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Inbox: This weekend is where the Packers lay the groundwork

These next six weeks are a whirlwind for rookies, but they serve a purpose

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Packers T/G Sean Rhyan

Thierry from Metz, France

So Wes, feels good to be back in the locker room?

It's been almost 2½ years since the last time I was in the Packers' locker room or a media scrum, but honestly it didn't feel too unfamiliar. I'm just grateful I was able to effectively do my job the past two years, man. That's a credit to our communications staff – Jason Wahlers, Sarah Quick, Tom Fanning, Nathan LoCascio, Eric Szczepinski and Jackson Riebel – for making that happen. Whether it's in-person or Zoom, I just wanna tell cool stories and feed my family.

Bob from Trabuco Canyon, CA

Just watched the rookie interviews, and after all the drama the past year, I am excited for Packer football again…but dang it's only May.

This weekend creates a lot of lasting memories. I have pretty vivid recollections of the first time we interviewed David Bakhtiari, Micah Hyde, Davante Adams, JC Tretter, Corey Linsley and so on. It's fun to see these guys practice for the first time. I like watching how Quay Walker moves and Devonte Wyatt hits the sled. Both Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs made some impressive catches, too. This weekend is where the Packers lay the groundwork.

Sharron from Bluffton, SC

I was in the Army for 20 years and was always a little nervous when I moved from one assignment to another. I guess initially I lacked a little confidence. Do you see any nervousness or discomfort in the new players coming to the Packers?

First, thank you for your service. Secondly, it's only natural to feel some nerves when you first come in the door but that's why there's a rookie minicamp. It's to work the kinks out and ask questions. These next six weeks are a whirlwind for rookies, but they serve a purpose. The time provides them with the tools to hit the ground running during training camp.

Corey from Richland, WA

Wes, Mike's response to Kurt from Germantown, TN, reminded me of a question I posed last season that you deferred to this offseason. To emphasize the "value" term of MVP, what Packer do you believe most outperformed their contract last season and thus could be regarded as the team MVP? What others during your tenure with the Packers do you believe also meet this MVP definition of outperforming their contract during either a single season or throughout the duration of their contract?

This answer's gotta be De'Vondre Campbell, right? He wasn't just a great value signing. Campbell performed at an All-Pro level and developed into a leader on defense. Davante Adams, Rasul Douglas, Lucas Patrick and AJ Dillon would be my honorable mentions.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, Coach LaFleur's line about the rookies was epic: "It's like getting a bunch of new toys." When can we expect our next toy story from you?

That was an all-time line from LaFleur and the perfect building block for Spoff's story on Day 1 of rookie minicamp.

Sean from Palatine, IL

Good morning, Wes! I know rookie contracts are pretty standardized now but I seem to remember there being something strange about third-round picks (See: Amari Rodgers last year). Is that still the case?

It's not uncommon for many draft picks to sign when they report for rookie minicamp, but this is the fastest I can ever remember the Packers getting their first- and third-round picks signed. I don't know what it means but I'm guessing it's positive.

Doug from Wausau, WI

Now that the silly "Trade Jordan Love for a pick" frenzy has passed, what should we reasonably look for in his development this year? Is it enough that he just shows progress, or does he need to provide at least glimmers that he's capable of being "The Man" whenever Rodgers calls it a career? Also, to Al in Green Bay – Brats before 10 a.m. qualify as breakfast sausage. And they are delightful.

I'm looking for progress with signs Love can be "The Man" someday, whether it's in GB or another NFL team. We saw glimmers last summer. Now, can he shine consistently? Love is in a unique position where he's not the starter but likely will take most of the starting reps through the offseason program. For a former first-round pick, I can't think of a better way to grow and develop.

Tyler from Medford, WI

In response to Al from GB, these aren't really uncharted waters. I recall many a tailgate to Lambeau where the grills are up and going by if not before 8, the drinks are flowing at sunrise, the sweet smell of brats floats through the air! I think this is a "business as usual" type day. I can tell you as someone who gets up a 6 a.m. to watch my Manchester United play in England you can pour that first frosty drink as soon as the first cup of coffee is gone (or at least almost). Keep calm and carry on.

And if the Packers win, I imagine fans will be celebrating through the afternoon and well into the evening. Just give them a reason.

Clem from La Crosse, WI

I saw that a WR from UW-Whitewater (Ryan Wisniewski) was invited to rookie camp. Is this invitation a tryout? Is there anyone who has ever gone from that position to making the roster? Are they compensated?

Wisniewski is one of 18 tryout players at the camp. They are not signed to contracts, and to the best of my knowledge, do not earn compensation this weekend. The Packers typically sign one or two afterwards. Patrick would probably be the most notable tryout participant in the modern era.

Woody from Cincinnati, OH

Hi II, is there a difference between an UDFA and a walk-on tryout player? If so, what is that difference? Thanks!

The Packers signed 14 college free agents after last weekend's draft. They all count towards the 90-man offseason roster. Green Bay is also allowed to bring in tryout players to compete for a spot.

The Green Bay Packers held their first practice of rookie minicamp on Friday, May 6, 2022.

Nathan from Manitowoc, WI

What player would benefit the Packers the most by having a big offseason improvement?

Josiah Deguara – and a full offseason program will go a long way in doing that. Last year, Deguara was devoting most of his energy towards his rehab from the torn ACL. This summer, it's going to be all systems go towards growing his role in this offense. The story hasn't changed there with Deguara. He's very versatile and important piece of what Matt LaFleur wants to do on offense.

Chris from Belleville, WI

Morning II. Appreciate the work you both do, and love the different insight you two bring. My question: What do you two suggest, we average Janes and Joes, pay attention to during this "down" time? It's easy to get caught up in draft analysis, but that's over, it's time to move on. What do you guys turn your focus to this time of year?

You obviously take all these offseason practices with a grain of salt because there are no pads, but it is great to watch the rookies compete and see the subtle differences in returning players. Every year, there is a practice-squad player like who does something to grab your attention before making the 53-man roster this summer

Brandon from Pleasant Prairie, WI

I see everyone talking about Kenny Clark, Sammy Watkins, Campbell, and a couple others and how the drafted players will complement them. That's great and all but, are we basing those hopes off assuming the aforementioned players play at the same level as they did last year or hopefully higher and don't decline or have an off year?

Que sera sera, Brandon. Because some players improve and some regress every year. The goal is to assemble the best roster you can, hope guys stay healthy and let the season play out. This is a game of projection, not prediction. I do know Clark and Campbell are going to be great mentors for Devonte Wyatt and Quay Walker, respectively.

Roger from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, Wes. I know that Yosh Nijman impresses as a huge human specimen. With all the large players drafted or signed as UDFAs, who do you think challenges him in that regard?

It's a wide-open competition, Roger. All I've said is Nijman's play last year puts him in the battle for the right tackle job. But I would imagine Royce Newman, Sean Rhyan, and Rasheed Walker get looks there, too.

Jerome from Monticello, MN

Insiders, I felt the Packers needed help with a right-side tackle. yet they only drafted left tackles. Is that because left tackles are usually a team's best tackle or is it some other reason? Thanks for all your insights. Can't wait for all the interviews.

Pretty much, especially at smaller schools where the best offensive lineman – regardless of size and measureables – is typically the one blocking their quarterback's blindside.

Matthias from San Antonio, TX

What happened to Allen Lazard's "twin tower" teammate Hakeem Butler?

He's playing for the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League. I liked Butler a lot coming out of Iowa State, but we all know the NFL is a different beast. I'll always be grateful to him for giving me probably the best quote I've ever received at the NFL Scouting Combine when I asked him about Lazard three years ago.

Ken from Dallas, TX

Would it be beneficial for the Packers to sign a veteran lineman with starting experience at right tackle? While the draft improved the depth of the offensive line, it seems that most of our current linemen are better suited to playing in the interior or as a left tackle.

This is still an option, too. Dennis Kelly remains a free agent.

Brock from West Lafayette, IN

Good morning! Are there any current players on the roster who have played in an international game (not counting preseason) for another team?

Marcedes Lewis played there three or four times during his time with Jacksonville. Pat O'Donnell, Sammy Watkins, Preston Smith and Jarran Reed have all played international games, too.

Ingrid from Superior, WI

It was great to see the photos and videos of the new rookie class at Lambeau on Thursday. How exciting to get fitted for all your gear, shoes, gloves, hats, etc. I'm jealous of the "shoe room" filled to the brim with Nike's and other brands!

Red and T-Bone have the hookups.

Chris from Bettendorf, IA

Only 80% of the players had passports when they played in Canada? These guys are professional athletes. Doesn't the team help them with something like that? It's not like it was short notice. Wait...I finally caught on. Well played. I'll go back to work now.

That comment was easily some of Spoff's finest work. The Inbox sure seemed to love it, too.

Troy from Westminster, CO

"80%"... I see what you did there.

The oral history of the infamous Winnipeg game will be a great read someday. But one of the most underrated aspects of that game was how players still were credited for the full complement of yards on a touchdown. For example, Tim Boyle's 13-yard touchdown pass to Trevor Davis in the second quarter goes down in the record books as a 23-yard TD. That has to be the only time in NFL exhibition history that a defense technically was spotting the opposition 10 yards.

Scott from Albertville, MN

How many players wore jersey No. 66 for the Packers?

Eleven players wore No. 66 in regular-season action, though Larry Pfohl (a.k.a. Lex Luger) was the last to wear the number during an NFL training camp before it was retired.

Linda from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, Wes. I wish a Happy Mother's Day tomorrow to all the mothers in Packers land, and all mothers everywhere. Being one myself, I hope you do something "special" for your wife. She deserves all the recognition that you can give her. (And maybe you could make your own lunches for a week for Spoff to swipe?)

I actually have to pick that up here this morning before driving into Lambeau. Happy Mother's Day, Caitlin (who probably isn't reading this), and Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. We love and admire you. Have a great weekend, everyone.

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