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Inbox: That goes for all positions

They reveal themselves as the season unfolds

TE Robert Tonyan
TE Robert Tonyan

Jack from Chicago, IL

I have a bone to pick with the NFL. The Super Bowl used to fall on my birthday every 5-12 years. Now it won't. That just dawned on me. That's all.

When I was a kid, there was a World Series game on my birthday most years. That went away a long time ago.

Leann from West Bend, WI

What are the chances, in the modern age, that a team reaches the Super Bowl four years in a row like Buffalo? Even with Brady and New England, we haven't seen it. It seems very highly unlikely?

Well, it's technically never happened fully within the salary-cap era because Buffalo's four-year run bridged the pre-cap and early-cap seasons. Kansas City is halfway there right now heading into 2021, but I'd say the odds are still against it.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

Who would be on the Mount Rushmore of QBs of the salary-cap era not drafted in the first round? Brady, Brees, Wilson, and ...?

You're joking, right? You really can't think of a NUMBER FOUR to put on your list?

John from Clearwater, FL

The Davante Adams issue of whether he will re-sign with the Packers if Aaron Rodgers leaves should be a major concern for Packer management. Also, over the last three years how many of the free-agent signings were because Rodgers was there? Don't you think it will be much harder for the Packers to sign top-notch free agents without Rodgers as QB?

Much harder? No. Would comparable offers elsewhere get greater consideration? Maybe a bit. But I'm a believer that money talks, and frequently the loudest, in free agency. The right offers land the right guys. The Packers didn't get/keep the Smiths, Amos, Billy Turner, David Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark, etc., primarily because of Rodgers, but because they offered top dollar first. They'll do the same with Adams, I'm sure. I know Aaron Jones' agent said he had better offers elsewhere, but agents say that kind of stuff all the time, and to my knowledge no one else confirmed it.

Jacob from Prairie du Chien, WI

With tons of attention going towards positions like QB, WR and CB, what do you think is the most underappreciated/undervalued position in the NFL? Personally, I might lean towards TE just because you have the element of their production in the passing and running game.

I see your point, but I think in recent years the salaries for the top tight ends have risen to the point it's hard to call the position underappreciated. Same for safeties and other less-glamorous spots. Elite players aren't undervalued. The trick is always to get elite play before someone is paid as an elite player. That goes for all positions, really.

Sal from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Thanks to Twitter, today I learned that Coach LaFleur played for the Omaha Beef, whose mascot is Sir Loin. That's gotta be in contention for best team/mascot duo in American football.

I just had to post this.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Can we get the LEGOs team do an offseason bit? Maybe someone stealing a lunch and then being tackled. Lunch goes over goalposts and gets hit with a laser. Then the two people jump in a car with the license plate MS88WH and go to Culver's for lunch.

This one, too.

Travis from Fort Walton Beach, FL

Have any defensive players had latitude or authority to change plays at the line of scrimmage similar to how Aaron Rodgers does for the offense?

Not that I've ever heard. It's not really a fair comparison. Free-lance moves on defense – like Jaire Alexander blitzing from the slot to get Kirk Cousins for the safety in Week 1 last year – can be extremely high-risk and are therefore rare. If the offense botches a last-second audible, just hang onto the ball and live to play another down. If the defense botches one, it can mean a touchdown.

Ray from Phoenix, AZ

It was mentioned that Joe Barry used many five-man fronts with the Rams. Did he deploy an extra D-lineman or OLB to put his hand on the ground? I can see Gary being able to do that but how about our other 'backers?

The Smiths could do it, too. The personnel chosen will often depend on the offense's personnel package.

John from Livermore, CA

What is your best memory of training camp?

Chasing down Mike Ditka in his golf cart and Jim McMahon on his motor scooter for autographs when I was in junior high.

Steve from Middletown, KY

If stadiums go 100% capacity, do you expect total noise mayhem this year? After last year being so eerily quiet, will the loud volume bring smiles to the home players' faces?


Brandon from Imperial, MO

When the schedule came out, what game did you immediately look at and say, "This is the proving point"? For me it's Week 9 against the Chiefs. With the extra game, if the Pack gets through that game with seven wins (barring any major injuries), they have a good chance at another 13-win season especially with the late bye week and late home games.

It's always fun to ponder stuff like that, and we have that luxury as outside observers. But those pivot points can't really be pegged in advance. They reveal themselves as the season unfolds, because so much is changing week to week.

Gary from Wolverhampton, UK

Covid-19 restrictions permitting I'm looking to come to Green Bay for a regular-season game, hopefully, the Seahawks game. My question is when does the NFL start to flex games out of the advertised time, and would it ever be moved to a Monday Night short notice as this would really mess my plans up … many thanks.

Flex scheduling does not apply to Monday nights. Games from Weeks 5-18 can be flexed, and any time change is made with 12 days' notice, except in Week 18 (six days' notice). The league can flex the Sunday night game only twice from Weeks 5-10 (the Seattle game is Week 10), and then any week from 11-18.

Carl from Gansevoort, NY

"A contract is not a contract in the traditional sense of the word in the NFL." You are simply so wrong in this attitude. YES players are cut BUT the team lives up to its guaranteed portion of the contract. The player gets ALL of their guaranteed money and employment beyond that point is at the team's decision within the pay outlined for the remainder of the contract years. The team cannot cut a player without meeting the contract guarantees nor can the player quit and play for another team.

Congratulations, you and other readers chimed in to prove you know more about contract machinations than a lot of NFL fans. I didn't say a word about guaranteed money the other day because that was irrelevant to my point, which was that too many folks have been saying, "Rodgers has a contract, he should honor it," and it's just not that simple. That's all I was trying to say.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

We have speculated here about which NFL season records might fall in a 17-game season. Which Packers' records might be most in jeopardy?

The first one that comes to mind for me is Jordy Nelson's 1,519 receiving yards (2014). Davante Adams had 1,386 in 15 games three years ago and then 1,374 in 14 games last year.

Nicholas from Baltimore, MD

To the playoff threshold question, I think 10 still holds given the seventh playoff team. Frankly, 9-8 might be enough in some years. Also, it's kind of cool that no team can go .500 anymore. Fits in with the general anti-tie mentality American sports so cherishes. You're either a winner or a loser, no in between!

You may be right regarding the seventh playoff team, but keep in mind the 10-6 Dolphins didn't get in last year despite the seventh team. We'll see whether that becomes more of a quirk over time. Regarding the .500 thought, just because you said that, someone is going to go 8-8-1 this year. We shall speak it into existence.

Bob from Wellington, CO

Gentlemen, I just read an article on the USA app regarding Peyton Manning's opinion of Aaron's "situation." Spoiler alert: He hopes it can be worked out. The article was by Scooby Axson, which begs the question, what is your AKA or 1930s byline name?

Rigby Reardon.

Christopher from Frederick, MD

While I hope both perform well as rookies, which of the first two draft picks exceeding expectations, in your opinion, would be more important to a successful Packers season in 2021?

Because the offensive line, including Myers, has plenty of options to figure things out, I'm going to say Stokes. If he wins the No. 2 cornerback job, for instance, and bumps everyone else at that position down a peg on the depth chart, Green Bay's cornerback group takes on a different character.

Matt from Irvine, CA

I read in your article about signing Benkert that he entered the league in 2018 but is a second-year player. Was this a typo or is there a reason he is considered a second-year player despite being in the league three years?

It is Benkert's fourth year in the league, but he's a second-year player because two of the prior three years he was on the Falcons' practice squad and did not earn an accrued season. He did earn one by spending 2019 on injured reserve.

Anthony from Jamestown, ND

Hey now! Did either of you have any adverse reactions to the vaccine?

I got the J&J about six weeks ago. Roughly 12 hours after the shot, I felt a little feverish. Took a couple of Tylenol, went to sleep, and woke up no worse for wear the next morning. Exactly a week later, had this strange feeling of my skin starting to itch all over. Took a couple Benadryl to get to sleep, and that was that. Nothing since.

Bill from Sheboygan, WI

Here's the idea for Insider T-shirt design: Wes and Mike as cartoon-like characters sitting behind the desk doing "Unscripted."

I like that better than me in a butcher's costume with a kettle of baked beans, that's for sure.

Shawn from Blaine, MN

Good morning Spoff. Whenever I read any of Cliff Christl's work (always outstanding, BTW), in my head I read it in the voice of Robert Mitchum, the narrator at the end of the movie "Tombstone." Am I the only one?

Cliff's voice is actually quite apropos if you've ever heard it. He could have landed Robert Stack's spot on "Unsolved Mysteries" if he'd gone another career route.

Kristen from Middleton, WI

Hello from a longtime reader, first-time submitter. I hadn't heard of Rockwood Lodge before the recent II question. What an interesting story and part of Packers history! We know what happened to the portrait that was saved from the fire. But, whatever happened to the sofa?

I think it's in that bonus room above Wes's garage.

Jeff from Eveleth, MN

Spoff, if you were in kindergarten in 1978, then we are the same age. How come I'm so bald and you have a full plume of hair?

Ours is not to reason why.

Chris from Bettendorf, IA

Sports on Mars is too high a bar. Let's start with the moon. PGA needs to set up a course. May need to extend the holes a bit for gravity. First up on the tee...the Dalai Lama himself. Picture it, the flowing robes, the grace, bald...striking. Plus, I've heard the Lama is a big hitter. Not so big a tipper, at least money-wise. Yes, we have reached that part of the offseason.

Happy Friday.