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Inbox: It would start with the draft

One Super Bowl does not a Hall of Famer make

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DL Kenny Clark

Tom from Dollar Bay, MI

Mike, with Wes gone this week, are you scheduled to be gone next week? Right around the time AR12 told Pat McAfee that he would probably make a decision?

Ding ding ding!

Tony from Bailly, France

Thanks for all you provide to Packer fans everywhere. Even a short II absence leaves a noticeable gap in the day. Since it seems certain that Green Bay will play an overseas game this year, how and when can we expect to learn the details?

I wouldn't say certain, but the odds seem better than they've been in a long time, if not ever. The full schedule has been released in early May in recent years, but I recall in the past teams have been informed a few weeks in advance that they're getting an international game, with the specifics TBA. So it's all very up in the air, though I wouldn't expect to hear anything prior to April.

Sebastian from Erlangen, Germany

Insiders, I am in excitement overload to learn the NFL will play a regular-season game in my home city of Munich this year. It will be my first NFL game. Would you have any insight of the possibility the Green Bay Packers would be one of the teams? It would not only be my ultimate dream come true. If Green Bay does make it overseas, would you two also travel? It would be the icing on the cake to also meet you in person.

I would love nothing more than to celebrate Oktoberfest in Germany, but my gut says the Packers' first international destination (on a full-length field, in the regular season) will be London. That's my best guess, for whatever it's worth.

Aaron from Lawton, OK

One of the most enjoyable things about watching the Super Bowl for me was that I wasn't even sure who the referee was until the final two minutes of the game. I think the quality of the game was unaffected by the lack of whistles, discussions, and replays of penalties. It was refreshing and made the game flow amazing and smooth. Sure, the Bengals scored in the second half because of a missed facemask, but wouldn't the regular season benefit from this flavor of officiating?

Of course, but you also have to realize the Bengals and Rams were two of the four least-penalized teams in the league in 2021, with 72 and 76 penalties over 17 games, respectively. The Packers had the fewest with 69. The teams themselves factored into how the Super Bowl was officiated.

JR from East Moline, IL

Stafford threw two INTs and won the SB, last year Brady threw three and won the NFCCG, and Wilson threw four in 2014 and won. I can't imagine/remember a game where Rodgers could do the same and still win. I don't think you can put 2014, unlucky coin tosses, or 2020's bad officiating/one of the most head-scratching coaching decisions on Rodgers. I'll go to my grave thinking his INT vs. Tampa was PI and the one in 2014 was a free play. The missing rings aren't because of Rodgers' fourth-quarter stats.

I tend to agree. The back-to-back three-and-outs against the 49ers last month were incredibly frustrating, but that letdown does not define Rodgers' postseason career, not even close, no matter how much people want to lazily (and falsely) claim the most recent disappointment is the same old story.

Paul from Ellensburg, WA

Hey fellas, er, Spoff… you alluded to the fact that the Packers wouldn't have the chance for all these heartbreaking playoff losses without Aaron Rodgers playing at an MVP level and you're 100% right. What I don't get is how the detractors seem to feel he wouldn't trade all four of those trophies for one Lombardi in a heartbeat. Don't you think he would?

Indubitably.

Check out photos of Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers from his 2021 MVP season.

David from Oak Hills, CA

With the 2022 season now officially behind us it's always fun to predict what the opening night kickoff game will be come September. The Rams' nine home opponents will be the following: 49ers, Cards, Seahawks, Falcons, Panthers, Broncos, Raiders, Cowboys and Bills. Any early guess as to who you think the Rams will face to open the football season?

I'm guessing Niners or Bills. I'd say the Cowboys are in the mix, too, but would the league put them against the champs in the kickoff opener two years in a row? Maybe.

David from Blue Bell, PA

After so many serious knee injuries on artificial turf and research showing that it's more dangerous than grass, when will the NFL make the needed change to ensure the highest level of safety for its players? I know that Elgton Jenkins went down on artificial turf and OBJ's injury also seems serious. Nothing is perfect but why hesitate to make the playing field the safest it can be for players? It's likely going to cost OBJ millions as a pending FA, and it could cost others their career down the road.

It's clearly not ideal that all NFL fields aren't natural grass, but the bottom line is artificial-surface venues can be used for a lot more events, a lot more often, which generates a lot more money for the stadium owner/operator. That's just how it is.

Kevin from Neptune City, NJ

Have the past few seasons (NFC Championship and Super Bowl) shown one of the most important fixtures of a team is pass rush? It feels like almost nothing else matters in a lot of these games.

It's tough to discount it. Then again, the Bengals overcame nine sacks in the divisional round to beat Tennessee and almost overcame seven in the Super Bowl. But that's not the recommended way to live. What I struggle with from the Bengals' perspective is how Joe Mixon has four carries of 8-plus yards in that game but only gets 15 rushes total while your QB is getting sacked seven times. And then on a crucial third-and-1 at midfield in the final minute, Mixon's not even in the game and the handoff went to Perine. Ugh.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

The past three NFC champions have had incredible defensive lines. As much as Brady and Stafford made plays at quarterback the past two years those games were won by dominant D-lines holding good quarterbacks in check. With our salary cap issue how do we develop a D-line like SF, TB, and the Rams?

The cap situation dictates it would start with the draft, where the Packers haven't spent a first- or second-round pick on a defensive lineman since taking Kenny Clark at No. 27 in 2016. In fact, since selecting Clark and Dean Lowry (fourth round) in '16, the Packers have drafted only four defensive linemen total, and only one, T.J. Slaton, is still on the team.

Sal from Mullica Hill, NJ

I think people are over-simplifying the ALL-IN aspect of an NFL team. Going all in now, doesn't mean you must suffer long-term ineptitude for the future. We use the Denver Broncos as an example of going all in when they had Peyton Manning. They have been bad ever since. But they haven't been bad because they went all in, they have been bad because they can't find a QB. Maybe if they had drafted a good QB when they had the chance (Dak Prescott or Josh Allen), we'd be seeing things differently.

Valid point.

Randy from Sheboygan, WI

When are the compensatory draft picks announced?

Last year it was in early March, shortly before free agency began.

Jake from Milwaukee, WI

If Rodgers decides to return to Green Bay next year, is there a way to structure his contract as a one-year deal or does returning require a multi-year commitment from Rodgers and the Packers?

It would have to be a multi-year deal for cap purposes, but the contract wouldn't necessarily have to match up to a specific advance commitment from both sides.

Dale from Aurora, CO

Are the Packers allowed to place the franchise tag on Davante Adams for 2022 and also negotiate a future long-term contract?

Absolutely, and the tag is often used to buy more time to negotiate such a deal. There's a mid-July deadline to sign tagged players to a contract longer than the one-year franchise tender.

James from Ottawa, Canada

Do you think Rodgers is involved, in any capacity, in the discussions surrounding who might fill the QB coach position? In that vein, is there a chance the "right" hire or the "wrong" hire could have an impact on Rodgers' upcoming decision?

I wouldn't think it would impact his decision significantly, but I also think it would make sense to get his feedback and/or arrange a conversation when a top candidate has emerged.

John from Salt Lake City, UT

Mike, speaking of baseball, what are your thoughts on the introduction of the Automated Ball-Strike (ABS) system to AAA? My Salt Lake Bees will have 100% of their balls and strikes called by a robot this season.

It's inevitably coming to MLB at some point, and I've been saying that for a while. The fact that it's already in Triple-A tells me it might happen a lot sooner than I thought.

Robert from Verona, WI

What position group on defense do you think can least afford to lose one of its stars due to salary cap issues? I think I'd have to argue that it's the linebacker position. Rashan Gary and Preston Smith did a nice job in the absence of Za'Darius Smith, and getting Jaire Alexander back to pair with Eric Stokes as the top two cornerbacks is very formidable. I'm not sure whom the linebacker group would turn to without De'Vondre Campbell.

That's a fair assessment. He would be the hardest void to fill on defense based on how the team is currently constructed.

H.R. from Las Vegas, NV

Living in Vegas, we got to see and hear from Rich Bisaccia on a daily basis. While I still cannot believe he didn't get the full-time gig here, the Packers got a heck of a steal. All the players here love him, and their hard work for him to get to the playoffs after what happened this year speaks volumes.

To say I'm interested to meet him would be an understatement.

Erin from Bellingham, WA

I really hope that my question never actually becomes a reality. However, with Brady and Big Ben retired and as discussed yesterday, possibly AD, would this top the all-time first-ballot class? And then if my fears come true, and if Mr. Rodgers were to choose retirement, would the 2022 class be the elite of the elite?! Anything in the past ever come close? Again, really hope this isn't ever a "real" question!

Brady, Big Ben, Donald and Rodgers would be the all-timer of all-timers for a first-ballot class. If either Donald or Rodgers joins the other two, it still might be the best ever. There have been 11 three-member first-ballot classes to this point (never four). I'll list the groups I consider most impressive and folks can ponder their top choice. 2021: Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, Calvin Johnson. 2018: Brian Urlacher, Randy Moss, Ray Lewis. 2006: Troy Aikman, Reggie White, Warren Moon. 1977: Forrest Gregg, Bart Starr, Gale Sayers.

Joe from Liberty Township, OH

Now that LeRoy Butler is in the HOF a popular question is which Packer could be next, with Mike Holmgren and Sterling Sharpe being popular picks. With Jerry Kramer and Dave Robinson recently being elected, is the door closed for Lombardi Packers? What about Boyd Dowler and Ron Kramer? Both are on the NFL 50th anniversary team and they are the only players out of 45 on that team not already in the HOF.

There are 13 Lombardi Packers in Canton, including Lombardi himself, from the team that won five titles in seven years. I wouldn't expect any more. For comparison's sake, the Steelers dynasty of the 1970s (four Super Bowls in seven years) has 11, including its coach.

Craig from Appleton, WI

In your mind does the Super Bowl victory put Matthew Stafford in line to make the Hall of Fame?

Not at all. Stafford is a good quarterback, but he's never been named All-Pro and he's been chosen for only one Pro Bowl. One Super Bowl does not a Hall of Famer make.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Wes in the wind. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in his dreams. I hope.

Even if his quality family time is being spent on a frozen Suamico pond, I'm sure he's enjoying it. Happy Wednesday.

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