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Inbox: Nothing's one size fits all

So much has to break the right way for a Super Bowl trip to come to fruition

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WR Allen Lazard

Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

LOL, nice job on the "IDC."

I'm stealing that from Wes as my response to draft grades every year, to infinity and beyond. I owe him at least one lunch back.

Bradley from Rockford, IA

I see in the future that with all the drafted wide receivers that there will be many quality receivers let go later in the cuts, a chance for the Packers to pick up someone if the preseason is not going as planned. As you look at the teams who drafted receivers, do any stand out as having an overabundance of them?

I haven't studied other depth charts specifically, but there will be veteran receivers released. It's inevitable after a draft like that. Whether any of them can step in off the street and help the Packers will be up to the decision-makers. Immediate impact would probably depend on scheme fit/knowledge. Injuries across the league leading up to Week 1 also will factor into how it plays out.

Michael from Portland, OR

So free agents no longer count in the compensatory formula as of 4 p.m. Monday (two days ago)? Ouch. That's gotta sting in Seattle. After what they gave up to get Jadeveon Clowney, they probably felt they'd at least get a third-rounder if they failed to re-sign him.

Yeah, they had to be counting on a comp pick there.

Jason from Austin, TX

II, I'm seeing a lot of people putting EQ in the same class as MVS. I'd say that EQ showed more promise in 2018, but what kind of impact does missing the entire 2019 season have? What expectations should we have for EQ?

I don't like to traffic in expectations. St. Brown was the best of the three '18 draft picks at the end of their rookie season. But there's no telling if or how missing a full year will affect him until he gets back on the field.

John from Green Bay, WI

Based on what we've seen of LaFleur's offense both last season and with Tennessee, and coupled with this year's draft, I envision we'll see a bit of a shift in the Packers' offensive style. We know there will be a lot of pre-snap motion, misdirection (jet sweeps, fake jet sweeps, etc.) and a commitment to the run. Seems like an oversimplified take might be "confuse the defense, make them tentative, punch them in the mouth."

I look at it as LaFleur wants his first- and second-down passing game to feature as much play-action as possible, and that means tying pass concepts to the run throughout the playbook, and successfully running the ball of course. Play-action isn't going to fool anybody on third-and-9, if a poor run series or sack or penalty puts you in that spot, but if your straight dropback game is more limited to third downs only, defenses won't have seen those concepts as often.

Tom from Menomonee Falls, WI

Even before the AJ Dillon pick it seemed unlikely the team would be able to re-sign both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams next year. Do you think the Packers would look to trade one of them (presumably Williams) before the end of training camp?

No. I think the Packers are going to keep this full stable for 2020 and then see what happens for 2021.

Aaron from Brooklyn, NY

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed when we traded up and then didn't take Patrick Queen. That being said, I noticed that Gute did the exact same thing in the draft that he did in free agency: gave himself options. He drafted for depth at areas where we have guys coming up on contract years. If one or two of those pick pans out (Dillon or the linemen), there are a lot more options for what we can do next offseason.

The recent Tunsil and McCaffrey contracts changed the landscape a bit for the Packers. I don't believe those factored into draft decisions. I'm just stating a reality.

Joe from Dundee, IL

Can you clear up the new 2020-30 roster limits? I had thought that the 53-man has been expanded to 55, but then some suggested 53 stays but they created a new practice-squad, game call-up option?

My understanding is the active roster on game day is being increased from 46 to 48, with one of the extra two required to be an offensive lineman. The regular active roster is also being increased from 53 to 55, but only in the sense that two practice-squad players can be promoted each week to the active roster without having to be released to return to the practice squad at a later date. I think. If I get any more clarity on it, I'll pass it along.

Ken from New Berlin, WI

With all the uncertainty surrounding the start of the NFL season, and not having a full training camp, is it possible that went into the players selected in this year's draft? Not taking a receiver because it would take too long to bring him up to speed, whereas, those already on the team do not need as much intensive training.

Gutekunst was asked a version of that question multiple times and insisted it was not a consideration.

Jarin from Frederick, MD

Why do you think the Packers never go "all-in" for a season or two? Seems like they build just to never suck.

Which I think is the way to go, whether you're talking free agency or the draft or any form of roster building. Anyone who's familiar with me knows my take here. Going all-in guarantees nothing in such a crazy league and game, so the more times you can get to the playoffs (and not suck, to use your word), the better your chances of going all the way at some point. So much has to break the right way for any trip to the Super Bowl to come to fruition, especially in the NFC over the last decade-plus. Look at how the Vikings were denied in '09 (not to mention '98), the Packers in '07 and '14, the Niners in '11 and '13, the Falcons in '12, the Saints in '17 and '18. I could go on, but you get the point. All of those teams were Super Bowl-caliber but didn't make it. You get in whenever you can and take your chances. It's the better gamble, believe me.

Dennis from Denver, CO

What do the Packers mean when they say the run defense will be improved by schematic changes? What does that mean, different personnel packages? More gap discipline?

Yes and yes, and that may be just the start.

Paul from Nortglenn, CO

At season's end I recall ML saying Gary needs to be more involved. Based on the DL remaining the same, could last year's 12th pick be this year's biggest contributor to run defense improvement?

If there's one thing I would rank as my top curiosity on defense heading into 2020, that's it.

Jason from Belvidere, IL

Not so much a question but an opinion or observation. After this draft and all things into consideration, this is starting to resemble a shift in comparison to the late '90s Broncos with J. Elway. How they shifted from a gunslinger mentality to a run-oriented offense behind T. Davis, and with no coincidence a Shanahan-style offense from which LaFleur is a product. If so, I am all in if the results resemble theirs!

You aren't the first reader to mention this. I think the game is too different a quarter-century later for the parallel to be entirely valid, but I find little fault in the logic that if an elite quarterback is asked to carry less of the burden as he gets older, the whole team is better off.

Dennis from Orono, MN

When are you going to list the free-agent class with a blurb about each as well as current signings?

It sounds like the official announcement is coming today. Stay tuned.

Adam from Toronto, Ontario

OK, I've taken a step back from the ledge and taken a deep breath. We really won't know if this draft was a success for 3-4 years. Looking back at last year we were 13-3 but weren't dominant in any facet on either side of the ball. Looks like this year we will try to hang our hat on running the ball and rushing the passer. What one player on each side of the ball needs to take a huge step for us to get to the big dance? For me it is Darnell Savage and Jace Sternberger.

Reasonable choices. You could also say Rashan Gary and Allen Lazard. Or Josh Jackson and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Or Oren Burks and Robert Tonyan. Any number of pairs of players could change the outlook for either side of the ball.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

One criticism of the Jordan Love pick seems to be that it's a long-term investment that doesn't help Rodgers, but four of the past five Super Bowl winners have had their starting QB miss at least two games. Isn't there an argument to be made that, a la Peyton Manning in Denver in 2015, a backup that better keeps the team in the hunt could help Rodgers win another SB as much as any other position might?

Not in so many words, but I mentioned Monday that was definitely part of the calculation here, for next season and more likely beyond. If the Chiefs don't win one of the two games Mahomes missed last year, they don't get a first-round bye. To upgrade their backup QB situation, the Packers were going to have to spend either significant cap space or draft resources. I think in the final analysis, Gutekunst decided he would cover multiple bases with one investment – protect more against an injury to Rodgers and provide a potential future path forward.

Bob from Green Bay, WI

I know Love is a first-round draft pick and appears to have a lot of talent, but he also needs to show that the talent will translate to the NFL, which will take a couple years at least. Remember Tim Boyle  beat out a pretty high pick in DeShone Kizer, so I'm sure Boyle isn't just going to concede the backup job. Love has to earn it in my opinion. This will be fun to watch.

Gutekunst and LaFleur said much the same thing. Especially with no on-field offseason program, it's not a given Love will earn the No. 2 job as a rookie. So yes, we'll just have to watch.

Keith from Truro, Nova Scotia

Hi guys, I was hoping that when Gute moved up in the first round that he was going to take Queen, a position that the Pack really could use. My question is if AR has at least four good years left and it takes a couple of years to develop a QB, would it been wiser to perhaps wait until next year to try and get a good QB at the draft? I just feel we needed to fill that defensive spot more than any other.

That's a legitimate argument, and I think it just goes back to what I continue to say – the decision amidst all the ramifications speaks to his evaluation of Love.

Mike from Los Angeles, CA

Subscribing to the theory that Raheem Mostert is still running on us somewhere in an alternate timeline, do you think the Packers' lack of defensive focus in this draft was somewhat of a message to Mike Pettine that he's received three first-rounders, a second-round CB, a third-round LB, Preston, Za'Darius, Amos, and Kirksey, and now it's up to him to make good on all of it?

That's fair.

Lane from Calgary, Alberta

Most aren't happy with the draft/WR situation but I think we need to slow down the Reggie Begelton hype and rely on in-house WRs to step up. My stepdad was president of the Calgary Stampeders in the early 2000s when we had another WR, Marc Boerigter, come through. For two years he had similar stats to Reggie, dominated his competition with the size and speed that screamed NFL. He played three years for the Chiefs with a total of 39 catches. A reminder that it will take the collective to make this unit better.

Also fair. Boerigter came to the Packers in 2006 when the offense wasn't exactly loaded at receiver (Driver, a rookie Jennings, and Robert Ferguson) and didn't make the team.

Scott from De Pere, WI

Last week I asked how many draft picks the Packers would ultimately make, and Spoff said nine. Is Spoff the next Carnac the Magnificent? What other predictions does Spoff have?

That was literally the only forecast of mine that proved correct. I said trading up in the first round was the least likely of all possibilities. I thought Gutekunst would continue to move around the board on Friday and Saturday. I practically guaranteed a big guy, offensive or defensive lineman, before Day 3. I could go on, but again, you get the point.

Rick from Shawano, WI

Why the shot at draftniks? The draft is an amazing yearlong passion for many. I guessed 92 of the top 100 picks. I would say teams' boards looked a lot like mine. Also repeatedly I had to mock draft Love because he was at the top of my board.

It wasn't a shot. It was meant to emphasize that every team has its own board, and I don't believe they're very similar, beyond the first 10-15 picks. From people I've talked to, there's generally more consensus of opinion amongst draftniks than amongst teams.

Nathan from El Paso, TX

A lot has been said about the vote of confidence Gute expressed in the receiving corps and run defense to improve outside of the draft. Not lost in this is that the players hear this as well. Indubitably, they have that much more internal motivation (not that it should be needed) to prove him correct. Would love to hear the players' opinions about it.

I wish we had access to the players right now, too, but we'll hear from them at some point. I think votes of confidence work for some players. Cranking up the competition works for others. Nothing's one size fits all.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

At what point does the Packer organization start to draft for III (heir apparent to II)? Will they tell you in advance, or call you after they make the pick? Old adage: The worst time to draft a writer is when you need one.

Happy Wednesday.

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