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Inbox: You aim to galvanize the wheel, not reinvent it

The best players find greatness in the hidden layers of the onion

WR Christian Watson
WR Christian Watson

Tim from Collinsville, VA

Packers fan since SB1 and just enjoyed first trip to Green Bay over the weekend. Been fortunate to see Packers play in Charlotte several times through the years. My stadium tour and Packers Hall of Fame visit are things I'll never forget. Just a special place and franchise. I read II every day at lunch but never submitted. Thanks for all you guys do for us. GPG.

I appreciate all our readers, especially those who fill our column with their daily submissions. But comments like Tim's are my favorite. Whether you ask 1,000 questions or none, thank you for making us a part of your day. Good morning!

Ed from Windsor, CO

Only 13 more weeks, roughly.

But who's counting?

Mike from Baraboo, WI

Should we expect a dramatic change in offense this year or will it be similar to the offense that No. 12 led?

The process is the process. The system is the system. The offense is the offense. You can use whatever cliché you want, but never forget: You aim to galvanize the wheel, not reinvent it.

Al from Green Bay, WI

I enjoyed the article on Preston Smith. While not as flashy as Z was, or Rashan Gary is, he's the epitome of consistency. Is Preston among the more underrated players on this Packers’ D?

He's a pillar of consistency and durability at a position where it's not easy to achieve either, let alone both. Smith is also a consummate professional. He's never worn a captain's patch for the Packers, but he is one of the silent leaders in that locker room. A lot of folks, myself included, wrote how Preston stepped up his leadership when Za'Darius Smith missed most of the 2021 season. I don't think that was case. Preston has been a leader since he first signed here in 2019. We, the onlookers, just didn't notice right away.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

You've had an opportunity to talk to and ask questions of the rookies. What words would you use to describe the 2023 rookie class (e.g. humble but driven, hyper-focused, etc.). They seem to be high-character players that follow the mold of Brian Gutekunst and his predecessors of finding Packer people. Thank you.

I need only one: Prototypical.

Kerry from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Just a reminder, Anders Carlson rarely kicked in front of crowds of fewer than 80,000. During road games against Alabama, Georgia, LSU, and Texas A&M, it was closer to 100,000.

Carlson has been there, done that and seen it all at the college level. The pro game is undeniably different. The operation speeds up in the NFL but I'm not worried about the mental side of the game for Carlson. He has the tools; just needs to consistently put the K-ball between the uprights.

Bob from Forest Junction, WI

TK from Grafton asked about the D-linemen struggles from college to the NFL. Mike answered that it was mostly technique that is the difference-maker as strength advantages are neutralized. Why is it that the better technique is taught in the NFL? Why wouldn't colleges get the same quality coaches? It seems to me that if a college program wants to win, all they'd have to do is get NFL-caliber coaches, right?

It's not what coaches don't teach at the college level – it's what players can get away with and still win their assignment. At the NFL, every rep won is based on fundamentals. When I was at the Press-Gazette, an NFL scout was giving his opinion to Pete Dougherty on a defensive line prospect. His analysis boiled down to this – if the player can continue to jump the snap at the next level, he could be special. But if he doesn't win in that split-second off the line of scrimmage, he might bust. The latter proved to be true. The D-lineman couldn't beat the cadence or get a jump on the offensive lineman across from him, and his entire game was neutralized. This is a complicated sport with a million variables. The best players find greatness in the hidden layers of the onion.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Every year there seems to be a position which we, the unfettered masses, clamor the front office must address, or face calamitous consequences; this year that slot being held by the safety position. There was no splash free agent signing or high draft pick optioned to heal the roster gash and the results are still pending. Do you recall a season where the fans' cacophony did not result in a glamorous fill, yet the resulting season didn't bring disaster at that position?

2013…when Steven Jackson signed with the Atlanta Falcons and the Packers drafted Eddie Lacy. Jackson rushed for 543 yards (3.5 yards per carry) in 12 games, while Lacy won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Sometimes the best move is the move you don't make.

John from Livermore, CA

Hey, two-part question this week, First, what are your expectations for training camp? Second, when was the last time you walked the stadium not as correspondent but as a fan?

I've covered every Packers home game since 2010, beginning with two years as a postgame quote-taker for the PR staff. Prior to that, a couple buddies and I helped shovel Lambeau as kind of a gag. That was the hardest I've ever worked for $16.

Ross from Summerville, SC

Gents, Zach Tom always seemed to look undersized to me for an NFL tackle. Has he put on more mass and muscle in the offseason? Thanks for all you do.

I didn't have an opportunity to speak with Tom this offseason, but what you outlined is what I perceived during the five OTA/minicamp practices I watched. Tom doesn't look drastically different, but he is noticeably thicker/firmer.

The Green Bay Packers hosted dozens of NFL FLAG football teams around the Lambeau Field footprint on June 16-17 for the NFL FLAG Regional Tournament.

Chas from Modena, WI

Which of the open practices other than Family Night are the most interesting to attend?

Padded practices are the best, though I'm not sure when those start anymore now that there's a "ramp-up" period to training camp. Based on how this year's schedule looks, the two practices with New England are probably the best to attend. You not only get to see a future Pro Football Hall of Fame coach in his element but there's also a different tempo, pace and focus during those joint practices.

Scott from Palos Park, IL

There has been a lot written about the lack of depth on the interior DL going into training camp and many articles calling for the Packers to sign some veteran experience (which they might do if the price is right). However, last year the Packers gave up more yards per rush attempt than all but four other teams. Does this lack of success influence the team's willingness to go with new faces or have the stars just not yet aligned on a FA signee?

The Packers' cap situation was limiting, but honestly, I think the time was right to try something new. The Packers have invested a number of draft resources into this defensive line (two first-round picks, and a fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh). Let's see what these young guys can do together.

Ted from Amherst, NY

Are there scenarios where it makes sense for the Packers to bring Marcedes Lewis back? I know it's a young man's game and a game of replacement, but I'd sure like to see him back.

I will not answer another 'Cedes question…I will not answer another 'Cedes question…I will not answer…

Joe from Greenwood, MO

I have noticed David Bakhtiari is the oldest player on the roster. Do you think the Packers will add any more veterans to the team?

Insert "The lord is testing me" meme here.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Lots of discussion lately about our great quarterback play over the past 30 years. We have also had amazing consistency with kickers as well over that time frame. It seems like between Chris Jacke, Ryan Longwell, and Mason Crosby we have had close to 30 years of consistent to great kicking also. Do you recall any organization having such consistency at both positions for such a sustained period of time from so few players?

The Packers had a great run with Jacke, Longwell, and Crosby, but they weren't alone. Baltimore had a little hiccup between Matt Stover and Justin Tucker but otherwise there hasn't been much movement with the Ravens. You know which organization has had an underrated run of kickers? The Detroit Lions. Aside from one down 2013 season with David Akers, the Lions rode with Jason Hanson and Matt Prater for 28 seasons.

Mitch from Iron River, WI

Hey guys! As a frequent traveler from northern to SE Wisconsin, Lambeau Field usually makes for a perfect pit stop along the way. I like to stop and stretch my legs, walk a lap around the stadium, check out the Pro Shop, the Hall of Fame, and 1919 whenever I pass through GB. My favorite by far was the glimpse of the world championship years by the scoreboard. With the new expanded scoreboards, I see that those will no longer be there. Any idea if/where they might be displayed now?

I haven't heard what the plans are yet, but I'm confident the 13 championships will be acknowledged somewhere inside the Lambeau Field bowl.

Matt from Fitchburg, WI

I've heard a lot of people get on Rodgers' case about taking the clock down too far and wasting timeouts, but I never saw it as a problem. I can't remember it really costing them a game that often, and generally it benefited the offense in a lot of scenarios. I remember reading a Brian Urlacher interview where he was discussing Rodgers running the play clock down. Urlacher said it didn't allow the defense time to adjust again. I'd bet letting the clock go down benefited more than hampered.

It was a regular talking point over the past 10 years, but, like I've said before, that was part of Rodgers' greatness. There's risk and reward to every pre-snap decision. Green Bay's offensive line also was always keenly aware of its responsibility to QB1. Everyone was on the same page.

Samuel from Skokie, IL

On "Unscripted," both of you talked about Jordan Love having a gunslinger mentality. Wes correctly said it needs to be curtailed. Brett Favre was known that way and has the record for interceptions. AR has maybe the lowest touchdown-to-interception ratio. I think a large part of AR throwing so few interceptions was his willingness to give up on a play and throw the ball out of bounds. Favre wouldn't give up and forced the ball into coverage. Who do you think will JL be more like?

Favre would have to make an adjustment in today's NFL – and he would have. You just can't throw 25 interceptions anymore. There's too much leaguewide emphasis on taking care of the football. The statistics bear that out. Love studied under one of the best to ever do it for three years and I think that experience will reflect in his play this year. All I'm saying is Love will probably take a few more chances with the ball than AR12 did.

Ben from Madison, WI

Mike, I know there is no math in the Inbox, but speed is easy to calculate – distance divided by time. If you want to approximate how fast the fourth-and-10 throw vs. Atlanta was, just rewatch the play and figure out how far the ball traveled and how long it took to get there. The rest is elementary.

Are you sure your name isn't Sherlock from London?

Helen from Hot Springs Village, AR

Please share a few memories: Over 50 years ago, we lived in De Pere and went to Family Night games, $2 back then, met players in stores and while walking. Last year we walked, too "mature" to run now, and did the Green Bay 5K, notice we live in AR now. I would encourage others to go to Family Night and the 5K with your family. It was something we won't soon forget. Thank you II for all of us who don't live in WI anymore.

There is a two-week gap between the two events, but I'd encourage any Packers fan to enjoy both Family Night and the Packers 5K at least once in their lifetime. The Packers 5K has become a personal tradition for me. It's my final – and favorite – run of the year.

Steev from Ellison Bay, WI

I took my 5-year-old granddaughter to the pool Saturday. I was wearing my season-ticket holder long-sleeve shirt for sun protection (highly recommend it). She exclaimed at the top of her lungs, "Grandpa, I love your Packerness!" After almost 69 years, I thought I had heard it all, guess not. Something to work on in the slow time.

Daily reminder that children are indeed the best of us.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Wes, it's obvious you and Spoff are good, loving fathers, and I hope you had a great Father's Day in the Dells with Young Hod and your wife. Just curious, do you guys have any furry creatures that also think of you as dad? Asking for a dachshund friend.

We have two pets – Kevin and Joan. Kevin is a 9-year-old Great Dane/border collie mix. Joan is – you know, I guess, I don't know what she is. She's just our cat.

Tom from Wiesbaden, Germany

Being the father of the bride is a tough job; tougher when your daughter is married in Heinz Chapel! In my rehearsal dinner speech, I mentioned this marriage seemed to be a good fit – paper mills, steel mills, Green and Gold, Black and Gold, many NFL championships, a few championships. As the visiting team, I think I held up well. I would like to give a military salute to the GM and the Packer organization for the way they handled the AR trade and getting the NFL Draft to GB. Go Pack Go!

That's a beautiful story, Tom. This past weekend, I enjoyed my first Door County wedding. Our wonderful UX coordinator, Jennifer Brien, married the love of her life (and avid "Top Gun" fan), Tanner Ward, on Saturday. It was a beautiful evening wedding on the shore of the peninsula.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Insider Inbox, a blessing, or a curse? Every week, six days a week, Inbox keeps Packer fans connected with their team and provides fresh content for the website. But every week, six days a week, Inbox requires your time and attention no matter how tired or distracted you might be. Thanks II, and thanks Mike and Wes.

Appreciate you, Dean. Again, we will be posting our Outsider Inbox questions next Wednesday but I want to get in front of this thing. Instead of an open field, I'd like to use a final-four format for determining finalists for Inbox MVP next week. So, for the remainder of the week – through midnight CT on Saturday – I'd like people to submit a vote for any commentor (e.g. Mike from Platteville). You don't need to provide an explanation; simply a name will do. It would help me greatly in determining which four Inboxers will be included next Wednesday. Have a great Tuesday.

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