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That's what the offseason is for

Posted Apr 12, 2018

This has the potential to be the most compelling backup QB competition in a decade


Ed from Fort Bragg, CA

Hey Mike and Wes, where are you guys? You haven't posted an Insider Inbox in a couple of days.

You sure about that? Good morning!

Spencer from Rockford, IL

I think Kevin King will surprise us this year. He held his own against the likes of Julio Jones with a bum shoulder. I like his chances with a healthy shoulder.

King is going to be key for the defense. If the Packers can plug him in for 16 starts outside, it would go a long way to settling down the secondary. Green Bay can use either cornerbacks or safeties in the slot, but it needs two solid cornerbacks on the boundary. King checks that box when fully healthy.

Dave from East Troy, WI

With all of the playbook, nomenclature, and coaching changes, I would think the offense will be erratic for the first several games.

That’s what the offseason is for and why those nine weeks of the offseason program will be so important for the Packers this year. The coaching staff went back to square one and now the players must follow suit. There are new philosophies, playbooks and schemes on both sides of the ball. Preparation is the foundation to a fast start.

Chris from Chippewa Falls, WI

Does having the offseason program start before the draft allow for coaches to re-evaluate their current roster before jumping into rash decisions at the draft?

The timing has more to do with squeezing in the offseason program without going too deep into the summer. While the league has a year-round news cycle, it still values that month layoff between the end of mini-camp and start of training camp.

Aaron from Sour Lake, TX

In my opinion, the Browns mishandled DeShone Kizer. Rookie QBs need to be eased into the system, not thrown into games and throwing 30 times a game.

I have never understood why teams are in such a hurry to rush rookie quarterbacks to the field. Yes, there are some insanely talented guys such as Andrew Luck who stepped in as rookies and thrived, but those are the exception, not the rule. Most need time to learn how to competently play the position. I thought the Browns made a mistake going into last season with only Kizer, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan on the depth chart.

Jack from Chicago, IL

I think many fans are writing Hundley off as of right now. I know many are disappointed with his performance last season, but he had moments last year where he looked like he was going to put it together. Of all the camp battles we will have next year the QB2 might be one of the most entertaining.

With all the regular-season snaps Kizer and Hundley took last year, this has the potential to be the most compelling backup quarterback competition in a decade for the Packers. Those two gained a lifetime of knowledge last year. They need to use it to better themselves.

Chip from Seattle, WA

With this being a loaded draft for quarterbacks and possibly five of them going in the first 15 picks, who in your mind is the best? Who would you draft if you were the Browns and were for sure taking a QB at No. 1?

Darnold.

Owen from Oakland, CA

If I'm the Packers picking at No. 14, I'm taking an edge rusher, as long as no cornerbacks the Packers are very high on are still available, because the draft is very deep at corner but not as much at edge. We could easily get a top tier corner in the second or third round.

I can’t argue with that logic. An analysis of the last six or seven drafts would indicate the most impactful pass-rushers were taken in the early rounds, while Richard Sherman and Josh Norman were unearthed on Day 3.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

I’ve seen comments and mock drafts that indicated the Packers’ “need and lack of strength at MLB.” It seems to me that Blake Martinez played at an “elite and Pro Bowl level” last year and I expect him to be even better in Mike Pettine’s defense this year. Are the experts seeing something I didn't?

Martinez was an impact player for the Packers last season and is only 24 years old. Green Bay has areas where it needs to improve its defense this offseason, but Martinez showed he was a capable communicator and three-down linebacker. The Packers could add another inside linebacker in the draft, but I don’t see it as a major need, especially if they continue to use a hybrid linebacker in the defense. Martinez is a stable presence at the position.

Ric from Longmont, CO

Much has been made of Ty Montgomery's commitment to strength and conditioning this offseason. This website has him listed as 216 pounds. When are these numbers updated?

It’s not a massive change. I remember Montgomery saying last summer he was hovering around that 220-pound mark. The only real change is he doesn’t worry about keeping his weight at a certain number at running back like he did at receiver. He can put on muscle without risking his speed or explosiveness.

Jason from Austin, TX

If you had a player that was equally dominant (top 10 in the league) as a WR and CB, which position would you put him on your roster? Or would you have him play a little of both?

Probably receiver. That’s an easy sell to players.

Connar from Lake Nebagomon, WI

Clay Matthews and Davante Adams drafting the teams instead of offense vs. defense? It’s the Pro Bowl all over again.

I think it’s a nice changeup. It also gives Matthews a shot at actually winning this year. He and the defense have sort of been the Brooklyn Brawler of the annual softball game.

Dan from Golden, CO

We've heard more players coming out saying the lack of communication was a big reason for the poor play and development this past season. We absolutely still need playmakers, but could it be we have a lot more talent on defense to become top 12-15 than we think?

It takes more than talent to succeed on defense. Charles Woodson and Matthews were the cornerstones of the defense in 2010, but solid leadership, emerging young talent and communication navigated the Packers through injuries. More pieces are needed, but a streamlined approach will help Green Bay get to where it wants to go.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Accountability is the hot topic, but what does that actually mean in practical terms? It is a 45-man roster so if you are going to start benching and cutting guys, it means you either have to play someone else out of place to take their spot or sign a street FA, both of which were identified last year as specific reasons for failure on defense.

Accountability doesn’t just mean sitting players or cutting them from the roster. It’s more than that. It’s coaches correcting the film, players lifting each other up, and individuals pinpointing specific areas of improvement and working to strengthen them. That’s how winning is done.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Which Packer has a good chance of earning his first All-Pro bid this year? I will go with Blake "Tacklin' Fuel" Martinez.

Solid choice. I’ll say Davante Adams becomes the first Packers receiver to be named All-Pro since Antonio Freeman in 1998.

Jeff from Arlington, VA

Nick Perry and Adams are great players who bloomed just in time for a big pay day, but we didn't get the cheap good years out of them other teams seem to enjoy from their top picks. Do you think the Packers put too much emphasis on develop and lose out on more pro-ready players that could contribute in bigger ways earlier?

It’s not like either guy was a one-year wonder. Adams had one down year during that injury riddled 2015 season, but otherwise was incredibly productive on his rookie contract. Plus, it’s not like Perry’s presence on the roster stopped the Packers from signing Julius Peppers in 2014. There may be examples where the Packers would have been better off signing a veteran than inserting a prospect, but not in the two cases you mentioned.

Mark from Missoula, MT

Is it a coincidence that the third preseason game, the one everyone takes seriously, is against Jordy Nelson's new team? I'm seriously asking, because if it was at Lambeau, it wouldn't be a big coincidence.

It’s a total coincidence. The Raiders have traveled to Green Bay a few times over the past few years for preseason games and it probably was time for the Packers to swing by their neck of the woods. I’m sure more will be made out of that matchup than deserves to be.

Eivind from Nordfjordeid, Norway

How big of a deal is it for the Packers to finish the preseason with back-to-back away games against the Raiders and Chiefs?

I’m sure the Packers would rather finish the preseason at home, but that’s the way the cookie crumbled. Fortunately, it’s only a quick puddle jump down to Kansas City.

Toby from Newington, CT

Does Cliff Christl have a team of people who support his research? Does he at least write down everything he discovers so it's not lost for all eternity once he retires?

One of the greatest travesties in Packers history is Lee Remmel and George Whitney Calhoun didn’t write books. Those two men took so much knowledge with them when they passed away. That won’t be an issue with Cliff. He’s authored several books and cataloged his work along the way. It’s been his life’s work to separate fact from football fiction.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

Talent is clearly critical but how do teams evaluate whether a player has the “brains” or intellect to handle schemes and a complicated playbook? Wonderlic is a single tool but no guarantee. We've seen countless players with the talent who never could put it together on the field.

Take the Wonderlic with a grain of salt. There are plenty of Pro Bowlers who didn’t score well on it but have had long and productive NFL careers. There also are players who scored through the roof and couldn’t play a lick. Football is a different language. One of the better ways to judge a player’s comprehension is putting plays up on the whiteboard and seeing what they know.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

I listen to some sports radio, and I don’t waste my time listening to most athlete interviews where they’re just trying to contribute and play one game at a time. However, sometimes, I hear 10-minute interviews with athletes from different sports that have it. Some years ago, I heard Ronde Barber and Chauncey Billups interviewed and wished my favorite teams in their sports would find a way to sign them. Are there current Packers who have “it” that we should make a point of listening to?

If you’ve never watched a Tramon Williams press conference, you should definitely take a minute to check out one of his interviews this season. He’s one of the most articulate and well-spoken athletes I’ve ever covered. He definitely has that “it” factor.

Eliezer from Rec, Israel

100 years of Packers, wow! What other teams have been around that long, and are any of them slated to play the Pack this year? Seems like it could be something to build around.

The oldest teams are the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals (who moved three times) and Green Bay Packers. The shared history with the Bears is why I felt it would make sense to have Green Bay open its 100th season against them, but I also acknowledge the more compelling matchup might be the Vikings after everything that happened last season.

Adam from Glens Falls, NY

I agree with Richard from Center, TX, that the defense had better be ready for professional quarterbacks, but the list isn’t exactly murderer’s row. We’re not even sure who we’ll get against a few teams (AFC East), I’d say five opposing QBs are good, one great and the rest relatively unproven. That’s half the year with a distinct advantage. Even against the GOAT, I’ll take our guy. Will the Packers’ defense be better than most of their opponents? If we can say yes...

Playing Seattle and New England on the road will be a challenge, but there are huge questions in Arizona, Buffalo, Miami and New York. Those matters are out of Green Bay’s control, though. All the defense can do is focus on improving and seeing how it translates in the fall.

Etienne from Gaspecoast, Canada

Seems to me that being the first comment of the day getting the good morning is a cool feature of the Insider Inbox. That’s the customer hall of fame moment. Color-rush uniform in danger! What a start for a beautiful spring day out here, finally winter seems to be over. Good morning Insiders!

I personally like the Packers’ color-rush uniforms, so I’d be disappointed to see them go away. I understand some teams weren’t the biggest fans of their designs, but I felt the white jerseys and pants looked great under the lights at Lambeau Field. Hopefully, the NFL leaves it up to the teams.

Vern from Sherwood, OR

I would like an Insider’s thought. If a player injured another player and is penalized for it, should the offender miss the same amount of time as the injured player? I think it would remove dirty players like Barr even though he was not penalized for the play that injured Rodgers.

It sounds good in theory, but the NFLPA would never go for it.

Jason from Johnston, IA

I loved the "A Few Good Men" movie reference. I don't see the big deal even if you did insert your own questions into the Inbox via a fictional person. If we as the readers aren't asking something that needs to be asked, please share it. Now post this and all the readers will wonder if I'm real.

I’m not into stuffing the ballot box. We run a real Q&A in these parts.

Tom from River Falls, WI

Mike Tice, on the sidelines coaching the Vikes, used to have a pencil sticking out above his ear. I used to think, "Why on earth would anyone think that's a good look?"

A wise teacher once told me Ticonderogas make a great fashion statement.

Ed from Fort Bragg. CA

Mike and Wes, please disregard my last post. I just found the Insider Inbox and read your latest posts.

Too late.


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