Wed, 29 Jun 2022

Inbox: There's no ceiling to Rashan Gary's game

Packers
24 May 2022, 18:12 GMT+10

Randall Cobb is one of the best mentors a young receiver could ever ask forWes Hodkiewicz

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi Wes, I'd like to help Dennis from Ottawa, IL, about getting a copy of the Insider Inbox Instruction Manual. Those fortunate few of us that are blessed with one - hold onto them religiously, and since they are copyrighted, it cannot be shared. However, it can be read online at the website for the Library of Congress. The LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number) is: GBP88. I'm always glad to help out a fellow Inboxer. Have a great week, Wes!

It's gonna be a great week. I can feel it...or at least I'm going to convince myself of it.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Mike, which positions will be the hardest to crack the 53-roster this year after current roster, free agency and the draft?

He's not here. Mike...isn't...here. Mike went away. Mike's gone.

Mickey from Park Falls, WI

With all the new premium draft picks in the front seven and the Packers' commitment to re-signing defensive starters, Rashan Gary's growth and development has been a quiet topic. Do you guys believe he is headed for a monster year of production?

It's funny. While researching the story I wrote this morning on Christian Watson, I revisited the 2016 college football recruiting class. Rashan Gary was No. 1 by 24/7 Sports that year - like No. 1 in the entire country. From a pure athleticism standpoint, Gary is the cream of the crop, the 1% of the 1% - and he's now starting to put it all together. There's no ceiling to Rashan Gary's game. That's scary to think about for opposing QBs.

Ben from Chicago, IL

The Packers had a clear tradition of No. 1 wideout passing along the inside scoop to younger receivers: Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams...is Randall Cobb now serving in that role?

Cobb has been doing that for a long, long time. All eyes were on Davante Adams the past few years because of how much of a force he'd become, but Cobb is one of the best mentors a young receiver could ever ask for. He'll wear that hat proudly this season.

Dave from Germantown, TN

There has been a lot of talk as to who plays the slot defender on defense and who is the third safety. Given Rasul Douglas' ability to read the QB and react, do you think there is a chance that the Packers develop a defensive lineup that puts Douglas in the safety position?

No, the Packers have enough safeties. I think last year showed Joe Barry would prefer to play Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage as the deep safeties 100 times out of 100. Rasul Douglas was re-signed to play corner. Your guess is as good as Spoff's as far as who lines up in the slot out of the Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes and Douglas trio, but those three are the corners.

David from San Antonio, TX

Wes, do you think with the changes in personnel that Joe Barry may dial up more blitzes this year?

I do. While I think Barry would love nothing more than get consistent pressure with a four-man front, he also likes to get creative with his entire linebacker unit. That's one area where I think Quay Walker can help the Packers right away.

Jeff from Eau Claire, WI

Any comments on some of our new receivers?

I like 'em, and I like that all four (if you include Sammy Watkins in that equation) offer something different. I don't know what the Packers' receiver depth chart is going to look like four months from now - but I know it's going to be a wide-ranging menu of playmaking options on the perimeter.

Jerad from Fitchburg, WI

Of all the receivers on the roster, which do you think has the best skill set to catch back-shoulder throws ala Jordy?

Allen Lazard, if he lines up more on the perimeter this year. It also was interesting last week listening to Jason Vrable talk about how Watkins "plucks" the ball out of the air. I'm eager to watch the ninth-year vet this spring.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

When the Packers reworked Aaron Rodgers's contract, that was a tacit admission Jordan Love ain't ready to be "The Man." What indicators should we look for from Love, Tom Clements, Matt LaFleur, and Brian Gutekunst that situation has changed, or not?

You sure Rodgers reworking his contract didn't have something - maybe even more - to do with the fact the league's back-to-back best player still wants to play ball? You're going to read plenty about Love in the weeks and months to come. That should provide ample "indicators" for the preconceived notions you need galvanized.

John from Salt Lake City, UT

Gents, lots of chatter from the coaches this week regarding Amari Rodgers. He's immediately become my "player to watch" in OTAs.

It sounds like he's looking great, physically. I'm sure most of you have heard the story Vrable told about Cobb being excited with how Rodgers has looked during the early portion of the offseason program. That's high praise.

Steven from Franklin, TN

I was amazed at how well Yosh Nijman played last year. Do most in the know believe he can continue to get even better and be the stud he was at the end of the year at RT?

I think so. Yosh is going to have to earn the job, but he's had the tools since the very beginning. The difference is how he's put them all to use to develop into the tackle he is today.

David from La Crosse, WI

One last question about Green Bay playing in London. I understand not wanting to give up a home game to play internationally, but how did the Packers avoid being the "visiting" team for one of these matchups? Was it just dumb luck or could the team refuse all international play?

Road teams didn't want to move the game against the Packers because it was a guaranteed sellout. I originally thought a relocating team that's building a new stadium could be forced into doing it (e.g. LA Chargers in 2019) but it turns out those teams have the option to protect one game...and voila...the Packers played inside a 29,000-seat soccer stadium in Carson.

Ryan from Crooked Lake, WI

I can't help but think the NFL and/or the Packers dropped the ball on the international game. With Wisconsin's deep-rooted German bloodlines, how could they not be headed to Munich? The Packers. Munich. and Oktoberfest seems like a match made in heaven, no? Could they have requested that? America's team and Germany's team?

They'll get there, Ryan. And perhaps sooner than the next rotation in eight years if the NFL steps in and makes a team with a ninth regular-season home game host the Packers in Germany. But Green Bay needed to go to London first. The Packers were the only NFL team that hadn't yet played in the UK. It needed to happen.

Glen from Bellevue, WI

While watching a missed episode of the "100 Greatest Players in NFL History" on the NFL Network, they stated cornerback Mike Haynes was actually a WR at Arizona State but was playing behind John Jefferson. Because he was such a great athlete, Haynes was converted to CB and the rest is history. Given the success of converting Sam Shields to CB, are the current coaches confident they could have something working Kabion Ento and Rico Gafford? This could work with fullback conversations to linebacker, as well.

Gafford has played cornerback in the past, so it's not a total surprise the Packers are giving him another look there. As far as Ento is concerned, the organization has made a two-year commitment to moving him to cornerback. He wouldn't be here if the Packers didn't feel like there's serious upside there. Ento made a case for a roster spot last spring before some missed tackles in the preseason. Now, it's up to him to show how far he's come over the past year.

Jackie from New Freedom, PA

Why did the Packers release JJ Molson?

Rich Bisaccia mentioned last month the Packers only wanted to take two kickers into training camp. It's too cumbersome trying to get three kickers reps during the summer.

Nicholas from Baltimore, MD

Can't believe that some people don't consider foreign fans as "real" football fans! I double as an American soccer fan, and I know the struggles of waking up at 5 a.m. to catch an English Premier League match. Hearing about these fans watching games at all hours of the night from across the world is incredible dedication. Far more than anyone rolling out of bed and walking across the street to the stadium. Just my two cents.

Absolutely. We love our international fans. They are no different than you or me. Now, let's all move on in a constructive manner. Packers fans are Packers fans.

Tom from Ashland, WI

Blaise Winter is a really good answer, but I think the best name for the job should go to linebacker Ron Acks, 'nuff said.

This was a popular answer that required me to use the Google machine to learn more. I'm intrigued.

Ed from Tampa, FL

Hold on. The Packers think outside the box? I guess thinking outside the box in Wisconsin is quite different than the rest of the world. I am not aware of any thinking outside the box since Lombardi was coach. None.

Then you missed a lot, Ed. I feel sorry for you.

David from Los Angeles, CA

Hi Wes, I enjoyed the Tim Masthay interview. I reviewed his career stats and there didn't seem to be any falloff during his time with the Packers, yet despite being only about 29 years old at his release, no other team provided him an opportunity to continue his career, or so it seems. What can you add to this?

Punting is a tough gig, man. The competition is fierce and there are only 32 jobs. It doesn't often require a backup or a playbook. But Tim is one of the all-time great humans I've come across in the Packers' locker room. He was one of the first to reach out and offer his congratulations after I made the job from the P-G to the Packers in 2016.

Kurtis from Port Washington, WI

Good day, sirs. On my edition of the "II Rules of Conduct," the first three rules compel the question submitted to: 1) II rules will not be disclosed. 2) II rules will not be disclosed. 3) This document is not to be reproduced in any form.

(Soon appearing on an online auction site near you!)

It looks like we hit our monthly quota on "Fight Club" references.

Bill from Hillsville, VA

You brought your 'A' game Friday, Boss Hod. Three laugh-out-loud moments got me chastised by my bride, who was trying to sleep. Thank you!

I'm sorry for waking your wife.

AJ from Rio Rico, AZ

Hi Wes, I saw Insider Inbox manual next to that thing at a garage sale somewhere on the East Coast.

Better than finding it at the landfill, I suppose.

Shilo from Murrieta, CA

Weston Hodkiewicz! I lived in Winnipeg for a year, and that's just as much Central time zone as Green Bay. What's the real story about Mike missing the bus in Winnipeg?

I could tell you but then Spoff would start stealing my breakfast, too. There's only one man who knows the real story and he's currently on an undisclosed beach in Florida.

Bob from Honolulu, HI

Please be brutally honest: I can take it. Have I hurt my chances of having questions answered by moving from Neenah to Honolulu?

We love you whether you're Bob in Neenah or Bob in Honolulu. Plus, Spoff now has a place to stay when he's in Oahu. So, he's got that going for him...

Jeff from Muskego, WI

Who do you think improved themselves the most in our division?

The Packers. Have a great week, folks.

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