Wed, 23 Sep 2020

Inbox: It's going to take all of us

Packers
12 Aug 2020, 18:12 GMT+10

Here’s to a happy and healthy 102nd Packers season Wes Hodkiewicz

Mike from Saint Louis, MO

Happy Founders Day to all Packers fans! 101 years of football in Green Bay is truly remarkable.

An anniversary unlike any other in professional sports. Here's to a happy and healthy 102nd Packers season.

Mike from Pittsfield, MA

In your opinion do the Packers benefit from having a publicly owned franchise? It seems to me there's a layer of demand that is removed from the process during draft time and free agency which could potentially help or hurt a team. I think back on the terrible movie "Draft Day" when the owner demanded drafting the questionable QB over the sure-thing middle linebacker. Do owners throw a wrench into the plans of GMs, which hurts the team more often than not?

I'm sorry but what did you say about "Draft Day"? Those are fighting words around these parts, Michael. Who do you think you, are insulting the greatest movie (and love story, might I add) ever made about the opening night of the NFL Draft? You should be ashamed. I'll answer your question but please recognize the error of your ways. I do think the Packers largely have benefited from being a publicly owned franchise over the years, especially during these trying times. Football is a way of life in Green Bay. We are all in this together - players, coaches, executives, employees and the surrounding communities. This town needs football and it's going to take all of us to help make that happen this fall.

Cliff from Granville Centre, Nova Scotia

Medical test developers commonly set their test thresholds to ensure false negatives are acceptably rare (because of the inherent risk of missing an affliction), but this commonly raises the rate of false positives (which can be easily validated with replication). Given this, has the NFL provided any information about the expected probabilities of false-positive and false-negative tests they are using to screen players? If so, a simple replicate protocol can be developed to get players back ASAP.

This hasn't happened yet in Green Bay but the league adjusted its protocols following Matthew Stafford's false-positive. Any player who tests positive must still quarantine for 24 hours but now can be re-tested the following day to confirm the diagnosis.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

This may have been asked already, but it seems the Packers will be at a distinct disadvantage by not allowing fans for their first two home games/two months of the season. Are there any other teams taking this step? Is there any talk of the NFL trying to even the playing field, or is this a team-by-team decision?

As of right now, it's up to each team but I'm sure the NFL is watching closely.

Gary from Berwick, PA

Concerning Steve from Phoenix and his comments about Devin Funchess opting out this season, just an opinion, but I think Funchess opted out of the rest of his career. Not intentionally, of course, but with the way things change team by team in the NFL every year, there may be nowhere for him in 2021. You're not talking about one of the high-echelon receivers walking away for a season and then being happily welcomed back.

Your hypothesis could be correct but I think you're drawing the wrong conclusion. The NFL is a volatile business. Careers only last three years on average, but I don't think Funchess' situation differs from sixth-year veterans who are playing this season. It's a year-to-year league and you never know when it'll be over. That being said, Funchess has a contract for 2021 and will get a chance to restart his career next year if he so chooses. I can't see any reason he wouldn't be in an NFL camp one year from now. The guy is only 26.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, if the starting QB is "the man," then the backup QB is one of the most difficult positions to fill. I've been watching some old GB games (my training camp), and I'm amazed at how Matt Flynn was able to come off the bench and perform at a high level so frequently. So many men in GB (and elsewhere) have floundered when thrust suddenly into the QB role. Given the challenges of the upcoming season, the backup QBs could make or break a season.

For sure. That's why it's long been my contention the Packers will keep both Jordan Love and Tim Boyle on the roster this year. To be honest, I'd be shocked if any NFL team goes into the season with only two active QBs. You're one positive test away from needing your backup(s) to start the next two games and possibly more.

Doug from Westford, MA

Love the teddy bear idea. How about this addition: What if, post Leap, the bears or whatever stuffed animal the players choose, were auctioned off with the proceeds going to the player's favorite charity? Every player on the team could pick a leap target animal, and if said animal was leaped upon, then their charity would benefit and the announcers, players, and audience would have fun, too. Just a thought.

I've been putting my pen behind the idea of teddy bears in the end zone all offseason...or dragons, cats, dogs, horses, marmots, whatever. The Packers are free to run with it.

Kenton from Rochester, MN

I really enjoyed Wes's article on Allen Lazard. After watching Allen Lazard's interview, I couldn't help thinking what a serious, thoughtful, intelligent individual he seems to be. Is that truly his persona or does he have a more exuberant side to him when he's not being interviewed?

Lazard did some amazing things on the practice field last summer, but why I felt so strongly about his potential was the way he conducted himself in the locker room. He was tucked away in the auxiliary area reserved for undrafted free agents but carried himself like an established player. He just had this aura about him that the starting line didn't matter because he knew where he was headed. Over the years, there have been players who seemingly morph into different people when the camera lights come on but Lazard remains the same steady, confident, and well-spoken dude at all times. Davante Adams is like that, too.

Gary from Oconomowoc, WI

Have any of the Packers' receivers improved their route running? This is clearly the biggest problem (except for Adams). I can't find any specific info anywhere. Can you help - or steer me to a source? Thanks.

Can you ask this again next week after we've seen a practice or two? Right now, all I can tell you with the utmost confidence is which players have demonstrated the best hearing during Zoom calls.

Eric from Erie, PA

I want to go back to 2014, the New England Patriots draft Jimmy Garoppolo as the future heir apparent in New England. The idiot football talking heads do nothing but talk about Tom Brady's inevitable retirement/trade value, they talk about how he is approaching old age for QBs and that he is starting to fall off. AR12 wins the MVP, but Tom Brady wins the Super Bowl. Brady wins again two years later and Jimmy gets traded three years later. Here's hoping that history repeats itself for the Packers.

If Aaron Rodgers plays at an elite level the next four years and the Packers stay in championship contention, the Jordan Love pick will not lose any value. One way or another, it's an investment in the future.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

When GB traded up to draft Jordan Love, many in the media couldn't believe they gave up a late fourth-round pick to move up. I know every once in a while a fourth- or fifth-round pick can turn into a starter or even a star like Aaron Jones, but the reality is that the vast majority of those picks don't end up making an impact. It didn't seem too high a price to pay for a player that GB has confidence in.

My stance on draft picks has shifted over the last decade. I used to think they were as good as gold - a commodity that must be protected at all costs. However, I'm more on the other side of the argument these days. Don't get me wrong. You need draft picks to build a foundation of a team, but for every Aaron Jones there's a half dozen guys who don't even make the team. John Schneider has caught some grief over the years over how willing the Seahawks have been to part with draft picks but Seattle remains one of the league's most well-run organizations. If the Packers felt like it was worth it to move up four spots to get Love, then it was.

Wayne from Stevens Point, WI

Good day to you all. Thanks for this forum. It is a daily pleasure. In a normal year about 30% of active NFL players were undrafted, more than all the first- and second-round players combined that are active. Setting aside Willie Wood (who had injury problems in college) and Kurt Warner (who never actually took a snap for the Packers), who are the five best undrafted free agents for the modern-day Packers? New England had Wesley Walker. The Cowboys had Tony Romo. San Diego had Antonio Gates.

Using the past 20 years as my scope, I'd say Tramon Williams, Cullen Jenkins, Sam Shields, Ryan Grant, and John Kuhn.

Jason from Portland, OR

Which player are you most excited about seeing in training camp? Will younger players be tougher for the coaching staff to evaluate without preseason games?

I cannot wait to see AJ Dillon up close and also Spoff's guy Marc-Antoine Dequoy. I'm not a coach or scout but it's going to be harder for me to get a read on offensive linemen without preseason games. One-on-one drills help you see how guys stack up, but those longer preseason battles give you the barometer of what an O-lineman is capable of.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

Just curious as to your guys' thoughts on the timing of the college football players' push for a players association. Is this now more about money than a virus? I would think if they are really pushing for this in mid-August there is no way there is a college football season. Thanks guys, appreciate your work.

I think a players association is needed. The NCAA is a billion-dollar industry and college athletes should have a seat at the table. That being said, it's not as simple as the football players saying, "We want to play." The NCAA sponsors 24 sports, so where do you draw the line? Because it's my belief the only way to play is to have frequent testing and constant oversight. Not all 350-plus Division I programs have the resources to do that. It's a complicated issue without a simple solution.

Joe from Wausau, WI

There is serious talk that the Power 5 conferences could decide that fall football is not feasible in our current situation. If they move football to spring, does the NFL move the draft to summer? Or would they hold the draft while the college football season is still going on?

The NFL and NFLPA would have to figure that out. As it's currently written in the CBA, the 2021 NFL Draft can happen no later than June 2.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

If the NCAA decides to cancel the football season, next year's draft will be interesting.

To say the least.

Brian from Pensacola, FL

With the absence of preseason and joint practices this year, do you all think being on "Hard Knocks" serves as a disadvantage for the two LA teams' front offices while also potentially being an advantage to those at the bottom of the roster fighting for a spot this year? By that I mean, will the two LA teams technically be the only two teams to have public tape, thus making it harder to stash talent on a practice squad? Is this the first year Gute and company watch "Hard Knocks"?

Indubitably. I think I owe Spoff two quarters for using his word. There always is some cinematic subterfuge baked into "Hard Knocks," but without preseason games, I'm sure every NFL team will be paying a little extra attention to the show to try to get to know the unknown players on those two rosters a little more.

Cary from Sioux Falls, SD

Dave from Connecticut's question about who gets credit for starting a game based on the circumstances of where the ball is made me think of a comment by former Vikings coach Bud Grant. The local media was grilling him about why such-and-such player wasn't starting. Bud was getting a bit exasperated and finally said in that deadpan way of his, "Being a starter just means you're in on the first play of the game."

It's true. The only two positions where starts matter in my mind are quarterback and offensive line. Everything else is situational and circumstantial.

Scott from Hamlin, NY

"You need to wear a mask to protect yourself from the virus."

'No way, you can't force me to, I have FREEDOM!'

"You need to wear a mask to help the Packers."

'I'll wear three!'

OK, I laughed at that.

Rob from Muskego, WI

If you don't want to wear a mask to protect strangers, your family members, or yourself, do it so we can have an NFL season. What an odd statement that is.

And if you want to take selfishness to a whole different level, then just do it for yourself. So you can get back all the things you love in this world.

Gary from Hope Mills, NC

Whatever happened to Aaron Ripkowski? He seemed like he always did a good job. I thought they got rid of him because they were phasing out the fullback, but obviously not.

I saw he's now on Twitch.

David from Minneapolis, MN

Hey guys, a few shirts arriving today for you at 1265. Two laser goalpost ones and an "Indubitably" one for Mike. I designed them for my wife's Amazon/Etsy business. I know, shameful plug but she's a stay-at-home mom of four. I've been trying to kick off the business for a couple of months. Because of COVID and the competitive market, it's been tough. If you like them, she'll be reaching out through social media as sMailez, please give them a shout-out. Could really use the bump from you influencers.

They look fantastic. A job well-done to both of you. Inbox readers seriously are the best.

Peter from Lansing, MI

When they published the new rookie photos in their jerseys I noticed Josiah Deguara is wearing No. 81. My question is, if they decide to put him to fullback at some point down the line, would he have to switch numbers? If not, do you think a running back wearing a number in the 80s would be anything of note or would people just accept it and move on?

If I've learned anything over the past four years, it's that once a running back wears a number in the 80s, there is no moving on. You live in that world for eternity.

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