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Inbox: That's how it goes sometimes

Hopefully, Pro Bowl voters catch a ride on the David Bakhtiari bandwagon next year


George from Olympia, WA

Will we ever consider putting a roof over Lambeau Field or an enclosure?

If I was ever forced into indefinite solitary confinement for asking my boss "How he could be so obtuse?" after declining my PTO request, and then handed this submission after my time is served and asked what time of year it is, I'd promptly reply, "It's the offseason, isn't it?" Good morning!

Craig from Laramie, WY

I enjoyed Larry's interview with Brian Gutekunst and came away feeling like the team is in very good hands. He answered "character" as his highest priority for qualities in the new head coach. Mike McCarthy's character was never a question in my mind, even at the end of his tenure here. I'm curious to learn about the character of the next GB head coach because I don't think we yet know as much as we think we do about the rumored candidates. Time will tell but I'm feeling pretty good about this!

The Packers have had a good track record with high-character coaches over their 100-year history. McCarthy was a student of the game and understood the responsibility that comes with being the head coach in Green Bay. That quality is something I'm sure Mark Murphy and Gutekunst are seeking in the next head guy.

Kelsay from Marinette, WI

What characteristics are the Packers looking for in a new head coach?


Easton from Green Bay, WI

Thoughts on Aaron Jones' productivity going down due to several knee injuries?

I'm not concerned. The Packers played it safe with Jones at the end of the season. Moving forward, I believe he could be on the verge of a special season in 2019. To steal an old Kevin Greene phrase, there's an element of "explosibility" to Jones' game you cannot coach.

Matthew from Albany, NY

Do you still believe in the idea of a three-down back or do you think a committee approach is better for a team? We have two proven runners who both seem to be getting better. Jones looks great as a workhorse, but Williams is fantastic when called upon. We want to get both more touches but we want them to achieve a rhythm in the run can we do all of that and have our offense run smoothly?

If a No. 1 running back emerges, I'm all for giving that individual a majority of the workload. The only potential problem there is teams need to make sure they have a second or third option ready in case of emergency. But yes, I think there's value in having a single running back touch the ball 250 times a year.

Casey from Kansas City, MO

I'm amazed how many people think we need to trade up. I think we're more than OK where we are. Just looking at recent drafts some big names jump out: Deshaun Watson (12), Odell Beckham (12), Aaron Donald (13), Kyle Fuller (14), Lamar Jackson (31), Kenny Clark (27), Jaylon Smith (34), and Chris Jones (37). Let the people that get paid to worry about it handle it.

That's not to mention the foundation the Packers' decade of success was built upon – Aaron Rodgers, at No. 24, and Clay Matthews at 26. It's not the NBA Draft, people. There is elite talent to be found outside the first 10 picks (assuming the Packers pick at 12).

Eric from Cary, NC

Full disclosure, my change in terminology came from an attempt to be more inclusive due to one kick in the last week of the season bouncing off the crossbar rather than the upright. I should have said 36 kicks were missed due to uprights and one due to a crossbar. Do you think my credibility is ruined? I'd hate to give up my position as missed field goal statistician due to journalistic integrity issues.

The guy stumping for laser uprights says you're in the clear.

Robert from Harris, MN

With the Packers in the hunt for a head coach for the first time in a long time, it got me thinking. My original question was going to be what is the largest leap you are aware of to a head coaching position? But then wondered what the order of leap is? Certainly coordinator to HC, position coach to HC? But college to pro? Player to HC? In what order would you put the leaps?

The biggest leap we've seen in Green Bay has to be Bart Starr going from retiring as a player to head coach/general manager in the span of four years. Beyond that, the rest have been former coordinators/head coaches in the post-Lombardi era.

Gary from Atlanta, GA

I've often read about how players take a development step in their second year. We saw Kyler Fackrell take that step in his third year. When's the latest in a career you've seen a player take a leap developmentally?

It's an interesting question. Two of the very best receivers in franchise history, Donald Driver and Jordy Nelson, didn't truly break out until their fourth NFL seasons. Like I said earlier this week, development isn't a straight line. That's how it goes sometimes.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

LeRoy Butler. SMH.

I traded texts with Butler on Thursday night. He seems at peace with everything. I think there's a quiet confidence he'll eventually get in. My biggest frustration is why the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters appear to have Steve Atwater and John Lynch ahead of Butler every year. It's not that clear-cut in my mind.

Eric from York, PA

Spoff, in taking a look at the locker cleanout day pictures, you were interviewing Oren Burks and two lockers away was Tim Boyle on one knee. It appeared he was much larger than you and almost as tall despite being on one knee. Any way to put into perspective how big some of these NFL players really are? Or are you just pretty small?

A few times every year, I step back and watch players walk off the field. You cannot put into words how big average NFL players are. That's not to mention guys such as Julius Peppers, Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis, who really make me look tiny.

Craig from Tracy, CA

I think the reason a lot of fans are wanting the Packers to trade up in the draft is a direct reaction to how often in the past they've traded down in the draft. Yes, there's value to be found in the later rounds, but aren't most of these players still there in the later rounds for a reason? You can always point to the occasional success story, but they're usually the exception. I would rather have a high/mid-round draft pick as a starter or a backup than one of my three seventh-rounders or a UDFA.

The game is different when picking at the end of the first round. In most years, scouts will tell you the grades don't differ much between players projected in the late first round and those drafted in second. Last year was an exception, but Gutekunst picked up an extra first for moving back four spots. Yet, the Packers wound up with cornerback they probably would've taken at No. 14 anyway.

Keith from Dearborn, MI

After every Packers pick during the draft, do you ever write down who you would have drafted in that slot if you were in charge? At a high level, it would be interesting to track stats over time. Fans like to point out that they would have taken T.J. Watt, but how many knew who David Bakhtiari was, let alone pick him in the middle rounds?

I doubt very many, especially with Bakhtiari coming off a one-win season at Colorado. That's why they play the games. I jot down my first-round prediction before the draft every year. Only once did I get the pick right (Datone Jones, 2013). Once the Packers are on the clock, however, I rarely predict the selection with everything that's going on.

Joshua from Mankato, MN

A little bit of redemption for our stud left tackle. Good to see. And I don't think our center is far behind.

Bakhtiari tweeted out a GIF echoing the "That's hilarious" comment he made last month in the locker room about the possibility of being a three-time All-Pro and one-time Pro Bowler. What's truly amazing is he was voted first-team. In the eyes of the 50 members of the AP, Bakhtiari is the best left tackle in the entire league. Hopefully, Pro Bowl voters catch a ride on the Bakhtiari bandwagon next year because the train's pulling out of the station.

Dan from Toledo, OH

It's not every year a fourth-round tackle is the best blindside protector in the game. What do the Ted Thompson detractors have to say about this one?

They tend to say very little, which is a shame considering how many teams used a first- or second-round pick on Bakhtiari's position that year.

Tom from Plymouth, MN

Well, it's official. Bakhtiari has been named All-Pro once again while being left off the Pro Bowl roster. Three years in a row now that this has happened. How much longer will we see this, and have you ever seen another player from the modern era go through something like this? The only player from any era I can think of is Ray Nitschke.

Nitschke was the first name to come to mind for me. I don't recall many others who have been selected to three or more All-Pro teams, but not once been voted to the Pro Bowl on initial balloting. Remember Bakhtiari was just an alternate back in 2016.

Douglas from Overbrook, KS

Of the six players on the All-Pro list but not on the Pro Bowl roster, three were offensive linemen, two were defense (the biggest snub being Darius Leonard and the other Desmond King), and the kicker. What do you take from that?

Let me put it this way – if David Bakhtiari played a skill position, I don't think we're having this conversation. Unfortunately, there aren't many statistics on offensive line play and selections are largely based on reputation. Hopefully, Bakhtiari breaks that glass ceiling like Josh Sitton, Chad Clifton and T.J. Lang did.

Luc from St Thomas, Canada

I'm honestly shocked that Davante Adams wasn't at least second-team All-Pro. Another chip for the shoulder, I guess...

Adams definitely deserved it, but at least his snub made sense. He's competing against every receiver from all 32 teams for the honor. How Bakhtiari is not voted among the top three at his position in the NFC is absurd.

Guy from Hudson, WI

How many players were added to IR after the Packers were eliminated from the playoffs? Since this allowed the GM to poach players from other teams' practice squads to add to the 53-man roster and gain control over them, is this a common strategy? I don't remember this being done last year when we were in a similar situation. Are there other teams that use this strategy?

It's very common for non-playoff teams to use this strategy and it's equally common for playoffs teams to bump up salaries for practice-squad players to stop them from jumping to another team's 53.

The Green Bay Packers cleaned out their lockers at Lambeau Field on Monday.

Ryan from Hartland, WI

Do you think Clay Matthews will be back?

Many factors will determine whether Matthews returns for an 11th season in Green Bay, but I think the six-time Pro Bowl linebacker still has plenty left in the tank.

Cody from Paris, France

Hi Wes, which duo of young linebackers will be the greatest going forward: Myles Jack and Telvin Smith or Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch? I've really been impressed with how the latter two have played all season long. They put up great numbers.

I couldn't be happier for Jaylon Smith becoming the player he's become after such a devastating injury. And credit to the Cowboys for trusting his talent. Smith and Vander Esch have both been valuable contributors to Dallas' defensive turnaround. I'm excited to watch the Cowboys this weekend.

John from Philadelphia, PA

"If I were to pick one injury that hurt the 2018 Packers offense the most, I'd probably say Allison's..." Umm, yeah I'd say Rodgers' injury was a bit more significant. Didn't you also say that the fact that Rodgers wasn't practicing regularly was a big reason why the receivers couldn't get on the same page?

I don't want to put words in Spoff's pen, but I think he was referring to injuries that took players off the field completely. But yes, the Week 1 knee injury Rodgers suffered against Chicago certainly is a part of the story.

Angela from Racine, WI

What steps are you taking so the Packers don't have a season next year like the one they had this year?

Getting in the building early each day and writing the best Insider Inboxes I can write.

Matthias from Hartford, WI

What are your top five dual-purpose stadiums to watch football and baseball games, past and present?

I guess Milwaukee County Stadium and Wrigley would be my two favorites from personal experience. I've covered games at the Metrodome, but don't have strong feelings either way. I have two clear least favorites, though – Oakland Coliseum and Candlestick. Six days a week, twice on Sundays.

Abiegail from Santa Clarita, CA

I recently came back from vacation and it got me thinking, do the Packers fly in a regular plane on the way to road games? There is barely any leg room and some of these guys are taller than six feet. Also, are the seats assigned or can they sit wherever they want? Thanks and Happy New Year!

The Packers took two planes this year to each road game – one for players and coaches, and one for staff. They're larger models, but the same that are used in commercial travel. The only difference is players aren't jammed in like sardines. They have plenty of room.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Insiders, I just signed up for Packers Perks! What a great way to drive fan engagement. I fear for your Inbox more than ever, now, though – I will certainly be increasing my question volume. Thanks for all your great work!

You're not alone.

Rick from Mounds View, MN

Will you guys ever do a throwback day for those of us that remember when Ask Vic had the fans/readers answer the questions? Vic would have around 10 questions that he would ask and the readers would write in with the answer to those questions and Vic would post the best (or in some cases worst) answers to those questions.

Insider Outbox II drops in July.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Wes, with so much talk this week about the coaching interviews I'm curious who interviewed you for and what that interview sounded like. Oh, and for what it's worth you seem to be a "good fit."

It was a thorough process and rightfully so. I'd rather not go into all the specifics out of respect to everyone involved, but I will say my first phone interview with my direct boss, Duke Bobber, was my favorite. I took a long lunch break from the Press-Gazette and drove over to a local coffee shop. Fearful someone might see me, I opted to stay in my car and conducted the first official job interview of my professional career in the parking lot for 90 minutes during a snowstorm. The memories make us rich.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

Now that it is the offseason, can we crack down on the implied-subject sentences? Saw several last week. Found them annoying. Thinking we can do better.

Get out of here. Have a great weekend, everybody!