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It's the nature of the game these days

Posted May 3, 2018

Height is an obvious part of the receiver puzzle


Kyle from Albany, NY

Iced or hot coffee?

Hot. Never iced. Good morning!

Dale from Kettering, OH

Does it seem like cornerbacks are more likely to be expected to start instantly league-wide than other positions?

I think that’s because of how many DBs play on a weekly basis in today’s NFL. The nickel corner practically is a starting position now. Teams routinely play six, sometimes seven defensive backs a game to defend against four- and five-receiver passing attacks. Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Damarious Randall were thrown into the fire as rookies. It’s the nature of the game these days.

Elmer from Muskego, WI

Which of the new receivers do you think has the best chance to start opposite Davante Adams? As we talk over the water cooler, it would be nice to throw a name in the lineup with Adams, Jimmy Graham at TE, pick your name at the other WR and Randall Cobb in the slot, with Ty Montgomery as the RB. What a nightmare for the opposing defense.

The rookie receivers don’t need to press, they need to learn. Adams set the standard for this in 2014 – he was consistent and caught the balls thrown his way as a complementary piece to Jordy Nelson and Cobb. The four names you mention are a great starting point for the offense, but it’s a more-the-merrier offense. It’s built for playmakers to emerge.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

What are the odds on eck-wah-NIM-e-us getting a nickname?

His nickname is EQ.

Andreas from Cologne, Germany

Longtime Packers fan from Germany here (since ’93). I guess you get a lot more attention from German press and fans now with the Packers drafting St. Brown. Did you know that he already caught a game-winning Hail Mary in high school?

He should fit right in.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Nice article from Wes on our new WRs. There were 33 receivers drafted this year in total. Five of the 33 are 6-4 tall or taller. Green Bay drafted two of the five. Our shortest draftee was 6-3. When considering roster holdovers at the WR position, we have Clark (6-6), Kumerow (6-4) and Allison (6-3). Not even considering Graham at 6-7, Green Bay has to have the tallest receiver group in the NFL. Coincidence or strategy?

That’s an interesting statistic on the Packers taking two of the tallest in this year’s class. I don’t know if the Packers emphasized height any more than in the past, but it’s an obvious part of the puzzle. There were tall, athletic receivers available late into Day 3. Brian Gutekunst took advantage of it. Simple as that.

Anthony from Milwaukee, WI

The Cowboys’ game plan was to keep Rodgers in the pocket. How do you do that? Do you not worry about pressure? Would you be fine with letting 12 have a lot of time in the pocket? Is he that much more dangerous outside the pocket than when he is in?

He can be. Rodgers proved he could slice-and-dice a defense from the pocket after the calf injury in 2014. It’s why I feel he can still play at an elite level as he nears 40.

William from Pittsburgh, PA

I agree that our depth at edge rusher is currently the biggest question mark. Do you think with the improvements to the defensive line perhaps Pettine’s defense will leave more D-linemen on the field in packages Capers might have opted for a crazy all-pass-rusher look?

Without question. At least, based on what the roster looks like at the moment. You play with the cards you’re dealt. Right now, Pettine is holding a lot of talented defensive linemen in his hand. You want to get those guys on the field.

Jake from Greenville, NC

Mike, you had a little fun with those guys, but come on. You know you appreciated the correct use of “ensure” instead of “insure.” More importantly, what is Coach Pettine’s history with edge rushers?

The Jets took a rotational approach to their pass rush under Pettine and Rex Ryan, getting four- and five-sack contributions from four or five players. In fact, they didn’t have a rusher surpass 10 sacks in any of those four seasons, but still had a pretty dominant defense.

Braydon from Brisbane, Australia

You guys seem to think Aaron Jones is more likely to have a better second season, but apart from the Cowboys game, I thought Jamaal Williams was more impressive, and is more of a change of pace from Ty. Could you explain why you think Jones will have the better season?

I think all three of those running backs will be better in 2018 because of how much they’re pushing each other. While the position itself is tailored towards getting immediate returns on draft investment, young running backs can still make huge strides during those first two or three seasons.

Cameron from Las Vegas, NV

It was reported that the Broncos were unlikely to pick up the fifth-year option on Shane Ray because of last year’s production. He had solid production his first two years. Do you think there is a trade market for him considering they didn't like his production?

Someone asked me this question on Twitter. I don’t see the Broncos parting with Ray. The cost of picking up the fifth-year option on an outside linebacker is significant, so it doesn’t surprise me Denver passed with Ray coming off his wrist injury. At the same time, Ray has a lot of value in that pass-rushing rotation. If he plays well, the Broncos could still re-sign him next offseason just like the Packers did with Nick Perry and the Bears with Kyle Fuller.

Kirk from Burlington, WI

My friends and I have a debate over Joe Thomas. How many offensive linemen have their number retired, and do you think Joe should have his retired? If not, what more can a linemen do for a franchise to warrant retiring one?

Joe Thomas absolutely should have his number retired. Like yesterday.

Eliezer from Rechovot, Israel

The past few drafts, some draftees couldn't participate in some of the offseason program due to some scheduling problem with their particular college. It held back both Lowry and Clark their rookie years, and their value started to come in only much later. Which players drafted this year have the same issue? And does the same problem exist for UDFAs?

Regarding the 11 draft picks, I’m not aware of anyone who has to return to school this year. The Packers didn’t draft anyone from the Pac-12 until Cole Madison in the fifth round, but I think he already graduated.  

Ryan from Green Bay, WI

When a player is in Jahri Evans’ situation, do they come back and work out with the team in these offseason workouts? Wondering if Evans is still working out here or elsewhere.

Pending free agents are permitted to work out at team headquarters until like a week or so before the starting of the new league year in March. After that date, they have to train elsewhere.

Jacob from Louisville, KY

I know that the WR position is going to be a lot of competition this year, but I believe that there will be a lot of rotating the guys to see how each of them play. So I expect the guy with the hot hand in each game will play the most snaps.

Possibly. I think the Packers would like to have that sorted out coming out of training camp, but you never know. I’m excited to watch that competition play out this summer.

Owen from Oakland, CA

Where does Ron Wolf rank among the most influential people to the NFL?

He’s pretty far up there. I’d put him on a Mt. Rushmore of NFL personnel executives. Game-changer.

Jeff from Dorr, MI

After reading Nathan's post yesterday, got me thinking. Could picking ball-hawking cornerbacks over edge rushers be a strategy? Interceptions are better than sacks, in most cases.

But pressure sometimes leads to interceptions, as well. There are more ways than one to crack that nut.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

One question I have about Gutekunst's maneuvering: With the trade back up to No. 18, even though Seattle was a likely partner, GB was still rolling the dice, correct? Or do GMs lay the groundwork for a trade as the draft is moving, before they're on the clock?

Definitely. There were no guarantees Gutekunst would be able to trade back up once he was sitting at 27. However, there were a few teams like Seattle that were vocal about their desire to acquire more picks. I’m sure the Packers were back on the phone as soon as they traded back from 14.

Bret from Hertel, WI

The Packers veteran TEs are Graham, the top FA, and Kendricks, who has a year in the system and is experienced. Do you see the Packers looking for a FA TE or does Byrd, Tonyan or a FA rookie make the roster?

Byrd, Tonyan and any incoming free agents will be in that competition for that No. 3 job, but they’re not just competing against each other. The Packers would love to carry three or four tight ends, but they’re trying to build the best 53-man roster. Green Bay has carried two tight ends before. It’s not optimal, but it happens. It’s the job of these young players looking to make the roster to state their case.

Calvin from Jacksonville, FL

I was just remembering how the Patriots lost their first-round pick to a fine a couple of years ago. If they had already traded it, what would have happened?

The ruling probably would get tolled, causing New England to lose its first-round pick during the next draft.

Steve from Montclair, NJ

Who prepares the film of college players for the scouts to review? Does someone isolate the plays for each player or do the scouts have to sift through games themselves?

That job belongs to Chris Kirby and the Packers’ hard-working video department. Rain or shine, they’re the real MVPs.

Chris from Marshfield, WI

Wait a minute, are you suggesting that by waiting until right before the first pick of Day 2 of the draft, the last pick from Round 1 would count as a second-round pick? That can't actually be possible.

We’re speculating more than suggesting because what we’re talking about would be unprecedented. Either way, I don’t know how the league would score it if the team picking 32nd waits until the 33rd team makes its pick on Friday. Would they both be second-rounders?

John from Reading, PA

"Could the Ravens have waited and not turned in their pick until Friday before Cleveland?” I thought there was a 10-minute limit on picks in the first round. Wouldn't this apply to all picks in the round?

I should have never opened this can of asparagus. If push comes to shove, I’m guessing the NFL would demand the team picking 32nd makes its selection before the league adjourns for the night.

David from Tucson, AZ

I'm hoping Kyle Murphy can make a major impact this year; any updates on his rehab status?

Murphy looks the part, and was off to a fine start at right tackle and (emergency) left tackle before injuring his foot last season. He was out of the boot before the season ended, which is a good sign. We’ll get a better feel for his status when OTAs begin at the end of the month.

Matthew from Las Vegas, NV

I'm intrigued by the International Player Pathway Program that's going on in the AFC North. Any change of seeing this rolled out league-wide? I liked what I saw from Moritz Boehringer when he came over and it would be an amazing story for him to catch on in the NFL.

I’m intrigued by Boehringer moving to tight end. He definitely has the frame for it. The NFL has been doing the International Player Pathway Program for years. I believe the Packers had a player on their practice squad many years ago under the provision.

Leslie from Algoma, WI

I have seen people refer to Equanimeous St. Brown as either St. Brown or just Brown. Is that typical for that type of surname or are some people just being lazy?

St. Brown’s father, John Brown, told HBO’s Real Sports in January he and his wife chose to add the “St.” surname to the last name of their three sons to distinguish them. John also mentioned it looks better on the back of uniforms.

Carlos from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Week 17. Packers guaranteed on the playoffs, only fighting for bye and/or home-field advantage. Saints fighting with Lions for the last wild-card spot. Should the Packers simply “preserve” AR and other key players? And what if the home-field advantage is already guaranteed?

You play to win the game. Guaranteeing the top seed in the playoffs supersedes everything. If that’s clinched, then it depends on the overall health of the team.

Daniel from Appleton, WI

2017: Three running backs. 2018: Three receivers. 2019: Three tight ends?

Three fullbacks.

Tim from Greensboro, NC

I sent a comment before the draft I hoped Edmunds might somehow fall to us. Sent comment after the draft I thought passing on him might come back to haunt us. Mark it down, I honestly believe he will be that once-in-a-lifetime guy. Let's revisit in three years.

He might be. It’s one big guessing game. I’ll see you on May 3, 2021.

Michael from Dover, PA

Think it’s safe to say Mickey Loomis was caught eating his pancakes last week?

Or there was someone wearing dark sunglasses above him who wanted to “make a splash.”

Glen from New York, NY

You replied to my question/comment concerning Callahan's cut that I have a "doctorate in hyperbolism." I'm 64 years old, junior, and I will tell you that sarcasm of yours was rude, proving your ignorance, along with a short memory of the capabilities for quarterback. I've followed the Packers longer than you've been alive, seen EVERY game ever shown in NYC since 1965, been to Lambeau three times in the Farve era and have seen multitudes of QBs. Next time address the question like a respectful, intelligent person, okay?

Who are you calling junior, pal? If you have such a long memory, you certainly recall how the Packers traded five picks to acquire a 34-year-old Hadl in 1974, right? So how does that compare to a former college free agent without a penny of guaranteed money in his contract? Good day, sir. I said good day!


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