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Inbox: That's the winning combination

Tough decisions will have to be made

Packers Hall of Fame TE Paul Coffman
Packers Hall of Fame TE Paul Coffman

Craig from Brookfield, WI

What measurables are used in evaluating prospective Packers writers? Wonderlic, finger spread, words per minute, thesaurus reps? And how do they assess the intangibles like sarcasm, patience, obscure pop-culture reference capabilities?

Once again, we're off…

Christopher from Savage, MN

I just saw the distribution of compensatory picks. Is 10 third-rounders typical? How much does the distribution of the rounds of comp picks vary if at all? That just struck me as quite a few relatively high picks awarded.

I thought the same thing. It can vary every year. It would seem that many high ones indicates a number of teams that lost very high-priced players didn't add anyone close to comparable.

Todd from Montreal, Quebec

Greetings Mike, having a look at the compensatory picks awarded, I was surprised that so many playoff teams were given picks. Do you think the NFL should limit compensatory picks to those teams that did not qualify for the playoffs? It seems that many of the already good get to become potentially better. Just look at New England with four additional picks and what they can do to trade up potentially. Or could the NFL require compensatory picks to be used, not traded?

The inverse draft order is already the competitive-balance mechanism, and the compensatory pick system is based strictly on gains and losses in free agency. I don't think it would be right to punish successful teams for drafting well enough to not need free agency. The Packers wouldn't have enjoyed getting nearly as many compensatory picks as they have over the years. For a long time, compensatory picks had to be used and couldn't be traded, but that rule was nixed several years ago.

Sam from Janesville, WI

Your answer to Matt from Manhattan, KS, made me think of one of my favorite McCarthy quotes, "Stats are for losers." Although there isn't as much to draw on, what is one of your favorite LaFleur quotes so far?

"This league will humble you in a hurry."

Jake from Athens, GA

Are you familiar with the saying, "A liar trusts no one"? The thing about cheating is that the people who do it think they're completely justified because they assume everyone else is cheating, too.

Speaking of good quotes: "Blame is the coward's solution to his fear of accountability."

Bruce from New Canaan, CT

Will you explain why college scouting seems to be organized by geographic area rather than position group? It seems to me to be a vestige of the days when budgets were tight, travel more arduous, etc. I am sure that relationships with college coaching staffs is part of it, but the geographic setup would seem to produce scouts who are a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none. I think I would like my scouts comparing SEC cornerbacks to Pac-12 ones, rather than a tackle to a QB.

They aren't comparing different positions, just grading and evaluating players. Scouts assigned to a geographic region can visit six campuses in six days in the fall, if necessary, and do so again the next week. Finances aside, having scouts spending inordinate amounts of their time on airplanes (and then having to get from major airports to relative outposts) means they're spending less time actually scouting, building relationships, etc. Leaving no stone unturned requires being efficient with your time.

Jim from Westboro, WI

Who do you think was the best Packers TE post-Lombardi era? Why?

I loved Paul Coffman's game as a kid, and I think he was ahead of his time a bit. Reliable in all duties and explosive when called upon. That's the winning combination. Taking nothing away from guys like Harris, Chmura and Franks, but from a pure talent standpoint, I think Jermichael Finley was the most athletically gifted.

Brian from Waukesha, WI

The NFLPA constitution says "Only active members in good standing shall be eligible to vote" on the CBA, defined as, "Any person who is employed as a professional football player by a member club of the NFL...including any player who is a party to an NFL Player Contract. A player actively seeking employment as a professional football player shall also be eligible to be a member of the NFLPA." Practice players have a right to vote. Between jobs doesn't matter. Jay Cutler appears not to qualify.


Al from Green Bay, WI

This upcoming season is the final year of the Kirk Cousins $84 million contract. From the perspective of Viking-land, what must he accomplish this year in order to pay out that investment?

The expectations were obviously a Super Bowl, because they came one game away without him. But that was simply not a reasonable mindset given how hard it is to get there, and how this league is so year-to-year. I think if he gives the Vikings another shot at a Super Bowl with a playoff berth in 2020, I'd call the contract worth it, because Minnesota hasn't made back-to-back postseason appearances since 2008-09.

Mike from Hendersonville, TN

Glad you guys did a Prospect Primer on Patrick Queen, guy is a BEAST! And as much as I love BM, I think the Pack will let him go and hopefully pick up Queen in the draft. He always seems to be around the ball and making great reads on defense. He'll be a great addition to our tough young defense.

I don't think he'll be there at 30.

Nikhil from Washington, DC

Hi Mike, I get your point that ILB is next to be revamped because safety, corner, and OLB have been addressed, but sometimes you get better by addressing what you thought you already addressed if what you haven't addressed doesn't need to be addressed. Getting better somewhere else and staying as good at ILB is as good a plan as improving at ILB and staying the same somewhere else. And it's a better plan if your new ILB could only be a bit better but might actually be a lot worse.

The money and draft picks spent at outside linebacker, safety and corner over the past couple of years preclude additional changes right now, and for good reason, because those positions are finally where you want them to be. The Packers went through investing and reinvesting in those areas for years to finally get to this point and get it right. It took too long, but it's finally coming together. You want to continue that investment roulette for the sake of keeping one inside linebacker at a vastly higher price? Again, this is not about one position or player. It's about the whole picture and its history.

Russ from Billings, MT

Good day II...Just putting some thoughts to paper here. With IDL and ILB both being topics of discussion lately, my question is this. IF the powers that be go for the IDL and retain Blake Martinez, wouldn't that increase Martinez's impact (in theory)? Seems to me that Clark would benefit (interior run AND pass help) as well as the overall run D. Thanks for your insight.

Perhaps, and I certainly expect the Packers to make another significant commitment to the defensive line. That's the other area on defense to look to upgrade. But I have a hard time seeing how doing that and keeping Martinez won't handcuff the ability to improve on offense in ways the Packers must. It's about prioritizing resources. Last year the Packers had a ton of cap space and three draft picks in the top 50, so there were few limitations. Now they're much tighter against the cap with one pick in the top 50. Tough decisions will have to be made.

Charles from Riverside, CA

How long does it take to get an answe to a question?

Apparently not as long as it takes to find the "r" on your keyboard.

Dave from Roswell, GA

So what are your thoughts about a lot of players that want to change their votes? Should they be able to?

Great question. I honestly don't know what the right answe is there.

Walt from Skandia, MI

From what I read, it sound like there's some voter apathy from the younger players toward the new CBA, even though it sounds like the agreement favors them. I keep hearing the vote is a simple majority, but is that a majority of the people that voted, or does it have to be a majority of all union members?

A majority of those who vote, and the time frame has been extended to midnight Saturday now.

Joan from Freedom, WI

What's the better deal, an unproven WR from this deep draft class or a proven free agent?

A draft pick is almost always the better deal cap-wise and for potential long-term impact. Immediate impact? Most likely the proven guy. But that's where you trust your scouts to tell you what to expect from certain college prospects. They'll have a read on the timeline.

Nic from London, UK

Every team has to deal with injury so it's not a complaint, but looking at our weaknesses really makes you realize that the premature loss of above-average (or outright excellent) players such as Finley, Raji and Collins can have a lasting impact. We've spent a lot of picks and FA money trying to address those spots and even when we have, it's meant not being able to address another area. There's got to be a cumulative effect to that. Is that life in the NFL or just bad luck?


Take a look at photos of Packers TE Jace Sternberger from the 2019 season.

Dan from Minneapolis, MN

Question for Mike (as he's the baseball guy): I recently read "Moneyball" and wondered if there are any statistics in football that you find as subjective or unhelpful as the error statistic in baseball?

These are completely objective, but a few stats that don't mean much to me in football are fumble recoveries (it's pretty much luck unless the player forced the fumble himself), gross punting average (give me the net instead), and kickoff return average (a guy might be averaging 29 yards per return but if he's bringing kickoffs out from six yards deep to the 23 he's not helping his team).

Daniel from Delta, PA

I certainly don't fault you or Wes for hitting the delete button as quickly as you can with the volume of ignorant submissions you deal with, but I certainly enjoy how MM handles those types of people. What do you guys do to relieve the frustration when particular submissions strike a nerve?

I try to laugh, and if I can't, that usually makes me laugh.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Is it always a Johnsonville or do you go to the local butcher shop?

I'm highly partial to Johnsonville unless someone has turned their fall kill into venison brats and is willing to share. Those are a special treat.

Brian from Sussex, WI

Could really use a "Packers Unscripted" this week. Maybe Mike and Spoff could record one with Wes out.

Happy Thursday.