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Inbox: They've got some 'goon' in them

That’s where the line could be drawn

WR Romeo Doubs
WR Romeo Doubs

Mike from Hammond, IN

Where would you place Jordan Love against NFL quarterbacks?

As far as ranking him? Nowhere permanent. He's rising.

Gerry from Richmond, VA

Saw recently some questions about adding new teams. Seems like doing this would create significant logistics issues. How would adding teams affect divisions and conferences because of uneven number of teams, redefining/reorganizing divisions, and probably numerous other things that would be impacted?

Great questions. All that makes me wonder if the NFL won't expand again until it's adding four teams, making for three divisions of six in each conference, with everything else reworked accordingly. I could see it happening, but it might be awhile.

Richard from Greenwich, NY

Not a question, just a response to a reader question: I rarely watch NFL games other than the Packers, including the SB.

That's rather evident amongst a large segment of Inbox readers/submitters during the course of the season. You can tell by the things that frustrate them they have no idea the same sorts of things happen to just about every team in the league. I'm not being critical because everyone has priorities in life, I get it, and paying attention on a broader scale is part of my job, not yours. But lack of leaguewide knowledge/happenings I believe creates a lot of unnecessary and meaningless angst in the final analysis.

Jon from Chicago, IL

One thing football doesn't have over other sports is a playoff system and championship that accurately reflects who the best team in the league was that year. How often have we seen the better team lose in the playoffs, not because of talent, injury, or even execution, but just terrible misfortune, sometimes as the result of a single play. We fans are always looking to predict our team's season. To me, it seems that it takes far more luck to win a Super Bowl than any of us would care to admit.

Just another way of saying the playoffs are a crapshoot. You're welcome.

Gene from Greenville, WI

Do you think we will see a different throwback-era jerseys this upcoming season, like from the late '60s-early '70s style?

I believe the Packers still have two more seasons with the Classic 50s alternate jersey before they can design a new one.

Tom from Raleigh, NC

Not a medical doctor or workout expert, but seems like the torn pec injuries may be healed by August. But how long until Zach Tom and Tucker Kraft can get to "season strength"? Especially, right tackle would seem to require a lot of power.

They won't be put in a position to compete until they have their strength back. That's what post-surgery rehab is for, and why the timeline is August when the surgeries have already been performed.

Tom from Keota, IA

WR contracts for the stars are high right now, but it has all the look of a bubble. Word from MN journalists is that the Vikings were close to trading Jefferson away … to draft Nabers. The Bills let Diggs walk (slightly different situation), and the Chiefs have won every SB *after* letting Hill go. WRs are coming out of college ready to play, no more two-/three-year wait. Getting guys on small $ contracts rather than paying big bucks looks like what a lot of teams are headings towards.

As I've said before, I think for the most part teams are going to hang onto their HOF talents at receiver, and I expect the Vikings to get that deal done with Jefferson eventually. HOFers are difference-makers. I heard the same reports but it's hard to know if they were actually "close to" doing that or just exploring possibilities. I think there's a difference between paying a HOF talent big money and hanging onto a productive guy at an exorbitant cost. That's where the line could be drawn. I've been saying for years the college game is churning out receivers like no other position, and the Packers proved just how quickly an entire group can be rebuilt.

Jesus from El Paso, TX

Rather than a 1,000-yard receiver, I'm hoping for relentless blocking from each player every opportunity they get. All this hype about a saltier defense makes me itch for a saltier offense, too. Which receiver do you believe leads the room as a blocker?

Romeo Doubs, with Malik Heath not far behind. They've got some "goon" in them.

John from Dallas, TX

Opining on WR vs. RB contracts: rising/falling contract prices are a reflection of the market. RB contracts were devalued (mostly) due to supply-side pressures – a market saturated with vets, lots of good backs coming out of college every year, while one or two bell cows can see you through a season. If the college game continues to produce large numbers of WRs who are pro-ready, we will start to see teams begin shifting resources elsewhere.

I don't think the RB contract issue has as much to do with supply as the length of productive careers, and the precipitous drop-off at or near age 30 at such a brutal position. Teams are careful about investing mega dollars in a running back who's 26 or 27 at the start of his second contract, and downright reluctant on third contracts of any excessive value.

Joe from Liberty Township, OH

I know the rookie pay scale was a reaction to the growing rookie contracts that paid exorbitant salaries to college players who'd never taken an NFL snap before getting that contract, with Sam Bradford being the tipping point. In the end, star players will still get paid, but hasn't one of the unintended consequences of the rookie pay scale been to price many backup-level veterans out of the NFL? Teams opting for the player on the cheap rookie contract instead of the more expensive veteran?

Maybe on occasion, but along with the rookie wage scale came veteran salary benefit provisions, which allow a cap exemption for a portion of a veteran's minimum salary based on his years of service. Those have kept many veteran players around.

H.R. from Henderson, NV

In reference to adding an 18th game, I think the NFL might have a bargaining chip on their side now. The NFLPA is finalizing a proposal to eliminate the voluntary portion of the offseason, opting for a longer training camp. Everything is give and take, so do you see the league using the 18th game here?

Quite possibly. Stay tuned.

Doug from Onalaska, WI

In reading the story about Kenny Clark and the switch to the 4-3 scheme, a thought came to me. Previously, the edge rushers were in their "room," and the interior DL were in their "room." Was it really two different rooms and if it was, wouldn't there be a benefit to having them all in one "room" to be on the same page?

Much like the safeties and corners, there were times they met separately and other times they met together.

Christopher from St. Louis, MO

I was thinking about the D-line rotation and potentially how good it could be this year. Then it occurred to me, did we ever see LVN, Kenny, RG, and Wyatt all line up at once last year? Has there ever been four 1st round picks on a Packers D-line at the same time?

I'm guessing that alignment was out there at some point. Setting aside DL/OLB designations and just looking at possible past "front fours," the 2012-13 seasons would've had Raji, Pickett, Matthews and Perry, while 2015 might've had Raji, Matthews, Peppers and Mike Neal (second-rounder), and 2016 could've had Clark, Peppers, Matthews and Perry.

Fuzz from La Crosse, WI

With Hafley coming in as the new DC, has there been anything said on whether he intends to be up in the booth or on the field during gamedays?

Haven't heard.

Brendon from San Antonio Tlayacapan, Mexico

Given all the focus on arm length for success at tackle, is there any correlation between hand size and fumbling issues for running backs? I remember a player whom I always admired, Dave Krieg, The Last of the Miltonians, had relatively small hands for a QB, and either held or still holds the record for most fumbles at that position. My concern is for MarShawn Lloyd, of course, and the hope that he can overcome the issues he had in college.

Gutey was asked specifically about that during the draft and said studies have indicated no particular correlation when it comes to running backs. The corrective focus is on technique. Quarterbacks are a different matter as they expose the ball much more.

Uncle F from Lady Lake, FL

The play clock violations come up as an issue more than once in a season. The refs seem to miss many of the calls because the protocol makes ref make the call. Seems a sensor on the ball timed with the clock could eliminate any controversy. I remember the game in TB when it happened twice and Rodgers called attention to it the second time. No reason for a ref (or a replay clock) on this one. Automate it. Accuracy of the officiating should be of paramount importance to the league.

At least they've now allowed for New York to chime in "to allow a replay review when there is clear and obvious visual evidence the game clock expired before any snap." That's new for 2024. So we've got that going for us, which is nice.

Sue from Three Lakes, WI

How is the relationship between Xavier McKinney and Jaire Alexander looking? New guy looks like he will be the leader of the secondary … a role Jaire has had, and still probably wants? Although, you can't have too many leaders, right?

I don't see it being an issue. By all accounts, Alexander appears to be in a very different place compared to last year.

Rudy from Rhinelander, WI

Who (whom?) has the inside track as kicker? I would think it would be Anders Carlson until someone beats him out? Right?

I'm not so sure. Podlesny is definitely the longshot, but Joseph has proven himself in this league in a way Carlson hasn't yet. That's not a critique, just reality. I have a story on Carlson posting later today, and there's no question he has the right mental makeup. If that breeds a level of physical consistency that matches his talent, Carlson could be here for a long time. But the Packers are also contenders right now, as they were somewhat unexpectedly last January, and can't afford to wait around.

David from Cable, WI

Enough picking on the umpires! But just as much blame falls on the catchers. There are bad umpires, but it used to be catchers and umps had an understanding to work together so the ump could get the best view to make the right call. Now the process is totally adversarial. Every pitch seems to be pulled in some direction. So umps have to judge both where a pitch was and how much it was moved. The electronic strike zone is the only solution I see.

Automated balls and strikes remain a question of when, not if. But do you really believe pitch framing is some sort of modern vagary of the game? C'mon man. You just made Yogi Berra dig himself a new grave, or something like that.

Jeff from Montclair, VA

I see that controversial MLB ump Angel Hernandez is getting ready to hang up his facemask, much to the relief of many fans. Do you think the NFL has a similar lightning rod ref?

I think it was Jeff Triplette for a while, until he called it quits. Now Shawn Hochuli and Brad Allen have taken up some of that. But seriously, none of those guys even compares to Angel Hernandez. Nobody does. Except maybe CB Bucknor. MLB needs him to hang it up, too.

Kyle from Los Angeles, CA

Wes drops "indubitably" in the AM followed by the retirement of Ángel Hernández in the PM? What else contributed to your wonderful Memorial Day, Spoff?

Catching fish. It was a productive holiday weekend.

Jeff from Wauwatosa, WI

Hi II, Spiff have you made any progress towards getting your desk on the game plan distribution list?

Nope again, though I'm looking for a member of the coaching staff who likes fish.

David from Hahira, GA

With testing the use of first-down technology this season and goal posts with lasers only a few seasons away, I present the logical next topic of progress. The discussion on scout teams running plays led to my epiphany that it won't be long that quarterbacks have holographic projectors in their helmets. This will allow the play to be displayed on the ground in the huddle so each player can see what they need to do, putting an end to the Byzantine play verbiage from the sidelines. Can't wait.

I can, but kudos on the usage of Byzantine. Happy Wednesday.

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