Powered by

Aaron Rodgers can make the miraculous appear ordinary

The best pre-draft name isn't always the best post-draft player


Lori from Brookfield, WI

Which Aaron Rodgers throw is your favorite so far? A Hail Mary? The throw to Cook at the end of the Dallas game? The throw to Cobb for a touchdown to beat the Bears a couple years ago?

That's the thing about Rodgers – he's a human highlight reel. He can make the miraculous appear ordinary. He plays one of the most difficult sports known to man as if it were on easy mode. I'd still have to say the Hail Mary tops my list. That play never will be forgotten in Green Bay. It was such a marvelous throw and came at such a critical point of the 2015 season. We still have a long way to go, though. I'm sure another big play is waiting just around the corner.

David from Whitefish, MT

Not a ton of chatter about Christine Michael re-signing, but I'm excited to see how he fits in after learning the system in the offseason. Tell me, Insiders, do you expect him and Ty Montgomery to be our 1-2 punch next season with a drafted running back being third string, or do you see us drafting a tailback earlier and having him either lead for or spell Ty?

As I wrote on the website Thursday night, the return of Michael gives the Packers more options with how they want to proceed with their backfield. A full offseason in the Packers' offense will serve him and Montgomery well. While Aaron Ripkowski showed he's capable of carrying the football, I still think there's probably room for another back. The Packers haven't drafted one since Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin in 2013, but this draft is rich with options.

Paul from Milwaukee, WI

Wes - thank you for answering my questions and I really appreciate your responses as well. It's a great luxury that we have a conduit such as yourself. You guys are probably the closest I'll ever get to meet an actual player. In retrospect, have you ever met a player (i.e. famous person) that you thought you'd never be able to meet? And if so, how was the experience?

You bet. I appreciate everyone who has welcomed me in over the past year, but also embrace the curmudgeons like Jerry. I had a chance to meet Dick LeBeau when we were in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. There are few who have accomplished more than LeBeau in NFL history, so it was cool getting to shake his hand and chat for a minute. He's also in incredible shape for 79 years old.

Jerry from Kansas City, MO

What is different about the skill set between a corner that does better with man coverage versus a corner who primarily plays zone?

Press-man allows House to use his length and physicality at the line of scrimmage to disrupt a receiver's timing as opposed to dropping back and reacting to the football. Over the years, the Packers have adjusted to the strengths of their boundary cornerbacks, though a shutdown corner like Sam Shields could really do it all. My point on House was Dom Capers and Joe Whitt Jr. know how to use him.

Dave from Franklin, WI

Love the jersey talk. I wanted a workhorse type player that nobody has. Last season I got a nice, stitched Ripkowski jersey. Think I'll get a few years out of it?

I'd call it a good investment.

Jerry from Medford, NJ

With Micah Hyde gone, do you think the Pack will look at Randall Cobb and Trevor Davis as the primary punt returners, or could someone else be in the mix?

Cobb is going to be in the mix for as long as he's in Green Bay. That's how it's been since he was drafted in 2011. Davis flashed against Atlanta, so I'd imagine he'll get another crack at the job this summer. Quinten Rollins also has some experience fielding punts in practice from what I recall. They'll keep their options open with returners.

Scott from Thousand Oaks, CA

About once a week, one of you will say, "You can't have enough..." Is there a position on the team where you can have enough? Just once it would be fun to hear, "Sure, one long snapper is plenty."

You never can have enough long-snappers.

Christopher from Kansas City, MO

The more I read about the upcoming draft, the more I'm convinced the Packers will draft an OLB instead of a CB in the first round. Are there different, distinct types of 3-4 OLBs that specialize in certain areas over others (pass rushing, run stopping, edge setting)? For instance, after watching tape it seems to me that T.J. is more effective against the run than a guy like Charles Harris, who seems to be more of a pass rush specialist. Would certain types the Packers already have on their roster affect who they would draft?

You start by looking at what a player does well and build from there. One of the reasons I felt Nick Perry would make it as a 3-4 outside linebacker was because of how well he set the edge from the start. It took time to refine his pass-rushing moves from a two-point stance, but he always looked the part due to his strength. You're looking for players with impact potential in the first round. If their style of play fits your system, you can develop the rest from there.

Paul from New Richmond, WI

With Ha Ha Clinton-Dix starting to become something special and barring any setbacks, he will be due a big contract, which means decision time for Thompson. My question is not about Ha Ha however, it's about Morgan Burnett. Do you see him getting another contract from GB if Ha Ha continues his rise? I think he still has a nice upside and works well with Clinton-Dix.

Burnett and Clinton-Dix have such unique individual skill sets. I think this hybrid role suits Burnett. It allows the Packers to better utilize his run-stopping ability and puts him in a position to affect the game near the line of scrimmage. As the second-longest tenured player on defense, Burnett's experience has been invaluable to a young secondary. Technically both are entering the final year of their deals, but the Packers hold the fifth-year option for Clinton-Dix as a former first-round pick. I don't think a decision on one necessarily affects the other.

Seth from Sheboygan, WI

Josh from Nebraska asked yesterday "Why are his drafting grades and insight so much different than all these network gurus who provide such extensive mock draft data?" Because Thompson is in the business of building a successful football team, the 'mock'ers are in the business of generating webpage clicks and video views. You don't get as many clicks about people no one has heard of before.

The best pre-draft name isn't always the best post-draft player.

Mike from Waukesha, WI

In response to yesterday's question about the value of returners, I remembered hearing Eliot Wolf saying he values players with return ability for what they bring to an offense. It makes sense, given they have the ability to make guys miss in open space. We have quite a few returners on the depth chart at WR and RB.

There's definitely a correlation in my book. Just look at what Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery accomplished on the return units before finding success on offense. Good things happen when you get the ball to playmakers in the open field.

Jim from Sioux Falls, SD

Your comment yesterday about there still being a place for kick returners in today's NFL triggered a memory for me. I remember John Madden being asked on a broadcast what's the toughest position to play in the NFL, and of course he answered QB. But what he said next really surprised me. He said the second toughest position to play is punt returner! Makes me respect even more how valuable that position is and how talented those players are.

I agree wholeheartedly. Even if I had the athletic ability, I couldn't be a punt returner. It takes a different breed. I remember asking Micah Hyde about that pressure a few years ago. There's so much riding on that play. You have to be savvy and fearless to be on the receiving end of that punt, and Cobb and Hyde are so automatic back there. Both can be trusted not to muff the football and also possess the awareness to bust a big return. That's not easy.

Nick from State College, PA

Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins train together? Were they friends before the Senior Bowl?

*No, I'm pretty sure they met in Mobile. *

Merle from Kaukauna, WI

Wes, just a statement about you mentioning Ron Kramer. Considering your youth, I was surprised to see his name brought up by you. But, I watched him (when possible), or listened about him on the radio, and he was one of my favorites. Ron and Gary Knafelc were two great Green Bay TEs.

My late grandfather made sure I knew my Packers history. He drilled two things into me at a young age: Don't take winning for granted and Henry Jordan was the greatest football player to ever walk the earth.

Theo from Viroqua, WI

Vic stated recently that, "When you get younger, you get better." The Packers have done just that and now have the third youngest roster for the last two years running. The only younger rosters being the Rams and Browns. Meanwhile the Patriots are ranked fifteenth. I continue to be amazed that you advocate for such a lopsided approach to building and maintaining a football franchise, surely results have proven the benefit of a balanced roster in terms of mode of acquisition and age.

Championship teams usually have a nice blend of both youth and experience. When you look at the moves the Packers have made in external free agency this offseason, I think it's helped offset their early losses. There's more than 20 years of combined NFL experience among those recent signees, but no one older than 30.

Toby from Wells, MN

Speaking of drafts in the 1990s...If the Packers draft Barry Sanders instead of Tony Mandarich, does GB still have the magnificent run of QB's in the last 20-plus years as they have had?

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts. I'm sure there would have been some type of butterfly effect. Assuming Ron Wolf was still hired as GM, I think Favre finds his way to Green Bay. Finding a franchise quarterback was so high on Wolf's agenda and rightfully so.

Dom from Durham, England

What are your thoughts on a British franchise? And if one does happen, who do you think it would be?

I love playing games in London. Would there ever be a permanent team there? That's complicated for a number of reasons, beginning with the travel schedule and how the franchise would handle player acquisition. You'd likely need to have special scheduling considerations and a personnel department based in the U.S. I look forward to the day I'm able to go overseas to cover a game, though. I think it's a great thing for the league.

Jon from Lynchburg, VA

Wes, we have a feel for Vic's literary likes. How about yours? Favorite author? Book? (Besides the old Ask Vic columns?)

Candice Millard, Michael Lewis, John Feinstein, Suzanne Collins, and George R.R. Martin (of course). My favorite book is probably either "River of Doubt" or "A Game of Thrones." Growing up, Rick Reilly was my favorite sports writer…and obviously Vic.

Adam from Winnipeg, CA

Hi Wes, if you pick up Madden on a current console (PS4/XB1), you'd have the Practice Squad this year. It's very helpful and I personally enjoy when we get several years into a franchise mode because of building 'my team'. So my question is this: What practice roster player do you see coming in who could make a big impact this year? I know we discussed a couple of guards. I would like to know more.

Are you for real? I'm going to have to finally upgrade. It's probably time. I mentioned this earlier, but Lucas Patrick and Reggie Gilbert have a big opportunity in front of them with the vacancies at their respective positions. I also like Herb Waters, too. He has good measurables and Whitt has a solid resume when it comes to developing Miami (Fla.) alumni into NFL-caliber cornerbacks.

Team Photographer Evan Siegle shares some of his favorite images of the 2016 season.

Tom from Fairfield, CT

Does the Jets signing Mike Pennel count favorably toward the Packers compensatory pick calculation?

No. The Packers released him in January. Only unrestricted free agents count towards the equation.

Braden from Brookfield, WI

Beauty and the Beast and La La Land? I'm not sure that's something you share on a sports blog. You big softy.

I'm sorry. Die-Hard wasn't playing that night. Hey, I'm nothing if not honest.

Ryan from Madison, WI

The last two days on AMC they have played The Dark Knight, Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump, The Departed, and Rocky II. I think the only way to make this movie marathon better is substituting in Rocky IV for Rocky II. Can you give us a ranking of these movies or a personal favorite?

The Departed, Saving Private Ryan, The Dark Knight, Gladiator, Rocky II and Forrest Gump. Departed is one of my Top 10 favorites…behind Beauty and the Beast, of course.

Cory from New Richmond, WI

I just want to say I love you, too, Wes. I mean that - you are the greatest Packers reporter ever. Possibly the greatest reporter ever. Your analysis in the Periscope chats is simply spot on. I drive a truck and I listen to you as much as possible.

That's kind of you to say. Thank you so much for listening and following along. Safe travels out there.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

If you and Spofford had a shot clock between answers who'd do better?

Probably Mike.

Dan from Kewanee, IL

OK I'll bite. So what does the "K" stand for in Michael K. Spofford? Also, thank you for making me look up Jim Weatherwax and how about Biff for the St. Bernard's name!

We have a winner…and I don't give away Spoff's secrets.

Michael from Cincinnati, OH

Why don't the Pack draft Mitchell Trubisky and release, trade or cut Hundley?

Because no. Just no.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Action Needed: Update your Packers Mobile App!

Fans attending any games during the 2023 season should update their Packers mobile app due to important upgrades and enhancements.