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Inside pressure creates outside opportunity

Posted Feb 10, 2018

Sometimes you have to look past statistics to see the story


Roger from Menlo Park, CA

I hear talk about how good the O-line is but I'm not seeing it. Why can't we keep Aaron upright? Offensively, if we keep him upright, he seems to always make a play. But at the beginning of last year, he was the most sacked QB in the league. Shouldn't we look at drafting some pass protection?

Sometimes you have to look past the statistics to see the story. Aaron Rodgers is most dangerous when he can extend plays, which puts more stress on linemen to hold their blocks. David Bakhtiari, Lane Taylor, Bryan Bulaga and Corey Linsley embrace that responsibility. This was a challenging year for the entire offense, but the fact the line wasn’t a weekly discussion is a credit to James Campen and guys like Justin McCray who answered the bell when injuries hit.

Jack from New York, NY

Seems like the Giants and now Eagles had success against the Patriots passing game after lining four edge pass rushers on the line without a legit DT. It was the play of the game for the Eagles on that fumble. Do you think Coach Pettine will use this approach with the Packers and what are the disadvantages of rushing the passer without a DT?

The Packers have used a “NASCAR” dime package with four outside linebackers/elephants rushing without any true defensive linemen on the field. The risk is it can leave you vulnerable to run checks and getting walled inside. We’ll see what Mike Pettine rolls out this summer, but there’s an argument to be made having Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels available inside is the strength of the defense. You want those guys on the field. Inside pressure creates outside opportunity.

Frank from Imperial, CA

The Packers need a 1-2 punch at RB. Royce Freeman could provide those bruising, tough yards they need. Would they look to sign someone like him?

I say it over and over, but I like the Packers’ holdings in the backfield. They drafted three running backs last year, and Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams emerged as playmakers. I’d stick with them and Ty Montgomery, and invest resources elsewhere. If you want extra competition, maybe sign a college free agent to compete in training camp.

Mark from Litchfield, NH

Wes, love the "Shawshank Redemption" shout out with the reference to Zihjuatanejo. As a diehard Packers fan in the middle of Patsies country, I would love to see the game in Foxboro in the last quarter of the schedule. Thoughts?

My best guess is it’ll land in the same November sweeps spot as what was scheduled to be Aaron Rodgers versus Ben Roethlisberger last year. Who knows how many more times Rodgers and Brady will meet. The schedule-makers and networks will want to capitalize on that matchup.

Daniel from Castle Rock, CO

In response to Wayne from Green Bay, I saw a note about comparing Brady versus Rodgers. In this note, it’s mentioned that Rodgers is the best to ever play the game, and Brady is the most accomplished. I think in each way they are the GOAT.

Spot on. As a sports society, I wish we took more time to appreciate greatness rather than constantly trying to rank greatness. It’s a waste of energy.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Peder from Rockford said a draft pick not making the roster is like losing a pick. Isn't it worse to keep a player just because you drafted him? Better to admit you made a mistake and move on?

That’s the old Ron Wolf adage. However, I think Peder was talking about how difficult it is to keep 12 rookies on a 53-man roster. I agree with that. That’s more than a fifth of your roster. The last time Green Bay drafted 12 or more players was in 2006. Ten made the active roster, while fourth-round pick Cory Rodgers did not.

Lee from Marshfield, WI

Why is everyone talking about the Packers trading back from 14? We all know there will be a player there with a high grade that can help this team. So Wes/Mike, why does everyone want to give up a top 15 pick?

It’s something to talk about in the dead of February, but if I’m Brian Gutekunst, I’m salivating thinking about the playmakers who might be available at No. 14. It’s been nine years since Green Bay has had an opportunity like this.

Eric from Melissa, TX

If Brian Gutekunst's first two draft picks are anything close to as talented are Ted Thompson's first two, the Packers will be in decent shape. I miss Nick Collins. I already miss Mr. Thompson.

The best two draft picks by a new NFL general manager ever, right? Everyone seems to forget Thompson is still in the building. He just isn’t making the final call anymore.

Farley from Waukesha, WI

What are some things DeAngelo Yancey has that Geronimo Allison does not?

Yancey was a more finished product coming out of the Big Ten than probably Allison was. Yancey saw his stock rise because of his size (6-2, 201) and an impressive senior year (19.4 yards per catch) on a struggling Purdue team.

Dan from Golden, CO

I'd like to point out to Dale from Kettering, OH, that you can't exactly cherry pick using Martellus Bennett as his main point. Jahari Evans was an incredible signing, Davon House was very serviceable for what he was paid, and quite frankly Jared Cook should never have left. It's not like we traded the farm for these guys. If anything, they were good stop gaps which is exactly what every team needs in the salary cap era.

Some of the best Super Bowl teams, including the Eagles, have been built through the signing of mid-level free agents at a palatable price. You’ll hit on some and miss on others, but neither scenario breaks the bank.

Craig from Laramie, WY

I agree that we don't need to line up an immediate successor to Rodgers but backup QB is still on my radar (I'm the guy that anointed Nick Foles the best backup QB back in December but got only "crickets" from the Inbox). I've heard you guys say to expect competition for Hundley. Is Callahan part of that equation, an outsider or both?

And the comments section says I’m the one wearing out my rotator cuff by patting myself on the back. The Packers have three quarterbacks on the roster. I expect a fourth. Now will that be a rookie or a veteran? Other than a few camp and in-season additions, I cannot remember the last time the Packers took a veteran QB into the offseason program who wasn’t homegrown. Maybe J.T. O’Sullivan in 2004?

Dale from Owatonna, MN

Five tight ends taken in the top 45 picks last year. Must-have weapon for Rodgers – Troy Fumagalli, second round. Probably a very common sentiment so far?

Packers fans love their Badgers. Fumagalli is one of probably five tight ends sniffing the top 100 rankings going into the NFL Scouting Combine at the end of the month. Green Bay has taken two tight ends inside the top 100 (Jermichael Finley and Richard Rodgers) since 2000. It wasn’t Thompson’s way to take a tight end in the first two rounds. Will it be Gutekunst’s?

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

When you draft "the man" you get a few years to look at him on a rookie deal and pay the defensive side of the ball before you have to pay him like "the man.” When you sign free agent "the man,” he inks the richest deal in NFL history. It is nice to draft "the man.”

If you draft “the man,” stand by “the man.”

Mark from West Bend, WI

With all the personal people that have left Green Bay and moved on to be GM's elsewhere (Schneider/Seattle, Dorsey/Kansas City & Cleveland, McKenzie/Oakland), why do you think the Packers haven't been able to accomplish more player transactions with these teams? I can understand the Seattle/Green Bay rivalry, but all that comes to mind with the others is Knile Davis. Does familiarity actually make things more difficult?

The Packers haven’t worked many trades other than moving up and down on draft day over the years, so that’s probably par for the course as it relates to swinging deals with former Green Bay executives.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

Relying on free agency is like trying to time the stock market: risky and need some luck.

Right. That’s why you don’t put all of your assets in one stock. You diversify.

Justin from Centerville, UT

And with those 18 picks, the Browns chose not to draft: Aaron Rodgers, Andy Dalton, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, Derek Carr, Colin Kaepernick, Kirk Cousins, Tyrod Taylor, Dak Prescott, Teddy Bridgewater, Jimmy Garoppolo, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes. They instead drafted Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden, Johnny Manziel. I think trading Rodgers would be an incredibly stupid move, but you have to at least acknowledge the Browns are much different if they draft any one of those QBs they skipped on.

My biggest gripe with the Browns is they’ve only drafted one QB (Tim Couch) inside the Top 20 over the past 20 years. It’s not often Aaron Rodgers falls to No. 24. Once-in-a-lifetime superstars just don’t last that long.

Matt from San Luis Obispo, CA

In regards to the Jenkins hit on Cooks in the SB...Where does the head go? Those of us that have played rugby know that the solution to this problem is obvious. Make any tackle above the shoulders a penalty. If Jenkins goes in low and leads with his shoulder, head to the side, and wraps up, he makes the tackle, and Cooks is still in the game. Just make high tackles illegal. Problem solved.

Fair, but this likely would result in more knee and lower-body injuries. Finishing to the body is the safest place for both the ball carrier and tackler. That’s simple when we’re playing in the backyard, but it gets complicated when the best athletes on earth are flying around.

Andrew from Dayton, OH

You're open to suggestions about safe tackling? Take away helmets. Enforce rugby style tackling rules. Rugby has nearly half the frequency of concussions according to articles I read from National Center for Biotechnology Information. P.S. This is about the seventh time this season I have made the rugby suggestion.

Is there reason to believe that would translate to professional football? I’m no rugby expert. I’m legitimately asking.

Joseph from East Moline, IL

I don’t think we should worry so much about Kamara. Since 2003, a top 5 rusher has won the Super Bowl only once.

That’s not the way the Saints’ offense is wired, though. New Orleans is a pass-first team that utilizes multiple running backs. When they won the Super Bowl in 2009, the Saints had three backs – Pierre Thomas, Mike Bell and Reggie Bush – all eclipse 600 total yards. The Saints don’t need Kamara to lead the league in rushing to be a contender, especially with Mark Ingram in the fold. They need him to keep doing what he did this past season. 

Rod from Peoria, IL

Insiders, I believe that one contributor to the decline in NFL viewership is the loss of superstar players. People watch to see the amazing things they do. I also believe that rules can't be effective without changes in player mentality regarding dangerous plays, e.g. helmet to helmet hits. What do you think?

I still think there are plenty of superstars in this league. When one goes down like Carson Wentz, another compelling story is born like Nick Foles. I think the NFL’s reported decline in viewership is the same reason TV, in general, is seeing lower ratings. The 18-34 demographic doesn’t do appointment TV anymore. You have to go to them now.

Nick from Las Vegas, NV

Rather talk about Tim Tebow? Let’s wait until he leads his team onto the field in the XFL. Las Vegas Gamblers win the title.

Hey, I can think of another quarterback taken 25th overall by the Denver Broncos who then used the XFL to resurrect his football career. What I want to know is whether Tommy Maddox is the only player to win titles in the NFL and XFL? 

Jesus from El Paso, TX

Reading your page is more than informative, it is humanizing. So many other sites are full of arrogance and disrespect. It is a breath of fresh air to read the content on this page. Thank you and I hope baby Hod has you walking around with a smile on your face and that Spoff is too busy loving life to read this comment.

Thank you. I try my best to balance civil debate with mutual respect. I, too, hope the Spoff is taking a little time to relax this week and not pilfering through Inbox submissions as he typically does on a daily basis.

Patrick from Paducah, KY

Was that a reference to Network with Robert Duvall and Kentucky native Ned Beatty? I hear he was a Paul Hornung fan, which means he must be a Packers fan. Man, you guys are good with the subtle references to all things Packers.

Yes! Thank you for making my weekend.

Ben from El Paso, TX

Wes, will you have to crawl through a river of you know what to get there? Or, are you planning to violate the conditions of your parole? And when you get there, are you going to change your number?

Hopefully, the circumstances are different. If I’m in the same position Red was in, then we know something went terribly wrong.

Chris from New Canaan, CT

If someone used Fort Hancock, Texas, as their city, would their comment automatically appear in the Insider column?

Only if the submission comes on a blank postcard.

Andy from Thompsontown, PA

Wes, I hope the water is as blue as you picture it in your mind. Thanks for the reference to my favorite movie of all time.

I may not be hip to “Fletch” references, but I can sling “The Shawshank Redemption” quotes with the best of them.


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