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Inbox: A fun week was had by all

It’s extremely difficult to choose

Head Coach Matt LaFleur
Head Coach Matt LaFleur

Mark from Naperville, IL

Oi, Mike, Roy Kent would be happy but not so sure about Vic, sneaking some soccer into II. It must be the offseason.

Vic may despise soccer, but if he respected the Terrible Towel, then he'd respect a good chant, even if it's from a soccer game.

Gary from Chippewa Falls, WI

Would this be a good time for Cincinnati to stump for Ken Anderson for the Hall of Fame?

Interesting thought. It wouldn't hurt for the Bengals to get him involved in Super Bowl activities and appearances, as much as he's able and willing. Any lobbying would have to be with the senior committee, which has done a great job of finding players whose cases should be reconsidered. Anderson was a finalist through the regular process twice but hasn't been a senior nominee/finalist yet. He's been eligible for consideration by the senior committee for about a decade now.

Rick and Barb from Caledonia, WI

Good morning! Could you please outline the coming deadlines that will likely shape the decisions on the makeup of the team for next season? Certainly it seems the biggest decisions are likely going to come soon? Thanks for the terrific insights you guys provide all year long.

The Packers have to make the decision whether or not to franchise tag Davante Adams between Feb. 22 and March 8, and it sounds like Aaron Rodgers will be making his decision prior to the March 8 deadline. After that, March 14 starts the two-day "legal tampering" period when pending free agents can shop for offers around the league, which will set the market on players the Packers might want to keep and could still sign before they technically become free agents, which is March 16. By that date is also when the Packers must have their top 51 contracts under the salary cap, so most restructures, cost-cutting moves, etc., will take place by then.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

Wes must not have spent much time in Philly before the run-the-table game. They don't ship double-parked cars out of town with any alacrity; they just sit there and honk at them … On a serious note, I can't remember another offseason that presented such different potential rosters and outlooks for the Packers depending on how the first couple of dominoes fall. I could see seven or eight key veterans' statuses next year being entangled with what Rodgers and the Packers decide. Is that exaggerated?

I don't think so.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

I sure hope the Packers can find a way to keep the majority of their championship-caliber defense intact. Who do you feel will be some of the key losses on this unit due to cap issues?

As Nathan suggests, there are any number of ways this could go, so I'm not into predicting who stays and who goes. But there are three obvious big names to watch and see what happens – Za'Darius Smith, because he has, by far, the largest cap number of any player on defense, is in the final year of his contract, and hardly played last year; and De'Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas, because they are pending free agents coming off big years who will command a lot of outside interest.

Mark from Geneva, IL

If I remember correctly, the salary cap should be significantly higher in 2023 due to the new TV deal. If that is correct, the ability to move salary to future years will be a big benefit to the Packers as they try to keep the band together.

That was part of the equation with last year's maneuvers, and I'm sure it will be again, provided Rodgers and Adams are sticking around.

John from Austin, TX

So many questions, so much time...nonetheless, any insight into the bizarre and unusual formula the NFL uses to determine which players are fined and how much the fine will be? Call me surprised that Fred Warner didn't receive a fine and suspension. Thanks for the six days a week of Q-and-A as we sail toward offseason uncharted waters.

The base fines for various infractions are determined by the CBA, and the league reviews the film on potential violations, whether or not a penalty flag was thrown during the game. Fines can then escalate based on the seriousness of the violation and a player's history with certain infractions. But that's about all I know. I, too, was surprised nothing was levied against Warner.

Kyle from Pittsburgh, PA

Excluding ALL of the players that are CURRENTLY on the team...If you had to name the player that you most enjoyed having met and gotten to know on a professional (and maybe more personal) level, would you share that with the II audience? I know the question requires you to single out one, which assuredly leaves out dozens to hundreds, but they'll understand.

As you note, it's extremely difficult to choose, so I'll answer it this way. Perhaps no player I've met made a greater impression on me in a shorter amount of time than Samkon Gado. I got this job in the spring of 2006 and he was traded after Week 1 of that season, but I'll never forget him. What a remarkable individual. I understand he's doing very well in the medical field now, to no one's surprise. To be honest, seeing the coldness of this business strike such a warm, inviting human in my first year on the job probably made me more reticent to connect personally with players. I've enjoyed dozens upon dozens of great guys who have come through here, but I've also kept my distance to a certain degree.

Justin from Delavan, WI

Can you give us insight on the process of how assistant coaches are interviewed/hired? For example, do they blanket the teams with vacancies with resumes? Or does the head coach open up his rolodex and make calls? Do they typically meet in person for an interview pre-COVID or they do it speedily through the telephone/Zoom during the musical chairs? Is personal connection through previous teams a priority in the consideration or coaching talent?

It's all of the above. There's plenty that happens through connections and prior relationships. No doubt about that. But coaches also have agents who keep apprised of openings and make teams aware of their clients' interest and availability. I'll be interested when we get a chance to talk to Luke Butkus about taking over as offensive line coach how he wound up in Green Bay three years ago. Because I could find only one direct connection for him with anyone on LaFleur's staff – one year with Hackett in Jacksonville – and no connections to other teams where LaFleur had previously worked. That's unusual.

Barry from Saint Michael, MN

I read that the Packers have been in talks with Rich Bisaccia for the special teams coordinator job. This past season, he was the Raiders special teams coordinator, and then became the interim head coach after Jon Gruden was fired. His coaching resume looks impressive. What are your thoughts on him?

He's coached special teams for a long time and found success in that phase with multiple teams. According to Rick Gosselin's annual rankings, Bisaccia didn't have a top-10 unit with the Raiders (11th last season was their best finish with him), but he posted eight top-10 rankings over 16 years with the Buccaneers, Cowboys and Chargers. That's more experience, and a better track record, than anyone the Packers have hired for the position since I can remember.

Lane from Hurricane, UT

With all the buzz on the Packers having to "pay" for an upper-tier ST coach I wonder is there a cap on combined coaches' salaries? Also shout out to Derek from EC on his MT5 appearance!

There is no coaching salary cap. And I really expected Derek to challenge the big boss to a haiku contest. I'm disappointed.

Dave from Machesney Park, IL

I'm not downplaying the importance of coaching, but I'm sure the players on special teams were taught blocking assignments. All you have to do is look back at Bostick admitting he was supposed to block on that NFC Championship onside kick. Maybe more repetition is needed.

Or the coaches need to get a better handle on the players they can actually trust to do what they're supposed to and when.

Ron from Broken Arrow, OK

Mike, on Friday you made this comment, "Controversial calls by officials and the now accepted league association with gambling might create integrity questions here and there, but this is much, much bigger," regarding the reports of Miami and Cleveland head coaches being offered to get paid extra to lose games. I'm not sure I agree. I believe that the league's new association with gambling has the potential for both game officials and players to throw games, which I believe is worse.

Don't get me wrong, it certainly would be if any allegations came to light. But none have, and we'll hope it stays that way. My comment was just that the association itself can cause some to raise questions even in the absence of nefarious activity. While Hue Jackson has since backed off on what went down in Cleveland, Brian Flores' claims are well beyond anything that's come from the gambling world to date.

Jake from Decatur, GA

For what it's worth, I'd like to point out that the NFL, as a named defendant, kind of had to respond quickly to Flores' complaint, and no one should read much into the league's statement that the claims "are without merit." If I may, I'd also like to prepare everyone for the strong possibility that the case will be dismissed from court and resolved through totally confidential arbitration, and we may, unfortunately, never learn the truth.

Duly noted.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning Mike and Wes. If you guys were a two-man bobsled team, who would be the pilot and who the brakeman?

We'd have to take turns. I don't think either one of us would be satisfied with always taking the back seat.

Callan from Las Vegas, NV

Insider Inbox, I would like to share an experience I had last night. My family and I went out to dinner here in Las Vegas and were starstruck to find Coach LaFleur and family eating a few tables away from us! I happened to be wearing a Packers sweatshirt for Pro Bowl weekend here. On the way out, Coach actually stopped by my table and engaged us for a few minutes of conversation! He offered to take a few pictures, too. What an absolute class act. It made our year. Thanks, Coach!

It sounds like a fun week was had by all.

H.R. from Las Vegas, NV

I'm not sure what that was, but it certainly wasn't NFL football. Two-hand touch, nobody putting forth any effort. It is honestly worse than the preseason. Why do people pay money to watch that?

Didn't watch a snap of it. Haven't for years.

William from Speedwell, TN

Wake me up in April for the draft.

It was that bad, huh?

Chuck from Gold Canyon, AZ

Good morning, Mike. There was a question regarding the Packers' 2022 draft capital that Wes answered. My question is are the Packers the 28th pick of each round or do they alternate with TB since they ended with the same record? I think it was last year we alternated the 30th and 29th pick since we had same record with I believe Buffalo in the regular season.

(This answer is corrected from a previous version): The Packers did alternate with Buffalo last year but the league has changed the tiebreaker rules in recent years so I'm not entirely sure how it fits together now. If the league follows the same procedure as last year, it would appear Green Bay and Tampa Bay will alternate this year, but we'll see for sure when the league releases the full draft order.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

Cheese-and-cracker questions and back to laser goal posts! This is setting up as a long offseason. I can't wait to read 200 drafts and 86% of them of course have us taking whichever wide receiver!

We'll be there soon enough.

Blake from Green Bay, WI

Insiders, fully aware not knowing the schedule yet, what would be your pick for away game to attend in 2022?

Definitely Philly. I have to see now if I can spot a double-parked Oldsmobile. Happy Monday.