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Insider: Let’s get one thing straight here

K Mason Crosby
K Mason Crosby

John from Clive, IA

Seventy-seven years old and still get excited about upcoming year. The NFL does a great job of giving millions of people hope. While we sit and listen to the II and other sources about our Packers, so do the fans of the other 31 teams. Every spring brings new chances for success for all 32 teams. It gives a person something to live for.

Boy, isn’t that the truth? As long as you have a good reason or two to get up each morning, you’re living your best life. Good morning!

Shawn from St. Peter, MN

I love hearing of the frustration Aaron Jones had toward his season-ending injury last year. He's a guy that wants to work, wants to produce, and wants to win. He simply does not want to be stopped. It's amazing hearing of the character this team has with Davante, Tramon, Clark, and many others. Let's hope the heart of many champions produces championships in the NFL.

Aaron Jones has a good head on his shoulders. He wants to be great. He wants to show he can be a bell-cow back. And he’s taken the right approach to get there. As I said on “Unscripted” this week, I made a vow not to do stories about “players coming back in the best shape of their lives” each summer, but Jones really did.

Geoffrey from Omaha, NE

Is it just me or does Za’Darius Smith have a similar presence to Julius Peppers? He just seems to have a calm, commanding presence whenever I see him being interviewed.

I don’t know if that’s the right comparison. Peppers was an emotional leader, but definitely introverted. His speeches to the team were powerful because of his typically quiet demeanor. Smith comes off much more confident and outspoken from what I can tell. They just both happen to be two high-profile signings in free agency. At the end of the day, the Packers don’t need Smith to be Julius Peppers. They just need him to become the Za’Darius Smith he seems destined to be.

Dave from Saint Michael, MN

How significant will Matt LaFleur's injury be to his "hands-on" approach to coaching and his ability to move around the practice field to different drills? Will practices get longer?

I’m going to wait for LaFleur to comment on this before fielding more questions on the topic, but I wanted to make this point. Yes, LaFleur likes being hands-on, but there is more to coaching than throwing a football. Does an injury make it tougher to get around? Sure, but several assistant coaches used carts in the past after having knee replacement surgery and the outside public never even knew about it. This is news because it’s June 1.

Mike from Holton, MI

What is the biggest hurdle for LaFleur's system?

Time and that’s no different than the challenge Mike Pettine faced last year. You have 10 weeks to install your scheme and feel good about it before the pads come on during training camp.

Take a look at the best photos of 2018 coin tosses.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Insightful comments from the assistant coach interviews. Main takeaway was Sirmans and Stenavich answering a big question coming into the season about personnel on offense. MLF was associated with both Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay who run two different personnel schemes; Shanahan running 12 and McVay running 11 in both cases almost exclusively. Both assistants clearly indicated we will be going with the 12 personnel Shanahan system with a FB. What does that mean for the TE room?

Yes and no. Yes, Sirmans and Stenavich were very insightful at the podium. If you’re confused at all about the intricacies of the outside zone, be sure to take a listen to Ben Sirmans’ explanation. However, I didn’t hear any clear promises about what the Packers intend to do with their personnel packages. They’re going to be multiple with their groupings, but the team also isn’t handing out roster spots right now. Danny Vitale and Malcolm Johnson have to prove in camp they deserve to be on the roster.

Al from Chardon, OH

An article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer suggests that the starting defense for the Browns may include three safeties who are former Packers: D. Randall, M. Burnett and J. Whitehead. Although this is the time of the year the Browns have had their most success in recent years, many are predicting they will carry the success into the regular season this year. The safety position is one the Packers felt the need to retool while another (ascending?) team takes on those let go. Comments?

I love Morgan Burnett, but knowing everything I know, I’ll take the Packers’ current safety room six times a week and twice on Sunday.

Dave from Bono, IN

Can the Inbox nominate Wes to demonstrate the drills to the players so we can keep LaFleur healthy?

Do you really want your Packers quarterbacks throwing like Uncle Rico? Wait, don’t answer that.

Zack from Christiansburg, LA

From what I’ve seen (granted that’s halfway across the nation) the kicking competition is heating up. If Mason Crosby loses out, how much would he truly have to lose out to not make the team? It seems to me his resume gives him a handicap. Not rooting against him, just hoping he has a bounce back year, especially with his salary.

Let’s get one thing straight here – Mason Crosby had a bad game, not a bad season. It wasn’t 2012 when he struggled to get back on track. Crosby recovered and still made 81.1 percent of his field goals last year, which is pretty impressive considering he missed four alone in Detroit. We’ll see what kind of competition Sam Ficken gives Crosby, but with how many teams are cycling through kickers across the league, the Packers are fortunate to have Crosby as their kicker.

Terry from Garden Grove, CA

Can you explain to me why none of you so-called Pack experts do not mention Jake Kumerow? When he had the opportunity he did well...

Jake Kumerow. There. Are you happy now?

Packers players attended a Professional Bull Riders event hosted at the Resch Center in Green Bay on Friday night

Pedro from Porto Alegre, Brazil

Did the defense get any turnovers during Wednesday’s practice? If so, who was responsible for them?

James Crawford picked off a pass. That was a big positive for the special-teams ace who appears to be settling in at inside linebacker in Mike Pettine’s defense.

Benjamin from Bear, DE

In response to a comment about Jaire Alexander being your "easy to root for" guy, my easy to root for player without a doubt is Cole Madison. This young man has gone through things we can't imagine or understand, yet he's in camp working his butt off and not hiding from his issues and concerns. Go get 'em Cole. I hope that after the rust is shaken off you're the mauler the Packers always knew you were. Good luck and stay hungry.

I absolutely agree with you. I’m glad, as a society, we’re finally starting to shake the stigma attached to mental health. Madison did what was in his best personal interest last year and has since returned to the sport he loves. I’m glad everything worked out the way it did.

Rachel from Appleton, WI

Players often talk about watching or analyzing tape to prepare for games. Do they also have access to video from OTAs or training camp practices to watch at home? Or do they stick to game tape from the previous year this early in the season?

Every practice in OTAs is recorded and evaluated in the meeting rooms. For rookies, it’s essential because it’s the only barometer they have to judge how they’re picking up the playbook.

Dave from Tomah, WI

With a new head coach, has Mike Pettine mentioned if he will be coaching the defense on the field rather than in a booth?

It’s my understanding Pettine will still coach from the press box in 2019.

Steven from Franklin, PA

I think it would be fitting if the Packers honored Bart Starr when they play the Vikings on 9/15! He was born on the ninth and his jersey number was 15! What better way?

It sounds like the Packers are planning to do something special early in the season to honor Starr. What better way to do it than against Minnesota. We’ll see what happens.

Mark from Franklin, TN

Wait...there’s a basketball court inside Packers headquarters?

Yep. It’s behind the meeting rooms. If you remember, it’s the same space they used for the extra locker room for the LSU-Wisconsin game back in 2016.

Mike from Mercer, WI

Do you know if the Packers do play in Canada, will everyone have to get visas or passports? What about everyone else? Will the team pay for them or will it be up to the individuals?

If you’re going to Canada, you better have a passport. If the Packers wind up there, arrangements will be made and everything will be taken care of.

Nik from Piedmont, SC

As far as an "old fashioned" goes...brandy or whiskey?

Grenadine.

Colleen from Blair, NE

Did you anticipate when you were going to journalism school you'd be in front of a camera as often as you are? Even in the time I've been reading Inbox (back to Vic days) the amount of video content and face time with you two has grown exponentially. Is it something you enjoy doing? What was the biggest adjustment?

The short answer is no. I think I’ve told this story before, but the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has like a dozen subsections of its communications program. I did every available emphasis besides broadcasting and photography. Fortunately, I had some good friends in TV who helped me get comfortable with being on camera. Today, it feels like it’s half my job with all the shows, vignettes and livestream Q&As.

Drew from Washington, D.C.

If the head coaches wear suits and ties for the throwback game, will the members of the press catch the throwback fever and write their articles on a manual typewriter?

I’d happily dress in throwback attire, but no way am I writing my sidebar and note packages with a typewriter. I get out of Lambeau late enough on gamedays.

Rob from Muskego, WI

What moments in your career have made you think to yourself, "I can't believe I get paid to do this?” What moments (besides Montgomery's number questions in II) have made you think, "I don't get paid enough to do this?”

Whenever we’re on the road in a big city, I always get that “I can’t believe I get paid to do this for a living” feeling. My parents worked their tails off for 35-plus years each at a paper mill. My maternal grandparents were farmers. My paternal grandparents ran a bakery. So I’m extremely lucky to do what I do for a living. I’ll also add (because we’re in the John Schneider circle of trust here) that I’ve been having some pretty severe panic attacks lately. I know for a fact I’ve been really difficult for my wife and my boss to deal with, but I appreciate their unrelenting support. You guys will see why at the end of next week. Hopefully, it’s all worth it.

Andrew from Fullerton, CA

Sadly, the idea of wearing suits for throwback games would never fly. If it's about wearing sponsored team gear, throwback games are the only time to wear the special throwback gear. For what it's worth, I love when Wes and Mike wear suits for the pregame live streams.

We like to keep it classy here on packers.com.

Jason from Des Plaines, IL

I watched most of the players’ locker room interviews after OTAs, and one stood out to me the most. I’ve read that the offense has been doing very well against the defense thus far in practice. Jaire Alexander seemed to be less goofy and charming in his interview, but instead he looked to be focused and locked in on getting back out there and attacking the offense next practice. He must feel the competition. Is this the coaches’ intentions when matching up offense vs. defense in OTAs?

I was in that interview and can tell you from firsthand experience that Alexander is all business right now. I don’t think it’s competition shaping his demeanor, though. I think it’s a young player who takes his craft seriously. Alexander didn’t go on any long diatribes Wednesday, but he made his intentions clear – he wants more INTs, he wants to be a Pro Bowler and he wants to be an All-Pro. He said this is his dog year. Now if you’d excuse me, I’m going to go try to figure out what that means. Have a good weekend, everybody.

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