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There will be several to watch this summer

Nothing gets ruled out in camp competitions


Mitch from Moline, IL

May the fourth be with you.


Simon from Santa Clara, CA

Here's something I haven't seen mentioned yet. Even after all his trades, Gute ended the draft with 12 picks, the same number he started with. Just one of them moved to next year's first round.


Math is a wonderful thing.**

David from Appleton, WI is reporting that players will not be able to use a running head start on kickoffs. They think it will decrease injuries as it will simulate punts. I think this is bad and wrong for two reasons. First, since they do not get a running head start, it will take them longer to get downfield and more returners may attempt returns they would have previously downed, as they can make it further before contact. Second, it really hurts the onside kick, especially since there can also be no motion now before the kickoff to cause confusion. I see it as a well-intended rule that will only hurt the game. Thoughts?

I tend to agree, but I want to see the full proposal and final decision on the kickoff before making too many comments. I'm only hearing bits and pieces, and nothing official, thus far.

Reza from Janesville, WI

I'm sure I'm not the first one to have this question today, but here it is. With the signing of Matt Ryan to that huge contract, what do you think that means for Rodgers' new upcoming contract?

I believe we'll find out soon enough.

Nick from Chicago, IL

Congrats Jason Witten on a legacy career. If he's not first-ballot, I'd be shocked. I got scared every time he ran the Y-route; couldn't defend it.

I don't know about first-ballot, but he's Canton-bound for sure. I just hope he doesn't say "Y-route" in the booth. We don't need any more of that.

Dan from Grand Rapids, MI

How exciting is it to have two new highly ranked CB prospects that have played the position at a high level? It seems us fans have trepidation because the last time the Packers "double-dipped" at CB in the draft it did not work as intended. However, that was with a safety and a one-year starter at CB.


Jackson is also a one-year starter, but not just a one-year player in college, and Alexander is a pure cover corner, so the differences in the two subsets are significant.**

Shalom from Little Rock, AR

Has McCarthy told us what we're focusing on this year?

You're waiting for that big-letters promise, aren't you? We'll see. If he delivers one, it's usually during OTAs or the very start of training camp.

Zach from Clarkfield, MN

I for one, enjoy the mix of sarcasm and seriousness that is the Insider Inbox. Aside from that, you've talked a lot about the battles that are coming for different positions this training camp. Maybe I've missed it, but which position battle are you most intrigued by and why?


There will be several to watch in camp this summer. Wide receiver, right guard, punter, long snapper. Right tackle, too, depending on Bulaga's health status at the start of camp. The most intriguing for me might be punter, because I think the Packers have two candidates who both could have NFL jobs in 2018.**

Michael from Sacramento, CA

Hey guys, Vic always warned us about drafting "the same guy" multiple times in a draft. Do you think the three receivers we drafted are different enough?

I always took Vic's warning to be about trying to draft the same guy year after year and expecting a different outcome, because you've increased the risk of delaying the fix. The draft holds no guarantees, but taking multiple guys in the same draft I think increases the odds of a more immediate fix.

Bryce from Ames, IA

As Packer fans, we are very used to the next-man-up mentality. This year it seems like we have depth and talent at important positions like running back, wide receiver, and cornerback. Are we starting to see what the Eagles did last year so well which was having fresh players throughout games, without losing the talent on the field?

The Eagles didn't reinvent the wheel. They were afforded some luxuries. But let's not forget they got the No. 1 seed because they had the best young QB in the game, and they made the playoff run because the backup played the best football of his life for a month. If those items aren't part of the equation, all the fresh players in the world weren't going to help the Eagles.

Sean from Helena, MT

Would players who have to run their 40 times in pads wear their honest size of pads, or put smaller pads on to appear faster? I think the only way to begin to level the playing field is to minimize the variables.


A group of Packers draft picks took their 2018 headshots at Lambeau Field. Photos by Ryan Hartwig,

You're absolutely right, and that's why they have everyone run in shorts and T-shirts. I get it. But I also agree with the sentiment that some players are faster in pads than others. One of the best high school players I ever covered was fast, track star, all that. But on the football field, he was just crazy fast. The pads didn't slow him down one iota. His ranking amongst his peers changed on the field.**

Mike from Somerset, WI

Last year covered Josh Jones as if he was an all-pro player (during the preseason). I have to admit I was a little disappointed. He did not become the impactful player in year one his preseason media attention suggested. Instead, second-year players Blake Martinez and Kenny Clark took a big step with little media fanfare. The rookies should have to earn it in a game before we crown them via media coverage based on their preseason practices.

I don't think we ever said Jones was an all-pro, and as the season went on we wrote countless stories on Martinez and Clark. I also said many times that you could see Jones' impact diminish when he was having to learn and play so many positions, as opposed to when he was allowed to focus in on one spot (his game against Cincinnati in Week 3 the perfect example). I think the selection of Burks was made, in part, to allow Jones to zero in on one position.

Tim from Eugene, OR

Will any of our draft picks be starters this season? Also, is it just me or was Jimmy G sort of wasted at Seattle and is now looking very intimidating teamed up with Rodgers?


Alexander and Jackson have the best chance to play the most snaps of the rookies, I believe, but that's stating the obvious without having seen anyone take the field yet. If you didn't watch or listen to Graham's interview when the offseason program began back on April 17, his facial expressions and responses to some of the queries provide his opinion on your question.**

Tom from Loomis, CA

I've seen articles describing Cole Madison as a "potential starting right guard." Is that just hyperbole?

It's not out of the question. Sitton would have been a starter in 2008 as a fourth-round rookie if not for a knee injury. Bakhtiari (fourth round) and Linsley (fifth round) both started as rookies when injuries opened the door. Madison (fifth round) is walking into an open competition. I'd rule nothing out.

Bruce from Bloomington, IL

Last year, GB takes a flier on Taysom Hill. He looks good but is cut, NO picks him up and feels good enough about him as QB2 so they don't extend themselves this draft to get the next QB, allowing them to trade pick one next year to GB. Kinda like GB got some mystic value out of the series of events? Seal this in a jar on your front porch, but GB uses that pick to trade up for an edge rusher who turns out better than the guy NO traded up to get. Is that thinking too much during dead time? (It has nothing to do with jersey numbers or moving players between positions, which is nice.)

Indeed it is nice, and I like the way you think. If you're right, this story will be unfolding for a while.

Troy from Westminster, CO

I don't understand some people fixated on trading away draft picks because they might get cut. Isn't the goal to have to cut good players? Has a team ever had too many good players?


Y'all are making my day today.**

Gregg from Orange, CA

When do the draft picks get the playbooks to begin studying?

They get a very brief introduction to the playbook this weekend during rookie orientation, and then they get the whole enchilada next week when they join the rest of the veterans for offseason workouts.

Deniz from Nynashamn, Sweden

Hi Insiders! Thanks for making the offseason bearable. I get that the focus now has been on the draft process, but I get the feeling that the narrative around middle-to-late round draftees and UDFAs can get just a little bit warped when they're described as "unearthed gems," "diamonds in the rough," and so on. Players like Bakhtiari, Linsley, Taylor and others, obviously needed talent to become what they now are, but isn't good coaching much more important? I'm not so sure those three would have the same kind of career had they not ended up in Green Bay. What would you say are more important when building a NFL team, unearthing or honing?

You need both, clearly. That's why it's called draft-and-develop. Not just draft. Not just develop. It's about the whole picture. The linemen you've mentioned have benefited greatly from the tutelage of James Campen, a tremendous coach, and several quality assistants who have worked with him. But the players must have the talent to start with. No coach can just "pick a player, any player" and get him to compete with the best football players on the planet. The scouting staff unearths the talent, the coaching staff hones it.

Doc from Manteca, CA

The draft always reminds me of the first years undergoing sorting at Hogwarts. Sitting around, waiting, waiting, until some mysterious entity selects them to go to some group that will determine the rest of the lives. Do you think that some of them sit there, as their names come up, thinking, "Not Slytherin, not Slytherin" (i.e. Cleveland, Buffalo)? Well, the sorting is over and the feast has begun.


I love me some Harry Potter, but I don't think there's as much of that these days as there used to be, not when the draft is only seven rounds and players can be free agents in four years. It wasn't always like that, and certainly Green Bay was once the Slytherin.**

Dave from Edina, MN

I sure am glad John Brown found a way to distinguish his son from all the other Equanimeouses out there.


Alex from Brooklyn, NY

Hi Spoff, last Labor Day my brother, dad and I took a trip to Lambeau. We were sitting in 1919 having a beer when I turned around and saw you peering through the glass to check out the score of the Brewers game on TV. I whispered "guys, turn around, it's Spoff!" to which my not-so-shy father (Bergeron from Scandinavia, WI) jumped up and took a selfie with you through the window. Thanks for the great memory! My question is, how often do you get stopped like this walking around Lambeau?

Only when the Brewers are on TV. In all seriousness, I love saying hello to folks, so I'm glad your father wasn't shy. When things are busy, encounters like that keep Ferris Bueller's famous advice ("Life moves pretty fast …") at least in the back of my head, which is a good thing.

Jamie from Rhinelander, WI

You think A-Rod's number will be the last to be retired for Green Bay?

It'll be the next one, but I certainly hope it's not the last one.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

How do teams evaluate long snappers other than looking for the percentage of clean snaps? Measurements like the 40 time, vertical, shuttle time don't seem relevant. Just wondering how they determined the long snapper selected was the best one in the draft. And would they have reviewed film of every college snap?

Velocity and tightness of the spiral on the snaps are watched closely, too. The agility stuff can be a bonus, as far as a long snapper getting downfield on punt coverage. Every snap is looked at to provide the best reading on consistency.

Rob from Louisville, CO

Our current punter set the team record for net average, so we drafted another punter. Was our coverage just that awesome? Has punting changed somehow that made it easy to break that record? What am I missing here?

Last year the coaches were always harping on consistency with Vogel, which is expected for a rookie. The Packers have to replace their best gunner from the past few years, too. The Packers are going to find out if they have someone better, or if the competition will push Vogel to be better. That's pretty much it.

Theodore from St. Louis, MO

When camping, do you brew your coffee in the coals from the fire the night before, or over a gas flame?

Oh my.

Nathan from Washington, DC

I noticed that this week, Eric Reid filed a grievance against the NFL, and while he may not have enough legal evidence to win his case, he's got a point. When is the last time a 26-year old Pro Bowl safety has remained on the market this long, and is there any chance the Packers will sign him to complement Ha Ha and Josh Jones? I get the sense that history will not look kindly on how NFL teams are treating Reid and Kaepernick.

I have no idea if the Packers have any interest, but in general I agree with you. Just because multiple teams have similar reasons for not signing a player does not mean they're colluding, though it can look like it.

Talon from Calgary, Canada

At first I was skeptical with the Jimmy Graham signing (Marty B., bad taste in my mouth maybe). But then I saw how many red-zone targets he had in his first two years in Seattle. I then remember Doug Baldwin went from mediocre to elite the same year Jimmy showed up. I am now optimistic that everyone will benefit Jimmy taking a lot of double teams. Even if Jimmy has an average tight end season the offense looks a lot more scary.

Jimmy takes the double teams. Jimmy makes everyone better. Jimmy makes the offense scary.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Mike, can you steal Wes's lunch for me as retaliation for him bringing up the Mt. Rushmore thing again? I can't handle another offseason of that.

Amen, and will do.

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