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Posted Mar 12, 2018

A coordinator's scheme and plans are always factors

Matt from Hartford, WI

The nickel base defense has made middle linebackers and nose tackles obsolete ’til the last four rounds unless a player can be athletic enough to play all three downs. Are Shaquem Griffin and Derwin James true linebackers, or like Josh Jones a player suited for either?

I think they could both fall into the hybrid category, though Griffin would be a linebacker morphing into the occasional safety, while James is a safety morphing into the occasional linebacker. It’ll depend on the scheme they find themselves in and the coordinator’s plans for them.

Curt from York, PA

If more fans took the same amount of time and effort they now spend on studying, speculating and fretting over the NFL Draft, and instead used it on planning for retirement or choosing a spouse or choosing a career, we’d have many more folks prepared for retirement, fewer divorces, and a happier, more satisfied work force.

True enough.

Spencer from Rockford, IL

I’m intrigued by the unofficial trade of Damarious Randall. Obviously Brian G. has a plan to address an already-known need at CB. What does he have up his sleeve?

That’s the million-dollar question. Or however-many-million-dollar question.

Bill from Olathe, KS

Please offer a real and honest answer to this question. Damarious Randall was traded because...

He was not in the team’s future plans at cornerback, and the Packers found a way to fill a need in the present at backup quarterback.

Greg from Cambridge, WI

Even though it is not official, the trade signals competition is going to happen this year.

Without a doubt. McCarthy said at the combine he wanted more competition at backup QB. Now he’s got it.

Chaston from Las Vegas, NV

Could Quinten Rollins move to safety to salvage his career? As a second-rounder he must have enough talent to be used somewhere, and we might need one if Burnett leaves. I'm also assuming Josh Jones continues to play where he seems to be more suited, at the line of scrimmage.

I wouldn’t rule anything out, but the Packers have to fill out the depth chart at corner through free agency and the draft and see how it looks before considering such a move.

Conard from Washington

What are the factors contributing to a greater number of trades in the NFL this offseason compared to previous years?

The biggest factor seems to be teams willing to find others to absorb the contracts they want to get rid of for cap purposes, so those players are being traded rather than released.

Ron from Rockford, IL

With the cornerback crisis the Randall trade created, I remembered an article I read from June about Herb Waters. Here is what Coach Whitt said: "If he is (healthy), he’s going to (push) Gunt, Q, D, Kevin, House, he has that type of ability in his body. Don t be surprised. Like I told you back in ’09 about Tramon, how I said Tramon was the best cover guy we had, I think you guys said I was crazy at the time. This kid has that kind of ability. He does.” Why is it this guy is never talked about? Rarely is he even mentioned as being on the team.

Because he hasn’t actually played cornerback in the NFL for any meaningful period of time. If Waters can help the Packers at that position, great, but having the talent and proving you can play are two different things. Whitt knows that, too. If he proves it, then we’ve got another story on our hands.

Dean from Orlando, FL

A little research. The last time the Packers drafted an offensive player first was seven drafts ago. In the six drafts since, they've drafted 19 defensive players and five offensive players in the first four rounds of the draft. It appears that defense will get the majority of the picks again this year since the offense appears to be quite solid. Pass rusher has been the pervasive thought, but CB is likely the weakest position. Have you shifted your focus from edge rusher to CB or is it best player available?

You don’t deviate from best player, and at 14 I suspect the Packers will have several players rated fairly evenly, at which point need would be the tiebreaker. But the draft is still six weeks away.

Aaron from Monroe, MI

With Randall gone, we need a BIG splash in FA for a proven CB. You can find one in the draft but we need a PROVEN CB in FA. Your thoughts?

I don’t see the Packers being able, effectively, to rebuild their cornerback room solely through the draft.

Bob from Colby, KS

If the Pack added Wilkerson, would that be enough to move the focus off of an edge rusher in the first round? Given an equally talented tight end and offensive back (who is talented at receiver), who would you take?

Not for me, and I’d take the tight end.

LeeAnn from Corydon, IN

Mike, for years I've read references on Mike McCarthy's QB school. Does he still do that? How does that fit in with the OTA schedule and the CBA restrictions?

It’s a much more abbreviated version since 2011 due to the offseason contact restrictions and truncated offseason program. There simply isn’t the time to do as much as they used to. I think it’s partly why Matt Flynn (drafted in ’08) was much more prepared for his opportunities than Hundley. Portions of the QB school have always carried over into regular-season work, but the focus on scheme evaluation and fundamentals can’t be as intensive then when you’re also preparing for opponents.

Tony from River Falls, WI

Do you see the NFL doing away with the transition tag during the next collective bargaining agreement talks? You guys make it sound like it rarely gets used and may not be that helpful.

It doesn’t get used much, because it mostly helps the players, not management. But I doubt management will try to negotiate it out of the next CBA because then the players would ask for some type of concession regarding the franchise tag.

Jon from Sussex, WI

I don't think the question regarding Rodgers and the franchise tag was thoroughly analyzed enough so I'll ask you to provide a follow-up answer. Rodgers is under contract for 2018 and 2019. His extension will surely make him the highest paid AAV in the league. By "kicking the can" down the road, you'd have two cracks at shortening the length of the extension when the player will already be 37 years of age at the time he can be franchised for the first time. Much like the Saints and Drew Brees, what is the downside here except for making the player mad? By the time Rodgers would hit UFA he would be 39 pushing 40. I would like to know why (outside of him being unhappy) this is a bad idea.

You’ve answered your own question. How do you get the best out of the best player in the game if he’s unhappy? He could still play well enough to cash the checks and set himself up to move on, but do you know you’re really getting his best, and do you have the right to demand it?

Jake from Greenville, NC

One element of Rodgers’ contract situation I haven’t seen mentioned here: Doesn’t he also have a responsibility to the union not to short the QB market? With the very best players in the league, it’s not just about status or ego. I have the feeling Aaron and the Packers already know more or less what his contract will look like, but they’re letting the Cousins sweepstakes run its course out of fairness. That’s what they really mean by “it’ll take care of itself.”

Ding ding ding!

Grant from St. Louis, MO

Wow, I thought the reaction would be much better to the trade with the Browns. Randall had been a locker-room problem and never performed up to a first-round expectation. Then we receive Kizer, who many believed left school too early for the draft and was thrown into a terrible Browns offense way too early. The guy is 22 years old and now has a chance to learn from the best. Then throw in the fact that we move all the way up to first in rounds 4 and 5 and I think that's a fantastic trade.

I’ll reserve judgment on “fantastic” for now, but I think this trade makes a whole lot of sense. I expect the hole it leaves in the defensive depth chart to be temporary.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Mike, I imagine the following statements being made by the team. The locker room is one of the most important parts in winning a championship. We don't talk about players that aren't on the team. I agree with the move. I like the approach.

The Inbox is split pretty much down the middle. I don’t think this is a trade that can be evaluated instantly.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Were the internal issues more than McCarthy was willing to deal with?

I won’t speak for McCarthy, but I’ve been covering games since the Favre Super Bowl years, and I don’t recall a benched player ever being banished to the locker room before.

Kyle from Stoughton, WI

Will Ty Montgomery have to switch numbers when he's moved to cornerback?

Too many readers to count submitted this, but I had to acknowledge it’s pretty good.

Nick from Evergreen, CO

PLEASE, help me gain some perspective here. The Packers staff “talks up” and “stands by” Hundley and Randall all year only to trade one for the other’s replacement? In hindsight it smells like a lot of BS. I get sticking by your man in-season, but how are fans to trust the judgment of the organization when it’s clear we’ve been lied to?

I don’t think anyone’s been lied to, and if you feel you have, don’t take it personally. In the heart of the season, with limited alternatives, teams do and say what they must to try to win the most games. In the offseason, there are more options available to try to get ready to win games again.

Alex from Dickinson, ND

Wow, have the Browns been dealing.

It was a very active weekend in Cleveland. I said from the beginning if Dorsey hits on a quarterback, he’ll have the Browns in the playoffs in two years. I’m sticking by that. If he misses on a quarterback, none of the rest of this matters.

Jeff from South Grafton, MA

I’m surprised to see none of the mocks having Cleveland taking Barkley at 1, then pretty much the QB of their choice at 4. Even if QBs are selected at 2 and 3, there are still two for the taking, but no way Barkley lasts till 4. They may even be able to trade back a few spots. Very curious to see what Dorsey does.

Me, too. It all depends on how much their grades vary on the QBs. If they are absolutely sold on one versus all the others, you don’t mess around. If you’re good with multiple options, then Barkley is the first pick.

Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

Does the trade craziness over the past few days mean that free agency next week is going to be absolutely bananas, or is the league getting all the crazy out of its system ahead of time?

Some teams have certainly cleared cap space to prep themselves for free agency, but that goes on annually. As I said before, it seems it was done via the trade route more than outright release, perhaps because other teams aren’t as interested in what’s being projected as a thin free-agent crop overall.

Dale from Owatonna, MN

Last week’s contrast of the Jaguars and Eagles and Brady might be an indicator that the prevent defense should be put to pasture. Stay aggressive. If they score at least there may be time left on the clock, and with Rodgers on our side, who knows.

I hear you, but I don’t believe the Jaguars were in a prevent, and I never said they were. It’s a matter of good defense in the fourth quarter trumping good defense in the first three quarters more often than not, especially against an elite QB.

Ken from Chesterfield, MI

Mike or Wes, regarding Logan from Honolulu, who wonders whether he will ever have season tickets: I HAD the opportunity to purchase season tickets to the Pack in 1984. I was on the waiting list for probably 15 years. However, I was newly married and my wife did not believe that we could afford them. I went to work, and while gone, she destroyed the letter that said I was at the top of the waiting list. Good news, still married after 34 years!

We all have our priorities.

Ryan from Somerset, WI

Referring to Ron from Boise’s question on Friday. So if the Jets and Giants play and the Giants are the home team, do the Jets still get eight home games, essentially giving them nine games in their home stadium?


Colin from Tripoli, WI

Mike just wondering what is your "go-to" movie(s). It's a lot of fun bantering back and forth when all things Packers gets a little stale. Vic was a big fan of “Christmas Vacation.” Wes seems to be an “Office Space” guy. Both of these films are heavy with deep, witty sarcasm. What is it that brings a smile or perhaps smirk to your face?

I wholeheartedly share Vic’s affinity for “Caddyshack,” and while I have no problem with “Christmas Vacation,” I like the original “Vacation” better. I’m also all-in with Wes on “Shawshank,” but I seem to stand alone with “Fletch,” and in the TV realm, “Seinfeld.”

Perry from Campbellsport, WI

With all the information Mike Mayock has on so many draft prospects, is there a reason why he does not work for an NFL team?

Probably because he makes more money doing what he does.

Brett from Green Bay, WI

Do you think there's any chance Bulaga is healthy by Week 1?

There’s a chance, sure, but that would be an awfully fast rehab and recovery from an ACL. Bulaga has been through it before, so I’m sure that helps, but if he’s not able to practice rigorously for at least a couple of weeks in training camp, it’s hard to imagine playing right tackle for 75 snaps a game right out of the gate.

Tom from San Juan Capistrano, CA

Insiders, with the 2018 mock drafts almost complete, can you guys please start grading this draft? I hate waiting. Also can you publish a 2019 mock draft? I'm very unhappy with what Gutenkunst has done in picking his 2018 mock draft and he needs to be held accountable.

Happy Monday, everybody.


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