Inbox: That’s the beauty of sports

190204-insider-inbox-2560

Mark from Carmel, IN

4:43 EST. My prediction: Rams 34, Patriots 28.

It’s a shame Spoff isn’t here to see this. If there was ever a comment that perfectly encapsulates why it’s better to wait to press submit until after the game is over. You weren’t alone, Mark. Good morning!

John from Woodbridge, VA

Defense wins championships?

What better way to cap an NFL season in which offenses reigned supreme than a Super Bowl where there were nearly as many combined punts (14) as points (16)? That’s the beauty of sports.

Brandon from Pleasant Prairie, WI

I can't take it anymore. Is the rest of the NFL that bad that all the other teams are incapable of consistently stopping the Patriots? It's so annoying. Sorry for venting.

As a limousine ridin’, jet flyin’, son of a gun once said, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man.” The young Rams had a tremendous year, but the Patriots still run the bingo in the NFL. As I said, there were three things the Rams needed to do to win – start fast (they didn’t), establish the run (they didn’t) and pressure Tom Brady from the interior (OK, but didn’t do enough of it). The Patriots are not going to beat themselves. You have to do it and the Rams just didn’t get it done.

Jeff from Hales Corners, WI

With the Patriots winning another championship Sunday night, safe to say they are the team of the decade (again)? Breaking down the decades, Packers and Patriots stand out on this special list, if you agree with it: Patriots (2010s, 2000s), Cowboys (1990s), 49ers (1980s), Steelers (1970s), Packers (1960s), Browns (1950s), Bears (1940s), and Packers (1930s).

The most impressive thing about this two-decade run for the Patriots is they’ve done it in the salary-cap era. That ain’t easy to do with how teams must constantly shuffle their rosters. Yet, New England keeps finding the right formula to pair with the nucleus of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

Ambrose from Tuscaloosa, AL

Boring.

As someone who drove 27 hours to Vegas last summer to watch Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis stare at each other for 15 minutes, I actually didn’t mind the Super Bowl that much. I’d take that over the Seahawks running the Broncos out of the building by halftime. Sure, they didn’t break any scoring records Sunday evening, but at least there was some drama and suspense.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers took home the 'Moment of the Year' award at NFL Honors in Atlanta on Saturday.

Gretchen from Green Bay, WI

This game just took "defense wins championships" to a whole new level.

I tip my cap to Brian Flores and the Patriots’ defense, but the reality is consistency wins championships and no team has been more consistent than the Patriots. New England was lights-out on defense, special teams and situational offense. That allowed Brady to do what he does best in the fourth quarter. As frustrated as I’m sure all the Patriots haters are, it was a beautiful thing to watch.

Steve from Cottage Grove, WI

Anyone who says special teams don’t matter needs to watch that Super Bowl. Good coaching and execution on both sides!

The Patriots perennially have one of the most disciplined special-team units in the NFL. New England has a Hall of Fame quarterback and coach, but lest we forget it also excels in the most overlooked phase of the game.

Bernie from Jersey City, NJ

How are we going to win the Super Bowl next year?

By doing the little things right. Hail Marys and last-second heroics are fun, but it’s a game of fundamentals. The Packers need to get back to that.

Nick from Plainwell, MI

What's your take on the Rams’ use of Todd Gurley? Do you think there was some injury hindering him? Your star RB doesn't just take a backseat to the backup who was signed in December in the Super Bowl.

Something clearly was off with Gurley regardless of what the Rams were saying heading into the game. If he’s healthy, Gurley is touching the ball more than the 11 times he did against New England.

John from Los Angeles, CA

The NFL must be bummed about that game. Were the defenses that good or the offenses that off?

Yes.

Curt from York, PA

I thought Sean McVay was the hottest offensive guru in the league, but just three points for the Rams and those on a 50-plus yard FG? What happened?

He still is, but the Patriots checked all the boxes for shutting down LA’s high-octane offense – stop the run, don’t bite on the play-action and make Jared Goff uncomfortable. A few teams, including the Packers, achieved those things in spurts, but only Chicago and New England did it for a full 60 minutes.

Paul from West Allis, WI

I'm not sure if I should be more disappointed for the Saints or for the Rams. But that showing in the Super Bowl gives me more concern for an offense modeled after the Rams and a young coach. Can the Packers learn from this?

It was a bad night. While it’s unlikely the Rams would put up 40 points against that defensive game plan if the two teams ran it back tonight, I’m not sure LA would only score three points again, either. The Packers can learn from this and the Rams can learn from this.

Rubén from Santander, Spain

So that was the end to the "offensive storm" season: lowest combined scoring in a Super Bowl. Did you see that one coming? Were the signs there, particularly so for the Rams?

Not after last year’s Super Bowl. LA had a bad outing at Soldier Field, but I just chalked that up to the cold affecting a West Coast team. I thought the Rams’ toughest postseason task would be beating the Saints in the Superdome, but I was wrong. With how well New England’s fans traveled, that was almost like a road game for LA.

Simon from Santa Clara, CA

This counts as a blowout for the Patriots right? This was their biggest Super Bowl victory, and they never trailed.

Wow. I never thought of it that way. How on earth are Brady and Belichick still standing? My heart would have gave out already after competing in eight one-score Super Bowls.

David from Houston, TX

What is the one characteristic you would take from Starr, Favre and Rodgers to build the perfect Packers quarterback?

Rodgers’ ability/decision-making, Favre’s durability/moxie and Starr’s leadership. All three were proficient in those categories, but each individually might have been the best the game’s ever seen in the specific areas I highlighted.

Hope from Pecatonica, IL

Waking up today to read, watch and see Brett Favre present Aaron Rodgers with the “Moment of the Year” award is the best my Super Bowl Sunday will get this year. Congrats Aaron! Still looking adorable Brett!

And a well-deserved honor. Aaron Rodgers was at his absolute best after returning in the second half of the opener against Chicago. Randall Cobb mentioned to reporters on the red carpet his 75-yard touchdown in that game was the favorite catch of his career. It’s just too bad it wasn’t the beginning of something special for the Packers’ season.

Gary from Davenport, IA

"And as 'Favrey' knows, there's nothing like beating the Bears." That was a classic.

That got a chuckle out of me.

Jesse from Muscoda, WI

I have a greatest non-Packers tradition for you. During Iowa Hawkeye football home games, everybody turns and waves at the kids at Children’s Hospital that overlooks the stadium. What a great way to make the kids at the hospital feel special. As for a question, which current Packer player no fans are talking about is poised for a breakout season in 2019?

Dean Lowry.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

I know it's going to be a long time for this to get addressed, but do you think they give Trevor Davis another shot? With the new kickoff rules, I wanted to see what he could do with returns. Alas, injury postpones, possibly even ends, potential.

The Packers sorely missed Davis on returns in 2018. I don’t know what Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur plan on doing with special teams, but Davis is under contract for another year. I’d be inclined to bring him back with the hope Davis has put his hamstring woes behind him.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, do you think Julius Peppers' skill set would transition well to coaching?

I think so, but a part of me also wonders if Peppers would rather work behind the scenes with different charitable efforts back home in North Carolina. He seems to have a passion for community outreach.

Kory from Minneapolis, MN

A lot of the new coaching staff seems relatively unknown. Is this a product of a young head coach?

I think it’s more a product of EA Sports’ ‘NFL Head Coach’ video games never really catching on.

Tom from Two Rivers, WI

Ty Law is a Hall of Famer before LeRoy Butler? That’s ridiculous. What in the hell is going on out there?

Cornerbacks always get more love than safeties in the eyes of the voters. It’s been that way since the beginning of time. How else do you explain a four-time All-Pro safety from the All-90s team being unable to crack the top 15 and a two-time All-Pro cornerback from the All-2000s getting in?

Bill from Raleigh, NC

So, great defense, running the ball effectively, and protecting your quarterback wins Super Bowls. It's not the new NFL. It's history repeating itself.

You said it, man. Staying on the cutting edge of offensive innovation is critical to winning titles, but experience in the big game counts for something, too. That’s how the old ball coach and his Hall of Fame-bound QB got the job done over the young tandem of McVay and Goff.

Jeff from Elk Mound, WI

Not sure who said Edelman wasn’t a Hall of Fame type player, but...

That was me. Julian Edelman is not a Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Stefan from Kiel, Germany

You might disagree, but Edelman is going to the Hall of Fame if clutch performance means anything. I mean, I hate the Patriots as much as anyone, but that guy seems to be unstoppable in the postseason, that's worth Hall of Fame even without a single yard in the regular season.

I’m not trying to be difficult about this, but the problem I have with the argument is Edelman plays one of the most difficult positions to get into Canton. And oh, by the way, he’s playing that position in an era in which his peers are putting up insane numbers. I get the postseason is the money season, but Edelman has yet to be even voted to a Pro Bowl. Adam Vinatieri is a Hall of Famer due in part to his postseason heroics, but he just so happens to also be the highest scoring player in NFL history.

Max from Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada

Did you think that the New England punter deserved some serious consideration for Super Bowl MVP?

Don’t get me wrong. My feelings about Edelman’s HOF chances aside, he definitely was the rightful Super Bowl MVP. He made several clutch catches and was the most consistent performer from the opening kickoff to final whistle.

John from Denver, CO

What a punt-fest. Who gets the Ray Guy award for this one?

Johnny Hekker. It’s not every day a fella sets a Super Bowl record for longest punt after the ball rolls 27 yards. Field position rules the football world.

Jesse from Akaska, SD

Clay had to be pulling his hair out watching the hits that were doled out to both quarterbacks with no flags. The zebras did a nice job being inconsequential.

Somewhat. I felt there should have been a flag for a late hit on Jared Goff by the sideline. The calls on John Sullivan and Nickell Robey-Coleman also were head-scratchers for me.

Gary from Bellevue, WI

We always hear the name of quality control assistants. Other coaches’ roles are fairly easy to understand, can you explain the general responsibilities of the offensive and defensive QC positions?

The easiest way to explain it is they’re like graduate assistant positions at the college level. It’s an entry level job, which means those coaches are doing a lot of grunt work in the preparation process and aiding position coaches in practice.

Ralph from Mönchengladbach, Deutschland

Wes, what about an Insiders Outbox again, now that you're alone to mind the store? Wouldn't it make your life easier for one day next week?

It was a neat idea I’m glad we revisited, but it’s staying in the summertime. We’re looking at two days in early July.

Photos of Lambeau Field from 2019

Brett from Marietta, GA

Wes, was it you or Evan who came up with the idea of 45 identical pictures of Lambeau for the Groundhog Day stadium photos? Huzzah to whoever it was. It made me chuckle.

Packers.com, always keeping ya on your toes.

Rachel from Emerald, WI

What do you miss most during the offseason?

Hanging out with my co-workers on road trips. There aren’t many off days during the season, so you learn to cherish those dinners and conversations. Once July rolls around, I see my colleagues more than family for the rest of the year.

Sonia from Fairbanks, AK

I can smell the other team’s fear. Thanks Wes. This was my first Puppy Bowl. Pregame was the best.

I was pleased to see Bumble win MVP. A well-deserving pup who knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity.

Dave from Comer, GA

Wes, I, too adopted a dog. His name is Nitschke. What breed of dog do you have, and what is its name?

Kevin. He’s a Great Dane/Border Collie mix. He’s a good dog, but very, very spoiled.

Xander from Dallas, TX

Do you think the Rams win if they played their starters in the preseason?

You have no idea how much I needed this comment, Xander. I’d say we’re off to a good start to our Spoff-less week.

Paul from Overland Park, KS

Now that the Super Bowl is finally over, Green Bay is on the clock. It’s the year of the Pack. Enjoy the ride, IIers and Packerdom. GO PACK GO!

Incredibly, the combine is only three weeks away. A new season is right around the corner.

Advertising