Presented by

Inbox: It's a long list with an opportunity

Proper perspective is needed

200506-insider-inbox-2560
DL Kingsley Keke

Dennis from Parrish, FL

Talk about game-changing. Nike was hoping to sell $3 million of sneakers in three years. Jordan sold $126 million the first year! Not bad for a track shoe company!

And Jordan's mother had to convince him to get on the plane to attend the pitch meeting. Always listen to your mother.

Paul from Phoenix, AZ

Mike, I almost choked on my Wheaties when I saw your response to Jim from Woodbury included the following: "...me and Wes." Shocking! Can't believe that ever would have flown at Northwestern!

I'll be the first to admit a grammar mistake, but this wasn't one. For those who don't want a lesson, skip ahead. The phrase in question was "for me and Wes." The technical explanation: For is a preposition, which carries an object, and me is the object pronoun (while I is the subject pronoun). The layman's test: Remove the "and Wes" and decide what to use. Would you say "for I" or "for me"? You're welcome.

Jeff from Kenosha, WI

Given the results of the Packers' draft I sure hope players like Montravius Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown look at this as a new lease on life and take advantage of it.

As well as Dean Lowry, Tyler Lancaster, Kingsley Keke, Allen Lazard, Jake Kumerow and others. It's a long list with an opportunity plenty of NFL players would kill for.

Augusto from Bogota, Columbia

Wes referred to the obstacles the 2011 offseason dealt, so which rookie players stood out in that season or contributed significantly?

For the Packers, the only notable rookie contribution that year came from Randall Cobb, but that's not unusual for a team coming off a Super Bowl title that didn't have a ton of front-line personnel turnover. While the Packers did lose several free agents that offseason, only two were full-time starters (Daryn Colledge, Cullen Jenkins).

Steve from Smithfield, NC

Where were you? In life, events happen that you always remember where you were when you first heard. If you're a sports fan you will always remember a Monday evening in Dec. 1985 when the Fins upset the undefeated Bears keeping Coach Shula's record intact! A game that lived up to its hype. Condolences to the Shula family. He was a great human being. Also to Lori for her loss. One of the fans that make this column great!

Those were the days I still had to go to bed at halftime of Monday Night Football. But I remember the outcome not being in doubt anyway, and feeling the football gods were on the '72 Dolphins' side. McMahon wasn't healthy enough to start, and a deflected pass went for a long Miami TD. Did you know the Bears got together and recorded their famous "Super Bowl Shuffle" song/video the morning their charter flight returned from that Miami game? That team knew it wasn't losing again.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Mike, would you like to speculate about how the Packers' teams, history, and legacy would have changed if Don Shula had become head coach in 1970?

Cliff has a piece on the Shula saga posting tomorrow. All I can surmise is he wouldn't have traded two first-round picks, two second-rounders, and a third-rounder for John Hadl in 1974.

Lane from Calgary, Alberta

Hey Insiders, with the practice-squad roster increasing and two players eligible for weekly game-day elevation how does that affect their compensation structure? Before this change I understood an elevation to the active roster meant a guarantee of three active-roster game checks. How will this work going forward?

I'm not sure on all the details. Players elevated to the active roster can now be returned to the practice squad up to twice per season without having to clear waivers first. That's a huge change. Practice-squad players are also getting higher salaries and 401(k) benefits they didn't previously have. I don't know if/how the three-week minimum works into the new picture. It might only apply to signing practice-squad players from other teams, but I don't know that for a fact. If I can find some clarity, I'll pass it along.

Conor from Kouts, IN

Our recent draft picks indicate the offensive strategy is to emphasize the run game. Winning the early downs will play a huge part in our success. Meanwhile the defense is well-suited to defend the pass, rush the passer, and win on third-and-long. How can a team be successful while employing seemingly opposite philosophies on each side of the ball?

Um, because on defense, you just need to be successful on one series of downs in a given possession, while on offense the requirement is usually several in a row? This philosophizing in quarantine is getting to be too much.

Aristotle from Athens, Greece

Hello gentlemen, I couldn't help but notice that the more vitriol contained in the question, the more of my fallacies I see contained within the question. Interesting correlation, agreed?

Pepperoni, please.

Mike from Lake Villa, IL

Mike and Wes, thanks again for the much-needed distraction you provide each day. I was listening to Chicago sports radio and an NFL expert claimed that only in Green Bay could a GM "get away" with drafting a first-round QB of the future after recently signing a superstar QB to an extension that has four years left. His point was if the Packers had an individual owner (like Jerry Jones), the GM would feel much different pressure and likely not make such a pick. What are your thoughts on this?

There may be some validity to that. It's an interesting argument. It would depend on the extent of the owner's involvement in football decisions, which isn't the same across the board. If such a discussion were necessary, I guarantee you it would occur long before draft night, because the willingness or reticence would shape a team's strategy for the entire draft. All in all, I believe the Packers' structure has served the franchise well in the modern era (cap/free agency) of NFL economics. Either way, how this turns out could certainly influence other teams' future approaches.

Matt from Minneapolis, MN

Do you believe that Josh Jackson's foot injury he suffered last year in training camp lingered throughout the regular season? There were some snaps he played in the slot last year where I just remember thinking his quickness was nowhere near what it was when he was a rookie. If he can return to his rookie form, he could be a great nickel corner this year.

Judging by how he was running downfield as a punt gunner, the foot appeared back to normal. I just think all work, particularly in padded practices, he missed during training camp opened the door for others, like Chandon Sullivan, to move ahead of him on the depth chart. Once the regular season starts, with only one padded practice per week, it's difficult for young players to make up for lost time.

Lori from Bloomfield, CO

What contributes more to team revenue, ticket sales or television rights?

TV. It's the top dog. Ticket revenue branches out to generate additional money from parking, concessions, etc., but TV is still revenue king.

Levi from St. Paul, MN

I watched the E60 special on Alex Smith and was blown away by the severity of not only the injury, but how severe the infection was and how close he was to losing his leg. But what he said to his wife after it was under control was incredible. He said how blessed they were to have what they have. It puts into perspective even more this game us fans go crazy about. Alex Smith is an inspiration and a reminder that it's just a game, but that it is played by real people. Not pieces on a chess board.

Thanks for the reminder to watch that program. I missed it and have to see it.

Tony from Lancaster, PA

Hey guys, what happens if the league decides to play without fans in attendance? I keep thinking it would have a huge impact on player performance and subsequently evaluation. You want to see what players can do when the pressure is on, the crowd is loud, and the lights are brightest. It seems like those players who would excel in that environment might not show their true colors in an empty stadium and other players might shine who otherwise would be negatively affected.

I guess we might find out. The pressure to perform doesn't change even if the environment does. That's how a true pro would process it, I think.

Joan from Freedom, WI

Any chance the team was trading up to grab Jefferson or Aiyuk, and by the time things played out, they were gone, and Jordan Love was next man up?

You don't make the trade unless your guy is there and the team you're trading with is on the clock, so no.

Scott from Hamlin, NY

An important note about the fifth-year option; the salary carried with it is pretty high. Just because the option is declined doesn't mean the player is gone.

True enough, but it's usually a sign the player is not considered worthy of a long-term investment at the time the option decision is made, except in special cases. The option is usually exercised to buy time to negotiate a multi-year extension.

Jeroen from Wormer, Netherlands

If Jordan Love sits his first three seasons, are the Packers going to pick up his fifth-year option or is it better to decline his fifth-year option and try to sign him to a team-friendly bridge deal?

The Packers will cross that bridge (yes, pun intended) if and when they get there.

Cameron from Menomonee Falls, WI

I was watching the 1985 Bears NFC Championship Game and it looked like Soldier Field was artificial turf? Was it? And when did it switch from grass to turf and then back to grass?

Soldier Field had artificial turf from 1971-87.

Greg from Chicago, IL

Hi guys, I'm overall very optimistic about the draft and the chances for success, but I don't understand the rationale behind fixing the issues against the run schematically. The 49ers crushed us twice on the ground and there was plenty of time between games to apply that type of fix. Besides the obvious changes in players, what is different now that could allow them to effectively stop the run without a major infusion of talent?

Look, I fully expected the Packers to draft a defensive lineman, and probably high, so I'm not going to belabor it. But proper perspective on "crushed us twice on the ground" is needed. In the first meeting, when the score was 30-8 after three quarters, the 49ers had 78 yards rushing. Of the three TDs to that point, Samuel had one on a 42-yard catch, and Kittle another on a 61-yarder. The rushing TD was a 2-yard plunge right after the Rodgers sack-fumble near the goal line. My point? The 49ers won those games with two completely different game plans, so your premise (shared by several readers) of "plenty of time between games to apply" a schematic fix is flawed.

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, UK

Hi gentlemen, is there a former college head coach you think would have done a good job in the NFL if given a chance?

For some reason as a kid, I always wanted to see Bear Bryant on one sideline, for whatever team, opposed by Tom Landry's Cowboys. Must've been the hats.

Joshua from Houston, TX

I'm curious about the roster issues that come with no/shortened offseason. Will good players get cut who should have been kept? Will the good GMs get a couple steals because undrafted players get cut because of the fear of cutting a more experienced or drafted player?

It's impossible to know in advance. It'll depend on what other opportunities arise for the young hopefuls who become available. Personnel executives' crystal balls will have to see further into the future to avoid potential mistakes.

Brian from Rochester, NY

13-3 is great and will be hard to replicate, but all this team just needs another opportunity. Starts with winning within the division. As a fan, it seems all three phases are on an upward trajectory. The defense is young and improving, special teams is solid all around after finding a returner, and the offense is potentially formulated for playoff football. Complementary football is the answer. Excited to see this all play out.

I'm just hoping the first real game is actually a mere five months away.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

Scheduling question: Should we send our complaints about the Packers' schedule on Friday, with follow-up blame directed at Wes and/or Spoff on Saturday, or would you prefer we just combine them on Friday?

Either way, can't wait. Happy Wednesday.

Advertising