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Inbox: Those are the questions that await him

It’s not about one game or one game plan

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DL Tyler Lancaster

Don from Riverton, UT

Bears in the end zone! Fozzie, Baloo, Boo Boo, … Ted!?!

Paddington, Smokey, Winnie the Pooh … yeah, there's a lot of good in this idea.

Randy from Erlanger, KY

I believe, by position, running back has the greatest representation in the Hall of Fame. Do you think with how the position has become devalued there will be far less RB inductees in the future? Adrian Peterson and possibly Frank Gore will get in, but it appears their longevity and production make them the last of a dying breed.

Quite possibly. Down the road if the shorter careers, even for the stars, continue to become the norm, the Hall may have to look at running backs differently. If a guy dominates the position for a handful of years, even if he doesn't eventually get to 15,000 career rushing yards, he'll deserve due consideration.

Dan from Allen, TX

Have no idea how this question came to me. How many reporters and broadcasters are in the Packers HOF, if any? Off the top of my head, I'm thinking Scott, Remmel, McGee (though probably as a player first), Irwin, Lea … Christl, or do you have to retire first?

Art Daley, Lee Remmel, Ray Scott, Jim Irwin and Russ Winnie are in the Packers Hall of Fame. Daley and Remmel were not officially retired when they were inducted.

Christopher from Frederick, MD

If you could pick one player you could guarantee would take the next step next season, out of these three who would you pick? Jace Sternberger, Oren Burks, or Equanimeous (sorry I butchered the spelling) St. Brown?

You actually nailed the spelling. All three would make a significant impact by taking that next step, but if you're going to force me to pick one, I'll take Sternberger. The Packers seem to have fewer options there if he doesn't emerge.

Corey from Bethlehem, PA

The team I'm most curious about this year are the Rams. They went all out to build that Super Bowl team a little over a year ago but followed that with an underwhelming 9-7 record and missing the playoffs. Now a lot of those big pieces are gone, which left them with fewer draft picks and less cap to properly replace them. How would you rate them especially in that division?

The Rams have the talent to be a playoff team again, but they're also in a division where they could finish last. You're right, they sold out in an attempt to maximize their opportunity. If they had won the Super Bowl, no one would be doubting their approach. It's always an interesting question, though, whether it was worth it when you get there but don't win it.

Joe from Milwaukee, WI

Would Peyton Manning and the Broncos be considered an all-in team, then went into the dark after winning it all?

That's probably the best example, as other readers mentioned. But Manning did help them get to a Super Bowl two years before they actually won it, so I don't think it's accurate to categorize them as a one-year, all-in wonder. They also had two barnburner fourth quarters in two playoff games prior to Super Bowl 50 that easily could have gone the other way. What's indisputable is they haven't made the postseason in any of the four seasons since their title. How it's viewed this many years later is up to the individual fan.

Tom from Raleigh, NC

From yesterday's II, let's play take it out of context: "…the Packers creating a package for me (Wes) next year." What will your package look like? I am small, old, slow and can't throw worth a darn, so I would want one of those "fake a block, let everyone rush the QB, who flips to me alone in the end zone" play. What would your play look like?

I'd have to be the guy on the lateral end of the hook-and-lateral play. We designed a good one in flag football intramurals in college and I scored a few times on it.

Paul from Shoreview, MN

So, if we were to return to stadiums that are NOT full capacity, do you have any idea how the teams would determine which ticket holders would be allowed to go to the game and which ones have to stay home and watch on TV?

No idea.

Craig from Milwaukee, WI

Which draft pick do you see as being the first big contributor?

It'll be interesting to see whether it's AJ Dillon, Josiah Deguara or Kamal Martin. I think it could be any of the three.

Nicole from Trempealeau, WI

Do you expect players to report in better or worse shape this year when coming to camp?

I expect they'll be in great shape. They'll need to knock the rust off, as they say, to get used to the contact of the game again. But looking back at 2011, Aaron Rodgers mentioned how physically everyone felt great reporting for camp after the lockout.

Dean from Ottawa, IL

It was suggested on Monday that without people in the stands, we might have more cameras, more angles to see football. If the result of more TV is a better understanding of how football plays develop, GREAT. If the result of additional cameras is more drama, more finger-pointing towards referees, no thanks. I think television has taken away some of the joy. Your thoughts.

There was a charm to the simple TV broadcasts of my youth. I won't deny that. But no one is going to cast technology aside and revert the viewing experience to the 1980s, not with how much the networks are paying to broadcast the games. So it's on the league to keep up, and when it changes the rules (RTP, PI reviews, etc.), it needs to communicate and implement those changes smoothly and effectively so the game doesn't suffer. That hasn't happened in recent years. That's on the league, not on the broadcasts.

Dominic from Chesapeake, VA

With Kenny Clark, David Bakhtiari, Corey Linsley, Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Kevin King all entering the final year of their contracts, would BG ever consider approaching some or all of them as a group to re-sign them? I realize the complexity of this, but it seems that Packer players who want to stay with the club and want to keep a winning group in place may want to take a deal that, while not getting the money that free agency would bring, pays them well enough and keeps them in Green Bay. Wishful thinking?

Very.

Brad from Crifton, MD

Any rumors on how the league is looking at how to assign the 17th regular-season game starting in 2021?

Nope. All the focus right now is on having a 2020 season.

Robert from Verona, WI

How Favre was able to get up off the turf time and time again during the NFC Championship against the "bounty-hunting Saints" is beyond me. I know a few times he was picked up off the turf by his teammates, but it still amazes me today.

Aside from that one night in Oakland, I think it was the most heroic, courageous game he ever played.

Randy from Billings, MT

One of the players who seems to get overlooked in terms of play and inspirational effect is Tyler Lancaster. He switched from center to defensive lineman in college, was undrafted and yet here he is, a rotational player for the Green Bay Packers, in what will be only his third year. He has accomplished quite a bit. I would think his upside potential is high. Yet he is not given proper respect. Why is that?

It's difficult to gain notoriety when you're not an every-down player who does a lot of grunt work. That's Lancaster. Can he be more than a rotational player? Can he offer more to the pass rush? Those are the questions that await him in his third season, and I'm eager to see how he answers them.

Evan from Oesterle Lake, WI

Favorite Packers playoff memory?

Aside from the obvious, oddly enough I keep coming back to a game they lost – the 2015 divisional at Arizona. With James Jones erased by Patrick Peterson, Rodgers had Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis to work with, and he almost pulled it off. That would have been the most remarkable postseason victory I'd ever witnessed.

Ross from Roswell, GA

Gents, with the emergence of Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson in a short time span, do you think that the Jordan Love learning curve has to be much shorter than previous years?

I believe the Packers are going to give Love all the time he needs.

Paul from Northglenn, CO

Mike, when coach talks of having more explosive plays, is he also referencing taking more advantage of what play-action is intended to contribute? It seemed last year, PA turned into check-downs more than you would expect? Your thoughts from a press box view seemingly could speak to this with more expertise than what television shows us.

I think LaFleur absolutely wants to use play-action to attack downfield, but if it's not there and Rodgers takes the check-down, that's not all bad. Live to take another shot. I don't have any stats in front of me, but by the eye test I thought Rodgers' check-down game last year was the most productive it had been in years.

Mike from Los Angeles, CA

It always seems in the best interest of teams, players, and fans alike to keep homegrown talent on the roster as long as possible. With the contracts of superstar players seemingly far outpacing the salary cap (proportionately), it's getting harder and harder to achieve this. Do you think it's time the NFL considers a "Larry Bird exception"-style rule to allow homegrown players' contracts to surpass the cap? Maybe base the qualifications on where they were selected in the draft?

It's an interesting thought, but NFL rosters are more than four times the size of NBA ones. The draft is seven rounds compared to two. It just doesn't seem feasible on this scale, which is why I don't think it's ever been seriously considered.

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares more of his 2019 favorites.

Casey from Frisco, TX

I enjoyed the profile on Kamal Martin. Regarding this statement: "His primary ticket to Green Bay's roster as a rookie, though, will be on special teams. " Given that he was an accomplished QB in high school and heavily recruited for college as a QB, it seems to me he could provide the punt team with a supercharged fake capability, lined up in the backfield to block and then attack, but capable of acting as a true QB if a fake is called. Maybe that differentiates him just enough for a spot?

Martin will earn his roster spot through traditional special-teams duties and in the competition at inside linebacker. A potential fake/gadget capability will not be a deciding factor.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

Now that the Smith duo is no longer a household secret, what do you anticipates OC's will do to attack them? More of what the 49ers did? In response what do you feel Pettine will counter with? Are there techniques or schemes, or is it more the Smiths getting physically stronger to take on the runs better?

The best way to attack pass rushers has always been to make them play the run on the way to the quarterback. The 49ers didn't invent the strategy. They were just really good at it. Pettine's counter is to have a better, deeper rotation up front, with the linemen and outside 'backers, so the Smiths and Clark don't have to play 85% of the snaps over the long year. That's where Rashan Gary , Kingsley Keke, Dean Lowry and others come in. It's not about one game or one game plan. It's about sharing the burden more throughout the defense and the season, but the other players have to prove they can hold up their end.

Ryan from State College, PA

Wes, thank you.

The young man articulated his thoughts well, and I commend him. When I got up bright and early to write Monday morning's column, I learned something about myself. My passion for sports has helped define my writing career, each and every day, but when I progress from passionate to emotional – there's a difference, to me – I struggle to feel comfortable with expression. I couldn't get my thoughts down. I was too emotional. So I kept it short and simple, with an appeal to everyone's humanity, and I'm going to keep it there. Happy Wednesday.

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