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Hopefully the pattern is in the past

Please don't pick the 53 now


Joe from East Moline, IL

So, if kickers get into the HOF, does someone like Devin Hester get in as a kick/punt returner?

I think so.

Bill from Greenville, NC

Considering all the competition at WR this year, is Janis the odd man out? He has been here a few years without much playing time. Will his special-teams play save his job?

Everyone wants to pick the 53 now. Please don't. I've learned over the years that these things have a way of sorting themselves out. They just do. Sometimes it's injuries. Other times something else unpredictable happens. Five weeks of training camp is a long time.

Jay from Land O'Lakes, FL

Guys, could the biggest issue for the Packers this year be their offensive line? Seems like a strange idea unless you recall last year when we believed the defensive backs were very solid. In that year we quickly lost Sam Shields and had injuries to several other CBs. Suddenly we had starters who a few weeks earlier were second or third in the depth chart! If Bulaga or David B. goes down, remember this question, which probably won't be published!

Any unit that suffers several injuries, including one to the clear-cut top guy, like the CBs with Shields and the multiple groin issues last year, is going to change complexion. The receivers weren't as strong when Nelson went down and Adams messed up his ankle in '15, either. What I like about the offensive line is the Packers have a young, developing swing tackle in Spriggs and a veteran in Barclay who can back up all three inside positions, while the rest of the prospects (Murphy, Amichia, etc.) can find which spot(s) suits them best. You can't ask for much more without getting into cap trouble with expensive backups.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Mike, Joe Whitt gave significant praise to WR converted to DB Herb Waters implying he might have the highest ceiling of all corners. I did not expect to hear that. Were you surprised by the comment?

Yes, but Whitt's comments were all about "potential" without actually uttering the word. He knows as well as anyone that Waters hasn't played a single preseason game at corner. It could be a great story. Let's see what happens.

Niklas from Vienna, Austria

Hi, Insiders! A probable scenario (or rather a fact-based statistical hypothesis): I project the Packers to improve on their third-down conversion rate after adding two TEs and Montgomery (a former WR) as their leading back. Do you agree?

If they improve from No. 2 in the league on third down (98-of-210, 46.7 percent) to No. 1, that would be all fine and good. An interesting measure of the offense might be how many third downs it faces. The Packers have faced fewer than 200 third downs twice in the McCarthy era. The years? 2011 and 2014. I think that tells us something.

Paul from Ellensburg, WA

Hey fellas, so the question of the hour is where do the players of the NFL have Aaron Rodgers ranked? I can see him landing at 1-2 but also falling as far as 5-6 depending on the diversity of the top 5.

I honestly don't care.

Hilmi from Ankara, Turkey

That "run the table" business spoiled us to the degree that we probably wouldn't sweat a 0-6 start as long as we have No. 12.

We have to appreciate last season's phenomenal run for what it was, but it's not an advisable way of doing business on a regular basis.

Alex from Indianapolis, IN

In the article Mike recently wrote about Brett Hundley, it seemed like he knows it's a forgone conclusion he gets traded. Do you think a team would actually take a chance on a totally unproven guy like Hundley and give up a high pick?

It all depends how he plays this preseason, and the Packers' willingness to deal him will hinge on Rodgers' health at the end of this coming year and the development of another QB behind Hundley. There's still a lot of time before we get to that point.

Greg from Cuenca, Ecuador

Insiders, since it is now officially summer, and football is comatose for a few weeks, let's say we expand the scope of questions for a short while. Do you think Janet Yellin will keep raising interest rates? Since we now have Generations X, Y and Z, what comes next? Do you think the Russians hacked the NFL Draft?

I'm no economist. Gen Meh. Bears fans think so.

Scott from Dallas, TX

I was at the Dallas playoff game for the Cook sideline catch, but I think my favorite Rodgers play was his "tackle" of Brian Urlacher to prevent a pick-six. It looked like a high school kicker trying to take down an NFL player, but hey, Urlacher came down. All that to say I don't foresee Rodgers hurting himself to prevent a pick-six if that's the extent of his tackling ability.

Several of you pointed this out, and I've always ranked that tackle as one of his top five plays on a day his passer rating was just 55.4. I also remember Rodgers, out of pure frustration, throwing a shoulder into a Saints DB running down the sideline with a pick in the '08 Monday night game at the Superdome. I really thought he was going to hurt himself on that one.

Jesse from Bismarck, ND

If AR throws a pick-six this year we will all be blaming those that have brought up the conversation here in the Inbox. That is all.

Fine. I'll take the heat.

Jim from Greendale, WI

I don't know where it rates on other lists, but in my opinion the greatest play of all time was the James Harrison pick-six against Kurt Warner in the Super Bowl. It totally changed the momentum of that game.

A 14-point swing has a tendency to do that. Reminds me of what Harvey Kuenn (I think) once said about triple plays. They can really take you out of an inning.

Ricky from Beloit, WI

I would not want to see eight teams per conference make the playoffs. I am in favor of adding only one additional wild-card team in the mix and only allow the No. 1 seed to get the bye week. Could make Week 17 more interesting and competitive and see teams fight for that spot instead of resting players. Do you ever see this happening?

This is the middle ground many readers are suggesting, and the league discussed this in recent years but the talk died off. Still could happen, but I say 14 of 32 is still too close to the 50 percent mark for my tastes.

Jordan from Appleton, WI

Mike, I have an idea to help add some excitement to the Inbox during this down time. You could post and answer the first 20 (or however many you normally answer) unedited questions in the Inbox when you open it for the day. That way we'd get a taste of what it's like and maybe feel some sympathy for you guys.

As my dad would say, that sounds like a good idea, but not a great idea.

Michael from Wausau, WI

The QB salary cap balance seems difficult to maintain given the overinflated QB market. How can someone maintain a balanced roster when such a high percentage of the cap pays for a quarterback?

That's the challenge that makes every season so new, and every team is trying to master it.

Todd from Fort Atkinson, WI

The coaches recently said they evaluated film from last season and felt Randall was a better fit at the "star" position. As obvious as it was to many that he was struggling, why don't coaches watch film more during the season? Some things jump off the screen at you.

They watch plenty of film during the season, and Randall was forced to play certain roles due to his own injuries and those of others. Offseason film study is done with a different perspective, mainly a healthy roster.

Evan from Durango, CO

Not a question, just noticed Jared Abbrederis was mentioned on ESPN as an under-the-radar performer for the Lions during OTAs. I wish him well in 14/16 games next season. I know many fans wish he got more chances, maybe he'll get those chances with the Lions.

Abbrederis was a great guy to get to know, and Wes would say the same. You can't help but root for a Wisconsin kid who has a lot working against him as far as NFL measurables. We certainly wish him well.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

I enjoy the Packers' throwback jerseys. My wife and I were at the game the previous two seasons in which they wore them at home (Dallas, San Diego). When was the last time the team wore a throwback road uniform? I imagine Favre in one with the 75th anniversary logo.

You're recalling the Monday night monsoon game at Soldier Field in '94, with the Packers in a road throwback and the NFL's 75th commemorative patch. I remember watching that game in my grad school studio apartment just a little north of the stadium in Evanston. The only other road throwback that comes to mind was worn in the 2001 Thanksgiving game at Detroit.

Trevor McIlwaine from Ann Arbor, MI

If they were to put a third statue in front of Lambeau, I'd vote for Andrew Turnbull. I'd doubt the Packers would be around if not for him. Who would be your choice if they were to put another statue out front?

I'm not sure there's a slam-dunk answer, but I have to lean toward Ron Wolf. Without him, there's no Favre, no Reggie, no Holmgren, no Super Bowl XXXI title, no franchise renaissance whatsoever that helped give us the Lambeau Field we have today.

Ben from Colchester, CT

I agree with the assessment that House will probably get the majority of the assignments on Jones. I may be a bit off but I recall House was the only one to stop the bleeding the last time he was on our team and the two of them matched up. Can't recall the exact game or season though.

It was the Monday nighter at Lambeau vs. the Falcons in 2014. He did start to contain Jones late in that monster performance and then got hurt on an awkward collision while breaking up a pass in the end zone, and House missed the next few games. That was the unfortunate story of House's first go-round in Green Bay. Every time he started to ascend, an injury would get in the way. He's obviously hoping that pattern is in the past.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

I see a number of comments about who will be the No. 1 CB. This misses the point. It doesn't matter who is No. 1. Regardless of who is No. 1, the Packers are going to need all of them – Gunter, King, Randall, Rollins, etc. – to play effectively if they are going to have a successful defense.

I agree wholeheartedly with your last point, but you still need the guy who's going to shadow the opponent's top weapon more often than not. The Packers had that with Shields. This year it's undecided, as of now.

Max from Troy, MO

The NFL released a video recently counting down the top 10 QBs of all time. I was happy to see Favre on the list, but I was disappointed to see Rodgers miss entirely. While I know it was only one person's opinion, what does Rodgers have to do to cement a place that list?

He'll get there. Let him finish.

Rich from Manitou Springs, CO

Seems we have an awful lot of non-football related questions lately. So here's one that is not important, but still football-related. I believe Jim Otto was the last player to wear double zero. Is there any rule that prevents a player from wearing that number or is it just because nobody wants it?

The league took "00" out of circulation in 1973. Otto was grandfathered in, as was Houston WR Ken Burrough, who was actually the last to wear it because he retired seven years after Otto.

Col from Ludlow, UK

Thanks for the article on Brice. The hit and tackle on Terron Ward has to be worth showing again. If anyone remembers a better such play from last year I'd love to see that, too.


I couldn't find the Ward hit in our archives, but Brice's de-cleater on Beasley is at 3:50 of these highlights from the Packers-Cowboys playoff game.**

Tim from Madison, WI

So just how big is Martellus Bennett in real life?

I was stunned when I stood next to him for the first time. Had no idea.

Shane from Coralville, IA

Last year the Packers went on a losing streak, including some ugly losses to "average" opponents early on. We know injuries played a part, but we still fielded a capable enough team to win those games. What is the No. 1 thing that needs to change or improve for us to host the NFC Championship at Lambeau this year? Keep up the good work!

I don't know how to answer that without seeing the 2017 Packers play, because to point out just one thing assumes everything else will stay the same, which it never does. I will say that getting the No. 1 seed is never easy. Only twice since 2004 has at least one NFC team not gone 13-3 or better. It takes remarkable consistency, and a few breaks, to put up a mark like that in this league.

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