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Inbox: That's what makes it so unpredictable

It’s not about timing, it’s whether or not you seize it


Andrew from Dayton, OH

My biology students take their state test on Monday and Tuesday next week. The hard work, or lack of, they have put in all year will result in a score that will be used to judge my abilities as an educator. Could you imagine if your job performance was evaluated on the quality of the questions that fans submit? Want to trade jobs for a week?

Depends which week.

Geoff from Omaha, NE

What is your favorite thing to write for Is it II? Postgame stories? In-depth interviews of players and how they got where they are?

For me, it's always covering the games, just like for the fans it's about watching the games. Everything else is enjoyable, but game day is what the rest of the work leads up to. I love the pressure of banging out a game story as fast as I can, followed by the opportunity to provide some big-picture perspective in an editorial. The challenge to process everything quickly and accurately and deliver for the readers is both fun and rewarding.

Dan from Rothschild, WI

Is it just me, or do you find the way Gronk and the Patriots treat the Lombardi Trophy as disrespectful? Even without the name Lombardi attached, I find it disgusting. It's the Patriots way of saying, "We have so many trophies, it doesn't matter if we damage one due to the stupidity of our players." I find it very arrogant that they may not fix it, finding the story behind the dent amusing. What do you guys think? Am I overreacting?

To the victor go the spoils.

Dave from Germantown, TN

I think others have said and I have thought for a long time there are two basic paths to the playoffs. One, win all your home games and split on the road, or two, win all of your division games and then split the rest. With three division games and five home games in the first seven, won't we probably pretty much know the Packers' playoff chances by Week 8?

Nothing will be decided by Week 8. We'll know if the Packers have put themselves in good position, or if they've got a hill to climb.

Liam from Newcastle upon Tyne, England

A win in Week 5 2017 at Dallas was the last game before the wheels came off the Packers. Hopefully a win in Week 5 2019 at Dallas will be the game that signals the wheels are truly back on.

The Packers have enjoyed a ton of success at Jerry's World, beginning with Super Bowl XLV. But I sense Cowboys fans will be out for blood that day. They've watched Matt Flynn's comeback, playoff heartbreak as a No. 1 seed, and additional last-second Rodgers heroics two years ago. They have to be sick of seeing what the Packers have done there.

Brian from Columbia, MD

BAP, Best Available Player...what does that mean? Is that appellation based on need? Based on value? Based on denying a division rival talent? Position? The plain evaluation of talent? Immediate ability to contribute? Projected "ceiling"? The mad whim of the GM? The draft operates on informed opinion, not quantifiable certitude. I doubt BAP lists across the draft room would agree on the BAP, would they?

Within a single draft room? That's why you have exhaustive meetings in the weeks leading up to the draft, to reach a consensus and build a board that can be trusted when the clock is ticking. Across the league? Of course BAP varies wildly, both in definition and ultimate ranking. No team's board matches Mel Kiper's or anyone else's. That's what makes it so unpredictable.

David from Coeur d'Alene, ID

A team has the 10th pick in the draft and the BAP at 10 is a WR; the team is heavy at WR so it trades down to the 15th spot. When they come up at 15 the BAP is now a CB, the team has a need at CB so they go ahead and draft the CB at 15. Question, has the team drafted for BAP or for need?

It has found a way to make the two meet, which is the ultimate goal. It just doesn't always work out so perfectly.

Derek from Maple Grove, MN

The Drew Lock news seems pretty obvious to me. If I put myself in BG's shoes, I know I'm going to be making a quarterback pick sometime in my tenure. Let's say for argument's sake I estimate that will be four years from now. Why wouldn't I spend the next three drafts vetting and ranking the quarterbacks so I can watch how they perform and make sure I'm getting better at evaluation of the sport's most important position? It's basically free practice.

That might be the most astute observation I've ever read in the Inbox, and I'm not exaggerating. I think you've nailed it.

Mike from Green Bay, WI

Years ago the NFL made Week 17 an all-division matchup week. But why has Week 17 been Packers vs. Lions for so many years in a row?

I don't know. Maybe the league just loves Bears-Vikings as a finisher. It's grown an affinity for Bears-Lions on Thanksgiving in recent years, which almost dictates the other Bears-Lions matchup be earlier in the season, not Week 17, thereby ruling out Packers-Vikings in Week 17. And with Packers-Bears in Week 1 this year, perhaps it didn't want the same matchup to conclude the year, though I think it would've been cool, with the second Packers-Bears meeting this year being No. 200 in the rivalry.

Gary from Davenport, IA

I read the Chargers are wearing their powder blue uniforms for their home games. I always liked those uniforms and am really looking forward to seeing them when they host the Packers. How do those uniforms rate in your opinion?

I think it's a good look. With the Chargers, though, I've always felt their best helmet was the dark blue with the yellow lightning bolt, from the Dan Fouts era. It wouldn't work with the powder blue jerseys, I get it, but that helmet was outstanding.

Ric from Longmont, CO

Why on earth would the Chargers rather host the Packers at the 27,000 seat "Dignity Health Sports Park" vs. Estadio Azteca, Wembley or Tottenham?

Take a look at the ticket prices the Chargers have set for Green Bay's visit. There's your answer. The franchise gets a stipend from the league for moving a home game to an international venue. The Chargers felt they could make more by variable pricing the bejeezus out of the Packers game, so they held onto it. While I wouldn't blame any fan for not wanting to pay that much, I hope Packers fans fill the place and make it a West Coast home away from home.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Rich Campbell in '81 instead of Ronnie Lott. Tony Mandarich in '89 over Barry Sanders. Terrell Buckley in '92 when Troy Vincent was available. Every team has draft-day misses, and Green Bay has had some classics. In the age of information and metrics are these misses less likely in 2019, or is the hit/miss ratio roughly the same?

The draft is as much of a crapshoot as it's always been, because every draft pick is a human being chosen by a human. Quarterbacks also dictate so much of what goes on these days. I was looking back this week at the 2011 draft, and how 12 of the first 16 picks that year have gone to a Pro Bowl. Three of the four who didn't were QBs. Tennessee took Jake Locker at 8, one pick before Dallas took Tyron Smith. Then Jacksonville chose Blaine Gabbert at 10, one pick before Houston took J.J. Watt. Once any draft is far enough in the rear-view mirror, you can find such examples everywhere.

Joshua from Houston, TX

I don't think there's a team in the league with a schedule like ours with the division games coming pretty much only at the beginning and end of the year.

I did some checking, and Washington got the same layout as Green Bay – two division games to start and three to finish. Dallas and Oakland also got two to start and two to finish, for what it's worth. I think the strangest scheduling quirk I've heard so far is the Falcons not playing an outdoor game until Nov. 17. Their first five road games – Minnesota, Indy, Houston, Arizona, New Orleans – are all in domes. Atlanta is playing 13 of 16 games indoors.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

No one knows who the Packers will be Weeks 1 and 2, including the Bears and Vikings.

Nope, just like the Packers had no idea who the Bears were in Week 1 last year with Nagy, Mack, etc., and the Vikings were coming in Week 2 with Cousins.

Josh from Milwaukee, WI

Watching Davante Adams' combine, I'm amazed by his improvement since then in the smoothness of his route running. He was always an explosive athlete, but his subtlety and quickness out of breaks is off the charts. After years of development and dedication to working on his craft, I think I now have a slight understanding of why players always say "work on the details." Have a happy Easter weekend, Inbox!

But I thought Inbox readers didn't want to ever hear about fundamentals?

Ross from Roswell, GA

Gents, do you think the NFL schedule-maker did the Packers a bigger favor by scheduling the early home schedule or a disservice with the late-season away games? Thanks for the great work.

Every schedule has its opportunities. The Packers' opportunity happens to be early in the slate, and it's a big one. After the opener in Chicago, they have five home games in six weeks, four of them against teams that did not make the playoffs in '18. It's not about whether the timing of the opportunity is good or bad, it's whether or not you seize it.

Glen from Green Bay, WI

Much is made about second-year jumps. Does learning how to study opponents' film contribute to that and do coaches or other veteran players assist more with becoming good at this?

Absolutely. I've heard young players talk all the time about how they started studying film differently once they got to the NFL.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

Unless I'm mistaken I noticed something unusual about the Packers' schedule this year. How many opponents will have two weeks to prepare to play the Packers this year because they are coming off their bye week?

Strangely, most of those breaks for opponents are clustered together. Detroit and Oakland in Weeks 6-7 will be coming off their byes when they play the Packers in October. Then in Week 8, Kansas City will be coming off a Thursday night game when it hosts Green Bay. Also, Chicago will be coming off a Thursday game before it comes to Lambeau in December.

Troy from Pembroke Pines, FL

Daily reader, first submission. My grandfather, Phil Krueger, worked under McKay in the first year with the expansion Bucs and eventually moved to an office role. He was with the draft-room team when the infamous call was made in 1982. Thanks for bringing up this story I knew little about! Also, us woeful Marlins fans everywhere could use a shout-out. We had Yelich first and now have to watch him become baseball's next star. It's become the story of our fandom.

I don't have to tell you to imagine what an outfield of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich would look like right now.

Robert from Katy, TX

Aside from LaFleur what coaching decision is going to make the largest impact this season?

Either retaining Mike Pettine or bringing aboard Shawn Mennenga. I think both will have noticeable impacts.

Thomas from Milwaukee, WI

I love looking back at draft history. I think the biggest thing that people don't remember about 2005 and Rodgers falling was the CBA back then. A lot of teams literally couldn't afford to draft a quarterback because they were already paying a veteran; that would never happen today. Do you think rookie contracts will come up in the next CBA? It's odd because the people it affects aren't part of the NFLPA yet.

That's why it won't come up and likely won't ever go back to the previous salary structure.

Evan from Durango, CO

This draft seems so deep, especially on the defensive front. I wonder what will become of this class in a decade or so.

Me, too. If it proves to be as deep as advertised, and with Gutekunst having six picks in the first four rounds, this could provide a new core of the team for years to come.

Luis from Edmonton, Alberta

Indeed it is an intriguing schedule for the Packers, however on the downside would you agree that the league has effectively negated our weather as a factor?

Look, the Packers had two southern teams and a dome team coming to Lambeau last December. Not being in position to take advantage of it was Green Bay's own fault. Things aren't going to line up like that every year.

Ben from Fort Worth, TX

When it comes to playing two teams in your conference that finished in the same place as you in the division, what determines whether or not they are home or away games? I get that one game will be at home and one away, but why are the Packers at the 49ers and hosting the Panthers and not the other way around? Is it just random to add flexibility when creating the schedule? Or more to it?

To be brief, it's a rotation. Over three years, you will play two teams from each division based on the previous year's finish in the standings. One from each different division will be home, the other away, over that course of time.

Douglas from Overbrook, KS

For Prospect Primer, is there any way you can include a projection of when they might be drafted?

I can't speak to how all the other contributors handled theirs, but if there's a general consensus as to where a player will be drafted, I try to include it in either the text or video script. If the projections are all over the board, from the second to the fifth round for example, then it's not worth bothering.

Ken from Mount Holly, NC

Dan from Golden Valley, MN, asked on Monday how many Packers players went to Notre Dame. has a history page with a searchable all-time roster tab of all players to play in at least one game for the team. It shows me that my alma mater, tiny Furman University, has had two players play for the Packers, both of them quarterbacks (!). Oh, and 54 players from Notre Dame, which is pretty good too, I guess.

After a whole year I still don't know everything our updated website offers. Thanks.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

In re: to Tim from Greensboro's comment on our QB's injuries/possible decline, you mentioned "building around Rodgers." One need look no further than Manning's SB win with the Broncos. Rodgers' supposed decline is far from what Manning's was then. BG's FA signings to shore up the defense, coupled with our draft potential and developing talent, gives me confidence that the Pack has every chance to compete at a high level in '19. Arod's mental ability is as important as his physical skills.

Has been for a long time. I like the phrase "supposed decline." I'm anticipating a new system and good health to bring a freshness to his game. No guarantees, of course, but I'll take my chances.

Douglas from Overbrook, KS

Which rounds are harder to draft? I imagine the first round is easier, especially with a higher pick, because you can go over scenarios easier because there are less options. The later rounds are probably easier because you've identified a number of players for each round and it's less likely other teams are targeting who you've identified. Rounds 2 and 3 seem more difficult. You can't predict who will or won't be there, who will trade up in front of you, etc.

That's a fair assessment. With the talent the analysts are saying will be there in the second and third rounds, I'm wondering if next Friday night will be chock-full of trades.

Alex from Winter Haven, FL

Mike, how are you supposed to hear the microwave go off to tell you the Chunky soup is ready if you have noise-canceling headphones on? Asking for a friend.

Nicely done. Happy Friday, everyone.