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Adaptability is the name of the game

The NFL Draft’s unpredictable nature is what makes it fascinating


Bruce from Yelm, WA

Seeing the pictures and stories of the Tailgate Tour makes me just as proud to be a Packers fan as does a playoff victory. Other organizations just don't do what the Green Bay Packers do. They are truly unique.

I had a great time**covering the tour stop at Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School**, which is about an hour west of Green Bay. It was neat seeing the teachers and students really embrace the surprise visit. It's a special event. I don't know about any of you, but I never had pro athletes stop at my high school.

Wendell from Porto Alegre, Brazil

It's important to have two different styles of good running backs on your roster. Ty Montgomery is a pass-catcher, fast guy. Now, we need a good power runner. No need to establish any of them as RB1, but very important to have two kinds of players.

That's the way I always built my teams in Madden, pairing a speedster with a pounder. The Packers haven't often gone in that direction, though. They tried with Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin/DuJuan Harris in 2013, but ended up with another power back, James Starks, complementing Lacy for the past four seasons. If the Packers had their druthers, I'm sure they'd like to add another powerful runner to the backfield. What I don't know is how much they value that skillset over others on their draft board.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

Feature versus complementary back? How about we take a running back when he's the best available player at that pick, and then evaluate from there.

When it's all said and done, I believe this is how it will shuffle out.

Justin from Shannon, IL

What should the Packers look to do at RB? Do they roll with Ty Montgomery, draft a young prospect, or bring in a free agent like LeGarrette Blount or Adrian Peterson? I see Montgomery as a quality back, but we need a big body for the goal-line situations.

I have no issue with Aaron Ripkowski as a goal-line back.

Kevin from Louisville, KY

I find it interesting that people are asking/debating about Montgomery's ability to be a No. 1 or "feature" running back. McCarthy has never been inclined to run a back 20 times a game, and that won't change now, right?

It's been on running backs to determine whether the Packers use a rotation or ride one back. It's unlikely someone carries the ball 20 times in a given week, but it's also not unheard of in Green Bay. Lacy carried the ball 20 or more times in 11 games during his rookie season, including four consecutive weeks before Aaron Rodgers' collarbone injury against Chicago.

The Packers Tailgate Tour stopped in Houghton, MI Thursday night for a tailgate party to benefit Dial Help. Photos by Matt Haberkamp and Aaron Popkey, packers.com.

Evan from Rochester, NY

Get the feeling that some of the weapons in the passing offense could see a stat drop this year. Lot of mouths to feed. Can only think what all those poor fantasy owners are gonna be thinking.

Depth is a good problem to have because rarely will you have every one of your top skill-position players at the same time. Adaptability is the name of the game. How do you best utilize the players available to help compensate for those who aren't?

Philip from Rochestesr, MN

Do you think Joe Callahan is capable of taking over the backup quarterback position? I have a feeling this time next year we might have a draft pick for Hundley.

The Packers' dedication to Callahan speaks volumes. They kept him on the 53-man roster at the end of camp and brought him back in December after Cleveland cut him. A full offseason and immersion in the quarterback school should help his development. Is he capable of serving as the primary backup? How he performs this summer likely will answer that question.

Deniz from München, Germany

Ed's question made me think: is a 4-3 generally better at defending the run?

Talent is the biggest factor in determining how well you defend the run, but I like the 3-4 scheme when everything is equal. If you have ends who can hold the edge and have a strong nose tackle eating up double-teams, it frees up your linebackers to get after the ball carrier and make plays.

Kenneth from Cuyahoga Falls, OH

One of my favorite parts of the draft is in the first few rounds. It is really fun when a team drafts a player that is completely unexpected because they weren't ranked high enough according to the draft gurus. They still talk about the player and what he brings, but there tends to be less highlight film of him and there is a brief pause before he is talked about.

The NFL Draft's unpredictability is what makes it fascinating every year. For all the mock drafts floating around, there's always a player or two selected that few see coming. It's become so popular you now see draftniks trying to predict who those players will be, like Moritz Boehringer a year ago. This year's darling appears to be monstrous Ashland (Ohio) tight end Adam Shaheen, who many expect to be taken in the first two days.

Ryan from Noblesville, IND

Watch out! Here come the questions about Richard Sherman.

Fast and furious (…and don't hold your breath, guys).

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Does Green Bay have a venue that would work for the draft? The Resch Center doesn't seem like it would have the right atmosphere. Would the NFL ever consider Appleton's PAC or would that be too far from Lambeau to be worth it?

As of right now, I think it would have to be the Resch Center or the Weidner Center on the campus of nearby University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Colton from Twin Falls, ID

How intrigued were you back in 2007 to see those Browns rolling? Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow Jr. were both smashing, Jamal Lewis had a nice throwback season, Derek Anderson was playing out of his mind. In a year full of entertainment, they were one of the most fun teams to watch. What happened in 2008?

The Browns caught lightning in a bottle in 2007 and those players mentioned never were really able to capture it again. I drafted both Edwards and Winslow in my fantasy football league the following year. Needless to say, I didn't do too hot. I was rooting for Cleveland, but unfortunately, it never came together.

Jim from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Insiders, who are some of your favorite football names throughout the years? Mine are "Mean" Joe Greene, Walter Payton "Sweetness", and Dick Butkus (no nickname needed).

Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, Dick "Night Train" Lane, Steve "Mongo" McMichael…and Ben Steele.

Braden from Brookfield, WI

Rumors are Marshawn Lynch is headed to the Raiders. How does that work? Don't the Seahawks have the rights to his contract? What if they don't want him to play for the Raiders? Can't they just sit on the contract?

Seattle holds Lynch's contractual rights, so the Seahawks either will have to release him or trade him. If Lynch wants to play, I don't see that being a big issue. Seattle GM John Schneider and Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie go way back.

Matt from East Lansing, MI

Re: Vic's theory of coaches submitting to the "Howl of the Wolves," I feel like this is especially applicable to college football. It's a shame to fear Dantonio meeting the same fate as Les Miles. Back to the NFL, why are some Packers fans not able to just enjoy winning? Why must all the couch coaches impose their draft boards when it is so much more fun to wait and see what TT will do in a few weeks?

It seems like there are two tiers of fan bases – those that want to win and those that want to win more. If their team starts winning, they immediately want to win more. It's a shame when you see teams or schools oust a coach because he or she didn't live up to the expectations they were responsible for establishing. The Packers stay true to themselves and their program. That's why they're always in the thick of the title hunt every year.

Greg from Marion, IN

I am still curious about your feelings about how multiple media outlets strongly feel Green Bay is losing way too much in free agency. A headline I read today, "Lengthy shopping list remains for depleted roster." Why so much vitriol towards their methods?

This isn't new. I thought Spoff hit it on the head a few weeks ago when he talked about how the Packers are always viewed as a team that sustains losses in the offseason. Yet, they've still made the playoffs in each of the past eight seasons. What does that tell you? Outside free agents may put you in the headlines in March, but doesn't insure you're playing the following February.

Julian from Las Cruces, NM

In regards to evaluating quarterbacks, how do you evaluate the mental readiness that Dan Marino and Dak Prescott turned out to be? They were ready Day 1 and didn't need time on the bench to learn the QB game at the NFL level.

Great question. NFL teams have so many tools to evaluate whether a quarterback can succeed at the next level, including the Wonderlic. However, the real litmus test is how the guy reacts to the in-game environment when he steps on the field. It doesn't matter if you've sat for three seasons or start in your first NFL game. How do you respond?

Matthew from New Berlin, WI

Matthew Stafford was also thrown to the wolves. After a tough few years, it panned out for him.

Fire can forge an individual or melt 'em.

Dale from Kettering, OH

Is RB/WR the counter hybrid to the S/LB hybrid? Is football turning into a "Transformers" remake?

I guess you could say that, though I don't think that was the Packers' reason for how they've used Randall Cobb and Montgomery. The goal is to force defenses to make a choice – do you keep a defensive back on them and summon a linebacker? Do you risk going small against the run or risk getting burned in the flat? Offenses and defenses are continually countering each other.

Matt from Hartford, WI

The constant change of the game of football is intriguing. Without such change, American football would be the same as rugby. Is this a positive or negative to the nostalgic nature in humans?

The evolution of the game of football is what I feel keeps it fresh and each season new. Change is only natural in the human condition. Furthermore, I don't think the way the game is played today takes away from the nostalgia of how it was played during the Lombardi years.

Andrew from Beech Island, SC

If a team's right-handed QB gets hurt and his back up is left-handed, does the LT move to RT to protect the backup's blind side for the rest of the game?

I'm not sure about the rest of the NFL, but I think the Packers would probably keep everything the same. Familiarity and comfort are pivotal in Green Bay.

Todd from Montreal, Canada

Given the over-saturated nature of draft-pick questions, I wonder what your worries might be regarding the changes to the other three NFC North teams. Which one worries you the most? The offensive line in Detroit? The loss of Cutler in Chicago? The loss of AP in Minnesota, which makes them much less one-dimensional? Thanks for considering my question.

I'm not sure if "worry" is the right word, but I respect what the Lions are doing. Bob Quinn's plan for the offense centers on the offensive line. He made that clear when he drafted Taylor Decker in the first round last year. They're making a formidable line with Decker, another first-round pick Laken Tomlinson, plus free agents T.J. Lang and Ricky Wagner.

David from Edgewood, WA

Many news outlets have been saying for some time now that Green Bay's interior O-line has been devastated from losing two starters. I always laugh. I guess they don't remember Linsley starting in 2014 and 2015. In your mind, is Corey Linsley the better center?

JC Tretter and Linsley are different players, but they're both starting-caliber centers. While they lose depth with Tretter's exit, the Packers are in good hands with Linsley. It seems like anytime there were musical centers, Linsley always seemed to be back in the chair when the music stopped.

Mike from Whitefish, MT

I definitely see us getting the draft in either 2019 (100th anniversary of the team's birth) or, more likely, 2021 (100th anniversary of the team in the NFL).

Both milestones are worthy of commemorating in a special way.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

Wes, what about the basketball movie "Hoosiers"?

An absolute classic, but "Glory Road" is still my favorite.

Darren from Kingston, Canada

"Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls?" C'mon man. Spoff's showing his age. Biff, you're the Insiders' young gun. Please tell us you can do better than that.

It's been about a few years since I was there, but Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was the most memorable ride for me.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Wes, my family will be camping in Door County with my in-laws for their 50th anniversary. A Lambeau Field visit is already on the docket for our trip. What is your favorite Door County attraction?

The tip of Door County and Washington Island. It's so quiet and peaceful up there.

Sam from Barnett Crossroads, AL

Are there Inboxes like this one for other teams?

There isn't another Inbox quite like this.

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