David from Pasadena, TX
Regarding the dynasty comment using the argument that Brady/Belichick should receive greater kudos because their accomplishments came with 32 teams in the league, I would posit (that's for you Mike) that weakens the argument. More teams theoretically dilutes each team's talent; thus Starr/Lombardi were successful against relatively more talented teams with a potentially more talented overall roster. Your thoughts please.
It’s an interesting argument since both Lombardi and Belichick had/have a hand in personnel decisions. My argument for Lombardi is that he turned the Packers into an instant winner after being a perennial loser. That’s not easy to do, especially in a small market like Green Bay. The Patriots had missed the playoffs in each of the past two seasons before Belichick took over in 2000, but had been to the Super Bowl four years prior. Their only losing season over the last 21 years was Belichick’s first, but the cupboard wasn’t empty. The Packers hadn’t been to the NFL Championship in 15 years when Lombardi took over and he steered them toward one of the greatest runs in NFL history. Lombardi and Starr will forever be the gold standard in my book. Call me crazy.
Julian from Las Cruces, NM
Wes and Vic are extremely wrong in believing Lombardi and Starr were better or more accomplished than Belichick and Brady. Josh was right that the number of teams is a huge variance. But Starr played with nine other Hall of Famers. In addition, Belichick and Brady have had the same modern-day issues of constant turnover.
If it was so easy to win back then, why were Lombardi’s Packers the only team to win five titles in seven years? Why not the Giants or the Bears or the Colts or the Bills? It’s not Lombardi’s fault there wasn’t a Super Bowl until his final two seasons in Green Bay. Even then, the common thought was the NFL was the superior league. Also, I don’t think you can use the Hall of Fame argument yet because the number of Patriots who will end up in Canton from the Belichick/Brady era isn’t set in stone yet. Will there be nine? Probably not, but there’s also more players now, right?
Dan from Leland, NC
The question of whether Lombardi/Starr or Belichick Brady are the best ever is, like many sports arguments, impossible to resolve definitively. My counters to the Pats doing it against 32 teams in the free-agency era is having more teams dilutes the talent pool more, and the Packers won their five in only seven years. Your perspective depends on which factors you see as more significant.
Chad from Troy, MI
Insiders, is the Packers’ offense more conducive to a bigger power back or a smaller scat back? Has the success of Ty Montgomery changed how we will be handling the backfield moving forward?
I think 2016 showed the offense could adapt to different styles of running backs. A power back like Eddie Lacy averaged 5.1 yards per carry, but a hybrid like Montgomery also rushed for 5.9 yards per attempt. I think the Packers’ scheme historically has favored a power back, but there isn’t a set template. When a scat back like DuJuan Harris stepped up in 2012, Mike McCarthy found ways to get him on the field. I’m intrigued to see how the Packers approach Montgomery’s development this spring and summer.
Chuck from Madison, WI
Not trying to take anything from Brady but if Drew Bledsoe doesn't get hurt, how many Super Bowls does he win? If the Seahawks score with time running out or if the Falcons’ D makes one of many plays? Would he and we be talking about him as the GOAT? I'd still take Rodgers, playing like he did late in the season and playoffs regardless of if he ever wins another Super Bowl.
The cream always rises to the top. Brady may have had to wait another season or two for his opportunity, but he would have eventually gotten his shot. Brady and Rodgers are two of the best to ever do it. I’ll leave the rest of that discussion to those who have segments to fill.
Mitch from Sun Prairie, WI
I have an idea to try and improve the overtime rule. If the team that receives the ball first subsequently scores a TD on their first possession, they would be required to attempt a two-point conversion. If successful, the game would be over. If not, the other team would get a chance to win the game by scoring a TD and kicking the PAT. Thoughts?
I have only one question: if your defense can’t keep the opposing offense out of your end zone, do you deserve to possess the ball again? It’s not rhetorical. That’s a serious question.
Joe from Asbury, IA
Why does Mike want to steal your lunch so badly?
Making sure the new guy knows his place.
Brian from Champaign, IL
If I was going to steal someone's lunch even though they never bring it, here's how I'd do it: Invite them to get lunch somewhere that morning. Say "Hey, wanna eat together around 11:30 at (insert local place here)? I forgot my lunch. Oops." Go. Order a nice expensive meal. Excuse yourself to go to the restroom after the server takes away your entree. Don't return. Laugh at Biff when he gets back to work. Beware lunch invitations this offseason, Biff.
Duly noted. I won’t be accepting any lunch invites from Spoff anytime soon.
Chris from Portland, CT
Does Wes have a fridge in his office? Could you give him a quick assignment? Nothing that would keep him out of the office all day, just long enough for you to get access to it. He'll never know. But seriously, I'm fine with the current overtime rules. So, sometimes the coin doesn't land your way. What are you going to do about it?
The great overtime debate continues and you all have been very creative. I’ve seen ideas ranging from making teams go for two points after touchdowns to giving the ball to whoever scores first or has more time of possession. I just think it would be difficult to implement those second-level suggestions. It seems more complicated. The current format isn’t perfect, but it’s the best option if you don’t want to stretch a game or two each month into four hours.
Sean-Luc from Oceanside, CA
New NFL OT rules – adopt the college OT rules but only TDs and two-point conversions are allowed and move the ball back to midfield. Eliminates luck-based coin flips and the unfairness of whichever team goes first. It also highlights the ultimate goal in football – getting a pigskin across a strip of white paint.
College rules work for college football. I’m not a fan of doing it at the NFL level. I’ll take the idea of giving the ball to whoever had more time of possession over college rules. Also, you need to gain 10 yards before you’re in range for an NFL kicker if you move the ball back to midfield.
John from Rhinelander, WI
I still think that overtime in playoff games should allow each team a possession. I wonder what the reaction would be if in the final game of the World Series the game was tied after nine innings and they did a coin flip to see who bats first in the 10th. If the team batting first scores, the other team batting in the bottom half loses because their defense didn't hold up! I think there would be a major uproar! Thoughts?
If they don’t score, does the team in the field get the win?
Jason from Wausau, WI
Since we're on the topic of OT alternatives to a coin toss, how about they put the ball on the 50-yard line and one player from each team stands in opposite end zones. On the official's signal they race to the ball. The team whose player gets to the ball first takes possession at their 25-yard line.
Because that worked out so well for the XFL.
Dave from Lake Zurich, IL
Here's how overtime should work. Each team gets a possession. If the score is still tied, then the next team to score wins. It's that simple. It's only fair to give both teams a chance to score.
Isn’t this what they do already? Just close your eyes and pretend both teams already scored once.
JJ from San Pedro, Belize
How about making the coin toss two out of three?
I prefer rock, paper, scissors.
Conor from Chicago, IL
Have you ever witnessed a team have the guts to try a trick onside kick to start overtime? If the kicking team recovered, would they win with just a field goal?
No, but I’ve seen a team choose to take the wind.
Paul from Milwaukee, WI
Insiders, I really think if Shields would have been able to play the full season, we would have had a much better defense. In fact, I think we win a few more games with him in the lineup. Are the Packers really just one player away from winning it all?
Shields was a big loss for the secondary and defense. He was the most experienced cornerback on the roster and probably the fastest, too. Players like Sam Shields don’t come around every year. What I like about Sam is he was a completely self-made man. When the offseason hit, players often travel across the country to these state-of-the-art training facilities. You know what Shields did? He went back home to Sarasota, Fla., and worked out at his high school. He earned every penny the Packers paid him. How close are the Packers to winning it all? That’s the question every team is trying to find the answer to this time of year. They’re close, but the ultimate goal is a moving target.
Dom from Durham, England
When following a best-available-player strategy, does one take into account the depth of the rest of the draft? For example this year’s draft is said to be stocked with secondary talent. Does this mean we are less likely to pick one up in the first?
Great question. I remember hearing GMs say at the NFL Scouting Combine that depth at position X or Y can have an influence on the draft, but I’m not sure how that affects their willingness to trade up for a player. If there’s someone who is high on your board and fits your system, you go get that guy. That’s what the Packers did in 2009 with Clay Matthews and again last year with Jason Spriggs in the second round.
Anton from Green Bay, WI
Assuming that Hyde gets re-signed, wouldn't it be a good idea if he moved to (slot) corner full-time? That would be a good move to solidify a young unit with some veteran leadership.
I don’t know if there is any such thing as a full-time slot corner. There’s so much fluidity. Hyde, Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, LaDarius Gunter, Morgan Burnett, Kentrell Brice and Josh Hawkins all played inside this year. The thing about Hyde is he’s a natural leader who can do it all in the secondary. One aspect of his game that often gets overlooked is his ability as a free safety, as well. He’s just a football player.
Eric from Windsor, CO
Would you dig a bit and analyze why Thomas took over snaps for Martinez toward the end of the season in spite of Martinez regaining his health?
I think it was more about riding the hot and healthy hand late in the season. Thomas took a big step this year. He put on some weight, but also looked more confident and decisive in his decision-making. Martinez showed a lot of promise this year, but those knee injuries can be tricky. Down the stretch, the Packers opted to stick with a veteran who had experience in a playoff setting.
Daryl from Springfield, MO
What will Minnesota do with the QB position? They now have Bridgewater and Bradford and no first-round pick. Do you see them trading away Bridgewater and try to recoup their first-round pick?
Bridgewater needs to get healthy first. It sounds like the Vikings are planning on Sam Bradford being their starting quarterback based on what Mike Zimmer said at the end of the season.
Mike from Midlothian, VA
Hey Wes, what jerseys do you own? What is your favorite? I personally love my Driver throwback. It's the early 1930s style.
You probably won’t like this answer. Like many Green Bay kids, my first NFL jersey was Brett Favre. I believe I wore it for Halloween for a few years. My mom still has it. However, my favorite jersey was Rashaan Salaam. I know, I know, but hear me out. I loved college football, and Steve McNair and Rashaan Salaam were my favorite players. On Saturday mornings, I usually was a running back in flag football (and a poor one at that). I used to pretend I was Salaam. I hoped the Packers would draft him in ’95, but obviously he didn’t last that long. My parents, begrudgingly, bought me a Salaam Bears jersey for Christmas one year. Now, keep in mind this is 1995. You couldn’t just buy a Colorado Salaam jersey on Amazon back then. If you could, that would’ve been my go-to. Instead, your options usually were limited to whatever Shopko and Kohl’s had. At the time, I thought it was the coolest thing. I will say I was thrilled when he signed with the Packers in 1999. God speed, Rashaan.
Christian from Champaign, IL
Has anyone ever called you Westicle?
That would be a first.
Mark from Naperville, IL
Any thought to having Mike and Wes each do a week long Insider Inbox and alternate weeks, with the exception of Vic’s one day each week? Many times one of them will spark a reaction but then the other doesn't engage any questions/comments regarding the previous day's column.
Hang tight, Mark. Vacations are coming. You may soon get what you’re asking for. See you Tuesday.
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