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Inbox: Tradition never goes out of style

Everything Kenny Clark has worked for is right in front of him

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LB Za'Darius Smith

Joe from Sin City, NV

Me, before COVID-19: I'm done with II until preseason blah blah blah.

Me, every day since quarantine: Let's see what the boys got goin' today!

Turns out, you can scroll past the questions you deem boring. Who knew?

We're like a buffet – offer enough dishes and hopefully you guys find something worth sinking your teeth into. Good morning!

Chris from West Allis, WI

I was reading a question about our recent signings in II today when it just hit me like a brick wall – the Pack made four big FA signings last year and every one of them stepped in as starters making huge contributions: 4-for-4! Wow, I can't imagine that happens very often or is likely to happen again soon. Hats off to the guys in the front office making those moves and the players for proving their value.

And they started every game – all 72 contests (including postseason). That's remarkable. It's an extraordinary achievement for those four players and Brian Gutekunst.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Good day! I'm wondering how you see the acquisition of Devin Funchess impacting Allen Lazard's position in the offensive scheme. I dig Lazard's NFL path, and he seems to appreciate the opportunity presented to him. Also, do you think bringing Funchess on board changes the focus of the draft away from prioritizing a WR? Stay safe, stay health everyone.

The Packers already have 650 snaps to fill with Geronimo Allison's departure, so I don't see Funchess' addition directly affecting Lazard's perceived playing time. I'd still prioritize taking a receiver in the first two days but the benefit of signing Funchess is that player doesn't necessarily have to step in as a Day 1 starter.

Scott from Las Vegas, NV

II, I watched your recent "Three Things" video and agree with Larry that Jace Sternberger may develop into a serious threat at TE. But I continue to think Robert Tonyan really hasn't had the opportunity to show what he can do when healthy. Do you feel he can significantly contribute if he stays healthy or do you think the Pack might draft another TE this season?

Last year, I kept saying how Sternberger was a pick for the future and the face of the tight end position in 2019 needed to be Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis. Well, Graham is gone now, and Sternberger and Tonyan are a year older. Lewis is back but those two young tight ends need to contribute for the offense in 2020. This draft is nowhere near as deep as it was last year for tight ends. And even if Green Bay takes another tight end, it's up to Sternberger and Tonyan to make that position their own.

Dan from Twin Lakes, WI

Wes, your piece on Kenny Clark was quite nice but you seem to have missed what I believe is a defining characteristic of this young man. Pretty much every player in the league says some rendition of, "Plenty to still learn. Just gotta keep grinding and get better every day." What makes it different with Clark is that he seems to truly believe it...which makes ME believe HIM.

If you're familiar with Clark's backstory, you know how much this opportunity means to him – as a competitor, as a son and as a sibling. Clark has busted his tail for the past 15 years to take care of himself and his family. Everything he's worked for is right in front of him…and he knows it.

Simon from Arden Hills, MN

Mike said, "I wouldn't publish anything from an impromptu chat unless the individual is clear it's an interview." For either of you, what are your favorite examples that came up in such an impromptu chat that caused you to ask, "That's really good. Can I use it?"

Blake Martinez and Tramon Williams telling me about the meeting the defense held in the wee hours of the morning after the Packers flew back from Baltimore last August.

Erin from Bellingham, WA

In response to Steven from MD, I'm a 40-something female, kids or no kids there is zero chance I'm missing September games if we are fortunate enough to have them! I'm inside right now when it's sunny watching Madden Sim games cheering for a rookie Favre playing in London! I can't be alone in this opinion?

May you live forever, Erin.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

Normally in the lead up to the draft it seems like a lot more activity and stuff going on. Any idea why it seems quieter than usual?

Content fuels the gaslight for the NFL. There have been no pro days or pre-draft visits and no teams with new coaches reporting for the offseason program. There's no imminent schedule release. The second wave of free agency also has been quiet amidst all this uncertainty.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

NFL.com reports that the league will perform a mock draft before the real deal to hopefully get the kinks out with each GM's house being the team's common hub. Still think holding it at the team's facilities is the best option...with proper safety precautions.

Sure, but this isn't about convenience. It's about safety. I am eager to hear Gutekunst's thoughts on it at some point.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

I realize that the consensus appears to be that GB won't draft a QB with No. 30, but if one slides that they really like such as a player that they think should have gone at around pick 20, do you think they may take him? Not just as a possible successor to Aaron Rodgers , but someone that could increase their chances to win games if Rodgers gets injured again in the next four years or so.

One thing analysts and fans are getting wrong with this comparison is the Packers drafted Rodgers at No. 24 and he was the only guy left on their board with a first-round grade. So when you're talking about No. 30, you have to understand their decision will be predicated on who's available, how many comparable players are still on the board and what value that pick may have in a trade (given the fifth-year option). There are so many more considerations than 15 years ago. That's why I feel convenient comparisons to the 2005 draft do not suffice.

Paul from North Glenn, CO

With offseason additions and a bevy of youth at WR, do you feel the first-round emphasis by fans for another WR is more delusional or destiny? Does GB have the draft capital for upward movement in Round 1? What would they lose for a move into the top 20?

I think it's only natural for fans to want to draft skill-position players early on. It's exciting. Fans want guys they'd draft in their fantasy football league, but that's not how NFL GMs operate. The Packers have some flexibility to move up in the first round but it would cost a future first-rounder or handful of second- and third-day picks to do so.

Griffin from Belmont, NC

Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre left their longtime teams all under different situations. Is this the new norm? I feel like Packers fans are just letting Favre back into their lives. What would happen if Rodgers got the itch to go back to California or a different team?

It's hard to get that John Elway storybook ending. So many have tried and most fail. It's just the way the business works. I can't predict the future but Rodgers has said all the right things. He's given a timeline for how long he intends to play and hasn't wavered from that stance. That matters.

Timothy from New York, NY

I watched the NFL's top plays from each player on the all-decade roster, and Aaron Rodgers' was the Hail Mary against Detroit. I get it, the play was memorable. It was NOT his best play of the decade.

That throw showcased his arm strength but it's not what I think of when it comes to Rodgers' best plays. My mind immediately redirects to those clutch moments when he can thread the needle through a secondary. That's the essence of Aaron Rodgers, the two-time MVP quarterback.

Wes from South Saint Paul, MN

Watching some of the past years' games on Game Pass, compared to last year there is a stark difference in the number of no-huddle plays. Do you see the no-huddle being used more in Year 2 with ML's offense? Not giving defenses a chance to make adjustments is a big advantage.

Yes.

Alex from Wayzata, MN

With the new uniforms the Falcons and Bucs announced in the recent past, how thankful can we be that our team has been doing something right?

All these fancy uniforms and logos are fine for the here and now, but tradition never goes out of style. Personally, the only thing that matters to me is whether I can read the number on the jersey from the press box. The rest is all for show.

Chuck from Dade City, FL

In regards to the All-Decade Team, I was disappointed that Charles Woodson wasn't named. The others were good, but he tilted the field whenever he played. What do you think?

There was some stiff competition, though I probably would have picked Woodson over Darrelle Revis. Either way, Woodson was a member of the 2000s All-Decade Team, so he has the honor on his resume. In another year, he'll be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Thomas from La Crosse, WI

Hey guys, what do you think the NFL will do if there is no OTAs this spring/summer?

Adjust.

Dave from Marshfield, WI

To me, the best sports movie I have seen is "Brian's Song."

It is a 1971 movie about Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers played by James Caan and Billy Dee Williams. This takes place in the 1960s where they became friends and roommates. This, at the time, was very controversial. If you have not seen this movie, I would recommend watching it.

I first saw "Brian's Song" when I was an eighth-grader at Bay View Middle School for a quarterly incentive activity. I'm so thankful the teachers played it because it created one of those school moments you never forget. Heck, I even remember bringing beef jerky as my snack. It's a great movie. Yes, it's incredibly sad but it teaches an important lesson about friendship, life and loss.

Chris from Chicago, IL

Hey guys, first and foremost, I hope all of you and the readers are doing well and keeping safe during this very strange time! Am I crazy to think Cesar Ruiz could be the pick for the Packers at 30? Corey Linsley's contract is up after the '20 season, the Pack will be short on cap space, plus Ruiz actually played guard his freshman year at UM. A line of Bakh-Jenkins-Linsley-Ruiz-Wagner, with Billy Turner and Lucas Patrick off the bench, creates all sorts of possibilities and builds in protection at C.

I wouldn't say you're crazy but I do think it's unlikely. It has been decades since the Packers used a first-round pick on a guard. If they go offensive line at No. 30, I expect it would be a college tackle. Even if they drafted Ruiz, I highly doubt he'd start in Year 1 – especially with an abbreviated offseason program. Don't forget the Packers still have Lane Taylor, too.

Sharon from Arbor Vitae, WI

Yesterday someone put forth the idea of having three TV announcers for football games with two of them being homers. I would prefer to have two former players, one who played defense and the other offense. This got me thinking, have any defensive players worked in national TV booths? Everyone I recall was an offensive player, and most of them quarterbacks.

I don't know, but I'll use this question to say I'd gladly take PTO for a game day to listen to a three-man booth of Larry McCarren, Wayne Larrivee and Corey Behnke.

Randy from Grapevine, TX

I loved the movie "Draft Day" and Kevin Costner's portrayal of a GM. Can you imagine a new "Draft Day" movie around this year's draft and COVID-19? ZOOM meetings, Wi-Fi issues, etc. Could be an interesting storyline!

And yet Jennifer Garner would still insist on stealing two of your scouting interns for salary-cap troubleshooting.

Tony from River Falls, WI

Wes, great work on your article about Kenny Clark and his offseason routine! In your opinion, which NFL team needs a uniform and/or logo update?

The Jets.

Tony from Bronxville, NY

Will the Packers use your Prospect Primers in the draft room if they need to break a tie?

Obviously.

Spencer from Rockford, IL

With the possibility of electronic strike zones coming, who do players and coaches argue with if they disagree with a call made?

Johnny 5?

Craig from Laramie, WY

Will the electronic strike zone be a laser-beam field that incinerates the baseball into a puff of smoke if the pitch is a strike? That would be dramatically cool and clearly decisive as a strike.

You'd need a lot of balls.

Phil from Marietta, GA

Isn't "Bang the Drum Slowly" exactly what got the Houston Astros into such big trouble?

I can see it now – "30 for 30 Present: Bang the Garbage Can Slowly."

Josh from Denver, CO

The downside about going to the Ice Bowl is that you are then legally required to mention you were there immediately before telling people to sit down.

Or listed at the bottom of your business card.

Jim from Menomonee Falls, WI

Hi II! When reading "Hi II," I pronounce it as "Hi 2" in my mind. So I feel compelled to say "Gesundheit" immediately afterward. This timeout we're all on is getting to me...

It's getting to all of us but tomorrow is another day.

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