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Inbox: They specialize in thinking outside the box

There’s a lot of knowledge and innovation hidden inside these walls

RB AJ Dillon
RB AJ Dillon

Dennis from Ottawa, IL

Wes, now I know why I haven't had many questions answered. How can I get a copy of the Insider Inbox Instruction Manual? I can't find the listing for it anywhere. What am I overlooking? Could you please help? I have a huge backlog of questions that need answers. Did you or Spoff write it? Was it a collaboration? Could it be posted online?

You should've received a copy at the door during "Insider Inbox Day." Unfortunately, there are no other physical copies remaining. Maybe try a garage sale or Reddit?

Brandon from Pleasant Prairie, WI

In your opinion, which is better? A clear No. 1 and receiver that can do it all or a few slightly-less-talented-but-still-really-good receivers that other defenses are not sure about?

It'd be foolish for me to sit here and act the Packers wouldn't be better with No. 1 receiver like Davante Adams. In 2022, that answer is obvious. But there's more than one way to build an offense, especially right now with the price at record high for All-Pro receivers. As I've been saying, the Packers will be up to this challenge. They specialize in thinking outside the box. Down the road, the hope is the Packers develop that next legitimate No. 1 (or No. 1s) threat out of this draft class and those who return.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Thanks for the piece on Sammy Watkins. O/U 35 catches for Sammy this year?

If Watkins stays healthy, I'd easily take the over. He still has his legs, catches the ball naturally and seems comfortable in the bunch formations Green Bay likes to use.

Craig from London, United Kingdom

With the signing of Jarran Reed and the drafting of Devonte Wyatt, do you think we'll see more two defensive tackle fronts this year? Or more rotation with Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry, with Reed and Wyatt switching in and out?

I actually think we'll see more three defensive tackle fronts this year. Joe Barry brought over that 3-3-5 'Penny' front that Brandon Staley utilizes and operated quite a bit of the formation on first down. I expect to see more of that and more traditional nickel on passing downs.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

Based on reading the column for today, I see that I am a little late with this, but oh well. Ja is truly something special, and I'm glad we extended him. Someone made the comment, "Pay him that much when he's been out for a whole season practically to that injury?" My response: "Duh! He's the best corner in the game. Listening to him, I also trust his process in training as a player. I know it would carry over for his rehab."

Not that any injury is a good injury, but this shoulder deal was kind of a freak thing. It's not like a ruptured an Achilles tendon, torn hamstring or ACL – all injuries that could potentially zap him of his natural speed or explosiveness. So, yeah, I expect the same old Ja' once training camp begins.

Mark from Seattle, WA

Hi, do you anticipate Rasul Douglas will have another stellar year?

I do. I believe Jerry Gray cracked the code with Douglas. While it'll be hard to replicate everything Douglas did last season, his 2021 campaign was far from a fluke. He's the real deal. With Douglas' work ethic and aggression, I expect him to be a major factor in this defense for years to come.

Gary from Cross Plains, WI

Is there a limit on how much cap can roll over to the next year? I like that you can save some and carry it forward, but I assume league doesn't want a team to go under so much that in the following year they have huge cap number to sign a bunch of top free agent and 'load up'.

A floor does exist. Teams must spend a certain amount over a three-year span, or they could be subject to penalty through the CBA. As exciting as it sounds to have a boat load of cap space, it's usually an indication you don't have any decent players worth extending (See: Jaguars, Jacksonville).

Jim from Stevens Point, WI

There were some questions recently about using AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones in the backfield at the same time. I know they did that some last year, but from what I can remember, it seemed like every time they started the play in the backfield together Aaron would go in motion. That takes away the option of either carrying the ball. Do you recall any plays where they faked to one and handed to the other?

It's rare the Packers are just going to run out of that look with both Dillon and Jones in the backfield. That's not the misdirection they're aiming for. The purpose of motioning is to force the linebacker to tip his hand on his assignment and how the defense is playing as a whole. It's another pre-snap option for Aaron Rodgers (and LaFleur) to gain more information.

Mark from Big Bear City, CA

Good morning, Wes. Reading Inbox yesterday when you said the Packers will still move the ball, just not the way we're accustomed to seeing. It made me think of when LaFleur came in and change the offense in 2019 people weren't ready for the new look. Maybe this could work to our advantage again. Would like to get your opinion on that. Thanks, Wes, and hang in there until Mike gets back.

There's a lot we don't know about this upcoming season, but one thing I'm certain about is Matt LaFleur and his coaches will build a plan Aaron Rodgers can execute with the weapons he has to work with in this offense. "In LaFleur We Trust." Put it on a sticker and slap it on Spofford's bumper. Just not too hard.

Douglas from Binghamton, NY

Good morning: Full disclosure, I am not sure I have ever watched an assistant coach of a different team speak to the media. With that said, Jerry Gray has to be a head coach in the near future, right? He presents so well and seems to have the perfect blend of smarts/experience/relate-ability. Forget about a coordinator job, he should be leading a team, in my humble opinion. Thank you.

It's baffling Gray hasn't been a head coach already. Sure, he's great with the media but Gray also is a proven coach and developer of defensive backs. With Gray, Rich Bisaccia signing on and Tom Clements returning, this is one of the most accomplished coaching staffs I can recall in Green Bay. There's a lot of knowledge and innovation hidden inside these walls at Lambeau.

James from Appleton, WI

Jordan Love threw to the right spots last year, but I'll be looking for an extra snap on the ball that comes with confidence. The time has come for our summer of Love!

I saw what Love is capable of last June and it was exciting. I hope we get to see it again this spring.

Kurt from Waterloo, IA

Quick question. If you could have back '17' or '55,' including the cap hit in your decision, which would you choose? I would take '55.' Pass rushers are tougher to come by than receivers.


Michael from Novato, CA

Good morning. All this talk about international fans reminded me of when I lived in Japan. They were broadcasting the Super Bowl, and the commentators were a baseball umpire, a baseball announcer, and Ryuichi Sakamoto (musician who's worked with Bowie, Eno, etc.) He actually had the most insight. The game was the 49ers-Broncos blowout, and my favorite line of the game came from the umpire. Regarding the Broncos, he said (in Japanese) "I don't think these guys are very good." Love the honesty

That seems like a video that would've made it on "Cheap Seats" back in the day. I'm going to have to get a copy of the Larry's and Wayne's radio call from London. That'll be one of the vault.

Matt from Waterloo, IA

Wes, I know you think of this time period as a break from football, but have you checked out the USFL at all? While it may not be NFL quality football, it is good to see more guys get a chance to pursue their dreams as well as get a dose of football during the NFL offseason. I am curious if you think a spring league will ever take off and last more than one season?

I watched one game and felt I'd seen enough. I am happy for the players collecting a check, though.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Wes, you silly rabbit. We don't do practical in the II. We need another veteran WR and OLB with the extra savings from Alexander's extension. Only big names that cost more than they are worth though. Live for today and spend it all ASAP!

Right. What was I thinking?

Bubba from Kenosha, WI

I know the team likes what they saw from Tyler Davis. Still think the TE room has some questions and could use another vet. Jared Cook is a FA. He's had a decent career, vertical ability and played here with AR. Always thought it odd he's played for six teams in 13 years. Any guesses as to why? What's his ability level after 13 seasons?

Cook was in the wrong system with the Rams, who finally cut him in 2015. With being in his late 20s at that point, Cook has mostly signed one- and two-year deals ever since. He was productive last year (48 catches for 564 yards and four touchdowns) but I couldn't give you an honest scouting report of where Cook's skills are at 35 years old beyond that.

Mike from Austin, TX

G'Morning, Wes...even though there's no gambling in Bushwood, what's the over/under on your weight gain due to Spoff's absence and your ability to actually eat your lunches?

It's gonna be the most drastic change in BMI since my freshman year of college.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Wes, hopefully you've got Spoff's chair pulled over and are using it as a footstool for the next few days. I'm excited about the return of meetups before road games and already have my room booked for the Bucs game. Your first frosty root beer is on me! Do you know when the crack events team might be announcing the date, time and location of that first rally?

I don't have that information yet, Dar. But hopefully we should know sometime soon. I am looking forward to again interacting with good folks such as yourself.

Josh from Philadelphia, PA

Hey Wes! Considering you have what is certainly a dream job for many journalists, I've meant to ask you: what were your feelings when you learned YOU got the job? Where were you? How did you celebrate (lots of root beer I imagine!)? Keep up the great work.

I was driving down Washington Street in Downtown Green Bay when Duke called to offer me the job. I went home, talked with my wife about it and accepted on Sunday, April 3, 2016. I'll never forget that date. There wasn't much celebrating at first. It was emotional for me leaving the Press-Gazette. I worked for them for almost 10 years. But eventually a few root beers were consumed.

Richard from Madison, WI

"Blaise Winter is the only correct answer." Mr. McNally might disagree. (And I don't mean Art.)

Are we talking people's given names or nicknames? Somebody needs to tell me what song we're dancing to here.

Mark from Hudson, WI

All-time favorite monikers? Linebacker Hannibal Navies. Whoa! Forget walking off the bus, intimidation starts at reading the roster.

In the category of given names, Hannibal Navies is an all-timer for a linebacker.

Stu from Mesa, AZ

Blaise Winter!!! I've been to a couple coaching camps where Blaise was a presenter. Taught a very intense course on using Jiu-Jitsu concepts in defensive line play. Informative AND frightening at the same time!

Blaise needs to put that quote on his brochure.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Wes, isn't Winnipeg the same time zone as ours in the Central U.S.? I assume you made that comment to see if we were paying attention.

Nothing gets past you guys, huh?

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

In a single word, what did I miss?

Apparently, the joke.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Wes, without question, Yogi would be proud.

When all else fails, at least I still have Margeaux. Have a good weekend, everyone.