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Inbox: Winning games is way more important

Leadership first and foremost is owed to the team as a whole

QB Aaron Rodgers

Michael from Eden Prairie, MN

If I submit the same question day after day, will you eventually answer it or will I be banned?

As Week No. 9 of working from home begins, your guess is as good as mine.

Gary from Oregon

Continuity being key in a short offseason, which FA will need to get up to speed the fastest?

Because Christian Kirksey already has experience playing for Pettine, I'm going to say Devin Funchess getting on the same page with Aaron Rodgers quickly would provide the biggest benefit.

Curt from Algonquin, IL

We all have Pro Bowl expectations for Davante Adams, and it seems Funchess was brought in to shore up the No. 2 WR slot, so most of the discussions I've seen rotate around whether Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jake Kumerow or Equanimeous St. Brown will be the one to step up and make a splash. Based on what you've seen on the field and off, who's your front-runner, and what gives them the best chance to advance their career? At the other end of that, is it realistic for the Packers to carry six WRs, or will one of them be cut?

I don't think Funchess being the No. 2 is a given. While I think Funchess and Lazard are the favorites to be 2-3 in some order, I see the pecking order from 2-6 as rather wide open. If six ends up being the number of keepers, guys like Reggie Begelton and Darrius Shepherd can't be totally discounted.

Bill from Maple Grove, MN

I don't get all this talk about WR2 or WR3. I assumed that each receiver ran his route and the QB hit whoever was open.

But not every formation has three receivers on the field.

Gary from Manassas, VA

Is Aaron Jones the workhorse we need him to be?

I don't think the Packers need him to be a workhorse.

Wes from South St. Paul, MN

Mike/Wes, no question just a comment. Favre's statement "Aaron Rodgers' job is not to mentor Jordan Love" is a clear indication that he does understand the true meaning of leadership. Every veteran has a responsibility to mentor the newcomers and every leader is called to make sure he/she develops someone to take their place sometime in the future. I think AR will step up.

I actually think Favre stated all this very well in his most recent interview. Rodgers' priority is to prepare himself to win games, and his leadership first and foremost is owed to the team as a whole, not to an understudy. If Jordan Love asks questions, Rodgers will answer. If Love wants to watch film together, I'd expect Rodgers to oblige if his schedule permits. But the responsibility to learn is on Love. Favre's point is that it's not Rodgers' responsibility to make sure Love learns everything, because there's no way anyone with his endless knowledge can focus on that and still win games. There's not enough time in the day. Preparing to play and leading the team are higher priorities than mentoring anybody. Love can learn a heck of a lot simply by observing how he carries out those higher priorities.

Jarrod from New Berlin, WI

Yes, I know the second and fifth game, but can you give the Milwaukee gold package a non-night game? I'd like to get home before 4 a.m. for one of them. Has the team thought of any alternative policies?

Years ago, Bob Harlan used to request the league make the second and fifth home games not night games for the Milwaukee fans. Somewhere along the line I think the league ceased to grant that request.

Collin from Kirkwood, MO

Great article on the daunting stretch for the Packers coming out of their bye. Of course the goal is win every game, but with a stretch like that, two wins feels like a steal. Where it gets more ridiculous is the opening road games at Minnesota and at New Orleans, overshadowed by the four-game stretch out of the bye. Is there a team even close to this difficult of a schedule in the first half of the season?

I haven't looked much at other team's schedules. I will say I don't recall in my time here ever seeing a first half slate this loaded.

George from Olympia, WA

Who do you think will be our hardest opponent this year on our schedule?

Amidst a very tough overall schedule, I think the one opponent that's getting overlooked a bit is Philadelphia. The Eagles beat the Packers in primetime last year at Lambeau, they're coming back as defending NFC East champs, and the game is sandwiched between two division games.

Chuck from Gold Canyon, AZ

Of course we have to get to that point, but knowing ML's affinity for joint practices, which of our preseason games would be more logical to host another team? I would think Arizona but he might not want to host a conference opponent. In your opinion, regarding the new CBA reducing the preseason to three games, do you think joint practices will become more prevalent across the league?

I think they will over time, but given circumstances and all the uncertainty this year, I wouldn't be surprised if those joint ventures are put on hold temporarily.

Aaron from Brooklyn, NY

Mike mentioned on "Unscripted" that home teams hosting far-traveling teams on Thursday have a huge advantage. I looked through the schedule for every year since the full-season TNF series began in 2012 and there's been exactly one instance of a team winning a road game where they had to travel two or more time zones. In 2018, the Chargers beat the Chiefs by one point on the road on a Thursday night in December.

And they had to come back from 14 down midway through the fourth quarter and convert a fourth down on each of their two TD drives down the stretch. It was practically a miracle.

Alan from Sheboygan, WI

You guys talked about short weeks and traveling cross-country on those short weeks. Imagine being the Patriots this year. Week 12 at Chargers, 3:25p.m. and then Week 13 at Rams, 7:20 p.m. on Thursday. I don't envy them.

I would guess they'll spend the intervening three days in L.A. and not travel back and forth.

Eric from Reedsburg, WI

Happy Mothers Day! I hope you guys took care of the mothers in your life yesterday.

I had a nice chat with my mom on the phone, and my wife had a very relaxing day, until the family game of Mario Kart frustrated her to no end.

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares more of his 2019 favorites.

Patrick from Gulf Breeze, FL

I understand some people may just go to the picture gallery, but I truly hope most read the elegant deconstruction of the photos by Evan Siegle. In today's age, it's very easy to see a picture and not think twice. The way he breaks down the how and why of the photo, it's well worth the read. Thanks for posting!

I know absolutely nothing about photography, so I find Evan’s weekly descriptions/explanations incredibly enlightening.

Tony from Marquette, MI

What's your thoughts on records for division opponents in 2020?

I expect the Packers and Vikings to be the top two teams in the NFC North and battle all season for the division title.

Andrew from Green Bay, WI

Will the Packers keep three quarterbacks this year?

I suspect so, yes.

Matthias from San Antonio, TX

I forgot about Tyler Ervin  being re-signed. He reminds me a little of what we had with Randall Cobb, a versatile slot machine that can produce anywhere, from backfield to fly sweeps to quick routes in the flat. Does Ervin make this team as that guy or as a bona-fide running back?

To me, he's a return man on special teams first and also the gadget player on offense you describe, however it's labeled.

Dan from Allen, TX

Wes, is that 91 jersey behind you Preston Smith or Brian Noble? Also, love how you guys switched sides.

I can answer this one for him because I asked him myself a while back. It's actually Jayrone Elliott.

Paul from Los Angeles, CA

I would like to make a prediction about this season. Assuming there will not be fans in the stadiums, there will be far less parity due to a diminished advantage of home field. Without crowd noise the better teams will be better on the road and thus have more wins.

You may be right, and we may find out. But I really don't know.

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

Every year's schedule includes the possibility of a road win that really makes a statement. A win that is not just important from the perspective of the standings, but one which identifies the team as a true title contender. This year's candidates seemingly would be Week 1 against the Vikes and the games against the Saints and 49ers, with the darkhorse being Tampa Bay. If you could only win one of those, which would you choose?

I'm a pragmatist, so I'll always pick the game that means the most in the standings, Minnesota. Regarding other considerations, I think the most gratifying would be New Orleans because Rodgers has never won in that building, and the biggest boost to the team's psyche would be San Francisco.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

Looking at the Packers' schedule and thinking it may not be realistic to sweep the division again, I focused on four key challenges. To make the postseason, I believe the Packers will need to at least split the following four games. Those four games are at Minnesota, at New Orleans, at Tampa Bay and at San Francisco. I do think the Packers can earn at least a split in those four games.

I'd take a 4-4 road split anytime I can get it in this league, and if the Packers can split those four, I like their chances of finishing with at least four road wins.

Mike from Austin, TX

I'm sure the Inbox will be flooded about "Thunder, lightning…and maybe heavy rain?" I think that Weston may have missed the boat (pun intended) with that one. Let's go with "deluge" for Mr. Williams. Might thee ordain this as so, Rev. Spoff?

I'm not worthy.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

OK, Dr. Spofford, on Oct. 18, our Packers of Green Bay, Wis. will be playing the Buccaneers of Tampa, Fla., ONLY 40 minutes from my home. Will I be sitting with my wife inside the stadium between a drunk guy with a Mike Alstott creamsicle jersey and a younger guy sporting a brand new Brady jersey? Or will I be home watching the game in an empty stadium?

I don't know, but I love the Alstott creamsicle jersey visual.

Bob from Rome, NY

Gentlemen, I was surprised to see divisional games so early in the season with the start date of the season in jeopardy. I have read that the start of the season could be pushed back to Oct. 25. Have you heard anything about contingency schedules?

I have heard nothing, and everyone is asking. All I know is teams share their bye with their Week 2 opponent, and no division games were scheduled in Weeks 3-4, with every team having one home and one away game those weeks. Based on that, one contingency I could see being in play would be to drop Weeks 3-4, move Week 2 to the bye, move Week 1 to the end of the season, and a 14-game slate starts in Week 5 with no byes and contains the least amount of disruption to what's been laid out. But that's just me spiff-balling.

Ken from Milledgeville, TN

Hi guys, really enjoying your dedicated work on II. Any idea when/if there will be a stockholders meeting this year?

Weather forced it to be conducted virtually just a couple of years ago, so such a setup would not be unprecedented. But I have not been informed of any plans being discussed.

Dan from Nolalu, Ontario

Whoa, John from Madison! The CFL field is 110 yards long, not 80. It is also 65 yards wide, not 53 and 1/3 like the NFL.

It's astonishing how many readers whiffed on that reference. How soon we forget.

Matt from Fort Worth, TX

Building off of Mike from Mount Prospect's question, which position group do you think has the most fun in their meetings? I'm thinking RBs mainly due to the presence of Williams.

Judging by the shenanigans I've seen in the locker room, I would guess the DBs. The thickest skin would be required in the OL room.

Rich from De Pere, WI

Why hasn't A-Rod come out with some kind of statement regarding Love and his receivers? The longer he remains silent, the more people think he is angry about the Love selection. The longer he goes without showing his receivers that he has their back, the more they must wonder if he really trusts them to take that next step. Why do you think he has been silent on this?

Probably because he can't win. If he responds right away and doesn't feed the primary national narrative, his authenticity and genuineness will be questioned. If he says anything that can be construed as even slightly disparaging of the decision, which would be somewhat natural and human in my book, he'll be painted as a malcontent. We don't know what he said to Gutekunst, LaFleur and Love when he talked with them. We also don't know if he's communicated with his receivers. I'm certain whenever he discusses the issues publicly, I'll be writing about his thoughts. But as I mentioned previously, in the bigger picture I'll be more focused on how he plays than anything he says. Winning games is way more important than winning press conferences. Always has been.

Woody from Kill Devil Hills, NC

Spoff, as an alternative to watching a game at home with your dad, is there a possibility of "bring your dad to work" day? As a special occasion, could you have a guest with you in the press box, say once a decade? That would be truly awesome.

It would be, but no way I could keep him from cheering. He'd get us both kicked out.

Kelly from Kimballton, IA


Thanks, Colonel. Happy Monday.


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