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Everything starts to slow down in Year 2

A stable and consistent pass rush makes everyone better


Wes from Minneapolis, MN

It looks like Morgan Burnett is signing with Pittsburgh. Is Josh Jones ready to fill his shoes? Or is it going to have to be a collective effort?

Burnett was the defense's duct tape. You could insert that guy anywhere and he was going to give it his all. Jones has the athleticism to step in and excel in Burnett's void, and has a veteran to lean on in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. It'll be key to cut down on the mental errors that accompany every rookie season and let the game come to him. You saw it before with Burnett, Clinton-Dix and Nick Collins. Everything starts to slow down in Year 2.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Mark Knofler also would have used "sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug" but I like your point. On another note, what is the word on Kentrell Brice, looks like we are going to need him?

I don't have an update on Brice. Based on what I heard at the end of the season, he was making significant progress following the ankle surgery. The Packers were excited about his upside before that injury last year.

Ed from Henryville, IN

When we don't have a decent secondary, why on earth would the organization let Morgan Burnett go?! I see no logical reason to let a "Swiss army knife" go. He's reliable and can cover almost anyone. Am I just missing something?

I don't know. The Packers obviously drafted Jones last year with the intention of having a safety in the pipeline, but beyond that it's all speculation at this point. I'm sure it's something Brian Gutekunst and Mike McCarthy will be asked at next week's owners meetings in Orlando.

Ryan from Chicago, IL

Sad to see a strong veteran in Burnett go. I'm interested to hear who is left from XLV now. Rodgers, Clay and Bulaga?

And Mason Crosby. Brett Goode is again an unrestricted free agent and would be No. 5 if he returns.

Leandro from Lexington, KY

Can you explain why people always capitalize EDGE? Why is that different from OLB? Nobody says ELEPHANT.

Good question. Maybe because words look cooler when capitalized? CARWASH. ERASER. HAIRNET. CORNDOG.

Fred from Shiocton, WI

Been hearing some people ask lately why we don't move Quinten Rollins to safety. I found myself almost completely dumbfounded by this because if I remember correctly he played corner in college and all through the pros. Even in college he only played one year. Why do people think he can automatically make a switch to an evolving position that he's never played?


We have to see how the Achilles heals (no pun intended) before forecasting where Rollins fits. That's a tough injury. When healthy, Rollins provides inside and outside versatility. That's going to be important going forward with Damarious Randall now in Cleveland. For all his ups and downs, Randall filled that role admirably down the stretch.**

Rikard from Jönköping, Sweden

It seems like everyone assumes Aaron Rodgers will be the highest paid player in the NFL. Nothing wrong with that. In my mind he is the best player around. But couldn't he settle for less? He seems extremely smart and he knows he need big guys blocking, receivers catching passes and a solid defense to take the pressure off.

I know you guys probably are sick of me talking about how remaining years on a contract matter, but it's true. Rodgers may very well become the highest-paid quarterback in the league, but he might not carry the highest cap hit because of how the contract is structured and the bonus is prorated. This is all speculation until a deal is reached, but there are ways to make the extension work for everyone.

Robert from Omaha, NE

I see questions about Kizer. Seems logical to me that he could simply be an investment. Even if the kid never plays a down in a meaningful game, I have to imagine his stock is going to increase over the years and will at least net a gain in a trade down the road. Isn't that what we want a GM to do? Build for today but also have a solid strategy for the foreseeable future?

The 2017 NFL Draft is so recent you have to imagine Brian Gutekunst and his scouting department were high on Kizer coming out of Notre Dame. The Packers wouldn't have pulled this deal off if they saw any huge red flags pop up in Cleveland. I think it was simply a young quarterback learning the hard way under difficult circumstances.

Cameron from Brookfield, WI

With these two new football leagues starting up in the next few years, do you see them being more competition to the NCAA or the NFL or neither since they will be paying players? Are they going to take over college football as the developmental league for the NFL?

Let's see them get fully operational before we start talking about being competition for the NCAA. College football's greatest advantage is it runs concurrently with the NFL season. It might be a better sell to the public to have a winter and spring minor league, but whatever players matriculate to the NFL will be behind the eight ball with offseason programs starting in April.

Kyle from Spooner, WI

Well, Westopher, it sounds like we have a catch rule? Do you think it'll stick?

It's Mr. Westopher to you, sir. I'm all for using common sense. There always is going to be a subjective nature to these rulings because it's a subjective game, but this proposal sounds like a step in the right direction.

Fearn from Rolling Meadows, IL

Graham has to be the best TE in football this year to warrant his contract. Let's hope that happens.

Well, you're paying for past performance and hoping for the best. That's how these things work. He's been incredibly productive and durable throughout his career. If Graham can give the Packers what Tony Gonzalez gave the Falcons, this is the type of move that could push an offense over the top.

Subhadeep from Detroit, MI

I think a good analogy for 'fair market value' for common folks like us Packers fan is buying a home. We as buyers want to buy the best home in the best neighborhood at the cheapest price and then we want to sell our home at a high start value and want a bidding war to get us a sky high price. Same goes for players and teams hiring them. Agent's job is to give a fair assessment to their client (buying or selling) on what the fair value is. Once we understand this analogy, I think questions like why are we not going after so and so free agent, why can't this player sign for way less just to play for Packers, etc. will be understood easier.

Spot on. It's OK to window shop, but everything changes once it's your name on the dotted line. You have to believe in what you're buying (or selling).

Markus from Wilkesboro, NC

There seems to be a hysterical fear in the air regarding cornerback. McCarthy, Gutekunst, and Pettine have basically stated that the defense will be significantly better. As Vic taught me long ago, I'm gonna choose to enjoy the process of watching them make it happen. Relax readers, this will be handled well.


Packers T Bryan Bulaga celebrates his birthday on March 21. Take a look at photos of him from the 2017 season. Photos by Evan Siegle and Corey Wilson,

They don't hand out trophies for the fastest to the first mile-marker. Team-building isn't a one-month process. It takes an entire offseason. Gutekunst, McCarthy and Pettine are on the same page for improving the defense. **

Collin from Kirkwood, MO

Despite not signing a big name free agent defensive back, I think the Wilkerson addition improves the Packers secondary. Sure there is still a need to add depth, and another play maker would be great, but a ferocious front can make a secondary look really good. I'm excited to see that group do work under Coach Pettine.

A stable and consistent pass rush makes everyone better.

Edward from Yorba Linda, CA

Just a couple of years ago when Jordy Nelson was lost with his ACL our offense seemed lost for most of the year. How can we expect anything different this year?

Because the Packers have five months to plan for playing without Nelson rather than two weeks.

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

Jordy Nelson is certainly one of the most beloved Packers of all time, but to put into perspective his Hall of Fame candidacy, I have some info. There are only 17(!!!) wide receivers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Jordy has slightly less than 8,000 career receiving yards. There are only five with less than 10,000 career yards, and three of those played in the pre-Super Bowl NFL. John Stallworth and Lynn Swan were the other two, and they won four Super Bowls.

As I stated previously, Nelson is a great player at a position with incredibly high standards to be enshrined in Canton. I definitely look forward to his Packers Hall of Fame induction, though. He's a first-ballot guy.

Kurt from Phoenix, AZ

If you do a column from fans talking out both sides of their mouth, you should follow it with a column of the insiders talking out both sides of their mouth. Like in-line tight ends!

You're right. Expounding upon a theory that hadn't been executed in the Packers' offense for years is on the same level as judging the performance of actual players who were better than given credit for. You got me, Kurt.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Looking ahead to the draft and wondering if there have been other teams to have two of the first four picks in one draft. Have there been teams with better than that? Thanks for any stats you can find on this.

Maybe Washington in 2000 (LaVar Arrington at No. 2 and Chris Samuels at No. 3)?

Austin from Schuylerville, NY

Obviously this is Gutekunst's first draft, but do you see him using the Ted Thompson "draft the best player available" scheme or possibly tailor the pick more to their specific need?

It's not black or white. It depends on which shade of grey Gutekunst falls into. We'll find out April 26-28.

Brian from Fairfax, VA

A lot of drafts have us drafting Davenport but I'm not sold on him. His tape looks great but over the years it seems the Packers have taken these unpolished and/or converted players and it's backfired on them. Am I wrong to have my fears?

That's a reasonable concern. There are a lot of unknowns with Davenport, beginning with the level of competition he faced in college. That's for the Packers' brass to make heads and tails of. He certainly hits all the right notes when it comes to measurables and athletic ability.

Earl from Anchorage, AK

What are your thoughts on Calvin Ridley? Is he a possibility with the 14th pick?

He's an uber-talented guy who should be in the conversation. I still think receiver is low on the Packers' list of needs, but Ridley is the type of player you consider with a "best available player" mindset. I certainly wouldn't fault Gutekunst if that's how things shook out draft night.

Jack from Bellmore, NY

With a lot of speculation about who the Packers will draft, I've narrowed it down to five players I'd most like to see at that pick. Denzel Ward, Derwin James, Josh Jackson, Marcus Davenport, and Calvin Ridley. What order would you put these in for best fit for the Packers? Thanks.

In terms of pure fit, I'd say Calvin Ridley, Marcus Davenport, Derwin James, Josh Jackson and Denzel Ward. Ward would be higher on the list if I knew Gutekunst's stance on cornerbacks under that 5-11 threshold. Jackson has the height, but only started a dozen college games and played mostly zone at Iowa.

Matt from Cedar Rapids, IA

There was a question regarding a Top 15 pass defense. Given the talent of other quarterbacks in our division, and the likelihood a healthy AR-Co putting up numbers, might this be at the very top end of what we might reasonably expect? If the offense moves the ball like it should, teams may be scrambling to put up points to keep up.

That's something you have to consider. It probably should come to the surprise of no one the Packers' air-raid offense in 2011 coincided with a 32nd-ranked pass defense. Also, consider how often New Orleans has been near the bottom of the league on defense during Drew Brees' 5,000-yard campaigns. Opponents have to keep up with the QBs.

Jeff from Green Bay, WI

Any thoughts as to whom the Packers would put forward as a players' union rep now that Jordy has departed?

I'm not sure. Mason Crosby and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix were the Packers' co-alternates last year.

Pete from Stoke, United Kingdom

Every time you answer a question on running backs only three are mentioned. Why do you exclude Mays? He is still on the roster? The fact that he has hardly played should not be a reason for ignoring him.

Mays is still in the conversation. There's just more proven production with Williams and Jones. This is a big offseason for Mays to remind everyone why the Packers were so high on him coming out of Utah State last May.

Daniel from Johnston, IA

Wes, my guess is that Jeff from Waunakee, WI was referencing the Kurt/Curt Cousins joke that has been running ever since Bruce Allen referred to Kirk that way multiple times in a press conference last summer. Do you think that Mathieu reportedly signing with Houston for only one year at $7 million brings down the cost to sign other safety free agents such as Burnett?

Intentional or not, it made my day. I was surprised about Mathieu's contract based on what reportedly was on the table in Arizona. Safeties are important, but cornerbacks are what drive the market. It's been that way since the beginning. I'm sure Mathieu's contract ushered in a collective sigh from the representatives of free-agent safeties.

Dale from Owatonna, MN

So I have now asked my Minnesota friends if they think when Kirk Cousins rolls out, throws a pass, and Nick Perry throws him to the turf breaking his collarbone, if they will like the fully guaranteed money and if they will then admit the hit on Rodgers, if not illegal, was definitely unnecessary. The responses were not surprisingly very defensive.

It's different when it happens to you.




Nick from Chicago, IL

Who's more likely to get drafted: Fullback or Kicker/Punter? Thank God for Ripkowski. That beard belongs in the frozen tundra.

I have no idea what this specialist class looks like, so I'll just say fullback. Dimitri Flowers is the best in this year's class. Coincidentally, he's also from Oklahoma.

Joe from Asbury, IA

That's at least the second time I've read you using "spiffballing", did I miss something? Is that an inside joke, or just your way of throwing wet things at the wall to see what sticks? I might understand if you were to use "spoffballing", then you can blame it on Mike. On a side note, thanks to Jeff from Waunakee, Cousins will forever be Curt!

Everyone concentrates on Larry calling me 'Biff,' does nobody recall him calling Spoff 'Spiff?' The best one-liners are the ones you have to explain.

Josh from Canmore, Alberta

We seem to have too many receivers and not enough tight ends. Do you think it's possible for you and Spoff to put on enough good weight and become tight ends?

"Good weight" and "you and Spoff" is an oxymoron.

Kevin from Louisville, KY

Hope your week is improving. Can you estimate how many people have suggested the Michael Clark to TE question? Also, is the number higher or lower than the Jeff Janis to CB number?


Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Is Michael Clark at TE becoming the next Ty Montgomery's No. 88?

It's sure looking that way based on the Inbox submissions the past couple days.

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