LeeAnn from Carefree, IN
So you're on your own for a few days, Wes? Does that mean Mike is headed to the SB and leaving you behind?
He's on a mission to steal every lunch in Miami, leaving me here to deal with the rest of you. Good morning!
Jeff from Belton, TX
Who is presenting the case for LeRoy Butler? Do you think he makes it this year or does he keep getting passed over?
My former colleague and mentor, Pete Dougherty, will present Butler's case to the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters and I hope they are listening closely. Butler, a first-team All-Pro selection four times, had 38 interceptions and 20½ sacks in his 12-year career. Brian Dawkins, who was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2018, had 37 picks and 26 sacks in 16 seasons. Oh, he also was voted first-team All-Pro four times. This isn't hard folks. His resume speaks for itself.
Elliot from Minneapolis, MN
You are Mark Murphy and have to set expectations. What are your expectations for the upcoming offseason, and what would your expectations be for the offense, defense and special teams next season?
Continued growth and sustained camaraderie. There was so much to like about the 2019 team you want to see carry over into 2020. Now, it's just finding the few right pieces to round out this roster and coaching staff. You want to see all three phases take another step, because on paper, this team isn't far away.
Adam from Johnston, IA
What percentage of snaps did Allen Lazard get?
Lazard played 479 of the offense's 1,078 total snaps (44.4%), though almost all of those came after Week 5.
Ronald from Panabo, Philippines
Insiders, thankfully the Packers had a fairly healthy season. But do you think a healthy Raven Greene would have significantly improved the defense?
I think it would've made the first two months of the season a lot smoother for the defense – not only having Greene in the hybrid safety role he practiced in all offseason but also keeping Adrian Amos at his natural position.
Seth from Madison, WI
Hi! Are you surprised at all by the assistant coaching changes? Do you think Coach Gray will have any more responsibilities than just the DB room?
No. There's bound to be changes every offseason when you're talking about staffs with around 25 coaches these days. There always are sub-sections to an assistant coach's job responsibilities but Jerry Gray's primary duty is to groom and develop Green Bay's defensive backs. It's a good gig with a bevy of promising pupils to work with.
Steve from Blacksburg, VA
We were a lot healthier this year as a team. It seemed like we had a lot fewer muscle injuries, for example, fewer hamstring injuries. What changes might have been made this past season to prompt this? S&C personnel? Workouts? Training room? Player commitment?
It's a little of everything, including luck – as Matt LaFleur frequently points to. For example, there's nothing Davante Adams could have done to avoid that particular turf toe injury. Sometimes football happens. However, I think players are taking care of their bodies better than ever before, and the strength and conditioning coaches and training staff have a good pulse on recovery and soft-tissue injury prevention. One area Adams felt the team has made strides is in its weight-room approach. This year, players looked to gain throughout the season rather than maintain.
Scott from De Pere, WI
This upcoming offseason, much more than one I can more recently remember, has a lot of big-time QB free agents. The list includes Brady, Brees, Rivers, Prescott, Winston, Bridgewater, Tannehill, Mariota, etc. If you were running a team and needed a QB, which one of those would you go after?
Teddy Bridgewater is the most intriguing potential free agent to me. I've always been high on his tools as a quarterback. I thought they showed up again during his spot starts this year in New Orleans. He's the kind of guy I'd look to sign to compete with a high draft pick for the starting job.
David from Pensacola, FL
I was just reading an article on the NFL's website about the 17-game season negotiations. Hypothetically, if the NFL did go into a 17-game season, what would happen to current contracts? Technically, players would be playing more games but for less money per game. I would assume that this is taken into consideration but wanted to hear your thoughts on how it could be resolved.
The NFL and players union would need to hash that part out in negotiations. Base salaries in contracts don't get paid out until the regular season begins, so I imagine the NFLPA would look for a week of proration to be added to contracts.
Todd from Menominee, MI
I think the NFL should do away with the franchise tag. I feel that once a player fulfills his contract to become a UFA, he should be free to go elsewhere and not worry about being held hostage by his current team. Just ask Le'Veon Bell about that a couple years ago.
Another item to keep an eye on during the next collective bargaining agreement.
Jeffrey from Victorville, CA
Many fans would like to see the Super Bowl on a Saturday. If the NFL is locked into Sunday and the season were to go to 17 games, they could arrange a second bye week and start the regular season just one week later, which would have the Super Bowl fall on Sunday of Presidents weekend, giving many Monday off. Or start the season as is and use the clout the NFL has and talk the government into moving President's Day up one week. Lots of extra revenue would be generated helping local economies.
The NFL is committed to the regular season starting after Labor Day, so everything would seemingly be pushed back a week if a 17th game was added – and then that already small gap between the Super Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine gets even narrower. That would be something.
Brian from Sussex, WI
Seems like everyone is limiting improvement at ILB to replacing Blake Martinez, but improvement could also come through the other "starting" ILB position. Personally, I think Martinez's return is primarily going to be based on salary needed to re-sign him.
You make a great point. Most fans have been conditioned to think a defense can only have one inside linebacker on the field on passing downs nowadays but that doesn't always have to be the case. Either way, we'll find out what the market looks like for Martinez soon enough.
Paul from Muskego, WI
Could you give us an update on Equanimeous St. Brown please? I'm wondering whether his injury has been healed for a while and he's been able to practice and start to get back in the swing of things, or is he still just making a comeback from injury? I can't remember exactly how bad his injury was.
By all accounts, St. Brown has healed and should be in a good position entering April's offseason program. It was an untimely injury but he'd been walking around the locker room for some time during the second half of the year.
Brian from Columbia, MD
"...It's not just about all those (player intangibles) you listed, but how much they'll cost." A point often missed by fans when discussing the modern capped-NFL is $188 million sounds like a lot of money... (but) it's never enough for some franchises.
The most successful franchises in every pro sport mind their checkbooks. That fiscal awareness has kept the Packers near the top of ladder for the better part of three decades now.
Joe from Dundee, IL
A tough part of the job of GM is deciding when to let players go. That said, I think Brian Gutekunst made all correct decisions last year. Of the players not re-signed last year, would you change any? Randall Cobb, Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Mike Daniels, Bashaud Breeland, and who am I forgetting?
I know every fan out there is entitled to his or her opinion, but making tough calls is the livelihood of these GMs and scouts. Will they bat 1.000? Absolutely not but I feel like Gutekunst will stand on the right side of history when we reflect back to last offseason. All those guys can still play but it's also identifying the right players for this particular team.
Mike from Holton, MI
Now that the offseason is here...what is most glaring need for the Pack?
I wouldn't call this a "glaring need" because the Packers have plenty of capable defensive linemen, but I wonder if they would benefit from inserting a Ryan Pickett/B.J. Raji tackle into the rotation next year. The league moved away from 330-pound tackles with the shotgun spread gaining popularity in the early 2010s, but we're seeing more and more offenses reverting back to the ground with bunch formations. Plus, Green Bay has taken at least one defensive lineman in like 23 straight drafts. It's as good a bet as any.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Wes, what is your favorite Super Bowl story?
Mike McCarthy having the team fitted for rings the night before Super Bowl XLV. I always thought that was brilliant. This is a really good question, though. I'd be interested what other Packers fans think.
Trevor from Carmel, NY
Wes, what's your first Super Bowl memory? Mine is being a 7-year-old kid and seeing the difference in emotion between the neighbor and my dad when Scott Norwood's attempt went wide right. My neighbor, who was a Giants fan, was obviously elated. My dad hung his head, because he didn't particularly like my neighbor.
My first memory was watching Super Bowl XXX with my dad in our living room. I remember how bright everything was in Tempe and cheering for Neil O'Donnell to vanquish the hated Cowboys, who had just beaten the Packers. Instead, Larry Brown picked O'Donnell off twice and Dallas cruised to its last Lombardi Trophy.
Karl from Bruce, WI
I liked following Cole Madison's journey. Any word on him coming off of IR, his progress and chances of making the 53? I hope the best for this young man.
I've enjoyed my interactions with Madison but didn't get the chance to speak with him after he tore his ACL in late November. You hate to see it for the young man. I thought he showed a lot of maturity and toughness stepping away from the game for a year to take care of his mental health. The path to success is not a straight line. Hopefully, Madison can bounce back from this setback.
Nate from Kewaskum, WI
Is there a team barber? Only for players or for II writers as well?
The Packers do have a team barber but I'm not sure whether he's available to the packers.com team.
Jeff from Seminole, FL
Will Greg Olsen keep No. 88 with the Packers? Please only ban me for one week.
Fine. See you next Saturday.
Doug from Brookfield, WI
Having a little fun here...currently "we" have three entries for the all-name team: Za'Darius, Equanimeous and Geronimo. In "our" history, who else would make up the all-name team?
Dennis from Beavercreek, OH
Please tell AR that I want three new audibles next year and I bet those will take them to the Super Bowl. The three are "Spoff," "Hod," and "Kuhn."
I highly doubt "Spoff" or "Hod" would ever be worked into the game-day vernacular but Kuhn would be a fun addition.
Al from Green Bay, WI
On Feb. 5, 2017, the Patriots came back from the dead to beat Atlanta in Super Bowl LI. Frankly, that's the last we've heard from the Falcons. Can a loss that painful really linger for three years?
Injuries and inconsistency have plagued the Falcons more than any kind of hangover, I feel. Atlanta's defense took a big step backwards after that year. Vic Beasley hasn't recaptured that 15½-sack magic, Deion Jones missed 10 games in 2018 and Keanu Neal has played in only four games total since Super Bowl LI.
Joe from Bloomington, IN
Wes! Your lunch is safe today. I'm taking the Chiefs by a two-score "rout." Their defense matches up well with the 49ers' offense but the 49ers' defense can't handle a mobile quarterback. With no Spoff around to smirk, care to venture a guess?
I'm sticking with Kansas City. I like its offensive firepower and the direction of the defense. Even if KC falls behind, I like Patrick Mahomes' chances to play the Chiefs back into the game. There's so much to like about the matchup, though. I don't see any way it's not a compelling game.
Peder from Sturgeon Bay, WI
I know I am a day late on this, but sorry Wes, double doink rolls off your tongue much better than double zap.
So this is how the idea of laser goal posts dies…
Shane from Lake Villa, IL
I like the talent our receivers possess too, albeit a lot of it is raw, what do you think Jackson thinks I should do? I'll just be embarrassed for him.
Jackson…you just got Spoff'ed. Enjoy the Super Bowl, everybody.