Skip to main content
Powered by

Inbox: You can plug a lot of holes with versatility

One-on-one drills are a proving ground in training camp

S Darnell Savage
S Darnell Savage

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, what is the verdict on the Insider Outbox?

It's happening. We WILL be posting another Insider Outbox column (or is it Outsider Inbox?) It'll run in two parts on Wednesday and Thursday. The questions are posted at the end of today's Inbox. Out of respect to Spoff penning Wednesday's column with the usual Q&A format, please do not answer my questions until after his Inbox posts Wednesday morning. If you answer before then, your response will NOT be posted. Good morning!

Ken from River Falls, WI

If Matt LaFleur wants the running backs to catch more passes (like some other teams), which defensive player would most likely be responsible for coverage? It seems to me that trying to teach the options for coverage creates a defensive coach's nightmare.

That's the idea. The more a skill-position player can do, the more an offensive coordinator can throw at a defense. It's also what makes coverage linebackers and hybrid safeties so valuable to D-coordinators. You can plug a lot of holes with versatility.

Carroll from Madison, WI

Will Mike Pettine use Darnell Savage as a blitzer more than he was used in that role at Maryland? Seems like doing so would fit both Pettine's "multiple" approach to blitzing and Savage's skillset.

This is the perfect example of a player with positional flexibility who could contribute at multiple levels of the defense. As much as it's been widely publicized how Savage has been playing alongside Adrian Amos, this is a defensive back who could also slide into the slot or play box safety. Time will tell how Savage is incorporated into blitz packages, but Pettine has proven he'll send anyone from anywhere to pressure the QB.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

A couple years ago I had visions of Ty Montgomery becoming the next Roger Craig. But sadly, that didn't happen as the offense wasn't modified to utilize his exceptional talents and he's no longer in Green Bay. That has all changed with Matt LaFleur at the helm. Running backs are now back in the passing game. So which of these three running backs will become the next Roger Craig? Aaron Jones , Jamaal Williams or Dexter Williams?

I'm not projecting the second coming of Craig, but I believe the threat LaFleur's offense presents to defenses will make Jones and Jamaal Williams even more dynamic out of the backfield. Dexter Williams has a history running in an outside-zone scheme, but I don't know enough about his pass-catching abilities to know how he'll fare in that regard.

Visitors enjoyed the free exhibit with activities, photo sessions, and interactive games. The traveling exhibit will stay at Summerfest until July 7.

Mike from Holton, MI

Will the Packers' defense be in the top 10 in the league this year?

I couldn't care less about whether the Packers have a top 10 defense, statistically. What I want to know is can you get a stop with the game on the line and less than two minutes on the clock?

Andy from Verona, WI

Who would be on your "Character Mount Rushmore," where character refers to jokester, prankster, funny story-teller, etc.?

LeRoy Butler, Tramon Williams, T.J. Lang and Tim Boyle.

Dave from Germantown, TN

When the Packers practice in preseason do they test players? For example, do they put different DBs on Davante Adams or put edge rushers up against David Bakhtiari as part of an evaluation process? In either case, the ones who can win their one-on-one battle are probably worth keeping.

Absolutely. One-on-one drills are a proving ground in training camp. I thought Kyler Fackrell's win against David Bakhtiari last summer was an important moment for his development and a precursor to his breakout. It's no different than how well Bakhtiari performed years ago against Clay Matthews and other veteran rushers. Adams' respect and admiration for Jaire Alexander's game started with those two going against each other every day in practice.

Jim from Eau Claire, WI

I think Mike Tyson has to make our 53-man roster. That way if a fight breaks out during a game we have a huge advantage.

I knew it wasn't going to take long for you guys to latch onto that one. Beyond his name, Tyson actually has some real NFL special-teams experience. He played 10 games for Houston last year. He'll have a chance to compete for a reserve spot in the secondary this summer.

Bill from Kronenwetter, WI

Hey Wes, I know you got some push back on needing 23 interceptions now to equal Lane. I got the same answer when set up as a ratio, but as average interceptions per game, it's closer to 19 total for 16 games. My old stats professor warned me you can make stats give you the answer you want. Something to keep in mind when all the new baseball stats tell you who the better player is. Great work. Look forward to the season. Thanks.

I would argue the quality of quarterback play in 2019 negates whatever perceived inflation an expanded schedule has created.

Jake from Atlanta, GA

How do you feel about the argument that, if you're never getting called for a penalty, you're playing too conservatively?

It's naïve and shortsighted. You don't need to be a dink-and-dunk passer to have a good passer rating. You just have to be cognizant of where you're delivering the football. James Crawford had one penalty last year on special teams. It wasn't because he was conservative – he was smart.

Ron from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

A question was asked about depth at the safety position. Any status update on Ibraheim Campbell? He was a player that stuck out to me as a guy who plays the ball in his limited time in the defense.

I don't have an update on Campbell, but he impressed me with how he played last year after signing in-season. He had some past experience in Pettine's defense but his play went beyond that. Whenever Campbell is cleared from his knee injury, I could see the Packers taking another look at the veteran defensive back.

Dane from Franklin, WI

To all this talk about it being easy to stick some position trackers in the ball, knowing the ball's position is meaningless without also being able to determine the moment when a ball carrier is tackled. Even with all the replay angles, it isn't always easy to see when the knee/elbow/etc. first hits the turf, especially on an inside run in short yardage where there are bodies everywhere. That, and I don't relish commercial breaks after each running play while officials figure out the spot.

Throw on your 2069 glasses and riddle me this – what if there were sensors on the sideline tracking how far the ball advanced, which trigger once the whistle sounds marking the end of forward progress?

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, what is the worst spate of injuries you've seen a team endure at a particular position? During a game or during a season, either way.

I don't have a great gauge on the entire NFL to compare and contrast injuries, but the Packers-Falcons NFC title game has to be up there. Jordy Nelson was playing with broken ribs and LaDarius Gunter was matching Julio Jones. You do the math.

Jason from Des Plaines, IL

Who will have the better end to their career with their new team? Randall Cobb or Clay Matthews? Understandably, both players must want to prove to the Packers' front office that they can still play and have a positive impact. I give the advantage to Cobb, since we will be seeing him quite often in Dallas, and he recently compared his relationship with Green Bay to that of an ex-girlfriend. We have to wish them both the best of luck!

If Cobb stays healthy, I see him having a good year in Dallas. He's still only 28 and Dak Prescott tends to lean on his slot receivers. Cobb also should benefit from having Amari Cooper distracting defensive backs. I'm not sure what to expect with Matthews to be honest.

Joshua from Houston, TX

After the first night of NBA free agency, I can say that I'm glad the NFL free agency isn't like that.

I can explain practically anything as it relates to NFL contracts, but I don't possess a high enough IQ to process NBA free agency…and no, I'm not asking for an explanation, either.

Marlon from Eagle River, WI

How do the players feel about playing Thursday night games following a Sunday game?

They don't love it, but everyone understands it comes with the territory. Thursday Night Football is hot right now…so hot.

Bill from Negaunee, MI

After losing to the Lions so often in recent years, the rumor mill has now been saying they have surpassed the Packers in talent and will once again be looking down at them in the standings come January. Tell me, will I once again have to bow down before my Lions friends or can I stand proud once again?

No disrespect to the Lions, but they haven't exactly been world-beaters the past few years, either. The Bears are the defending NFC North champs and the Vikings have been competitive in their own right. I still think the Lions are trying to catch up to the pack, literally and figuratively, regardless of what the records indicate the past two years. You won at Lambeau? Congrats. Hang a banner.

Mike from Madison, WI

The Fourth of July is coming up. Will you be grilling brats, hot dogs, or a combo of the two?

I'll be working…and then raiding my parents' fridge for a brat.

Pete from Holly Springs, NC

How was Disneyland and Star Wars Galaxy's Edge, Wes? Were you able to take the Millennium Falcon out for a spin?

It had been six years since I was at Disneyland. We had a great time. Galaxy's Edge was cool. You can tell that Star Wars-land section is only in its infancy right now, but the ride was fun. My 11-year-old nephew kept running through over and over again in the single-rider line.

Sean from Green Bay, WI

I hate to steal Kyle's thunder, but my twins were born the same day he submitted his question. I wanted to ask an advice question, but instead wanted to let Kyle know nothing prepares you for the feeling of fatherhood. It is the best feeling in the world. Prepared or not your love will trump all anxiety. Mike or Wes, what are your best experiences with your children you have had so far? My memories are only starting and I grow excited to watch them get stronger each day.

The first time I held my son. That moment is undefeated. My wife and I had several miscarriages before he was born, so that entire day was extremely emotional for both of us.

John from Green Bay, WI

With all the offseason camps that the players do, do they sometimes lose focus on the season?

Not at all. Players have family, friends and advisors who help in the planning process. Kenny Clark just hosted his third annual camp this past week. His mom, Nicole, does everything from designing T-shirts to cooking. It takes a village. Always.

In celebration of International Yoga Day on June 21, Packers CB Jaire Alexander helped instruct a free yoga session at Voyageur Park in De Pere.

Dale from Wilton, WI

Mike and Wes, since you are taking turns taking time off, what kind of vacation guys are you? Cabin on the lake, national park tourist, big city tourist, or staycation?

I'll let Spoff speak for himself, but I like long drives with a big city as a final destination. I'm not really a cabin or camping guy.

Thomas from Evansville, IN

What is your favorite Packers tradition?

The "Go Pack Go" chants when the offense is on the field.

David from Appleton, WI

Hello Insiders. What is your top suggestion for us peons to retain our sanity during "The Dead Zone" we are currently experiencing?

Fresh air.

Shilo from Murrieta, CA

The Bears' "Chalk Talk" mailbag article apparently publishes twice a week, but it's only three questions long. The Vikings' "Monday Morning Mailbag" publishes every...Monday, and it's apparently five questions long. The Lions don't appear to have a mailbag article. Wes, maybe your job would be cushier without II, but I think it's also more secure because of it :)

And we're appreciative of every last one of you for that very reason. OK, here are your 12 questions (with a special thanks to Lexi Kinnard for helping me devise this year's dozen). Answer one, answer all, but I will suggest you have a better chance of getting published if you have one or two detailed replies over 12 brief ones.

1) What is the most coveted piece of Packers memorabilia you own?

2) What is your favorite food to make on game day?

3) Bubbler or water fountain?

4) Which game are you most looking forward to this season?

5) Which rookie's jersey are you most likely to buy and why?

6) How did you become a Packers fan?

7) What is the best concert you've attended in the last 365 days?

8) Who's your guy and why for 2019?

9) If you're not at Lambeau Field, where is your favorite place to watch games?

10) If you are at Lambeau Field, what is your favorite thing to do on game day?

11) Give one word that best describes the Packers.

12) Who is your 2018-19 Inbox MVP and why?