Sat, 25 Jun 2022

You have to be smart about how you attack a 17-game regular seasonWes Hodkiewicz

James from Ottawa, Canada

Is there any day more wretched than a Sunday in the dead zone? Knowing we are so close (but so very far) from training camp. And not even an Inbox to keep us warm. Bueller?... Bueller...?

I said the same thing to Pa Hod on Sunday evening. This is such a weird time but I'm also grateful for it (and no, not just because it means I don't have to work). I say that because you need some breaks built into the NFL calendar year. How can I miss you if you won't go away? However painful it might be, this downtime makes us all more appreciative once football is back.

John from Belleview, FL

We've talked about how signing undrafted free agents has helped attract more prospects to GB since they know there is a legitimate chance to make the team. With the signing of De'Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas to long-term deals after a one-year/prove-it contract, doesn't that serve to attract more good prospects to the team, as well? Maybe that's why Sammy Watkins chose to come? (Although catching passes from Aaron Rodgers has to figure into it, as well.) It seems guys hoping to prove themselves as starters would take a chance in GB.

I think so. To me, those past success stories send a message to the rest of the league that Green Bay is a place where free agents wanting to prove their worth will be put in a position to showcase their talents. Campbell and Douglas just needed the right opportunity and the Packers provided that. With the abundance of snaps available at receiver, Watkins is in the right spot to be next in line.

Michael from Novato, CA

Regarding the expectations for our defense, those who dinged our draft often cited the "reach" for Quay Walker, claiming they had him "rated much lower," "not as good as other options," etc. A few weeks later, some of these same outlets are seeing an improvement for our defense as Quay gives "two backers who can stay on the field for three downs." We'll see which is correct, of course, but it's interesting how perspectives can change after a tiny bit of reflection.

...which is why the first voice heard is rarely the one worth listening to. Like I've said before, I don't care what the skeptics think. It's been 16 years since the Packers have drafted an inside linebacker in the first round. They made Quay Walker that guy for a reason. Frankly, I haven't been this excited about a Packers rookie draft pick since Ted Thompson traded back into the first round in 2009 to draft Clay Matthews - and that was mostly because of the family name. Walker doesn't just give Green Bay a talented inside linebacker - he has the talent to be an all-around playmaker. Don't overthink this, folks. He's everything you look for in an NFL prospect.

Josh from Long Beach, CA

With the Cardinals game last year being, I believe, the only game we had without both Davante Adams and MVS, we scored 24 points. Taking that as a baseline, do you think if we averaged 24 points a game, that's enough to match our record from last year?

The Packers only gave up 21.8 points per game last year, and I'd expect this year's defense to be even better, so yes?

Steve from Middletown, KY

Good morning II. I'm curious about Isaiah McDuffie. He seemed to get a lot of attention after being drafted, but he hasn't seen much time on the field, at least on the D. Can you provide an update on him and where he stands with the team right now?

I'm kind of in the same boat you are, but what I do know is the kid brings his lunch pail to work every day. McDuffie is a football player. As Kirk Olivadotti said earlier this spring, McDuffie showed maturity beyond his years when he developed a cerebral and detailed plan for learning the playbook as a rookie. We haven't had many opportunities to see what McDuffie can do, but he's put a lot of time and effort into being ready whenever his number is called. With Ty Summers and Ray Wilborn vying for roster spots, that ILB competition is going to be one to watch in camp.

Gary from Richmond, VA

I can't come up with any good reason we would release Kurt Benkert unless it was done as a favor to him so he could compete for a backup role with another team. Being from Virginia, I have watched a lot of Benkert especially at UVA and this I know, the guy absolutely has NFL arm talent.

Football is a tough business, man. With Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love leading the offense in camp, there will be only so many snaps available to that No. 3 quarterback. The Packers liked Danny Etling enough to bring him in last year and evidently saw enough from him this spring to move in that direction.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Should we care about any of the moves at the bottom of the roster (second kicker, third or fourth quarterback?)

It beats "Is Draymond Green a top seven player?" and the other mumbo jumbo being peddled as news and banter on ESPN recently.

Rich from Manitou Springs, CO

You stated you hope none of the starters play in preseason. I've always looked at the first two games of the regular season as sort of preseason since the starters haven't played that much. Considering what happened last year against New Orleans, what makes you feel that the starters don't need to get some rust off before the start of the season? Starting on the road in Minnesota, division game, I hope they get at least some plays in. I'd hate to start 0-1.

To be perfectly honest with you, I see it as the total opposite. Last year reinforced for me that it doesn't matter if the starters play in the preseason. Sure, the Week 1 loss against the Saints stung but the Packers didn't lose that game because Aaron Rodgers didn't play a series or two against the New York Jets. They lost because the Saints were better on that day - and ultimately, the outcome didn't matter for either squad's season. The Packers will either win in Minnesota or they'll lose in Minnesota but there are two things I can promise you - they'll be as healthy as they'll be all season going into the game and whether Rodgers plays against New Orleans a month earlier will have zero impact on the outcome of the game. You have to take the ego out and be smart about how you attack a 17-game regular season.

Matt from Kolesin, Poland

Hi guys, thank you for your work. What is our biggest depth problem: safety, outside linebacker or cornerback? I'd put it just in that order and can't wait for experienced additions in first two.

I won't argue with that but also feel like a young safety and outside linebacker will rise out of those positional battles to contribute meaningfully to this defense. The Packers have the right amount of youth and potential behind the starters at those positions. It's likely none of the starters at either safety or outside linebacker will play in the preseason, so I expect someone like Kingsley Enagbare or Shawn Davis to make those snaps count.

Allie from Green Bay, WI

I've read that if Mason Crosby starts each game this upcoming season that he will at some point break Favre's record for most consecutive starts. What constitutes a start for a kicker?

Crosby is nearing Favre's team record for consecutive games played, not starts. Favre's record of 255 straight starts won't be broken.

Richard from Caledonia, WI

Good evening, what surprised you the most at minicamp? For us, we were pleasantly surprised that Aaron Rodgers made an appearance and worked with some of the new rookies!

For me, it was the other Rodgers. He obviously needs to carry that momentum over to camp, but I thought Amari Rodgers had an impressive spring. With so much talk surrounding Sammy Watkins and the rookie draft picks, I felt Rodgers reminded everyone he's still very much part of this wide-open battle for playing time at receiver.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

I'm really excited to see Christian Watson run an end-around at the NFL level.

He can do it, too. The preseason is going to be a lot of fun. Watson and Romeo Doubs really have a chance to shine during the exhibition season.

Todd from Marshfield, WI

As a new shareholder, I'm looking forward to attending the shareholders meeting, however I don't know how it works. Does the Packer organization send out invites? Are there tickets sent?

You should be receiving your tickets soon either through the mail or electronically (depending on how you filled out your forms). You can find the full details of the shareholders meeting here.

Shilo from Murrieta, CA

Was there truly anybody like Barry Sanders? When I think about dominant running backs, they're usually smash-mouth, or maybe they were really good at one cut and go, but Barry is the only true juker in the bunch.

Obviously, many NFL greats predate my 34 years but I've yet to watch anyone quite like Sanders in my lifetime. During an era of loaded boxes and defenses built to stop the run, Sanders dominated with speed, finesse and humility. Sanders was 60 minutes of electricity. Adrian Peterson is the only other running back who comes close in terms of being a ball-carrier worth the price of admission alone.

Andy from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Dead zone question: Do either of you have any pet peeve sayings you hear in this business, or answers you get from interviews? Mine is "....is as good as anybody/the next guy" that is used so too often. Generally, it is meant as a compliment in context, but if somebody is "...as good as anybody," that means that they are not any better than the next person. To me, it is not a compliment at all.

Mine is asking a player "How much confidence does (insert such and such scenario) give you?" Laziest question in journalism.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

Guys, if you could tailgate with any current Packer whom would you choose? For me, it would be David Bakhtiari (you know why, chug chug!).

And we officially have our 12th and final entry for Outsider Inbox. Thank you, Jeffrey...though I may need to use a "other than Bakhtiari" qualifier.

Jeff from Ripon, WI

Who was the last defensive player to win an MVP award - regular season or Super Bowl?

Von Miller (Super Bowl 50).

Keith from Cameron, WI

No question, but just a short comment. I knew reading II would pay off for more than receiving Packers information and insight from our generous and hard-working hosts as well as contributors to Insider Inbox. I want to thank John from Del Mar, CA, for expanding my vocabulary with his comment using the term opprobrium.

Ditto.

Brock from Waterloo, Canada

Just got my London game tickets! Looking forward to meeting some of the II folk during the week! Do you have an itinerary set up yet?

Nope. I hope to see you there.

Henry from Brown Deer, WI

Any thoughts of what we can do for the next month and nine days? I mean, you can only do so much yard work.

That must mean the USFL season is finally over. Welcome to the abyss.

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