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Inbox: This is the time for learning and stacking

The Packers have made their first-round picks count

WR Samori Toure
WR Samori Toure

Ben from Madison, WI

Wes, I'd like to know which throw you think is more infamous: Aaron Rodgers' unfilmed no-look pass from a few years ago, or your attempt at delivering lettuce during the initial stages of the pandemic a few years ago?

Strong pull, Ben. Very strong pull. Rodgers' no-look-pass was talent meeting greatness. That takes the cake. My lettuce ordeal was two servings of ineptitude mixed with a hint of folly.

David from Memphis, TN

We are going to be a very good defensive team from the get-go. How long will it take for offense to get rolling?

A lot less time than some would have you believe.

Scott from Noblesville, IN

While they may be too long, with too many big words, for a great theme, or motto, (though, perhaps perfect for an II T-shirt?) one has to love No. 12's three quick phrases: "Production over potential," "Temper expectations," and "Heighten accountability" need to be at least marked in time, if not marketed for profit…

His line about preferring production over potential spoke to me and likely will go down as one of my favorite Rodgers-isms. Because potential is great – and the Packers have a ton of it – but each is about turning that potential into production. Rome won't be built in a day, but these young receivers need to stack the bricks and learn.

Norris from Horicon, WI

I strongly believe Samori Toure will not only make the team but also has a real chance to contribute in 2022 especially on special teams. Watching his tape from last season shows his versatility and how dynamic he can be. If Rodgers can trust him, I think he may be the steal of the draft. What say you? Who is your draft steal?

Toure and the rookie wideouts are off to a good start, but training camp will be the true proving ground for all the young receivers. Again, this is the time for learning and stacking. I feel like Toure, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs have all shown promise in the early going. For a seventh-rounder like Toure, that means something. You only have so many opportunities to make an impression on the coaches and scouts.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, is it truly possible "Jarran Reed ‘can play anywhere’ on Packers' defensive line? Aren't the defensive positions and responsibilities too diverse for any one individual to be able to easily flex just anywhere?

I think so. I obviously wouldn't expect Reed to play a wide-nine technique or anything, but he has the size and experience to line up wherever Joe Barry and Jerry Montgomery ask him to. Like Kenny Clark, Reed also has the ability to defend the run and push the pocket from the interior in the passing game. My first impression of Reed is he reminds me a lot of B.J. Raji. He has a similar frame.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

Outside of trying to erase that image of Royce Newman from my head that Aaron Rodgers revealed, what are your thoughts on the fact that Newman has come in heavier with a "bigger belly"? Is this a good thing for an interior offensive lineman? Should we view this as a positive and if so, why? Thank you.

While it's not always put into those terms, you tend to see that with second-year offensive linemen. Cole Van Lanen looked bigger this spring, as well. We talk so much about young players needing to learn the playbook that it sometimes gets overlooked that these are men in their early 20s who are still growing into their bodies. It's also why many O-linemen don't hit their prime until their late 20s. You gotta fill out to fit in on an NFL offensive line.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. What was this year's team-building event? Were you and Mike invited along?

Spoff and I weren't in attendance this year but team photographer Evan Siegle and international master of videography Mike Vandersnick have ya covered.

Sal from Hailey, ID

What do you make of Allen Lazard's one-year contract?

Not much. It feels like I've been saying this every Inbox for the past month, but Lazard playing on the tender was the resolution I expected. NFL teams can start to reduce the amount of the tender to unsigned restricted free agents this week, so it made sense Lazard came in and signed. Deadlines spur action. He has a real opportunity in front of him this year. I can't wait to see what Lazard does with it.

TK from Grafton, WI

Do the draftees get to pick their uniform numbers? What about free agents (like Sammy Watkins)?

I think all draft picks have some say in their number. I remember Blake Martinez (fourth round, compensatory) chose No. 50 in 2016 because of the history there with A.J. Hawk. Rashan Gary did the same with No. 52 in 2019 because of Clay Matthews. The same is true for free agents as long as it's not a retired number.

Steve from Toronto, Canada

One player who missed the entirety of the 2021 season whose return is flying under the radar is Randy Ramsey. He went from the practice squad in 2019 to being a lock for the 53 heading into 2021, only to get shut down due to an ankle injury. Gutekunst has already expressed his excitement this offseason about Ramsey's return, and the opportunity is there for a sizable role this season. How has he looked this spring, and is he a guy who can make that big leap?

Ramsey is still in the rehab group, but I like the choice. Not only because of what he could add to the pass-rush rotation, but he also was a consistent special-teamer in 2020. That was a quietly significant loss for Green Bay last summer. We'll see how he bounces back.

Larry from Scranton, PA

Guys, was Eric Stokes at OTAs? Sorry, if I missed this.

Stokes attended all the OTAs open to the media and the first day of minicamp last week. He wasn't at the second minicamp practice on Wednesday, but I wouldn't be worried about that. While the offseason program is important, it's also not uncommon for guys to miss a day here or there for personal reasons.

Eric from Holiday, FL

In a ranking released of the top 15 players drafted in 2019, the Packers had both Rashan Gary and Elgton Jenkins in the top 12. Just can't say enough about how amazing the current regime has been at the crystal ball business. It only makes me even more excited for our top picks this year.

The Packers have made those first-round picks count. It's the best compliment I can give Brian Gutekunst and his staff.

Tom from Bend, OR

Greetings Mike and Wes, an observation and a question. As a lifelong fan but reader of the Insider only the past two years, I appreciate your style of not selling controversy and negativity in your assessment of the team and answers to your readers. The press today is all too eager to feed conflict. My question: Is this solely a reflection of the integrity you personally bring to your profession, or does the bar set by Matt, Gutey and the entire Packer organization inspire you to even higher standard.

It goes back to that line I uttered a few years ago – possibly before your time – about how our stories are written in pen, not pencil, and what we put on the page matters. Talking heads bicker for the sake of bickering to fill two-hour time slots Monday through Friday. It's not like that here. I want you to read the column, but I'm not going to say things to trigger you to get you to come back and yell at me for clicks. This is a sports column, not a dunk tank. I'm here for a free-flowing exchange of ideas, not an argument.

The Green Bay Packers held their first practice of minicamp at Ray Nitschke Field on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.

Skip from Kirkwood, MO

I would really like to attend minicamp next year. Would you please explain the details needed to attend? Are tickets needed? Duration? Any details would be great. It's been on my bucket list since I retired! Thanks.

Anyone can come. There are no tickets or anything, but the weather does need to cooperate. Unfortunately, only last Tuesday's practice was open to fans due to weather (Wednesday) and team-building activity (Thursday) cancelling the other two public practices. Tuesday's practice was just under two hours.

Robert from Emmaus, PA

How did they get Ray Nitschke to smile for the camera?

Weekly paychecks.

Jim from Eau Claire, WI

Wes, what about A&W root beer in a chilled mug?


Matt from Waterloo, IA

Mike, just wondering as I heard you had ties to Platteville if you ever made your way south of the border to Dubuque, Iowa? That is where I am from, it is an interesting city with lots of Packers and Bears fans due to Illinois and Wisconsin only being a bridge away.

I'm not Mike but I did stay at a Dubuque Holiday Inn Express a few years ago. It's a beautiful city.

Greg from Myrtle Beach, SC

What?! Wes wasn't chosen as a presenter for LeRoy? Unconscionable!

That's OK. LeRoy made two great selections. I am, however, still waiting for *Cough* my invite to LeRoy's Hall of Fame party. *Cough*

Sam from Harlan, IA

I'm thinking if Wes were to write a book, it would probably be motivational. That would catapult him into a new side hustle of motivational speaker on weekends (minus game days). I foresee the book being titled, "How to Eat Your Own Lunch: An Underdog Story." I'll be waiting at Barnes and Noble.

"(In)boxed Out: How to stay hungry when the world steals your lunch."

William from Scranton, PA

Forgive me if this question has been asked. From what I've watched, a cool takeaway of the FOX coverage on the upstart USFL league is allowing the viewing audience to listen in on the play calls between the coordinator and QB. It is reminiscent of the coverage on NASCAR as the announcers speak directly to the drivers during the race, which would never happen. However, could listening in work in the NFL?

Am I the only one who hates this? I noticed it during the one USFL game I watched this year and it nearly made me turn the game off earlier than I did. What I love about the NFL and traditional football is the spontaneity of it all – the drama! I'm not interested in knowing what's going to happen before it happens. Call me old-fashioned, but I want to be surprised.

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, UK

How do you guys recharge your batteries in the offseason? (Seems like it's only a couple of weeks off each.)

It begins this week for me. I'll be off golfing with my dad starting Wednesday and I honestly cannot wait.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Wes, you mentioned you'll be playing a round of golf in the days ahead. That said, I know golf is allowed here at Bushwood. What's the best part of your game? My buddies tell me mine is mediocre conversation and slow play on the greens.

I've been red hot with a putter lately, which means I probably won't make anything outside of two feet. Enjoy the last week of OTAs, everybody. It's our last bit of football before the big break.