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Inbox: They're poised to spread their wings

Jim Brown was a larger-than-life force in a league of giants

Packers wide receivers Christian Watson (9) and Romeo Doubs (87)
Packers wide receivers Christian Watson (9) and Romeo Doubs (87)

Robert from Verona, WI

Shout out to Matt from Fitchburg for doubling up in the Friday Inbox! I think a lot of Insiders enjoy when their question is the opener, the closer, or the question that results in the Inbox tag line for the day. Doubling up is obviously a good one, too. As the writers of II, do you consider one of these things to be more difficult for a submitter to achieve than the others?

It's like Inbox's version of hitting for the cycle.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Monday is the start of four weeks of OTAs! I'm excited! I don't think I've ever said/written that before. Are you hearing that from other fans? Sensing it in the building more than usual?

I've heard that several times. I think people are pumped up for it. What's funny is it's really no different than the past two offseasons when Jordan Love led the No. 1 offense during OTAs.

TK from Grafton, WI

Which is more realistic to expect: greater contributions from a rookie, or from a second-year player making "the jump"?

Lukas Van Ness could have a sudden impact as a rookie, but I don't know if there are two more exciting players on the roster right now than Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. Like Jason Vrable said Thursday, there are third- and fourth-year veteran receivers out there who have played fewer NFL snaps than those two. Both Watson and Doubs exceeded my expectations for them as rookies. They're poised to spread their wings this season.

George from North Mankato, MN

Even though he played before I was old enough to watch, I've seen plenty of Jim Brown highlights. Do you have a favorite memory or story about him? Prayers to his family, the Browns franchise and to his countless fans and admirers.

There are so many things you can say about Jim Brown but what stands out the most is how many barriers he broke down. He was a Hall of Famer, an MVP and visionary who used his platform to advocate for civil rights. Brown also took his talents beyond football, becoming an actor and serving as the UFC first color commentator, bringing credibility at an important time to the fledgling sport. Jim Brown was a larger-than-life force in a league of giants. May he rest in peace.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

AJ Dillon didn't have as good of a year as he did the previous year and the RB coach called him out recently. Do you think this will motivate AJ Dillon to step up his rushing and receiving game? It seems like the Packers will need to rely on their great RB tandem of Dillon and Jones even more this year than in years past.

I wouldn't say Ben Sirmans called Dillon out. He was asked a question and answered it, explaining where Dillon can grow in Year 4. We haven't had the opportunity to speak with AJ yet but I'm sure he feels the same way. Contract years are always important but especially so for running backs. Dillon knows what's at stake and I expect that to fuel him this fall.

Michael from Montevideo, MN

Hi II, with OTAs and training about to begin who do you want to have more success, Jordan Love and the offense or the defense? I know we want to Love to improve but we also want the defense to also improve. And how do you grade such improvement on both sides of the ball?

Practices always favor the offense, so I want to see Love do well. Conversely, I'm concerned less about how the defense looks in practices compared to how it performs once the games matter. The defense was impenetrable last summer, including the joint practices with New Orleans, and it didn't necessarily translate early in the year. The quality of the work this August matters more than which side of the ball is perceived as victorious.

Donald from Big Flats, WI

Hey guys. If you're not a rookie, you're a veteran. We have a veteran QB, WR, etc. If a seventh-rounder can back up Rodgers for six years, we should be good with Love and Sean Clifford. The time of year to imagine what could be. GPG.

Teams have to figure out what works best for them. The Packers pursued Daunte Culpepper in 2008 but went the rookie route in the draft after that fell through. My opinion remains unchanged. The Packers have a fifth-round pick who played under some bright lights and 28-year-old Danny Etling, who has been in the NFL since 2018.

Rudy from Cedarburg, WI

If Mason Crosby and Big Dog don't return, who is the oldest current Packers player? The youngest?

Pat O'Donnell is the oldest player on the roster, seven months older than David Bakhtiari, who turns 32 in September. There are five rookie draft picks who are 21 but Carrington Valentine was born the latest (Sept. 9).

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares his favorite photos from the 2022 Green Bay Packers season.

Roger from McGrath, AK

The TE room is decidedly younger with Josiah Deguara being the elder with four years of NFL experience. He's described as the leader of that room by TE coach Dunn based on that experience, but can you think of situations where a position group is led by a younger guy who just takes over the leadership of a room?

It's happened before in Green Bay but probably more frequently during the Ted Thompson years. I remember writing a story in either 2012 or '13 about how Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang were the youngest veterans leading an NFL O-line room. Morgan Burnett did the same thing at safety for many years. Whether there's an 18-year veteran in the room or not, somebody has to speak up and set a standard for the younger players to see how the job is done. That's a void Deguara needs to fill right now.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

So many great things to read on II every day. One of my favorites is "5 things"... always informative. I also love reading the coaches' comments. I have to say, Rich Bisaccia's comment about "honoring the players" really resonated with me. I have been a director/teacher most of my life (musicals, operas, etc.) and I have always ended every rehearsal or class by saying, "I honor your talents." I believe when you show people that you value them and their efforts, it empowers them to grow.

It's one of the best lines I've heard during my 12 years covering the Packers. As big as this sport is, it's important to remember that it comes back to fulfilling childhood dreams. Those didn't start in a stadium with 80,000 watching. It's usually in an empty field or gym, with only a child pushing themselves to get better.

Craig from Menomonee Falls, WI

Just read an article about Sean Payton stating the Broncos will be staying overnight for late road games rather than arriving home in the middle of the night. Wouldn't this make sense for the Packers as well? I remember both of you commenting on how difficult it is arriving home in the wee hours of the morning.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. We'll see how that works out for them. Speaking only for myself – an employee, not a player – I'd much rather fly home immediately after the game and wake up Monday in my own bed.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. A year or two ago you informed us Inbox readers that Jordy Nelson would be eligible for induction into the Packers Hall of Fame after the 2022 season. Here we are anxiously awaiting the announcement. He has to be an automatic, right? Do you suppose Aaron Rodgers will be invited back to be Jordy's presenter into the hall?

Oh, he's going in. The Packers announced last November that Nelson and Josh Sitton are this year’s inductees*. The banquet is set for Aug. 31. I have no idea, though, on whether Rodgers will have any involvement.*

Roarke from New Berlin, WI

With Clay Matthews officially announcing his retirement last fall, what are the chances he enters the Packers HOF within the next several years?

Pretty good. Matthews' last NFL season came with the Los Angeles Rams in 2019, which I believe makes him eligible next year.

Steven from Balsam Lake, WI

All this "talk" about veteran WRs and whatnot made me think, what's Ty Montgomery up to? If we brought him back, would he play WR, RB, or veteran QB? What would the cost be for him to get No. 88?

I was surprised to learn Montgomery was still in the league. He's with New England but missed most of last year with a shoulder injury. So, you'll need to cross him off that wish list.

James from Willand, UK

I understand Mike's exasperation at the repetition of questions. However, I feel sad that the Packers' careers of Crosby, Lewis and Smash just fizzle out. At least with a trade, there's closure (and draft picks).

I appreciate the sentimentality but that's the nature of this sport. It's rare a player gets to go out on top. If they do, then the pundits are complaining about how they retired too early.

Walter from Rome, NY

Hello Insiders! In regard to the salary cap, how can any team be under the cap with a 90-man roster? Are there stipulations for OTAs and training camp?

Only the 51 highest salaries count towards the cap until Week 1.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

All of this talk about flexing games makes me sad. I'm not fortunate enough to get to Lambeau very often, but I can't imagine buying tickets to a Sunday noon game, and then getting 12 days' notice that it's moving to Monday night. God forbid I'm traveling from somewhere far enough away that I need plane tickets and a hotel, that's not enough time to reasonably (cheaply??) change my plans. The NFL hates the ticket-buying fan, which is a shame.

I don't like it, either. We'll see what NFL ownership does. If this is the direction the league goes, I hope area hotels and businesses can adjust to accommodate out-of-towners. Attending a game at Lambeau Field should be a carefree, timeless experience. You shouldn't have to worry about rolling sevens on the flex game and having to turn vacation plans inside out.

Wayne from Stevens Point, WI

I hope my tombstone doesn't read, "I wish I had watched more TV." The NFL is moving toward pay TV and what organization isn't (think Big Ten)? I hope it moves that way rapidly so I can have a tombstone that reads, "I gave up TV for real life." As pay per view for the NFL increases, my direction is toward part-time watcher of the Packers. Imagine, beautiful fall Sundays available for walks in the woods. Besides your job, how would you fill NFL-free Sundays?

Probably watch more TV.

John from McHenry, IL

After meeting you guys last year at training camp my goal this year is to meet and shake hands with "The Rock." Is he as scary in real life as he appears in his game film? That man had a look in his eyes that was downright frightening! See you in July.

Larry is great. I fondly remember him taking time to thank fans who came to his "Locker Room Show." He's the real deal.

George from Edinburg, VA

Good morning gents and fellow followers! I am surprised, with all the geeks we have, that nobody's given any love to "Jeopardy!" champion Ben Chan from Green Bay. He's certainly given some love to Green Bay, Wisconsin, and the Packers.

Congrats Ben! Go get 'em!

Arthur from Washington, DC

Hi Insiders, I might have missed it as I usually listen to "Packers Unscripted" while doing dishes or laundry and therefore don't watch the video, but is Wes still podcasting from random Lambeau locations? I thought it was a really cool idea, and maybe a fun way for us to get a peek around your amazing "office building," but maybe it's logistically untenable. Regardless, thanks for joining me with my chores!

And thank you for bringing us along. The construction around Lambeau Field has created some challenges with our studio and control room, which is why we've been shooting the show on Zoom. We hope to be back to usual business around training camp. Unlike the COVID year, when nobody was in the building, my boss is back now and needs his office.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

What should we use if something is cut from the Hod cloth? "Spoffordian" is going to be tough to beat, but I can't wait to see the II try!

I don't think you can top that one.

Paul from Lansing, IL

Brandon's question about a draft lottery made me first think no way. What if second round was by lottery? Man would that make the draft way more interesting! How about starting second round then every other round by lotto!

But to the original point – the NFL has the most successful and viewer-friendly draft of any professional sports league. Why mess with the recipe? No gimmicks required.

Terry from Elroy, WI

Your response to Matthew from Las Vegas in Friday's II begs a question: Have either of you ever missed the bus after a road game and been left behind?

No, Spoff and I are typically the first on the bus because we gotta start writing.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

Here's an idea – whoever wins II MVP gets to pose a question that Mike/Wes must ask at the first press conference after said honor.

I don't know about that one, but we are less than two months away from Outsider Inbox V. I have eight questions jotted down and need probably another three or four. Keep 'em coming.

Dave from Germantown, TN

If the Packers' offensive line blocks to infinity (and beyond), will they be light years ahead of the competition and create a buzz across the league?

…and allow their quarterback to proclaim to the end zone: "I am Jordan Love. I come in peace." Have a great weekend.

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