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Inbox: The pressure and hype would be immense

Nobody asks how, just how many

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes

Ryan from Sun Prairie, WI

The season has been over for almost two weeks. When are you going to tell us who the Packers will draft in the first round?

Whom. Weekend humor cuts both ways.

Vince from Sioux Falls, SD

Although I would much rather be celebrating a Super Bowl title, It's also kinda exciting when we get this close and lose, to watch the cat-and-mouse games we must employ to make the next season even better. If we had won, fans (not coaches) wouldn't have as much zest to figure out what we need to get the deal done, therefore a more boring offseason. Strange though true.

I would have been absolutely fine with boring. Honest.

Steve from Wabasha, MN

Is it because of Dean and the II that I'm looking forward to Amanda Gorman reciting at the Super Bowl?

Consider your horizons expanded, I guess.

Damian from Superior, WI

Why are some timeouts, or times out, 30 seconds and others are five minutes? And who gets to decide?


Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Two years ago in II there was a discussion about how wild-card teams no longer make it to the SB. TB has broken that trend. Did you see something about this COVID season that might stick out as a reason?

For the Bucs' first playoff game, facing a third-string quarterback making his first NFL start about a month after he joined his new team made winning three road games to get to the Super Bowl a tad less daunting. The atmospheres in the Superdome and Lambeau would have been different in a normal year, too. But Super Bowls are like golf scores. Nobody asks how, just how many.

Subhadeep from Middletown, CT

To me, it's interesting that in the age of NFL head coaches being hired in the 30-40 year-old range the final title game is between two grizzly veterans: Andy Reid vs. Bruce Arians. In the age of copycat league I wonder if the hiring spree of getting head coaches who are the same or even younger than some players on the team will slow down a bit. To me, talent finds a way to rise to the top, no matter what their age is.

That's definitely true. I take nothing away from Reid and Arians, but the trend isn't going anywhere just because they're the final two standing. Four of the last six coaches eliminated from the playoffs were McVay, Stefanski, McDermott and LaFleur. That quartet's average age is 40.

Sue from Tomah, WI

Gentlemen: In this season of COVID and the adjustments that needed to be made, are there any of the changes you saw that you feel should be kept once we are COVID-free?

I'll be very interested to see if some of the COVID-related roster rules, like unlimited temporary IR or elevating practice-squad players to the active roster for game day without subjecting them to waivers to return them to the PS, are going to stick around in some form or another. I guess we'll see.

Sandy from Green Bay, WI

There has been some discussion about COVID measures set up as precautions to protect team personnel that might become permanent going forward. Any talk about continuing to restrict media access in the locker room for player interviews? In the past those interactions have provided fans with an "up close" contact with players that has been informative, fun, and given us a glimpse into personality of the team. I would miss those interviews.

So would we, but again, that's a wait-and-see issue. I'm expecting everything this offseason to be virtual again, but I'm not going to predict one way or another where we'll be (as a country, with the virus, etc.) when training camp rolls around.

William from Speedwell, TN

Assuming there is a 2021 HOF Game (fingers crossed) I think in most years the Packers would be scheduled to play the Raiders to celebrate Charles Woodson's induction to the Pro Football HOF. That would give us Packers fans an extra opportunity to see a lot of Jordan Love in a Packers uniform for the first time. The fly in this particular ointment is that this is also Peyton Manning's induction class. Will we lose this opportunity in favor of a Colts vs. Broncos game? What's your opinion? Thanks.

It's impossible for me to say, and there's certainly no guarantee there will be a game. More often than not, the HOF Game pits an NFC team vs. an AFC team, though not always. Denver was in the last one that was played (2019), so I'd suspect no on the Broncos. If Megatron is getting inducted, the simplest from a travel perspective for fan bases would be Colts vs. Lions.

John from St. Albert, Canada

Hello II. I am curious why teams don't use the franchise tag more often. It seems like it can be favorable to the team if a star player is looking for a long-term, high-priced deal. The tag may pay a lower amount than the star is looking for and it's short term. For positions that have a tendency for fast decline (CB) or high injury rate (RB) it seems like a good business strategy. GMs who balance all these decisions and put a competitive team on the field have my respect.

The tag is favorable to teams, strategically. But players hate it, because it makes them wait for the larger payout of guaranteed money and could force them to risk another year of injury before getting what they want. That's why using the tag can cause friction or acrimony, making some clubs hesitant to use it. They'd prefer to have an understanding both sides are going to work in good faith toward a long-term deal, and then use the tag simply to extend the negotiating period.

Joe from Wausau, WI

Both LaFleur and Gutekunst talked about the hurt the players were feeling following the loss to the Bucs. How do the coaching staff and player personnel people make sure that hurt becomes a motivating force, and not a hangover which could have a negative effect on the next season?

Set a standard and demand their performance lives up to it. No different than any other year. This is the big leagues. It's performance-based, and no one really cares how you feel. Professional athletes know that.

Mike from Milwaukee, WI

I hated that they added a 17th game because the scheduling was so neatly laid out. How will they determine the 17th opponent? Has there been any rumors that you've heard? I like the idea of ranking the conferences 1-16 and the No. 1 NFC team plays the No. 1 AFC team. I think that's the best way to keep the neat and orderly scheduling format. Your thoughts?

Don't hold me to this, but my understanding is each NFC division will be paired with an AFC division (different from the one they're already scheduled to play), and the teams match up by their place in the standings. I believe the first pairing for the NFC North is the AFC West, so the Packers and Chiefs would be the 17th game.

Niels from Bridgetown, Barbados

Comment regarding "biggest need": I believe it might take luck to keep even one of Jones and Williams. Therefore, RB might turn out to be pretty high on the list.

Entirely possible.

Steve from Lake Stevens, WA

Do teams ever draft a player knowing they will probably never be a significant contributor on offense or defense, but because they're a heck of a special-teams player?

Teams might use a very late-round pick on a player like that, but most often they're spending their resources on players they envision developing at a specific position.

Matt from Fort Worth, TX

I know the draft is a ways away still, but what position group do you think Gutey takes three swings at this time?

Great way to phrase it. I don't normally entertain these questions until free agency starts to sort itself out, but in this case I think the answer is pretty obvious: Cornerback.

Thomas from Altoona, WI

I know people are tired of the drafting-a-wide-receiver questions, but they almost have to add a couple of receivers in the upcoming draft. You have Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown and Allen Lazard becoming free agents. The odds are you can't keep them all, so it would make sense to add their replacements.

I tend to agree.

Jay from Altoona, WI

During the NFCC broadcast, Troy Aikman brought up the idea that the Packers should try to get a player like Randall Cobb. Tyler Ervin certainly added speed and shiftiness when he was on the field, but he has dealt with injury issues. Tavon Austin was brought in late but was unable to provide any dynamic plays. Should Gutekunst be looking to acquire more players in the mold of small but quick, or do you think he will just keep acquiring the 6-3 big receivers?

Whether in the draft or free agency, if given the choice between those two options of similarly rated players, I'd always lean toward the one without size limitations. But I could see the smaller type who projects as a great fit for LaFleur's offense being very much on Gutekunst's radar in the coming months.

James from Chicago, IL

The cap is based on a percentage of league revenue. For those who think the owners should keep the cap where it is and just suck it up and take the loss, … say you had an agreement that your brothers get 60% of your Halloween candy. Halloween is on Saturday and you collect 10 pounds. Your brothers get six pounds. The next year it's on Sunday and you only to collect seven pounds. Would you want to keep the agreement at 60% (4.2 pounds) or suck it up and just give them six pounds like they got the year before?

Thanks for the chuckle. I just want the Kit Kats.

David from Cable, WI

I think the talking heads like the offseason better than the actual season. They get to declare winners and losers rather than deal with actual results.

Also funny. Weekend humor definitely in full force today.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Wes asked if we cared about the Super Bowl so I'd like to offer my opinion. I like Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes and wouldn't mind if they won, but I really don't care about the game. As a matter of fact, I have no desire to watch it. But I don't want the Chiefs to win three straight championships because I like to brag about the only two teams to three-peat. So the Chiefs can win this year but not next year.

If the Chiefs win, the pressure and hype surrounding them next season would be immense. It is interesting that the QB trying to stop them from going back-to-back is the last one to do it, more than 15 years ago, when the younger QB's age was still in single digits.

David from Waterford, OH

Wes and Mike, please fill in the rest of this statement: "Tampa Bay wins the Super Bowl if ..." I think if Tampa is allowed to continue to blatantly grab and hold the Kansas City receivers, particularly in key situations, like they did against the Saints and Packers, they will win. And, it will be eerily reminiscent of the Patriots win over the Rams in Brady's first Super Bowl.

We shall see. I think the only way Tampa Bay wins is by getting at least two turnovers.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

Darn, where was this weather two weeks ago? I like to compare weather conditions at Lambeau like an extra player in the winter. The extra player took the wrong day off!

And I am about to leave this frozen town.

Henry from Brown Deer, WI

Hi guys. So now that the season is over for our team, how do you rotate who's in taking the questions? Is it a straight rotation or does it depend on who's in town? I am assuming Spoff calls all the audibles. Who has the next bye week? You guys are great sports putting up with us. Thanks for the sanity and justified rants on submitters that deserve it.

We are embarking on a stretch from now through the end of March when only one of us will be working any given week. We are endeavoring to take our PTO in full-week chunks, rather than piecemeal. I'm the first to disappear. Wes has the con. Enjoy Super Bowl weekend as best you can, everybody.