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Big plays are the name of the game

If you consistently produce, the opportunities will come


Jimmy from Plover, WI

Wes, are you also going to have a permanent moratorium in your Insider Inbox? If not, I am curious if Janis played both offense and defense during the same game, would he have to have a number for both and switch jerseys between possessions? Asking for a friend.

No matter how many days you step away from the Inbox, it's good to see some things never change.

Mathias from Lancaster, PA

What is the next step for Blake Martinez? Also, do you think the Packers' LB2 is currently on the roster or will it be someone new?

Martinez is a student of the game with a lot of ability. The next step for him is no secret – it's making plays. Big plays are the name of the game for inside linebackers. Talking with him at the end of the year, Martinez already sees on the film where he missed opportunities at turnovers and tackles. Martinez is going to be fine, especially if he makes the jump next season that he made from Year 1 to Year 2. The Packers are in a good spot with Jake Ryan also returning at inside linebacker. The biggest question is probably who that hybrid linebacker will be – Morgan Burnett or someone else.

Bill from Hillsville, VA

Having been a Packers fan since the late '60s I can vividly recall the excitement LeRoy Butler created on the field. Ever the opportunist, he was capable of turning a game in an instant. I believe he is more than worthy of HOF induction by virtue of his consistently excellent play and for giving us the Lambeau Leap. Can we start that discussion?

Spoff and I started the discussion last year on this website when we wrote about how**Kenny Easley’s induction into the Hall of Fame**could be a game-changer for an overlooked safety like Butler. I believe Butler will be in the Hall of Fame when it's all said and done. It's only a question of whether he can get in as a modern-era candidate over the next 12 years or as a senior committee nominee.

Al from Green Bay, WI

I grew up in western Wisconsin, where the Vikings were the greatest rivals. Then I moved to Green Bay where the Bears were the greatest rivals. Then Seattle happened. Now I don't know the ranking. Who would you list as the top five rivals of the Packers?

Going into 2018, I'd say Minnesota, Detroit, Seattle, Atlanta and Chicago.

Tony from River Falls, WI

Thank you guys for making the offseason bearable. Though football is months away, you guys do a great job keeping us up to date and informed with quality writing and interesting topics. Besides Lambeau, what is your favorite NFL stadium to visit? Least favorite?

CenturyLink in Seattle. I love Seattle in the fall and the stadium has a great atmosphere, even if the crowd noise is somewhat manipulated by its design. My least favorite is the Bills' New Era Field (sorry Buffalo).

Dylan from London, UK

Regular reader studying abroad in London for the semester. Been getting into the other game of football recently and it has really gotten me thinking about the salary cap. If there were no cap in the NFL like there is in European soccer, who would emerge as the Manchester United of the NFL? I would think Dallas with Jerry and his money. Also, how would this impact a smaller market like Green Bay?

It would depend solely on the owner and what he or she is willing to invest into the football team. I think the Packers would be fine because of their national appeal, but smaller markets with less history might struggle to adapt. I believe parity is what makes the NFL the No. 1 sport in this country. Every team is only a few years away from contention if you draft well and make the right free-agent signings. Look at Jacksonville.

Dale from Owatonna, MN

Isn't Byron Jones on Dallas because he broad jumped over 12 feet?

His combine certainly spiked his draft stock.

Brian from Fairfax, VA

If I'm Mike McCarthy, I'm giving Aaron Jones 20 touches a game next season. I get Rodgers is Rodgers but I think Aaron Jones has Kareem Hunt-like ability. He touches the ball and magic happens. Jamaal Williams is a nice change of pace but I've always been a fan of a workhorse to establish rhythm and feel. Thoughts?


The Packers like to ride the hot hand. Flash back to any season under Mike McCarthy. If you consistently produce, the opportunities will come. Jones, Williams and Ty Montgomery have all shown what they can do when given the snaps and touches, which works to the offense's advantage. The backfield will sort itself out. It always does. **

Matt from Hoboken, NJ

Any predictions for the future of Trevor Davis? I had been waiting to see his speed unleashed within the offense, and the only real look we got this past season was when he let that perfect deep ball from Hundley drop right in front of him with absolutely no effort to make the catch. I was disappointed to say the least, but will give him the benefit of the doubt given his limited exposure on offense. With that said, I would like to see him used on occasion for deep shots, and also with screens and other quick throws to get him in open space with that speed.

I know Davis was disappointed about not coming up with that catch, but he still has his best football in front of him. It isn't easy for those young receivers to get on the field with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams on that depth chart, but Davis has what it takes to be an asset. Just look at what he did on special teams this past season. He has the speed and talent you can't coach. This will be a big offseason for the former fifth-round pick.

Michael from Schofield, WI

I loved seeing clips of the 2014-15 Wisconsin men's basketball team playing FIFA tournaments. Do Packers players kill time with video game tournaments?

FIFA, Madden, NBA 2K and Call of Duty seem to be the favorites in the Packers' locker room. I also know Martinez loves Dota, which I still don't really understand.

Mike from Jacksonville, NC

I read an article about the Patriots organization constantly pressuring some of their players to wear knee braces in an effort to prevent ACL tears and other major leg injuries. They seem to think very highly of the effectiveness of knee braces. Can any position wear them, and do you think they're worth wearing?

It's been my experience linemen will do whatever they can to not wear them. They're cumbersome on the field and have a bit of a stench off of it. I think the offensive and defensive lines, and maybe quarterback (depending on playstyle), probably are the only positions that can get away with wearing them. I remember Jordy Nelson playfully laughing off the idea of wearing one in 2015. They're often too restrictive for the skill positions and coverage players.

Dave from Williamsburg, VA

In response to Mike from Las Vegas, he's not wrong. Having Woodson couldn't do anything, but Finley would've been more likely to make the real difference. Have the string of losses of Collins, Raji, Finley, Woodson and Shields made it quite a challenge to field a championship-caliber team.

Yes and no. The Packers have lost several key players due to unfortunate injuries over the years, but they still have fielded championship teams. That 2014 team had everything it needed to win a Super Bowl. Charles Woodson could have helped the Packers in 2013, but his departure also played a role in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Micah Hyde becoming staples on defense.

Don from Cedar Rapids, IA

The only game I ever saw at Lambeau Field was on Jan. 2, 2000, when the Packers played the Arizona Cardinals. In order to make the playoffs, the Packers had to win and hope the Cowboys would lose, so they'd both have the same 8-8 record. If so, the tiebreaker would be the net point margin of scores from the whole season. So, the Packers had to both try to win the game and run up the score. They were doing such things as onside kicks after a touchdown and running a hurry-up offense all game long. They won an action-filled game 49-24. Unfortunately, the Cowboys also won that afternoon in a close game, so the Pack missed the playoffs. Later that day, Ray Rhodes was fired as Packers head coach. Do either of you guys recall that exciting game (or weren't you born yet)?

I was at that game, as well. I don't think I've ever seen another quite like it. It was so unique. Mike McCarthy, who was Green Bay's quarterbacks coach at the time, tells some really interesting stories from that game and what the emotions were like on the sideline. There was so much scoreboard watching going on that day. It might make a good oral history sometime.

Jake from Maplewood, MN

I am amused at the length of football contracts. Does anybody go back and calculate the likely very small percentage of them that are fully paid out? Why would a player, say Kirk Cousins, not want to sign a two- or three-year deal worth maximum per-year money? If they sign a six-year deal and their skills decline, they will be cut anyways. If their skills don't decline, wouldn't the constantly rising salary cap mean they are worth more per year in a couple years?


Take a look at photos of Packers P Justin Vogel from the 2017 season. Photos by Evan Siegle and Corey Wilson,

Here's the thing – the longer the contract, the better the signing bonus, which is upfront money. Ultimately, I think it's up to the player and agent to know who they're doing business with. For example, the Packers have a tremendous track record for honoring contracts because they responsibly manage their cap. Other teams get into trouble when payment comes due on big free-agent signings. **

Dave from Germantown, TN

Do players selected for the combine train as hard for the Wonderlic test as they do for the physical tests?

It's a part of the pre-draft process. I don't know how much time they dedicate to it, but agencies definitely prepare their guys for what to expect when the clock starts ticking.

Luc from St Thomas, Canada

I know I'm in the minority, but I don't have many problems with the catch rule. The only thing they need to better define is a "football-related move." Jesse James lunging for the goal line is something that should be considered a football-related move. I really think this is the part of the rule that requires the most attention.

Exactly, which is why I agreed with – and praised – the referees' decision to uphold Zach Ertz's touchdown. He possessed the ball, didn't lose possession and the ball only came out after he'd already clearly crossed the end zone. Touchdown.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

Just curious, what would the cost be for the Packers to move up to say the No. 5 pick?

The old draft-value chart says it would cost the Packers' first-, second- and third-round picks. That merely indicates fair value, though. Who knows whether a team would accept those terms? This isn't "Draft Day." You're not always going to get the Jaguars to agree to trade their top-10 pick for three second-rounders.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

I respectfully maintain that if a top-five player, no matter what position other than QB or RB, falls to No. 14, the GM has to take him. We aren't so strong at any position that a top-five player wouldn't help the team. After all, the past couple years shows that almost any team is one injury away from being an also-ran. What say you?

If a top-five player falls to No. 14, he's no longer a top-five player. That's what say me.

Joseph from East Moline, IL

"Wes," would you trade Bakhtiari for Marcus Peters in either Madden or real life? (Not suggesting they should, Bakhtiari is one of my favorites. Just want to hear your take.)


Packers fans celebrate National Love Your Pet Day with their #PackersPets photos.

Not at chance. Left tackles aren't easy to come by. The Packers have been blessed with two good ones in Chad Clifton and Bakhtiari since 2000. It's like quarterbacks – when you find your left tackle, pay your left tackle.**

Chris from Appleton, WI

This is going to sound silly, but I swear I'm going somewhere. In my Madden franchise, I signed Jeremy Hill to a six-year deal to play out his career in Green Bay. After a few weeks, I realized the guy behind him had a brighter future ahead, so I traded Hill for a third-round pick. I then played him later in the season and I felt awful about trading him. So, my question: How does management separate the personal and business aspects of the game? I could barely do it.

That's the worst part of this business. Thompson absolutely hated cutting players because he'd been there himself. Yet, that's football. It's nothing personal. There are some truly amazing people who have their NFL dreams dashed every season. However, sometimes change is needed.

Mike from Lake Villa, IL

Is Paul from Pawleys Island, SC, actually Vic Ketchman undercover?

Possible…using his Inbox avatar.

Bob from Chilton, WI

On the subject of who "invented" the shotgun, do you know that Red Hickey used it with the 49ers in the late 1950s? Hickey rotated three QBs: Y.A. Tittle, a better passer; Billy Kilmer, a better runner; and Bob Waters, a blend of the two.

Wait, I thought Tebow invented the shotgun?

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