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Inbox: They could be tough to match

Coaches know that won’t get the job done

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QB Aaron Rodgers

Darren from Wakefield, MI

Welcome back, Mike. Wes had a "Caddyshack" reference in his last Inbox. Do you know if he finally watched "Fletch"? In the way back machine II my memory says he hadn't seen it and may need a refresher course or somethin'?

Thanks for the reminder. Next time Wes complains about his computer, I'm going to tell him to check his fetzer valve.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Packers were top 10 in yards and points on both offense and defense last year. Early indications would be the D can repeat that performance. How about the O? Could you see an improvement in yards and points per game?

Last year, the Packers averaged 365.6 yards and 26.5 points per game. Those are both pretty good, and they could be tough to match. But we all know the offense is going to look different without Adams, so we'll just have to wait and see. I do think the offense can maintain its scoring average even if the yardage drops a bit by being more efficient in the red zone and executing more reliably on field goals.

Curt from Algonquin, IL

We all know the fans love Larry McCarren, but does that extend to the players in the locker room? I know our team has always shown respect for the media, but when they're talking to The Rock, is he treated with the same professionalism as the rest of the reporters, or do these guys recognize one of their own? Have you noticed them showing him a little more collegiality for a man that spent 12 years in the trenches, playing at an All-Pro level, and that understands the game as only a player can?

Young players often don't know right away that Larry played the game, and played for the Packers. Many learn about him in time, though, after a year or two, from the vets or coaches. I've seen the really experienced players have a "different" type of conversation with him on occasion, but from my observations it takes a little while before that happens.

Todd from Owasso, OK

Grammar police time – a squirrel's winter stash is a hoard of nuts, and a bunch of media types crowned around an athlete is a horde of nuts.

You got me. My bad. Correction made, and nicely done.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers drained a birdie putt to win "The Match" at the Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas on June 1, 2022.

Jake from Decatur, GA

Thanks for the breakdown yesterday of the new-or-soon-to-be ex-Bears. That's quite a list. With Hicks, Mack, and Trevathan gone, who would you say is the best player on their defense now, after Roquan?

Either Robert Quinn or Eddie Jackson.

David from Chestertown, MD

Hello II, thanks for your informative, snarky, funny, and thoughtful answers in this forum. Expecting AR to be at OTAs is like sending a college professor back to kindergarten. My question is for all the AR/OTA questioners: Would you show up to work on your days off because someone who thinks they know better feels like you should?

Before he's presumably here next week for minicamp, let's just review the on-the-record comments on this topic, chronologically over the past seven weeks, so we can finally leave it alone.

Yours truly in the April 15 II: The offense on paper has to be understood thoroughly before the way Rodgers sees things would make much sense. I'm sure there'd be value in having him here, but putting a grad school professor in front of a freshman class won't necessarily make it learn the material any faster.

GM Brian Gutekunst in his April 30 post-draft press conference: It's not a bad thing to let some of these guys get established with our offense a little bit, certainly the foundational principles before he gets here, because it's not easy, and we want to give those guys the best chance they can when he gets here.

QB coach Tom Clements on May 19: Aaron doesn't need reps at this time of the year. Obviously it'd be nice to have him here, but he's seen these things 1,000 times and he'll be ready to go when training camp starts.

ESPN's Rob Demovsky and our own Wes Hodkiewicz via the May 27-28 IIs: Maybe this arrangement helps the rookie receivers because it allows them to get more comfortable with the offense until Rodgers is back in town. Learn to walk before you're running sprints. … Sometimes it's good to walk through things with the teaching assistant before the professor starts class.

Tim from Appleton, WI

Hi Mike, Jordan Love being picked in the first round has already been worth it even if he never plays a meaningful snap in a game. His pick put a huge chip on Rodgers' shoulder, and those chips tend to highly motivate him. Although always elite, he wasn't playing at an MVP level before Love's pick. Now two MVP seasons in a row made it totally worth it. If Love turns out to be a good quarterback, then that's gravy. Either way, the pick elevated the QB position since he was drafted. Thoughts?

I believe there's some truth to that. I would never attribute the Love pick as the primary reason Aaron Rodgers won two more MVPs, but to say it wasn't a factor at all would be ignoring human nature. Where it falls on the list isn't entirely clear, and being OK with simply wondering is part of the beauty of covering the alphas of the ultra-competitive world.

John from Jupiter, FL

Morning Mike. A little insight if you will. For three years since coming to the Packers, Matt LaFleur has won 13 games each season. We are now hearing about a change to size-strength-speed and intensity to workouts. Are we fixing something that ain't broke because the team had bad playoff appearances? Thanks as always.

No. It's about keeping things fresh for the players, not getting stale in order to keep them fully engaged. Too much repetition can lead to going through the motions, and coaches know that won't get the job done.

Lisa from London, UK

In response to John from Fredericksburg, we are in the same position here in the UK! Priority is for people that held "NFL UK" season tickets for 2021. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not bothered about going to a game where I have no team to root for, so my husband and I don't have said season ticket. Given how well Packers fans travel, it seems crazy that the NFL schedule the Pack at Spurs, when Wembley holds 27,000 more! We'll be online as soon as tickets go on sale, but not hopeful.

Gambling is still illegal at Bushwood, but I would bet those NFL UK season-ticket holders who aren't Packers or Giants fans will try to make a pretty pence (or pound) via their access. That's truly the American way.

Dave from Coloma, MI

In this age of digital everything, one thing that will be missed are physical tickets. No longer will someone be able to save a ticket stub and look at it years down the road and have it bring back memories. I still have the ticket stub from the first baseball game my dad took me to. July 25, 1975, doubleheader, Reds vs. Dodgers at Riverfront. Even though it was 45-plus years ago, seeing it floods me with memories. Do you have any stubs that do that for you?

I have a whole collage of old baseball ticket stubs in a frame at home that spans from my youth until right about the time my kids arrived on the scene. I can point to just about every ticket and recite a specific memory from the game or the day.

Will from Trenary, MI

Even though this year's defense could be a special group the depth is really low. Safety starters are good in Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage but there no proven players behind them. Same for our cornerbacks. The only group on the defense that really has depth is our DL. Is this any concern if we see another injury like Ja had that takes them out for the season?

It's fair to question the depth of the secondary. Keisean Nixon as the fourth corner is the only reserve with substantial NFL game experience. But the Packers believe in their developmental process and will find out what they have in their young prospects who've been here for a while at corner (Kabion Ento, Shemar Jean-Charles) and safety (Davis, Innis Gaines, Scott) while keeping an eye out for a more experienced option (a la Douglas last year) should the need arise.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, II. Thanks for the informative feature article about Mason Crosby and his upcoming potential milestones. Have you ever seen him go out on the field between the third and fourth quarters to acclimate himself with sight lines and visualize his kicks?

Not that I can recall. He's had a longstanding, regular warmup routine for practicing kicks before the game and toward the end of halftime, otherwise he stays on the sideline.

Perry from Ishpeming, MI

What aspect of the return games do you think will need to improve more this season in order for all the changes to be called a success? The 8 YPR on punt returns, the 12.8 allowed on punt returns, the 17.7 YPR on kick returns or the 25.7 allowed? Don't say all of the above.

The Packers' return game has been nonexistent for two years, and really three minus the one month Tyler Ervin made an impact in 2019. The bigger issue last year was two turnovers and other muffs/near-disasters. Coverage-wise, they were fine on punts last year except the one Chicago's Jakeem Grant took the distance (97 yards). On kickoffs, the Packers allowed four returns of 40-plus before the really costly one in the playoffs. So there's plenty of work to do in three of the four categories. Forced to choose my priorities, I'll say shore up the kickoff coverage and improve ball security.

Marcus from Duluth, MN

Hello Insiders, has a date been announced for Family Night this year yet, or around what time would it be announced?

Last year's schedule for training camp, which would include Family Night, was announced in early July.

Ron from Mitchell, SD

Is it summer in Green Bay yet?

It sounds like the 80s temps are going away for at least a week here, but I'll never complain about 70s. That works for me. Happy Friday.

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