Tue, 26 May 2020

Inbox: He's changed a lot of opinions

Packers
20 May 2020, 18:12 GMT+10

Dana from Reno, NV

Hey Mike! Were you valedictorian? Congratulations! We do have the best! Knew it all along!

No, he just grabbed the mic at graduation and cut an '80s-style WWF promo on his classmates. Good morning!

Eric from Honolulu, HI

How is the virtual offseason going so far?

It has Aaron Rodgers' seal of approval. Listen, I don't think there was a right or wrong way to handle this virtual option. Some teams exercised it and some didn't, but it made a lot of sense for the Packers, especially with some of the changes the offense wants to implement in the second year under Matt LaFleur.

Trevor from Arvada, CO

I think one point that is being lost in everything and the conversations is the presumption that Jordan Love will actually develop. Believe me I hope he does regardless of what goes on with Rodgers. But let's not forget, it wasn't just Favre waffling on retirement, or even the fact that he was aging. I think a big part of it was Rodgers as a backup making some pretty incredible eyebrow-raising plays in practice that couldn't be ignored. That's the second half that isn't talked about.

I think the other aspect of this is teams realizing they may need to invest more time into a quarterback's development than most have over the past decade. While sitting a rookie doesn't guarantee a future All-Pro, Kansas City took a near-perfect approach with Patrick Mahomes. I'm going to be writing a story here in the next week on Jordan Love. His former position coach at Utah State, David Yost, said he's the type of kid who's going to soak in everything he can from playing understudy to Rodgers.

Dick from Pound, WI

Hi, great job guys. Just a statement to all Packers fans, I have seen lots of football in my years: NFL, college, 35 years as a WIAA football official. That being said, I can name over a dozen quarterbacks drafted in the first round who were out of the game in less than five years. They all could throw the ball but are they special? That is the unknown. My money is on No. 12 as long as he runs onto the field.

First, thank you for your service as a WIAA official. I could never do that job. In my time on the beat, I've identified two can't-miss QBs: Lamar Jackson and Jake Locker. So you just never know. Also, there's no moving truck backed up to Lambeau Field right now to collect Rodgers' possessions. This is his team and it's going to remain his team.

Phil from Madison, WI

It seems like a lot of people have already anointed Love quarterback of the future. I hope he does great, but the overwhelming majority of first-round QBs never become a franchise QB, and many never even start. Maybe Gute knows it may take more than one swing to hit it out of the park.

But this applies to every first-round pick, right? It's not just QBs, especially when a team is drafting in the 20s and 30s. A GM has to trust his eye for that reason and pick the prospect with the best chance of becoming an established playmaker.

Joshua from Houston, TX

It's always interesting to see a line from an interview like Rodgers get taken and made into a whole story about how he's not happy in Green Bay or with Jordan Love.

Rodgers spoke with reporters for nearly 40 minutes, which is easily his longest news conference during my time on beat. Over the weekend, it was interesting to see what was pulled out of the approximately 5,000 words he spoke and then formed into headlines.

Matt from Minneapolis, MN

Christian Kirksey actually ran a 4.58, not a 4.72. That is significant because most of the best ILBs that make plays sideline to sideline run in the high 4.4s to low 4.6s.

The Packers weren't going to be able to re-sign Blake Martinez and needed a plug-and-play veteran to move into that every-down role. Kirksey checks all the boxes.

Bob from Fort Atkinson, WI

Saw a recent article that was rating quarterback pressures by interior defensive linemen on obvious passing situations and No. 1 on the list was Kenny Clark. How is it that this guy is not a perennial Pro Bowl and All-Pro player?

There's a lagging indicator with offensive and defensive linemen. B.J. Raji, T.J. Lang and Mike Daniels all experienced that. As I talked about with Clark last month, it's his hope that since he's made a Pro Bowl now he'll stay in the conversation after performing at an elite level the past two seasons.

Derek from Davis, CA

Curious about the "chip on the shoulder" the Packers wide receivers (outside Davante Adams) might have after all the negative perceptions the media has labeled them with. I'm sure they realize the opportunity in front of them. Any one of them has the chance to become the No. 2.

This is a prideful group. The Packers' receiving corps wants to show it's being slept on. Whether it's Allen Lazard showing last year was no fluke or Marquez Valdes-Scantling bouncing back, the chip is on everyone's shoulder to rise above the doubters. Heck, Adams probably feels it, too.

Derek from Norton, KS

What are the requirements to deem a player "injured," so that he could go to the team facility for rehab? If there is a loophole there, I expect to see a spike in injured players throughout the NFL.

It has to be pre-existing injury suffered last season.

David from San Antonio, TX

What do you specifically see in Rashan Gary that many of us don't? He was known as a physical beast with little production in college. In his rookie year, he was more of the same, leading the team in almost making plays. Besides upside and spin from his coaches, what evidence is there that he is more than he has shown?

Speed (4.56 40), size (6-5, 277) and upside (22 years old) are easy to point to. And if you've been watching Gary's training videos this offseason, this is a young man who is serious about fulfilling his potential. But it was David Bakhtiari's individual work with Gary last year that shows me how high the Packers are on this guy. Veterans don't do that for every young player who walks through the door. They see Gary's promise.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Not every penalty can be reviewable. I get it. With that said, I would like to see both the facemask penalty and the horse-collar penalties reviewable. Can we really expect the officials to know exactly where the defender's hand was in live action? It seems these are penalties called more because of a head turn by the ball carrier or by the way a player falls. Would you support this? Are there other penalties you would like to see reviewable?

It's no longer about which penalties I want made reviewable. For me, it's now getting the calls correct. NFL owners and coaches gave the officials an avenue last year to right a few wrongs, and New York wanted no part of it. Fine, but I better notice referees a lot less in 2020 than I did last year. Because I don't think I went back-to-back games without scratching my head at a call at a crucial moment in the game.

Ryan from Appleton, WI

With the NFL announcing that team facilities can open on Tuesday, what can we now expect for an offseason program?

Facilities can open but there are still restrictions in place for coaches and players until stay-at-home orders have been lifted in states housing the 32 NFL teams.

Trish from Columbus, OH

Willie Davis was a grandfather of Wyatt Davis, Ohio State's All-American right guard. Both Wyatt and his brother were very close to him. Wyatt has seen film of Willie and told the Columbus Dispatch, "Thank God I didn't have to play against somebody like that to this point."

I didn't initially see that but that is pretty awesome.

Jim from Tucson, AZ

Kudos to the Packers organization. Just before the league said it might do something about minority hiring of coaches, the Packers did it. No talk - action. This could not happen unless everyone with authority was on board. Of course, congratulations to Ruvell Martin. It's good to be a Packer fan.

We, as a league, still have a ways to go in creating opportunities for minority coaches, but credit to LaFleur and Mark Murphy for being forward-thinking with a year-long internship. I'm excited to see any doors this may help open for Martin.

Andy from Verona, WI

When their careers are both over, which player would you rather see a 10-part documentary about, Favre or Rodgers?

Probably Rodgers but what I want to see more than anything is a 10-part documentary on the '90s Packers - rebuild to revitalization.

Jason from Austin, TX

II, I have a quick question about your upbringing from the school of Ask Vic. Do you also subscribe to the "dime a dozen" philosophy regarding the WR tree?

I'm not familiar with it. I would say receivers are not a "dime a dozen" if that's what you're asking me. I once held that opinion of running backs but my stance has changed over the years after seeing what Eddie Lacy (in his prime) and Aaron Jones brought to the Packers' offense. Looking at Jones, specifically, he's changed a lot of opinions.

Dave from Huntsville, AL

Add extending the goal posts to the list Joseph from Ellsworth, WI, submitted, and it's clear the Packers have influenced rules changes more than any other team.

A franchise history spanning a century will do that.

Scott from Hamlin, NY

I don't understand the "adjust to the time zone" comments about West Coast games. The afternoon game is still at 3 p.m. CT, last I checked. Every week, the team has to adjust to the game time, everything else can stay on a Central time clock. Lights-out and wake-up could very easily still revolve around Central time for the Packers on the West or East coast. I'm sure the hotel will accommodate.

It's not the time zone in the literal sense. The statement refers to how far the team is traveling. A four-hour plane ride to California or Seattle takes a lot out of anyone, let alone an athlete expected to compete at the game's highest level the following day.

Kevin from Louisville, KY

Good morning, Wes. Yesterday, Spoff revealed he would have to choose between a couple of "Van Hagar" songs as his preferred walk-up music if he were an MLB player. I would have to go with something unexpected, like "Linus and Lucy" from Peanuts. What would yours be?

"Right Above It" by Lil Wayne.

Bill from Maple Grove, MN

I watched the EA Sports simulation of 2020 Packers vs. Buccaneers last night. Entertaining except for TB winning 28-21 on a 70-yard touchdown run with 20 seconds to go in the game.

Not that this has anything to do with your submission, but how about that dude winning the Super Bowl of "Madden" with an all-run offense and punter Tress Way as his QB?

John from Mount Prospect, IL

Looking at the number of Minnesota draft picks, it seems there is no way many of them stay with the team. It does give them more bites at the apple, but some of the selections are going to end up on other teams' rosters.

It'll be tough to find 15 spots on a 53-man roster for a draft class, so it's reasonable to expect a few of those draft picks will end up on other NFL teams. When the Packers had an 11-player class in 2013, they kept nine and sent Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey to the practice squad. A month later, Johnson signed with the Browns.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, while you both do a fantastic job as writers, have you ever had the itch to get behind the microphone full-time? And would you rather be the color guy or play-by-play? I'm pegging Spoff as play-by-play for MLB (we'll put you in Oakland to start), with Wes as the analyst in football, maybe a poor man's Aikman.

I did play-by-play for years at the Press-Gazette when we were livestreaming high school games. It's one of the hardest things I've ever done. I have so much respect for how easy Wayne, Larry and all the other aforementioned commentators make it look. I enjoy doing radio, though.

Michael from Toronto, Ontario

Getting football back in any capacity will be amazing. However, I'm pumped for another Raps-Bucks Eastern Conference Final, may the best team win!

If sports can come back this spring and/or summer in a safe and responsible manner, I would like to see the Bucks finish what they started. I'm not the biggest basketball fan but I know the way folks in Montreal view the 1994 strike year in MLB. I hope Bucks fans won't have to spend the rest of their lives wondering "what if" with this year's team.

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