Insider Inbox

Print
RSS

That's the most exciting part of the offseason

Posted May 15, 2018

RPOs aren't going anywhere anytime soon


Mitchell from Edmond, OK

On Sunday for Mother’s Day, my family went to my grandparents’ nursing home for dinner. It turns out the scheduled meal was pimento cheese sandwiches. I couldn’t help but chuckle a bit and think of you, Wes. You should give them another try, they weren’t all that bad!

Not. A. Chance. Good morning!

David from Coeur d Alene, ID

I presumed that the most competition would be at receiver and defensive back. But looking at the current roster numbers, the biggest competition may be at offensive line with 20 players fighting for about nine spots and linebackers where 16 players are fighting for about seven positions. Do you see anything noteworthy in the current makeup of the 90-man roster?

There’s no question the stakes will be raised this summer at several positions. I’m most interested to see how many players the Packers carry at certain defensive positions because that will speak to what the emphasis is under Mike Pettine. Realistically, the composition of the 53-man roster is ever-changing. It’s up to the players to sort it out. To me, that’s the most exciting part of the offseason: who emerges and pushes the roster whether it’s a draft pick or an undrafted free agent.

Brad from Tucson, AZ

The natural follow-up up question to Olle's query is what the difference between the read option and RPO is. Read-option was the rage early in the decade then fizzled when QBs got blown up. Isn't RPO the same thing, different day?

Everything is cyclical in the NFL, but I don’t see RPOs going anywhere anytime soon. It’s a game of checks and counters, and RPOs keep the offense at an advantage. It also maximizes the skill set of veteran quarterbacks such as Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers under center. For that reason, I believe you’re only going to see it spread.

Anthony from Baraboo, WI

The real question for the Packers and Saints isn’t if Davenport was worth taking 14th overall this year. All of the experts seem to agree on that. The real question is, will he end up being worth the 14th overall pick this year and a likely mid-to-late first-round pick next year. I can’t wait to find out the answer to that question.

I’ll be watching the Saints closely because I can’t recall the Packers being in this position before. Seriously, when was the last time they controlled another team’s first-round pick for a full calendar year? Has it ever happened?

Alex from Arvada, CO

One thing I noticed during the Eagles’ Super Bowl run was Nick Foles made a lot of check-down throws to the running back, allowing him to stay in rhythm and maintain the drive. They made the defense guess if Nick would go deep or go under to the running back. Do you think the Packers will use Ty Montgomery more this way seeing how effective it was for sustaining long drives?

The Packers want this out of all of their running backs, not just Montgomery. It’s a component of the “three-down” mentality Mike McCarthy preaches about. What’s intriguing about using Montgomery in that capacity are his hands and education as a receiver. He understands concepts at a different level than most backs. So yes, I’m sure the Packers want to maximize those abilities.

Michael from Elizabethtown, KY

Like everyone, I'm excited about the Rodgers-to-Graham red-zone connection, but does anyone else think the back-corner end-zone toss is sometimes too predictable, difficult, and more times than not fails? That play is more nerve-racking to me than any other on third-and-goal situations.

Maybe in a lesser quarterback’s hands, but the worst-case scenario with Rodgers is an incomplete pass. The Packers also have had a lot of success on that play. I’m reminded so often of the catches Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson made over the years in that exact situation. It’s just one option out of many available to the QB in the red zone.

Tristan from Durham, NC

I'm a Packers fan that has never lived near Wisconsin, and I've been wondering something for a while now. Why do Wisconsinite Packers fans seem to be so consumed with drafting Badgers players? I thought it was a hometown-hero thing, but I've never noticed any other team's fan base caring where their drafted players come from.

There is only one Division I football team in Wisconsin, so all eyes are on the Badgers every Saturday during the fall. I think the homegrown, blue-collar nature of the program deepens the ties to the program and its players.

Zackary from North Wilkesboro, NC

Do you think we wasted a pick on a punter?

Drafting a punter doesn’t guarantee locking down the position for the next 10 years, but it does increase the odds. This isn’t B.J. Sander, either. The Packers didn’t trade away resources to overdraft a punter. They got JK Scott at a good spot for the value of the pick. Watch his film and you see why Brian Gutekunst felt strongly about him.

Steve from Middletown, KY

What you have seen of the rookies so far on the field? Which three have impressed you the most and what in particular makes them stand out?

We’ve only seen one practice, but Jaire Alexander, Oren Burks and J’Mon Moore caught my attention. I touched on Moore last week, but I loved Alexander’s athleticism and swagger. He’s a confident young man. Burks is a great hybrid prospect. He has a defensive back’s background and an inside linebacker’s frame. He can play.

Brad from Westby, WI

How come out of the all the draft picks we had, our top three draft picks are the only three not to be signed yet?

Everything is pretty cut-and-dry with rookie contracts under this current CBA. However, there is some room for negotiation with players taken in the first three rounds. There’s also a question of off-set language with first-round picks. Don’t lose any sleep, though. The deals will get done. This isn’t pre-2011 when guys routinely missed time during training camp.

Jeff from Hagerstown, MD

If a kickoff going through the uprights is worth one point, imagine the following scenario. A team just tied the score with one second left on the clock. It looks like sudden death overtime for sure – but wait, the kickoff goes through the uprights for a one-point win! Time also wouldn’t expire until the ball is touched, so would there be a second kickoff? Is this what the NFL would want?

You’d definitely see a surge in kickoff specialists throughout the league. I can’t imagine it would be what the NFL wants, though.

Ryan from Green Bay, WI

"Free agent who never has been to the Pro Bowl"? Well, I have mixed feelings on this, but Kenny Vaccaro fits the description here. Strong-safety type to replace Burnett, who is a bit younger yet and might well be cheaper. He had a couple issues, but had a ton of potential and big plays, too (on a defense that was historically bad all around him for most of his time there).

Safety is the one position that remains relatively deep in free agency. According to Rotoworld, seven of the top 10 safeties are still unsigned. The position has value, but teams still are cautious about throwing money at it. The Packers have enough in-house candidates to replace Morgan Burnett, and Josh Jones and Kentrell Brice will benefit from the extra reps this summer.

Mary from Billings, MT

Tom Brady has jokingly said he has to play until he gets 1,000 rushing yards, which got me thinking how many yards rushing does Aaron Rodgers have?

2,670. He crossed 1,000 yards early in his fourth season as a starter.

Brian from Lake Odessa, MI

I was reading an opinion piece on sportradar.com about the five best quarterbacks under pressure. They didn’t even include AR. Do you think that was because he didn’t play much last season and they were only using the most recent season’s numbers, or was there a decline in his production I didn’t notice?

I don’t know the parameters of the opinion piece, but there are few quarterbacks I’d take over Rodgers when facing the blitz.

Andrew from Dayton, OH

Given how well the Packers’ fan base travels, how many of the road games will be "true" road games? By that I mean, which stadiums will there not be a balance of home vs. Packer fans (sometimes I think there are more Packers fans at away games than homers).

The NFC North defends its turf well. New England and Seattle will be hostile environments. I think Los Angeles has the best chance at being a pro-Packers crowd and maybe the Jets depending on how their season plays out.

Zach from Delavan, WI

There is much talk that Saquon Barkley is going to be a once-in-a-decade type of talent. If he becomes this era’s "Barry Sanders," but one of the QBs taken after him becomes the next Brady/Rodgers type of talent, it becomes the story of what might've been for the Giants, right?

The Giants drafting Barkley was the NFL’s worst-kept secret. I get it is Dave Gettleman’s M.O. to build the offensive line and running game, but there were three bona-fide QBs of the future on the board at No. 2. How do you not draft one of them? Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Barkley will be the GOAT. Maybe Kyle Lauletta is everything people want to believe he is. But I still would have had a difficult time passing on Sam Darnold and Co.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

May Reggie Gilbert revive both the "Reggie, Reggie" chants and the Grave Digger celebration!

The Packers have been lacking a good chant at Lambeau Field since John Kuhn signed with the Saints.

Austin from Galesville, WI

Akeem Ayers. He is a player who has never been in a Pro Bowl, who I think could add veteran rotational depth to a Pettine defense. I can't see the front office being satisfied with the current depth at OLB. Is this a reasonable pickup?

I appreciate the responses to this exercise. My goal was to encourage fans to look beyond the household names. I still don’t see the Packers signing Ayers or any other outside free agent at the moment. If you’re not pegged as a starter, the upside of young players typically outweighs carrying 30-plus-year-old veterans on your bench. It’s balancing the known with the unknown.

Josh from Green Bay, WI

Do Packer players ride kids’ bikes from Lambeau to Ray Nitschke field for OTAs or is it just a training-camp thing?

It’s just a training-camp thing.

Ryan from Bloomer, WI

Eight points for hitting both uprights with the same kick like a 7-10 split.

More like hitting a 7 in one lane and a 10 on the one next to it.

Bob from Birchwood, WI

Our favorite pre/postgame watering hole, Farr's Grove in Howard, recently closed after 55 years of being in business. Do you have any long-standing game-day traditions?

I was neighbors with a branch of the Farr family growing up, so I, too, have a special place in my heart for that establishment. As far as game-day traditions, the only one I have is grabbing coffee by my house and calling my friend, Scott, on the way to the stadium to finalize my fantasy lineup. Once I step out of the car, it’s time to go to work.

Rick from Selinsgrove, PA

Love the column, keep up the good work! Though an infrequent writer, I am a longtime reader. Your work is keeping me afloat during a long offseason. My wife thinks there's something wrong with me, since "nothing happens in football until September." Can you help me explain my obsession, or shall I just smile and confess she's right?

I’m sure your wife is a wonderful lady, but I have to disagree that nothing happens until September. There’s something going on every month of the year. That’s what makes the NFL the country’s preeminent professional league. Passion knows no season.

Kenneth from Eau Claire, WI

Do the Packers slide back in a draft because the cost of the rookie contracts seems to significantly drop off for unknown NFL talent?

That’s not a worry in today’s NFL. Maybe before the most recent CBA, but not anymore. Contracts are more palatable today and the rookie-wage scale is based on your picks.

Christopher from Echo Park, CA

So, Weston, how was it sleeping on the couch? (The ole gas card ploy, rookie....)

The missus and I have been together for nearly 13 years. If you knew how often she drives for work, you’d know how much the gesture meant. She was pleased as punch.

Michael from Schofield, WI

I just watched “The Office” all the way through for the first time, and one of the top moments was the Andy Bernard audition with Aaron Rodgers on the panel. In your opinion, who would be the best Packer player-turned-actor? (This applies to all former and current players.)

Clay Matthews. He was excellent in “Pitch Perfect 2.”

Josh from Moreno Valley, CA

Why don’t you guys run a special sometime where you ask the questions and readers submit their answers? May have some creative answers, just a thought.

Do you think it would work? Do you guys want this? If so, let’s give it a shot when Spoff goes on vacation during the first week of July.

Mohammed from Teaneck, NJ

I don't think I understand how fast or hard an NFL quarterback throws a football. Mike, when you got hit on your leg from the errant throw, did you understand?

I’ve never been hit by a rogue football but I have picked them up on the sideline a few times. I cannot tell you how hard that ball is and now understand why hand size is such a big deal for quarterbacks and receivers.

Joel from Hilton Head, SC

Mike, you got pegged by an errant throw in practice from Rodgers? I don’t buy it. He throws dimes while evading multiple blitzers. Are you sure it wasn’t retaliation for a misquote or something?

Coming out next fiscal quarter – Spoff Hunt for Nintendo Entertainment System.


HAVE A QUESTION?

 
blog comments powered by Disqus
Insider Inbox

Join Packers.com writers as they answer the fans' questions in Insider Inbox.

Do you have a question? Your question could be posted on packers.com.

* Required Field