Hudson from Wallingford, CT

Now that Ty Montgomery is a full time RB and listed as a RB on the depth chart will he be able to continue wearing No. 88 or will he have to make a number change?

Please refer all questions about Montgomery’s number to every previous edition of the Insider Inbox over the last month. Thank you.

Jim from Duluth, MN

Do our defensive players ever comment on going against a player like Aaron Rodgers in practice? I would think that would be a benefit for our defense in the long run.

It makes a huge difference, especially for the secondary. You’re not going to find many quarterbacks who can thread the needle like Rodgers. It’s a significant test for young defenders and a reminder of how small the window for error is when you’re in coverage.

Tom from Millsboro, DE

When is the team going to get a real running game to help Aaron out? We should look at Blount to help out the running game and take some pressure off the defense and offense.

Well, Blount plays for the Eagles now so that’s a no-go. The Packers drafted three running backs to reload in the backfield. In my opinion, it’s better to go young at running back and bet on upside.

Mike from Somerset, WI

In two tight end sets, I see Randall Cobb lining up as a RB nearly as often as Montgomery. Randall can do it all and having two mauler TEs creates some difficult matchups for the opponents.

The formula is fairly simple with Cobb. If you get the ball in his hands, good things happen. Some of the most memorable moments of the Rodgers era have come with Cobb on the receiving end of his passes. Cobb is still very much in his prime. He just needs to get healthy. The more chances he gets to touch the football, the better it’s going to be for the entire offense.

Manu from London, United Kingdom

Hi, I'm a big Packers fan and can't wait for the season to start. My question is how did TT know that Kevin King would still be available when trading out to Cleveland in the first round? Would he have had contact with Cleveland, Pittsburgh, SF and New Orleans to find out their intentions? How much would those teams show their hands? Seems a risk?

You’re assuming risk every time you trade back and could drive yourself mad overthinking the scenarios. If you’re going to trade, you have to be confident in your board. That’s why the Packers made the move. They had enough prospects with comparable grades that their fortune wasn’t tied to one specific player if he wasn’t there at No. 33. If there’s only one guy you truly covet, then you take that player at your original spot.

Jonathan from Paducah, KY

After the draft we talked a lot about UDFAs and that many of these young men choose the Packers since we have been known to give chances. I noticed several teams signing a number of UDFAs. I think where the Packers stand out is the emphasis on sticking to the "next-man-up" approach. Insiders, do you agree?

Every team signs undrafted free agents, but some value them more than others when establishing a 53-man roster. The Packers have dedicated themselves to unheralded players, whether it’s on the initial roster or promoting them from the practice squad during the season when injuries arise. It makes sense, too. It’s a lot easier for those players to step in with a working knowledge of the playbook than signing a veteran off the street midseason.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Do you favor football moving more toward stat-driven evaluation of players (akin to MLB)? Should we devise a WAR stat for running backs or range factor/quarter for DBs? How many stats do we need?

Analytics have started to make their way into the NFL in recent years. Some outlets like Pro Football Focus are readily available to the public, but teams are also generating a lot of their own analysis behind the scenes. That’s been a focal point in Green Bay for years now.

Will from Rogers, AR

Green Bay has been known to base schemes and game plans using a cornerstone player, if you will. We saw that when this cornerstone gets injured, they have trouble trying to adapt (see Finley, Lacy, Shields in recent years). Do you see the Packers relying less on one player to fit a scheme given this history?

The Packers never place all their eggs in the basket of a single player (outside of perhaps Aaron Rodgers), but the skill-position players they’ve added this offseason should give the offense a lot of flexibility. You can line up many of those receivers, backs and tight ends in multiple spots, which should help keep defenses on their heels. Rodgers alluded to that when discussing his options earlier this week.

Todd from Cincinnati, OH

When Blake Martinez was drafted out of Stanford last year, one of the strong parts of his game was supposed to be his coverage skills. However, he came off the field on third-down passing situations most of the time. Do you think he will be a three-down linebacker this year and be given a chance to show what he can do in pass coverage?

That will be decided in training camp. I think everyone wrote off Joe Thomas last summer and he made a huge jump in his second full NFL season. He ended up leading all Green Bay linebackers in snaps in 2016. You never know what’s going to happen until the games are played. Martinez is smart, diligent and eager. Now, it’s his turn to show the improvements he’s made. The second season is tailored for the biggest jump.

Sean from Arlington Heights, IL

It’s clear Monty has the size and strength to be a running back, but any chance we can get him a little bigger pair of shoulder pads? Those little toy receiver pads aren't going to get the job done over 16-20 games.

Shoulder-pad technology has come a long way. Bigger doesn’t always mean better these days.

Malte from Odense, Denmark

Who do you think will play the longest time from now, Julius Peppers or Tom Brady?

That’s like asking what will give out first – the irresistible force or the immovable object. I guess you never bet against the quarterback, but Peppers is truly the exception to the rule as it applies to pass-rushers.

Paul from Farnborough, United Kingdom

As most teams are pretty much banged-up come playoff time, wouldn't it make sense to have “bye weeks” between each playoff round (including season-end to wild-card games)? I want to see teams as healthy as possible giving it their all, rather than being down to one remaining guy at a certain position, etc.

First-round byes are valuable and this is why. At the same time, extending the breaks would drag the season on for another month or so. As important as it is to be rested and healthy, players also want to get into their offseason after living and breathing football for six months.

Zack from Dayville, CT

With all the debate about overtime rules, everyone is forgetting that without OT we never get the greatest OT coin flip conversation of all time, "We want the ball and we're gonna score." Leave it alone; even the recent adjustments still ends with that wonderful finish. Why take the finality out of the game?

I think it’s worth taking a look at 10-minute overtimes and reassessing after the season. I wasn’t originally keen on having touchbacks moved to the 25-yard line, but it grew on me during the season. I agree test trials are the best way to gauge how a proposal will translate from paper to practice. 

Matt from Hartford, WI

In his memoir, “Mean on Sunday,” Ray Nitschke described his constant disappointment growing up. Being physically gifted at 6-3, 235, he was a star quarterback, pitcher, and basketball center in high school. It was said that Nitschke could still out-throw the Packers quarterbacks in practice even 10 years into his career with a perfect spiral. Is there a player that has a similar talent on the Packers that surprises you due to his position?

I wouldn’t say it’s a surprise, but Richard Rodgers is a phenomenal athlete who throws a nice football. I think it was in Washington where Rodgers was tossing 50- or 60-yard shots down the field during pregame warmups.

Andrew from Vancouver, Canada

Why alternate two-point conversions for the tiebreaker? Run them both at the same time, at opposite ends of the field. If both teams score, the team that scored quickest wins.

It would be difficult for fans and broadcasters to follow both and you’d be splitting up the officials, as well. I get the need to keep things speedy, but there needs to be a limit.

John from Jacksonville, FL

Wes's comment about drafting football players and figuring out where fit reminded me of HOF CB Herb Adderley. He was drafted and started his Packer career as a RB.

The game’s truly great football coaches and general managers keep an open mind to players’ skills. Greatness doesn’t always rest on the surface. Sometimes you have to go find it.  

Mike from Chicago, IL

Why not start drafting thumpers again at running back? Defenses are stocked to stop the pass. It's cyclical in my opinion. Running backs will be a hot commodity soon.

Don’t let numbers blind you. Thumpers come in all shapes and sizes. It’s how you use your strength and size to defeat the would-be tackler. The three rookie running backs all have their own distinctive running style and they used it to succeed at the FBS level.

Cameron from West Lafayette, IN

How's DeAngelo Yancey looking so far? As a current Boilermaker I'm rooting for him.

You hate to make any grand projections based on one OTA practice, but he looks the part. He carries his weight well. I’ll say this: The receiver competition is going to be fun to watch this summer. That position is as deep as ever.

Paul from Columbia, SC

When draft picks take a long time to sign, is it a factor of the person or the agent generally?

It’s typically a reflection of where the player was drafted. In the post-CBA NFL, the first-round picks are usually the only spots where there could be a potential conflict because of guarantees and language. Players want security. You can’t fault them for that. At least, I don’t.

Griffin from Belmont, NC

Roster cuts are still far away, but is there any sentimental loss to the veterans like Aaron? Does he try to connect with all his receivers knowing some will be cut, or does he focus on the ones he knows will be there and connect later after the cuts?

Rodgers tries to connect with the person, not the player. That’s how you build true chemistry.

Fritz from Stevens Point, WI

"A creative adult is a kid who survived." —Martellus Bennett. Most highbrow quote ever by a Packer?

That quote hit home with me. So much I actually looked it up after locked room ended. It’s a quote by Ursula K. Le Guin and it’s brilliant. I think it’s important to embrace your inner child at every stage of life.

Max from River Falls, WI

I live where we only get radio and TV from the Twin Cities and I was pleasantly surprised to hear the “Packers Unscripted” podcast on the radio home of the Vikings. Just thought you would like to know you're going places. Have a great long weekend.

I heard about that, too. I guess we have a pretty big fan in comedian Mary Mack.

Luiz from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I've been at Lambeau Field three times in the past three years, including that unbelievable playoff game against Dallas. Turns out my girlfriend Cris has never been there before and is totally traumatized by cold weather. How do I convince her to attend a December game with me?

Hand warmers? That's how I convinced my wife to go to her first game. 

Tim from Urbandale, IA

Advice please: How should you respond to fans sitting behind you in Lambeau when they tell you to sit down when you stand up to cheer the Packers’ defense on third down?

“I’m sorry. I can’t hear you.”

Scott from Little Rock, AR

Loved this answer, Wes. “‘Don't think about a player’s position, think about his role’ needs to be stitched on a pillow and given away at select home games in 2017.” I want one!

This answer still belongs to Vic. I’m just the guy who put it on the T-shirt and sold it at the mall kiosk.


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