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Inbox: Subtle changes keep the football world turning

Dean Lowry has steadily improved during each of his six NFL seasons

Packers offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich
Packers offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

To Jeffrey from St. Clair Shores, MI, the answer should have been something like this. If you want to root for a team that plays indoors, then take your pick and start doing it. The Packers going to a dome is above the other bad ideas like changing the colors, the uniforms, and the logo. Football is an outdoor sport and should be played outdoors. I feel the same about baseball. Please put these ideas to bed.

It's good to see the "Should the Packers put a dome on Lambeau?" questions taxi into the offseason Inbox gate with an on-time arrival. I was worried they would be delayed.

Aaron from Phoenix, AZ

Every coaching staff has its own dynamics in how responsibilities are delegated and accountability is designated to each individual coach. But most staffs have a general structure that starts with the HC, followed by OC and DC and then the position group coaches. In our case, ML is the final authority for the implementation of the offense and is also the play-caller. What impact does the transition from Hackett to Stenavich have on the offensive scheme and how we might recognize it?

I don't know how much the average fan will notice, but there will be changes. To what extent depends on which direction LaFleur wants to go with the offense and how much of Hackett's responsibilities (e.g. gold zone) fall on Stenavich's plate. While Stenavich won't call plays, it cannot be overstated how important that OC job is in Green Bay. That coach not only helps build the offensive prototype but also serves as the consigliere to a head coach and play-caller like LaFleur.

J.C. from Albany, OR

Will we see the Packers' offense mirrored in Denver and Chicago?

Mayhap. It'll be interesting to see how Hackett and Luke Getsy build their offenses and call plays based on their diversified resumes. Both are educated in a plethora of schemes. I'm curious what they keep and what they alter from LaFleur's scheme. Subtle changes keep the football world turning.

Steve from Machesney Park, IL

I loved the play from Dean Lowry and Yosh Nijman, who I believe did a wonderful job this season and a great surprise.

Lowry has steadily improved during each of his six NFL seasons, with this unquestionably being his best yet. Nijman was a true revelation, though. He proved to be a starting-caliber tackle in this league. He always had the size and footwork for the position, but this year showed he had strength and resiliency, too.

Troy from Bakersfield, CA

Aaron Rodgers is, and will likely be, my all-time favorite player in any sport. Still, I have imagined many trade scenarios that could accelerate a Packers rebuild. But after the last two weekends, and watching (your term) whimsical outcomes in really all six games, I think Rodgers and the Packers could find a way to compete for the SB for four more years, salary cap notwithstanding. Great quarterback play is so necessary to get there and so hard to find! Your thoughts on a rebuild please?

There shouldn't be one. As difficult as this may be for many of you to hear, the Packers are the most well-positioned NFC team to compete for a Super Bowl next year and maybe even beyond that. LA put all its eggs into this year (no first-round picks until 2024), San Fran could be moving on from Jimmy G and Dallas still isn't a sure thing. What's more, most of the young, emerging QB talent is in the other conference. The past two weeks have been hard for Packers fans and I sympathize with your disappointment, but the window is still very much open. The next two months will determine by what breadth.

Greg from Bordentown, NJ

Hey Wes, while I don't want a dome put on Lambeau, I empathize with Jeffrey's point of view. What bugs me the most is the playoffs often involve a few bitter cold games. Then, the Super Bowl gets put in a dome or warm-weather city, and the play style evidently changes. While a championship team should be able to win anywhere – and I know there's also a lot of outside factors for the Super Bowl – the entire spectacle changes for a game that's best memorable in the cold outside.

The NFL did give New York a Super Bowl in 2014-15, but I get what you're saying. The problem with Green Bay isn't just the cold – it's the fact there aren't enough hotels and convention centers to accommodate an event as large as the Super Bowl. That's why larger cities, often with more temperate climates, get the big game.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

I just saw that Matt LaFleur and staff will be coaching the Pro Bowl. That's cool. But I was wondering, does the defensive staff get to go, too? It's not like they play real defense in that game.

They'll all be there. If memory serves, both the NFC and AFC are required to field a defense. At least, in the physical sense.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

I just saw a clip of Randall Cobb's initial kickoff return for a TD. John Kuhn and Jordy Nelson had key blocks.

Kuhn always played core special teams and Jordy Nelson wasn't quite Jordy Nelson yet in early 2011. But your point is valid. The Packers may need to work more established players into that third phase. Shoot, the Rams had both Jalen Ramsey and Cooper Kupp playing teams Sunday.

Jason from Austin, TX

Insiders, I get what you're saying about the Packers not trading Rodgers to an NFC team, but do you think they would consider it if the NFC team offered, for example, four first-round picks compared to three first-round picks offered by the AFC team?

You can't trade draft picks more than three years out. So, unless a team has four first-rounders within a three-year span, this is all a moot point.

James from Sidney, MT

If Davante Adams doesn't want to be tagged, and the team does it anyway, what are some of the risks in doing that? Certainly, you don't want your All-Pro WR mad at the team.

Negotiations are never easy, especially when it comes to a top-of-the-line receiver like Adams who deserves every penny coming his way. Call me an optimist but I still feel like the Packers will find a way to get something done. A quick reminder – the last time the Packers tagged a player (Ryan Pickett in 2010), the Packers signed him to an extension 16 days later.

Dan from Allen, TX

Sadly, I did not see the Bengals-Chiefs game. Big props to the Cincy D and their coaches for whatever adjustments they made and going out and executing against a very talented offense.

I lied to all of you. I wound up watching both games, almost in their entirety. I just had to get creative watching Cincinnati and Kansas City on my phone during various family activities. The Bengals' defense put on a masterclass in the second half. It completely neutralized Patrick Mahomes and KC's offense. Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase are going to be the face of the NFL for years to come, but that Cincinnati defense might be the most underrated unit to advance to a Super Bowl in the modern era. There aren't really any household names and they've been suffocating on three levels. Trey Hendrickson, Jesse Bates and Sam Hubbard are all legit.

Ross from Roswell, GA

Gents, and we thought we were the only snake-bitten team? A monumental meltdown by the Chiefs on Sunday. Eerily similar to the Packers-Seahawks NFCCG a few years back.

Fans like to think that of their team, but the reality is it happens in most every postseason. As Spoff said on Monday, the margin for error is so thin at this point of the year.

Matt from Tea, SD

Now that the Rams are going to the Super Bowl, do you see more teams trading away draft picks for proven players versus the unknown of a draft pick?

That's probably one of my larger takeaways from what Les Snead and the Rams have done the past five years. Teams have to draft well in some regard because you're just not going to be able to sign Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp. But once their foundation was in place, the Rams started wheelin' and dealin'. They spent draft picks like expiring grocery coupons. LA made the call on Jalen Ramsey, Von Miller and Matthew Stafford – and here they are.

Greg from Downers Grove, IL

With the speculation that Brady is going to retire, I ask what more does he really have to play for? Injury? When you have all the stats and rings, why? I get it that Brady and Rodgers, too, for that matter are gladiators and want to continue with the thrill of playing one more year. Is there some need for either Brady or Rodgers to end their careers being helped off the field? If either decide to hang up their cleats this offseason, I for one will tip a glass to their accomplishments.

For sure. But Rodgers is six years younger than Brady, so I'm not sure I'd lump them in the same category. That being said, unless he's returning to spit on ESPN's reporting, Brady has nothing left to prove. I liked that he came back for a second year in Tampa. As tempting as it might have been to go one-and-done with the Bucs, it wouldn't have felt right. I like that he tried to defend the crown. He came up short. It happens. But I'm not sure what's left to be gained by coming back. He wanted to play until he's 45 and he did that.

Mike from La Crosse, WI

Rodgers has a great football mind and is still playing very high level. Why not give him a "formal" voice at the table? It would increase his engagement and possibly contract him for less if he has influence on the roster and cap numbers. Also, he could grow into role after he retires.

Rodgers already has a seat at the table, and deservedly so. The Packers reportedly already had discussions with Rodgers, who presumably left Green Bay with a good idea of what the organization was thinking about for 2022. The rest is up to Rodgers but certainly the Packers want him back.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Wes, the outcomes of the championship games have helped my recovery from last Saturday's loss. Still not positive who I want to win but won't be bothered by either. Who will you be rooting for?

I have friends who work for both teams, so I'll be happy either way. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pulling for the Rams just a little bit more. Our former intern, Ana Hoosier, is the digital ops manager for the Rams. I'd love for that girl to get a ring. She absolutely deserves it.

Brandon from Pleasant Prairie, WI

It looks like OBJ made the right decision. Good for him and Stafford.

I'm happy for Stafford. I really am. The guy was all class during some lean years in Detroit. He deserved an opportunity to rewrite his legacy in LA. And kudos to the Lions for allowing him to do that.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

Wow, has there ever been a time when one team played the "final four" NFL teams a combined five times? Hard to imagine a tougher schedule than that.

For sure. It was extremely tough sledding. I think that's why a lot of fans took this divisional-round exit harder than past years. Because it felt like the Packers played their way through the SEC to make the college football playoff and just come up short in the semifinals.

Mike from Franksville, WI

Will we find out during the NFL Honors show on Feb. 10 if LeRoy Butler will be heading to the Hall of Fame? Or will the enshrinees be announced sooner than that?

We'll find out whether I'm popping champagne or Motrin on Feb. 10.

Jim from St Pete Beach, FL

Mike and Wes, thanks for once again joining your readers on a great ride through the season. I just wanted to say my favorite all-time answers, like Mike's to Jeffrey from St. Claire Shores, are the ones in which you refute dogma with cold, hard facts – always brings a smile to my face.

Mine, too.

Tom from Douglassville, PA

How much are we over the salary cap for next year?

I'm not sure, but the power is still on in the building. So, I guess not too far over?

Mark from Savannah, GA

The secret II signal is so simple, it's … well, simple. Two pointer fingers extended straight up about four inches apart (two thumbs) like when you were playing football at the school cafeteria table with a folded-up piece of notebook paper. It also signifies that you are not holding someone else's lunch in one hand, while shaking hands or bumping fists with the other. In addition, no lasers will be required because no one is looking forward to beautiful misery.

Not bad. You know, I've gotten a signal or two from II readers before. It isn't much of a secret, though, and usually only requires one finger.

Susanne from Eustace , TX

Now that you've earned a well-deserved break, any fun plans?

I have to finish my wife's Christmas present. Seriously.

Greg from Perkasie, PA

No offense to the Packers, but I am a full-on Bengals fan for the next two weeks. I hope the Packers will welcome me back at the end of February.

They'll be here.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Thanks to Dean for pushing me out of my comfort zone. As you can probably tell, I'm not a trained poet. That being said, I enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone and taking the opportunity to learn, change and grow. I'm not sure what the 2022 season will bring, but I'm sure the beautiful mystery will unfold itself in due time.

And we'll be here.