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It does indeed feel strange

Posted Dec 27, 2017

It's hard not to wonder, though it doesn't do any good


Dan from Austin, TX

It feels weird to be going into Week 17 with basically no playoff implications for the NFC North. The Vikings have the division locked, and none of the other teams have a chance to get in. When is the last time that's happened?

I think you have to go all the way back to 2005, if my quick research is accurate. It does indeed feel strange, especially after having the division title itself on the line in Week 17 each of the previous four years.

Jerome from Wichita, KS

I'm concerned about the number of injuries experienced during the past 3-5 years on the Packer team. It seems worse than other top-flight teams have experienced during the same time frame. Could there be some changes coming in the strength and conditioning department?

Everyone wants answers regarding the injuries. I don’t have any for you. I barely know enough about football, let alone kinesiology.

Jake from Salt Lake City, UT

If they just would’ve ruled Calvin Johnson’s catch a touchdown, does all of this catch/no catch controversy ever happen?

Great question. It was probably inevitable at some point.

Matt from Plover, WI

From my understanding our laws are written in great detail; however, they often use vague enough language to allow for discretion and common sense to be applied case by case. Should the NFL adopt a similar concept (specifically with the catch rule), or do you think that would lead to increased confusion and frustration?

Somewhere along the way, the slightest movement of the ball while in a player’s grasp was equated to loss of control. I’ve never understood that. As a result, the most minuscule visual cue has usurped common-sense application.

Vegas from Orlando, FL

With all of the discussions about the rules, what is a catch, replay review in NYC, head of NFL officiating taking the lead on making the decisions in real time, I was expecting to see at least one question about Al Riveron with Wes, but do you guys have an opinion about the quality of officiating with the new leader?

In short, I don’t think Riveron has given the call on the field the same weight Dean Blandino did in the review process, and that apparent change in the standard has left many perplexed and frustrated.

Cody from Turlock, CA

I’m surprised nobody has brought up the success of the 49ers with their change of quarterback. Essentially the same roster that went one of eleven has strung together four straight. The quarterback affects everything, right?

Ding ding ding!

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Where would this team be if not for career-ending injuries to Nick Collins, Jermichael Finley and Johnathan Franklin? And the early retirement of B.J. Raji? Has any other franchise had the same number of devastating injuries over this same time frame?

I don’t know about other franchises, but every instance you mention was a significant departure. It took three years to re-stabilize the safety position, tight end has never been the same, and we all know about the changes at running back over the last few years. Maybe the Packers don’t draft Clark if Raji doesn’t walk away, but in any case, it’s hard not to wonder, though it doesn’t do any good.

John from Colonial Beach, VA

I can't be the only one who finds it ironic and amusing that last decade we were celebrating "Jacked Up" on MNF and now we look for flags, fines and suspensions for those same hits.

Science has a way of enlightening us if we let it.

Monty from Seattle, WA

The Packers’ defense is currently ranked lower than 20th in meaningful stats such as points (21st), total yards (22nd), third-down conversion percentage (28th), and first downs surrendered (28th). While stats aren't everything it heavily suggests underperformance this season. What's your take on why the defense has struggled?

Of many reasons, the biggest for me are lack of a consistent pass rush and lack of continuity in the unit as a whole. The Packers didn’t get after quarterbacks enough from standard fronts, and not enough regulars practiced and played together week after week to keep everything operating smoothly. The injuries on the back end were numerous, but there also wasn’t the depth to plug somebody in and keep everyone else at their best positions. The constant lineup shuffling in order to get the best 11 on the field significantly hindered progress toward continuity.

Mike from Lyons, OH

Doug from Oregon said that you'd be doing well to answer questions with questions because it worked out well for Socrates. Socrates was forced to drink poison because the powers that be didn't like his questioning. Doug may be hinting at something.

So I’ve got that going for me, too, which is also nice.

Ben from Marshfield, WI

Any chance the Packers go after a big-name free agent like Malcom Butler or DeMarcus Lawrence in 2018? It would be nice to cut some players like Cobb and Matthews who are underperforming their current contracts and sign a player of that caliber. Defense really needs some serious upgrades in the pass rush and secondary.

It is absolutely pointless to talk about potential “big-name” available free agents until the tag deadline has passed.

Dave from Nicholasville, KY

In regards to the NFL's competition committee, is the committee made up entirely of coaches and owners? Just curious if officials were involved. Certainly could use a better viewpoint with the mess that has been made of many issues.

The committee is made up of coaches, GMs, owners and team presidents, including Mark Murphy. Officials have been consulted in the past with regard to some rule changes, but they are not on the committee and therefore don’t have a vote.

Ben from Chicago, IL

So far this season I have had an uneasy feeling whenever Hundley is under center. I just don't see an "it" factor. After spending time and looking at Rodgers’ first 10 starts vs. Hundley's, they are very close, though. I just don't see consistent improvement week to week. It seems like two steps forward, four steps back. Do you feel that Hundley can continue to grow? I feel that the Packers will re-evaluate the backup situation in the draft/trades and not continue with someone who is lackluster. What are your honest thoughts?

I think Hundley will continue to grow, but you’re right that the improvement hasn’t been steady. It’s been in fits and starts. How the coaches and personnel department will feel about that heading into next season, I can’t say for sure. I think he’ll have competition for the No. 2 job in the form of either a draft pick or a signing.

Steve from Cottage Grove, WI

I know we haven't seen Lego highlights in a while, but I still have a question. Do you feel Lego highlights can/should include Lego re-enactments of the touchdown celebrations? I think it would make them better!

Duly noted.

Josh from Denver, CO

What are the highest and lowest positions the Packers can draft in next year?

Right now, I believe it’ll be from 11th to 19th.

Jeff from Andover, MN

If there are any questions regarding the impact of the NFL Draft on a 7-9 team, one only needs to look at the New Orleans Saints. Shutdown corner with pick 11, starting tackle pick 32, starting safety pick 42 and impact RB pick 67. Yes, they were lucky to have Lattimore fall to 11, but the draft was phenomenal. They drafted for need and impact and hit the lottery. What needs will TT be looking for outside of the obvious pass rush?

The injuries to Bulaga, Spriggs and Murphy put offensive tackle high on the priority list. Interior O-line depth will also be necessary unless Evans is re-signed. Receiver and tight end need attention, and you can never have enough cornerbacks. Those are the areas that jump out at me, in no particular order, aside from pass rushers.

David from Moore, ID

Spoff mentioned Adams and Linsley as "must re-signs." Considering Burnett wears "the helmet," why wouldn't he be on this list? I understand his age and the emergence of Ha Ha, but when you consider the issues we've had keeping corners healthy over the last two years, the consistency, versatility, and continuity he brings to the team cannot be overlooked.

I agree it can’t. Burnett would be No. 3 on my list, and I’d love to see him come back at the right price. But Adams and Linsley hitting their second contracts, not their third like Burnett, simply make them higher priorities.

Burt from Slinger, WI

When the ref measured the first down with paper I knew the problem. Being a physics expert I tell you metal shrinks went it gets cold. I started to think about cold games in Lambeau. The chain link shrinks and the 10 yards becomes about 9 yards. That’s the problem, our defense gives up too many first downs because of the cold chains. They should use rope instead. Do you think there needs to be an investigation?

Shrinkage? What do you mean, like laundry?

Amanda from Villa Rica, GA

After this weekend of games, what are your Super Bowl predictions?

Not to be boring, but I’m with Wes on picking Saints-Steelers.

Terry from Fond du Lac, WI

Inquiring minds want to know! Will Vic visit this week and as a belated Christmas present take your cars to the gas station?

If Vic ever does come back to visit Wisconsin, I guarantee you it won’t be at this time of year.

Brian from Spring Valley, WI

We need to judge the Packers on who they are instead of who they could have been. The Packers are a 7-8 team. They lack star power with no players named to the Pro Bowl. The Packers rely more on their talented quarterback than perhaps any other team given the enormous effects when Rodgers got hurt. So how do the Packers acquire more stars, and become more balanced? With a lot of picks in the upcoming draft it would seem that there is an opportunity in the immediate future to make changes. Can the same people that created the current star-less unbalanced roster be counted on to make changes to remedy their own mistakes?

Can we please stop with the no Pro Bowlers thing? The 2013 team, which lost Rodgers for half the season and finished 8-7-1, had no Pro Bowlers either, until Lacy and Sitton went as alternates. The following draft added Clinton-Dix, Adams, R. Rodgers and Linsley to a supposedly “star-less” roster, and the Packers went 12-4. I think the Packers need to do better than the 2014 draft, because you can’t count on the QB winning another MVP like he did then, but it can be done, and it’s up to this personnel department to do it.

Terry from River Falls, WI

Was this always your MO before Vic? "I’m just trying to keep the issues grounded more in reality than rants, and to provide a perspective for both enjoying and analyzing the game." Thank you for putting into words why I enjoy packers.com so much that other venues continually fail me.

I didn’t have regular fan interaction until Vic came along in 2011, and what started with weekly chats has grown into what you see now that Vic has moved on. My position and job description here has undergone constant evolution since 2006, and I’ve learned and enjoyed a ton with every change along the way.

Daniel from Sao Paulo, Brazil

It seemed odd the way the offense played on Saturday night. Don't you think all these dropped passes are related to a lack of confidence of the players in Hundley?

Only the players know the answer to that. I think Hundley’s lack of consistency is a factor, because the triggerman sets the tone and level of expectation for the entire unit. Somebody needed to pick him up, because a lack of sharpness appeared to get contagious.

Rod from Chugiak, AK

We so love our Driver and Jordy types we can hardly stand to see them depart. If indeed Nelson has lost a step and can no longer stretch the field, and if (just for my question's sake, more about position than money) Jordy would be willing, like Hawk was, to reduce his contract to stay with GB, would such a long-strider who takes some distance to build up speed be out of place in the slot? Or could ways to make that work be schemed?

In my opinion, absolutely.

Carl from Simi Valley, CA

When will the rules committee do away with the meaningless extra point when time has expired? Any time the margin is more than one point it is an exercise in silliness and futility.

It’s a waste of time. It should just be a choice, because if the scoring team is up by one or two points, it’s going to take a knee now anyway.

Curt from York, PA

Please Insiders, enough of the questions/comments from the lunatics who talk about blowing up this team that has made the playoffs eight of the last nine years. When you list them in this column, it just stirs up more lunatics.

But ignorance doesn’t diminish unless it is exposed.

Dan from Janesville, WI

It's not hard to see the decline of this sport. From ungrateful, militant players, to an over-officiated, over-regulated league. Throw in the phony concussion issue. More of a money grab from irresponsible money management by players. And lastly team employee guys like Spoff and Wes who 30 years ago would be more likely to cover girls tennis. Good riddance NFL.

Likewise. See what I mean?

Joshua from Mankato, MN

Burnett, Adams, and Linsley due to hit free agency. Nelson, Cobb, and Matthews each with one year left at a high price. Rodgers needing a new deal. It’s always a game of replacement, but I sense this offseason may see more turnover than usual.

I believe it’s going to be a very active offseason in Green Bay.

Nate from Laramie, WY

Hi guys! It's inevitable at some point everyone struggles and stumbles. It's how we get back up that is the real measure of character. This holds as true for collective teams as it does individuals. I am fascinated to see how Coach McCarthy handles this task and how the team responds, especially in light of his "patterns of negativity" comments. I sense a lot of learning is occurring. Best wishes for the New Year! Please keep up the good work. Cheers!

I believe it’s going to be a very active offseason in Green Bay.


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