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Inbox: It'll be a busy day at 1265

Plus the most surprising of victories


Markus from Aurora, CO

Insiders, what is the "talk" or "hype of the day" in Green Bay these days?

We'll see what today brings. Matt LaFleur is scheduled to address the media about his coaching staff for the first time, and those coaches are going to meet with local reporters as well. It'll be a busy day at 1265.

Dylan from Chapel Hill, NC

When are we going to get video of you guys competing in the luge on Ariens Hill?

Not that busy.

Al from New Franken, WI

If you could only have one of these between now and the draft to evaluate a prospect, which would you choose? The combine, pro day, or individual interviews?

That's an easy call. The combine's a one-stop shop for a workout, interview and medical check. Remember that for all the hype about the combine, and we'll be there covering the heck out of it, the two most important things that occur there take place out of sight of the media – interviews and medicals.

Nicholas from Portland, OR

Do you feel the NFL will ever get to a place like baseball has, where the top free agents are not getting signed because the price tag is simply too high? Also, is this a case of salaries rising too fast and just needs to recalibrate a bit? I feel like this is happening with QBs, but hasn't quite peaked yet.

Apples and oranges. Football has a salary cap, baseball doesn't. Baseball's contracts are fully guaranteed at signing, football's aren't. No player on a baseball diamond is as important to every single game as a quarterback is on a football field. So there's really little to compare. That said, what we're seeing now in baseball is a pile of analytics pointing to diminished return on investment for players older than 32 or 33 years old. So these 26-year-old megastars are having trouble finding the 10-year deals they were counting on to finally get what they feel is theirs after surviving the six years of major league salary control, courtesy of the CBA. Teams don't want to be on the hook for boffo dollars when the player is in his mid-30s, but for the player this is his first, and perhaps only, chance to maximize his value.

John from Fitchburg, WI

Mike, you say "I'll take piles and piles of snow over the sub-zero cold any day." I'm going to disagree, unless you don't have to worry about shoveling or snowblowing. I'll take a clear driveway and minus-10 over 10 inches of snow any day. Cold is just cold, whether 10 or minus-10, but snow is a lot of work.

I shovel and blow snow all the time, and I honestly don't mind it. If you gave me the option of shoveling snow all afternoon in 20-degree weather or walking around the block in sub-zero temps, I'd grab the shovel without hesitation.

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

Stacy from Marshfield, WI

Are we going to run the ball more this year?

I believe so, and I believe the plan will be to do so, but the Packers also have to build leads and play sound defense to protect them, or you're always going to be putting the ball in Rodgers' hands late in games, skewing the intended offensive balance.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

How 'bout a kicked-up prove-it contract for potential high-risk, immature players? Late to a meeting? $10 grand a minute. Police involved? $100K minimum. Etc., etc.

Player discipline is collectively, not individually, bargained.

Bill from Nairobi, Kenya

Hi Mike, you mentioned feeling palpable catharsis after the Packers beat Dallas at home in 1997. I wasn't there, but I've always felt like the win was nice, but a little "meh." We'd won the Super Bowl without having to beat the Cowboys, and I felt we'd never have another crack at the team that had our number. It was a great rivalry while it lasted, but I feel like we lost it. Would've been sweet to face them instead of Carolina, but that's fandom.

I hear you, but the fans in the stands that day were enjoying every minute of that blowout in the second half. It meant something to them, even if it didn't mean as much as a triumph in '96 would have.

Thomas from Evansville, IN

Do you expect Aaron Jones to be our workhorse running back this next season, or will there be some sort of 60-40 or 70-30 split with Jamaal Williams?

Given Jones' injury history, I expect the Packers to monitor his reps again early in the season with an eye toward keeping him on the field for the long haul. Then his workload as the season progresses will adjust accordingly, as his health and production dictate.

Brian from Alta Vista, IA

Now who would be the offensive players you would steal from the division rivals? Mine would be Thielen, Cohen, and Lang.

No offense to Lang, who's one of my all-time favorite Packers, but I'd probably take a younger offensive lineman with more career ahead of him like Decker or Ragnow.

Martin from Apple Valley, CA

How many Packers receivers have been drafted in the first round? After watching KC's Hill for a while now, this 2019 prospect Andy Isabella, who is supposed to run high 4.2s would be a perfect slot weapon if Cobb is not re-signed.

The Packers haven't drafted a receiver in the first round since Javon Walker in 2002, and you have to go back to Sterling Sharpe in 1988 for the one before that. Isabella is one of four or five really intriguing slot-receiver prospects in this draft, and if the Packers are interested, I don't think they'll have to use a first-round pick to get one of them.

Scott from De Pere, WI

After reading Spoff's explanation on dead money, all I have to say is it was my understanding there would be no math in Inbox.

Sorry, my bad. I'll try not to let it happen again.

Eric from Fuquay Varina, NC

If I missed this forgive me...A while ago in the II it was stated Rodgers wouldn't reveal how much his injury affected his performance until after the season was over. Was any information brought to light after the end of the season?

No, because he left the final game with a concussion and as a result did not speak to the media as the season ended. In his red-carpet interview at NFL Honors, he indicated his knee is in great shape and he did not need surgery.

Kolby from Oak Hills, CA

Assuming Bashaud Breeland come back, where would you rank our cornerback group among the league's best?

I really don't know, but if Breeland returns, I think the Packers will have their best cornerback group since 2014, when they had Williams, Shields, Hayward, House and Hyde as a hybrid DB.

Paul from Bay View, WI

Guys, with the upcoming draft being so deep talent-wise this year, I would think that the free agents looking for new teams will not be in a position to bargain as much. So with a team like the Packers where we have a lot of holes to fill, do we wait to see if we can get a bargain on some of these FA's, or do we immediately try and go after some of the Landon Collins and Earl Thomas types before they sign elsewhere? Thanks for your insights!

I think the only way the draft notably impacts free agency is if a particular position is deep with top-level talent in both places. There are rumblings that's the case with edge rusher this year. We'll see. It could be overblown, or it may depress the market at that position in free agency. Either way, if you want the top-tier guys in free agency, you have to act fast. The two-day negotiating window generally sets the price tags and players are inclined to sign quickly, because the longer they wait the more they risk their market dropping.

Dan from Tomah, WI

Denver trades for Flacco and everyone thinks it changes much of the happenings of the first round? If I'm Denver, I'm doubling down at QB. Flacco isn't the long-term answer here. Bring in the vet, draft your favorite QB and then go from there. As a Packer fan I want teams to draft as many QBs as possible to push guys to us.

The top-heavy QB draft a year ago certainly played into Gutekunst feeling comfortable he could trade back from 14 and then trade back up to still get the type of player he was looking for.

Nic from London, UK

Westmacott mentioned that he has a blacklist and ignores questions when he recognizes the name as belonging to someone on the list. Conversely, do you start to develop an affinity with questioners that you like? Do you look forward to their comments? Do you build up a mental image of them?

I don't concern myself with mental images, but there are a handful of readers who regularly get me thinking with their comments and questions. I don't always post them because sometimes I don't have a good answer, but when I have the time, I enjoy genuinely thought-provoking submissions.

Flavio from Sao Paulo, Brazil

Regarding Wes's answer to my question about Urlacher/Peppers vs. Mack/Smith, I agree that the latter are younger and with a bright future ahead, but do you think they may ever become better than the former? That´s a tall order...

It is, but it depends how you look at it. As good as they were, Urlacher and Peppers weren't really at the peak of their powers when they were together. Mack and Smith will have that opportunity.

Michael from Santa Cruz, CA

I understand the desire of most to prioritize the addition (via draft or free agency) of an edge rusher, but an objective look at our current state at the safety position is alarming. For various reasons I don't feel confident about anyone in that group going into next season. A free-agent signing (Mathieu would be a perfect fit in Pettine's scheme) plus a highish draft pick might be what is required to restock that cupboard.

I would characterize it as the position, at the moment anyway, with the least stability heading into 2019.

Greg from Knoxville, TN

Two of seven first-year coaches made the playoffs last year. A whopping 30 percent. Okay, I guess, if you are playing in MLB and facing 100 mph fastballs. Too many first-year variables for a new coach to deal with and learn. Packer fans that were born prior to 1990 have been through this before. Tell me why the Packers will be in the playoffs in 2019 when the odds are at 30 percent?

In the immortal words of Han Solo, never tell me the odds. Seriously, though, I'm not saying the Packers will make the playoffs, but if anyone changes those odds, it's Aaron Rodgers. Of the seven QBs with new head coaches last year, Andrew Luck was the best one, and he was one of the two who got there.

Josh from Milwaukee, WI

Do you believe Giannis will win MVP this year? Or is Harden's 30-plus-point streak too much to overcome? As Harden travels from city to city, the defender of none and the high-scoring bearded one, will the Greek Freak Euro step into the spotlight and slam down his hopes of MVP?

If the Bucks hold onto the No. 1 seed in the East, Giannis should win the MVP.

Jeremiah from Denver, CO

Do you think the AAF could offer more to the NFL in the way of players than "the professional discard pile"? Would smaller-school prospects, or players who might need a year or two on a practice squad, accelerate the learning curve and get more out of playing live games that are an intermediate step up?

Perhaps. The AAF is just getting started. If it survives, it will also evolve. What it is now may not be what it becomes.

Ryan from Hartland, WI

Who will be the toughest opponent on next year's schedule?

Outside the division? The Chiefs.

Danny from Anchorage, AK

Just looked through the photos of the year, they're pretty amazing. Evan Siegle is really good at his job, and the Packers are fortunate to have him. There's one picture I don't understand though. It's an overhead black-and-white shot of No. 9 walking near the end zone, but I'm confused by the yard lines. It looks like the 30-yard line is painted only five yards from the end zone. What's the deal with that?

It was shot on the practice field.

Frederick from Middleton, WI

Mike, looks like the only time the Brew Crew could be in Beantown this season is between October 22 and 30. That could be tough for a reporter to make. Here's to hoping you have to wrestle with the decision.

I could live with that.

Jordan from Walpole, MA

Insiders, what Packers victory that you've covered were you most surprised they pulled out? I think the Packers over the Patriots in 2014 might of have been the most surprising for me.

2009 vs. Dallas at Lambeau. The Cowboys were 6-2 and on a four-game winning streak, while the Packers had just lost to an 0-7 Tampa Bay team with a rookie QB making his first NFL start. I'd never been so pessimistic about a game, but I never will be again.

Trevor from Carmel, NY

I heard something the other day that only one space is necessary after a period, and that if you use two spaces, you are pretty much a grumpy old man. So of course, I made my way over to the II to check styles. I figured Wes would probably be a one-space guy, but I'm surprised and embarrassed to find that Spoff is too. Now I don't feel old, I just feel uneducated. While I try to undue 25 years of lies, can you please enlighten me on the one-space logic?

Ever since I got into the newspaper business in the mid-'90s it's been one space, so it predates me. I've typed this way my entire career.

Benjamin from Bear, DE

I'm curious, leaving Brady and Rodgers out of the equation, who in your opinion (active or retired) would be the GOAT QB?


Mark from Carmel, IN

Can I buy you a beer while you're in town?

Twist my arm. Happy Monday.