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Inbox: The scale should naturally balance itself

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Nate from Kewaskum, WI

This cold has me thinking of summer and warmer days on the horizon...what's the highest temperature at kickoff for a Packers game in Green Bay?

A nice way to start this not-so-nice day. The mark is 89 degrees, not long ago – Week 3 of 2017 vs. Cincinnati. Broke a Lambeau Field record that had stood for 54 years.

Dean from Sandusky, OH

My wife and I travel from Ohio to one home Packers game each year and we must be bringing the luck with us. The Pack has never lost a home game we attended. Outside of the NFC North games, which is the one home game you think we should attend next season?

The Eagles and Panthers are the non-division home opponents that intrigue me most. For the Packers to be in the playoff hunt, those also will be the most important non-division home games to win, giving a nod to your streak.

Jesse from Akaska, SD

Let’s go to hypothetically-speaking land for a bit. Let’s say the Packers take a TE before the third round. What should Wes have to do? I think there should be a video of Wes doing as many pull-ups as possible on the south end zone field goal post at Lambeau while Mike is eating his lunch in the background. It just may be the deciding factor for Gute to do so.

I could get on board with this.

Nic from London, UK

The ever-reliable rumor mill pegs Jimmy Graham as staying with the Pack. New offense, a run game, properly functioning thumbs – what’s the over/under on a Re-Jim-aissance?

Graham’s best year in Seattle was by far his second season. Most important statistically, his yards per catch jumped to 14.2 that year. That’s the kind of impact the Packers will be looking for.

Kenneth from Cuyahoga Falls, OH

When Davante Adams was being interviewed after the Pro Bowl he was very thankful to the fans and said he looks forward to having even better numbers next year as well as being back at the Pro Bowl. Aaron Rodgers responded. He said, "Next year? You will be busy." I don't think anyone is losing sight of the goal next year.

All righty then.

Take a look at photos of Packers DL Dean Lowry from the 2018 season.

Jake from Corvallis, OR

Do you think it would be a good change to the game to put a one-minute time limit on booth reviews? If in that time they can't decide, let the call stand. Sometimes it seems to me it takes forever. I realize they need to make sure the clock is correct, but why not have one person to do just that, check the time left while another reviews the play. Thanks for your thoughts.

If the league is going to stick to the “indisputable evidence” standard to overturn a call, a time limit for a review to find such evidence seems reasonable, as I’ve said in the past. I’m not convinced the call on the field should still be given the weight it gets, though. Your other point would definitely make the process more efficient. Someone else can very quickly figure out the clock based on the possible outcomes and wait for others to make the final call.

Paul from Mason, OH

How does Geronimo Allison fit in now with the team’s plans this year after the younger receivers stepped up last season?

I think he fits in the same way he was fitting in last year until injuries struck. Allison can be a big part of this offense, but last season’s rookies will provide more competition for roles and snaps. That should be a good thing.

Tom from Fairfield, CT

So with the talk of Jake Kumerow as a potential slot receiver for the Packers, I ask myself, “I thought a slot receiver needs to be a shorter and shiftier type of physique or body style, while Kumerow is 6-4.” So maybe it is not the body size but, instead, the physical capability. How many taller or larger slot receivers have been around over the years, and is there another reason tall receivers cannot be slot receivers?

Ideally it helps to have short-area quickness in the slot, which generally lends itself to the shorter, shiftier type. But the Packers have had success lining up Adams and Nelson there in the past, so there are other concepts that work. Anquan Boldin did a lot of work out of the slot late in his career, and he wasn’t small. Larry Fitzgerald is still doing that now. In the end it comes down to what combination of receivers you’re putting on the field, how the defense is reacting, and what results in the best matchup.

Brett from Onalaska, WI

In regards to the Super Bowl MVP question, the top fan choice gets 2.5 votes, the second gets one vote, and the third gets half a vote. These get added to the individual votes from a 16-member panel.

Thanks.

Mike from Winnipeg, Manitoba

Let pick plays carry on, just do not let receivers line up together. Make them spread out a little.

If the NFL ever feels compelled to crack down on pick plays, adjusting rules regarding offensive formations would be the way to do it to keep the officiating simple.

Daniel from Delta, PA

Thanks for the article on Jake Ryan. I embarrassingly forgot about him considering everything else that has gone on during the past five months. I sure hope he recovers fully and is able to get a chance to prove himself. Do you think a one-year "prove-it" deal would be in the works if they decided they want to see what he can do in MP's defense?

That’s generally where it starts for any player coming off a major injury like that in a contract year, whether it’s with Green Bay or someone else. A team isn’t likely to make a major investment up front, while the player would rather show he’s worthy of a better contract down the road.

Michael from Wichita, KS

If GB is not likely to keep J. Ryan at insider backer, is GB willing to move forward with Martinez, Morrison, and Burks? Or do you think there is an opportunity to grab someone in free agency? Or (reaching) would Matthews be able to play inside for a year or two at a reduced salary?

I think any number of options are on the table for how to move forward, and I see the depth chart at inside linebacker factoring heavily into special teams as well.

Andrew from Colorado Springs, CO

What part of our defense is the strongest? Which part of our defense is weakest?

I think cornerback is the strongest position, and the straight four-man pass rush is the area most in need of improvement.

Luke from Verona, WI

What exactly is Radio Row during SB week? Have either of you experienced it before?

I saw what it looked like eight years ago. It’s actually several rows of tables serving as temporary radio studios inside the Super Bowl media center for talk shows and such to be on location all week. Current and former players and coaches from around the league drop in throughout Super Bowl week and they’ll hop around from station to station doing guest spots.

Mike from Las Vegas, NV

It’s 2014 all over again. The Lions barely lost to the Cowboys. The Cowboys barely lost to the Packers. The Packers barely lost to the Seahawks. The Seahawks barely lost to the Patriots. This year the Bears barely lost to the Eagles. The Eagles barely lost to the Saints. The Saints barely lost to the Rams. Prediction: Goff throws an interception from the Patriots’ 1-yard line that ends the game...

Interesting take.

Andrew from Oklahoma City, OK

A young QB, in just his third year as a starter, faces off against the heralded veteran, who has recently won two Super Bowls over a three-year span. Is this 2011 or 2019? (Also a fun side note: both young QBs are Cal products and have the presumptive best defensive player in the league on their team.) I'll take the Rams.

Another interesting take. For the record, Roethlisberger’s two titles were over a four-year span, and Polamalu edged Matthews in the Defensive Player of the Year voting that season.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

After reading about Ron Zook’s special teams performance (we ranked last) I can now understand why it’s taking HC Matt LaFleur so long to hire a new ST coach. It’s imperative that we see substantial improvement in that part of our game. Our new long snapper, new punter and our veteran kicker had sub-par years. And our returner was hurt most of the year. Major ST gaffes were featured in eight of our nine losses. Does everyone get a free pass under a new ST coach or are potential changes forthcoming?

If by free pass you mean fresh start under a new coordinator, I would expect so, but when push comes to shove for roles and roster spots a player’s track record has to get factored in. Improvement of young players is expected but shouldn’t be assumed.

Jordan from Walpole, MA

During your time covering the Packers, what offseason move was the most surprising? It can be a trade, release, signing, draft decision, etc.

For me it has to be the signing of Julius Peppers. No one saw it coming, and there wasn’t a peep about it, anywhere, until after the contract was a done deal, which is unheard of these days.

Noah from Green Bay, WI

How many division wins will we have next year? I'm hoping for more than one.

That’s the first thing McCarthy fixed when he took over in 2006, and it was vital to a relatively quick turnaround. After losing the opener to the Bears, the Packers won their next five division games that year.

Chris from Philadelphia, PA

To follow up on Bernard’s question about our success since 2010, here are some stats to show how successful we've been. 89 regular-season wins which is tied for third. Only eight other teams have more than 80. Tied for best single-season record 15-1 (2011). Five division championships is tied for second best. Tied for second-most playoff appearances with seven. Only 11 others have five or more. First in NFC and second overall in championship games. Only three teams have been to two Super Bowls and only one has multiple wins.

The last stat is the most telling as far as the NFL goes, and we already know it’s not going to change this year.

Tim from Reno, NV

I know we’re all tired of the Patriots being in the Super Bowl, but the bright side is that for as dominant as they’ve been they haven’t dominated a Super Bowl from beginning to end. They’ve all been narrow victories or defeats, though both games against the Giants were pretty boring until the end if I remember correctly.

Every Brady-Belichick Super Bowl so far has been a one-score game; the first six were decided by either four or three points, the seventh in OT, last year an eight-point game and Brady had the ball. You’re right they haven’t all been thrillers from start to finish, but a great ending is what really matters. The last time the Super Bowl was in Atlanta, St. Louis and Tennessee played a rather non-descript game until a dynamite fourth quarter and last-play heart-stopper. I’ll take that anytime.

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares some of his favorite images of the 2018 season.

Dave from East Burke, VT

Besides pressuring Brady, what are the most important tasks for the Rams?

I think they’ll need some third-down looks on defense the Patriots won’t be ready for early in the game, which is easier said than done. Against the Chargers, New England was 5-for-6 on third down in the first half and took a 35-7 halftime lead. A week later, the Patriots were 7-for-9 on third down in the first half vs. the Chiefs and should have led by more than 14-0. Running the ball effectively with Gurley and Anderson also will help keep Brady off the field, but breaking his rhythm with third-down stops early will force the Pats to play a different kind of game than what got them here.

Jim from Hainesville, IL

I was with Spoff all along in thinking the Pack would be playing the Chargers in London next season. Now that it’s officially not going to happen, I wonder if the Chargers are trying to get the game moved to the Coliseum for the extra ticket revenue that would surely be generated by Packer fans, or if they prefer to keep the game at the 27,000-seater to try to maintain some advantage against a decent opponent?

I’m expecting the game to stay in the smaller venue and carry a high-priced ticket.

John from Denver, CO

Rodgers has a new coaching staff to pique his creative and competitive natures. Who's under more pressure, the coaches or the MVP QB?

The scale should naturally balance itself. They both know their success depends on one another.

Gary from Hope Mills, NC

Can you please just go ahead and tell us who we are drafting, what players are leaving, what FAs we are getting, and who is going to shine in 2019 so we can eliminate about two-thirds of the questions in the next few months?

I could tell you, but then I’d have to ban you.

Gary from Davenport, IA

I went outside to start my car this morning and the guy on the radio said it was minus-25 F with a wind chill of minus-55 F. I can't imagine playing football in this weather or watching a game in it either. Do you think the current culture of player safety would get them to postpone a conference championship game by a day or two? At least there would be two weeks between games so the disadvantage would be minimized.

I think they’d have to postpone in weather like this. Though I remember as a kid watching the 1981 AFC title game, San Diego at Cincinnati, with wind chills in the minus-50s. The temp didn’t “beat” the Ice Bowl, but the wind chill did. I looked up the official attendance, and of 59,000 tickets distributed, 46,000 fans showed up. Amazing. As much as the weather provided a nostalgic final chapter to the Lombardi legacy, it completely changed that of a Hall of Fame quarterback in Dan Fouts. It kept him from capitalizing on his best shot at a Super Bowl. Air Coryell was grounded by Mother Nature.

Shaun from Sun Prairie, WI

With record low temperatures this week, is it ever too cold for you to go to a football game?

I have watched more than a handful of games from the press boxes at Lambeau Field and Soldier Field for which I would not have dared sit in the stands. Maybe in my younger days, but not anymore.

Ken from Florence, MT

How would Vic handle the "Artic Express" bearing down on Wisconsin and Green Bay?

I’m quite certain I’d be pumping his gas. Stay warm, folks.

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