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Inbox: It was the perfect move at the perfect time

The Packers are getting a strong communicator and teacher of the game in Joe Barry

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Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Woodson

Justin from Ivins, UT

I wonder how bummed the Chiefs are they didn't go all in this year to win it? Just kidding, I'm glad the Packers had a team that could go all the way and that they put it together the right way. What are you most excited about for this upcoming season? For me, I have to say I'm excited how the creative the front office gets with the cap space! It's a daunting task to be sure but I believe they'll do right by our team, like always.

It's going to be an interesting offseason, to say the least. But what I'm most excited about is watching this team continue to grow after seeing Jaire Alexander, Rashan Gary, Kingsley Keke have breakout years. The way this team is constructed, I believe there's going to be even more in 2021.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

Well, the MVP selection was anticlimactic. I know some may have had unrealistic expectations on how Aaron Rodgers would perform immediately under Matt LaFleur, but it should be pointed out Matt Ryan won the MVP in the second year under LaFleur so this is far from surprising. Also, LaFleur had a hand in Robert Griffin III winning the Rookie of the Year award with Washington. Now, is there other film that Rodgers can look at this offseason to improve his game?

That's what all the greats do. Even before the Super Bowl, Tom Brady was already talking about working on his speed this summer to be more mobile in the pocket. Rodgers emphasized strengthening his lower body last offseason and it paid major dividends during his MVP season. I'm sure the reigning MVP already has a few things circled he wants to improve upon for Year 14 as the Packers' starting QB.

Mike from Ames, IA

It's often been said the NFL is a copycat league. What do you see teams taking from Tampa's success and trying to replicate with their franchise? And, considering the Packers' success as well, what might teams try to take from them?

There are moves the Bucs made I agreed with and some I don't, but Jason Licht deserves credit for keeping his antenna up. Tampa leveraged the acquisition of Tom Brady into coaxing Rob Gronkowski out of retirement and then signed Leonard Fournette after Jacksonville waived the former first-round pick. Those were two key moves that didn't cost a whole lot and served Tampa well in its Super Bowl push.

Chris from Excelsior, MN

Not only did this Super Bowl remind us defense still wins championships, but it also proves the importance of running the ball. Patrick Mahomes dropped back to pass 24 of 30 of their offensive snaps in the first half. From the start, and even I noticed this, the Bucs were dropping seven into coverage. Isn't that when you run the ball?

That's what stood out the most to me, as well. Maybe being the league's top run defense in back-to-back years earns a lot of clout in game-planning meetings, but I was just floored how teams didn't commit to running the ball against Tampa Bay. Mahomes ran it more times (five) than Clyde Edwards-Helaire (four) in the first half. The Chiefs got pass-happy and the Bucs' edge rushers made them pay for it.

Caleb from Williamstown, NJ

Wes mentioned getting Seattle-Denver vibes from this Super Bowl matchup and I had the same thought when the snap went over Brady's head and cost them a down. As I recall, Peyton Manning had the same thing happen early in SB 48 and Seattle scored off it. So my question is do all linemen train to be able to handle snaps, if needed, because of injury? Is it something where they just wing it or are there practices where you have guards and tackles working on smooths snaps?

I couldn't tell you how many guys snap during practice during a given week, but it's definitely not everybody. The Packers, for example, had Corey Linsley, Elgton Jenkins and Lucas Patrick snapping to the quarterbacks since the start of training camp. Maybe a few others joined in when the media wasn't watching practice.

Dave from East Burke, VT

Are we building a team to beat Tom Brady or the Bucs?

Oh, like how last year some of you wanted the Packers to build a team to beat Raheem Mostert and the 49ers?

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers CB Jaire Alexander from his Pro Bowl season.

Jon from Monument, CO

I was a bit shocked at the Joe Barry hire, but I'm hopeful he'll be a great DC for the Packers. I think many of us don't know a lot about him. That being said, what can fans expect/look forward to from Coach Barry?

I've heard nothing but good things from people outside the building. It sounds like Barry is a strong communicator and good teacher of the game. I'll have a "5 things to know" story posting later this morning. I'm excited to learn more about Barry and his scheme, though. On paper, I think this is easily the most talent he's had to build his defense around.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

What do you think LaFleur likes in Joe Barry?

They worked together in Los Angeles back in 2017, so there's obviously some familiarity there. Beyond that, I'm not going to speak for LaFleur. We'll see what he has to say about it whenever he speaks next on the coaching hires.

Chet from Sioux Falls, SD

Coaches can definitely change and improve over time. In your estimation, what are the Packers getting in Joe Barry? An architect and leader of the league's best defense last year, or the leader of some of the league's worst defenses on the worst teams a few years back? Also, what do you think his defining characteristic as a defensive coordinator is? I can say that I don't know much about the coach or the man. Happy offseason II!

I don't want to make excuses for anybody but I'm not sure how much you can glean from what happened with the 2008 Detroit Lions. That was more than a decade ago and that coaching staff wasn't exactly given the 1972 Dolphins to work with. Aggression is the word that keeps getting thrown around about Barry and the numbers show his units consistently generated takeaways.

KB from Wichita, KS

Congrats to Rodgers on a well-deserved third MVP. Just curious though, why is it that half of the time the MVP also wins OPOY and yet Rodgers has never received that honor. The apparent inconsistency in how OPOY is awarded is confusing and frustrating.

Charean Williams, of Pro Football Talk, addressed this over the weekend after Andrew Brandt raised the same question on Twitter. The NFL Offensive Player of the Year award has become more of a skill-position player award in recent years and I'm cool with that. A receiver has never won MVP and only one running back (Adrian Peterson) has won the award in the last 13 years. If OPOY becomes their award, that's OK. Heck, maybe Davante Adams gets it next year? Somebody bookmark today's column.

Richard from Farmington Hills, MI

So the great Charles Woodson and the man who signed him, Ted Thompson, are both going up on the Ring of Honor. How fitting is that? Sure hope it's done at the same game. I would make every effort to be there – I get my second shot tomorrow!

It would be fitting to have Woodson and Thompson honored together. Thompson and the Packers assumed some risk when they signed Woodson, but it was the perfect move at the perfect time. Once Dom Capers arrived, the Packers had the right scheme for Woodson to shine in that "star" DB role. Woodson had a brilliant 11-year run in Oakland but an argument could be made his seven seasons in Green Bay would've been enough to make him a Hall of Famer. Together, he was without question a first-ballot gold jacket.

Andy from Verona, WI

Do you think having another Packers safety get his (well-deserved) induction into the Hall of Fame this year hampers LeRoy Butler's chances, just because he was on the same team?

John Lynch getting in probably helps Butler's chances more than Woodson. At least, that's what everybody keeps telling me. I still can't believe that happened, but I'm trying to pour the water back into the glass I knocked over Saturday night, so I can see it half full.

Pat from Kennesaw, GA

I think the HOF should be ashamed of themselves for not putting Butler in. Only first team all 90s team member not to be in, aside from the punter and kick returner. The second-team safety is in before him, along with a host of other second teamers. It brings back horrible flashbacks of Jerry Kramer. I sure hope they get it right long before they did for Kramer.

I doubt it'll be that long. It wasn't just that Kramer didn't get in as a modern-day finalist – he then got shut down as a senior nominee the first time around. The good news for Butler is there isn't really a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer on next year's docket, so hopefully that's an opportunity to welcome Butler and a few other deserving players into Canton in 2022.

Richard from Republic, MO

It is such a shame that KC didn't go all-in this year.

If only the other 31 teams would've gone all-in, too, then maybe everyone would've gotten a Lombardi Trophy.

Adrian from Chula Vista, CA

Now that we are officially in the offseason, how much time will I have to sit on pins and needles until we discover the final outcome between management and RB1? I am a little biased because RB1 and I are alums from the same university (UTEP), although I graduated 11 years before he was born. Even though his last game was not one of his better performances, the Pack is better with him in the lineup than with him in another team's backfield. GO PACK GO. Can't wait for Bears v Packers 2021.

You're probably going to be sitting in an uncomfortable position for another month. Now that the season is over, most deals NFL teams strike with pending free agents tend to happen in the 11th hour before the start of the new league year or sometimes even after. I don't know what happens with Aaron Jones or Linsley. All I can say is those two are worth whatever's coming to them. They're obviously good football players, but more importantly, tremendous people.

David from Appleton, WI

Hello once again II. As I sat watching the Super Bowl, my mind went back to last year's playoffs. When the Packers hosted Seattle, there were several players missing due to a "nasty flu bug" going through the locker room. Could this have been COVID-19, which unintentionally inoculated many of the Packers for the 2020 season?

Well, Jared Veldheer was one of those players who got that nasty flu bug last year, so that may debunk your theory. Players also returned in a matter of days. AJ Dillon knocked out for a month with COVID-19.

Matt from Auburndale, WI

Congrats to Charles, first-ballot Hall of Famer has a nice ring to it. I've heard a lot of radio pundits declare that Eli Manning shouldn't be voted into the hall. What's your take on that? I see no reason not to if you consider Troy Aikman made it in with three Super Bowls and only 165 career touchdowns with only one season with over 20 TDs. Eli has two rings and threw 366 touchdowns.

Eli isn't eligible for four more years, so those pundits are wasting their breath. I also don't think you can compare QBs in this era to those of the 1990s. The game, and position, has changed dramatically. I do think Eli and Philip Rivers both get in eventually. Just don't ask me when.

Gabor from Budapest, Hungary

Good morning, Wes! Did Brady just show how great quarterbacks can defeat the inverse draft order: change the team which picked at the bottom for one which picked at the top for the last few years?

It's a quarterback league and the Bucs needed a quarterback. Meanwhile, it would appear the Patriots are in need of a quarterback.

Michael from Novato, CA

Hey Wes, no question, just an observation. With the poor game Mahomes had on Sunday, Bart Starr is once again the all-time leader in playoff QB rating. When you consider 1) the era he played 2) that this is almost 25 points higher than his regular season rating (and he was one of the all-timers when he retired) and 3) I can't find anyone else even 10 points higher in the playoffs than regular season. This is one of more underappreciated feats in football, in my opinion.

You're absolutely right. "Big Game" Bart is again atop the list with a postseason passer rating of 104.8. It's incredible someone like Starr, who's larger than life, can still be so underrated for what he did on the field.

Mark from West Des Moines, IA

What was your favorite part of the Super Bowl?

I'm not sure I had one. Maybe Kevin Harlan's radio call of the streaker?

John from Los Angeles, CA

Now that we're officially in the dead zone, what's the calendar of important offseason dates we should be aware of?

The NFL lists one important date at the moment – the NFL Draft will be April 29-May 1. The rest is wait-and-see.

Brandon from Margate, FL

I know that the NFL basically never addresses officiating concerns after a particular game, which makes it all the more frustrating to see how inconsistently officiated the NFC Championship Game was compared to the Super Bowl. While both GB and KC absolutely did NOT lose solely because of officiating, I refuse to believe those huge momentum shifts in the first half of both games didn't play a factor in the outcome of the game.

Like I wrote on Monday, there's just no uniformity. Maybe that's because we had mix-and-matched officiating crews this year because of COVID-19 but I noticed the referees more this season than any other time since the referee lockout ended in 2012. That's all I have to say about that.

Tony from River Falls, WI

I'm always pleased to see Packers fans outside of Wisconsin. While in Norway, I met a couple from Green Bay who noticed my buddy wearing a Packers shirt. I was treated to several "Go Pack Go!" chants in Washington DC while I was there wearing a Packers hat. What are some memories you have of seeing Packers fans outside of WI?

Coincidentally, it was meeting Packers fans from Norway in a random bar in Palo Alto last year before the NFC title game. I always enjoy those interactions, especially when fans make that kind of investment to be there live.

Brandon from Pleasant Prairie, WI

I'm not a fan of Brady but he's the GOAT. Also, how many readers caught the Toby Keith reference in reference to Gronk?

You and Jeff from Wentzville, MO.

Bronwyn from Tampa, FL

I would like to take a moment to thank the NFL for offering me and 7,499 of my fellow healthcare workers the opportunity of a lifetime, to attend the Super Bowl. Not only did we get a free ticket, but also there was free food and drink at the Miley Cyrus pregame show. After a pretty rough year, it was a special day. Also, as a Packers fan, it was sad not to see them playing the Chiefs, but the way the Bucs smothered the Chiefs made me feel a little better about the NFC Championship game. On to 2021!

That's awesome, Bronwyn. I'm happy to hear you had an amazing time and thank you for everything you do.

Larry from Chubbuck, ID

Glad the Super Bowl is over because the 2021 season started Monday in my mind. I look forward to all the events leading up to training camp in July. It is also enjoyable to follow II during this journey to get your, and the other readers', perspectives. Here we go 2021! Let's hope we make it one game further than this year.

That's the craziest part of this rollercoaster. The Super Bowl is over and the next morning a new season begins.

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