to being bothered a little by that earlier in his career, but he learned not to dwell on it. Five straight Pro Bowls and two straight first-team All-Pro selections speak to a lot more than three yards here or there.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

Regarding Jordan Love, at the same point in their development, fans were not certain about Rodgers either. The way I look at Love's situation is he traded a COVID senior season for a redshirt year with the Packers. Last year was his first normal season in the NFL. There was growth. He's not there yet, but the key question this preseason is whether he continues to head in the right direction.

Sounds like a reasonable view.

Andrew from Simi Valley, CA

What non-Packers story line are you most interested in following for the upcoming season?

How the Bengals and Bills respond – the Bengals to such a high level of success and expectations, and the Bills to an absolute gut punch of a playoff loss.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

A memory sparked in my head this weekend and I ended up on YouTube watching "NFL Rocks," a 1991 NFL promotional video put out by NFL Films. It is incredible how the game has changed. The first 10 minutes of the video would all be roughing the passer in 2022. Also, shoulder pad size has changed dramatically. What about the NFL 30 years from now do you predict will be the most noticeable difference?

Nobody will be putting a hand in the dirt. Two-point stances only, across the board (except the center), which probably eliminates the QB sneak and creates other short-yardage rules. All in an effort to reduce contact to the head. And it won't take 30 years to get there.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

For fans hope always springs eternal after a draft. Keep in mind a number of question marks that could spell many more losses than we fans are used to. Do we have a No. 1 receiver? Will Bakhtiari play at the same level since last playing an entire game in December 2020? Will Alexander continue to have problems with his shoulder? Will Jenkins return from injury later rather than sooner? Can Rodgers continue to play at an MVP level? When will Tonyan return? The list goes on.

All true, though I honestly couldn't care less about the first question. Also, considering David Bakhtiari's year was a wash, Alexander played just four games plus minimal snaps in the playoff contest, and Elgton Jenkins and Robert Tonyan missed roughly half the season – yet the Packers won the NFC North by five games while resting starters in Week 18 – I think the key question the Vikings, Bears and Lions are all asking is: Are we good enough to beat the Packers? I'd rather have Green Bay's concerns. Win the division, try to be healthy and playing well at the right time, and take your shot.

Jeff from Victorville, CA

Only one comment yesterday from Wisconsin? That might be an all-time low for Inbox. Must be that amazing weather you're getting. Too much to do outside. I'm in Southern Cal and you're 25 degrees warmer than me right now. I might have to move back to Wisconsin for warmer weather!

Don't patronize us from So Cal. Please. Happy Wednesday.

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