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Inbox: It's a fascinating comparison

That’s a close call no matter what

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Former Packers DE Reggie White

Paul from Northglenn, CO

Mike, I always enjoy your content and context. Just curious, do you cringe just a tad when a questioner opens with "Vic used to say…"

Only when they misquote or misunderstood him. Because then I have to explain what he actually meant on top of why he was wrong. I jest, of course.

Josh from New Richmond, WI

I took a tour of Lambeau during the "Ask Vic" days and asked my guide where Vic sat during the games. He knew exactly what seat he sat in. Guess you guys just aren't as big of a deal as Vic!

Or his Terrible Towel was hanging over the chair.

Kevin from Grand Rapids, MI

I wonder if all SF QBs became healthy before the playoffs and had a full week of practice, which QB would they have started for a playoff run? Seems it'd be pretty hard to not start Purdy now.

I thought I saw Shanahan announced recently that even if Garoppolo gets healthy, he's sticking with Purdy for the duration of the playoffs. I don't think you could do it any other way at this point. My only question with Purdy is if he needs to put together a crunch-time drive while behind or tied against that Dallas defense, can he do it? He's only been in that situation once and it was against the non-playoff Raiders.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

I'm still not a fan of seven playoff teams. It leads to too many divisional games in the playoffs. There were three alone in the wild-card weekend (Dolphins-Bills, Seahawks-49ers, Ravens-Bengals) and another one slated for the next round (Giants-Eagles). An occasional divisional rematch is unavoidable but prefer to see it happen less frequently and later in the playoffs (e.g. GB at Chicago in NFC Championship Game). Have you come around to 14 playoff teams or just accepted it's here to stay?

The latter, and I'm not ruling out down the road seeing a 16-team field with no byes and a Monday night doubleheader for a Super-Duper Wild Card Weekend.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

What are your thoughts on the Saturday-Monday schedule for this past weekend? Seems unfair the Cowboys will be playing the 49ers with two less days of rest.

It is what it is because it's all about the big bucks everyone's collecting. McCarthy even acknowledged that with his "TV is king" comment. Seems to me the Cowboys got their rest anyway by taking Week 18 off, judging by how they played.

Josh from Seattle, WA

I realized I want every team in the AFC to win more than any team in the NFC because they have all beat us in the playoffs. Then I thought a little longer and realized I was too young for the last time the Cowboys won to remember and they have Big Mike. So I guess what I am saying is, I hope the Super Bowl is Bills vs. Cowboys! But I think wide right might come from a different kicker this year. How's that for a storyline?

That's quite the extrapolation, but whoever the opponent, the Bills winning it all on a missed kick would be almost poetic.

Steve from Soda Springs, ID

Hello II, just a comment. I read that you guys will just scan right over the emails that are a little too much criticism or too salty. (I must confess I'm guilty as charged.) However, the last few weeks I've seen that you guys are tackling a few of those comments. Are you just getting overwhelmed with those type of questions and comments or just feeling your oats? I'll try to do better. Love your column.

First, let me clarify when Wes mentioned barely skimming some submissions, he was primarily referring to ones that include personal attacks and/or mindless rants. Let's just say they're easy to spot. Second, we've both noted often that judgment needs to be based on an entire body of work, e.g., the full season. So it's more appropriate to take them on now, and I tried to make a point this week to discuss sensible, appropriately worded critiques.

Nate from Kellnersville, WI

What position do you see Zach Tom playing next year?

Almost anywhere across the line. The Packers could have him compete with Josh Myers at center, or with Yosh Nijman or anybody else at right tackle, or maybe they'll want him to push Jon Runyan at right guard. I just know this about LaFleur – if Tom proves he's one of the best five, he'll be out there.

Nathan from Manitowoc, WI

Does Brian Gutekunst usually go to the college all-star games or does he usually send just scouts?

I know he goes to the Senior Bowl for the full week in Mobile. I don't know if he personally attends any of the others but the Packers are well represented regardless.

Arnie from Kirkwood, MO

Romeo, Romeo, where art thou the last few games of the season? We were so looking forward to the Doubs/Watson duo but never came to fruition.

Doubs never seemed to get his legs back under him, no pun intended, after the ankle injury. It's yet one of many rookie experiences from which I'm sure he learned a lot, about the game at this level and himself.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

I see three possible scenarios playing out with Aaron Rodgers based on all the moving parts. He retires, he comes back for one more year then retires (Packers pick up Jordan Love's option and Love takes over in 2024), or he comes back for one more year and is traded prior to 2024. Am I missing another realistic scenario?

It may be less likely than the others you posit, but I don't think a trade this offseason can be ruled out, especially now that Rodgers openly didn't dismiss the thought the other day.

Sandy from Green Bay, WI

The NFL reported that the average age of quarterbacks remaining in the postseason is 25.4 years old. How does this statistic affect the desirability/trade value of "aging" but successful quarterbacks, particularly in light of the Broncos' past season and the huge contract extended to Russell Wilson with little return on that investment?

Outstanding question. I think it could definitely impact other teams' approaches, but probably more so in the trade value/investment arena than general desirability. They may not give up as much or make as long a commitment, but if a guy is available and they see a chance to win now, they'll still want him.

Evan from Durango, CO

Wes is wrong about taking Donald over Watt. Donald is a great player, but he's not even close to the quality of human J.J. Watt is. Donald's on-field antics/anger issues are embarrassing. Watt has a Walter Payton award.

I'll risk speaking for Wes and say he had his pure GM job-at-stake hat on there, picking the guy who's going to help win more games. Even setting aside the issues you mention for the moment, if (big if) Watt stays healthy for his entire career, I might lean his way.

Mitch from Eagle River, WI

The question asked by Johnny from Salt Lake City about either drafting J.J. Watt or Aaron Donald inspired me to ask this one. Your input would go a long way towards settling a family debate. If you were on the clock, who would you select between Bruce Smith and Reggie White? Packer bias aside, which of the two would you say had the better career? Thanks!

It's a fascinating comparison. Both won Defensive Player of the Year twice and were runner-up twice. Both were named first-team All-Pro eight times. White had five second-team selections, Smith three. White was chosen for 13 Pro Bowls, Smith 11. White had 198 sacks in 15 seasons, Smith 200 in 19. Smith forced 43 fumbles, White 33. They were both so good for so long. White had 16 sacks and won DPOY in Year 14. Smith had 10 sacks in Year 16 and nine in Year 18. It really is a case of splitting hairs, but I think I'll choose White because he had more seasons I would classify as dominant. That's a close call no matter what, though.

Roger from Roseville, MN

Please consider this a question about money, and not math. How do the those in the league office come up with such oddly specific dollar amounts when levying fines? $13,261 for Walker, $11,139 for Douglas. Some portion of salary? Some weird algorithm? Throw a dart? Thanks for all the work and insights you two provide, to say nothing of the subtly and, yes, occasional sarcasm.

Base fine numbers are baked into the CBA and then adjusted due to a player's history or other circumstances. But how the base number or adjustments are precisely determined I have no idea.

Matt from La Crosse, WI

Hey Mike/Wes, can you give us an update on how Jack Coco, this season's undrafted rookie, performed at long snapper? PFF doesn't have any stats for him. I don't remember any issues with the snaps for punts and FGs, which was a refreshing change.

I thought he was solid for the most part, but a couple of punt snaps late in the year and the first two field-goal snaps in the final game were definitely concerning. I would expect the Packers to bring in competition for that spot.

Chase from Citrus Heights, CA

RE: WRs being insufficient. I'm not ready to unload that situation purely on the injuries. Of course they play a factor, but I'm still waiting to hear who we would have signed. And if someone does have a name that actually produced this year, I'd also like them to reveal who they would have released to free up cap space. I'm not saying there isn't a viable answer out there, but replacing Adams and MVS was almost always going to require good luck. Ultimately, we may benefit in '23 and beyond.

Fair points.

Paul from Franklin, WI

Guys, looks like we're in great shape if we can sign Keisean Nixon for next few years or so. If that does happen, would there be some concern on the next man up if Nixon gets the injury bug? I would think returning kicks all year will take its toll eventually. Who would be your pick if Nixon is either out or he can't be re-signed?

Maybe Samori Toure or Bo Melton gets in that mix in 2023. A new draft pick could emerge as an option as well.

Neil from Strathpeffer, UK

From reading the plethora of II submissions, do you guys agree with my sense that Packers Nation is much more open to a change of guard at QB than previous years?

Open to it? Yes, and I sensed that even before the "MVP" comment on McAfee was spotlighted and his subsequent mention of "winning it all" was conveniently ignored.

Linnea from Milford, PA

Bet the Rams didn't anticipate their '23 first-round pick being sixth overall. Yes, LA got their Super Bowl, but could that trade have worked out any better for the Lions?

Jared Goff playing his best football now and not requiring the Lions to start over at QB is what made it work out best.

Chris from Marshall, WI

Since 1990, when the sixth seed was added, only two sixth-seeded teams have advanced to the Super Bowl and subsequently won. The 2005 Steelers and the 2010 Packers. It took 15 years before a sixth seed advanced to the Super Bowl. How many years (or decades) will it take before the seventh seed will get to the Super Bowl? How many years will it take before a seventh seed wins their first playoff game?

The No. 7 beating the No. 2 could happen anytime. Buffalo has already needed to squeak out a pair of three-point wins as the second seed over the past three years. As for going all the way, I wouldn't be surprised if it takes less than the 15 years before Pittsburgh made its run.

George from North Mankato, MN

Which remaining playoff team do you think is capable of a divisional round upset?

I think the Giants are going to give the Eagles all they can handle.

Jim from Duluth, MN

Regarding the upcoming Eagles-Giants game, teams playing each for a third time in a season makes for a different kind of matchup. If I were Philly I would have preferred someone other than the Giants. Familiarity not only breeds contempt … in the NFL it also breeds a more even playing field. Very difficult to beat a team three times in one season! Should be a great game. I think the Giants have a great shot at an upset here. Thoughts on playing a third game vs. a different team.

I agree a third matchup is a tough one for the division champ if it swept the underling during the regular season, which the Eagles did (though the Giants, locked into the No. 6 seed, rested players in Week 18). The Packers found that out in 2004.

Jason from Austin, TX

Insiders, can you help me understand why the Buffalo vs. Cincinnati game is in Buffalo, but a Buffalo vs. Kansas City game would be played at a neutral field? I've heard that it's because Buffalo has a better winning percentage than Cincinnati, but that same logic can be applied to Kansas City over Buffalo. But IF Buffalo won, they would be the higher seed over Kansas City. Well, IF Cincinnati won, they would have the higher seen over Buffalo. Seems like they got the shaft in this decision.

I understand where you're coming from. But my read on it is this: After declaring the Buffalo-Cincinnati MNF game a no contest, the league drew a distinction between the Bengals having one more loss (four) than the Bills (three), and the Bills having the same number of losses as the Chiefs while having beaten them head-to-head earlier in the year. That game was on the books, no hypothetical needed.

Luke from La Crosse, WI

Regarding the current challenge system: We auto review turnovers, touchdowns, and anything under the two-minute mark. Now we have the "expedited" officiating. NFL, what is the point of continuing the coach's challenge? Policing the officials shouldn't be on a coach, and it shouldn't be at the risk of losing timeouts. Recently coaches also have to wonder if the play will be "expedited" or if they have to throw the flag. All while the opponent hurries up to snap. Such nonsense.

It's getting there, isn't it?

Brian from Moncks Corner, SC

Eight very good teams, no "gimme" games, even the No. 1 seeds have very interesting games. Isn't this the best weekend in the NFL?

I've always thought so, and I hope to hear/read a lot of thoughts from this audience over the weekend to make for a fun Monday column. Happy Friday.

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