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Inbox: You don’t hear that type of praise every day

LB Rashan Gary
LB Rashan Gary

Noah from La Crosse, WI

What is the worst part of your job?

Every time I answer this question Joe E. Fan gets mad at me, so I’ll just say every day is sunshine and rainbows. Good morning!

John from New Richmond, WI

Regarding Rashan Gary's role on the defense, could you see it similar to the one he played at Michigan? Maybe he doesn't post eye-popping stats but causes a lot of disruption, creating opportunities for others to make plays? His former teammate at Michigan, Devin Bush (drafted ahead of Gary by the Steelers at No. 10 overall) even said that he would pick Gary ahead of himself.

Coaches obviously are going to stump for their players, but I don’t think I’ve heard anyone more enthusiastic about a rookie than Mike Smith was about Gary on Wednesday afternoon. Smith said he was running down the hallway in excitement after they drafted him. You don’t hear that type of praise every day. He also takes the criticism Gary received for his motor at Michigan personally. After talking to the Wolverines’ coaching staff, however, Smith is confident this kid is primed to play. Time will tell what Gary’s exact role will be in this defense, but Smith sees him as the perfect blend of Dee Ford and Justin Houston. If that’s true, he’s going to be all right.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Are you as impressed with Mike Smith as I am after watching his interview? He trusts himself. Let’s hope he is right about his players. If he is, this defense will make a big jump in 2019.

Spoff and I divided and conquered during the media availability with assistant coaches back in February. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to speak with Smith, but Mike was gushing about his interview afterwards. I can now see why. Talk about a confident straight-shooter. After listening to Smith talk for 10 minutes, I was ready to run through a wall for the guy.

Alyssa from Clinton, IA

Often people say the comeback is greater than the setback. What kind of season do you think Aaron Rodgers will have based off of what you know about this year’s team so far, barring any significant changes?

A big one.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Rodgers is learning the new offense. You think that there may be a time sometime in the huddle this year where Rodgers will look at Adams and everyone else and say let’s try "play X" from last year?

No, I don’t. Not unless it’s something that has been adapted to the new menu of plays the Packers have installed and repped in practice. Rodgers will still have the freedom to change plays at the line of scrimmage, but not to that degree.

Eric from Honolulu, HI

Who has the best chance to emerge as the Packers’ No. 3 receiver?

Marquez Valdes-Scantling probably has the inside track after how much he played last season, but everyone is back to square one for the most part. I’d say MVS, the other two second-year receivers, Jake Kumerow and Trevor Davis all have an equal shot at it for the moment. That No. 3 receiver job is completely up for grabs.

Michael from Cashton, WI

I loved the story on Savage but what really caught my attention was Tramon Williams' offseason study habits. Wow! Any insight on his interest in coaching once his playing days are over? Also, the work you guys do on Packers.com is marvelous. Thanks for the insight you all bring to my enjoyment of our Packers and of football generally.

Michael, you’re a Mensch. It’s good to know someone appreciates it. I wrote last year about how meticulous Tramon is about his training, but he’s equally diligent about his mental preparation. You almost have to be in order to play that position at 36 years young. I honestly don’t know what Tramon has planned for after his career is over, but he’s going to be successful in whatever field he pursues because nobody will outwork him.

Karen from Kaukauna, WI and John from Casablanca, Morocco

Is the newly drafted TE still unsigned? If so, is he at OTAs and participating?

You guys are making a mountain out of a molehill with these Jace Sternberger questions. No, he’s not signed yet. Yes, he’s at OTAs and practicing. It’s going to get done. I promise.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, in your article on Darnell Savage, Adrian Amos said Savage "plays very rangy in the back end.” What does that mean?

It’s code for he covers a lot of ground. That can be a result of many things such as pure speed or simply putting himself in the right spots. It’s jargon for he’s rarely out of position to make a play on the ball.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

A lot of talk about the Packers improving overall team speed. Assuming all teams are trying to do the same, did the Packers do it more than the other teams?

Just look at the 40 times of the players the Packers have drafted the past two years. You tell me.

Philipp from Fayetteville, GA

As I was catching up on the locker room interviews, I was wondering how the players for that day are scheduled. Are there multiple players made available at one time or are they spaced out so reporters could attend all available players that day?

If you’re referring to Tuesday’s OTA availability, the only player scheduled to speak was Aaron Rodgers. The rest was catch as catch can. A few veterans fall into a pattern during the regular season (Davante Adams on Wednesdays, Clay Matthews on Thursdays and Mike Daniels on Fridays in the past), but you can pretty much grab anyone at any time assuming they’re in the locker room.

Bob from Lexington, SC

I remember in McCarthy's early years at GB, he would have three FBs, and was known for loving to use TEs. Sometimes, I think he had more TEs in a play than WRs. Now we hear that the team will give more importance to TEs than in the past. What do you think happened to MM's use of TEs and FBs?

It wasn’t just McCarthy. The game you’re describing doesn’t exist anymore. At least, not at this moment. It’s a spread game now with receivers attacking every level of the defense.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

Glad you hear ARod is talking about the offensive line and the depth. I really believe they may be the difference between a good and great season – keeping QB1 upright and healthy. Who do you see backing up LT?

It’s Alex Light at the moment. It’s hard to speculate beyond that. Jason Spriggs, Lane Taylor, Justin McCray, Elgton Jenkins and Billy Turner have all played that before, as well.

Al from Green Bay, WI

The undrafted free agent that made a great first impression is…

Raven Greene. I know he’s a carryover, but that young man put in some serious work this offeason.

Paul from Kansas City, KS

I see KC was awarded the 2023 NFL Draft and that other cities got ’20 and ’21. But nothing announced for ’22. Could it be GB? And on a sidebar, if I am still stuck down here in 2023 and being an empty nester in a gargantuan house 20 minutes from the festivities...the Inbox Insiders have accommodations already reserved for you with your own bathroom! I will provide breakfast and be your Uber. All I ask is if you could bring us some cheese. It sucks down here.

Spoff might take you up on that. You know he has been known to steal lunches before. The NFL hasn’t made anything official about the 2022 draft yet, though NFL Network has a report out saying the league is looking at a “big city.” The Packers are interested in hosting in that year or 2024, but it’s all a waiting game at this point.

Jorge from Guadalajara, Mexico

What is your take on the Josh Jones situation? Is there any room for him to coexist with the additions of Amos and Savage? Or should the Packers just let him walk away (a trade with any real benefit seems difficult because of the lack of history as a starter).

My take is we’re three weeks away from mandatory minicamp. Sam Shields also sat out of voluntary OTAs back in 2013, showed up for minicamp and then signed a new contract the following year. If Jones doesn’t report for minicamp, then it becomes a larger issue. Until we get to that point, I’m not forming any conclusions. I believe there is a spot for Jones in this defense given his skill set and how many different ways safeties can be utilized in this scheme.

Christopher from Marina Del Rey, CA

How much fun is Rodgers having with his old buddy Kuhn in the reporters’ pool?

Quite a bit. Like a kid in a candy store.

Kolby from Oak Hills, CA

Regarding your opinion on Odell vs. Adams, it seems you are clearly being biased. The original question was about starting your franchise around one or the other, and you were quick to crown Adams as the better choice...How?! Odell is better than Adams in every single facet of the game save releases off the line. He has advantages in every other category including speed, quickness, and hands. And as far as Odell being traded, that decision was based solely on the Giants’ decision to rebuild.

Wait, the Giants traded OBJ because they’re rebuilding? It’s almost like the franchise is starting over.

Bill from Mediapolis, IA

First of all, I'd like to say Happy Anniversary to my wife of 10 years. Secondly, my question is why not try to get rid of overtime? Teams would have to try two-point conversions after the two-minute warning.

That still doesn’t guarantee a decrease in the number of ties, and as you well know, Americans will do anything to avoid a tie.

John from Minneapolis, MN

Hi, the rookie players fresh out of college have to adjust to a tremendous amount of change. New teammates, team, town, home and friends. And suddenly many of them have more money than they've ever had in their lives. It may be more stress than any of them have ever faced. Seems like in the past the Packers had a group tasked with support in these areas. Is that still the case? If so, share any insight on who with the team is involved and how that works? Thanks for all you do!

That’s all Grey Ruegamer’s department. The Packers alumnus runs point on everything you asked as the director of player engagement.

Sean from Helena, MT

Thanks to Mike for his comment about veterans and vision. I would compare it to me playing pool, and watching a tournament professional. They make shots I can't even see exist! Does the Packer facility have access to ping-pong tables, foosball tables, dart boards and pool tables? Great downtime occupation that keeps the eye-hand coordination sharp, and competition intense! They could even be accessible to the lesser athletic members of an organization...

All of those are available down in the player lounge and the player engagement area. Unfortunately, I don’t meet the athletic criteria to participate in those activities.

Ric from Longmont, CO

Hi Wes, will there be any festivities planned in Green Bay for the Packers’ 100th birthday on Aug. 11?

Yes, but those details are still being ironed out.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Yesterday's question about the team going directly from KC to LA got me to thinking. If that happens, who goes? Just players, coaches and personnel support (equipment, training staff, etc.)? What about guys like Mike, Wes, Larry and John? I didn't know if everyone travels on one airplane so everyone goes or there are two planes, and some would come back home and travel later in the week.

We have not had the formal meeting yet to inform us whether we’ll be taking one plane or two planes this year. So unfortunately I can’t answer your question quite yet.

Chuck from Santa Ana, CA

For years the Cowboys held camp in Oxnard, CA. That makes five.

Make it five then.

Mick from Madison, WI

I believe this was discussed in the past, but I would love to see Aaron audible out of a play by shouting out, “Dracarys, Dracarys!” This would be awesome considering his cameo. Maybe it would lead to all-out fly routes to the hot receiver with single coverage. It could lead to a defense being a little skittish knowing the fire is coming.

Oh, I’m counting on it.

Greg from Los Angeles, CA

"Whatever characters are still alive carry the Iron Throne down to the scrapyard and they start a democracy. To the ‘II/Thrones’ fans out there, I hope you enjoy the last ride Sunday night." I didn't see the last few days of II until today, when I saw that golden nugget. Seriously, Wes, take a bow. I'm sure your tongue was nearly piercing your cheek, but that's far-and-away the most accurate prediction of the ending I've seen. OK, it was Drogon and a republic, but close! Bravo!

I really thought I was going to hit it on the head until that prisoner opened his mouth.

Jeffeory from Bloomington, IL

Wes, without giving away spoilers, what was your opinion of the GoT finale? I don't think it's been shared here. Everyone has really strong opinions about the finale. I personally loved the first half and thought the second half was pretty awful.

I’ve been scouring Amazon for a neuralyzer since Sunday night. I still haven’t had any luck.

David from Athens, AL

Wes, now that “Game of Thrones” is finished, what is the next show you plan on referencing?

I don’t watch much TV, so it’ll probably just lead to more “Bull Durham” references.

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