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What are the must-see games on the Packers' 2018 schedule?

Posted Feb 14, 2018

Packers.com staff writer Wes Hodkiewicz took reader questions on Wednesday


What’s up everybody? I’m jumping into the mid-week chat seat here at packers.com with Spoff out of the office for one more day. We’ll be here for the next 45 minutes or so to answer any and all questions. So fire away.

Since Ty wouldn't have to change his number to play tight end, do you think they should make him one?

What better way to start a chat than a Ty Montgomery/position question? Montgomery's position doesn't concern me. He's a playmaker when he's been healthy. His hands make him a bona fide weapon out of the backfield. I want to see what the Packers can do with him now that Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones have shown what they can do.

"Any and all questions", Wes you just set yourself up big time.

I really did. We'll see what comes of it.

Which away game are you most excited to go to next year?

New York and New England. I've only been to New York City once in my life when the Packers played the Giants in 2013, but I have several friends who live there. I'm excited for that trip. New England is fun because of how interconnected that East Coast region of the country. Plus, it's going to be a must-see game.

Wes, how nice is Larry McCarren in real life

One of the most humble and generous individuals you'll ever meet. I look up to Larry a great deal. Not only because of the reputation he's built in the Green Bay community, but also for all the things that he does that nobody sees or hears because he's not a self-promoter. I can't say enough about him.

Any shows on Netflix or HBO etc... you have been watching in the offseason here?

Trying to finish watching "Ozark," but it's hard for me to sit down and focus all of my attention on one show (unless it's Game of Thrones). I usually have to rewind.

Do you think there is validity to the idea free agency is harder in Green Bay because players would rather live in a big city?

Maybe in 1991 when Ron Wolf was trying to rebuild things, but I think the success in Green Bay has helped change perceptions. If anything, I hear more now about players and coaches appreciate the easy commute around town.

Thank you Packers for the Valentine's Day cards! Made my son's day. Wes, did you get one for Cillian?

Our packers.com social team did a great job with them. I didn't get one from Cillian, but he made sure to get one for his mom.

My first game at Lambeau was this years Saints game, and of course it was the first one game after Aaron went down. What game this year do you think would be a good investment this year for a trip to Lambeau?

The Packers finally get the Falcons at Lambeau this year.

I keep hearing that we "need to sign a veteran to teach the younger guys." Is the whole needing a veteran presence overblown?

Veteran presence wasn't a problem in 2017. It actually was one of the Packer's older teams. You definitely can benefit from bringing in Julius Peppers or Jahri Evans, but I don't see those as rerequisites. You sign a veteran free agent if it makes sense for your team on and off the field.

Quick draft question: you're sitting at 14, and there are couple OLB/CB who intrigue you, but for some weird reason, Shaquon Barkley falls to you. Do you 1) take him 2) Take your highest rated defensive player or 3) Trade back?

I use those 10 minutes to find a team that needs a running back and get some picks. Barkley may turn out to be tremendous, but the Packers have needs elsewhere I'd rather address during those first two days of the draft.

I don't see much mentioned about the fact we may be down two key offensive linemen next year (Bulaga, Evans). Is that due to confidence in Campen to get whomever is next up ready to play? The man is a miracle worker but how many miracles does he have left?

The Packers hopefully will have a good feel on where Bryan Bulaga is with his rehabilitation by the time the draft rolls around. Justin McCray did a phenomenal job making the most out of a tough situation, but his best spot is inside. Depending on what happens with Evans, I think he played well enough to earn a chance to compete for a starting spot in camp. It sounds like Jason Spriggs and Kyle Murphy should be back at some point this offseason, but you never can go wrong taking a tackle with some positional versatility.

I don't know why there is such an issue with Ty's positon on the RB Depth Chart. The Eagles featured three guys heavily in the Super Bowl and already had two guys on IR. Wear and tear.

Agreed. Depth charts don't mean a whole lot once the injuries start piling up.

If you couldn't cover the Packers, what team would you like to cover?

Ten years ago, my dream used to be to cover college football. But now I wouldn't want to leave the NFL. I love the game, the schedule and the offseason. If I couldn't cover the Packers, I'd probably cover the 49ers. I have some family in No Cal.

I bought a Packer helmet a few years back and now it is getting crowded with autographs from the Packer players. Now I WANT your autograph, Wes! You're my favorite staff writer.

That would dramatically decrease the value of your helmet.

I've heard a lot of buzz about this Bradley Chubb guy from NC State. Given that the Packers need an edge rusher, do you think he's worth trading up for?

I love Chubb's size and athleticism. He strikes me as more of a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end, but the introduction of "elephant" edge rushers to Green Bay's defense has created more opportunity for different types of rushers. He's a talented guy. I'm guessing the combine will go a long way in determining where he goes in the first round.

If the Packers had been able to get Leveon Bell instead of Lacy in that draft, could the cap afford Rodgers and Bell?

That's a good question. Bell might set a new standard for running backs this offseason. The Packers probably could've fit his contract on the books last year, but might have had to do some reshuffling at other positions to make it work. Bell will be an interesting storyline to follow next month.

Do you see the Packers extending Rodgers before the last two years of his contract are up?

I do.

Did you write those Valentine cards?

Nope. Samantha Strejeck, Victoria McBryde and Ryan Hartwig handled that brilliance.

Murphy mentions silo elimination, then proceeds to have 3 direct reports vs the old system that had all reporting to GM. What am I missing? Is the 3-way an acknowledgment that BG might need grooming due to lack of outside experience and this is a transition mgt strategy?

Not at all. As Gutekunst told reporters last month, this structure allows him to do what he does best. It also is an acknowledgement of the job Russ Ball has done in managing the salary cap and other aspects of the organization.

Joe Philbin has fielded some pretty good TE production in his tenure; Finley, Clay, Allen/Doyle. With McCarthy's increasing emphasis on wanting to play the middle of the field, do you think Philbin has the players right now to make this happen, or will the Packers look to upgrade? We'll need to re-sign Rodgers first.

The Packers have Lance Kendricks under contract for one more year, but I think you need three tight ends on an active roster to get the most out of the position. We'll have to see where Rodgers fits into their plans, but I also think this would be a good year to find a prospect in the draft.

I personally think the Yellow Color Rush uniforms are the coolest- any chance we get to see those this year vs the white?

There aren't expected to be any changes with the Packers' Color Rush uniforms from what I've heard. Personally, I like the all-white uniforms. I think they look sharp, especially under the lights.

In addition to the Packers making a lot of changes to coaching staff, the NFC North as a whole is going to look a lot different in 2018 (Patricia in Detroit and new coaching staff, MN QB situation and coaching staff shake up, Nagy in CHI and Trubisky making a push to start day one). Outside of MN's Defense (exposed in PHI due to injury, in my opinion), I feel like Chicago is the team to watch out for - their defense seemed to be on the rise toward the end of the season.

I still think the Vikings and Packers are the teams to beat in the division, but don't sleep on Nagy and Childress. The Bears followed the Eagles' blueprint in finding a quarterback guy to work with their top pick. Getting Vic Fangio to stay was also a big plus for Chicago. He's done wonders with that defense the past two years.

Not trying to argue 3-4 vs 4-3 but i think it would be interesting to see, a d-line of daniels and clark at tackles, lowery and perry at de (perry with his in the dirt), martinez at will and matthews as the mike, jones as the hybrid, then the secondary. what say you?

The Packers already used a similar version of what you're saying last year other than Matthews lining up at inside linebacker. As Spoff has said before, I think Pettine's defense will complement Nick Perry's strengths. We haven't had a chance to talk to him about the changes yet, but it seems like a system he could excel in.

Hi Wes, a lot is being made of the Packers needing an edge rusher or a CB in the first round. But, what about S? Morgan Burnett remains unsigned and Clinton-Dix will be looking for a bounce back year. Do you think the Packers could address this need earlier with the few standouts at that position in the draft?

You can't have enough safeties. The days of keeping three or four are long gone in my mind because these guys are playing deep safety, slot cornerback and even hybrid linebacker. So I'd be in the market for another safety independent of Burnett's situation. They're too valuable.

What kinds of questions do you get sick of answering the most? Position/number questions? Catch/no catch? Free agents? hypothetical draft scenarios? It's probably one I haven't listed.

Probably talking about free agents before we even know what the pool is going to look like. I'm OK talking about catch/no-catch, but I don't think we're going to get an actual answer about that topic until the owners meetings at the end of March.

Hey Wes! In regards to signing outside free agents, how difficult is it for teams to determine whether a player is talented enough to sign, or if they are simply a product of the system, or the other talented players around them?

That's the name of the game for NFL GMs and scouts. It's also important to find guys who may not have fit into another system, but still have obvious talent. Look at what Kyle Van Noy didn't for the Patriots this past year or Erik Walden with the Packers from 2011-13.

[Wes, talking about The Spoff]: "I guess I just miss my friend." ;-)

It's been a good week for "Shawshank" references.

Do you think the Packers gut the WR's and go after someone like Watkins in week 2 of free agency?

I don't.

How is Cillian celebrating his first Valentine's Day?

Hopefully sleeping.

How cool was it to meet Mugs at the Fan Hall of Fame?

Wonderful lady with so much spirit. I also respect she was a few days away from taking a month-long trip to Texas. Eighty-seven years young.

Would you (not the Packers) rather have? The Packers first and second round pick or Buffalo's two first round picks? The points on the chart are about the same.

I really want to see what the Packers can do at No. 14. It's kind of uncharted territory for the Packers and the silver-lining to a tough season. So I guess I'm saying I'd rather be in Green Bay's position than Buffalo's.

As much production as AR12 has shown for the passing game, why do you pay a receiver in the GB system FA money?

Because familiarity and knowledge of the playbook help drive this offense, which has consistently been one of the league's best year after year. Rodgers has developed a chemistry with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams that doesn't happen overnight.

Do you think Clay Matthews will play more inside or outside this year?

Outside would have to be the favorite. Until proven otherwise.

Doesn't 'simplify the D' as Joe Whitt pointed out also mean that it is easier for top tier QB's to read as well?

The exact opposite. I think simplifying the defense will help the secondary better disguise coverages and prevent breakdowns. One voice leading the pass defense is a good thing, especially when it comes to helping the defensive backs and linebackers stay on the same page.

Can the Pack retain Jordy and Cobb while resigning Devante and Rodgers? I'm pulling my hair out over the prospect of losing Jordy, he's a TD catching MACHINE. Also, Machinez is such a great nick name, hope to see him blossom further in Pettine's D!

Re-signing Adams was a no-brainer. That was a must for the Packers. I think it' possible for all three receivers to stay based on how the cap has rose and the way contracts are structured.

One of the things I can't wait to see is how Pettine chooses to use Josh Jones. If you were Pettine where would you play Jones?

Hybrid linebacker/in-the-box safety. I love his speed and athleticism. He can make an impact near the line of scrimmage with a little more seasoning. Getting that much work as a rookie should help him in the long run.

So, was this your first exposure to the live chat, or had you sat with Mike in the past while he did his? Great job, appreciate all the work you guys do!

I used to do them once a week at the Green Bay Press-Gazette, but it's been Mike's thing here. I enjoy interacting with everyone. It's like Insider Inbox, only faster.

Did you see that GOT creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are going to write/produce a new series of Star Wars movies? Are we truly living in the golden age!?!?

It'll be interesting to see what approach they take to the Star Wars universe.

I don't understand the issue fans have with our wide receivers. With Rodgers back and the connection and experience, don't you think this is towards the bottom of needs?

Yeah, that's sort of what I was getting at. Nelson, Cobb and Adams see the game at Rodgers' level. I know it was a tough year for the passing game, but I'd stress caution before sounding the alarms. Let's see what the offense looks like with Rodgers back in the driver's seat.

Marvel or DC?

DC comics. Marvel movies.

When's lunch?

Right now. Thanks everyone for joining us this afternoon and sorry if I didn't get to your question. I had a ton of fun getting a chance to do this again. Be sure to stay tuned to packers.com leading up to the NFL Scouting Combine in two weeks. Catch you later.

 
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