Skip to main content
Powered by

Inbox: It still comes down to winning a one-on-one

Self-awareness can get you a long way in this league


John from Winsted, CT

Spoff, I see you're left to deal with all the people whining about the new website layout. Good luck this morning.

It's been a mixed bag, as expected, and all the feedback, good and bad, is appreciated. The bottom line is a more simplified system on the back end was long overdue, and it was created in conjunction with a front end that is more mobile-oriented because we've reached the point that roughly three-fourths of our traffic comes from mobile devices. There are some drawbacks for desktop users, but we hope it won't take long to adjust. Folks have asked about the archives, which we're told are coming back eventually. We also will try to tweak the things we can, such as the typeface and bold contrast many readers mentioned. For those frustrated, please hang in there. Change can be difficult, but the new presentation is not changing our content. At its core, we're still the same

Tim from Upland, CA

New-look website to go with a new-look defense (Pettine's) and "new" offense? How about adding a new Lombardi trophy to the case this season, too?

One thing at a time.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

When you talk of communication, what kind(s) off communication are you talking about? If it were just verbal it would seem a lot would get missed with crowd noise, especially in places like Seattle.

Defenses on the road and offenses at home can usually communicate verbally without crowd noise problems. When the location changes, you'll see more pointing and hand signals, such as when the center points out the "mike," or middle linebacker, as the foundation for a protection call amidst the road crowd noise. At home, he can just call out the mike's number.

Per Christensen from Odense, Denmark

Hi Insiders. Josh Jones said he didn't like what he put on tape last year and that he didn't play well. Isn't he being somewhat harsh on himself? I thought he did quite well in a difficult situation. I get the feeling Jones is his own worst critic.

I found his comments refreshing. He wasn't being his own worst critic just for the sake of motivation, which works for some guys, but it's a routine that can get tiring. He was simply being honest, and self-awareness can get you a long way in this league.

Take a look at photos of players practicing during Week 2 of OTAs.

Junior from Syracuse, NY

Loved the way Gutekunst worked the draft getting another first next draft and getting two great corners. I think Gutekunst is a step ahead and knows that the next draft is deep in edge (rushers), and also it is a great need. I can see him drafting two edge in the first round like he did this past draft with corners. Of course how the board falls makes a lot of difference, but I can see this happening. Would like your thoughts on that.

Any and all options are on the table with two first-round picks next year, but so much can happen over the next 11 months we don't need to spend any time trying to project or predict.

Seth from Ellicott City, MD

In regards to velociraptors as your favorite dinosaur, do you mean like the ones in the "Jurassic Park" films, or the lame scientifically accurate ones that resemble chickens?

Wes went for Jurassic Park. I'll go with a much older classic and pick the pterodactyl (along with the hat and the broach).

Ed from Henryville, IN

Hey guys. I've been watching some of our games from the last couple of seasons and it's actually pretty surprising how much players like Richie Rodgers and other unsung players helped during injuries, like in the 2016 playoff game against Dallas. I understand that it's a business but we've let a bunch of, for lack of a better phrase, the fans' players go this offseason. I'll never understand how the powers that be rank the players, but some players as selfless as Jordy and Richie, just seems like the team could've kept them. Sorry. Just venting.

It's never easy to see fan favorites go. I won't deny that. But an organization must place the courage of its convictions over sentimentality, whether the decision is cap-related or just a commitment to improve at a position. Having roster spots or cap space occupied without the requisite return on the investment does not make a team better.

Russell from Shorewood, WI

With the lack of depth at outside linebacker and the depth on the defensive line, do you envision the Packers utilizing a four-man front more often to bring Dean Lowry onto the field?

I suspect we're going to see a variety of defensive fronts with Pettine, and he'll tailor them to the team's strengths and the situations at hand.

Conner from Tucson, AZ

With regards to the backup quarterbacks, both Hundley and Kizer have relatively low contracts. Isn't there a benefit in having two backups with real game experience? Rather than a potential undrafted rookie?

Of course, but the decision to keep two or three QBs on the active roster will in part be influenced by players at other positions. Whether they've earned a roster spot and the risk of exposing a promising young player to waivers are factors that also come into play.

Derek from Olney, IL

Just wanted to say I love "Packers Unscripted." I get off work around 3 a.m. a lot of nights and it puts a smile on my face to listen to it on my 40-minute drive home. Keep it up guys. I'm hopin' to do a podcast of my own someday. Nothin' I love more than talkin' football.

Thanks for listenin'. Wes and I just recorded our 300th episode. It's hard to believe. We're hopin' for another 300.

Sam from Skokie, IL

This column has often said that the Packers really are great at drafting receivers, especially in second rounds and lower. I think there are two reasons for that perception. Favre and Rodgers. I don't think Brooks and Driver have the careers they did without Favre. Nelson looked like his old self last year until Rodgers went down. Then he struggled. Rodgers even made Janis a stud for a game when he had no one else to throw to. JMO

The quarterback is an enormous factor, no doubt. But let's not forget Nelson averaged 62 yards per game in the seven starts Rodgers missed in 2013. That's a 1,000-yard pace for a full season, and we all saw what Adams did without Rodgers last year. We don't have that comparison for Favre because he never missed a game, but guys like Brooks and Freeman had plenty of talent. I'll concede they became bigger stars than they otherwise would have without Favre, but they'd have succeeded in the league, health permitting. Driver is in a category all his own to me, given where he came from. Green Bay and Favre gave him an opportunity that might not have existed elsewhere, but obviously there was something extraordinary about him as an individual. I'm more inclined to be thankful it played out as it did rather than overanalyze something so special.

John from San Diego, CA

Sometimes the most obvious doppelgangers are right in front of you. Mike Spofford/Matthew Broderick.

Oh my. Life is definitely moving pretty fast. Shall we play a game?

Jeff from Elk Mound, WI

With all the safety changes to the kicking game and in the future having everyone stand up even at the line of scrimmage I could see losing interest in football. The XFL might be starting at the right time. I'm all for safety, especially hits like that on Adams, but don't take the game away.

Fantasy football created a whole new generation and segment of fans who are interested regardless of the level of violence. The league was smart to embrace fantasy football.

Pancho from New Castle, PA

I understand that fans are impatient to know who will be on the roster this season. At this point there's no need to rush. Life has a way of making many decisions for us.

Indeed it does.

Scott from Green Bay, WI

"Pure athletic ability wins out less often the further up the chain you go." Why? Mental toughness. It takes mental toughness to practice skills over and over. It does not take mental toughness to be talented.

It also takes mental toughness to constantly challenge those with greater physical skills in order to improve your own. Close the gap enough, don't lose the mental edge, and a career can appear.

Jeff from Iowa City, IA

I've seen commenters saying that there were no good choices for the NFL regarding the national anthem policy. They would be criticized regardless of their choice. I don't think that's true. The NFL's best choice was to do nothing. By late last season the controversy had largely died down. Most teams had decided to act in unity, either standing, kneeling, or linking arms. The league's decision to adopt an inflammatory policy just reignited the controversy.

If the league had done nothing, a simple tweet from a certain someone would have reignited it, guaranteed. Let's not kid ourselves.

Roger from McGrath, AK

Coach McCarthy used the phrase "digit system" as well as "West Coast Offense" in reply to a question about his offensive staff. Can you characterize the digit system? Which coaches have that experience?

It's not a different system, just a different way of calling the plays, using numbers to correspond to pass routes and other elements.

Brett from Lakewood, CO

Why draft and develop the next Jimmy Graham when you can sign the actual Jimmy Graham in free agency? If Vic still reads Insider Inbox, that question surely made him do a facepalm.

Almost certainly, but I think Wes's point about the time it takes to develop tight ends now, given the systems they're coming from in college, is valid. The time frame is so extended you'd better find the "next" whoever long before you actually need him. When that hasn't occurred, you try another avenue.

Thomas from Dunkerton, IA

I like the new look but obviously I was not consulted. I know the ads pay the bills and the photo links are great, but if you could maybe bunch them toward the middle instead of spread throughout, then there is a chance my boss will walk in on a screen full of text and think it's work-related. If not, he's sure to catch on to my mid-morning Insiders fix!

Your boys are going down, Danny. I can't stop it anymore.

AJ from Brisbane, Australia

Kentrell Brice or Josh Jones: who starts the season alongside Clinton-Dix?

I don't think it matters, because the variety of packages can get them all on the field.

Greg from Perkasie, PA

I appreciated Mike Pettine's comments about the importance of an interior pass rush. It always bothers me when I watch edge rushers get pushed right past the QB while he steps up into a clean pocket to throw. I always thought life would be harder for a QB having someone in his face rather than coming at him from the side where he can move around more.

That's definitely Pettine's philosophy, and I found his comments enlightening. He mentioned it's easier to "negate an edge rusher" than a dominant inside player, because of the help tight ends and backs can give. Interior rushers can be double-teamed, of course, but with multiple forces inside, someone's getting a one-on-one because not everyone can be doubled. That said, you still need edge rushers to draw the extra attention he talked about, or the backs and tight ends can release and give the QB more outlets. No matter how you slice it, it still comes down to winning a one-on-one somewhere, somehow.

Michael from Eau Claire, WI

Block/charge against LeBron last night changed the game. You think a simple fix to replay is to allow the officials to see only live action not slow-mo?

No, that's not the answer. I'm all for correcting obvious officiating errors, but when I saw such a clearly subjective judgment changed with the game on the line, I just shook my head. I don't understand how anyone thinks using replay to that extent is a good idea.

Dan from Catonsville, MD

Mike/Wes, much has been written of drafting multiple draft picks at the same position. However, doing that in itself produces a tremendous amount of pressure through OTAs and training camp on the coaching staff and front office to select the correct player or players at that position to make the team and the practice squad. Because whoever does not make the Packers at wide receiver might be a pretty darn good football player and may go to some other team and make an impact. Your thoughts?

Trust me, they welcome the pressure of tough decisions. It trounces the alternative in this business.

Collin from Omaha, NE

After Jordy was cut, I had no idea who would become my favorite Packers player, but Aaron Jones just made a very good case for that title.

I love **the part of the story** about the woman thinking he worked at the airport.

Eddie from La Crosse, WI

Mike, what pitch do you have a better chance of hitting: Josh Hader's fastball or Corey Knebel's curveball?

I'll take WesHod's knuckleball instead.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, I love the new format, all flashy and colorful, very impressive. But I can't find the button to submit a question. Can you help?

Wait, huh?