Terry from Woodbridge, VA
Wes, I enjoyed reading your comments, well thought out and great detail. While our O-line is considered one of the best entering 2016, do we have enough depth for the inevitable injury bug that impacts every NFL team?
Thanks, Terry. Hope you guys can bear with me at the start. Trying to find the right length and rhythm in my responses. To your question, I really do believe the Packers are fortified well on the offensive line. They didn’t leave any stone unturned this offseason after what happened in 2015, particularly with their options at left tackle. You never know how things will play out until the regular season arrives, but they are as stocked as any offensive line in the league with two rookie draft picks and four experienced reserves returning.
Greg from Danbury, CT
Wes, Mike: Vic has observed that Russell Wilson will become the new prototype QB. He's a runner, for sure, but he's also developing into a pretty fair pocket passer. I'd like your take on the future of the QB position, with the obvious eye to the type of guy who will eventually succeed Rodgers.
I get what Vic is saying, though I’d argue Rodgers is the gold standard for quarterbacks who are both accurate and mobile. It’s difficult to develop and sustain top-level offensive lines. Just too many variables on top of salary-cap considerations. It’s a testament to Wilson what he accomplished last year with all the issues Seattle had on its offensive line. Regardless, Rodgers’ biggest strength is his ability to break down a defense with his feet. The longer you can keep a play going, the more difficult it’s going to be for a defense to stop you.
Stephen from Cedar Falls, IA
What do you think John Crockett and Aaron Ripkowski can bring to the Packers’ passing game?
If Ripkowski’s 18-yard catch against the Panthers is any indication of what he’s capable of, watch out. I think it was Bené Benwikere whom he knocked out of his cleats on the run-and-catch. Strong kid who looks the part. Excited to see him in the preseason. I haven’t seen Crockett much in the passing game, but I think he had like 30 catches for 400 yards at North Dakota State as a senior.
Josh from New Berlin, WI
Mike and Wes, you guys should grow mustaches like Rodgers did in his early seasons. Give the people something to talk about other than Vic.
I would, but I can’t grow facial hair. At least, anything that resembles facial hair.
Bill from Oskaloosa, IA
Mike/Wes: I am very excited about the Hall of Fame preseason game! Hundley versus Tolzien.
That’s a great point that I hadn’t even really considered until now, Bill. If it works out that way, it will be interesting to see the former teammates match wits on the field. Everyone talks about Rodgers’ influence on Hundley, but Brett talked extensively this offseason about how much he learned from Tolzien’s preparation when it comes to handling the No. 2 job.
Dylan from Paramus, NJ
If Clay Matthews moves back to the outside and Nick Perry is there as well, what are they planning to do with Peppers?
Monitor his snaps. I thought the Packers did a much better job taking care of Peppers last season than 2014. I completely understand why they played him as much as they did two years ago, but I think you have to be careful with how often you deploy a 36-year-old pass-rusher. The Packers’ depth at pass-rusher not only allowed them to use Matthews inside last season, but it also enabled them to keep Peppers fresh through all 18 games. I like the options the Packers have with Kyler Fackrell, Datone Jones, Jayrone Elliott and Lerentee McCray competing for spots behind the three rushers you mentioned.
Justin from Titonka, IA
Would you be surprised if the Packers kept seven receivers on the roster this year?
No, I wouldn’t be. If the Packers stick with two quarterbacks and one fullback on the final 53, they’ll have two extra roster spots that they didn’t have last year. Thompson and McCarthy have proven they aren’t averse to keeping extra players at deep positions. Plus, Randall Cobb, Ty Montgomery and even Jared Abbrederis have tweener characteristics and can be used in more ways than just slot receiver. It’s only my opinion and you have to let the preseason play out, but I don’t think keeping seven receivers is out of the realm of possibilities.
Taurean from Kalamazoo, MI
Hey Wes, I wanted to know. Who is your favorite player of all time? Mine is Brett Favre.
Easily LeRoy Butler. I was a huge fan of his growing up. I still have my copy of the Green Bay Press-Gazette from the day he retired. As much as I enjoyed him as a player, LeRoy is one of the most extroverted, fun-loving human beings I’ve been around. Really liked Cullen Jenkins, too. Just something to be said for those undrafted free agents who develop into 10-year players.
Kevin from Rice Lake, WI
Hey Wes, as much as I cherished Vic, it's nice to get a perspective of someone the same generation as me. What do the Packers need to do to be kings in the North this year?
I’m not too concerned about the offense if Jordy Nelson comes back healthy from the knee injury. I know everyone is a year older, but he and Cobb are also only two seasons removed from an historic campaign. To prevail, I look more towards the defense taking another step. They were good last year, but can they be dominant? I really dig the potential of Matthews, Peppers and Perry on the top of the outside linebacker depth chart.
Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica
Hi Wes. When you were a kid, did you ever take your bike to the Packers' training camp and have one of the players ride it?
I didn’t. I was raised about 20 minutes north of Green Bay, but didn’t really have the resources to get down here for camp. I’m an only child and both of my parents worked. Spent most of my summers chasing havoc in Suamico, WI.
Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI
Too slim at QB, one development issue or hiccup and we have one or zero experienced QBs on the roster. Why not a veteran insurance guy during camp at least?
It’s Brett Hundley’s time to shine. If you brought in a veteran, you’d only be taking away snaps from a young prospect who played well beyond his years last summer. The kid can play. If disaster strikes, then you can go get a veteran like the Packers did in 2013 with Matt Flynn. I also think teams have to be mindful of how much you’re paying a backup quarterback. Once Tolzien left for Indianapolis, I think this was the only way for the Packers to proceed.
Nathan from Scottsdale, AZ
Did Vic leave either of you with tips for running the column, like watch out for Brett, or only answer Margo with cryptic movie quotes?
I didn’t find any notes in my desk, but Vic is only an e-mail away if I need any suggestions on how to handle y’all. I think the beautiful thing about this column is we’re all being ourselves. There’s no fabrication.
Willie from Hayward, WI
When a practice-squad-eligible player gets cut he must clear waivers to land on a practice squad. Can a player decline a waiver claim to be placed on the 53-man roster of another team to take a place on the practice squad of the team that cut him?
Great question, Willie. During most of the league year, players who are waived have less than four accrued NFL seasons. If another team claims your contract, that’s now where you work in the NFL. Like any job, you have the right to give your notice and move on, but that’s where you have to play in the NFL. I remember talking to Packers tight end Mitchell Henry about this last year. He said he was ready to sign onto the Packers’ practice squad after he was released during final cuts, but Denver claimed his contract. So he boarded a flight and played the first five regular-season games with the Broncos. Denver later cut him, but wanted to sign him to its practice squad. Instead, Henry decided to return to Green Bay. Life in the NFL.
Kyle from San Francisco, CA
Wes, welcome to the squad! Glad to get some insights from a fellow Madden player and Game of Thrones enthusiast. Who will be our Azor Ahai, if you will, on offense and defense this year?
I mean, Aaron Rodgers is the prince who was promised, right? The one who will lead Green Bay through the long night. If he fails, the world fails with him. You have to go with QB1 on offense. Defensively, I’m going to go a little more out of the box: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Only 23, he’s shown you everything you want to see in a young safety.
Ben from Hilo, HI
Hi Wes, flat-front or pleated?
Flat-front. Always flat-front.
Jared from San Antonio, TX
Wes, guess what? I got a fever! And the only prescription...is more snark!
I may occasionally be able to fashion a playful zinger or two, but snark typically isn’t my style. I am who I am and that’s who I plan to be in this space. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be fair to any of you. We’ll see where this journey takes us, though. Maybe I’ll get snippier over time.
Matt from Oshkosh, WI
Love the new inbox format! I see the multiplicity of someone like Ty Montgomery (playing in the backfield) being an advantage in no-huddle situations. Does that get him an edge over a receiver who excels in only a few situations and may need to be subbed in or out?
Great point, Matt. The Packers were high on Montgomery coming out of Stanford for that very reason – you can’t predict where they’ll use him. That’s what made Cobb so appealing when he first broke into the NFL in 2011. Naturally, I think that versatility is a plus in two-minute situations. One of the tragedies from 2015 is not being able to really see what kind of packages McCarthy could draw up with both Cobb and Montgomery. I still wonder what kind of lift that might have brought to the offense. Montgomery climbed the depth chart quickly last year. Whenever he returns, I expect to see him continue that ascent.
Paul from Gorham, ME
Mike and Wes, please both answer this: One adjective, one adjective only. Describe soccer. Asthma. It’s not an adjective, but asthma.
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