Thu, 22 Oct 2020

Ryan from Carmel, IN

A rolling Wes gathers no Spoff. You can say that again!

As June arrives, no less.

Jason from Minneapolis, MN

Insiders, I don't have a question for you today. All I have is a plea for the readers of the Inbox. My wife and I, along with thousands of others in the Twin Cities area, have spent our day thus far cleaning the damage caused by the riots. The area where we are in Minneapolis is a surreal landscape. Buildings are still burning, and people, including many minorities, are now rendered homeless, with their livelihoods destroyed. Inbox, please, please. Never respond to violence with more violence.

Amen. I hope we can all agree on that. My heart goes out to your city and others in turmoil. Our country is in turmoil and we have to somehow find a way through this. If I had the answers, I wouldn't be sitting at a keyboard right now. All I know is we have to stay in touch with one another's humanity at all times.

Cliff from Brockport, NY

With about 40% of the roster not making the final cut, I wonder if some those low draft picks and UDFAs secretly wish the NFLPA contract rules regarding minimal contact and full suiting up during camp would just go away. These guys are fighting for their football lives and probably wish they could show their best with more contact and live play.

This league is about making the most of whatever opportunity you're given, and that framework doesn't change on Sundays, either.

Don from Aurora, CO

With AJ Dillon in the fold, I've heard many point to Jamaal Williams as the odd man out of the Packers' backfield, maybe as soon as this season. But if Aaron Jones' price tag is too high, is it crazy to think the Packers might just let him walk and instead keep Williams on a more affordable deal? He isn't the superstar talent that Jones is, but he's quietly been very good and I get the impression the coaches love him.

I've said before I don't realistically see both Jones and Williams in the Packers' backfield in 2021, but how exactly it shakes out is to be determined. I think if Jones agrees to an extension at some point, Williams will want to look elsewhere for his own career prospects. If Jones plays the season out and roughly copies his 2019 numbers, I could see other teams more interested in his price tag than the Packers with so many other key players' deals up.

Jason from Austin, TX

I'm sure this has been asked before, but can a team trade a player along with his dead-money cap hit? For example, let's say Team A wanted Player X from Team B. However, trading Player X would give Team B $10 million in dead money because of the guaranteed money in his contract. Could Team A propose a trade for Player X with an additional $10 mil in cash (that would count against Team A's cap) in order to alleviate the dead-money hit on Team B?

Nope. Dead money is money already paid to a player that must be charged to the cap when he's no longer on the team. No one else can absorb that cap hit because the player has collected the money. Any other guarantees in his contract not yet paid are assumed by his new team and its cap.

Larry from Jensen Beach, FL

I've watched every Green Bay quarterback from Bart Starr on. We all know about Brett Favre's durability. However, I believe that one of the most underappreciated aspects of Aaron Rodgers is his toughness. Perhaps because of his cerebral approach to the game. Your thoughts?

He gets a lot of credit for his brain, and deservedly so. But he's played through enough stuff over the years his toughness at the position takes a back seat to no one's in my book.

Patrick from Valrico, FL

I've got a funny feeling an Aaron will have a monster season for the Packers. My money is on the youngster, how about you?

The elder is a decent bet, too.

Rob from Muskego, WI

Nagy led the Bears to a 12-4 record and the playoffs his first season, then took quite a step backwards in his second season. Other than the obvious quarterback advantage, how will the Packers avoid following suit?

The Packers didn't compromise two years of drafts for one player like the Bears did. Green Bay has still been building through the draft. Since the Mack trade, the Bears laid all their team's improvement at the quarterback's feet, and now they're probably changing quarterbacks.

Renee from Green Bay, WI

Coach ML has said he needs to create more explosive plays. With a run-heavy offense, at least that is how I see the offense headed by what I hear, what does that mean? More long pass plays? Runs designed to have bigger gains? More gadget plays...?

Taking shots off play-action, for one. LaFleur doesn't want to run play-action just for show. He wants to have an offense that makes the defense believe those plays really are going to be running plays, and take advantage.

Daniel from Northridge, CA

I found an interesting stat: Rodgers needs only six more passing touchdowns in the playoffs to become second all-time in the postseason, with 46. Passing guys like Favre, Manning and Montana. Really hope he can accomplish that as a Packer.

Me, too. Forty TD passes in 18 playoff games is pretty darn good. I've always found it interesting his only postseason game without one was the lone NFC title game he won, when he ran for one and saved one going the other way.

Marc from Holmen, WI

Third from the end, antepenultimate. Fourth from the end, preantepenultimate. Fifth, propreantepenultimate (if used at all, mostly in phonetics). Ain't English grand?

So from now on I can say when the Packers qualified for the playoffs in the 2010 regular-season finale, it turned out to be their propreantepenultimate game that year? Awesome.

Zak from Verona, WI

Good Day II, a sports app on my phone recently ran a series ranking the top 100 uniforms across all sports. I don't usually pay much attention to such "list-icles," but this one was entertaining because the authors highlighted some absolute gems across sports throughout history. Besides the Packers' iconic and timeless kits, which are your favorite sports uniforms?

I've always been partial to the various powder blue baseball road uniforms of my youth and to the sweaters of the NHL's original six.

Matt from Irvine, CA

Can you walk us through Lane Taylor's decision to take a pay cut? Sometimes you see players take less money on future contracts to stay with their current team rather than make more in free agency, but it is rare to see a player agree to less money on their current deal.

I'd surmise he was told he'd be released if he didn't take a pay cut. Coming off a serious biceps injury, and not playing since Week 2 last year, he probably faced the prospect of nothing more than a league-minimum deal elsewhere. The Packers gave him a little more than that, plus incentives based on playing time. The team keeps a piece of solid, veteran depth, and he can earn more money if called upon and/or if he can beat out Turner at right guard. It was a sensible move for both sides.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

They freed up $3 million in cap space by restructuring Lane Taylors contract. Could this mean BG might be dabbling in free agency still?

The better bet is he's targeting the money to help re-sign some of his own.

Tim from Greensboro, NC

Morning Mike! Indubitably, tough decisions abound. Practically, since Day 1, Bak, Clark and Linsley have produced. You have three guys instrumental in 13-3, but have struggled staying on the field, Jones and King, or is a very important role player in Williams. If they all perform well again in 2020, I think five of them would be in for large free-agent deals. We know Gute is prioritizing Clark. Which of the others does GM Spoff try to extend? Can you reasonably keep two or three more?

I think it all depends on whether one or two extensions can be reached in the coming months as opposed to waiting until they all hit free agency. The more spread out the execution of the deals, generally the more flexibility in their structure cap-wise. That said, the uncertainty of league economics heading into this year and beyond could make it difficult for both sides to be constructing extensions now. It's really hard to say.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Being a very amateur photographer, I love Evan Siegle's photos and his descriptions of why and how he shot them. What is missing in his portfolio are pictures of our Dynamic II Duo providing us with information and inspiration also known as II. When can we expect these photos to be available or are you going to spring it on us as a surprise?

I'm not sure even Evan could make that entertaining, and that's by no means a knock on him.

Dominic from Manchester, UK

Why are people so bothered about getting the best record? In the last decade the team with the best record has only won the Super Bowl once. Get a ticket to the dance and get hot. It's not a regular-season league.

No league is anymore, really.

Dan from Leland, NC

Wes had an awesome response to Mark from Appleton regarding cliches, but he may want to tread lightly. You don't want to upset the apple cart or bite the hand that feeds you.

He even let Mark off the hook for saying if he were a writer he'd avoid cliches like the plague.

John from Yakima, WA

In your opinion, does the defenseless-player rule change cause the special teams coach to place emphasis on the fast but cleaner tackler vs. the fastest player in his selection of the "gunner'? Or does he need to select the best combination of speed and acrobat to avoid unintentional hits that trigger a "defenseless player" foul.

You still want to get down there and be in position to force a fair catch. The new rule could lead to fewer fair catches, though, so it's a matter of coaching the player to not only get there but be in a breakdown position ready to react.

Mike from Las Vegas, NV

So if the 2009 Packers did beat Arizona, they would have played New Orleans. If they win that game then it's at Minnesota against Favre for the NFC Championship...

Even though I've always wondered about how far the '09 team might have gone, I've also considered it a blessing in disguise a young Rodgers didn't have to face the bounty-hunting Saints in that postseason like Warner and Favre did. While he was at the peak of his escapability powers back then, I still shudder to think what might have happened.

Andrew from Vancouver, Canada

I would watch that movie...or at least a skit. Larry plays Doc, Wes plays Marty, Kuhn plays Biff, Mike plays young Doc.

I appreciate you not assigning me George McFly.

Adam from Glens Falls, NY

What silver linings could we find with empty stadiums? I'm imagining more cameras, more access. Maybe this will be the year when Packers fans never fortunate enough to attend a game can feel what it's like to have great tickets, sit in the hallowed bowl of Lambeau ... TV coverage is better than ever, but let's be new!

The possibilities for camera angles would be endless. I imagine TV producers would pounce on the creative opportunities.

Paul from Gorham, ME

Do the players know this Inbox exists? Do they care?

I honestly don't know, and I honestly doubt it. Happy Monday.

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