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Inbox: The board is their best hand

It all has to work together


Frederick from Middleton, WI

Can we get some II reporting on the cheese championships? I could see a "3 things you might have swissed" video in the offing. Have a gouda day.

You can see yourself out.

Matt from Waukesha, WI

While reading all the draft questions in the Inbox this year, I continually see discussions about drafting an edge rusher or TE. In years past you always preached drafting the BAP. Is this year different because you truly believe those will be the BAP at 12 and 30 or because we have such a need at those positions?

The needs are so acute they'll be strong tiebreakers in the BAP analysis.

Dan from Kenosha, WI

Insiders, in regard to the combine, which player would you rather have? One whose athleticism is off the charts but has only above-average film? Or one with average athleticism whose film is superior? One may have better upside while the other may have better vision and instincts. I'd take the film.

Every. Single. Time.

Dale from Kettering, OH

BAP and need drafting have their proponents, but "want" drafting is the theory we get too much of at this time of the year in columns and comments. Would any of those writers try their big moves in free agency and the draft if their job actually depended on putting a good team on the field? Bets?

The question isn't whether they'd try it, but how long they'd be employed.

Toua from Milwaukee, WI

If the Cardinals decide to draft Murray, wouldn't it be a waste of a first-round pick last year? You're probably not going to get a similar value pick for trading Rosen this year because teams already have film on how he did in the pros.

No, they won't get similar value for Rosen, but if you feel Murray is a significant upgrade at the game's most important position, you have to take him. I wouldn't fault the Cardinals, if that's what they believe. Not one bit.

Amy from Bayport, MN

A defensive end named Sweat? Cool. A cornerback named Greedy? Sweet. My submission for best football name? The Bears just signed a kicker named Blewitt. I mean wow. That guy's gotta have some confidence.

Cue the Billy Madison footage.

Matt from Madison, WI

I just read Wright Thompson's piece on ESPN regarding the combine. It was the shoe to Cinderella's foot. Truly great writing. It's about what I expected of the event and those who attend. It didn't leave a bad taste in my mouth because I knew it would in advance. It leads me to believe the behavior and ideology of the NFL and its owners/team staff isn't limited to the combine; it's the consensus culture every day of the year. I think all of us would love to hear your thoughts on the piece.

Nothing in it surprised me. It's why I continually stress that the most important parts of the combine are the medical checks and interviews. The rest is a big show that, seemingly, will only get bigger.

Kurt from East Peoria, IL

I jumped for joy when the Packers drafted Brian Brohm. I couldn't believe the Packers gave the Patriots three draft picks to move back into the first round to select Clay Matthews. Who in the world is Nick Collins from Bethune-Cookman? He was not even listed in my draft guide that I purchased at Barnes & Noble! Those are just a few examples, and yet, after all that I'm pretty sure I know exactly what the Packers need to do.

You're not alone.

Robert from Harris, MN

John Kuhn...WOW! I am somewhat ashamed. I feel I took him for granted. As a player I admired him for how he went about his business, doing the hard work, doing it well and not getting a ton of recognition for it. It seems he did that game to game, and season to season and quietly built a remarkable career that I failed to see in real time. Nicely done No. 30.

As a journalist, there was extra meaning to yesterday's "dash-30-dash" (–30–) at the end of the story.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

Regarding the franchise tag, I realize the players don't like it but the owners should keep it intact – unless they want to see things play out like the NBA (see Antonio Davis). That, and the players will start determining which teams they are going to go to. No thank you. For the fans' sake, doesn't a team need to have a way to protect its star players?

That's why it needs to stay, but I'm with Wes that a player should only be able to get tagged once, for the purpose of working out a long-term deal, and if that deal never materializes, the player should become a free agent after playing one year under the tag.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Who is the one player who will assuredly be gone by pick 12 which would have had the most immediate impact on the Packers this season?

Josh Allen.

Dean from Orlando, FL

I hate to break into all the draft discussions, but shouldn't we temper those speculations until the free-agency period is well underway? Under the former regime, the draft was the primary player acquisition tool. However, with the new group, free agency could negate draft concerns at one or more positions.

The draft will still be the foundation under Gutekunst, and he's going to want young players developing across the roster. If he signs a veteran safety or edge rusher, it doesn't mean the position doesn't still need to be addressed in the draft. At least it doesn't mean that to me.

Max from Ingolstadt, Germany

My good friend Tobi still refuses to read the II even though that would make him a much more valuable conversation partner on many occasions. Could you try and help me to convince him?

Hey Tobi, Max is tired of winning all the time. He wants you to win occasionally, too.

Sean from Wisconsin Dells, WI

Mike, I just finished "Instant Replay" by Jerry Kramer and "When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi" by David Maraniss. Both books were excellent and I'm yearning for something similar to grasp my attention. Please recommend a great sports book you've read (football-related) that you highly recommend.

"Friday Night Lights" by H.G. Bissinger. Even if you've watched the movie and seen the TV show, read the book.

Paul from Cumming, GA

All of this codswallop about TEs or trading for Bell and/or Brown, what a bunch of malarkey. The Packers' team needs and early draft should be academic. Hit the quarterback. Protect the quarterback. I'll hang up and listen.

The real codswallop would be drafting pass rushers or protectors just for the sake of doing so, without regard for a playmaker who could have a larger, longer impact on your team. It's why you rate the players and see how the draft falls.

Rick from Kenosha, WI

Bart Starr is the obvious choice as the best, latest draft pick made by the Packers. Who are some other very late-round picks, or in more recent years UDFAs, that have gone on to first-ballot HOF NFL careers?

I'm not quite sure how you want me to answer your question, but it got me thinking about who might be the next undrafted player to join Willie Wood, John Randle, Kurt Warner and the dozen or so others in Canton. I'm probably missing someone here, but I see four legitimate candidates – Adam Vinatieri, Antonio Gates, James Harrison and Jason Peters.

Former Packers FB John Kuhn formally announced his retirement as a member of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Thursday, March 7, 2019.

Greg from Chelsea, MI

When all is said and done, John Kuhn will have played on offense with four different Hall of Fame quarterbacks. I know you don't have this list in front of you, but how many other players in NFL history can say the same?

It's remarkable, isn't it?

Luke from Verona, WI

Favorite "Kuuuuhn!" memory?

The one **I wrote about after his press conference**, the game at New England in '10. He was jumping over guys, running through tackles, gaining every yard he could. I remember sitting in the press box in Foxboro thinking, "Is this for real?" The fans really took to him from there on out.

Luke from La Crosse, WI

How about all fans who whine and complain about the Packers not emulating "the Patriot way" just go become Patriots fans? Any takers? Anyone else sick of hearing this? Please God put some actual football talent in that division.

Sam Darnold is the latest hope for change.

Nate from Plymouth, MN

Regarding free agency: I read a story today about the Broncos releasing Darian Stewart, and at the bottom of the article it said, "The veteran now joins a crowded group of free-agent safeties, which includes Earl Thomas, Landon Collins, Eric Weddle, Tyrann Mathieu, Kenny Vaccaro, Lamarcus Joyner and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix." I wanted to ask, how bold a prediction is it to say that at least one of the players listed above will be wearing green and gold come September?

I don't think it's a given, but it would seem a deep group at one position could produce a reasonable bargain to upgrade, and all the tags handed out at edge rusher would seem to preclude any real bargains emerging. Then again, sometimes a team will look at the free-agent options at a position and think, "Go big or go home," and if the top guys are too pricey, they'll spend elsewhere on the roster. Safety is a tough position to gauge, because it's not about winning one-on-ones, and for anyone below the elite level, fit could be scheme-dependent.

Dan from Rice Lake, WI

OK, I'm an idiot swimming upstream of conventional wisdom. But most quarterbacks are terrified of pressure up the middle. So why not seek a dominant interior DL in the draft or FA, if available, and quality edge rushers via the same routes?

You don't pass on a dominant D-lineman if he's the best guy on the board, and Julian from Gastonia, NC, asked in a similar vein about Ed Oliver. The Packers should have options at 12, but their interior pressure is the stronger suit of the two right now with Clark, Daniels and Lowry. Yes, QBs dislike pressure up the middle, but if your guy on the outside is getting handled, it's an easy escape. The edge pressure needs to complement it, and vice versa. It all has to work together.

Shane from Orlando, FL

Devin White has no peer? Did you not see Devin Bush run a 4.43 in the 40? I watched him play at Michigan, he's a sideline-to-sideline player that's also a great blitzer. White should be ranked higher on the board but not by much.

I take nothing away from Bush, who looks like a fine prospect and potential first-rounder. But everything I see has White the first inside 'backer off the board, and Bush going at least 10-12 picks later. That's a big gap.

Craig from Laramie, WY

"I pray for patience" was an interesting comment and got me wondering. Being from the wild west, I think of the NFL Draft as the GMs playing about seven hands of "cowboy poker." It takes nerves of steel (and maybe some other metallic body parts) to stay in your spot at the table with all that's happening around you!

That's why doing all the homework, and getting through all the arguments and discussions in advance of draft day, is critical. GMs like to say "trust the board." The board is their best hand.

Josh from Fargo, ND

Mike, how many MLB parks have you visited over the years? And which has been your favorite? I have a long-term goal of seeing a game at every stadium sometime in my life. So far I've been to every one in the AL Central and NL Central, plus Coors Field, and I'll hopefully be seeing SunTrust Park in Atlanta this year.

I haven't been to nearly as many as I'd like, but I have a similar lifelong goal. Outside of Milwaukee and Chicago, I've been to games in Cleveland, Baltimore, Kansas City, St. Louis, San Diego and Seattle. I absolutely loved Camden Yards.

Don from St. Cloud, FL

What are the dates of the 2019 training camp?

We'll have a better idea once the preseason schedule is announced next month. Camp can begin 15 days prior to the first preseason game. That's usually reporting day, with the first practice the next day. The full camp schedule has been announced in the past in June.

Rod from Chugiak, AK

Wes's "By staying above it all. Hot takes don't win titles. A calm and reasoned approach is what builds championships" prompts my paraphrase: By staying above it all, Spoff and Wes build a dedicated following among those of us who reject columnists claiming clairvoyance ("What Gute is Thinking") or superior insights ("What the Packers Must Do"). Those click-bait practitioners not only don't entice, they nauseate the knowledgeable. Your calm and reasoned content is what locks in II's readership.

We try to have some fun, too.

Ron from Prairie du Sac, WI

Spoff, if it has noodles it's goulash. Just saying.

I was of exactly the same opinion until I left the southwest part of the state, and discovered how many people elsewhere in Wisconsin put noodles in their chili. I can honestly say I'm a fan of both versions, and I no longer care what you call it.

Matthew from Portland, OR

Hi Insiders,

It's cool to hear "100 Seasons" on is an award finalist! Although a daily reader of II, I have yet to indulge myself with all the history (waiting for a rainy day, so to speak). Will the content remain active for years or does it run the risk of being taken down?

I'm not going to say it'll be up in perpetuity, but it should still **stay up for a while yet**. That said, there's more than one rainy day's worth to dive into, and we're not too ashamed to **beg for votes**.

Scott from Martinez, GA

Man alive, this musical II has me so confused I don't know if I'm submitting a question to Mike, Wes, or even Vic at this point. Anyway, Packer readers need answers to the most important questions. Like, what amount of trust in Wes's driving must Mike have to sit in the back seat worryin' 'bout writing this column without fear? And does Mike read out crazy submissions that you guys laugh at?

It's become an annual tradition. Just fair warning, the rest of this month the column will go in streaks. Wes for a few days, then me for a week or so, then Wes again, etc. Hope y'all can roll with it while we catch our breath here and there. Happy Friday.