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Inbox: Wouldn't that be something?

Opportunity abounds

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Green Bay Packers' Randall Cobb runs back a kick off for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 42-34.

Tory from Milwaukee, WI

Morning! If you were born and raised in "Packerland" the first time you learn soda is called pop is when reading "The Outsiders" for English class.

Wait, what? Even Sodapop Curtis is confused now.

Ryan from Waverly, IA

Opening day against the Saints. Amari Rodgers returns a kickoff for a touchdown, doesn't he?

Why not? Wouldn't that be something? The Week 1 teaser is out there and the rest is coming later today. Stay tuned everybody.

Al from Green Bay, WI

I just counted the number of players on the Packers' roster. Including the nine draft choices, it's that number that shall not be spoken or written. With only two open slots, there will certainly be more shuffling before training camp opens. There are currently only two QBs and one punter. As players are added, which position might have to thin out a bit?

There are two punters (JK Scott and Ryan Winslow). Inevitably after OTAs the team will move on from some young players and bring in others to give them a look during camp. But other than signing a third (or fourth) QB, I don't see the potential movement being based on positions as much as the evaluation of individual players.

David from Oak Hills, CA

Every year there is excitement coming out of the draft with every fan base that it will produce all-pro starters and impact players. The excitement level for Amari Rodgers is off the charts with Packers Nation. Is this setting the bar too high early? Go to other teams' sites and they're saying the same thing. That they have the "first-round steal," the "late-round gem" or the undrafted rookie that everyone wanted. Realistically how many of our draft picks can we expect to see come September?

Well, it's reasonable to assume Eric Stokes and Rodgers immediately reside in the top four on the depth chart at positions that regularly have 3-4 players on the field at once, so I expect to see them plenty. The rest is more dependent on how competitions shake out. Josh Myers will battle for an open starting spot on the offensive line. There's playing time to be had on the defensive line for T.J. Slaton. Kylin Hill will be in the mix for the No. 3 running back job. Shemar Jean-Charles and Isaiah McDuffie look like potentially instant special-teamers. I know that doesn't touch on the whole class, but my point is opportunity abounds. It's what they do with it from here.

Christopher from Frederick, MD

Great story on McDuffie, as per usual. Is it wrong that although the MLB group consists mainly of two second-year players (an undrafted free agent and a fifth-round pick) and a rookie sixth-rounder, I actually feel really good about it?

There's reason to feel good about the potential development at the position. That much youth carries both risk and promise. Speaking of follow-up stories on the draft picks, if you haven't seen Wes's on Amari Rodgers, be sure to check it out.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

I may be jumping the gun (I apologize) but after reading the travel questions – for this upcoming season, you guys will be traveling again, right? Also, will Facebook Live a little before the game resume? I really missed those (and the everyday "Unscripteds") last year.

We're in wait-and-see mode and decisions will be made in due time. I hope we can resume the live hits before games, so fingers crossed. I don't anticipate "Unscripted" being every day again, though, not because of the pandemic but due to the demands on our video production department, which have increased substantially over the past couple of years.

John from Dallas, TX

How much of a difference do you think having a third- or fourth-place schedule makes? I just saw a Patriots fan commenting that the Pats will easily have a better record in 2021 with a third-place schedule. Who's gonna tell him that means they play the Browns and the Chargers? And good luck to the Eagles and Falcons whose reward for last place is the 49ers.

First, it's only a difference of three games on a 17-game schedule, which isn't nothing, but that's less than a game per month that varies from any team's division foes. Second, "it's not whom you play but when you play 'em" is certainly a cliché, but it's a cliché because it's true.

Hannes from Milwaukee, WI

Wes/Mike, I try not to let the Aaron Rodgers saga get to me until we hear from him or the team on the decision that's been made. However, I was wondering when the iPads are handed out. I figure a lot of what's on those depends on the presence of the MVP-caliber quarterback, or lack thereof. Have Matt LaFleur and Nathaniel Hackett been thrust into a situation of having to rewrite large swaths of the playbook for contingency?

No. There may be variations on certain concepts that have been implemented because of how Rodgers has run them or things he's done, but there aren't entire sections of the playbook that would read like some kind of foreign language to other QBs.

Matty from Durango, CO

Insiders, there is an amazing preponderance of Matts contributing questions to II yet few Green Bay players with that moniker. Matt Flynn hardly counts and Clay Matthews is cheating. Are Matts doomed to be on the sideline, and if so will we see a drop-off in newborn Matts in the future?

You usurped the first name of the head coach after 26 years (out of 27) of Mikes. That has to count for something.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Hi Mike, Davante Adams came out in support of AR. Are we in danger of losing both guys? Adams admitted as much, saying it may make him think more about his future.

Adams said exactly what everyone should have expected him to say. He's standing by his guy, and the end result here could impact the thought process about his future. Both natural, reasonable stances to take.

Caroline from La Crosse, WI

I'm not going to lose sleep over the Aaron Rodgers' saga, but as a fan I just want to say my piece. I've always appreciated his football acumen while not always understanding the person. As stated by many, Aaron is measured and thoughtful in his speech and knows exactly what he is saying or not saying, to whom, into what circumstance and the precise ramifications it will have. Thus, I am disgusted with his passive-aggressive behavior and attempts to control the Packers organization and fans.

It's perfectly understandable you feel that way, and you're not alone. I'll just say neither side is blameless here, and hopefully in time things will work out and make this a long-forgotten footnote.

Curt from Algonquin, IL

Mark Tauscher caught a touchdown pass on a tackle-eligible play in 2005, but it was nullified by a holding call; on Bubba Franks, if I recall correctly.

Christmas Day, in fact, but the penalty was actually on Grey Ruegamer (sorry Grey).

Take a look at the opponents and key players the Packers will be facing during the 2021 NFL season.

John from Dousman, WI

In your response to Steven from Silver Spring, MD, you mention Josiah Deguara, Lovett and Dominique Dafney "all playing the pseudo-H-back role," but no mention of Jace Sternberger. Is this just an oversight? I had to look up the roster to make sure he was still on the team. I know the Packers were very high on him when they drafted him. Seems like he's become somewhat forgotten in the TE group.

We'll find out. I think it's fair to say Sternberger didn't fully take advantage of his chance last year after Deguara went down, and then his own health setbacks led to Dafney's opportunity. But nobody is giving up on Sternberger. There's a lot of athletic talent there, and it's worth remembering he was a major-college starter for only one year.

Blaine from Fennimore, WI

Of all the NFC North rival draft picks, who are you least excited to see play against the Packers for years to come?

Probably Justin Fields if he becomes what the Bears hope he can be. Otherwise, maybe Kellen Mond. That's a really intriguing QB pick by the Vikings. The linemen picked by the division opponents (Sewell, Darrisaw, Jenkins) are really the other big names, but those aren't thought of in the same way as other twice-yearly challenges.

Jack from Black Mountain, NC

With Green Bay being a very small market for a professional team by any definition, is there any behind-the-scenes pressure from the NFL to change the ownership structure of the Packers and move them to a larger market?

Forbes just ranked the Packers the 31st most valuable sports franchise in the world, and the 14th most valuable in the 32-team NFL. While I question some of the NFL teams ranked ahead of Green Bay, I still believe the answer to your question would be a hard no.

Bob from Cortez, CO

The evolution of the quarterback position has gone hand-in-hand with rule changes to protect what has become an incredibly expensive investment. Are we witnessing the end of this progression? Can we expect to see schemes that use lower-cost quarterbacks that can more easily be replaced and therefore participate in riskier plays?

Ha, I seriously doubt it.

Benjamin from Evergreen Park, IL

With Amari Rodgers, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon and some fierce trapping and pulling by our guards, do you see coach LaFleur breaking out the Delaware Wing-T package? Or does the three-tech DT blow that up every time?

Serenity now.

Randy from Westminster, CO

Lots of emails about roster spots and too many players in certain positions. But it's pretty much a given that injuries always contribute in making a lot of decisions in those areas for the team don't you think?

Unfortunately, that's always a factor. I'm glad we've returned some sanity to the proceedings.

Bruce from Jackson, WI

Hi II! Forget the players' offseason work schedule Wes; I'm more interested in what you and Mike are doing to start prepping for the regular season. Do you hold spelling bees? Maybe have flash cards with the new players' and coaches' names/pics and practice their pronunciations? If yes, do you test each other or do you both have interns to handle this? We all know you hold the inner workings of the II secret to maintain your competitive advantage, but share with us how you capture such insights!

Spoke too soon.

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, UK

Versatility among offensive linemen seems to be a common trait these days. Who in your humble opinions would you rate as the Packers' most versatile of all time? I would pick Karl Swanke when he had to play center due to injuries.

Limiting the scope to players I've seen play, Elgton Jenkins is on his way to earning the distinction. But the one who always comes to mind for me is Mike Flanagan. When he bounced from center out to left tackle to take over for Chad Clifton in 2002 and the offense barely skipped a beat, I was duly impressed.

Brian from Rochester, NY

From a roster-building standpoint, I think the biggest thing BG has done during his tenure is continued to add competition to already proven position groups. This has and will continue to give these players the time to develop. This and avoiding major holes on the roster also keeps the organization in favorable positions when having to make roster cuts/salary-cap decisions. The only outlier I can think of is Darnell Savage.

It's not a foolproof process, but more often than not, the less a team has to rely on rookies to play major roles, the more consistently it can remain a contender.

Chase from Minnesota City, MN

II needs someone to start drawing weekly comics. Seriously, a cartoon Wes throwing a baseball at a dart board is gold. Spoff yelling "Wes!!!" as the radio blurts out "Per my sources...," the lunch box, Vic in the press box with his terrible towel, investigator Cliff, and I could go on. If I could only convert the caricatures in my head to paper!

If we aren't at least mildly entertaining, and I use the phrase loosely, we're doing it wrong.

Steve from Eau Claire, WI

Hi guys, since my doctor has put me on a strict diet I don't say pop or soda anymore. I say water, it's better for you and very refreshing.

Happy Wednesday.

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