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Inbox: There's a balance to be struck

It’ll be captivating to see it all play out

Packers vs. Bears Week 14
Packers vs. Bears Week 14

Steve from Wabasha, MN

Is it possible the lights are still on in the building because they are solar powered? Is it even fair that the Rams are being sacrificed to the Bengals in the year of the Tiger?

The offseason is truly in full swing now.

Simon from Koge, Denmark

Hats off to the great of all time hanging up the cleats. What he accomplished will probably never be surpassed. With all his accolades and impact, what do you think is the one thing he will be remembered most by?

Ten Super Bowl appearances, seven rings. No other quarterback has more than four wins or five appearances. There's nothing else more impressive to say.

Paul from Cumming, GA

Do organizations project future salary caps as they rework their existing contracts? With the league looking to be "back" in full effect, will the Packers look to lean on a reliably rising cap to help them meet their roster needs?


Geoff from Janesville, WI

With Brady a likely unanimous vote into the HOF retiring the same year as another likely HOFer in Roethlisberger, would they make Ben wait a year so as to not have another QB go in at the same time as Tom?

Absolutely not. Two of the five modern-era spots in Canton's class of 2027 are now taken.

Ryan from Menomonie, WI

Dick Butkus is hilarious, I love that he's giving his nephew and the Packers a hard time.

I think the only thing Butkus didn't like about playing football was he had to set his sense of humor aside, at least between the whistles.

Subhadeep from Middletown, CT

I would answer this question "Will we see the Packers' offense mirrored in Denver and Chicago?" as PLAYERS NOT PLAYS. I hope the two teams did not hire Packers' coaches to call plays like the past or steal some star player(s), and instead hired them based on their interview where they impressed them with their actual thinking in how they can make the teams better and compete for playoffs.

If they have players who fit concepts from LaFleur's offense, they're likely going to run them. If they don't, they won't.

Ben from Milwaukee, WI

I saw the Rams got a compensatory pick for the Lions taking their GM. Will the Packers receive compensatory picks for the Nathaniel Hackett and/or Luke Getsy hires?

No. The Lions' hire of Brad Holmes to be their GM resulted in compensatory picks to the Rams (one last year, one this year) based on the policy the league implemented a year ago that rewards teams for developing minority head coaches and executives.

Dave from Germantown, TN

Is this Super Bowl the first time that each team had a QB who was the first person drafted in their respective years?

I believe Cam Newton vs. Peyton Manning was the only other time such a Super Bowl matchup has occurred.

Ed from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

I'm surprised I didn't see this come up in II. Super Bowl will be between two No. 4 seeded teams. All 1, 2 and 3 seeds are out. Is that as unusual as I think it is? Great work you guys do for the fans! Thanks.

This is the first time since the advent of the 1-6 (now 1-7) seeding in 1990 that none of the top three seeds from either conference reached the Super Bowl. Pre-1990, the playoffs weren't seeded as they are now, but with three division champs and two (or one) wild card in each conference, there was never a Super Bowl that didn't include at least one division champ (in effect a top-three seed).

Andy from Kalamazoo, MI

Dear Insiders, has there ever been a year in which the Packers beat both Super Bowl participants? In either case, does a factoid like that mean anything to you?

I'll let Gary handle this one.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Did you know that this was the first time the Packers beat both Super Bowl participants during the regular season? The 49ers also beat the Rams and Bengals this year. From what I've read, this feat has now been accomplished only 22 times, including by the 1981 Browns who finished 5-11. The problem with making this list is it means you didn't get to the Super Bowl.

There we go.

Scott from Chicago, IL

You can't tell me that getting Beckham would not have made a difference for the Packers. If Aaron Rodgers comes back at 38 it is time to WIN NOW. Rams have been to two SBs in the last five years, Pack not since 2010. Which strategy is working?

Are you conveniently forgetting the Rams' first recent Super Bowl trip was thanks to the most egregious no-call in the history of conference championship games? One that was so bad it prompted the league to experiment with rule changes for a whole year? Just checking.

Bruce from Arbor Vitae, WI

Coach Drayton seemed like a good person, but the special-teams unit he was in charge of underperformed most of the year. Seems to me the organization had little choice but to cut him loose. I wish him the best moving forward.

If the reports are accurate, well said. Mo Drayton is a very good man, and plenty of very good men have been let go in this bottom-line business. How much blame lies with any coach is always up for debate, but at the end of the day if the message isn't getting through, a new messenger is required.

Giorgio from Monza, Italy

II, first of all thank you. Then, many, you included, said the better cure for the abysmal third phase is to play more starters. So you'd better have the best starters, to get a trickle-down effect. What if, instead, one would decide to invest DIRECTLY on the STs, getting players mainly for that? They should be comparably cheaper and allow to use LESS starters and prevent wearing them, in a sort of trickle-up effect, so to say. What do you think?

That's a great theory, but you've only got 48 active players on game day, and you need depth at positions to account for injuries. So loading up on special-teamers is risky if they aren't adequate backups on offense or defense. I think there's a balance to be struck amongst it all – playing some starters/regulars, investing in special-teams standouts, and maintaining quality depth on both sides of the ball. That's the balance Gutekunst, LaFleur, et al, need to arrive at with their offseason studies and maneuvers.

Shel from New York City, NY

I mean no disrespect to Stenavich but what does he know about a sophisticated passing attack and designing coordinated passing plays? Isn't there any concern about that?

All these guys who have been with LaFleur the last three seasons know this offense inside and out. There's also a ton of collaboration throughout the process, in-season and out-of-season. I have no fears about any shortage of knowledge.

Don from Riverton, UT

How common or uncommon is it that an offensive line coach becomes OC? And who's the most successful example you guys know of?

I wouldn't say it's overly common, nor is it rare. Vince Lombardi coached the offensive line at Army. Joe Gibbs also began his career coaching the offensive line in the college ranks.

Lynn from Butler, IN

With these coaches leaving GB do you think that will have any bearing on Aaron Rodgers' decision on staying in GB?

A popular query, and my gut says no, though it's not appropriate for me to try to speak for him or get inside his head.

Tim from Cameron, WI

Generally speaking, and with all things being equal, would it be easier for the Packers to keep the offense intact and load up in the draft for likely replacements on defense? Or would it be easier and more productive to keep the defense intact and focus on offensive replacements this April?

I can appreciate the question and others similarly phrased, but "all things being equal" just doesn't apply when the statuses of the soon-to-be four-time MVP QB and two-time All-Pro WR are in doubt. Those have to get sorted out first before it's even productive to ponder the offseason direction.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

I know there were recent alterations to the CBA. Is it accurate that if the team franchise tags Davante Adams and he signs the tag, the salary is immediately guaranteed for the year? If so the WR tag is $20 million and the team is currently $46M over the cap. That means if they did tag him and he signed the tag then the team would have until March 16 to drop $66M from the roster. I am not sure the tag is such a certain bet.

I'm not sure what the ultimate resolution will be, but the strongest bet in my book (though gambling is illegal at Bushwood) is the Packers aren't letting Adams get away in '22 for nothing more than a third-round compensatory pick in '23.

Bill from Richmond Hill, GA

What we're seeing in the AFC right now looks awfully familiar, at least to an outside observer: After a bunch of down years, and high draft picks, a team hits on a really good QB. And the five-year countdown is on. So which team will be able to sustain success after their superstar starts getting paid accordingly? Will Mahomes be the next Russell Wilson, unable to carry the team himself, after it's been picked apart by free agency? Which team is built to last?

Eric from Green Bay, WI

This is going to sound outlandish at first but hear me out: We've officially entered "Mahomes might never make another Super Bowl" territory. Great young talent at QB, horribly tough division, aging Kelce, aging HC, lackluster defense, depreciating seasonal results, and now gut-punch home playoff loss No. 2. No one in 2011 would've said this about Rodgers and the Packers yet here we are. NOTHING is guaranteed in the ultimate team sport. I like Mahomes but history says bet the field.

I posted these together because the thoughts are all worth pondering. It'll be captivating to see it all play out in the coming years, especially in the AFC with so many talented young QBs. There are no guarantees, either way.

Mike from Niles, IL

Do you believe Jimmy G deserves all that flak (horrible, ugly gaffe, horrific, terrible) he is receiving for that last-minute INT he made in Sunday's game? For him not to get rid of the ball would have left them with fourth-and-23 at their own 10. He tried hard to avoid that.

He deserves more criticism for going 1-for-5 for minus-3 yards prior to the INT, but the last play was just the culmination of San Francisco's offense falling apart – which started with failing to get a first down on second-and-1 from the LA 44-yard line with 11 minutes left and a three-point lead. The ineptitude in crunch time had been building for a while.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Just to follow up on the comment about all teams being snake-bit in their own way, I'll even pick one I don't like: San Francisco. Since GB's Super Bowl win, they've had three losses in the NFC Championship Game (one in OT) and two losses in the Super Bowl, one with a failed rally that ended at the 7-yard line and one when they were up 20-10 with 7 minutes left. As bad as GB's heartbreak has been the last 11 years, that's pretty painful stuff.

And in that time the 49ers also posted seasons of 5-11, 2-14, 6-10, and 4-12 consecutively from 2015-18, and another 6-10 in 2020.

Jeremy from Chicago, IL

Is anyone else excited about the Bengals winning the way they did? I get a little tired of people complaining about the OT rules, but Cincinnati showed everyone how to do it. Didn't win the toss? Get a stop. Same rules as the entire rest of the game – win it, don't lose it.

It sure made Monday's Inbox more tolerable to write.

Logan from Dublin, GA

Who we cheering for in the Super Bowl?

Nothing against Stafford (nor our former intern Ana, whom Wes has mentioned), but how can any football fan with no ties to the Rams not be rooting for the Bengals? From 2-14 to the Lombardi Trophy in two years? C'mon!

Steven from Sauk Rapids, MN

The Packers may have fallen short, but this been the most entertaining playoffs I have witnessed. Down-to-the-wire games, overtimes, blown leads, 13-second miracles. Have we truly seen it all yet?

We can hope not, right?

Brian from Moncks Corner, SC

So is it now officially the LeRoy Butler HOF countdown?

Or the countdown to Wes's desk/cube becoming not only more uninhabitable, but irrepressibly inhospitable as well.

Kevin from Kirkland, IL

I thought only the Bills Mafia had a consigliere?

I'll leave that one for Wes. He knocked on that door. Happy Wednesday.