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Inbox: Come April, there's going to be some serious energy

Plus some underrated players in all phases


Glenn from Muskego, WI

Do you wear your Boba Fett pajamas when completing the Insider Inbox?

Only when I'm subbing for Wes.

Eric from Stramproy, Netherlands

Coaches interviews: first impressions?

Nothing out of the ordinary, and I don't mean that in a bad way. The coaches I met were smart and engaging. I got the sense they just want to meet their guys, get to know them better, and get to work. Come April, there's going to be some serious energy in the building.

William from Palmdale, CA

Besides our new head coach, who do you think is GB's best hire and why? Please don't say "too early to tell." Also, who is the most surprising hire?

I have no idea who the best hire is. The one that intrigues me the most is Mike Smith for the outside linebackers, given his history with Pettine. Talking with Smith on Monday, he's completely in tune with Pettine's scheme and how he teaches it. I'm really interested to see what that means for the Packers at the edge-rushing spots this year. Most surprising? Probably Kirk Olivadotti, just because he had coached in one place for so long.

Derek from Hermantown, MN

Love your stuff. I have to call you out a bit Spof. You stated something along the lines that no player on the baseball diamond is as important in a game as the QB on the football field. I disagree. A true ace pitcher can influence A GAME just as much as a great QB. Am I right or did I miss understand your comment?

You're right and I agree about any individual game, but my comment was intended to be more big-picture. A healthy QB takes every snap of every game for his team. An ace starts 30 or so out of 162 and can certainly influence more based on bullpen usage, etc., but there's still no comparison in my book.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Watching the Daytona 500 Sunday and the JGR 1-2-3 finish got me to thinking about Joe Gibbs the three-time SB-winning coach with the Redskins. Lombardi and Belichick dominate the NFL GOAT arguments for coaching, but I can't help but think what Gibbs could have accomplished had he remained a coach. Do you have any thoughts or insight on why Gibbs walked away from the NFL when he was very much at the top of the game?

I don't, but he obviously had regrets because he returned to coaching for Washington a dozen years after he first left. He did take the Redskins to the playoffs twice (2005, '07) in that span but he never got them back to the Super Bowl.

Members of the Green Bay Packers coaching staff met with the media on Feb. 18, 2019.

Jeffery from Seminole, FL

If the Packers plan to run the ball more don't you think they will need to get another back in free agency or middle-round pick?

Yes. They'll need more depth.

Brad from Escanaba, MI

Do you think Williams and Jones will be as good a duo as Bennett and Levens were for '90s Packers?

Only if they help win a Super Bowl, in terms of how they'll be remembered.

Collin from Kirkwood, MO

On the topic of Aaron Jones' usage, I think once you've identified a difference-maker, it's a mistake to ease him along for the long haul. Hindsight is 20/20 but last year they eased him along to end up saving him for nothing because it was too late. If we've learned anything over the recent era, the NFC title is consistently down to the wire. One win is often the difference between making or missing the playoffs, and the standings don't care if that extra win happened in Week 5 or Week 16.

I don't understand the flood of submissions like this one, wanting to just ride Jones when he's healthy until his body betrays him again. Are y'all aware that in 2018 Jones played in 12 straight games with a steadily increasing workload and then sustained his third knee injury in two years, missing the last two weeks? If he's the Packers' workhorse but is not around, or at a diminished level, late in the year, he can't help with a postseason push or playoff run. You want him for 19-20 games. That's a far cry from 12. Yes, injuries can happen to anyone at any time, but when there's a clear pattern or history, you have to be smart or you're simply tempting fate.

Joe from Rhinelander, WI

Do you think Giannis would do more damage in the slot or as a boundary WR?

Tight end, in the slot.

Elliott from Minneapolis, MN

Who were the most underrated players last year when it came to the offense, defense, special teams and a leader? Also, who is the most athletic player on the current roster?

Corey Linsley on offense, Dean Lowry on defense, Oren Burks on special teams, and as a leader, I'm taking a bit of a stab in the dark, but I suspect Byron Bell. Most athletic? Maybe Josh Jones.

Jack from Chicago, IL

Are there any players on the team you believe could stand up to Mike Daniels on the mat? I am a big fan of players with a grappling background!

Back in his day, center Scott Wells was a rather accomplished wrestler. Wells v. Daniels would have made for a heck of a match. Right in the middle of the locker room would have been perfect.

Michael from Portland, OR

At the combine what does the medical evaluation consist of? You often hear the players say they're prodded and poked and feel like cattle.

In addition to getting a full physical, anyone with a significant injury from any earlier time in his career has scans done. Any minor injuries are checked out, too. Missed a game here or there due to a sore knee? They're gonna give that knee a tug. Rested a bum shoulder at some point? They're gonna yank on that, too. That's where those stories come from.

Michael from Littlestown, PA

I get all the talk about King. He has the potential to be a great DB. But at what point does one say he can't stay on the field? Is he injury-prone? I really would like to see him for a full 16-game schedule.

So would I. So would the Packers. So would King. And that's exactly what you work toward with any high-ceiling player who's had injury issues until you have to make a decision on a second contract. We're two years away from that point, so there's no reason not to give him every opportunity.

Steve from Wauwatosa, WI

Mock drafts, pure speculation, wild what ifs...AAAARG! Give me some actual NEWS! ... and when I say news, I mean news that will assure me the Packers will return to greatness in 2019!

Y'all seriously crack me up.

Jill from Oshkosh, WI

Will the Packers bring another punter in to compete with JK Scott? What is the succession plan for Mason Crosby?

I could see some camp competition for Scott, though I don't expect the Packers to use a draft pick in that effort. There really is no succession plan for Crosby. When the Packers feel they need a new kicker, they'll find one. I don't believe they feel that right now.

Jim from McLean, VA

The submission about the Packers needing to make the playoffs got me wondering – are there any other divisions in which there are three strong contenders for division title as there are in the NFC North?

I think the AFC North, AFC South and NFC South are also legitimate three-contender divisions, at the moment.

Carolina from Olympia, WA

Are we going to be heavily engaged in FA or do we need to start thinking of rebuilding for the future?

Gutekunst proved last year he'll use all avenues to build the roster. I don't foresee that approach changing.

Nate from Kewaskum, WI

Downtown Indianapolis is one of the better downtown experiences in the country and I believe I've read you feel the same say. What are some of your other favorite cities to visit?

On regular road trips, we only get one night in the city, so my favorite stops are ones where I have family and friends to visit. Otherwise, every city seems pretty much the same. Indy is different because we're there for a full week for the combine.

Gordy from Plymouth, WI

What would it take to get the Packers to give one lucky fan permission to sit in the war room during the draft with the understanding that they have no cell phone and cannot talk about what they witnessed. Impalement comes if they violate the agreement.

I'm picturing Wes in a dark suit and sunglasses waiting outside the draft room door holding a neuralyzer, ready to hit the button.

Dave from Maple Grove, MN

What is the single biggest determinant used when drafting?

How the talent a player has shown on film will translate to the highest level of the game.

Erik from Sisters, OR

The last couple years the Packers, having a bit of picks, spent three at RB, then WR. I'm having fun trying to guess where the Pack might do that again this year. What's your thoughts?

I could see it at edge rusher and/or offensive line.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, if you had to choose a single game from 2018 to epitomize the Packers' season, which game would you choose? It must include offense, defense and special teams, and whatever else you think is important.

There are plenty of choices, but might as well go with the trip to Foxboro. Tied at 17-all late in the third quarter, the Packers rough the punter deep in Patriots territory, which results, after another stop, in the offense ultimately losing 24 yards of field position and starting its next possession on the Green Bay 7-yard line. A good drive is still put together, but on the verge of the red zone driving for the go-ahead score, the ball is fumbled away. Where is it recovered? Coincidentally, at the New England 24. The defense, which has held its own for three quarters against a HOF QB, then allows back-to-back TD drives of 70-plus yards with the game on the line. Final score: 31-17, against the eventual Super Bowl champs. So close, yet so far. In my mind that's the unfortunate mantra of the 2018 season.

Greg from Marquette, MI

Mike, would you feel differently about shoveling snow if you had to shovel the roof of your house off? Many of us in the UP of Michigan did that this past weekend after receiving two feet of snow in a 24-hour period.

Two feet of snow, all at once, is totally a different story. Won't argue there.

The free winter sports event offered community members the chance to experience luge, curling, biathlon and cross-country skiing at Titletown.

Josh from Nicholasville, KY

Do you think that it would be better for a young prospect to be on a practice squad or a team in the AAF?

A practice squad. No, you're not playing in games, but you're on the scout team practicing against NFL starters three days a week.

JR from East Moline, IL

If you were building or hand-picking a team, and you could have a limit of three superstars on the defensive side of the ball, would you load up one group of the defense, such as a stellar D-line, or would you try to spread them out and have one at each level, such as a DT, LB, safety?

I would choose between two pass rushers and a corner, or vice versa.

Matthew from Madison, WI

Here are the last times the Packers selected different positions in the first round: QB: 2005, RB: 1987, WR: 2002, TE: 2000, OL: 2011, DL: 2016, LB: 2009, CB: 2018. Which of these is most surprising to you? To me it's LB.


Nick from Benton, MO

The rivalries in the NFC North seem to be more intense and dramatic than all the other divisions in the NFL. I may be slightly biased since I focus primarily on the Pack, but can you guys think of any other division within the NFL that has as exciting of rivalries?

AFC North, AFC West and NFC East come to mind with the Steelers, Raiders and Cowboys, respectively, being involved in a number of significant and longstanding rivalries.

Marilyn from Wacousta, MI

First it's the Oxford comma and now the one-space period. What is the writing world coming to?

An offseason week on my own. Happy Tuesday.


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