Inbox: Another important offseason awaits

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Brett from Boonsboro, MD

Did Spoff just pull a hat trick on a Monday? Hopefully in Nashville, the fourth Lombardi Trophy AND indubitably! Eat your Wheaties Tuesday morning Wes…

It’s like the Inbox version of hitting for the cycle. Good morning!

Steve from Cedar Rapids, IA

Now that the season is over, how do they maintain Lambeau Field, especially the turf?

Very carefully. I’ll consider this my leadoff single.

Jerry from Newark, NJ

What I thought was a clear "ZAP" I heard when that football hit the upright turned out to be one big collective GASP from 60,000 Chicago Bears fans. Thanks for expanding my imagination, Insiders.

It’s crazy how one silly comment can turn into a revolution. Last week, I had one of the Lambeau Field guards say something to me about the laser uprights after we shot our pregame Periscope. Then, my timeline blows up after the Philadelphia/Chicago game. Inbox is best.

Sam from Harlan, IA

Do you know what percentage of practice-squad players end up making the final roster the year after they were on the practice squad? Do you feel they have a better chance at the active roster the next season given an additional year of experience or do teams prefer to kick new tires with draft picks and UDFAs?

I don’t know how every team in the NFL approaches roster construction, but the odds are good of a practice-squad player making Green Bay’s 53-man roster at some point. Tramon Williams, Reggie Gilbert, Lucas Patrick and Robert Tonyan are just a few current examples of players who earned a job in training camp after spending time the previous year on the practice squad.

Joy from Chippewa Falls, WI

I realize that the Packers-Bears rivalry is epic to say the least, but I don't understand why so few fans want to see our division represented well in the playoffs. I count only five appearances in the Super Bowl in the last 40 years. Where is our pride in our NFC North?

I’m pretty sure it officially died with the advent of memes.

Tom from Jordan, MO

Khalil Mack, Allen Robinson and Kyle Fuller – three players Brian Gutekunst went after that ended up on the Bears. While it could have made a big difference for our season, it wasn't meant to be. What it really speaks to is Gutekunst’s ability to shape this team. Hopefully, we get some of those players this year. I think the Packers are in good hands.

It goes back to what Gutekunst said at his introductory news conference – the Packers are going to be in every conversation. A year later, he’s lived up to his word. That doesn’t mean Green Bay is going to sign every free agent who hits the market, but the team is leaving no stone unturned. I also think the Packers’ attempt to sign Fuller prior to his breakout year speaks to Gutekunst’s skill as a talent evaluator.

Josh from Benton Harbor, MI

Do you think the events in Gute’s first year or second year will be more defining of his work as GM? He had an awesome draft in 2018 which has been fruitful already, but 2019 holds hiring a new HC and looking for a turnaround for the team. I definitely wouldn’t want to be in his seat. This business isn’t high-risk, high-reward.

Legacy is the totality of your work, but the challenge every new GM faces is making his mark those first two or three seasons. Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson both passed that test with flying colors. While no one is perfect, Gutekunst is off to a good start. Another important offseason awaits.

Torrie from Sheboygan, WI

Hey guys, what do you think the chances are of Mike Pettine staying on as defensive coordinator when the new coach is hired? I personally think he did an amazing job. I really want to see what he could do with another year.

That’s going to be up to the next head coach, but if you ask anyone in the organization, I think most will tell you Pettine made a good account of himself and his system this year.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

What's going on around 1265? Anything we need to know about, any new faces walking around the hallways?

Ha. We shall find out soon enough. When an official announcement is made, I promise we’ll address all of your questions, comments and thoughts. To echo what Mark Murphy has previously said, the Packers planned to be efficient and thorough in their pursuit of a new head coach. I believe the organization has done precisely that, which is vital when making a significant hire like this.

Bob from Quakertown, PA

Do you think we can get an impact FA this offseason?

Yes, but don’t be mad if it’s not the guy on your box of cereal. Sometimes it’s the second- or third-tier free agents who make all the real difference for a team.

Patsi from Riverside, CA

It will be fascinating to watch what happens in the NFC North in 2019. This may have been the Bears’ year, and they missed their opportunity just as they are about to launch their 100th season.

Life moves pretty fast in the NFL. Just ask the Vikings. I think the Bears are going to be in the thick of things for the next few seasons with a young quarterback and defense. The only question now is how Chicago bounces back from a total heartbreaker.

JJ from Longmont, CO

Also, the kick has been recorded officially as a block. So, the Eagles and Foles should've and DID win that game.

Go figure. The immediate conclusion everyone drew from the ending of that game wasn’t necessarily the right one. A fascinating development.

Thomas from Milwaukee, WI

Is the difference between six wins and 10 wins only a couple of plays through the season in the modern NFL?

Thirty years ago, Lindy Infante said the same exact thing. You know what ties the eras together? Consistency. Every year, the most consistent team takes home the trophy.

Eric from Minneapolis, MN

I'm trying to determine which results this weekend would most benefit the Packers. The best scenario I could find is both the Saints and Rams lose, and Green Bay picks 27th. Did I get that right?

The sooner the Saints lose, the earlier the Packers pick in April. It’s as simple as that. It has nothing to do with the Rams. If the Saints lose this weekend, the Packers get the 28th pick.

Josh from Minneapolis, MN

Are the Saints still your pick for the Super Bowl or do you think the Eagles might have what it takes to go on the road and get a win?

This is where things get more complicated for the Packers. Until someone beats New Orleans in the Superdome, the Saints are my pick in the NFC. In my mind, that’s the most complete team Sean Payton has fielded.

Jonnie from Garden City, MI

With the Pro Bowl coming up, what are the chances that any of the Packers Pro Bowlers or alternates actually play? Is there a league mandate for them to play if they're healthy? Is there any real motivation for them to play besides money, since the game appears to be meaningless otherwise?

Aaron Rodgers hasn’t played in the game since 2011, so I’d be surprised to see him play after all the things he dealt with this season. Davante Adams’ availability likely depends on the extent of his knee injury. Corey Linsley is the healthiest of the alternates. He could be an option if Max Unger and the Saints make the Super Bowl. David Bakhtiari played through injuries and I’m not sure whether Kenny Clark is eligible to play after going on IR.

Keith from Lincoln, IL

I enjoyed Spoff’s article on Aaron Jones. He mentioned that Aaron injured his knee at Soldier Field, the same place he injured it last year. The field there seems to draw a lot of complaints. Does it “lead the league” in knee injuries? Or are there not stats kept on injuries by field? Thanks!

Soldier Field gets a lot of criticism, but I didn’t hear any issues with its condition this year. I also don’t think the playing surface affected Jones’ injury. He took a shot to his knee while lunging forward on a run. It was a football play.

Bob from Riverside, CA

What a bizarre call at the end of the half at Chicago. Do you think we'll see a lot more defenses falling on the ball after it is blown dead?

Get ready for more of it. With these new catch rules, I’m jumping on any ball that’s made contact with a receiver.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

Brees vs. Rivers, you gotta root for it. On top of Brees being doubted and dismissed by the Chargers when Rivers came in, we have new SB outcomes to consider. With 32 teams, there are 64 possible SB outcomes as in each team winning and losing the big game. Forty-four of those outcomes have happened to date, the only possible ones left for these year's playoffs are a Chargers win and a Saints loss.

Move over, Hogan vs. Andre. If this was WWE, Brees vs. Rivers would be the Wrestlemania main event the NFL has been building toward for 15 years.

Andrew from Falls Church, VA

I read one of those click-bait stories about how the Packers could trade for Antonio Brown. Is that idea so crazy it could work? Or do I really need to lay off the click bait?

When I was a kid, I remember my grandmother paging through the National Enquirer while we were in line at the grocery store. She entertained it for a few moments and then moved on when it was our turn to pay. She left it at that. I implore you to do the same. If you want to fantasize about these matters, I’m not going to stop you. But it doesn’t make it reality, either.

Sebastian from Erlangen, Germany

Wasn't Lamar Jackson's effort just remarkable? It's like he ate a can of spinach and nearly pulled it off.

Jackson played like a rookie quarterback in his first playoff game, but his playstyle will give the Ravens a chance in any game. He’ll be better for that performance. The challenge for Baltimore’s coaching staff is staying ahead of all the defensive coordinators who now have film on Jackson.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, what was your opinion of John Harbaugh's decision to keep Lamar Jackson in as QB after he gave up three fumbles and a pick?

You dance with the one who brung ya, right? It’s obvious which direction the Ravens are taking at quarterback, so I don’t know if it would have done any good to put Joe Flacco in. If Jackson is the future, stick with the future.

Michael from Savage, MN

Loved the answer to Joe from MN, "the fourth Lombardi Trophy.” Will there be a fifth before the next 10 years?

I think so. Here’s one thing I have learned, though. You can’t predict championship seasons. I mean how many people had the Eagles, coming off a 7-9 season, as Super Bowl favorites last year? Greatness can happen when you least expect it.

Joshua from Houston, TX

Is this year's NFL rookie class one of the most successful ever? It seems there are immediate impact players everywhere.

I’m not sure how you measure it to compare past seasons, but this year’s rookie class was special with four making the All-Pro team and six named to the Pro Bowl (including Phillip Lindsay). The Packers got a promising piece of the pie with Jaire Alexander leading their class, as well.

James from Orlando, FL

When a head coach is fired, are the remaining staff allowed to look for other jobs or do they remain to see if the new coach will keep them?

Assistant coaches have a contract. Like any job, you keep working until you’re dismissed. There’s logic behind that. When Mike McCarthy was hired in 2006, he kept Joe Philbin, James Campen and Edgar Bennett from Mike Sherman’s previous staff. All three became pivotal members of McCarthy’s coaching staff for years to come.

Luke from Verona, WI

How long do players rest their beaten-up bodies after the season before starting their offseason workout programs?

It depends on the player and position, but most will say two weeks.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Just for fun, wind the clock back a few months. The Packers trade both 2019 first-round draft choices to Oakland for Mack. Who wins the NFC North?

I don’t know, but I’m guessing the same team wins Super Bowl LIII.

Dodge from San Diego, CA

What do you think about two microchips placed into opposite ends of the football and a goal-line sensor system detecting if the ball crossed or not?

No way. Either torch footballs with lasers or let them hit the pole. Be realistic.

Eric from Stramproy, Netherlands

Draft picks? "Preferably in Nashville. I don't think they're redeemable anywhere else." I laughed so loud my wife and kids called me crazy (which they do anyway for reading II each day). Seriously, I'd like to see Andrew Luck go the distance. A great character who's come back strong after two injury-heavy years. Thoughts?

That was a good one. Luck is the comeback player of the year, right? I get J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson had long roads to recovery, but there were big questions about whether Luck would be able to play at a high level again. Yet, here he is – back and better than ever.

Elliot from Minneapolis, MN

What has been a bigger factor for the Colts this year, having two All-Pro players as rookies or having a completely healthy QB? If you had a choice between the two in 2019 for the Packers, what would you decide?

It’s a quarterback-driven league, so Luck is the answer to your question. However, Chris Ballard deserves credit for building a solid offensive line for his quarterback. That was a missing piece the last time Luck was on the field and it was waiting for him once he returned.

The Green Bay Packers cleaned out their lockers at Lambeau Field on Monday.

Chris from La Crosse, WI

To piggyback on Cliff from Nova Scotia’s comments, the II has absolutely made me a better writer. Not that I’m hot stuff now, but Vic’s “that” lesson contributed a lot to helping me write with greater purpose. Contrary to the beliefs of some, I don’t think writing is easy for anyone. Writing is a process of constant self-editing and fortifying arguments. But, especially when you’re talking about sports or another love, it’s less of a labor. Cheers for fostering that atmosphere here.

Great take. Merriam-Webster should update its definition of writing to “the activity or skill of marking coherent words on paper and composing text…and fortifying arguments.”

Tom from Cork, Ireland

Wes, I have posed comments/questions a number of times, sadly I've never made II yet. I live in hope. As an avid fan of packers.com upon learning through II about Packers Perks I went to sign up. Alas my efforts were to no avail as a helpful intern confirmed that international fans currently are not able to sign up. My question is can you help amend this travesty? Love the Inbox and all of yours and Mike's considered answers.

I have good news and bad news, Tom. The good news is you’ve finally made II. Congratulations. The bad news is you’re addressing one of the least powerful people in the organization. I answer to everyone, but don’t direct anything. Be patient. I’m sure we’ll eventually get there.

Todd from Omaha, NE

Read an article on The Athletic that said Lambeau is one of the places they'd most like to see host a NHL Winter Classic game. Is there any interest on the Packers’ behalf or any talk of that before you're aware of?

Please refer to the previous answer.

Caroline from Olympia, WA

Will we ever bid for a Super Bowl in the historic Lambeau Field?

Climate aside, I’m not sure if the entire state of Wisconsin has enough hotels to satisfy the requirements for a city to host a Super Bowl.

Embarrassed from Undisclosed Location, United States

Packers Perks, sorry for the trouble.

So you’re forfeiting your right to ask a question in a feeble attempt to get points. That's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for ’em.

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