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Let the games begin

Posted Feb 27, 2018

Tradition beats gimmicks when you have a rich enough history


Bob from Glasgow, DE

Andy's comments, from Appleton, WI, with the theme song of the “Twilight Zone” in the background, were uncalled for. He could not understand your original insightful and succinct response? You and Wes do an excellent job. Thanks for your efforts.

I’m pleased to report Spoff and I were at our desks Monday. Our passcodes still work. Sorry to disappoint you, Andy. Good morning.

Milan from New York, NY

I have many, many friends. But none of them want to ask a question. Sorry.

Someone ask a question for Milan. He needs a happy Tuesday.

Michael from Dover, PA

Andy from Appleton sounds pretty cranky. Maybe he needs a friend. Dan from Twin Lakes needs one.

I’m not sure Dan is that desperate for a friend.

Jonathan from Paducah, KY

Do you have a particular player or players from a particular school(s) you are most excited to see perform at the combine?

There’s always one. In the past, it’s been Margus Hunt, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Takk McKinley and Adam Shaheen. It’s usually players who either have ties to the Packers or just interesting backgrounds. Shaquem Griffin is probably at the top of my list this year. He’s an outside linebacker from UCF who only has one hand. His twin brother, Shaquill, plays for the Seahawks. Marcus Davenport is intriguing, as well. It’s just fun to see the pieces start to fall into place this weekend. There will be a lot of ebb and flow over the next two months. Let the games begin.

Jay from Madison, WI

Why don't the Packers use smoke machines and pyrotechnics like the other teams do? It would be fun to see Aaron Rodgers running through the tunnel when there's pyrotechnics right there, such as is with teams like the Cowboys.

The same reason the Packers don’t wear glow-in-the-dark uniforms and change their color pattern every four years. Tradition beats gimmicks when you have a rich enough history.

Matt from Allentown, PA

For varying reasons, we've seen Nick Collins, Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Davon House (now perhaps twice), Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, and Micah Hyde leave GB's secondary during Morgan Burnett's career. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Damarious Randall, and Kevin King were all first-round draft picks selected to address the turnover stated above. More experience, talent, and versatility are still needed. It is pretty clear to me GB needs to give Morgan Burnett that elusive third contract. He’s earned it, don’t you think?

Burnett has earned everything he gets. His accountability, professionalism and versatility cannot be questioned. But free agency is a different animal. When it comes to those top 50 free agents, it’s not a question of whether you want a player back – most teams do – but rather can you afford him. Once the market sets, Brian Gutekunst will run his cost-benefit analysis and determine what’s best for the Packers going forward.

Braden from Aurora, CO

Why are we so concerned about a GM's seventh-round track record? Seems that's the exception rather than the rule. Wouldn't a GM be much happier to hit on his first picks with consistency, than his last?

I couldn’t care less which round a player gets drafted. Just hit baby. The key is to hit more than you miss.

Jim from Tucson, AZ

What seems to be the general feeling about the Mike Pettine hire? Mike Daniels says he felt like it was Christmas Day when he heard the news. My feeling is, "If Mike Daniels is happy, I'm happy.”

The general consensus seems to be optimism. I think everyone – players, coaches and media alike – is excited to see what Pettine can do with this defense. It’s a new day.

Joe from Milwaukee, WI

Besides interviews, what part of the combine provides teams the most insight into a player's capabilities? Also, having lived in Indy for seven years, go to Twenty Tap if you are looking for a good burger and beer selection.

It would be easy to say 40-yard dash, so let’s dig a little deeper. I’ll say the three-cone drill. It’s a good barometer of a player’s agility and explosiveness. While it probably means more at some positions than others, it generally provides a glimpse of a prospect’s football speed.

Stephen from Fort Atkinson, WI

First, are you surprised by the compensatory picks the Packers received? Second, do other teams take into consideration who they are trading with in the draft to make sure they are not giving a good player to an opponent they see often?

I was surprised because there were only four third-round compensatory picks distributed. There were 11 last year, which is why I think many sites believed the Packers were a shoo-in for one this year. I’m not sure why that is. The compensatory process is complicated. And yes, that happens all the time. How often do you see the Packers work trades with the NFC North?

Liam from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

I feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t get excited for the draft until the day arrives. I’m not fussed about who we could draft, I’m interested in who we actually draft.

That’s basically my approach. The public might think it knows what an NFL team is thinking, but it usually doesn’t. There are so many behind-the-scenes conversations we’re not privy to. If you’re honest about what you don’t know, it makes the pre-draft process more enjoyable.

Rod from Ephrata, PA

With statistics like yards after completion and yards after contact, wouldn't a defensive stat of yards after contact be an interesting measure for players, especially linebackers?

Probably. It might be tough to assign specific responsibilities to defenders, though. It’s easy to break down what happened on a missed tackle when it occurs in the open field, but it’s not always that clear.

Rob from Buckinghamshire, UK

Aside from Jimmy Graham, who's likely too expensive, what are your thoughts on this year’s FA tight end class? Julius Thomas seems like a great candidate for a one-year prove it deal, and Tyler Eifert when healthy was one of the best in the league.

Julius Thomas wouldn’t count toward the compensatory question, so that could make sense. Eifert reportedly has been cleared. If he’s healthy, there will be a healthy market for his services. I think he’s clearly the No. 2 option behind Graham. Austin Seferian-Jenkins could be a sleeper. He doesn’t turn 26 until September and was a good citizen in New York.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Who do you think is the best QB to never get a chance to be the week-in and week-out starter?

Seneca Wallace. He played a decade in the league, but only started 22 games. Wallace posted respectable numbers for the Seahawks (333-of-556 for 3,547 yards, 25 touchdowns and 14 interceptions) over five seasons. I always felt he was a little before his time as a 5-11 quarterback.

Zachary from Texas

Are the Packers going to re-sign Demetri Goodson?

Great question. It’s too bad Goodson tweaked his hamstring after getting activated off injured reserve. It would be easier to gauge where he’s at if he’d played a little. He’s a tireless worker who was a stalwart on special teams prior to his injury. It probably won’t take much to bring him back. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Packers give him another look.

Chuck from Wisconsin

Asking for my friend Dan in Twin Lakes, WI: Which three non-quarterbacks among active NFL players do you see as first-ballot locks for the HOF?

Larry Fitzgerald, Julius Peppers and Adrian Peterson.

John from Los Angeles, CA

Some mocks have Josh Jackson going to the Packers at No. 14, while others have him falling to the Packers in the second round. Do you think he's a 14th-overall talent?

Talent? Probably. He just doesn’t have the consistent production most first-round picks usually have (only 14 starts at Iowa). Jackson is a prospect GMs and scouts really have to do their homework on.

Rich from Newark, NJ

I know mock drafts are to be taken with a grain of salt, but I peruse them more for fun and entertainment than actual accuracy. However, every single mock draft I have seen has the Packers taking Marcus Davenport. What can you tell us about him and would that be the ideal pick for the Pack?

Long-levered is the perfect way to describe him at 6-6, 255 pounds. He fits the mold of an “elephant” edge rusher. Conference USA isn’t the SEC, but Davenport showed he could play to that level against Texas A&M. I’m excited to speak with him at the combine.

Rob from Brookfield, WI

With all the talk about how many Super Bowls a quarterback has won, what's your take on Carson Wentz? He's still young, and will likely get there again, but does he get viewed as being a "Super Bowl-winning QB?"

Wentz played a pivotal role on a Super Bowl team, but I think Nick Foles is the individual who gets the credit for being a “Super Bowl-winning quarterback.”

Rhiannon from Plainfield, NJ

Do you consider Rodgers to be the most talented quarterback to ever play football?

I do.

Paul from Minneapolis, MN

The Combine Primer posted the other day showing Aaron running a 4.77 surprised me. He seems faster than that on the field. Is this a good example of "game speed" vs. a 40-yard dash time?

Maybe. We all know how Rodgers feels about that “official” time.

Mitch from Bettendorf, IA

Are we really complaining that our hurry-up offense is now in too much of a hurry? Our offense is still using up a lot of the play clock every down.

The offense is functional at every speed with Rodgers under center. He gives the Packers an edge every pre-snap. If Rodgers wants to take an extra second to read the defense and find a mismatch, I don’t have an issue with it. It’s what makes him great.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

I just saw a mock draft with the Packers trading down with Buffalo to No. 21, and they only receive the Bills’ second-round No. 56 for doing so. However, trading up four picks would cost the team a second-, third- and a late-round draft choice. Sorry but I just don't get this trade side of the business.

That’s the price of trading into the Top 10. It isn’t cheap. The draft-value chart isn’t as simple as it once was, but it does give you an idea of how much the value of picks dip as you go down through the first round.

David from San Francisco, CA

I don’t understand why Mark Sanchez is used as negative light on Bortles. The old Jets and new Jags proved you can compete for a Super Bowl without the man, saving the money, and strengthening the defensive side of your roster. Sanchez went to two AFC championships. The playoffs are a crapshoot and they’d love another swing. In any case, the three-year contract is telling. I expect Jacksonville to draft a QB this season and give themselves four years to develop and make the transition on the draft pick’s rookie deal, which would expire at the same time as Bortles’ extension.

I think your argument would be stronger if the Jets had won a Super Bowl. Instead, it just creates “what-ifs.” History has shown it’s difficult to keep a window open on a defense-first team. Stars age quickly and it’s not easy to find another to step right in. The Jets found that out in transitioning from Darrelle Revis to Dee Milliner.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

With the question about restructuring Jordy, the question I have is who makes the call. Does Gutekunst approach Russ Ball and indicate that a restructure to “$X” is needed? On the same lines, how does free agency work given the current structure? Does Gutekunst approach Ball about the player he wants and it's then Ball's job to try to get a contract negotiated? Just trying to understand the dynamic and process between these two.

As Gutekunst told reporters last month – if he wants a player on the roster, he’ll be on the roster. There obviously will have to be conversations with Ball and his scouts about how a player fits, but the decision belongs to Gutekunst.

Mark from Grand Rapids, MI

Last year it was somewhat of a head-scratcher why McCarthy didn't play Reggie Gilbert over Fackrell. Was Thompson behind that wanting his draft pick to get every opportunity? Will Murphy be weighing in on situations like that now?

You never know what you’re going to get with practice-squad players. If Gilbert isn’t on the roster, the coaches can’t play him. I think it was smart to give him a shot at the end of the last season. Now, we’ll see if he can build on it. Regarding Murphy, I’ll repeat what I just said – the roster belongs to Gutekunst.

Patrick from Inver Grove Heights, MN

With Gutekunst new to the GM role, would this be the year to trade some of his 12 picks this year for higher-round picks next year? Benefit being improved value next year when it’s likely some of your 12 picks won't make the team this year.

No. I’m all for trading picks during the draft, but I’d be cautious about trading back a full year. I want to get better today, not defer to 2019.

Benjamin from Bear, DE

I see the salary cap is estimated to be upwards of $178 million. What's the percentage that teams must spend of the cap, according to the most recent CBA?

I believe the CBA stipulates a team must spend 89 percent of its salary cap over a four-year span.

Luke from Manchester, UK

Even given the unpredictable nature of comp picks, can we pencil Washington down for a third-rounder?

I think that would be wise.

Mark from West Bend, WI

Andy from Appleton was probably just upset the Winter Olympics are over. As far as moving up in the draft, could we not also entertain the idea of using players to trade up instead of just draft choices? In my opinion, every player should have a predetermined value – yes Wes, even Aaron Rodgers – and if the opportunity presents itself, they be used to move up or gain an additional draft pick? Enjoy Indianapolis.

No Mark. Just no.

Cal from Sturgeon Bay, WI

So, let’s say the Insiders have their own combine. Who puts up more reps on bench?

The spotter who has to pull the bar off of our chests.

Jimmy from Chicago, IL

Is the combine where you combine whiskey with coke?

The combine is where I combine coffee with cream. You need to stay sharp during a busy week. Stay tuned to packers.com. We’ll have you covered for the entire week.

Davy from Chetek, WI

Wes, I’ve joined you in taking that next step in life. My wife and I brought our daughter home on Sunday. There’s no feeling like it. Three cheers for the next generation of Packer fans.

Congrats Davy. Enjoy the ride. It’s worth every second.

Brett from Lakewood, CO

I'll be your friend, Dan. Now, will you please ask the Insiders a question about Ty Montgomery's new number for me?

Checkmate. We have a winner.


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