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Inbox: It's the pivot point

If you’re going to go through something like this, be better for it personnel-wise


Tyson from Mililani, HI

So if plagiarism is taking someone else's work and trying to pass it off as your own, is reverse plagiarism taking your own work and passing it off as someone else's?

Only in the J. Peterman catalog.

Andy from Verona, WI

With knowing Davante is chasing a couple of franchise records, do the head coach and quarterback give him a few extra looks or play calls to help try to break the records?

Rodgers has suggested it won't be a problem because Adams gets open so consistently, but we'll see where the numbers stand after this week with one game to go. I remember being in the stands at the Metrodome in '92 for the last regular-season game when Sharpe needed five catches to break Art Monk's NFL single-season record of 106 receptions. Favre definitely fed him, and he got it with 108 (breaking his own mark the next year at 112, the team record Adams is now chasing), but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary the way the team's offense functioned. Amazing to think that over the last 25 years, Sharpe's 112 from '93 has been matched or beaten 29 times across the league. Monk's record stood for eight years before Sharpe came along.

Fearn from Rolling Meadows, IL

Bakhtiari and Linsley aren't even making it onto the "Pro Bowl Snubs List." Who else would make your "Pro Bowl Snubs List Snub List"? Asking for myself.

Good one.

Benjamin from Burlington, VT

"Mike Pettine has made ends meet." No disrespect to Pettine, but I was disappointed when the photo loaded and it wasn't of two defensive ends "meeting" at an opposing quarterback for a sack. What's the process for choosing an Inbox cover photo? Do you generally come up with the title, then let an intern go searching through the team's photo archives?

That was an outstanding headline Wes put on yesterday's Inbox. As for the photo, our current intern (Zephyr; yes, that's his name) does a great job finding what we ask for. The posting is probably too early in the morning to get overly creative, but I like the way you think.

Grant from Plymouth, MN

Did you guys see Donte Jackson's pick-two of Drew Brees? I think that was easily the game's most amazing play. The acceleration he displayed to get into the open field was mind-blowing. I'm a big fan of the video game NFL Street, and in Street if you run back an opponent's conversion attempt, it's worth four points, not two. I think this is a more appropriate number, as the chance of it happening is so small. What do you think about making it worth four points instead of two?

I don't.

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

In regards to getting rid of the upright goal posts and replacing them with lasers, first I am against it because I am a traditionalist and I like the idea of hearing the boink when the ball hits the post. There is one problem with removing them. Where will the NFL hang the flags that tell the kicker which way and how strong the wind is blowing?

Buzzkill in Beavercreek.

Quinlan from Papillion, NE

I actually don't know the process of signing players from other teams' practice squads. How are those decisions made? What goes into the evaluation and how do teams get that info?

Teams keep their pre-draft reports on all players, and then those are supplemented with evaluations from preseason games. Teams have access to all preseason game tape across the league. There's no access to anyone's practice film. A player signed off another team's practice squad is guaranteed at least three active-roster game checks, so it's a huge bump in pay for the player. Occasionally – and the Packers have done this – a team will boost a practice-squad player's pay to the active-roster league minimum to entice him to stay when he gets an offer from another club.

Adam from Orlando, FL

The Packers seem to be placing so many on IR and signing players from other practice squads. Is there extra incentive to do this? Even if they are on the team just two weeks, do they get the rights to sign these younger players to cheaper contracts for next year now?

Basically, yes, and it's how you start building your 90-man offseason roster now. A player who ends the regular season on the active roster but is unsigned for the following year with fewer than three accrued seasons of NFL service time is an exclusive-rights free agent (ERFA). If the team that holds his rights tenders him a qualifying contract before the start of free agency, he cannot negotiate with other teams.

Lenny from Rexdale, Ontario

Hi Insiders. Do either of you have any knowledge in terms of the potential of the NFL expanding the number of teams eligible for postseason play? I would love to see a seventh team added, with only the No. 1 seed getting a first-round bye, hence making that position that much more coveted, which may increase the urgency of teams earlier in the season. Thoughts? Merry Christmas!

This idea had some traction around 5-6 years ago, but I've heard zilch recently. It died off. I'm not a fan of changing the NFL's postseason setup. I personally like it the way it is.

Take a look back in time at memorable photos from prior Packers-Jets matchups.

Trevor from Seattle, WA

I think I'm going to get Spoff a box set of "The Big Bang Theory" for Christmas.

Appreciate the thought, but in the DVR I've saved in perpetuity the episode that flashes back to how the elevator was broken. That's all I need.

Jenny from South Bend, IN

I'm a glass-is-half-full, sunny-side-up kind of gal. The positive side of the Packers' recent drafting history is we'll have cap room. Am I right in thinking Kenny Clark is next up for a jackpot contract extension? Is this offseason too soon to lock him up?

It'll be interesting to see what the Packers decide with Clark. His rookie contract can be renegotiated/extended after three years, but as a first-round pick the Packers hold a fifth-year option on him as well, so technically he has two years left on his deal if the Packers choose to look at it that way.

Greg from Sydney, Australia

Will the thrill felt from future victories be enhanced due to previous defeats reducing fans' expectations and therefore increasing the appreciation of slightly less anticipated positive results next season, maybe? Could this year's disappointing results equate to a net overall reduction in fan bitching directed at you guys?

Maybe. I guess. Or not.

Shane from Coralville, IA

Can you remember a more important upcoming draft for the Packers? Outside of Kenny, we've failed to have a year-over-year performer out of the first round since 2011. With two picks in the first round and cap room, I have the feeling this is the offseason Gutekunst will be remembered for or judged by.

It's the pivot point for the back third of Rodgers' career. His collaboration with Mark Murphy on hiring the new head coach will be instrumental as well.

Tom from Plymouth, MN

In response to David from Janesville, WI, it is even more remarkable what Pettine has been able to do with this defense when you look at who remains from the Week 1 starting lineup. Of the original 11 defensive starters in the lineup from Week 1, only four remain going into Week 16. Even 2010 didn't get that depleted.

With similar reflection, I think the key question is who's the Desmond Bishop of this defense moving forward? The guy thrust into more extensive duty due to injuries who becomes a reliable mainstay. Fackrell? Breeland? Lancaster? All possibilities. If you're going to go through something like this, be better for it personnel-wise.

Michael from Innsbruck, Austria

I'm currently busy doing the last proofreading of my Ph.D. thesis. Just changed "without a doubt" to "indubitably." One of my empirical cases is labeled, "Help is not on the way," and one of my study participants carries the pseudonym "Aaron." While wrapping up my multi-year project, I wanted to show you guys the influence of Vic, you, and the Packers during the last four years. Love you, love my Pack. An early Merry Christmas to everybody in the II universe!

If the defense of your dissertation is up next, then you already know that, indubitably, help is not on the way for that, either. In all sincerity, the II universe wishes you the best.

Jeremy from Lethbridge, Canada

Which is more impressive: Bobby Wagner's zero missed tackles so far this year, or DeAndre Hopkins' zero dropped catches?

Wow, I'd have to go with Wagner. But wow, wasn't aware.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Huge question mark next year at OLB. Clay Matthews will be a free agent in two games (and I hope we can re-sign him). Nick Perry can't stay healthy. Kyler Fackrell has splashed with a pair of three-sack games, but is now in a four-game drought. Reggie Gilbert impressed in preseason, but has been pretty quiet since. I know we can't go back and draft T.J. Watt, but what do you think is our best path for making this unit a strength in 2019?

Word was after last year's draft the upcoming draft would be deep with edge rushers. I won't get into studying any of that until the combine in February, but we'll see, and if that projection holds true, the Packers will have to take advantage. For the record, the league fixed its mistake in crediting Matthews with a sack in Chicago. It was a split sack between Fackrell and Montravius Adams, so Fackrell now has 8½ sacks on the season, leading the team.

Doug from Lafayette, OH

Is the II going to be observing Festivus this year? I plan on holding the annual "airing of grievances" Sunday at my house. Of course, my wife and daughters usually do most of the airing. Yama hama. At any rate, I'd best go get the pole out of the crawl space.

I'd take on Wes in the "feats of strength" if he weren't such a big UFC fan.

The Packers practiced Thursday afternoon ahead of Sunday's game against the Jets.

Max from Ingolstadt, Deutschland

What I see when I look at this team is an elite QB with a go-to elite receiver, a ton of young talent both on offense and defense and some veterans that don't get the recognition they deserve (Martinez, Bakhtiari, …). We might lack a really great edge rusher and a bunch of safeties, but if Alexander, Jackson, MVS, ESB and the like take the next step, Gutekunst does a decent job drafting and we get a coach that can make it all click, I don't see anyone we should be afraid of next year.

That's a lot of ifs, but it needs to be that kind of offseason for the about-face to be quick. I think it can be, but a lot has to fall into place, too.

Randall from Nintingbool, Victoria

Hi Mike, thanks for chatting briefly with me Tuesday in the Lambeau Atrium – I'm the Aussie who said hello as you were entering the building. Following previous advice from you and Wes, my wife and I did the Legendary Tour and it was fantastic! Our guides, Ron and Robin, did a superb job showing us around. We came across a sign while on tour which said "Working Media" and wondered (at the risk of being banned), isn't that an oxymoron?

Ouch. Though today's column went off the rails so repeatedly I probably deserved that.

Eric from Kenosha, WI

Man, I love Insider Inbox. What other sports forum provides insightful dialog about the team and the game, pop culture references spanning at least four decades, and off-the-wall discussions about the merits of different football incinerating lasers?

And we're here six days a week. Happy Friday, everyone.