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He just kept climbing the ladder

No one sees the two most important aspects of the combine


James from Durango, CA

Hey Wes, I think Bell's problem is the fact that he is about 10 to 15 years late to the days of the featured back. I'm sure we could remember watching NFL football in high school that in addition to "The Man at QB," you also needed "The Man" at running back. Teams back then had names like Green, Alexander, Lewis, James, Martin, Jones, Portis, Dillon, Faulk, Tomlinson, and even Emmitt Smith in Arizona. The league back then was Vic's league, where it was based on stopping the run, and being the league-leading rusher meant fighting for Dickerson's rushing record. I highly doubt that anyone is going to break Emmitt Smith's career rushing record with the current mentality for the running back position. Do you concur?

Sorry, you get me for one more day because Wes took a well-deserved long weekend. But yeah, I concur.

Johnny from Grand Chute, WI

Brett Favre was an incredible ambassador for the NFL and a true Hall of Fame player. What do you think of his comments on CNN recently regarding his grandkids not being encouraged to play football? And how about his mentioning the only way to stop concussions is to stop playing football? I'm aware the NFL is taking this medical issue seriously. But will Brett's comments move the NFL to hasten the safety movement in any way? His interview was quite provocative.

Hasten it? No, I think the league is steadily taking steps and evaluating each one along the way. It's going to occur in stages rather than become a drastic, wholesale revamping of the game. But it's comments like Favre's that force the league to take the issue seriously. It has no choice.

Alan from Madison, WI

If you had a teenage son who was a very talented football and baseball player, which sport would you try and nudge him towards and why?

I would want him to pursue the sport he is most passionate about for the love of the game itself, not just because he's good at it.

Olivia from Kimberly, WI

Who is one player that you have seen grow the most?

I know he comes up a lot in the Inbox, but for me it would have to be Tramon Williams. He was a late-season signee to the practice squad in 2006, an easily ignored transaction at the time. Then he surprisingly made the roster in 2007 and started making a name for himself on special teams. The following year he picks off five passes in a secondary that already included Charles Woodson, Al Harris and Nick Collins. He just kept climbing the ladder. I've always greatly admired his career.

Kason from Loves Park, IL

What is the most exciting game you've covered?

Probably the 2009 NFC Wild Card game in Arizona. There was this sense as it unfolded that I was watching the live screening of a movie.

Rex from Laramie, WY

Here in the Mountain Time zone, I usually get the Inbox with my second cup of coffee. (I'm retired.) Do you typically write it first thing in the morning, or at the end of the day before and post it when you get to work?


Take a look at photos of Packers LB Chris Odom from the 2017 season. Photos by Evan Siegle and Corey Wilson, packers.com

For me, it depends on the day and when I feel like doing it. Sometimes it's not done in one fell swoop.**

Mike from Las Vegas, NV

I know you don't like speculating, but I have to think that if Charles Woodson is still on the 2014 team we win the Super Bowl.

Because three interceptions from the safeties that day in Seattle weren't enough? I love Woodson as much as the next guy, and there's a ton of reasons 2014 didn't work out, but that's not one of them.

Alex from Ipswich, UK

Let's assume Green Bay lets go of Jordy or Cobb, or restructures one/both. Do you expect a WR to be taken on the second or third day of the draft? If so, does Gutekunst look for a certain type of receiver, (slot, big body, etc.) to fill a role that needs/will need filling? Or do they take the best available regardless of scheme and hope to coach him up? Just trying to understand the process a bit better. Thanks.

I expect the Packers to try to find the next Nelson/Adams/James Jones in this draft regardless of what they decide to do with the veterans and their contracts, if anything.

Bill from Nairobi, Kenya

Dear Spoff, my OED says Gary from Wrightwood, CA, had an accurate evaluation of the phrase "permanent moratorium." I always thought moratorium meant "ending" from "mori" meaning death, but No! It's from "morari" meaning "to delay." A permanent delay seems oxymoronic, since a delay by definition means the action will resume. Too bad the rule book isn't so clear; we might know what a catch is.

Duly noted on all counts.

Nate from Amherst, WI

4-3 or 3-4?

You're adding to the list started by Scott from Greensburg, IN, right?

Cole from Fitchburg, WI

More entries to the "Top 10" questions list: (5) Should the Packers move Janis to cornerback? (4) When is management going to stop wasting Rodgers' window? (3) Would you trade Rodgers for a team's next three first-round picks? (2) Why should I read your opinions if all you do is spout the company line? And (1) Why don't you ever publish my questions?

Nicely done.

Alex from Bartlett, IL

You said yesterday that Ryan was better than Rivers. Ryan has Julio Jones, and support guys like Sanu, Gabriel and Coleman. Rivers has Keenan Allen, Gates and Williams. I think Ryan has a better supporting cast. Why do you think Ryan is better?

He's won an MVP and been to the Super Bowl while Rivers has had two HOFers in his supporting cast (Tomlinson, Gates) to Ryan's one (Jones). I have all the respect in the world for Rivers, but I'd take Ryan in his prime over Rivers in his, for sure.

Don from Watertown, SD

Daniels, Clark, and Lowry are three studs on that defensive line. But I have felt for some time that the Packers really miss B.J. Raji. The more disruption in the middle of the line, the better the edge rushers become. Although an unpopular choice, I would love to see Vita Vea become our next B.J. Raji. And all the edge rushers will suddenly become a force once again. Your thoughts?

I think Clark has a chance to be better than Raji, no offense to the latter.

Joshua from Philadelphia, PA

Has "Wes" or "Spoff" had the chance to see/take the Wonderlic test that the players are given? Just curious how y'all measure up.

I've never taken the Wonderlic. I'm standing on my high school ACT score. We're both getting the quotation marks now?

Michael from Dover, PA

Re: Gary from Davenport on drafting early round kickers. Oakland may have gotten 18 years but how many did Tampa Bay and Chicago get out of Roberto Aguayo?


Steve from Minocqua, WI

In Monday's Inbox, Dave from Sheboygan referenced the orig

in of the shotgun formation, and Spoff said he had "read it's incorrect to state that Tom Landry invented it." When I played football at Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the late 1970s/early '80s, team legend was the shotgun formation was invented by the late Monte Charles, who coached at Point from 1972-76. The story went that Dallas sent coaches to Point to learn how to do it. I can't prove that's what really happened, but that's the story I was told.

That's a nice tale, but it looks and sounds a little tall to me.

Paul from Pawleys Island, SC

"Department of redundancy department" – I always used to say that sometimes!

Long live the DRD.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

Would you agree that Alex Smith's career mirrors that of Rich Gannon? Both had rocky starts before hitting a stride later in their career for different teams, albeit, Smith hit his stride a bit earlier than Gannon.

True, which gives him a better chance to win an MVP and reach a Super Bowl, as Gannon did. Still a pretty amazing story Gannon did that with his fourth team and 15 years into his career.

Shilo from Marrieta, CA

It is a nice coincidence that Philbin and Pettine have extensive AFC East experience this year, eh?

Perhaps, but Pettine hasn't been in the division since 2013 and Philbin not since 2015. There's so much change regularly in this league, are there many constants in the AFC East since then aside from Brady and Belichick?

Johnathan from Franklin, WI

I hope the 14th pick is GREAT, not just good! Good is reserved for middle rounds.

If he's a good player coming into the NFL, he has a chance to be great. I don't label anyone a great player before they've taken a snap as a pro.

Greg from Pennsylvania

I really liked the look ahead to all of the Packers' 2018 opponents. If you had to do the same exercise for the Packers, what would you say is the biggest question facing Green Bay?

How will the defense perform under Mike Pettine?

George from North Mankato, MN

What event at the combine do you think is a good indicator of potential success in the NFL, and which event do you think should be eliminated or holds the least bearing?


I don't think the physical tests mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things anymore, because the players train intensively for those tests. They allow for some comparisons if prospects' game tapes are similar, but I'd never put more weight on the testing than on the film. I've said this before – the scouting combine is very misleading to the fans, because the most important elements from the teams' perspective are the medical exams and the personal interviews, but there's no media access to either, so no one sees them. What's shown on TV for hours on end is the least important reason for the event.**

Luke from Oconomowoc, WI

You guys talk a lot about college success not necessarily translating to NFL success. What positions would you say show the greatest correlation between college and professional success?

I don't think it's about the positions. It's about the players. Players, not positions.

Bob from Monticello Conte Otto, Italy

Packers fans are everywhere! We have our official Packers chair outside our house in Italy. The other day an Italian young man pedaled his bike past us and shouted, "Go Pack Go!" As he passed by, I saw his Packers backpack and just had to laugh and shake my head in amazement. Thought you'd get a kick out of it, too.

All you have to do is read this column every day and it's obvious Packers fans are everywhere. If you ever see an official Packers pasta over there, be sure to let us know.

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