Fri, 08 Dec 2023

Inbox: It's extremely valuable work

07 Jun 2023, 18:12 GMT+10

When you understand someone’s perspective, you develop clearer vision of the world around youWes Hodkiewicz

Kyle from Raleigh, NC

So, is the motto for the Frostbite Falls Icicles curling team "All remaining toes down"?

I almost took PTO after reading the start of Monday's Inbox...and that's coming from someone who actually curled in high school.

Markus from Aurora, CO

Gents, I was out of the country for about two weeks and didn't pay attention. Did I miss anything?

We're getting the draft and Spoff caught a bunch of crappies. That's about it.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

Are there fewer OTA practices open to the media this year than in years past? If so, could this be to limit how much the media has to cover Jordan Love as he likely will be under a tremendous microscope this offseason, and to try to conceal as much playbook installations and scheme changes? For the record, I don't have any issues if they do try to limit media and open practices if it's for the reasons listed above. Just curious on if OTA access has been more limited and the reasons for this.

Nope, it's the same. Like Spoff outlined, it's one practice per week during organized team activities and then the three days of minicamp. Likewise, we've been watching Love take all the first-team reps the past two springs, as well. I'm cool with the outline for the offseason program. Talking to players once a week is a great way to get familiar with this year's squad before we start the daily grind of training camp.

Sue from Tomah, WI

Who has more fun at the kids clinic: the kids or the Packer players?

Too close to call. My family was at the 8 a.m. session, and I must say Kingsley Enagbare, Jonathan Ford and DJ Scaife were all amazing with the kids. You couldn't erase the smiles from my nephews' faces. They were engaged and very hands-on during the drills. I also tip my cap to manager of fan engagement Haylee Helmlee, the brand and marketing staff, and all the volunteers for the job they did with this year's event. It was all first-class.

Michael from Bloomington, IN

The Pack have long emphasized positional versatility on the OL and in the WR room. That mindset is taking hold on the defensive side, too. The secondary is trending in that direction and Lukas Van Ness is an indication the DL/OLB group is, too. If you had to pick one Packers starter where this approach doesn't and shouldn't apply (for any reason), who would you pick? For me, De'Vondre Campbell is a "modern" old-school MLB and should be lined up between the guards/tackles in a read and react role.

Yes...but even Campbell somewhat defies conventionality with his size and ability to blitz occasionally from the ILB position. Versatility is such a big part of the NFL now. While teams need to cover their bases on gameday, there also are defenders who perform better in a multifaceted role.

Kirk from Milwaukee, WI

With joint practices on the rise and not going away, I've learned towards Ted Thompson's thoughts on them. I understand their value but seems multiple scuffles start and injuries on cheap shots occur. Do you believe teams will start making agreements for fines or NFL possibly start ordering practice fines to cut down cheap shots? Or maybe a more creative solution I'm not thinking of?

I didn't find the joint practices vs. Houston to be productive. The Texans held a lot close to their vest and Jace Sternberger was injured on a cheap shot by Lonnie Johnson Jr. That soured my taste for them at first, but the practices with New Orleans and New York Jets pushed me back in favor. They taught me that joint practices can be very beneficial when there's synergy, respect and good faith between the two squads. Most of all, the starters see reps they otherwise wouldn't in the preseason. Not to spoil the suspense but I can already tell you Jaire Alexander and Ja'Marr Chase won't play in the preseason opener. However, the two likely will see one another in 1-on-1 WR/CB drills and 11-on-11s. It's also a good table-setter for the young players who will play. So, it's extremely valuable work.

Tyler from Cross Plains, WI

I don't recall us, or anyone else actually, doing multiple joint practices in the past, but I see we are practicing with the Bengals and the Patriots this preseason. Do you think this may be to get J-Love some snaps against different defenses while wearing the red jersey, so we don't have to risk injury playing him in the preseason much, or at all?

I don't ever recall the Packers having joint practices with two different teams in the same preseason. Matt LaFleur said they haven't made any decisions yet on Love's preseason playing time, but the scenario you outlined wasn't lost on me, either. The tricky thing about playing your starting quarterback in the exhibition season is that you probably don't want him out there with the No. 2 offensive line. Love is only going out there if the starting five is with him.

Craig from Appleton, WI

Aaron Rodgers' ability to run the ball used to be a huge weapon against a defense. As he aged, we saw less and less of it. How much would expect to see Jordan Love bring that dynamic back to the offense?

I wouldn't expect a ton. Love can run, but he looks to throw first. Love only scrambled 170 times during his three years at Utah State, totaling 403 yards and nine touchdowns.

James from Appleton, WI

We're all familiar with Quadzilla, but is there a player with a set of pipes just waiting to be called Biceratops?

During my entire time on the beat? It has to be Jacob Schum. That dude was jacked. On the current roster, I will go with Lukas Van Ness. I can only imagine how he'll look by the time he's 25.

TK from Grafton, WI

So many rookies have so much to adapt to but does a rookie PUNTER have to do ANYTHING to adjust to punting in the NFL?

For sure. Personally, I think the transition for a punter is rather difficult. Of course, it's still kicking the ball, but the formations are vastly different in the NFL and the margin for error is much narrower when punting to the league's elite returners. Positioning the ball is critical to sustained success.

Laurie from Sheboygan, WI

If the special-teams unit isn't kicking field goals during media OTAs, what is it doing? It would seem prudent to give Anders Carlson as many opportunities as possible to work with the long snapper and ball holder before crazy things like letting Mason Crosby leave happen. If anything, I am more nervous about the transition from Crosby to Carlsen than I am about the transition from Rodgers to Love because Carlsen is completely unknown.

Rich Bisaccia is process-oriented. The specialists don't kick every day, but the Packers still have periods dedicated to going through the field-goal and punt operations and making sure blockers know their gaps and assignments.

Edward from Racine, WI

Hello II, I am writing in response to a continuing story I have been seeing on the internet that certain NFL players should be expunged from the Hall of Fame. I am extremely ticked off when they bring up Paul Hornung. My favorite player as a child. I had a discussion with a Steelers fan about how the Steelers had the most championships. To his total dismay when I told him the Packers did. I told him it wasn't our fault they didn't win a playoff game in their first 40 years.

Pound-for-pound, Hornung may be the most accomplished player in Packers history (Super Bowl champion, NFL MVP, Heisman Trophy winner, No. 1 draft pick, etc.). There is no Pro Football Hall of Fame without Paul Hornung.

Greg from Conway, SC

What is the appropriate "r" word at the GB facility? Rebuild, revise, restructure, replace, rewind, perhaps rewrite? I'm going with reset. Thoughts?

Mine is renew. Every season is different, folks. Admittedly, this one may be a little more than most others. But the game comes full circle, and we revert back to the beginning every fall.

CJ from Cedar Rapids, IA

How did Steve Young do his first couple years do after replacing Joe Montana?

Clean...real clean, though it's worth mentioning Young was already 29 years old when he stepped in for an injured Montana in 1991. Young threw for 2,517 yards, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions that year, and then won his first MVP award in 1992. That spring, the 49ers traded Montana to Kansas City.

Craig from Lisbon, Portugal

Morning chaps, the feature stories you do on various players are great and we all love them. Do players ever approach you to write a story about them or is it you pair who have to do the chasing?

There have been agents and marketing folks who sometimes will put an idea in my ear (e.g. Christian Ringo saving a guy's life at a waterpark seven years ago), but it's mostly chasing and pursuing stories. Football is a great game, but what a person does in their field is just a small part of who they really are. I enjoy peeling back the curtain and bringing readers closer to their world. When you understand someone's perspective, you develop clearer vision of the world around you.

Steve from Land O Lakes, FL

Good morning! Having attended many NFL games over the years, do you have a favorite or most memorable opening ceremony and flyover?

Ariana Grande singing the national anthem before the 2014 opener in Seattle.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Any update on Rodgers' golf cart? How is 69 getting to the practice field these days?

David Bakhtiari confirmed Rodgers won full custody of the golf cart, but all is not lost. He's now driving his Jeep to practice. I actually saw it while leaving the office on Friday. It's a nice little vehicle.

Dale from Crivitz, WI

After every draft I try to find as much information as possible on each pick. When I was watching Romeo Doubs' highlights in a game, the two broadcasters kept pronouncing his name "DUbbs." Have never heard a single mention about two pronunciations of his name since he's been in GB. Could you offer any insight about the "DU" story or was the game I watched just used wrong pronunciations? Thanks for all you do. Read this site almost every day.

Everyone gets a free pass on the pronunciation of Doubs' last name. Romeo literally told us after the Packers drafted him that you could pronounce it either way. Upon further pressing, Romeo finally told us the formal pronunciation was indeed like "DOBBS." I wouldn't turn the finger at Doubs, either, for the confusion. The guy is seriously that easygoing.

David from Goldsboro, NC

I read an all-time top 10 QB list earlier today. I was surprised Patrick Mahomes was already on their list, granted at No. 10. AR12 was at "6" for anyone who may be wondering. Has Mahomes cracked your top 10 yet?

Yes. He's 27 years old and already a Pro Football Hall of Famer in my book. He's the best of his generation of quarterback. That's top-10 material in my book.

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

According to Sporting News, a player changing a jersey number is required to buy out the remaining inventory at retail price. So, this a good time not to be popular. If Dalvin Cook would have changed his number in 2021, it would have cost him about $1.5 million, or in other words, about the same as Spoff's annual salary.

It's good to be the Prince of Platteville. I could understand making players pay to switch their number a second time, but I think they should be given an option to change at least once during their careers - especially after the NFL approved sweeping changes to its policy on jersey numbers. Why should incoming rookies get all the fun?

Kevin from Hurlock, MD

Was just reading about the Packers' $57.1 million in dead money cap for nine players no longer with the team. Understand about Rodgers being traded, but could you explain why we still have to pay players that are free agents who chose to leave the team? It seems like in some cases they are getting paid twice, once to come and once to go. Be nice if we could all get that deal. Thanks.

Most of the dead money is from void years. It's money that's already been paid to the player. It was just leveraged against future years to stay under the current cap. Nobody is getting paid twice.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

I'm not sure if you've used this one already but I've enjoyed hearing about the various player jerseys people have either worn or seen and I think that might be a fun add for Outsider Inbox. What Packers jerseys do people wear, and why? I got an old-school Don Hutson jersey as a gift a few years ago and it's been a great conversation piece amongst Packer fans.

It's been added to the list, which may or may not be like 16 questions now.

Jeff from Victorville, CA

Good morning, Wes...or good evening if you are doing II at night. You had said last week you struggle with certain names on the Packers. When I was in the Navy there were about 15 in my department. Of those 15, five had names of White, Whiteman, Whiting, Twining and Vining. Be thankful you don't have that on the roster. My chief could never get them right.

Thank you for your service. I hope you had a few nicknames to fall back on.

Frank from Wake Forest, NC

In response to Neil from Tunbridge Wells, UK, the best name I've seen is the minor-league team from Savannah, Georgia: The Savannah Bananas. If you like bananas, then this is the team for you.

I'll see your Savannah Bananas and raise you the Carolina Disco Turkeys. I think we're done here.

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