Doug from Lafayette, OH
"Born for This." What a great title.
"From small town to Titletown" isn't bad either. I'm going to start the new week by encouraging anyone who hasn't read Wes's outstanding background profile on Matt LaFleur to set aside a few minutes and absorb it all. You won't regret it.
Corey from Henderson, NV
Is there really no way to make the Pro Bowl mean something? That was not a game today; that was worse than preseason football. No tackling, no blitzing, and zero defense. Isn't there some way to make this game exciting and mean something?
Not really, but you've confused me with someone who cares.
Michael from Green Bay, WI
Rodgers seems to take a long time to get the receivers on the same page as him, yet other teams can bring a receiver in during the season and click like the Cowboys. Do you see that changing now with a new coach?
I think everyone learning a new offense and starting from ground zero, so to speak, will have that effect to a certain extent. It could be another positive, if somewhat unintentional, result of the change.
Ron from Broken Arrow, OK
Mike, while I understand your answer regarding Tony Mandarich as the worst first-round pick, I still believe the selection of Rich Campbell in 1981 was worse. The Packers could have selected Ronnie Lott. I can only imagine how much better that defense would have been with him in the secondary. The experts weren't shocked when Mandarich was selected, the pick made sense at the time. The Campbell pick, not so much.
Valid point. It's worth wondering what the '83 team might have done with any kind of defense, and Lott would have changed the whole outlook.
Bryce from Sullivan, IN
Who you got next Sunday?
Well, I said last week this might be Brady's most impressive playoff run ever, so at this point I might as well pick him to finish it. But this is coming from the same writer who said the winner of the Ravens-Chargers wild-card game was going to the Super Bowl, and who also said the Saints wouldn't lose at home. So the Rams might be the safest bet there is.
A look inside Packers WR Davante Adams' locker at the 2019 Pro Bowl in Orlando.
Brian from Schertz, TX
After perusing the photos from Super Bowl XXXI, I was reminded how I felt Favre really deserved the MVP. I know Desmond Howard had a great game, but he really had two great plays. Favre was out there much more and had those two amazing long passes and the great TD run. How did you feel when Howard was named MVP? At the time, I was just overjoyed at the win itself.
In retrospect, co-MVPs probably would have been ideal. Favre's TD passes of 80 and 54 yards, plus a rushing TD, make for quite a game no matter what the final stats said, but Howard's impact on field position was significant even before the 99-yard TD return in the second half. I don't recall hearing how close the vote was.
Juan from San Antonio, TX
With all the talk about packaging our draft picks to move down or move up, for me one of the true advantages of keeping the picks is the fifth-year option. How do you feel about the importance of the option year?
It seems most important for quarterbacks for the potential extra year of financial flexibility it gives a team. At other positions, it's not nothing, but I don't know if it's as crucial cap-wise.
Travis from St. John's, FL
I like the idea of the defense getting a stop in OT giving the team a win, but what would the score be if this were to happen? Would the team be awarded two points? I know we are just throwing ideas out there, but this is something else to think about in this scenario.
Either one or two points would be most logical. But I think I'm ultimately coming down on the side of no punting in OT. Each team guaranteed one possession, game reverts to sudden death if both teams score the same number of points on their first drives, but no punts.
David from Hilliard, OH
Regarding Packers bloodlines in the draft here is one worth watching in the near future. Wyatt Davis, OG for Ohio State, is getting much hype in the local media as a potential star after his performance in the Rose Bowl. He is just a redshirt sophomore so it might be a few more years, but he may be worth the wait. He is the grandson of the great Willie Davis.
Anthony from Jamestown, ND
The II and other stories on packers.com have been sensational of late, thanks for keeping us entertained. My question is do you think the hiring of Mike Smith could influence either the Packers or Dee Ford on getting a deal done? If he is available of course.
This is a popular question, but I think the hire has more to do with what Smith did with Ford than trying to land Ford. Seven forced fumbles in one season is a lot for any single defender, and the Packers need to create more turnovers in 2019. It's imperative.
Andy from Verona, WI
When there are assistant coaching openings, do candidates apply for the position, have their agents let teams know about their interest, or are they just contacted by the team(s) who have interest in them?
Mostly the latter two.
Team photographer Evan Siegle shares some of his favorite images of the 2018 season.
Dale from Prescott, WI
I truly believe, with all the changes the Packers have made, this will be AR's last head coach. How many QBs have won multiple SB with different head coaches, let alone on the same team?
Montana won with Walsh and Seifert. Aikman won with Johnson and Switzer. Roethlisberger won with Cowher and Tomlin. I think that covers multiple Super Bowls, same team, different coaches. Peyton Manning obviously won with two different teams and different coaches (Colts and Dungy, Broncos and Kubiak). Also noteworthy, Elway lost three times with Reeves before winning two with Shanahan.
Steve from Middletown, KY
Just reading a few stories on NFL.com. They just released the strength of schedule for 2019. I know, it's early. Things will undoubtedly change by the time the season starts next year, but some things never change. They had the Pats in a five-way tie for the second-easiest schedule. Aren't division winners supposed to play other division winners? Hmmm? Same ole AFC? By the way, GB was listed with the 14th-toughest schedule.
The Patriots will play all the other division winners in the AFC, but everyone else in their own division finished below .500 last year. Statistically speaking, six of their games are against a collective record of 34-62 (.354). That'll drag down anyone's overall strength-of-schedule number.
Ben from Roseville, MN
It's crazy how in just another year we'll be talking about the 2010s All-Decade team. Besides Brady, who do you think is a lock for that team? Does Rodgers have any chance to beat out Brees for second team, or do any other Packers have a shot?
I think Rodgers is the second-team QB behind Brady. The locks that immediately come to mind for me are Julio Jones, Rob Gronkowski, Joe Thomas, J.J. Watt, Aaron Donald, Patrick Peterson and Earl Thomas. Luke Kuechly is also as close to a lock as it gets. I don't see any Packers making the first team.
Daniel from Gladwin, MI
The comment about pictures of wind reminded me of a great episode of "Mad About You." Paul Reiser's character, a documentary film maker, was hired by Yoko Ono to film the wind...not the things that blow in the wind, but capture the wind itself on film. He spent the entire episode trying to figure out how to do it, and Yoko finally said, "Filming the wind is crazy! Why didn't you tell me I'm crazy?" Tell me we were thinking along the same lines when you said we'd have pictures of wind!
And then Helen Hunt went and filmed "Twister." Go figure.
Dale from Owatonna, MN
Love James White, but right now Crazy Legs Hirsch and Alan Ameche would have to be mentioned first. Amazingly Ball, Fletcher, Clay, Davis, Calhoun and Bennett never took off, which I think is a testament to the offensive lineman of the Badgers. The jury is still out on Gordon, but I think he will be the best if he stays healthy. My favorite, Ron Dayne, I felt never got the right opportunity. He had one game in his NFL career with over 30 carries. In that game he had 153 yards and two TDs.
Dayne may never have gotten the right opportunity, but he's also a great example of how much the speed of the game changes from the college to NFL level, in my opinion.
Allen from Birmingham, AL
Daniel from København wasn't watching the same Patriots I was when they played Green Bay. I was envious of their hyperspeed opening drive and could only wish the Packers could sometime pull it off. A lot of their game was methodical, but they were able to sucker us in on a couple of trick plays. We were outplayed and outcoached. Boring? I'd love for the Packers to be that boring, able to protect a lead and bleed the clock when necessary, but be able to move efficiently for a two-minute drive.
The Patriots will play whatever way it takes to beat you. That's as simply as I can put it.
Will from Kenosha, WI
Wolf got Favre and White. Thompson got Rodgers and Woodson. Gutekunst has yet to make those impact decisions. Although he still has Rodgers, there is no defensive player with the impact of White or Woodson on the roster. Mack may have been the closest option. I'm not sure there is anyone else in the NFL worthy of such comparison. He needs to find the next Clay Matthews in the draft.
I would agree.
Fuel Up to PLAY 60 students (ages 6-15) participated in football clinics led by Pro Bowl players, including Packers WR Davante Adams, on Saturday in Orlando.
Eric from Greenville, WI
Wes doesn't think the Saints are marching out? They've peaked, Brees isn't getting younger. The Saints are either going to push more money out or may be done after 2019. They don't have a pick in the first, third or fourth round to add with. Fifth-fewest in available cap space. A traded-for backup QB is a FA. Their primary runner is a FA, and first 3 TEs all FAs. I'd say their better days are behind them. Wouldn't that make them marching out?
Their window is definitely closing, but I wouldn't call it shut yet. If they can somehow, some way get into the postseason in 2019, there may not be a more motivated playoff team to contend with.
Trevor from Seattle, WA
If Lori from Brookfield thinks up a question while in the woods but has no means to submit it, does Wes still answer?
Dale from Selinsgrove, PA
What happens if my yellow flag hits the goal post laser and gets disintegrated? Does it still count for a review?
Also to be commended.
Jim from Oregon, IL
Are we getting to the point of over saturation? More cameras, more officials? When are we going to understand we are NEVER going to get it perfect. It is an artistic game of speed and power. Develop young professional officials that can keep up. Eliminate instant replay altogether. Have a true partnership with the TV networks that won't replay every missed call and live with the result. Bring the human error back into the game. Oh wait, it is still there even with instant replay.
I try really hard to make y'all not sound so naïve, but I obviously can't get through. FOX, CBS, NBC and ESPN paid roughly $40 billion to broadcast NFL games from 2014-22, and FOX added another $3 billion last year to take over Thursday nights for five years. There's no way the NFL is going to dictate to those networks how they can and cannot show replays, and the NFL is not going to lower its price in order to do so. Any thought process that doesn't understand this reality is a waste of brain cells.
Dan from Toledo, OH
I wasn't sure which would have been worse for the NFL, fining the Rams DB, in essence admitting that the call that would have sent the Saints to the Super Bowl was missed, or not fining him and hearing more outcry over the missed call.
I understand the importance the league is placing on player safety. What I don't understand is the attitude that some safety violations are going to affect the outcomes of games and others are not, and accepting that.
Jeff from Fayetteville, NC
I can see the day when there are only two officials on the field to spot the ball and all the others are in a booth with monitors. What do you think?
Not out of the realm of possibility at some point.
A look at Green Bay's recent Pro Bowl selections at the annual all-star game.
Joe from Asbury, IA
This whole discussion around allowing challenges on PI is going to kill the Hail Mary, like the kickoff line change killed the onside kick. There's blatant PI on both sides of the ball on Hail Mary plays and refs have always allowed it, so don't you think there'd be a challenge on every one of those plays?
They'd be booth reviews based on the usual time element, but what exactly would be wrong with that? The four Hail Mary's we're all most familiar with were 50-50. Tate pushed off. So did Cobb. But there was no PI in Detroit or Arizona. It wouldn't kill the Hail Mary.
Doug from Green Bay, WI
I am of similar mind to Eric in that I feel no system will work until the NFL addresses some underlying issues. The most damning statement I have heard recently are the ones like "I don't even know what a catch is anymore." You can interchange that with "roughing the passer" or a "pick play" or any of a number of penalties. Muddy rules, inconsistent application and mind-numbingly varied replay rulings have eroded the trust people have in officiating. Re-establishing that trust must come first.
Couldn't agree more, and I don't see that trust coming back without embracing technology and how it can help. No system will be flawless, but continuing to try will restore some faith.
Steven from Silver Spring, MD
Chuck Pagano was quoted saying he has no interest in being a HC anymore and is content staying a DC. This echoes sentiment from Pettine and also Wade Phillips in LA. These situations have the same dynamic of a young play-calling HC (really a turbocharged OC) and a veteran wise-owl DC. Is there a possible trend where the pay is already good enough at coordinator and the analytics-based game so compartmentalized that teams are really two staffs?
That's one formula or structure that's been successful lately, but Anthony Lynn with the Chargers, Andy Reid with the Chiefs, and John Harbaugh with the Ravens are all making it work in different ways, too.
Abiegail from Santa Clarita, CA
The visual of Vince Lombardi's hologram yelling, "What the hell is going on out there?" made me burst out laughing. Thanks, Wes!
That was an all-timer.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
Super Bowl week is upon us. All of them in the 2010s have been amazing with the exception of the Seahawks romping of the Broncos in '14. We have seen the Packers win, a blackout, last-second victories, humongous comebacks, Peyton Manning ride off into the sunset with three-fourths of an arm, the Patriots both win and lose in dramatic fashion. This Sunday has the opportunity to close the greatest decade in Super Bowl history with a bang. As always, I hope the game lives up to the hype.
That's all I ever hope for. Let the week of hype begin. Happy Monday.