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Inbox: It was a fortuitous sequence of events

Can the next Kenny Clark fall another four spots?

Former Packers DL B.J. Raji
Former Packers DL B.J. Raji

Scott from Palos Park, IL

If they add a 17th game will they have to pay Tony Romo even more money?

And we're off, so we might as well get going.

Dominic from Manchester, UK

For our football FA cup, they basically put a ball for each team in a big pot and select them two at a time to make a fixture. First the home team and then the away. The process repeats until there are no balls left. What are your thoughts on doing this for the 17th game? It would be on hell of a spectacle to watch on TV and could make for some incredible matchups – a third divisional game or a second repeat of the previous year's SB!

I could live with something random, but not totally random. I wouldn't want a third divisional game, and I think it should be either a conference game or cross-conference game for everybody, not a mish-mash. Maybe every playoff team would have to face a playoff team from the other conference not already on the schedule, but the matchups are created by a random drawing like you suggest. Same for the non-playoff teams. Something like that. Or matching up placeholders from a division in the other conference, as many have suggested, would work for me, too.

Clipton from Pasadena, CA

I'm a big Blake Martinez fan and though you've patiently answered a lot of questions about him recently I was hoping you'd indulge us with one more. I'm confused about what's so lacking in his game that the Packers are hesitant to commit to him. He's near the top in the NFL in tackles every year; per PFF he was the top-rated MLB in the NFC in 2018 (over Danny Trevathan, Anthony Barr, and Roquan Smith); he has good field intelligence and he's a great teammate. Your insight please?

You bring up plenty of valid points, and if the Packers decide to move on, I'll reiterate he may not be easy to replace. I'm not a film junkie analyzing whatever shortcomings Martinez might have in his game, so I won't pretend (Speed? Coverage? Whatever.) I can only go back to what I said the other day, that if the Packers want to continue getting better on defense, their recent history of personnel changes and improvements shows the spots to target next are the defensive line and inside linebacker. They've upgraded everything else, significantly in my opinion. Whether they keep Martinez or make a change, it's going to require a significant investment of capital – cap capital or draft capital. Martinez would represent the status quo. Teams don't like to make big investments in the status quo if they feel they can do better at a particular spot. We'll know the Packers' opinion soon enough.

Trevor from Cheyenne, WY

Depending on what happens with Blake, or how the Packers feel about the ILBs on the current roster behind him, I've really felt that they're one B.J. Raji 2.0 away from an elite defense. Am I wrong? And is Raji 2.0 out there?

Perhaps, but remember, the Packers are picking at 30, and Raji was the No. 9 overall pick in the '09 draft, the only top-10 pick the Packers have had in the last dozen years. And the Packers in all likelihood don't even get Raji if the Raiders don't reach for Darrius Heyward-Bey at No. 7. It was a fortuitous sequence of events, just as when Kenny Clark fell all the way to No. 26 four years ago. Can the next Kenny Clark fall another four spots?

Matt from Manhattan, KS

I've always felt that some stats are next to worthless for judging how good a player is. Take the passing game, where a WR winning his route gets more catches, earning trust with the QB and getting more targets for that, leading to still more catches, yards, and TDs. With the CB, it's almost the reverse. Win against the WR and a good QB won't give you an opportunity to get a pick, making me feel that INTs are one of the worst measures of CB ability. Any stat you feel similarly about?

You've just described why scouts, coaches, personnel executives and others don't use stats to evaluate anybody, college prospects or pro players. They use the film. The film doesn't lie.

Eric from Honolulu, HI

How does the GM and the scouting group rank the prospects? Who has the final say?

It's a consensus opinion. The area scout usually brings attention to a player first. Then others are asked to evaluate that same player, and notes are compared. Ultimately, everyone involved will meet daily for about a week or two prior to the draft. Discussions ensue, and everyone who has an opinion is heard, to finalize the rankings and the big board. You do all the homework and have all the arguments in advance so time isn't wasted when "on the clock" and the GM has to make the final call.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

Mike, funny how a Prospect Primer for Jonathan Taylor comes out at the same time your answer on II states you don't think Green Bay will end up with Taylor. Outside of focusing on areas of need (ILB, WR, etc.) for the Prospect Primer, do you try to concentrate on those players you think might be in the range that GB is drafting? There's so many prospects to choose from so trying to get a gauge on how you and Wes select the players you do.

It's not scientific. It's a combination of positions of need, players of widespread interest, available video to make a good piece, and generally players projected to be drafted on the first two days. Our video crew has a lot of input in constructing the list because they tell us the players for whom we have access to the best video clips.

Ewok from Denver, CO

Hey there guys. Just wanted to write in to congratulate JC Tretter on becoming the new president of the NFLPA. What an honor, and he just continues to show he's a high-character guy. Gotta love him!

This is admittedly a biased opinion, but the players' union made a great choice for its next president. Tretter is sharp, articulate, educated and personable. Any local reporter here who talked to him for the first time during rookie orientation in 2013 would say the same thing. He'll serve the union very well.

Scott from Fredonia, WI

The incoming rookies in this year's draft class don't have a vote on the new CBA, correct? Is there anyone with a vote that is looking out for the rookies-to-be? I would hope they don't get the short end of the stick just because they were a year late.

Incoming rookies do not get a vote. The financial system was slanted in the top draft picks' favor for a long, long time before the 2011 CBA did away with cap-crippling $50 million guarantees before players ever took a snap. The contract slotting system has worked well for players and clubs the past decade.

Sean from Arlington Heights, IL

Mike, on the subject of who can and cannot vote on the CBA, what about players who've been out of the league for a couple years but haven't filed their paperwork for retirement? I believe Jay Cutler, for instance, hasn't. I assume it would come down to whether or not they still pay union dues. In that case, wouldn't it behoove former players to maintain membership to have a say in the vote? The CBA affects them too in terms of future benefits.

Interesting thought. I'm sure dues-paying counts, but I'm not privy to whether there are other stipulations.

Take a look at photos of Packers DL Kingsley Keke from the 2019 season.

Mike from Ames, IA

I've seen a lot of debate over whether or not the Packers "need" a veteran receiver to join the room or not. How much do you think this factors into Gute & Co.'s decision-making? What's your opinion on the matter?

The Packers have Davante Adams to lead. Whether the rest is young talent or veteran talent, there has to be enough talent competing to push good players out of the way, not just competition that allows everybody to find a niche. I don't care whether the newcomers are young or old. If they bring some competitive tension, I think the Packers will be better off.

Michael from Santa Cruz, CA

Interesting take by Spoff on the uncertainty of Darnell Savage's trajectory going into Year 2. To my eyes, he flashed in the first month, so he was likely playing more hurt than we knew the rest of the season. I'm hopeful. The one player I have no idea what to expect for next season is Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Everything from re-establishing himself as a dangerous WR2 to getting cut out of camp is on the table. He too was playing injured, but his confidence appeared to take a hit as well. Rooting for a bounce back.

No reason not to. The talent is there and he's produced in the past. No matter how many receivers the Packers bring in this offseason, MVS bouncing back will help the offense. That's a given.

David from Capitol Heights, MD

Dear Insiders, I know it's been a hot second, but I wanted to ask you why do you think people cheat? It seems we have all sorts of scandals and no one seems to be above it. Even the Patriots, who could've been the best ever, felt it was necessary to sully their legacy and stain the very goal they sought. Why do you suppose they do it? Why does anyone do it?

To some, the ends always justify the means. It's a tale as old as time.

Andy from LaPorte, CO

Rather than just examining draft classes, what are some of the best offseasons of upgrades for the Packers? This can include draft, free agency, coaching staff, management, etc.

Prior to last year, the two most significant I witnessed were in 2006 and 2009. In '06, McCarthy and his new staff arrived, along with Pickett, Woodson, Hawk, Jennings, Colledge, etc. Then in '09, Capers and a new defensive staff came in, plus Raji and Matthews as the first two draft picks. But last year saw more wide-ranging upgrades than those.

George from Hutchinson, MN

COVID-19 is causing worldwide cancellations of public events. Have you been privy to any concerns from NFL officials regarding this year's draft-day presentation?

I've heard nothing, but I would imagine it'll be a topic at the owners' meetings at the end of this month.

Tom from Westfield, MA

"Boil the brats in a vat of beer" … While I am sure the brat benefits, seems like a sacrilegious waste of good beer. Please tell me no beer was harmed in the making of your brats.

I buy the cheapest stuff I can find at the liquor store. It never even goes into the fridge.

Jenn from Peoria, IL

Hey Mike! In reference to how you make your brats, the only thing missing is a stick of butter in that beer and onion Jacuzzi. Trust me. It's next level. A brat isn't a brat if you don't feel like you need to apologize to your cardiologist afterwards.

Of all the suggestions that came flooding in (I appreciate the efforts), I might actually try this one. Happy Wednesday.

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