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Inbox: This is bigger than football

Hopefully, we’ll see even more players find their voices

RB Jamaal Williams

Sal from Hailey, ID

"We know at the end of the day we're going to play football, but the stuff that's going on is much greater than the game of football. This is a humanity issue at the end of the day." Coach said it better than I could have said it myself.

Yes. Yes, he did.

Greg from Glendale Heights, IL

I know there will be fans that dig in with the tired "stick to sports" or try justifying why this one practice missed will somehow put our team at an insurmountable competitive disadvantage. I feel like (Thursday) was absolutely the right thing to do. Nothing is guaranteed. The season could end two weeks in and what would the team have to show? If the conversations and work they do today leads to some concrete action, increased awareness, or societal change, then it was a day well spent.

I wrote Inbox for Thursday morning but we made a collaborative decision to wait and publish after LaFleur addressed the team and the media. With everything up in the air, it just seemed right to wait until this morning.

Josh from Denver, CO

Are there any ways, as fans, we can show our support for the players in regard to racial equality protests?

Support their initiatives and listen to their message. Adrian Amos, Davante Adams, Kenny Clark and Billy Turner already have been doing great work in Wisconsin and their communities. Those efforts deserve recognition and attention. As Matt LaFleur said, there is no road map but there are a lot of forward-thinking individuals out there working hard for change. We need to find those people and connect with them. And hopefully, we'll see even more players and others across the NFL landscape find their voices and use them to address these lingering issues in our society, as well.

Josh from Waukesha, WI

I'm so proud to be a fan of the Milwaukee Bucks today.

I appreciate, respect and agree with the Bucks' decision not to play. The games can wait. Practice can wait. Because this is bigger than the NBA playoffs. This is bigger than football. As the Bucks owners so eloquently put in their statement: "The only way to bring about change is to shine a light on the racial injustices that are happening in front of us." It no longer can be ignored. Until real change occurs, it's necessary for us to keep having uncomfortable conversations about who we are as a society and what we are striving to be as country.

Joe from Wauwatosa, WI

I just want you guys and everybody in your organization to know that I appreciate you. I don't know what to do with our world right now but I know that I see comment sections spewing constant hate and vitriol and people can be crazy, but just know I appreciate you both and everyone in that building no matter what color or background they come from because you are a part of my life and so do many others!

Thank you, Joe. And we appreciate that. But we're not the ones who need the well-wishes and positive words right now. It's those who have been dealing with institutional racism and injustice since they entered this world. They're the ones I've thought a lot about over these last three months. And I feel sorry for those spewing the hate and vitriol. Because hate is baggage and it'll only continue to drag you down until you finally let it go. And with that, let's move onto the football questions.

Jesse from Adel, IA

The mystery of what "12" saw in his 2010 film review to improve his game got me thinking of the top three training camp all-time secrets to not be known or seen. 1) Infamous trash can hurdle by Wes or Hod (don't remember who, but can't review film to verify)? 2) Aaron Rodgers' no-look touchdown pass. 3) Rodgers' 2010 film review and subsequent adjustments. Maybe not the season for a poll but a good deterrent from what if we kept Packers X instead of Player Z. And go…

First, one of those things is not like the others. I look forward to someday learning what Rodgers saw on film, even if it has to wait until after his career is over. If that is the case, then it'll have to remain a mystery.

Chase from Ft. Wood, MO

You need to promise us that someday when AR12 is retired (hopefully never playing for another team) that you will try to get an interview with him to ask what he saw in the 2010 tape.

It almost makes me hope it's something arbitrary like, "Yeah, I was dipping my hip a little in my follow-through."

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Check Rodgers' shoes. In 2010, he cited several times that he loved the shoes he wore on the indoor surfaces. Maybe he found a similar pair that work for outdoor surfaces and is starting to light it up!

Nothing gets past you, Derek. Nothing.

Tom from New York, NY

Personally, I rely on the delusion of simplicity.

That's funny. I consider myself the illusion of simplicity.

Michal from Sacramento, CA

Aaron's accuracy and ball placement still puts him on top of every other quarterback in the NFL. That should mean that the WRs have a better chance of playing longer and maximizing their earning ability. Does it factor when free-agent WRs think about playing for GB?

The Packers haven't signed many free-agent receivers over the years but Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis, Jared Cook and Devin Funchess all talked about how Rodgers' presence was a big factor in them signing with Green Bay. It also played a role in the desire of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams to sign extensions with the Packers.

Miguel from Monument, CO

Wes, Darrius Shepherd stood out last preseason. It seemed clear that he or Allen Lazard would make the team, and Shepherd initially prevailed. After making the squad, it soon became apparent Shepherd wasn't quite ready and after six games found himself on the practice squad. That move, though, signaled that the Packers see and like his potential, and wanted to give him more time. How's he looking this year? Could he be the solution at the slot?

I have a hard time seeing anyone other than Tyler Ervin being the returner going into this season but Shepherd is making a strong case for a roster spot with how he's looked on offense. Like last summer, Shepherd has caught everything thrown his way in camp. He also has the size and tools to be successful in the slot. He's back in the hunt.

James from Asheville, NC

Despite his youth, is this the "make-or-break" year for Montravius Adams? The depth of the defensive line is the most concerning aspect of this roster.

That's accurate and I think Adams would tell you the same thing. At times, Adams has flashed the playmaking ability that made him a third-round pick in 2017 but consistency is king. He's now in his fourth NFL season. It's go time.

Dave from Franklin, WI

I've been a reader of this forum for years. I don't recall any questions, or concern, about letting Casey Hayward leave in free agency, especially with his injury history. So why are all the armchair GMs focused on the past?

It's easier to pontificate about the past than predict the future. That way, you're never wrong.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

It sounds like Tim Boyle has been impressive in camp to this point. How has what you've seen this year compare to last year and is there enough there to project a future franchise QB for someone?

Boyle has made strides in his progressions, mid-field accuracy, and anticipating where his receivers are going to be with his throws. It's too bad fans weren't able to attend practices this summer because Boyle really has been impressive.

Brian from Valparaiso, IN

The season is over and the Packers have won the Super Bowl this year. Besides Davante Adams, who were the other two top contributors from the receiving core, WR or TE?

It needs to be both. With how this team is built, the Packers need both of those positions to contribute in 2020. And if Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Robert Tonyan fulfill their potential this year, the Packers' offense will be fun to watch.

Andrew from Cincinnati, OH

I would love any insights you have into the world of being a free agent/unsigned player. Are these people and their agents simply passing out the film version of a mix tape to teams trying to get someone to take a second look, or are they living on name recognition? They don't strike me as having a standard resume, where the list of people they covered in college is part of their job responsibilities.

Any agent worth his or her salt is constantly working the phones and sending emails to get the client a workout. They'll occasionally pass along film, especially if it's a lesser-known player, but mostly it's just trying to keep their guy in the rolodex of NFL GMs and personnel executives.

Statham from Pineview, GA

Is the hype about Kamal Martin making a push to start real? I know the sample size is small at this point, but there is surely a lot of buzz around him.

As a rule, I keep expectations low for third-day draft picks in Year 1 and that's especially true this year without a physical offseason program. Martin has me reconsidering that stance. He's still a rookie and not flawless, but Martin has done everything in his power to show the game isn't too big, or fast, for him.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Guys, every year I learn more about football than the year before with insight gleaned from your contributions to II. Paul George has revealed the mental strain that the NBA "bubble" has created for him is very taxing. Though the NFL is not being played in a bubble, would you say that the mental side of the game will be more important than ever this year?

Without question. Success will be equal parts preparation, discipline and good fortune. As an organization, the Packers did everything they could to make this transition from virtual offseason to training camp to season as seamless as possible. That's gotten us to this point. Once the games start, the rest will be up to the players.

See headshots and action shots of the complete Green Bay Packers 2020 roster. #BuildingOurTeam

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

If both teams are taking the proper precautions, like they would during the season when it starts, would it be a good/bad idea to have a joint practice now with some recovery time left to test the waters if things go a little south? Would be nice to have some film to study other than just a scrimmage against each other and a joint practice could limit exposure to players, maybe?

The juice is not worth the squeeze. As a society, we still don't know enough about COVID-19 to roll the dice like that. My stance hasn't changed. Let teams prepare in their home cities, keep the bubbles small and put every bead of sweat towards Week 1. If it takes a few weeks to smooth out the schematic wrinkles, so be it.

Matt from Madison, WI

The different approach to the offseason (taped presentations, Zoom meetings, etc.) seems to have helped the rookies with the mental part of the switch to the NFL. Do you see these techniques being used next year and beyond?

I do, especially the pre-taped team meetings. Those are here to stay during the offseason program. I think the coaches see how beneficial it was to have a catalogue of those "lectures" available to young players. And frankly, I think many of those rookies are ahead of schedule because of it right now.

Andy from Lancaster, PA

Good morning Inbox! I saw the structure for Kenny Clark's contract and it got me wondering how much control the team has over how big a cap hit a player has. Could a team give out a $100 million contract and have, say, $80 million of it hit the cap in Year 1 if they have extra cap space? I've also always wondered why every contract seems to lead to escalating cap hits throughout its life.

Teams have control over cap structure but not to that extreme. Cap numbers are based on base salary and subsequent bonuses (roster, workout, per-game, etc.) with the prorated signing bonus also factored in. So if I give a $20 million bonus over a four-year contract, that adds $5 million to the cap each year of the deal. Most players in the first year of an extension have a lower base salary because teams just paid out the signing bonus a few months prior.

Al from Green Bay, WI

At this time of year, hope springs eternal in NFL fan bases across America. Can you name a couple teams whose hope just isn't realistic?

Tampa Bay looks great on paper. ESPN has the Buccaneers like sixth in their preseason power rankings. That's great, but the most hyped teams rarely live up to expectations. Can Tampa buck that trend?

Mark from Cumberland, MD

If the Vikings are still gonna blow that damn horn, at least tell me that we're still gonna hear Todd Rundgren every time the Packers get six at Lambeau.

Here's where this gets interesting – it sounds like there will be decibel limits for crowd noise. Will the big horn be subject to those restrictions, as well?

Andrew from Fullerton, CA

Hello, last week you mentioned we didn't have to worry about coarse language being picked up due to the ambient crowd noise. My question is if ESPN were to broadcast Spoff playing racquetball and Hod playing "Madden," which of you is more likely to need crowd noise piped in to keep ESPN out of trouble with the FCC?

I've never seen Spoff play racquetball so I can't compare. I definitely would need heavy crowd noise while playing video games…and a new bar of soap.

Patrick from Oconomowoc, WI

Just a comment, my absolute favorite Spoff-ism, "I can't help you." Made my day as it always seems to do.

The greatest gift Winston Moss gave us.

Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

Hey Wes, any tips on how to not have your glasses fog up while wearing a facemask?

If you're referring to my appearance on "Packers Daily," then I'd say wear a cotton shirt and shoot multiple takes.

Joshua from Houston, TX

Football is a nice break, especially from huge storms coming in off the Gulf of Mexico. Say a prayer for southeast Texas and Louisiana. I think Houston will miss the brunt of it, but those small towns are going to get hit hard.

I always say a prayer and hold my breath for the southeast every August.

Daniel from Westminster, CO

Do you guys, Wes specifically, have any interesting twists you will be a part of in fantasy football this year? Team QB, extra IR spots, etc.

Nothing crazy. Maybe an extra roster spot or two. We already have two IR spots. I think that's plenty.

Charles from Omaha, NE

Hey Mike and/or Wes! When you graduated college and set out to become a sports journalist, how did you imagine your future to be? Now that you are sports journalists for the Packers, how is your job different than you imagined?

That's a good question. I've never really thought about it. I went into the workforce after the recession, so I really wasn't thinking about working for the Packers back then. I was just happy to have a job. My dream was to follow in the footsteps of Cliff Christl and Mike Vandermause, and become the sports editor of the Press-Gazette. Once it became clear that wasn't meant to be for me, I opened my mind up to all the possibilities and that road led me here.

Chuck from Gold Canyon, AZ

When will "Three Things" return to three guys?

Plant a new Truffula, Chuck. Treat it with care. Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air. Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. Then, the Rock and all of his friends. May come back.

Brian from Sussex, WI

Spoff's response to the last comment noted 18 days until football, but that's to the first Packers game. The first game is actually on Sept. 10, so it was actually 15 11 hours, and 4 minutes (based on timestamp of II being posted). But nobody could be so excited for football to start they would actually be counting down.

Who's counting?…Everybody.