Darren from Wakefield, MI
Hey Wes. Speaking of the 2020 draft class and how they can help improve the 2021 team, my guy I can't wait to see is Josiah Deguara. I realize it was a small sample size but he made some nice grabs and never forgot the play he blocked two guys on a play going to the right. Don't quite remember what the play was but can still see the blocks he made in my head. Do you see the same upside and what are your thoughts he can bring to the table?
What I found most frustrating was the pundits who used Deguara in the argument against the Packers' 2020 draft class. Deguara might have been the best of the bunch. He just had some rotten luck with injuries. Deguara earned a starting role in the offense as a rookie and looked like the Swiss Army Knife that Matt LaFleur coveted in his offense, especially in the opener in Minnesota. The silver-lining is Deguara's knee injury happened in early October, giving him a jumpstart on his rehab for a 2021 return.
David from Wood, WI
Before the NFC Championship Game, the hope of Packers fans was for excruciatingly cold weather to see how that would affect the performance of the Buccaneers from Florida. I realize that practicing and living in this climate helps one acclimate to freezing conditions but still find it interesting that arguably the three greatest quarterbacks in Packers history are from Alabama (Bart Starr), Mississippi (Brett Favre) and California (Aaron Rodgers). Not exactly frozen tundra territory.
That is something, isn't it? But you don't need to be born in Green Bay to thrive in Green Bay. Playing football here is a mindset and Starr, Favre and Rodgers all embraced that cold weather comes with the territory of wearing the uniform. When channeled appropriately, December and January can serve as the Packers' greatest ally. For whatever reason, the cold just didn't show up this past postseason.
Bryce from Kenosha, WI
Wes, did you ever discuss LeRoy's HOF candidacy with Vic "Their job is to keep people out of the Hall" Ketchman? I'd be curious to hear his thoughts on Butler's candidacy.
I didn't. Maybe Spoff did. I will say the idea of "keeping people out" probably went out the door when the Hall of Fame introduced the 20-member "Centennial Slate" last year. It is what it is, but I did have an epiphany over the weekend and realized something I never thought of before about why Butler's case is so important to me. It's because Butler is Green Bay. Brett Favre, Reggie White and Charles Woodson were all acquired in a trade or free agency. Butler was a homegrown, drafted-and-developed Packer. He was the underdog who played the game the way it was meant to be played. I don't like screaming or shouting but it's my belief we're in this position with Butler and the Hall because we haven't made enough noise the past 20 years. Anyone who watched LeRoy Butler knows how good he was. It's well past time he gets the credit he so richly deserves.
Eric from Green Bay, WI
Wes, I hope you are doing well this week and your family is healthy. I have a comment to make. TB has an enormous amount of cap flexibility. Yes, the Bucs have some of their own guys to re-sign but $28M in cap space, plus at least a half dozen restructure/extension/cut candidates, and they have the makings of a multiyear contender. Let's hope father time wins Round 23 against Brady because Tampa isn't going away anytime soon and this year the south is its to lose.
All fair points. Tampa has cap space but not a lot of players under contract at the moment relative to the typical size of an offseason roster. So the Bucs will have their own tough calls to make that'll determine how wide this window stays open in the Tom Brady/Bruce Arians Era.
Fran from Milwaukee, WI
Do you think the modern NFL will have starting QBs traded every year? Will QB salaries start to shrink? Is the QB position starting to drop in the power it has over a team?
It's possible we see something like what happened in the NBA over the past 10 years with top players changing teams, but I think what's going on in the NFL has had more to do with some teams moving on from their franchise quarterbacks and young guys looking for a fresh start. It's just a perfect storm.
Gary from Chippewa Falls, WI
There have been many stories and speculation on the movement of established quarterbacks to other teams. Has the time come where the QB gets a long-term deal with a large monetary sum only to actually be a short-term deal because after Year 3 the price is too steep to manage? Perhaps they have salary-capped themselves.
I don't recall any teams having to cut a coveted franchise QB simply because they couldn't afford him. This question did remind me of what occurred with Donovan McNabb's contract in Washington, where it looked good on paper but there was a big out for the football team to get out of it.
Jake from Lake Mills, WI
Wes Hodkiewicz, in recognition of this spicy response, please, stand up and take a bow. "...so please excuse me if I'm not speculating enough for you on the possibility of an improbability." I, also, humbly request permission to use the above phrase in any of my future Packer discussions with friends and family. Thanks for making sure we mind our Ps and Qs!
We love Wes, but the problem with the premise of his question is we don't know A) What the cap is going to be and B) Who the Packers are going to restructure/release. If A and B are unknown, how the heck am I going to intelligently answer whether Aaron Jones and/or Corey Linsley could be brought back? My batting average is low enough as it is.
Alan from Fresno, CA
Come on Wes, give us what we want! Answer the question about FA and the cap. Everyone knows you sit in on all the personnel and financial meetings, and you're the most important man in the building.
Your humor is noted, but in all seriousness, I would love to be a fly on the wall in those meetings. The business of football has always fascinated me because so few know anything about it beyond what comes across the wire.
Daniel from Suamico, WI
I know you don't care to comment (or insult) on officiating, but I don't quite understand what transpired on the penalty to end the first half. It was very obvious that Brady chased down Tyrann Mathieu and initiated the confrontation, yet Mathieu was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. With Brady's vaunted foot speed, it's not like they didn't have much time to see what was unfolding. I also consider Brady's apology as a further insult.
I've said my piece on officiating but didn't the NFL say a couple years ago that it wanted its referees to do a better job of identifying the perpetrator and not flagging the second guy? I guess they threw that out the window. Tampa might have been the best at it in the entire league this season.
Tim from Greensboro, NC
Wes, while I agree it is not completely fair, ("Who said life was fair?"), to only consider Joe Barry's previous DC experience, my main concern remains he was passed over three times by two people who worked closely with him day-in and day-out. Hopefully, he will prove them wrong, also.
I see what you're saying, but that's why they (coach) the games. This is Barry's chance to show what he can do as a D-coordinator. A cook is only as good as the ingredients he has to work with. It's my contention the ingredients are there for the Packers to field a dominant defense in 2021.
Kory from Clarksville, TN
Wes, when you say, "Barry has coached in all sorts of defenses and worked for some of the NFL's most accomplished coaches," I try not to hear, "He has trouble holding down a job and might leave at the first sign of a better offer." Should I be concerned?
I think it's the exact opposite. Barry was in Tampa for a long time before receiving a promotion to defensive coordinator in Detroit. He then spent three seasons with the San Diego Chargers before landing the DC job in Washington. Prior to being hired in Green Bay, Barry had been in Los Angeles for four years. Those are all healthy stints for a defensive coach in the NFL. It's obvious he was a valued contributor on those staffs.
Nicholas from Baltimore, MD
I've often wondered what makes a special-teams unit good? Like what traits are they looking for? Seems like it's a weird position of motivating backups to stay hungry and get down the field, but are coaches just kind of stuck with the players not good enough to start? How do you improve this unit?
Well, hunger should have nothing to do with that. If you're not motivated to contribute on special teams, you better have a solid Plan B for when you get cut. The job of a special teams coordinator is to coach discipline and fundamentals. Young players need to know what's expected of them. Once that framework is in place, then you can be creative with your scheme and identify opportunities for the flashier stuff.
Bruce from New Canaan, CT
Wes, while I can't recall your exact wording, over the last couple months on a couple occasions, you seemed to aver that Aaron Rodgers is the greatest, or best, QB of all-time. I found that interesting because most would consider that to be Tom Brady. Now, after quarterbacking another team to a SB win, it would appear that whatever scintilla of doubt one might have about Brady should be erased. Perhaps you might clarify for the II readership where you stand on Rodgers vs. Brady.
I don't get wrapped up in the GOAT talk. If you want to give Brady that title, I won't argue with you at all. But I believe Rodgers is the most talented, all-around quarterback to ever play the position when factoring in his arm talent, intelligence, mobility and downfield accuracy.
Matthew from Clarkston, MI
I set a reminder to ask this question in the offseason. Back in March, you were all on board the Henry Ruggs hype train before the draft. GM Hodkiewicz was correct that a top 15 pick would be needed for him. Did Ruggs' season matchup to your expectations and draft position?
I think so. I know Ruggs' rookie season wasn't as dominant as my other pre-draft darling, Justin Jefferson, but I still think he has a bright future ahead of him. Ruggs showed his explosiveness in 2020 and I only expect he'll build on that.
Tim from Cameron, WI
It's just one person's opinion, but I read an article saying that if Jordan Love was in this year's draft he'd be ranked ahead of Justin Fields and just behind the top two QBs expected to be drafted first. Do you see any scenario where Love could be traded for a first-round pick in this draft? Dallas at 10, SF at 12 and NE at 15, plus the Colts slightly further down the line. Would potential suitors be hesitant wondering why the Packers would be giving up on him after one year?
I don't see any scenario where Love gets traded this offseason, especially with Tim Boyle being a restricted free agent.
Josh from Milwaukee, WI
Are you surprised that no teams with head coaching vacancies waited to have further conversations with KC or TB assistants (even GB and Buffalo assistants, to an extent)? I get no one wants to be left empty-handed after the hiring rush, but these coaches help run some of the best offenses and defenses in the NFL.
It's a weird quirk in the NFL's silly season. It seems like assistants on eliminated teams always wind up getting head-coaching opportunities over those still in title contention.
Bill from Maple Grove, MN
I don't get it. If teams can't pay a player with a big salary because of the cap crisis, how can another team sign them to their big salary and stay under the cap? I would think there would be a pool of big salary players being unsigned.
My fear is you're going to have a select group of players making the most money ever at their position, while that next tier is asked to play below-market value relative to normal years. Again, we won't know that for sure until the salary cap is determined and free agency begins. Either way, patience is going to be a virtue for teams and players alike.
Avida from Vienna, VA
Do you expect that we will hear directly from the two new coordinators soon or will we likely have to wait until minicamps (if they are held this year) or potentially training camp to get the first conference calls and media availability with them? Thank You.
No, we'll for sure hear from the coordinators sometime in the next month. If I had to guess, they'll probably wait until after the coaching staff is finalized and make everyone available. That's how they did it with Mike Pettine in 2018.
James from Orlando, FL
Good morning Wes. Last Friday on "The Price is Right," one of the prizes was a pair of season tickets for any NFL team. My question is what if the contestant had picked Green Bay. Would they have actually received those hallowed ducats?
"The Price is Right" would've been shelling out some serious cash because there's no way the winner is jumping the line.
Ralph from Mönchengladbach, Germany
Rob from Wilmington, NC, got me thinking about the team historian in 2121. I believe he will be wondering how Wes and the Insider Crew knew all about laser goalposts 40 years prior to them becoming commonplace on a football field.
I love my legacy is becoming Dogecoin, No. 88 jerseys and laser goalposts.
Tony from San Juan Capistrano, CA
Hi Wes, regarding Kyle from Osceola's idea: During the 60s, the Playoff Bowl was played between the conference runners-up to determine the NFL third-place team for that year. I think Vince Lombardi kind of killed it off when he called it the Losers Bowl (or something disparaging like that)!
I'd be lying to you if I said I knew about "The Playoff Bowl" until Wednesday's Inbox…and then I learned more than I ever wanted to. I didn't realize the Packers won it in 1963, though. I'm sure Lombardi was in a terrific mood the week leading up to that game.
Dan from Rosthern, Saskatchewan
I'm sure the players on the teams who just lost the championship games would love to play in a "consolation bowl" the very next week. C'mon Larry... If there's any extra game at all, it should be between the Jets and the Jags with the No. 1 pick on the line.
And the winner gets a Trevor Lawrence trophy.
Chris from Reedsburg, WI
Wes, in response to Evan from Durango about the 2004 draft class being the best QB draft class ever, you mentioned 1983. I assume that's because 1983 was the year Gary Kubiak was drafted. What a truly great QB class that was. Seriously though, keep up the great work. You and Mike are truly appreciated.
I actually said that because of Jim Bob Taylor, but Kubiak works, too.
Thomas from Madison, WI
Before the NFC Championship game, I was a daily reader of the Inbox. I've just started returning and am happy to be back! Do your web analytics folks have any numbers on the decline of traffic and how fast readers are to return?
We track everything. I group readership into three categories: Offseason/training camp, regular season and playoffs. It ramps up through those three phases. Our site was humming during the week of the NFC title game and then usually dips in the month after the season ends. It'll pick up around the start of free agency and steadily grow from there, with the exception of the dead zone from end of June to end of July.
Michael from Burnsville, MN
Assuming fans are welcome back next season, has much changed in the city of Green Bay, along Oneida specifically? I'm an out of towner and get over there once a year for a game. Obviously, the city thrives because of the Packers. Any notable closings due to lack of business?
Not really. Dave and Buster's opened down the street and the Resch Expo now stands across from Lambeau Field.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
Roast beef and sourdough sound good, but it's still just a sandwich. Shoot for the moon, Wes. Even if you miss you will land among the stars.
I was hedging my bet just in case Spoff comes back early. You can't put all filet mignon in the same lunch basket.