Trevor from Peekskill, NY
Super Bowl XXXI can now buy beer. How old does that make you feel?
Adam from Burleson, TX
What does a quality control coach do?
It can vary depending on the team and what the head coach is looking for, but duties often include advance film review of upcoming opponents and coordinating the scout teams in practice.
Jeff from Des Moines, IA
Coming off a season missing the playoffs, new GM, new OC, new DC. Hope you guys are ready – free-agent fever is going to be running red hot. Buckle up.
Dave from Coloma, MI
Other than the Packers, if you could travel back in time and cover one team (any sport) for one season, what team and year would you choose and why?
The Chicago White Sox in 1919. Both the book and movie “Eight Men Out” fascinate me.
Eric from Green Bay, WI
In response to Gary from Wilkes Barre, PA, the Eagles will be $4M over the salary cap going into next season. They are two seasons away from their franchise QB having an expensive fifth-year option. They will need to cut players and put even more pressure on their rookies to produce. The Eagles are all-in this year. Hope it works out for them because they will be worse next year, and in the NFC if you're not improving you will be passed.
Every successful team has its challenges, and the distribution of top-flight quarterbacks in the league indicates staying on top in the NFC is more difficult.
Jordan from Mauldin, SC
Speaking of the Eagles’ free agency, what do you think of their strategy to sign Alshon Jeffery to a one-year deal? I think it’s genius because it gave them the option to re-sign for long term, or allow another team to fork out big bucks and them get a compensatory pick. Plus, if he didn’t play up to his billing (Pryor in Washington), a one-year deal doesn’t destroy the future of your cap. Seems like a lot of upside.
Jeffery clearly was comfortable betting on himself, and he hit the jackpot, increasing his salary nearly 50 percent with his new multi-year deal. Some players in his spot would rather play it safer and get a longer deal to begin with, or a club would rather backload a two-year deal so the player could be cut with minimal ramifications if the first year doesn’t go well, but get a second year at solid value if it does. Never forget it requires both sides to agree.
Dan from Wausau, WI
I like to hear our new DC talk about tailoring the scheme to the players, but how about someone in the front office getting some more good players so that scheme is all the more effective?
Mike McCarthy on Jan. 4: “Are we doing everything we need to do? It needs to be answered throughout football operations.”
McCarthy on Wednesday: “We need to add players to our roster. That’s clearly a focus.”
Josh from Denver, CO
What kind of hours is the coaching staff putting in and what are they working on between now and when players first report back to Green Bay?
Their hours are fairly standard work hours this time of year. They’re mostly building their playbooks for the coming season, which involves a comprehensive scheme evaluation of all the plays from the previous season. The new coordinators are likely drawing on film from their history elsewhere as well.
Matt from Waunakee, WI
"On defense we have to win pre-snap." I thought that was a very telling comment.
Indeed. It speaks to the Monday night game against Detroit I referenced before as the season’s biggest red flag. Stafford came into Lambeau and was in complete command, visibly aware of everything the Packers were running. The trick is to be able to disguise what you’re doing on defense without making the execution overly complex. Some quarterbacks will still figure it out and stay a step ahead, but it sounds like Pettine wants to be able to run different calls out of the same looks.
Mark from West Bend, WI
Mike/Wes, could you please set something straight for the upcoming draft as I've seen the draft order listed two different ways. Will the Packers always pick 14th in each round, unless of a trade, or will they rotate up each additional round with the teams they had the same record as? 14th, 13th, 12th, 14th, 13th, 12th, 14th.
The Packers will pick 14th in every round. Round-by-round spot-swapping only occurs when the draft order is determined by a coin flip, as it will be with the ninth and 10th spots (San Francisco and Oakland).
Bernie from Chesterfield, VA
With all of the hype about Belichick and Lombardi being the best coaches ever, I think most people forget that Joe Gibbs won his three Super Bowls with different quarterbacks each time. Thoughts?
It made his case for the Hall of Fame a slam dunk.
Kevin from Whitehall, WI
With respect to the spot-foul rules being changed to a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down, you would need to account for flagrant/intentional fouls, otherwise the defense could just tackle someone instead of give up a big play. Similar to the college rule for targeting, penalties like that could be reviewed to see if it is a "normal penalty" resulting in 15 yards and a first down, or an egregious penalty resulting in spot-of-the-foul and auto first down.
That’s the point I’ve been making all along, and the replay judgment required is why I don’t see the league changing the rule.
Allan from Orting, WA
I like what Bob from Abilene, TX, wrote about DPI, but I would make a change the last two minutes of each half and make all DPI a spot foul to take away the blatant foul to prevent a potential long gain to get into scoring position. Your thoughts?
You have me thinking.
Logan from Lino Lakes, MN
Do you think we as fans are more vocal and in support of player safety because we care for the players as humans? Or are we more vocal and have a heightened awareness because we risk and are afraid of losing impact players? I hope it's both and not just the latter. I do think just pure lack of consistency in officiating and not calling what we're told is against the rules is a big factor in the vocalization against the league. If it wasn't against the rules, would we be so upset?
Perhaps not, but I do think the culture is changing when more players are seen going down and being attended to, and everyone knows it’s not an ankle, knee or shoulder that’s the problem.
Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI
Why are so many fans enamored with picking a specific position with the first pick? I feel, especially with the first pick, that you have to go with the best player available. You can never have too many great players (as great as they are predicted to be) that any position is open for the first pick, except maybe quarterback. Plus, you never know how the draft will fall. If the top four edge rushers are gone, do you pass up a Minkah Fitzpatrick because he happened to fall to 14 and you want an edge rusher? Lousy example, but there are surprises and runs on position in every first round.
There’s less chance at 14 of a run leaving you out in the cold, but runs can also lead to players being overdrafted. Discipline is key in any draft, and with as many needs as the Packers have, it shouldn’t be difficult to stay disciplined.
T.J. from Tampa, FL
What’ll be your favorite memory of the 2017 Packers?
Sitting in the press box in Charlotte with the season slipping away in the fourth quarter and seeing a picture of Cillian Hodkiewicz pop up on my phone.
Lynn from Rockford, IL
Watching the interview of coach Raih, doesn't he remind you of a young Jon Gruden? Great energy with intensity and charisma.
Nobody reminds me of Gruden, but I love Raih’s story, and his personality. I remember last year amidst “run the table,” I bumped into him in the team dining room the day after the Week 17 Detroit win. I casually said, “Hey, how’s it goin’?” His reply: “There are only 12 teams still playing and we’re one of ’em. It’s goin’ great.” That’s Raih.
Jake from Sheridan, WY
I’ve noticed there is still reference to Ty Montgomery as a running back, but with the emergence of Williams and Jones in their first year, do you think there is any possibility of moving Ty back to wide receiver, especially with the question mark how the Packers are going to manage the contractual component of the wide receivers?
It could be a factor, sure. There’s plenty of time to see how this plays out. I’m sticking with my earlier answer that Montgomery’s position won’t matter. What he does with the ball in his hands will.
Chad from Port Douglas, Australia
Hi guys, I loved Mike Pettine's introductory press conference. He seemed to have an aggressive edge to him. I thought it was interesting he highlighted the importance of stopping the passing game, or at least limiting the chunk plays. It starts with stopping the run, but manageable down-and-distance mean nothing if you can't get off the field on third down. What were your thoughts on him?
I’ve been absorbing a lot of his comments. I like the theory of making the defense look complicated to the offense without being complicated for his players. I’m curious to see how that manifests itself in action. His line about the passing game beating you the fastest also piqued my interest. That’s today’s game. No team wants to get run on all day, but I interpreted his comment to mean adjustments can be made to stop the run, but stopping the pass is what makes offenses adjust, and that’s when a defense gets the upper hand in the modern game.
Greg from Marion, IN
I can't imagine something more stomach turning that Eagles fans donating money to a Viking's charity as a way of saying sorry for acting awful towards Vikings fans. Why is this a real thing?
Acknowledgement of incivility is at least a step in the right direction for our culture, don’t you think?
Roy from Wasilla, AK
When do you think the Packers will get around to re-signing Aaron?
He signed his last big extension right before the draft in 2013. Since a deal like his should have a great deal of flexibility structure-wise, the Packers may wait to get through free agency before finalizing the structure needed. But I’ve been wrong before.
Scott from Dallas, TX
I saw a quotation from Joe Philbin’s press conference: “If (my daughter) had said, ‘Dad, I want to stay in Indianapolis and finish my senior year,’ you probably wouldn’t be interviewing me right now.” As much as I know it affects families when guys get hired and fired, those words communicated a lot to me.
It’s all you need to know about Philbin and his family. It’s great to have him back.
Marty from Cuenca, Ecuador
Thinking about the new DC’s comments and have a feeling he will love Martinez. Who do you think will benefit from his schemes?
When he mentioned having stand-up outside rushers, a la the 3-4, and then shifting to put one edge rusher’s hand in the dirt for a 4-3 look, I couldn’t help associating those thoughts with Nick Perry.
Anthony from Milwaukee, WI
What former NFL player do you see in Saquan Barkley? I see Bo Jackson in the power combined with the speed.
Barkley reminds me of Willis McGahee.
Bob from Colby, KS
When is the NFL going to drop the Thursday games? When the contract is up? When attendance and viewership drops again next year? Please drop it.
I was told Thursday night was the second-highest rated time slot for NFL games in 2017. It beat Monday night and either Sunday afternoon slot. Only Sunday night was better. Thursday nights are not going away.
Andy from Appleton, WI
Of the current Packers set to become free agents, who do you see as "must sign"?
They already took care of the only absolute musts in Adams and Linsley. I think Burnett is next on the list, but his future could depend on Pettine’s vision for the defense. After that, I’d probably say Richard Rodgers. I see him having more value here than anywhere else.
Brian from Schertz, TX
What could we, the common fan, look for next year to see the difference in the new coordinators? What will you, the trained, experienced reporter, look for?
Timing in the passing game on offense, and the lack of it for the opponent.
Steveo from Scranton, PA
Mike/Wes, just wanted to remind the naysayers that prior to the Rodgers injury in October, the Packers were 12-2 in their previous 14 games dating back to November 2016, including wins over Dallas (2), Seattle (2), Minnesota and Philadelphia. Obviously, both losses were away to Atlanta, arguably a top 2-3 team at that time. While player injuries and yearly roster changes are inevitable and the coaching/front office moves were probably due to some degree, let's not forget that with a healthy A-Rod this is still an elite team. And it's a team that was forced to develop some players due to adversity, continues to have ample cap space, and owns a much higher draft position than in years past. Looking forward to an exciting 2018 campaign!
I hear you, but with a healthy A-Rod, the Packers were 9-13 prior to their 12-2 stretch. Injuries, good and bad bounces, hot and cold streaks, they’re all part of the game. But I think McCarthy wants a team without so many wild swings. He wants a team that can consistently hang its hat on some things, in almost any circumstance, and he’s counting on Philbin and Pettine to help him find what those are.
Jason from New Hampton, IA
Gentlemen, I love to read your column while I’m working out on the elliptical machine. The problem is that I always get done reading three minutes before I’m done working out. Could you make the Inbox three minutes longer so the last three minutes of my workout aren’t so miserable?
Click on a Rock Report, bro. Then you can get your Larry fix for the day, too.
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