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There was only one way to start this thing

Posted Apr 21, 2018

The Packers trust their process with player personnel


Eric from Roland, IA

What's the reaction in the Inbox to the Packers’ schedule?

Opinionated. Good morning!

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

Mike's piece on the Packers-Bears games is one of the coolest articles I've read. I don't know how anyone could argue a greater rivalry. 100th seasons within a year of each other and they're both playing in their original areas. It's like the history of the Packers of the last century is truly the cultural history of Wisconsin because of how ingrained they are in each other. It's just the greatest.

What are we without our history? There are so many shared memories between the Packers and Bears, including the last 15 years. I was convinced this was the opponent since last season ended because let’s be real – the Packers’ 100th season? There was only one way to start this thing. The Menominee North End Athletic Club and Minneapolis Marines aren’t around anymore. It had to be the Staleys.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

This offseason is starting to feel a lot like 2010. If Brian Gutekunst hits on at least three of the 12 picks and Pettine turns the defense into a top 10, it will be a very interesting season even though they have the toughest schedule on paper.

The beautiful thing about that 2010 NFL Draft is the Packers found rookies who fortified that roster, whether it was a 21-year-old Bryan Bulaga becoming the youngest player to ever start a Super Bowl game, or James Starks returning to power the Packers’ running game in the playoffs. Those are the kinds of contributions teams are looking for from rookies.

Patrick from Alexandria, VA

The Packers went to Washington on Nov. 20, 2016. Rough game...and I got home at 5 a.m. Whew! Now, Washington hosts the Packers this year. In a couple years the Pack rotates into the NFC East in its entirety. Why Washington this year? Thanks.

In addition to the annual rotation, the Packers play one team every year from the other two NFC divisions. That’s determined by which team finished in the same place as Green Bay the previous season. The Packers finished third in the NFC last year and Washington was third in the NFC East. There you have it.

Brian from Sussex, WI

Pros/cons: Early-season division games with new schemes – limited time to fully execute new schemes versus opponents not having game tape of the schemes.

I like it. As Larry McCarren said on our “Three Things” video Thursday night, those two weeks are a golden opportunity to seize control of the NFC North and set the tone for the season. There are unknowns, but the same can be said for how the Bears and Lions must approach the Packers with a new offensive and defensive coordinator.

Matt from Verona, WI

Noon games and night games, that's how I like it. 3 p.m. games are the worst.

I don’t want to jinx anything because there is a whole lot of flexin’ that could go on after Week 4, but that’s the best part of this current schedule – no home 3:25 p.m. games and only one on the road. Hopefully, it stays that way after having to weather three in the first five weeks last year.

Greg from Cambridge, WI

So another year of ending with the Lions. Why do they pick them? Since they have changed the schedule to be a division rival, it has mostly if not always been the Lions. What is your opinion on that? It used to be a top rivalry but I think Vikings would be better.

The Packers have faced the Lions five times since the NFL switched to having divisional opponents for the regular-season finale in 2010, and the Vikings and Bears twice apiece. It is lopsided, but I wonder if the schedule requests from the past few seasons played a part in this (the Packers hosting Chicago on Thanksgiving in 2015, opening U.S. Bank Stadium last year, and now bringing in the Bears to kick off the 100th season).

Craig from Temperance, MI

Have we forgotten Vince Biegel? The kid is a stud that will prove to us he can play and rush the passer. Cornerback, wide receiver and then pass rusher is the way I see it in the draft. Maybe bring in a fill-in, older linebacker that was cut for cheap.

I don’t think we’ve seen the real Vince Biegel yet. What he went through with the foot surgeries was less than ideal and set him back five months. I’d like to see the Packers add another rusher to that room through the draft, but Biegel is still very much in the conversation for snaps this summer.

Jacob from La Crosse, WI

Where do the players typically go for their rehab? Is it at the Bellin Titletown clinic across the street or somewhere in-house?

It depends on the injury and player, but the Bellin Sports Medicine Clinic definitely is becoming a destination spot in the NFL after adding Dr. Robert Anderson, one of the country’s leading orthopedic surgeons.

Jordan from Summerville, SC

Is playing on a short week in Seattle really that bad? We’ll each have the same amount of time to prepare. I agree that the long trip favors them more on a short week, but it gives us more time to rest and prepare before a more important division game on the road. Actually, I’d be more upset about this if I were a Vikings fan. We’re nobody’s underdog.

Playing on a short week is never a good thing, but having to travel across the country makes it significantly worse. I’m sure the Packers will do the best they can to make lemonade out of this, while having their eyes fixed squarely on the mini-bye.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

Does the loss of Alonzo Highsmith and Eliot Wolf put extra strain on the personnel staff during the offseason, especially in the draft scouting process? Losing two senior personnel staff would seem to deplete the staff to utilize for the scouting/draft/free agency/undrafted signings.

Wolf and Highsmith are two of the sharpest personnel evaluators in the game, but so are John Schneider, John Dorsey and Reggie McKenzie, and the Packers managed to put their best foot forward without them. How often did you hear Ted Thompson talk about how a personnel department is more than one individual? The Packers have a process they trust when it comes to player personnel.

Cameron from Springville, UT

When was the last time the Packers have traded up in the first round? Who did they get?

Other than trading back in the first round to take Clay Matthews in 2009, the Packers last traded up in the first round to draft Javon Walker in 2002.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Spoff mentioned the rigor required to survive three days of draft activity. How do you prepare for the expenditure of energy?

Pace yourself. It’s a long grind, especially once you get to Saturday. I can’t imagine what these scouts must go through. Not only are they picking nine players (presently), but they also must stay ready for that tornado of transactions once the draft concludes.

Brandon from Appleton, WI

Do you anticipate that there will be some alumni at the season opener against the Bears?

It was announced at the “100 Seasons” unveiling that approximately 55 alumni are expected for the weekend. 

Chuck from Minneapolis, MN

This question is for Brett Hodkiewicz. Is there room for three QBs on the active roster?

I think there is and I offer this into evidence. The Packers have carried only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster twice in the last five years: 2013 and 2017.

Benjamin from Bear, DE

I knew it was too good to be true, two submitted questions in a row answered but the third got the axe. Let's start a new streak. What defensive player on the current roster has the most to prove this year?

The entire defense. I know that sounds cliché, but everyone has something to prove in 2018 – the pass rush, the secondary and even the defensive line showing it can be a perennial powerhouse.

Tim from Platteville, WI

Were you guys surprised that Minnesota wasn't scheduled for Week 16 or 17? It seems that the schedule-maker has been pretty good arranging maximum drama to end the season in the past.

I was surprised Minnesota wasn’t scheduled for the regular-season finale considering the Packers have wrapped against Detroit the past two years. It is a pretty high-profile game regardless, so perhaps the NFL wanted to find other Week 17 matchups with possible playoff drama.

Tom from Harker Heights, TX

The Packers OTA started a day late due to the snowstorm. Will they get to make that day up or is it lost forever?

I think the Packers lose it, but it’s a few hours of weight-lifting. I don’t see it altering the course of the season.

Mark from Saskatchewan, Canada

Good morning, Insiders! It seems as though pretty much everything is pointing to Calvin Ridley being available at pick No. 14. The potential to give No. 12 a game-changing receiver does not come along in every draft. I can't wrap my head around not picking him if it happens, can you?

Everything I’ve heard over the last week suggests Ridley will be there at No. 14, but the strength of this receiver class likely is on Day 2. I think Ridley is going to be a good player in this league, but the problem is he’s not the 6-3 or 6-4 receiver who makes every GM salivate. It’s sounding more and more like Courtland Sutton might be that guy.

David from Madison, WI

Can I assume Pettine has experience against quarterbacks of outstanding mobility?

I feel confident in saying that he does. But if Pettine needs a refresher, his defense will line up against Aaron Rodgers throughout training camp and three days a week during the regular season.

Jamie from Rhinelander, WI

When do you think the next warm-weather Lions game will be at Lambeau? I want to take my mom to her first game one of these years and she won't go to a cold-weather game. Also, it has to be against Detroit because her husband is a Lions fan.

The Packers played the Lions on a 72-degree day in Week 3 of the 2016 season at Lambeau Field. It might be a few years before you can replicate pristine conditions again.

Shawn from Kissimmee, FL

How can anyone determine strength of schedule right now when teams haven't drafted or completed their rosters? Plus, no teams suffered injuries to star players yet, either.

Because it’s fun to make bold declarations in April that no one will remember in September.

Henry from La Crosse, WI

I don’t know how The Gute will work, but I have trouble thinking the Packers will actually stay at 14 aside from the amount of fan pressure to draft at that spot. I think they’ll trade back in the first round, with say, the Patriots, who are looking at QBs who won’t be there later in the first round, and get a bundle of extra picks. Late first is what the Packers are more accustomed to, please prove me wrong!

I’ll say it again – I wouldn’t fault Gutekunst for moving back, but I’d be tempted to pick at No. 14. The Packers have had to wait for the board to fall to them for the past nine years. Here is a chance to take one of the draft’s best players at his respective position.

Jack from Chicago, IL

My old man always says if he could play any position in the NFL it would be backup QB. You get to practice with the team, get paid well, and don’t get hit a lot. For me, I would be a SS. I love lighting people up, diving for interceptions, but most of all sacking the QB. What would you play?

Undrafted rookie on injured reserve.

Bill from Champaign, IL

I always see comments about how Packers ticket holders shouldn't sell their tickets to the other teams’ fans. I'm in central Illinois and the only way I know how to buy tickets is with Ticketmaster or StubHub. They don't ask me if I'm a Packers fan or any other fan. How can anyone who sells their tickets figure out who is and isn't buying them? I wish I could buy them straight from the owner but I don't know how. Thanks for all you do and keep up the good work.

There is no way to know. It’s become a problem in nearly every major sport, but here’s a little secret – if your team wins enough, you don’t have to worry about an opposing team’s fans filling your stadium bowl.

Taylor from Story City, IA

My momma says if you could take any movie football star it's Bobby Boucher hands down.

He needs the right coach and situation, though.

David from Madison, WI

I'm sorry to read that you don't partake in the pleasurable pastime of winter grilling. It tastes so much better.

I was so proud of myself last weekend. I perfectly planned to pick up steaks to grill during the snowstorm and was excited to get started after the snow stopped Saturday afternoon. I spent 40 minutes digging my grill out only to discover I was out of propane. Brilliant, Wes. Brilliant.

Darrell from San Antonio, TX

I don't know about you but I have a feeling Gut may be moving up to the No. 10 spot and I don't think it's a corner he's looking at. Just a feeling.

Is that what your “Gut” is telling ya? I’ll show myself out.

Keith from Greendale, WI

Insiders, with all of the secrecy surrounding the Packers draft room, who cleans it? Does the janitor that empties the garbage and recycling have to sign a non-disclosure agreement?

Is it Thursday yet?


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