Steve from Middletown, KY

I still think we have a strong core of players on both sides of the ball. With all the picks and having a higher place in the draft, I hope we can hit on a couple of players that can impact our team next year. I like the draft and develop method, but we need a few players that don't need as much developing. I know, easier said than done, but I think I'd like to see quality over quantity this year in the draft, even if that means trading some of our choices to move up.

This year presents the Packers with an unfortunate opportunity of picking earlier than the past nine years. The silver-lining is Green Bay set its path to a Super Bowl after the last time it missed the playoffs in 2008. The Packers not only used the No. 9 pick on B.J. Raji, but also traded back into the first round to take Clay Matthews. This is your chance. Let see what happens.

Taylor from Amarillo, TX

How does the All-Pro selection process work? It also looked like three people made both teams, Xavier Rhodes, Calais Campbell and Le’Veon Bell. Is that an oversight or has it happened before?

The AP changed its guidelines for choosing the All-Pro teams a couple years ago and it’s still a work in progress. I agree with some alterations (voting for offensive and defensive linemen based on position), but the guidelines for flex and defensive back need to be refined. It still makes a heck of a lot more sense than the Pro Bowl, though. This process actually managed to get it right with David Bakhtiari.

Richard from Las Vegas, NV

Please give us an idea of the decision power when deciding which players make the team coming out of training camp. Obviously the head coach has input, but is the ultimate decision made by the GM? Thanks for all the time and effort you put in answering the question of the clones on this site.

The way things worked under Thompson was coaches and scouts could voice their opinions on certain players, but Thompson ultimately had the final say on the 53-man roster. That’s the way it should be. Many opinions considered, but one voice making the call.

Jeremy from Flagstaff, AZ

What's crazy is that I think a dominant defense would get the franchise, players and more importantly the fans more fired up than the offense being dominant again. If a hard-hitting, nasty, in-your-face defense doesn't get you fired up, you're not a true football fan.

A dominating defense can set the tone for a football team. Just look at the Packers’ Super Bowl teams in 1996 and 2010. Rhetoric is nice, but you still have to get it done the field. Hard hits are great, but fundamentals are better. Take care of the little things and the big picture comes into focus.

Lincoln from Eau Claire, WI

The Saints’ revival this year to me is the blueprint for Green Bay as Rodgers' career winds down. With what appears to be two if not three good young running backs in Green Bay, I'd like to see the offense transition to more balance. Each week's matchup may dictate more running or throwing but I see an ability to "take what you want" there as Vic used to say. If the defense can be revamped, a string of deep playoff runs will follow in my opinion.

I disagree on the assertion that Rodgers’ career is “winding down,” but I agree with the basic premise of your take. It’s one reason I feel the Packers aren’t too far away. McCarthy revamped the defense in 2008 and the Packers immediately improved the following season. Two years later, they won the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl. I give the Saints credit. It didn’t happen overnight, but they cleaned up their salary cap and made solid mid-level signings last offseason.

Leslie from Algoma, WI

What do the players actually do on the offseason? Do they come up with workout plans on their own or do they hire a trainer or do they come up with a set of goals with their coaches? If it's the latter, then how does it work if their particular coach is one that's leaving?

It’s bigger than one position coach. Players work with the strength and conditioning staff and trainers to determine the best place for their offseason training. Many get dietary and nutrition suggestions, as well. The weight room isn’t the only place training occurs.

Kyle from Los Angeles, CA

Morgan Burnett was indispensable in the Dom Capers defense that involved heavy action in the "star" role, but with a new coordinator on the way in, he may not be in for such a complex and unique role. With Brice, Jones, and Pipkins behind him, could we have seen his last snap in Green Bay?

Those questions will be answered in the coming months. There have been times I figured a player was gone and then he returned. Conversely, I’ve been certain a player would be back and he signed elsewhere. Burnett has been a key part of this defense for seven years. I still think there’s value in his experience regardless of who is running the defense.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

The best play I can remember from the Detroit game was Trevor Davis leaping up to snag the ball near the sideline. What great body control. Do you think he will get more chances next year? It seems like when he touches the football good things can happen.

That’s for Davis to determine during the offseason program and training camp. The Packers gave him a chance on special teams this year and I felt he made the most of it. It wasn’t perfect, but Davis did finish third in the league in punt returns.

Rick from Boyd, WI

Given the timing, who'll run the draft: Ted Thompson or his replacement?

Based on what Mark Murphy said, Thompson’s stewardship of the personnel department runs through the hiring of his successor. So I’d say his replacement.

Bart from Tucson, AZ

Any word on the prospects for Kyle Murphy next year?

No update, but Murphy had ditched the scooter and was walking on his own by the end of the season. Murphy was placed on injured reserve at the end of September, so hopefully it won’t have a significant impact on his offseason. Murphy did some good things before the setback.

Dru from Summerville, SC

Hey Wes and Mike! Just want to say thank you for your hard work during the ups and downs of this season. Keep it up! Also, with the emergence of Williams and Jones, who will be our RB1 going forward?

The hot hand. We saw this year the RB1 spot can change quickly. The Packers have three capable running backs in Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery. If they can keep them all healthy, I’d like to see the game plans the Packers can put together. I used to rip New England for using so many different RBs, but the Patriots may be onto something.  

Scott from Greensburg, IN

Does "closing the gap,” as MM phrased it, mean forming the final roster, and perhaps the practice squad, more on ability to play right away and less on long-range potential? Put another way, will Vic be seeing a few less "jars on the shelf," or, at the very least, will the expiration date on those jars be sped up?

I think it comes down to developing capable backups, but also being aggressive if injuries become an issue and the “next man up” is still green. Young players stepped up in 2010 when injuries became an issue for the Packers, but adding the likes of Erik Walden and Howard Green along the way helped fortify the roster.

Jim from Lima, OH

A few years ago, the Packers had a preseason game in Indianapolis. A friend offered up his two passes that got my son and me access to the Packers sideline during pregame warm-ups. As luck would have it we happened upon Coach Capers speaking to a group of seven or eight folks. As we passed the group, Coach made eye contact and offered a “Hi guys.” Took him a few seconds and made a great memory of that trip. Thanks Coach.

That doesn’t surprise me. A good friend of mine, Darin Gantt, covered Capers in Carolina. He said it better than I ever could – in a business that can be nasty at times, Capers is one of the most decent guys you’ll come across. Say what you will about what happened on the field, but the man’s professionalism was omnipresent.

Lisa from Erie, PA

It's not a question but a suggestion: Get rid of Dom Capers. We need a defense.

I’m sorry, Lisa. Our suggestion box is full.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

I was intrigued by (but confused by) MM’s comment about the defense having to be better than the offense. Why would he say that? Doesn't the defense just have to be better than the other team’s offense?

For what it’s worth, that’s how I interpreted it. At its core, the defense must be better than the opposing offense to accomplish your goals.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Wes, I see where Packers have signed Ahmad Thomas and others who were on practice squad? Do these guys get paid during the offseason?

They get a daily stipend with their participation in the offseason program, which starts in mid-April.

Will from Rogers, AR

With the Packers needing playmakers on defense, I think we overlooked the impact of Jared Cook. What are your thoughts on the Packers potentially signing Jimmy Graham? I feel like he could add the deep down the middle threat and help in run blocking, as well.

The Bennett move made sense to me this past spring because he’s a better-rounded tight end than Cook, but it obviously didn’t work out. I never want to say never when it comes to free agency. I think the Packers have more pressing needs than tight end, but we shall see. Lance Kendricks, Emanuel Byrd and Robert Tonyan are the only tight ends under contract at the moment.

Simon from Odense, WI

Hey Insiders, can you shed some light into why the Raiders reportedly are so invested in getting Gruden as their new head coach. His record is barely above 0.500.

It’s pretty simple. They’re going to Vegas and need to make a splash in a new market.

Joe from London, United Kingdom

Are the Packers eligible for “Hard Knocks?” Which teams would you like to see on?

There are six teams that are eligible for mandatory inclusion into Hard Knocks in 2018 – San Francisco, Denver, Cleveland, Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore and Washington. The Packers are not obligated to do it since they’ve advanced to the playoffs within the past two years. Teams with a new head coach or those that have previously appeared on the show in the last 10 years also are exempt.

Derk from Chippewa Falls, WI

A quick question about the reporter and source relationship. I understand why a reporter relies on unnamed sources, but what is in it for the sources? It seems like a very one-sided relationship.

You’d be surprised. Based on my experience, you’d be amazed how often it’s a two-way street. 

Brian from Urbana, IL

Wes, a hypothetical for you. You decide one day you hate writing and free time. You decide you want to coach, because you also apparently hate sleeping most nights. You decide to interview. You magically have any set of credentials you want. Two questions: What position would you want to coach? And what level (pro, college, prep) would you want to start at?

I’d rather be a scout. I’m not saying I’d be any good at it. I just find it to be a fascinating profession. To answer your question, I guess maybe quarterbacks at the prep level.

Bill from Birnamwood, WI

Will you be interviewing Jim Leonard? All he does is win at every level. Do not let this come back to haunt us.

I currently have no interviews lined up.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

I doubt that a coach like McCarthy knows every assistant coach in the league, so how does he come up with names of candidates to interview, other than the ones he already knows?

The same way packers.com hired me: Craigslist. Kidding. Every NFL coach keeps a rolodex. Connections are king in this business. While they may not have a line to every coach in the league, coaches may know someone who knows someone. That’s often what leads to hires.

Andrew from Dayton, OH

If B.J. Raji returns to football, do the Packers have rights to him or would he be able to sign with whomever he wanted?

Raji became an unrestricted free agent after the 2015 season. If he ever wanted to return, he’s free to sign with any team. However, Raji is now 31 years old and out of football for two years.

Dante from Fredericksburg, VA

Carlton Davis, Joshua Jackson, Denzel Ward all on the board. Who do you take?

Charlie Conway for the win.

Andrew from Derby, CT

Hi Insiders, who would you most like to see come out of the AFC? I'd have to say the Bills. I was at the 2014 game in Buffalo and I can’t tell you how alike our fan bases are: middle-class, hard-working folks who deal with extreme cold and love nothing more than their football team. We really are lucky as Packers fans to make the playoffs eight years in a row.

I couldn’t be happier for the Bills, though I’ll admit I’m still in shock they actually made it. I like this wild-card matchup for them, though. Jacksonville is reeling. I expect a healthy dose of Leonard Fournette against that 28th-ranked run defense, though. I’ll be pulling for whoever prevails the rest of the way.

Andrew from Fullerton, CA

Spoff, some fans think you aren't objective and write what you're told by the team. I say those fans don't know how to read between the lines. For weeks when asked what's wrong you said blame is everywhere, but some wanted scathing rants on specific coaches. For weeks you hinted changes were coming, but some wanted you to call for heads. Sadly, even if they could read between the lines it wouldn't matter because they only want to read juvenile rants to justify their selfish feelings. I want you to know I appreciate the way you write.

This comment is everything. Thank you, Andrew. You’re in the early running for Inbox post of the year. Here’s the lesson in this post – if you’re constantly screaming, you can’t hear what’s underneath.

Connor from Murray, UT

Wes, why are you coming out to Utah?

I’m not going anywhere. Spoff is the one going to Utah, which is why I’ll see you all on Monday morning. Stay frosty.


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