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Inbox: That's what sets a tone for the D

It’s all a process


Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN

Another weekend of digging out. Hope you guys had a great weekend!

This has been some winter. Never a dull moment.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Which one player (from any era) would you add to this roster to instantly make it a Super Bowl contender?

Lawrence Taylor.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

Relative to other NFC North teams, it is very interesting to see how well positioned GB is for the next several years. Both Chicago and Minnesota are in the bottom five of cap space this year, and Chicago is also bereft of draft capital the next few years. Detroit is ... well, still Detroit. And Minnesota is all-in with Kirk Cousins. Pack has 10 picks, salary cap room, and QB1 locked up for years. Regardless of anything else, the future is bright in GB.

There are circumstances in the Packers' favor. They must take advantage.

Michael from Pewaukee, WI

Scenario. The Packers will be guaranteed to draft a Pro Bowl player with the first pick in the 2019 draft, regardless of position. Which position do the Packers select?

I don't think it matters. If their first pick is going to be a Pro Bowler, they will have improved the team considerably, and that's all you can ask for.

Bill from Mediapolis, IA

Do you see any of our second-year receivers making the jump to elite? How many years did it take sixth-round Antonio Brown to get there?

Elite in Year 2 might be a stretch. Brown had 1,100 yards in his second season but then began his long stretch of otherworldly stats in Year 4.

John from Denver, CO

Where do you see Jake Kumerow fitting into the WR rotation in 2019?

He's going to have a ton of competition for snaps. Cobb is an unknown at the moment, but the three draft picks from last year will all look to make a push, and Allison will be back from injury. I also don't see the Packers standing pat at the position. Someone or two will have to step forward.

Thomas from Portage, MI

What is your opinion on experienced backup (>5 yrs) QB vs. inexperienced (<3 yrs)? I think we need an experienced one.

Again, at what price? If you're going to pay for an experienced backup QB, it's going to cost you cap-wise and affect your roster elsewhere. The question is not as easy as you frame it.

Markus from Aurora, CO

Now, as we have the coaching staff assembled, what are we looking forward to next as it comes to this staff and the implementation of new philosophies and visions?

Well, come the start of OTAs in late May and training camp in late July, we'll see what a Matt LaFleur practice looks like. Then we'll see how he handles preseason. I'm not expecting any grand revelations or pronouncements along the way. It's all a process.

Paul from Shoreview, MN

The Packers do not seem to have an identity on defense nor do they have an "enforcer." Someone that sets a tone for the D. I thought Antonio Morrison brought some of that last year but is somewhat limited athletically. Do you feel that a defense needs someone that sets an attitude and perhaps brings a little "fear" to opposing offenses?

I'm sorry but I just don't buy into this. The talk sounds good, but it means little to me. The Packers need a defender at a premier position – pass rusher or corner, in my opinion – that offenses must game plan around. That's what sets a tone for the D. They might have found their corner in Alexander last year. We'll see. They also need the pass rusher that forces opposing offenses to adjust. They have Kenny Clark on the interior up front, but they need the complement on the edge.

Paul from Bay View, WI

Do the Packers start setting up their draft board as the combine unfolds, or do they have a set way in which they will approach the draft based on needs? I could see how their whole approach could change on a daily basis depending on who rises to the top during drills.

They've built a preliminary board prior to the combine. After the combine, pro days, pre-draft visits, etc., it'll get adjusted, and then over the last 2-3 weeks before the draft it'll get finalized. All the workouts and such can lead to some shifting, but Ted Thompson always used to say that everything generally shifted back closer to its original shape in the end. That's because the final re-checks and crosschecks focused on the most important piece of evaluation material – game tape.

Bryce from Sullivan, IN

With spring right around the corner, what's the one thing you're excited about that you couldn't do all winter?

Go to a baseball game. T-minus 31 days and counting until Opening Day in Milwaukee.

Nick from Baraboo, WI

What's the more important thing to accomplish this offseason, a strong draft or signing big free agents?

I'm not dismissing free agency, but I've continued to say this is a huge opportunity in the draft for the Packers. Four picks in the top 75 in this draft, seven in the top 150. They have to make them count.

Paul from Ellensburg, WA

Hey fellas, I think an argument can be made that each of the last three seasons were killed at various points by untimely fumbles. 2016, Ripkowski NFC Championship Game. 2017, Geronimo Allison against Carolina in the Rodgers comeback game. 2018, Ty Montgomery against LA. Oversimplification sure, but each of those had major effects on significant games.

It wouldn't be difficult to point to every season hinging in some way on a play that either was a giveaway or takeaway, or could've/should've been one.

Karl from Fort Collins, CO

The TE talent available early in the draft begs the question if, according to tape, play, and combine results, if Tonyan can step up this year and be a regular TE. Does he have the hands, speed and blocking ability for that role? The first couple rounds of the draft will tell us what management thinks, but do you have an opinion from your observations?

Tonyan has a lot of tools, but a college career at Indiana State and four NFL receptions isn't much to go on. He's talked about how much he learned and absorbed from all the veterans at his position in 2018 – Graham, Kendricks, Lewis. If he truly puts their tutelage into action, he has a chance.

See photos of the 2019 Green Bay Packers coaching staff

Deborah from Shawano, WI

The II mentioned that second-year players will get the benefit of an NFL offseason program. What does that consist of?

It's a 10-week regimen that begins with two weeks of strength and conditioning, followed by three weeks of individual position work with their coaches, then four weeks of OTAs, and a final week of minicamp. With a new head coach, the Packers will get one extra week in April, though I don't know how they plan to use it and the regulations surrounding it.

Stacy from Marshfield, WI

What are your plans for the draft?

I thought I'd take some vacation time and let Wes cover all 10 picks.

Matt from Janesville, WI

Mike, you mentioned on Saturday that 2009 was the last time the Packers didn't have a compensatory pick. Coincidentally they also made two first-round picks that year, and they won the Super Bowl the following season...Just saying.

That draft netted Raji, Matthews and Lang with the first three picks, and Lang was at No. 109 overall in the fourth round. The Packers have two more picks between the two first-rounders and the fourth round this time.

Dave from Comer, GA

When Coach Whitted is through for the day is anyone around to say, "Alvis has left the building!"? OK, I will see myself out...

Please do.

Dave from Germantown, TN

If the Packers win all their home games in 2019, do they make the playoffs?

I would say yes. I don't see this team losing seven straight on the road again.

The free community event, focused on getting kids out of the house to enjoy non-strenuous physical activity, took place Saturday, Feb. 23, on the Lambeau Field Atrium's main floor and fourth floor.

Megan from Chicago, IL

What is the Packers' biggest strength going into next season?

Their quarterback, and a fresh start.

Eric from Reedsburg, WI

Patriots owner Robert Kraft got caught up in a prostitution sting. The NFL came down pretty hard on Jim Irsay's drug arrest with a ban of six games and $500K fine. If Kraft is proven guilty, will Goodell hand out a harsh penalty and make an example of Kraft, or will this story have a happy ending?

The legal process must take its course, but I would expect a rather significant punishment if guilty as charged.

Bob from Cortez, CO

The combine is useful for physical measurables. Are there any tests for mental processing?

All prospects take the Wonderlic test in Indy.

Drew from Croton on Hudson, NY

Wait, you edit questions? To think of the hours I've wasted checking Strunk and White to try to get usage and punctuation up to II standards. Guess I can't use that as an excuse anymore for why you don't post my questions. P.S. The obvious differences in views in single vs. double spaces are in the personal interests of well-written journalists trying to fit poignant thoughts into a limited space in a newspaper and the rest of us trying to expand our banal views to fit school writing assignments.

Drew wants to take the Wonderlic. I can tell.

Jake from Athens, GA

Will the offensive line still use a zone-blocking scheme under LaFleur? And do you have any intuition about what The Gute's plan for RG is this offseason?

All indications are LaFleur's offense will use primarily zone blocking, but I'm sure there are some variations. I've picked up no hints on the plan at right guard. Maybe a free agent, maybe the draft, maybe both and see who emerges.

Dan from Northfield, MN

Wondering where visiting teams stay when then come to play the Packers? (I've heard the Copper Leaf in Appleton.)

It's actually the Paper Valley in Appleton, right across the street from the Copper Leaf.

Jay from Woodstock, GA

Spoff, regarding "A-ha" moments, my favorite is when the Big Ten increased to 11 teams, and I discovered the conference logo was redesigned to incorporate the number 11 into the letters. The current B1G logo is less impressive to me.

I love the conference, but the new logo does nothing for me. Knowing the way the 11 was cleverly worked in to the previous logo, my first thought with the current one was they were just preparing for when they go to 16 teams.

James from New Richmond, WI

Mike, with all due respect to Sharpe, who I think was one of the greatest to ever play the position, do you really believe there is a chance for him to make it into the Pro Football HOF? I hope he does, and wouldn't be opposed to it, I just have a hard time seeing it happen.

I'm not overly optimistic, but I still think there's a chance. As I said before, Terrell Davis' induction opened the door to injury-shortened careers. The exception with him is his postseason prowess, so the door isn't wide open for Sharpe, but it's open a crack.

Rob from Edinburgh, Scotland

Do you think the Packers will, or indeed should, re-sign Wilkerson on another prove-it deal? He was pretty good in the few games he played and has publicly expressed interest in staying. I haven't heard anything online suggesting that he'll be re-signed though.

Gutekunst has given away no intentions thus far, whether regarding Wilkerson, Breeland, Matthews, Cobb, etc. The GM is speaking with the media Wednesday morning at the combine. We'll see if he sheds any light. I suspect he'll still keep everything close to the vest, for negotiating purposes.

Ren from Wilmette, IL

Do you have picks for the draft?

I need to own a team first. Happy Monday, everyone.