Sat, 25 Jun 2022

Inbox: Packers have run their share

Packers
21 Jun 2022, 18:12 GMT+10

Every year has its challengesMike Spofford

Dave from Bakersfield, CA

What is your favorite kind of cheese?

Melted.

John from Fairbanks, AK

Mike/Wes, Happy Juneteenth! During this down time I found myself watching some of the U.S. Open. They were using what appeared to be laser goalposts to show the target line for some shots. It's obvious that some of those network folks read II. Surely this brings us closer to Wes achieving the II goal?

Father's Day, the U.S. Open and laser goalposts all converged Sunday. I hope all the dads had as enjoyable a day as I did.

Steven from Alexandria, MN

PFF last week ranked Green Bay's defensive line as the third best in the league, ahead of teams like San Francisco and the LA Chargers. While I think most of us would agree that we have a solid D-line, being in the top three (to me) seems more like an optimistic projection than fact. Am I too pessimistic or could a legitimate case be made that we have a top three defensive line even before this season starts?

A top three ranking for a group that hasn't proven it seems a bit much, but - assuming PFF includes edge rushers on its defensive line - Rashan Gary's trajectory plus the addition of a first-round pick in Wyatt probably has a lot to do with it. I don't get into comparing to other teams much, but I will say the current top five on the Packers' interior D-line (Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Devonte Wyatt, Jarran Reed, T.J. Slaton) is as deep or deeper than I can recall in some time, and Smith and Gary make a solid pair of starting edge rushers. The depth at that spot remains a question mark, though.

Marin from West Lawn, PA

Are the Packers planning on scheduling joint practices with another team during this year's training camp?

Yes, the Saints are coming to Green Bay during the week leading up to their preseason game at Lambeau.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Understanding this is the time of year for expectations, and everybody has them, I cannot truck with naysayers. I believe this team has more potential than last year's team. The changes in the coaching staff along with the additions to the roster will net a better team. Mark my words. And if I am proven wrong, I will do pushups.

Last year at this time, the Packers had to replace an All-Pro center, knew they'd go a large chunk of the season (at minimum) without their All-Pro left tackle, and had a ton of unknown at inside linebacker. This year, as mentioned in Saturday's column, the biggest items are the post-Adams world and several top-flight performers returning from major injuries. Every year has its challenges, and every year proving whether or not they've been met happens on fall Sundays.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hello Mike, I've always heard that a pass to a running back was called a checkdown, meaning that the QB had passed (pun intended) on his primary reads to receivers. Is it unreasonable to think that this year we might see pass plays to a RB where they are the primary receiver? I'd love to see a pass to Jones with Dillon, Bakhtiari and Lazard blocking out front.

There are plenty such plays in LaFleur's playbook and the Packers have run their share. Could I see them running more of those this year? Sure.

Matt from Keswick, VA

Hello Insiders! How many Packers make the NFL top five salaries for their position? Excluding you two, of course.

Ha, don't we wish. There are three based on APY at their position - Rodgers, David Bakhtiari and Jaire Alexander. Three others (Clark, Aaron Jones, Mason Crosby) are 500K or less APY from cracking their respective top fives.

Tom from New Braunfels, TX

I have a bit of experience with ACLs and surg/rehab. I'm quite worried that if 69 is not ready to even practice in these light minicamp activities out a year plus following S/R, despite the "we are being careful with him" lines, there is an ongoing issue.

A lot of folks are making assumptions regarding Bakhtiari. I'm not going to do that. If there's something to know, we'll eventually know it.

Mark from Boston, MA

I enjoyed the Inbox's Saturday response to each division's best quartet of quarterbacks (prompted by a question about the AFC West amazing QB group). I agree with most of your picks, but you got to concede that the NFC East group of Staubach, Tarkenton, Jurgensen and Hart is the best. Three of those were no-brainer Hall of Famers. Can't count out that the current AFC West group might match, if not exceed, that of the NFC East grouping.

The three HOFers definitely stand out, but as I mentioned in the initial response, it's tough to make a definitive call on the best group because of where the various QBs were in their careers at the time. In the early '70s, Staubach was barely getting started and Jurgensen was way past his prime. But it is interesting a trio of Canton-bound QBs were in the same division together.

Will from Milwaukee, WI

Good morning Insiders. I know I am not the only one surprised and a little confused about the release of Kurt Benkert. He seemed to do everything asked of him, and he was well liked in the locker room. This league is truly brutal for the vast majority of extremely talented athletes. Any insight into why he was released, or what else could be done to keep that QB3 slot?

Folks are obsessing a bit too much over the QB3 position when there's a four-time MVP and first-round pick ahead of him. Benkert came across as a genuine, likeable guy who made a decent impression last year, and I wish him the best in whatever the future holds. But I don't know any specifics behind the decision. Perhaps they saw something in Danny Etling and would like to give him a longer look. Or they've decided they're only keeping two QBs on the 53, so they released Benkert as a courtesy to give him a better chance to make a roster elsewhere.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

Did you see Bruce Smith's comments on Tony Boselli getting into the Hall of Fame? Any thoughts on what was said or his candidacy itself?

My only question regarding Bruce Smith is why? I don't understand why he'd feel compelled to say/publish what he did. Boselli deserves far more respect than that and should be commended for taking the high road.

Bill from Wylie, TX

Do you think that Donald Driver and Sterling Sharpe will ever get elected to the Hall of Fame? Michael Irvin made it and Donald Driver had a lot better stats, and Sharpe was just better period.

We've talked about Sharpe many times in this space, and I do believe now that players with shorter careers are getting recognized, the Hall's senior committee will take up Sharpe's case at some point. Regarding Driver and Irvin, I'm not sure which stats you're comparing. In 14 seasons, Driver had 743 catches for 10,137 yards and 61 TDs, making three Pro Bowls. In 12 seasons, Irvin had 750-11,904-65, was named All-Pro three times (one first team, two seconds) and made five Pro Bowls. He averaged 2-plus yards per catch more than Driver for his career.

Jeff from Muskego, WI

Do you think the starters should play more or less in the preseason games?

I hope they don't play at all.

Jackie from New Freedom, PA

Are there any current players who have always been a Packer and never played for any other team, beside Aaron Rodgers?

Of the Packers with at least five accrued seasons, those who have been in Green Bay their entire careers are Rodgers, Crosby, Bakhtiari, Clark, Lowry and Jones.

Michelle from Ringgold, GA

Who do you think will make the biggest impact for the Packers this year?

There are any number of ways to respond to that question, but barring unforeseen disaster, if six months from now the answer is Rich Bisaccia or any of the first three draft picks, that would bode very, very well for the Packers.

Craig from London, UK

Hi II, thank you for all the hard work. For the first time in a little while, I'm quietly confident that we could potentially have a top-five defense. We showed last year how good our secondary is against the pass, and now with the drafting of Wyatt and the acquisition of Jarran Reed I believe that our run D could now no longer be the "obvious" weak link. How do you see us doing against the run?

I'm not going to make any major proclamations in June, but I would be surprised if the Packers allow 4.7 yards per carry again like last year.

Bil from Stateline, NV

In the discussion of fearsome backs, the Pack has had a few over the years, themselves (a couple guys named Hornung and Taylor, Travis Williams, Ryan Grant, Eddie Lacy come immediately to mind). The thing about Payton, Sanders and Peterson was their longevity. To be dominant for a few seasons is one thing, but to be dominant over an entire career is what puts them in a class by themselves.

You've essentially described the difference between a Pro Bowler and a Hall of Famer. There's great, and then there's all-time great.

Christopher from St. Louis, MO

So all this talk of RBs that strike fear got me thinking. One: It's pretty cool this division has had three of the top five RBs all-time play within the past 40 years. Two: The Packers have never had one but a couple fear-causing QBs (maybe you've heard of them). Which QB do you think has caused the most fear for each team?

I'll give you the won-loss records as starters against each (including playoff matchups) and let you decide. Rodgers is 22-6 vs. the Bears, 18-6 vs. the Lions and 16-10-1 vs. the Vikings. With the Packers, Favre was 22-10 vs. the Bears, 25-9 vs. the Lions and 17-15 vs. the Vikings.

John from Livermore, CA

There are a lot of new head coaches in the league this year. Who intrigues you the most?

Well, I'm biased toward seeing how Nathaniel Hackett does in Denver, and he's getting an established, upper-tier QB in Russell Wilson, which often isn't the case for new head coaches. Brian Daboll with the Giants also has piqued my interest because of his involvement with developing Josh Allen and that offense in Buffalo.

Tom from Walker, MI

Will an UDFA make this team?

History says you can just about count on it.

John from Del Mar, CA

At the risk of incurring the opprobrium of the Inbox for my math, do I have it figured correctly that Spoff will be hitting the big 5-0 this October? If so, hopefully it doesn't fall on a game day.

Thankfully, it doesn't.

Matt from Anchorage, AK

Not a question, but a couple comments. I've been reading for years and have always enjoyed the column as a way to wind down. I'm a police officer and I've used the column as a way to destress after rough calls. Now I'm in the hospital after the birth of our second son, he's asleep, wife is asleep, and here I am sacrificing sleep to catch up on the II I've missed the last two days because I enjoy reading it so much before I myself go to sleep. Thanks to you guys and the whole Packers media crew.

Thanks to you for your public service, and congrats on the new addition.

Steve from Portsmouth, UK

You're still here? It's over. Go home.

Happy Monday.

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