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Inbox: They'll certainly be battle-tested

It’s still a game of get in and take your chances

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Saints QB Drew Brees

Philip from Collinsville, IL

Who will the Packers draft?

Whom, and I don't know.

Aaron from Maryville, MO

When will we know the 2020 schedule?

In the past it's been around mid-April, but I haven't heard if the current situation is delaying the league's schedule release this year.

Jim from Albany, WI

Which seventh-seeded team from the past 10 years do you think would have been most interesting to see in the playoffs under the new format?

Arizona in 2013. The NFC West was loaded that year, and in Bruce Arians' first season, the Cardinals went 10-6. They had won seven of eight heading into Week 17 (capped by a win at eventual Super Bowl champ Seattle in Week 16) and lost a three-point game to the 49ers in the finale. That's a No. 7 seed that could have made a run.

Brian from Columbia, MO

That would be SENATOR Blutarsky, wouldn't it?

Indubitably.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Mike, I have a hard time picturing you blurting out, "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?!" How many beers would that take?

Perfectly sober, I slipped that line into the Inbox a few years ago and half the readership wanted to send me back to history class.

Jake from Athens, GA

For which positions, other than RB and WR, do you think a late-round, shotgun-style approach to the draft would work? Also, thanks for the great article yesterday on the rest of the division's offseason so far. As a whole, how do you think all those moves affect the Packers? Specifically, with the Lions, Vikings, and Bears all gutting their secondaries, do you think it's in any way a response to our improved run game?

If you have the draft capital and are looking to hit on, say, one out of three, I think there's a reasonable chance of success at any position except the big guys and QBs. Regarding the NFC North defensive backfields, they all looked like cap-related decisions to me more than anything.

Craig from Appleton, WI

Will the purported depth of WR in the draft this year translate to a higher quality available as UDFAs after the draft is over? The Packers have found a number of gems going this route.

It's possible. I've been saying for years the college game is churning out receivers like crazy. This year there are more high-end prospects, but I don't think that necessarily means the undrafted crop will be much different than in the past.

Jennifer from Middleton, WI

While working at home, my company is having leaders post videos of themselves in their home office to keep us connected. I was thinking it would be fun if you guys did the same. II behind the scenes. Prop up a camera on yourselves and then start reading submissions out loud. We'd get to see your eye roll, laugh, head shake, delete or maybe you verbally answer the question. I'm not suggesting this every day...just a fun one-off. Easy content to just record what you would do anyway.

I've learned there's less appreciation for the sausage once it's seen how it's made.

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

Spoff on Tuesday you mentioned some Aaron Rodgers Packer games you would not want to rewatch. I am surprised you did not mention the two 2009 Vikings games where Favre beat us. Those are two games I would never watch again. OK, maybe if someone paid me enough.

As difficult as those losses were for the Packers and their fans, I recall them both being rather highly entertaining games.

Robert from Georgetown, TX

Many have written in talking about our QB vs. the other QBs on the road next year. Daunting is definitely one description. However wouldn't it be more appropriate to say their QB vs. our defense? After last season, I like our matchups! Challenge? Definitely! Bring it on! That is what makes champions!

If the Packers can win enough road games against those QBs to make the playoffs next season, they'll certainly be battle-tested, especially on defense.

Craig from Elkton, MD

Hey Insiders, thanks for sanity in crazy times. I saw the list of QBs the Pack faces on the road and my first reaction was, "Glad an extra team gets into the playoffs." What do you think the odds are of the extra playoff team benefiting Green Bay in Year 1?

Who knows? But even with the rough road slate, I see no reason not to aim for the division title again and take all the mystery out of it. Easy to say now, of course, but another draft like last year's and I see the Packers being a solid favorite in the NFC North.

Alex from Madison, WI

Insiders, can you tell me how the medical history of free agents is determined? Is there a database that the teams all put medical records in? I would think that a player's entire medical history is important to teams signing these free agents, but teams might not be so willing to share that information voluntarily for a competitive edge and players wouldn't share information that might affect whether or not they get signed. Is it all on the physical of the signing team?

Pretty much, yeah. Any major injuries (which can be found through news reports, injury reports, etc., if necessary) can be scanned again to see how they've healed or been repaired, and the new team's doc can render his opinion. That's why physicals are so important.

Benjamin from Burlington, VT

An entreaty to the Inbox: Come up with some more imaginative insults for opposing teams than gender-swapping their names to things like Cowgirls and Viqueens. Y'all are really telling on yourself if you think someone being feminine is a valid slam. I have a little girl who loves football, and I bet some of you have some in your lives, too. Not that that should matter, but think of the message you're sending when they hear you say something like that.

Thank you. With submissions I want to answer, I resist editing those without actual grammar, spelling or punctuation errors, but that needed to be said (and you weren't the only one to say it today).

Brian from Sussex, WI

Addressing the "glaring" needs allows the Packers to draft best available in early rounds. Then in later rounds when there is little difference in BPA they can use the extra picks to address positions not selected in first rounds by taking extra swings.

Yet another succinct and worthwhile way to look at things.

Robert from Verona, WI

Without singling out a specific player or contract, are there any position groups where the Packers are spending more heavily than most of the other NFL teams? When I look across the position groups, it seems that Gute has assembled a team with a really good balance of veterans and young guys – which seems to be a key part of remaining competitive and maintaining cap health.

It absolutely is, and finding high-level contributors, especially at any of the four premier positions (passer, pass protector, pass rusher, pass defender), for less than market value will always provide an advantage, at least temporarily. We've spoken in this space many times about how teams have taken advantage of having a QB on a rookie contract. The Packers benefited in the past decade from having a top corner (Sam Shields, undrafted) and left tackle ( David Bakhtiari, fourth round) holding down key spots on rather cheap rookie contracts. Right now, I'd say the Packers are heaviest spending-wise at outside linebacker, with the Smiths and a first-round pick in Rashan Gary, but that's offset somewhat by not having any cornerbacks on a major second contract, yet.

Steve from Ashland, WI

Hard to see the Packers not taking a step back record-wise in 2020. Rodgers has repeatedly said need to get that NFC title game at Lambeau. Hasn't happened and we've seen the results. Thirteen wins wasn't enough, if we do regress to 10-11 wins forget home-field advantage. Also in the current format how many times have the Packers gone 6-0 in the division? Unlikely to occur again in 2020.

All valid points. I won't argue, and as much as I agree with Rodgers the Packers' chances of getting to a Super Bowl would be greatly enhanced by playing an NFC title game at home, it's still a game – to me anyway – of get in and take your chances. Just look at the Titans last year. A No. 6 seed at 9-7, they had a 10-point lead in the second quarter of the AFC title game before they ran out of steam. That's a heck of a run. You never know.

Jeff from Belton, TX

With the draft not being the same as previous years, do you think there will be more or less trades? I'm thinking less because there won't be the crowd reactions with picks and trades.

I don't think that'll matter one iota.

Mike from Edgar, WI

With Corey Linsley, Bakh, and Kenny Clark all on contract years, if Gutey wanted to be more of a player in the trade market for say a Keenan Allen or a Brandin Cooks, wouldn't it be smart to lock up one or two with an extension to create more space this year as well as open up next year's offseason for other players/plans? I get it takes two sides.

You said it. That was my favorite line of Ted Thompson's regarding contracts. It takes two to tango.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

In your time covering the Packers what has been the most talented group of receivers and DBs?

I've said here before it's hard for me to conceive of a better pass-catching corps than 2011 with Nelson, Jennings, Jones, Driver, Cobb and Finley. As for DBs, it's always tough for me to decide between 2009 (Woodson, Harris, Williams, Collins, Bigby) and '10 (when essentially Shields replaced Harris and Peprah replaced Bigby).

Mike from Niles, IL

Mike, what do you think about the Pack picking up Taylor Gabriel? Realize the wallet is pretty thin and he's awfully small. But he's also lightning fast and quick, with experience and shouldn't be too pricey. Alternatively, what about a huge cheap, run-stuffing DT like Dontari Poe or Snacks Harrison?

As free agency rolls on and prices continue to drop, I wouldn't rule anything out. But my gut says a small, shifty slot receiver will be easier to find in the draft than a hefty run-stuffer if the Packers are monitoring those markets.

Mike from Las Vegas, NV

It will indeed be interesting to see how they broadcast the draft this year. However they do it though, ratings are going to be through the roof after no live sports for a month!

I expect it to be the most-watched draft ever, given the circumstances. It'll be interesting to see how the ratings compare to other high-profile sporting events.

Nik from Piedmont, SC

Binge-watching seems to be the most popular thing during the self-quarantining...if you could get another season of any canceled or completed series, what would it be? GOT and Sopranos are probably going to be popular answers, but who doesn't want to see the Seinfeld cast get out of jail, or Dexter decide his services are once again needed?

If Aaron Sorkin wanted to do another season of "The Newsroom" or "Sports Night," I wouldn't complain. Either one.

Dennis from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Mike, a quick question and a quick comment. If a player has an injury settlement before being waived, assuming the settlement is less than his salary would have been, does that lower the cap hit? Regarding the Covid-19: I know a lot of folks are having a tough time right now, one simple phrase that got me through some tough times in the military is simply, "This, too, shall pass." It helps, it really does.

Yes on the lower cap hit. And words to remember, yeah.

Dana from Reno, NV

Hey Mike! Being as humble as you are, you probably don't know just how much you're appreciated. It just can't be overstated! Please be safe!

Thanks for the kind words, and likewise to all, the appreciation and best wishes. Happy Wednesday.

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