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Impact can come from anywhere

Jahri Evans has been a perfect fit for this locker room


Tim from Spooner, WI

Admittedly, there is a certain amount of luck involved, both good and bad, but I have been pondering a question. Do injuries occur less frequently because a team is good? Or is the team good because of a lack of injuries? Quicker and more physical teams that are usually in the lead seem to face less body-stressful situations. Any thoughts?

That's a great question. The two most complete teams the Packers have had under Mike McCarthy, in my opinion, were polar opposites in nearly every way. The 2010 Packers team endured an incredible number of injuries from Week 1 through the Super Bowl itself, while the 2014 squad was arguably their healthiest over the past two decades. So the answer to your question is probably somewhere in between. You need stability at the key positions and players to plug holes in areas where guys are lost.

Chad from Tarpon Springs, FL

It seems that the Packers would have done very well this year to me if their QB had been healthy the whole year and would have had a great chance of winning the Super Bowl. The defense's numbers would have been better too, don't forget, because of field position, time of possession, and turnovers, and who knows maybe just jubilance.


The Packers were 4-1 going into Minnesota, and ranked 11th in passing offense, sixth in passing defense and 11th in total defense. Without Rodgers, both units fell down the rankings. Green Bay didn't get it done this year, but acting like this team never was a Super Bowl contender is foolish. The proof was in the pudding through the first five weeks before fortunes changed on the turf at U.S. Bank Stadium Oct. 15.**

Tucker from Temple, TX

I don't understand the notion of "fire everyone." Aside from the fact that McCarthy has had tremendous success is the truth that there is no guarantee that a new coach equates to a better team. For every Sean McVay, there are 10 Jim Tomsulas.

I was talking with a friend of mine Wednesday who was watching the Periscope of Matthew Stafford's news conference. It is incredible how different the responses and posts are from fans on the Lions' feed than the Packers'. I know saying this probably will only further enrage the outrageous, but you'd think the Packers are finishing a 2-13 season based on some of my Twitter mentions. Maybe that's what eight consecutive playoffs do. You say the Packers have won only two Super Bowls in 25 years? Could someone please tell me how many the six current NFC playoff teams have combined for over that time?

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Can the pass rush noticeably improve without the addition of a new impact player?

Yes, but it doesn't have to be one or the other. Positions are more than one player and impact can come from anywhere. The Packers could add another edge rusher through the draft, but they also have several young linebackers with playmaking potential. Let's see what Vince Biegel, Reggie Gilbert and Chris Odom can do with a healthy offseason in Green Bay.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

Regarding injuries, with all the extra playoff games the Packers have played over the past several seasons, does fatigue and extra pounding on the body take its toll?

It might impact a player's offseason, which could affect his preparation for training camp. I remember Andy Mulumba telling me he needed to use crutches for six weeks after the 2013 NFC Wild Card game against San Francisco. Overall, I don't see a correlation, though.

Adilson from Rotterdam, Netherlands

Some love for Jake Ryan? Against Minnesota he led the team in tackles alongside Blake Martinez with 11 apiece and had four more solo tackles than Blake (10-6). Some might think inside linebacker is still a point of emphasis for the Packers, but I'm very intrigued by what the Jake & Blake show can bring in the future. Ryan has shown what he can do when healthy.

Ryan has played well and the Packers have needed him to. The defense has needed that type of production from its inside linebackers with injuries in the secondary taking Green Bay out of its "Nitro" nickel package.

Alice from Roseville, MN

There were at least two times in Saturday's game Crosby could have easily kicked a field goal to get points on the board. Instead, they went for a fourth down. Was McCarthy trying to get Brett experience in fourth-down situations or did he honestly think fourth-and-10 was a great idea? I felt Saturday's game was treated more like a preseason game.


The Packers weren't winning that game without a touchdown, especially on fourth-and-10 with 4 minutes, 3 seconds remaining. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the Packers didn't attack that game with a preseason mindset. They don't risk getting shut out at Lambeau if they're not trying to win.  **

Fabian from Erlangen, Germany

More of an answer than a question – regarding the questions about the impact and number of injuries. The Pack has lost around 150 man-games due to injury. To be put into perspective, that's a lower average number this year, also with value over replacement considered. New England, Seattle, Kansas and Philly have roughly the same numbers. 2016 man-games lost due to injury were average as well (around 190); 2015 numbers were below average (140) So, we have not been hit harder than others. Sorry. (But obviously losing your elite QB is the worst).

I used to think like this during my first two years on the beat, but looking at total games missed is shortsighted. How do you represent the difference between losing Bryan Bulaga and a young reserve? Yes, New England, Seattle, Kansas City and Philadelphia sustained comparable injuries, but those four teams had their franchise quarterback until last week. The quarterback skews everything.

Paul from Ellensburg. WA

Hey fellas, with the belief that it will be a busy offseason and probably reacting against the "blow up the team" crazies I was thinking of the FA guys we picked last year that I'd like to see back. Love Evans and all he's done as a leader and consistent player. Similarly in leadership, Davon House has been great, if less consistent because of injury issues. At the right price I'd keep 'em. Any thoughts on non-homegrown pending FAs?

Jahri Evans has blown me away with his professionalism, as well, and played beyond my expectations for a 34-year-old guard who appeared to be at a crossroads in his career when Seattle cut him in September 2016. He's been the perfect fit for this locker room without T.J. Lang. The Packers have some tough calls to make. It'll be interesting to see what direction they take in balancing their pending free agents with a dozen draft choices on the horizon.

David from Los Angeles, CA

I recalled a play from last week where Jordy Nelson dropped a pass in the middle of the field. He was going to the ground as he dropped it and my initial thoughts were that 1) he lacked courage and feared getting hit (which may well have occurred) and 2) he didn't trust Hundley enough to help him avoid a devastating hit (in a meaningless game). Did you have either of those thoughts on that play?

I just think Nelson heard footsteps. It happens, especially on quick slant patterns. I thought nothing more, nothing less.

Roger from McGrath, AK

The McCarthy quote that included "patterns of negativity" also included something about positivity but I can't find the whole quote. What was it? Why dwell on the negativity part?


Here's the quote in its entirety: "That's the unfortunate part of where we are as a team. Listening is probably the most important part of communication. Watching is another very important (part of) nonverbal information that you can gather in these next two weeks (that) is important. I think you have to make sure you look at everything and be direct and honest and keep the emotion out of it. I think having two weeks to think about it will take the emotion out of it. We have to get better through the adversity that we've been through this year. We have to be honest about the patterns of negativity and positivity. What comes from that, how do you learn from that, how do you improve? To win championships, you have to go through adverse moments. We've had plenty this year. Not hitting our goal, not playing to the standard of the Green Bay Packers is definitely an adverse situation we need to learn from." And that's the rest of the story.**

Daniel from Los Angeles, CA

May I put the questions regarding strength and conditioning to rest? You cannot prevent torn Achilles and muscles from new and better workouts. Major injuries do not occur from lack of conditioning but rather unfortunate circumstances. Antonio Brown is anything but poorly conditioned, neither is Rodgers and yet they suffered major injuries.

It's a contact sport. You can train all offseason to be in the best shape of your career, but injuries happen. The Packers waged a war on fatigue injuries years ago with their change in schedule and STAA program. They've invested themselves into staying on the cutting edge of rest and recovery.

Chuck from Poynette, WI

Hey Insiders, I've read that we could have upwards of 11 picks in the upcoming draft. Are the additional picks for free agents who left last year? If so, which free agents do you think turned into draft picks?

The official list isn't out yet, but T.J. Lang, Micah Hyde, JC Tretter, Jared Cook and Eddie Lacy should net the maximum allotment of four compensatory picks.

Tim from Manitowoc, WI

Perhaps a foolish question: who exactly is a member of the Packers' personnel department? Coaches, scouts, GM?


The personnel department refers to the general manager and his scouting department. **

Lerxst from Green Bay, WI

Not to perseverate on the replay review issue, but it seems to me if they would limit replay reviews to watching at game speed, without super slo-mo in high-def video, it would greatly improve the process. After all, that's how the officials on the field see and call it.

Thank you for using perseverate. It's one of my favorite words and requires me explaining it to people way too often. Your point is valid. I think the problem is we're trying so hard to make the right call, we're starting to take common sense out of it. It's that old adage about if 50 people in a bar say it's a catch, then it's a catch.

Roger from Indianapolis, IN

How much information can a team get before the draft on medical history of a draftee? Some come with known "worn parts" which may flare up later. Can a team require a physical by the team doctor to make an assessment?

To the best of my knowledge, teams have two opportunities to exam a potential draft pick – at the NFL Scouting Combine or during one of your 30 pre-draft visits.

Phil from Madison, WI

How's this for a solution to the catch rule? Catch/no catch calls no longer subject to review. Call on the field stands.

*The game moves too fast for that. You still need replay to catch the egregious misses like receivers trapping the ball against the ground. *

Mark from Cuba City, WI

Happy New Year! Saw a few comments about a "penalty box" idea. Other sports (hockey/rugby) use a penalty box so why not the NFL? The major difference would be no power plays. Each team always has 11 men on the field. Unnecessary roughness, 10 game minutes/second offense, ejection. Unsportsmanlike conduct, five game minutes. Keep the 15-yard penalties too. The NFL can then add fines and suspensions as needed. Taking the offender out of the game for two-thirds of a quarter is better than letting him play the next play while the injured player is getting X-rays.

I could get on board with this.

Brad from Denver, CO

The talk about NFL players at the bottom of the league tanking is ridiculous. I get it, it's their paycheck, their livelihoods and their next job. But here's where it changes for me: I'm just a fan; all I can do is watch and I have no impact on the game. That also means I'm allowed to look ahead. On Sunday, I hope the Packers play their tails off, end on a high note and earn their next job. But I also don't mind if they finish 7-9. Why? Because 7-9 drafts higher than 8-8.

I have a feeling there's a certain segment of fans (I'm not saying you, Brad) who say these things Wednesday and then will be wearing out the letters on their keyboard Sunday night should the Packers lose. Just win.

Scott from Little Rock, AR

"Each year, 31 teams put together their 53-man roster in hopes of winning a Super Bowl. Only one succeeds." Wes H, poor Browns.


The Packers were back at practice Wednesday afternoon inside the Don Hutson Center ahead of Sunday's matchup with the Lions. Photos by Evan Siegle,

I didn't say every team had the same chance at winning it all. That's just every team's hope. Remember when everyone was laughing at the Rams like four months ago? Change happens.**

Andrew from Oklahoma City, OK

How about Aaron Donald or Harrison Smith for MVP? I don't think there has been a QB this year who has played with enough consistency to earn it more than those two.

My vote would be for Todd Gurley, but Donald is a good pick, too. The Rams just did one of the most extreme about-faces in NFL history. While Sean McVay deserves credit, those players should be commended for how they bought into his system and learned how to win again.

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

Las Vegas will tell you that the extra point after time has expired is not a waste of time. I'm sure they have made plenty off of it.

I'm a coach, I couldn't care less about Vegas. I just leave it up to them. If it's me, I kneel it out. It's not worth the risk anymore with a blocked PAT return now resulting in two points.

Bruce from Milwaukee, WI

If Dan from Janesville is so disenchanted with the NFL, why is he reading and writing to the Packers website?

No clue. And seriously what's his issue with girls tennis? I covered preps for 10 years in some shape or form for the Press-Gazette.

Bill from Menominee, MI

How about the Insiders play a game with us daily readers in the final week of season when the on-field excitement is fading. Can you issue a second Inbox one day with a random draw of 15 or so unedited, anonymous fan questions? It would be great perspective on what you deal with daily as you filter through hundreds of submissions from Monday morning couch QBs and GMs.

No. There is a dark side to the Insider Inbox that needs to stay hidden, comprised of dozens of readers whose posts are too ridiculous to ever see the light of day. They need to stay there. I don't want to reward their folly.

Ramiro from Brownsville, TX

Yeah, Spoff, but in the end Socrates got himself a sweet bust and a name that is forever remembered. So here's to you getting a statue after retirement and a Happy New Year! Keep up the great work.

The world needs a Spoff statue.

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