Mon, 18 Jan 2021

The fire inside Jaire Alexander never goes out Wes Hodkiewicz

Kyle from Osceola, WI

If there is no game this weekend to wax poetic, what's Dean gonna do?

You're just gonna have to wait and see. Hey, don't scroll down! Don't you even dare. Wait, what are y...

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Congrats to the deserving Packers' All-Pros, especially Corey Linsley, whose time finally came. For those thinking there might've been a few possible snubs, the only guy I truly feel for is Darren Waller, who put up a magnificent year but, owing to Travis Kelce's unanimous selection, didn't get a second-team nod because that spot was deemed "vacant."

Linsley played his (hiney) off this year. There's no other way to put it. He's a complete player. He's reliable in pass protection but also athletic enough to get to the second level and block downfield in the run game. He's a leader, on and off the field. Seriously, there's no one more deserving than Corey Linsley. I do feel for Waller. As meaningful as it is for Travis Kelce to be a unanimous first-team selection, it's too bad it comes at the expense of Waller. I would suggest to the AP opening the voting back up on singular positions where a player is a unanimous selection. If Kelce were a receiver, five others would still receive All-Pro recognition.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

So let me get this straight, Corey Linsley is not selected as a Pro Bowl starter or alternate but is named first-team All-Pro. The All-Pro recognition seems to contradict and invalidate the Pro Bowl "honors." It just seems odd that a player gets first-team All-Pro but doesn't make the Pro Bowl. Also, between the two, isn't being an All-Pro better recognition than a Pro Bowl nod? Another reason why it's hard to take the Pro Bowl selection process seriously.

The same thing happened to David Bakhtiari. All-Pro is the more meaningful honor, in my opinion, but the Pro Bowl is usually the one tied into contract bonuses.

Jacob from Mason, OH

With Aaron Rodgers being the superstar he is, what are the odds he takes home the MVP?

I'd say the chances are favorable Rodgers claims his third MVP a month from now. The same AP voters who selected the All-Pro teams are those who vote on the NFL MVP and Aaron Rodgers received 46 first-place votes to Patrick Mahomes' two at QB. Derrick Henry received 47 of the 50 votes at running back, but you'd have to think Rodgers holds a sizeable advantage over Henry - especially after how that Week 16 game unfolded at Lambeau Field.

Linda from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Does AR being named NFC Offensive Player of the Month solidify his MVP Award?

It doesn't hurt. Rodgers had a 131.9 passer rating in the month of December. I mean, talk about finishing strong.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

How crazy is it that the Packers' passing defense finished the season ranked higher than their passing offense? Who would have thought?

It's really not that surprising. The Packers' pass defense has been one of the team's most consistent phases all season. Green Bay finished fourth in the NFL with just 39 completions allowed of 20 or more yards.

Blayne from Blaine, MN

Wes, "Mutumbo'ed"? I don't recall Krys Barnes waving the "No-no" finger at Teddy. That might be considered taunting by some zebras. Great article. Golden, in my opinion!

I made sure to get approval from Spoff before putting that in the story. I just couldn't resist.

Logan from Lamar, CO

Any update on how Bakh is doing health-wise? I wasn't sure if he has had surgery yet or how he's progressing. Prayers for a speedy recovery. Excited to get our blindside back next year!

No update there yet, but Bakhtiari appears to be in good spirits on social media. It was an unfortunate setback but if there's ever a guy who's going to come back sooner than expected, it's David Bakhtiari.

Steve from Aurora, WI

With the fortune of good health, the ultra-versatile Elgton Jenkins looks to be a perennial blue-chipper, but what do you think the Packers project his best position to be long term? Thanks.

I mean, he became a Pro Bowler faster than any Packers offensive lineman in the last 70 years while playing left guard, so that's my pick until proven otherwise. But he can play anywhere the Packers need him, including left tackle depending on how long it takes for Bakhtiari to get back.

Jacob from Eau Claire, WI

On Friday, David Bakhtiari's name was brought up as someone the locker room might rally around to try and get a ring for. How much do players in his situation value a ring earned without playing a single down in the playoffs? Clearly, he has put the work in and was an integral part of the Packers getting the No. 1 seed. However, when I put myself in that situation, I personally wouldn't value it as much as I would if it came after actually playing in the big game. Seems like a bittersweet situation.

Oh, they value it. Bakhtiari is very much a big part of what the Packers accomplished this season. It's not apples and apples but I think of Charles Woodson cheering on the Super Bowl XLV team after he broke his collarbone. If Green Bay wins it all, he should feel proud for everything he added to the team hoisting that Lombardi Trophy.

Dan from Rothschild, WI

When I called for some love for Mason Crosby getting a second ring, I was referring to another long-tenured Packer. Of course, I would love for the "Big Dog" and Bakh to get their rings.

I remember how much the 2014-16 Packers wanted to win a Super Bowl ring for Julius Peppers. Yet, somehow, it feels like this team wants to win a ring for Marcedes Lewis even more so. I've said it time and time again, he's the heartbeat of that locker room.

Chris (age 8) from Valparaiso, IN

Why are the Packers so good in the snow?

Good question, Chris. I just think they're built for those conditions with the run game and how they've developed their offensive line. It also doesn't hurt to have a future Hall of Famer who has seen and done it all over the last 13 years. Veterans also have had a few seasons now to adjust to the new turf at Lambeau Field.

Eric from Mequon, WI

When you are a shutdown corner like Jaire Alexander, how do you avoid getting bored? I remember Woodson was classic at making the coverage look open so they would throw the ball only for him to defend or intercept the pass. Do you think Alexander can get his game to this level or as a corner can you not play those games?

I've covered Jaire Alexander for three years now. I can assure you he doesn't get bored and that fire burning inside him never goes out. Plus, I know he wants to ramp up that INT total.

Michael from Winfield, IL

In the article about Damon Harrison, it mentions he turned down several claims until the Packers got him. How is it that a player can turn down a waiver claim? Wouldn't that break the whole waiver-wire process? Nobody would want to go play for the worst teams in the league.

Not if he's content to not play again. You gotta remember Harrison is 32 years old and was in no rush to sign with a team this season. He's accomplished a lot in this game but has only played in one postseason game (at Lambeau Field, coincidentally), so I don't think it's a big ask for him to chase a Super Bowl ring at this point of his career.

Dominic from Chesapeake, VA

Guys, how much noise can 6,000 fans make at Lambeau? Do you think it could be enough to disrupt the opposing team's offense? Regardless, I hope it's enough to bring additional energy to the team.

I know what it felt like inside Lambeau Field without fans the past four months. I think 6,000 is going to sound like 60,000 compared to that, especially after a big play.

Jeffrey from Sioux Falls, SD

Since UDFAs seem to be one of the latest topics of discussion, who do Spoff and Wes think are the all-time top 10 UDFAs for the Packers?

I'm not gonna lie...I'm ready for the weekend, Jeff, so we're gonna limit this to my time covering the Packers (2012-present) full-time: Tramon Williams, Ryan Grant, Sam Shields, John Kuhn, Lane Taylor, Robert Tonyan, Allen Lazard, Evan Smith, Jarrett Bush and Barnes.

Daryl from Helena, MT

With Krys Barnes an undrafted rookie, is he on a one-year contract? Is there a risk he could be a free agent at the end of the season?

Undrafted rookies remain under the control of the team they signed with for three years. A UDFA can only sign with a team of his choosing if he A) is released and clears waivers, B) signs an offer sheet as a restricted free agent after three NFL seasons or C) becomes a vested veteran (four accrued years).

Dennis from Parrish, FL

Dominique Dafney was asked if he will brag more about rushing for 255 yards in college, catching his first touchdown pass, or drilling a kick returner minutes after the touchdown. He chose the big hit to prove he was tough! Our kind of player! I hope he has 50 more big hits and 30 more touchdowns!

Dafney doesn't just pack a punch - he relishes packing a punch. That mentality can keep an undrafted free agent in the league for a long, long time.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

In Dafney, we have another QB who transitioned to TE as a pro. Are there enough cases now to label this a trend? Find an athletic QB who isn't good enough to be a pro QB and transition him using your practice squad?

I want to clear something up on this - Dafney wasn't a quarterback. He was a receiver who stepped in as a wildcat QB because of injuries during the final month of his senior year at Indiana State. That being said, Green Bay has done a fantastic job of finding players who might have been miscast or underrecruited at the college level and developing them.

Randy from Sterling, IL

The entire interview you all posted with Dominique Dafney made me smile. A young man with his head screwed on straight and a real love of football. How did that Q&A strike you?

It was one of the most fun Zoom calls we've had all season. I know I catch a lot of flak for promoting "underdog" stories, but one reason I enjoy those the most is you're dealing with ordinary people accomplishing very extraordinary things. As Rodgers said earlier this week, that's the beauty of this game.

Phil from Tucson, AZ

Now that the regular season is over, what impact did not having preseason games have on the Packers? Other than maybe defense, I don't see a negative impact.

*It reinforces why Rodgers and established veterans probably don't need to play in the preseason. At the same time, I think it would've benefitted Tim Boyle, Jordan Love and all the young players on the bubble greatly to get that work. *

Bruce from Middleville, MI

Good morning! I feel that we should all hope Washington wins against Tampa Bay. That way we play the (worst record) and New Orleans and Seattle have to duke it out, providing the Bears and Rams lose. What do you think?

Makes sense.

Tony from Pewaukee, WI

Hi Wes! I'm a longtime reader going back to the Ask Vic days, and I love how you and Mike have continued the Inbox! I read it almost every day. The other main Packers-related media I follow is Tom Grossi's YouTube channel. It was so great to see two of my favorites team up. That made my day! How long have you known about Tom, and have you watched his NFC/AFC East family videos? They're pure gold. I hope you find his hat and that I get to see you and Tom do another podcast sometime soon!

I had an absolute blast doing Tom's Packast. It was one of my favorite interviews I've ever done. I've known about his videos for probably the last two years, I'd estimate. He has such an infectious personality that it makes the show a lot of fun. Now, I just need to come through for him on that hat.

Mitch from Mundelein, IL

Wes, it was great to see you talking with Tom Grossi on his channel! A great message that you said really struck a chord with me. Enjoy what is in front of us right now, the Packers are the No. 1 seed, with a future HOF QB, and an overall great roster of talent. Let's enjoy this weekend of playoff games while the Packers get a well-deserved rest.

I mean it, too. I know it's fun to talk about the offseason and what lies ahead. But this team before you has a 1-in-8 chance of achieving greatness. Enjoy it...because these moments are not guaranteed.

Jeanette from Roscoe, IL

Not a question just a comment. Like many people, I have spent all of 2020 at home due to COVID-19 as well as caring for a senior pet. For one day a week for 17 weeks, I have been able to enjoy football due to the extraordinary efforts put forth by everyone in the Packers organization. Thank you! If you can, please give a special thanks to the players who have thrilled me all season with their spectacular talents. Also, a big shout-out to both of you at II and GOPACKGO!

Thank you, Jeanette. Your kind words mean a great deal.

Allen from Birmingham, AL

II: I get a smile thinking about Rodgers this weekend, watching the playoffs. I envision him in a heated massage chair, sipping a scotch as he studies defenses. I would say he's taking notes, but I suspect he's just filing it all in that mental supercomputer. May he have a relaxing, productive weekend!

And who doesn't love a good heated massage chair?

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Rest and recover,

The field risks defeat and wear,

Is Dean in the house?

No...but Bruce is!

Bruce from Jackson, WI

Morning Wes & II, another day brings my first entry into the Saturday poem submissions.

Call it a dream,

Or the ultimate goal.

But I believe this team,

Will win the Super Bowl.

I can hear some saying,

There is a lot to be done.

Including 180 minutes,

That has to be won.

So get on board,

The Green & Gold Express.

Along with the D-train,

You've read about in the press.

With LaFleur at the helm,

And Rodgers' passes flying.

It's not out of the realm,

Another Championship is arriving.

May you all have a wonderful, safe and enjoyable weekend. My advice is to take it easy because the butterflies in your stomach likely will be hitting full blast a week from now.

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