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Inbox: This is a time for growth

Amari Rodgers brings swagger to the Packers’ special teams

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Cornerbacks Eric Stokes and Jaire Alexander

Jeff from Gladstone, MI

"Hitting the delete button hundreds of times a day." You mean the IT department cannot write an algorithm to automatically reject all questions pertaining to the No. 88? I'll see myself out.

Well, then there wouldn't be any emails left to answer.

Tom from Douglassville, PA

Which of our draftees look best so far?

I love what I've seen from Eric Stokes and Josh Myers so far. Myers kind of reminds me a little of Darnell Savage as far as a rookie who's out there running with the starters from Day 1. That's invaluable – especially after last year's rookie class didn't even practice with the veterans until midway through August last year. As far as Stokes, he's already talking about how he's taking lessons learned from Jerry Gray's coaching and applying it to live situations in practice. This is a time for growth…and those two have taken full advantage of it.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

Assuming a resumption of AR12 in GB, there is reason to be very optimistic about both the offense and defense in 2021. Despite good depth most years, special teams have been something of a dumpster fire. Like Spoff, I also have sanity as a goal – and the Pack's special-teams performance is a major obstacle in pursuing that goal. Is there reason for hope on the special-teams front?

Nothing is easy about football – and it takes the 11 guys on the field to succeed in all three phases of the game. However, I think having a dynamic returner can really boost the confidence of a Green Bay unit that needs some victories. Amari Rodgers brings that kind of swagger to the Packers' special teams. And not because Rodgers is going to return every punt for a touchdown – but because he's so natural at it. You don't hold your breath when he's back there.

JoAnne from Seattle, WA

I'm so very happy for Jonathan Amosa as one of the six Green Bay coaching interns this offseason. He is part of the NFL's Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship program. He's a great guy from the Seattle area. I was at the Packers' preseason game in 2013 against Kansas City when he scored a touchdown. Wishing him and all the other coaching interns much luck.

It's great to see Amosa back in Green Bay with all the other coaching interns this spring. And remember, Maurice Drayton was once one of those young guys in the fellowship program assisting the Packers' coaching staff. It's not only a chance for these coaches to learn from quality coaches such as Ben Sirmans and Jerry Montgomery, but it also provides networking opportunities to open doors in the future.

Patrick from Gulf Breeze, FL

To be honest, I'm so excited for Packers football on offense this year because of the fierce competition at OL, a stable of RBs, and committed run-blocking WRs who can burn defenders during pass plays. Throw in the different capabilities of the TEs and this team is teeming with talent regardless of who's under center. The team is obviously better with AR, what team wouldn't be? But I'm thrilled to see what the team can do.

The Packers are a talented football team. That part is not up for debate. It's just a matter of having a known quantity (the NFL's reigning MVP in Aaron Rodgers) or an unknown quantity (a 2020 first-round pick in Jordan Love) at the game's most important position.

Dan from Kenosha, WI

Insiders, in Aaron's "I'm offended" presser, he stated he was enjoying his offseason while still being an NFL player and also that he enjoyed preparing for the season away from the "lights." Am I crazy to see those statements as an indication that he is not considering retiring and will likely run through the tunnel on Sept. 12?

There isn't much I'm certain about right now, but I can't see any way Rodgers is done playing football. Beyond just his competitive nature, Rodgers has talked for years about wanting to play into his 40s. Everything he's done over the past eight years (his training, diet and research) has been an investment in that ideology.

Don from Aurora, Canada

If Love ends up as the starting QB in September can the Packers transition to a run-first team from a pass-first team with AR as QB? If they can it would certainly take some pressure off Love and I like the sound of the Packers playing "big-boy football."

Haven't the Packers sort of done that already? This isn't the "spread 'em out and ask Rodgers to make a play" offense anymore. The offense is multiple and has a backfield tandem in Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon who could easily touch the ball 400 times between them, if need be. So yeah, the Packers have so many different directions they can go with this offense regardless of who starts the year under center.

DT from Bozeman, MT

Might veterans skipping the on-field work (Aaron Jones exception) have a positive impact on the other players' growth and eventual overall strength of the team's depth?

It's customary to excuse the veterans for a few days, or even an entire week, early so the coaches can spend more time with the young guys. Mike McCarthy used to do that during the final week of the offseason program, too. Those OTA reps mean so much more for Myers, Royce Newman and T.J. Slaton than Billy Turner and Kenny Clark, for example.

Christopher from Frederick, MD

Adrian Amos is absolutely underrated, and that got me thinking: Does any other team in the league have a safety tandem as good as Amos and Darnell Savage?

There are some good combinations out there but I'm not sure of one where you have a steady and consistent leader like Amos and up-and-coming ballhawk like Savage.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Insiders, I believe Scott from Grovetown made one of the most intelligent comments ever posted.

He's good like that.

Corey from Richland, WA

I thought it interesting that Mr. Spofford mentioned performance decline in his roster-building response to Scott from Grovetown, GA. This concept is seldom if ever mentioned, yet the ascension of young players is frequently cited as a key element for maintaining competitiveness in a system designed to produce parity. How does the coaching staff determine performance decline in training camp? Is it a relative comparison to ascension of others, one-on-one scoring, or perhaps the elusive eye test?

The roster historically skews younger, which often means the Packers are their best version of themselves come the end of the year (barring wide-scale injuries). Still, there are players – of every age and skill level – who either plateau or take a step back during training camp. That's when it's up to the scouts and coaching staff to trust their eyes and make the best possible decision to identify the top 53 – for today, tomorrow and the future.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

You get to distribute 300 points (Madden Style) to a QB across these four categories: Arm strength, accuracy, speed, awareness. How do you divvy them up?

Hmm…I'd say 83 accuracy, 82 awareness, 80 arm strength and 50 speed. Arm strength is fun, but it's only as good as a QB's accuracy and awareness.

Chambo from Star, ID

Why doesn't Three Things give up some more goods? I appreciate your takes but how about three to four minutes?

That's what "Unscripted" is for!

TK from Grafton, WI

Are veteran players ever reluctant to mentor younger ones knowing that they may be mentoring themselves right out of a job?

I don't know about other places but that hasn't been a thing during my time covering the Packers. I think that's because that "young guy" might also be the next Corey Linsley or Allen Lazard who has to step in and play alongside that veteran at some point.

Chas from Phoenix, AZ

Wes, not really a question. While you are complaining about how warm it is let me remind you I spent 24 hours with no A/C on a day that turned out to top 115. It is however fixed and today's 119 won't bother me at all. Falls under the "no matter how bad you think you have it…" Thanks for the great work you and Mike do.

I've never been to Arizona in the summer, but I hear the horror stories all the time from my friends who live down there. Stay cool, Chas.

Rusty from Eustace, TX

Being an "old Marine" I understand the value of esprit de corps. Looks like Alvin Jones Sr. did as well and instilled this value to his son. I know from experience Aaron will reap the benefits when the game is at its hottest. Bravo Zulu Aaron and thanks for showing what real leadership is about!

His character is as strong as iron – and that starts with his parents, Alvin Sr. and Vurgess. And if you were to ask before this week, "Which player would be most likely to appear at an excused practice?", my answer would immediately have been Jones. As much as Green Bay needs Jones on the field, it also wants him in that locker room. That's why the Packers brought him back. Plus, the Bucks need Jones' good energy tonight.

Kyle from St. Charles, MO

Hey, Wes. Mike mentioned yesterday that Aaron Jones was the only returning veteran starter attending the on-field work during the final voluntary week. It's definitely not overselling it when you guys give him all the praise, huh? Everything I read, see, hear points to what an amazing teammate and person he is. So glad he's a Packer. Hope all the young players take something from the example he continues to set.

Again, that's why Jones is one of my favorites. By the way, this would be a good time to mention another all-time good guy, former Packers linebacker Andy Mulumba, is doing incredible work with his organization, Avenir. They're actually auctioning off some of Andy's Packers game-worn memorabilia on their Instagram accounts on Friday to raise funds for Mulumba's native country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Please be sure to check that out. Amazing cause.

The Packers were on the practice field Tuesday, June 15 during the offseason program.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

Could you ask Wayne and Larry to do a radio broadcast of "Jeopardy!" for the two weeks Joe Buck is guest host?

Zing!

Jeff from Waukesha, WI

Regarding Mike's answer on how Amari has looked in OTAs, saying "He belongs," have you been at practices/OTAs where you could just tell that a guy wasn't going to pan out? Even high draft picks?

Yes.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning. After two seasons as the chief thrower of red flags, what is Matt LaFleur's successful win rate on challenges? On one hand, the Packers don't seem to miss any obvious plays to challenge. On the other, they don't seem to win many either. Thanks.

LaFleur was 3-2 on challenges last year and 8-7 during his first two seasons as Packers head coach. Before you ask, I don't know what the "average" is among NFL coaches. Mike McCarthy was 48-47 during his time in Green Bay if you need something to compare that to.

Beau from Indianapolis, IN

It was so great seeing all those #'s-who-shall-not-be-named. I forgot that Bubba Franks rocked that jersey for years. Such a touchdown threat from 1-5 yards out.

The longer I cover this league, the more I respect what Bubba Franks accomplished. He made catching touchdowns look a lot easier than it really is inside the red zone.

Dale from Lima, IA

Who is the shortest QB to play in the NFL? And was he successful?

I can't say that definitively but Eddie LeBaron would be my guess.

Bob from Rome, NY

I don't think we can connect a rotary phone to the internet. Next best thing was AOL dial-up. Couldn't use the phone while on the internet and got knocked off when someone called your house. Now we are watching games on our phones. Amazing!

That reminds me of the days when I'd go downstairs and tell my parents (who were paying for everything, mind you) they couldn't use the phone while my fantasy draft was ongoing.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

How far could the defense carry this team if we have a "rookie" QB in place?

Peyton Manning had a 67.9 passer rating the year Denver won Super Bowl 50. So, yeah…A dominant defense raises all ships…or something.

Brendan from Mount Clemens, MI

Mike, I hope you enjoyed the baseball game, even though the result wasn't great. I made a return trip to Comerica Park this past weekend; it was great to be back. My question is, when you attend public events like a baseball game, do you and Wes find yourselves being recognized and approached by the loyal II readers, or not so much? I'd hypothetically welcome the chance to buy you a cold beverage to thank you for your awesome work covering the Pack, and quickly get out of your hair. Cheers.

The only time I can recall being recognized in public was at "Disco Night" at Shaboom's. And the only question the two ladies kept asking was, "What's it like to work with Mike Spofford?"

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