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Sometimes all it takes is a spark

Posted Feb 15, 2017

Has any Packers player ever worn No. 0?

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

Lineman warnings...in a Detroit game in 1963 or so where Starr was sacked about 10 times, Fuzzy Thurston was quoted about 'lookout' blocks, yelling lookout to Bart every time the ball was snapped.

I received several comments about the “Look out, Bart” line with attribution to both Thurston and Jerry Kramer. What a day that must have been? I never had the chance to interview Lee Remmel, but I’ve been fortunate enough to talk with most of the Hall of Famers from those Packers teams in the 1960s. They must have been a blast to cover with the all those different personalities strewn about that locker room.

Matty the Math Major from Durango, CO

Here's some demographic data to help compare the Lombardi era teams to todays:

US population today: 324,000,000

US population in 1960: 179,000,000

The population in 1960 was 55 percent that of today. There would have had to be 18 teams in 1960 to match the "teams per capita" of today. In other words, teams today are diluted by 50 percent compared to 1960.

Wes the Communication Major thanks you for your research.

Joe from Asbury, IA

I have to chuckle every time a question is posed about how the team can stay healthy. There is no way to prepare for a guy rolling up on Cook’s ankles, no way to train Jordy not to extend his arms to catch a pass when he gets jacked in the ribs. Injuries are a part of the game. We hate to see them because they can change the landscape of a season, but it happens. The depth of a team needs to be managed to minimize the effect of injury, which position group do you feel is in most need of depth additions and experience?

You never can have enough cornerbacks or edge-rushers. This past season proved that. You need to be able to go four or five deep on any given Sunday. Even when you have ample reserves, injuries occasionally force you to dig deeper. So you scout, develop and cross-train as much as possible during the offseason. It not only increases competition, but also prepares young players for every scenario.

Rick from Lockport, IL

Like many, I'm a huge Aaron Rodgers fan, but I'm curious why you think (from Week 7 of 2015 to early 2016) Aaron didn't perform near his usual high standard?

Everything started clicking again. Jordy Nelson worked his way back into a rhythm, playmakers stepped up and Rodgers made all the big throws he needed to make. The offense played to its strengths, and once Rodgers regained his mobility, Mike McCarthy opened up the play-action game with more designed rollouts late in the season. Sometimes all it takes is a spark.

Mike from Mesa, AZ

The last few seasons have started with the Packers offense seeming to be out of sync. Do you think that may be because Aaron Rodgers doesn't play enough in preseason games to get the timing right?

The Packers actually got off to a pretty good start in 2015. After the first month of the season, pundits speculated whether Rodgers could go the entire season without an interception and win his third MVP. For all the challenges the offense faced in 2015, it played pretty well during the 6-0 start. I still don’t think playing your starting quarterback extensively in the preseason is worth it. Rodgers has played in the league 12 years. He does what he needs to do to be ready for the regular season.

A.C. from Jasper, MO

This is one of my many attempts to get a question answered. Can the number 00 still be used in the NFL and if so what position could wear it? Since the only questions being answered are free agency questions, has there ever been a free agent for the Packers to wear number 00?

There was a time when players were permitted to wear zero or double-zero before numbers were standardized in 1973. Jim Otto famously wore No. 00. No Packers player ever wore either number (at least in a regular-season game). The lowest number worn in Green Bay is No. 1, which was only worn by Curly Lambeau.

Gary from Tompkinsville, KY

If Eddie Lacy had stayed healthy, I think he would have been a difference maker. How do you think a backfield with Ty & Lacy would look? Could be hard to defend.

I’ve always been partial to thunder-and-lightning combinations, especially when either back can play all three downs. We’ll see what happens with Lacy this offseason, but that one-two punch would have been something to watch had Lacy stayed healthy in 2016.

Andrew from Marshfield, MA

Revisit- what is the base defense now? Seemed like every game the starting lineup had only two defensive linemen listed. The lineup looked more like a 2-4 than 4-2. Are guys on the roster now currently listed as OLBs really more like DEs now?

I think the rise of the elephant rushers has expanded the qualifications of an outside linebacker in those sub-packages. The reason I said 4-2 instead of 2-4 is because of how often the Packers rushed a four-man front out of the nickel package with Julius Peppers often lining up in a three-point stance.

Steven from Montclair, NJ

With the recent success of Ezekiel Elliott, do you think more teams will look to draft first round running backs this year as compared to the past few years?

Running back is such a difficult position to get a gauge on with all the variables of college schemes, offensive lines and level of competition. NFL teams have found starting-caliber rushers everywhere from the first round to undrafted free agency in recent years. I wonder how much Elliott’s success will impact the thought process of GMs across the league, though. Is that going to make teams roll the dice earlier in the draft on a back they feel could provide a similar lift? Every pick is a gamble, but the Cowboys’ investment in Elliott has paid off. His production definitely could entice teams to take a chance on finding the next Elliott.

Benjamin from Bea, DE

Starks was let go. Lacy is at best a serious question mark and Green Bay's only other running back is a reformed WR. My question is simple. How much does the Johnathan Franklin injury hurt now? If I remember, he was a stud coming out of UCLA.

It’s unfortunate Franklin’s career came to an end after his rookie season. He and Eddie Lacy were supposed to be the backs of the future. I’ll always remember Franklin for how he stepped up against Cincinnati in Week 3 after James Starks left with a knee injury. He finished with 103 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. The performance came after the Packers endured a stretch without a 100-yard rusher. It’s too bad we never got to see his career play out.

Andrew from Huxley, IA

Hi Wes, if we have to wait a month to talk about free agency, when do we get to start talking about the draft?

I’m not commanding you to wait to discuss free agency and draft. I’m just holding off on that discussion until we’re a bit closer to the starting line. If I had to choose, however, I’d rather discuss the draft because at least you know the available pool of players. It’s so difficult to anticipate who will reach free agency outside of veterans who already have been released.

Michael from Savage, MN

Hey Wes, How about we "throw in the towel" on the overtime rule before we start causing ourselves to be nauseous?

I took my first Dramamine after Day 1 of overtime deliberation.

Brent from Portage, WI

I don't think the inbox is saying that in OT the game should continue indefinitely (and I think the Insiders know that, but are simply tired fielding these questions). The Inbox perceives only giving one team's offense a chance to score in OT as an advantage to that team. Yes, the other team's defense has a chance to make a stop and get the ball back, but Vic has long drilled the idea into the reader's minds that today’s game benefits offenses more than defenses. With this in mind, it's understandable for readers to think of losing the coin toss as denying their team an equal shot at victory.

I agree with you that the team winning the coin toss stands a better chance at getting the win. That’s why fans cheer so loudly if the home team wins the toss. I agree that it’s an offensive league, but is there any scenario that guarantees each team a fair shot? I think the changes they’ve made to overtime have moved closer to that. Unless you move to the college system, I don’t know if anything will balance it out completely. The question I keep asking is how much falls on the defense to keep the offense out of the end zone?

Chase from Fort Huachuca, AZ

What do you think about this for overtime rules? Each team is guaranteed a possession, the ball being kicked off from the regulation spot. The team with the most points after each offense has had a possession wins, or if it’s still a tie, it keeps going. On the third offensive possession the teams must then go for a 2-point try rather than an extra point.

I’m not opposed to this idea. It’s relatively simple and incorporates enough strategy to pique my interest.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, stability at the head coach position is certainly a key to success, and most coaches are given a few years. Ray Rhodes was released after a single season; how did he fall short in a single year?

Rhodes lay the groundwork for the defense during his two seasons as coordinator and it helped earn him head-coaching opportunities in Philadelphia (1995-98) and Green Bay in 1999. In the end, it didn’t work out with the Packers. Rhodes presided over the only non-winning season of Ron Wolf’s time as general manager. To make matters worse, it came after a string of four consecutive seasons with at least 11 victories. The team was getting older, but an 8-8 season wasn’t going to cut it.

Sam from Crystal, MN

I agree with your assessment that Romo can still play at a high level. In fact, I boldly predict that if the Broncos pick him up, he will be playing at the highest level the most consistently. (Get it? Denver? Elevation? Highest level?)

I get it. Well done, Sam. The Broncos seem to like Trevor Siemian and have Paxton Lynch in the pipeline, but going the veteran route has served Denver well in the past.

Don from Swaledale, IA

This is a suggestion, not a question; for those of us who miss seeing the Packers during the offseason - record a few games and replay them in the off season. Gives you time to really watch a game or a specific player. Some games I have saved are Vikings game, Bears, Lions and of course the Cowboys playoff game. It helps.

I also cannot recommend NFL Game Pass enough. It’s user friendly and allows you to pinpoint on particular players. That’s what I use to re-watch games throughout the season before the All-22 is available.

Blaine from Bagley, WI

Now that the season is over, does the waiver order follow this year’s draft order or last years?

This year.

Brett from Omro, WI

Who do you project the Vikings will take in Round 1 of the draft?

Based on all of the injuries Minnesota had on the offensive line, that might not be a bad place for the Vikings to start.

(Editor's note: The Vikings traded their first-round pick to Philadelphia for QB Sam Bradford. Presently, Minnesota's first pick will be in the second round).

Roger from Indianapolis, IN

Do you see the Packers keeping Joe Callahan for 2017? Or will that last spot be kept for a running back?

It’s way too early to project rosters, but I want to point out the Packers have kept three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster in three of the last four seasons. If a player earns a spot, he’ll be on the active roster in Week 1.

Rich from De Pere, WI

Does the team give each player a workout schedule and goals during the off-season or is it up to each individual player to determine their own workout schedule?

The training staff gives recommendations and tips for workouts, but it’s up to the individual player how (and where) he wants to train. That goes for nutrition, too. I remember talking with Datone Jones last summer about how he mapped out a plan with Packers director of performance nutrition Adam Korzun to help with his conversion to outside linebacker.

Nate from Amherst, WI

Is there an expiration period on a free agent's "home team," regarding comp picks? For example, if Raji comes back this spring and signs with somebody else, will the Packers get comp pick consideration next year?

Raji was an unrestricted free agent last year, so he’s free to sign anywhere if he chooses to resume his NFL career without counting toward the compensatory equation. If he was still under contract with Green Bay when he went on hiatus, his NFL contract would be tolled and the Packers would maintain his rights.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

My hunch is the Packers got and are getting the best of Vic. Vintage Vic. Plus, he artfully managed the succession, the most difficult task in business, to Mike and Wes. How do you see what Vic created for you two?

He gave us the keys to the car. I’m just trying not to crash it.

Timmy from Chicago, IL

Wes. Are you serious? You haven't seen Westworld?!

No, it’s on my must-watch list for the offseason with the Young Pope, Ray Donovan and Better Call Saul.

Wade from West Allis, WI

It's the offseason, so let's get weird. If you could wake up tomorrow with the physique of anyone on the roster, who would you choose?

Ty Montgomery. To quote David Bakhtiari, “Look at him. He's like an Under Armour model; just muscles on muscles.”


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