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Inbox: It's an easy trap to fall into

Turning this back around is not on one person or area


Connor from Salt Lake City, UT

To answer PJ from Minneapolis: In the 1994 Quidditch World Cup, Bulgaria vs. Ireland, Viktor Krum for Bulgaria caught the golden snitch to end the match but still lost to Ireland. It is noted in Harry Potter No. 4, Chapter 8. I got your back, Mike!

So do an inordinate number of other Inbox readers well-versed in quidditch. I shall never cease to be amazed.

Phil from Hightstown, NJ

Mike, not a question just a thank you. I wanted to write a quick thank you for the great story of Amy Nelson being inducted into the Packer FAN Hall of Fame. As the father to a special-needs child, I am always touched and thankful when stories such as this are published. It gives all of us who have children with special needs the encouragement and hope that our kids can all grow up and be as "normal" as everyone else. Keep up the great work and thank you again.

Thanks. I have my own personal connections to special-needs individuals, so I've never been more genuinely delighted to cover that annual induction.

Eric from Kenosha, WI

I am a bit surprised to see no mention of this here yet. C.C. Sabathia announced he'll retire after this season. Where does his second half of 2008 rank for you in all-time Brewers lore?

There's Yount in '82, Sabathia in '08 and Yelich in '18, as far as superhuman individual performances down the stretch to get the Brewers over the hump. I don't know how to rank them, really.

Susie from Two Rivers, WI

Why can't this work? Change isn't easy but it could work better than fans expect. I'm thinking enjoy it, see what happens. I don't want to climb on a "hot take" train saying Packers are not going to the SB the next five years. Who puts any credence in such lists and why care? I'm all-in for seeing what happens, new coaches, how players respond. Speaking of trains, all aboard, no hot takes, Go Pack Go!

Optimism without expectations. It's a good way to live.

Matt from Albany, NY

I see a lot of talk about people wanting the Packers to trade for Antonio Brown and/or sign a top free agent this year. Although Brown would be a great addition, is he worth a first- or second-round pick along with the cap space his contract demands? I also tend to think we shouldn't spend too much on free agents unless we are sure the fit is right, I don't care about the splash signings. This offseason will tell us a lot about how Gute wants to build this team to compete.

I concur wholeheartedly with your last statement, and I believe Gutekunst absolutely will take fit into account when it comes to free agents or other acquisitions.

Visti from Farum, Denmark

Favorite quote. Wasn't it Woodson in 2010 who said: "If the President won't come see us, we'll go see him!"

Can't argue with the choice. Still regret I wasn't in the locker room to see that one live. I had a lot of website updates to do, obviously, and had to finish them from the press box before I could head down there.

Ryan from Green Bay, WI

How many first-round picks for the Pack have gone on to be in the NFL HOF?

I don't mean to pick on you, but way too many readers call it the NFL Hall of Fame, so I'm going to correct everyone here. It's the Pro Football Hall of Fame, please. OK, the answer to your question is four: Paul Hornung, Herb Adderley, Dave Robinson and James Lofton. Rodgers will make it five, and Sterling Sharpe could still get in to make it six.

Tom from Machesney Park, IL

Good question from Trevor from Carmel, NY. Personal observations based on Paul Hornung's performance and overall contributions to Lombardi's statements about him would put Paul at the top of this list: stellar performances as a runner, punter, field-goal kicker, passer and receiver. So much talent! What do you think? I would love to hear your comments on him. No. 5, one of the best ever!

There's no doubt Lombardi thought very highly of Hornung, labeling him his best playmaker on offense and most clutch player in big games. He didn't make my list of consideration for the question, though, only because he wasn't on all five of Lombardi's championship teams. Hornung was not on the '67 (SB II) team.

Col from Ludlow, UK

I'll bite. If not Starr, then who and why?

I don't know, that's why I want to ask him the question. But from what I've read, Lombardi was not all that enamored with Starr, at least initially, so I've always wondered.

Bruce from Menomonee Falls, WI

Consecutive questions from Rewey, Fennimore, and Sauk City? My wife is from Livingston (we met at UW-Platteville) and her dad grew up in Rewey. Great area of the state that most people probably don't know about.

Preaching to the choir as a Platteville native. Though the selection of those locations, and in that order, was not intentional or biased, honest.

Bryan from Thayer, MO

I would pick Day 3 to listen to be in the war room. I always love watching Day 3 of the draft because of the unknowns. Players from small schools getting their shots, players who were underused, and players who have high combine scores but underwhelming stats. I would like to hear how they rank players with all the variables in these rounds and just how deep they have dug on some of the unknown players from college.

No question that would be entertaining and incredibly enlightening as well. Among preferred players, it also would be interesting to hear the discussions late in the draft of which they think they need to pick and which they can probably sign after as free agents, and then see how it plays out.

Steve from Middletown, KY

Not to mention specific free agents, at your request, how much influence does a player's agent really have on making the final decision to hold out for a better offer? Does an agent typically gauge what the market value is for his client based on the inquiring teams, then tries to negotiate with a team where the player prefers to land?

The agents do their research to determine what they believe the market will be for their client(s). It's typically going to be higher than what a team thinks, but what an agent/player wants to get and what he's willing to settle for are two different things, just as what a team wants to pay and is willing to pay can vary, too. In my head, the vision of the two-day negotiating window looks like a game of double-dutch jump rope that keeps getting faster. Everyone's hopping in when the opportunity arises, but as the pace quickens, it's about knowing when to jump out before you get tripped up.

Jeremy from Rice Lake, WI

With free agency on the horizon, are teams already talking to their respective free agents, or is most of the negotiating done later/more last-minute? I'm just wondering if a guy like Matthews can gauge the Packers' interest prior to the opening bell.

For pending free agents whose teams are interested in bringing them back, there's usually a preliminary conversation with ballpark numbers, and perhaps an understanding to keep dialogue open through the process. This is where the relationships over time between teams and agents come into play.

Lucas from Morgantown, WV

I hate speculation as much as you guys, but do you think coaches and GMs take their own team's injury history into account when making personnel decisions? If Jones and King are healthy, our backfield on both sides of the ball looks stacked. If they aren't, well, help had better be on the way.

They definitely take it into account, but not every position can be adequately covered at all times. The cap and roster limits usually force a risk to be taken somewhere.

Andy from Verona, WI

Do position coaches who have previously played in the NFL have any advantage over coaches who haven't played in the NFL?

I think initially they have a better sense of what players are going through at different points in a season, and in their careers. But those who didn't play in the league learn about that quickly enough, too.

Dustin from Denver, CO

Can y'all give a hot take on what it meant to document "Free Solo"? Watching the crew during that climb added to the gravity and something to the reality of that feat. When one speaks of putting your body on the line for a sport, the line is kind of drawn there.

Like, the thickest, darkest, most solid line ever.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Will there be an emphasis on getting the ball out on time? Seems like a great way to keep Rodgers healthy, gloss over the OL problems and stay out of third-and-long. I love some Rodgers improvisation, but it shouldn't be the first line of offense.

I don't think LaFleur will have to watch much of the 2018 offensive film to make that an emphasis.

Al from Green Bay, WI

In 2018, Aaron Rodgers led the league in throwaway passes, and he was sacked 49 times (fifth in the league). That's a bunch of unproductive pass plays. What must change in 2019 to improve those numbers while still allowing Aaron to "create" opportunities?

Timing, options, blocking, checkdown usage. It's a lot to fix, but I don't think it's exceedingly difficult to fix with a player of Rodgers' caliber and guys like Adams, Jones and Graham around him.

Tim from Lino Lakes, MN

Given the history of LaFleur and Hackett over the past two years, Green Bay should be running the ball 6-8 times more per game on average. If we continue at 5.0 yards per attempt that would move the team from a bottom third to the top five for rushing offense. How do you think that would impact the team's passing rank?

It would be awfully difficult to maintain a 5.0-yard average with that many more rushing attempts, and I think the Packers averaged what they did in part because they didn't run it enough, as strange as that sounds. But a consistent, reliable running game is going to help the offense, period. We all know that. The other stat from 2014 I didn't mention yesterday? Rodgers' passer rating that season (112.2) was the second-best of his career, behind only the record-setting mark (122.5) in 2011.

Jeremiah from South Bend, IN

What is the most important challenge the Pack must overcome as a team between now and when the baloney stops? For coaches? Players?

Call it a challenge if you will, but I think the most important thing for all to recognize is a new coaching staff isn't going to fix everything. I'm not aware of anyone believing that, but it's an easy trap to fall into. The roster has to get better and players have to play better. Turning this back around is not on one person or area.

Sam from Janesville, WI

So with all the questions about teams COMBINING resources to research prospects, made me realize that's probably where they got the name for the COMBINE. I felt the same as when I was a kid and realized the Brewers' glove logo was also M and B. Have you had any "Aha!" moments lately?

Milwaukee's ball-in-glove logo might have given me the biggest "Aha" moment of my life.

Eric from Monroe, WI

Why is there so much emphasis on division games? You could lose all six and still be 10-6 and win the division.

Sure, but if any division foe goes just 8-6 in the games not against you, it's got you beat. I don't like those odds.

George from North Mankato, MN

Taking into account contract status, depth at position, tenure and any other relevant variables, which player on the roster has the biggest opportunity in front of them this year?

At the moment, it's a close call between Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell.

Steve from Land O'Lakes, FL

No disrespect to Dan from Kewanee, but you should do an II with only unedited questions so we can get an idea of what you are sometimes up against.

Sorry, but that would go against every fiber of my being as an editor. I don't claim to be perfect, but it would be very difficult for me to publish something like that. Vic tried it once and then had to walk out of the office right away. I think he went home to take a shower.

Bob from Riverside, CA

I'm loving Evan Siegle's work as always. In the pictures of James Crawford today there are a lot of great action shots but none as interesting as James celebrating after a play vs. San Francisco. He is doing a high step while just behind him a referee has fallen down while another referee signals first down. I don't remember the play and wish I still had the game recording.

Cool shot. That has to be the play when Crawford recovered a 49ers fumble on a kickoff return.

Take a look at photos of Packers LB James Crawford from the 2018 season.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Mike, while we're on the subject of NFL coaches I thought I'd ask who's on your Mt. Rushmore? FWIW mine would be Lombardi, Belichick, Bill Walsh, and Chuck Noll.

For the Super Bowl era, I have no major disputes, though it's tough to leave off Don Shula and Tom Landry. Going back further, Paul Brown and George Halas enter the conversation and, frankly, it becomes an impossible task.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

If you take a question about Harry Potter, you have to take a question about "Slap Shot." Is it the greatest hockey movie of all-time and why?

It was until "Miracle."

Reese from Hays, KS

Spoff, my English major wife laughed at how a sports-loving English major would pick two short books as favorites. I have to go back to high school literature for "Catch-22." The Packers can't adequately fill their holes at S, TE, Edge, and OL in FA or the draft only but certainly can with some work in each area. Does a team look at the strength of the draft and try to fill holes with FA at positions that are draft weak, or simply find the best FA available and hope the draft falls their way?

I liked Heller's masterpiece so much I read it in high school and college, but it resonated much more the second time around when world events of the day were more applicable. Teams might focus more free-agent dollars at spots tougher to target in the draft due to prospect depth, but it still comes down to really liking the player, regardless. You pay for the player, not a position.

Chris from Portland, CT

English majors don't have to be grammar police. Given the context of this conversational forum, I don't have a problem with the appearance of words such as "dunno." Also Mike, if you're going to get tickets to Fenway, pay careful attention to obstructed seats. As much as I love that park, those columns can be a pain.

Duly noted.

Kelly from Walnut, IA

We're not even halfway to the draft?

The exact midway point between the Packers' 2018 season finale and the 2019 draft is next Tuesday, when we hit the road for the combine. How fitting. Happy Friday.