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Inbox: This is the opportunity

Everything takes on a whole new shape in a couple of days


David from San Francisco, CA

You both need some new stuff to talk about. Two more days.

It's been a more entertaining offseason than usual, I'll say that. But everything takes on a whole new shape in a couple of days, for sure.

Steve from Phoenix, AZ

Yesterday Wes said, "The less teams know, the better it is for your team on draft night." Do you really think that's true? Do teams really care what other teams think, or other teams want? I just assume GMs don't make moves to thwart another team's plan, they do their best to improve their own team as much as possible without worrying about what other teams are doing. Is that naive?

It's not "worrying about what other teams are doing," it's that knowledge is power. Knowing what another team is thinking at any given point in the draft could impact a trade negotiation, calculating who might be available when, undrafted targets after the seventh round, all of that.

Russ from Henrico, VA

I get the idea of rotating D-linemen. The question is when did that become a thing? I watched many a game with the Fearsome Foursome, Purple People Eaters, Steel Curtain, etc., and did not see much rotation going on. Is it mainly on the ever-changing rules favoring the offense in the passing game?

It's the prevalence of passing in today's game, which puts a premium on pressuring the QB, and the difficulty of getting consistent pressure from rushers playing 60-70 snaps per game. It's exhausting work.

Jake from Athens, GA

"Oblivion" comes from the Latin "oblivisci," which means "to forget." Thus oblivion is a punishment so complete that to be condemned to it is akin to having never existed at all. Rough stuff. My heart goes out to What's-his-name from Wherever, WI. Unfortunately, by definition, he will not be missed.

A fact to which I'm sure he's oblivious. I really opened a door on this Latin thing, didn't I?

James from Chicago, IL

Do you suppose fans will ever understand BAP and need are not mutually exclusive draft strategies? You don't have to do one or the other. You can do both simultaneously.

We keep trying. It's all we can do.

Amy from Bayport, MN

I've heard it mentioned a number of times certain prospects are moving up draft boards and "peaking at the right time." The combine and pro days are well in the rearview mirror. What would be the reasons for a sudden shift in value? Is this a product of team visits? Would the final GM and scout evaluations and player rankings really change significantly this close to the draft?

As I continue to say, when the draft boards change and when the media find out about it are two different timelines.

Brad from Oshkosh, WI

Will we get any compensatory picks for the veterans we didn't re-sign?

No, not with all the unrestricted free agents the Packers did sign and the contracts they received.

Keith from Oshkosh, WI

With a new coach comes a new offensive system. How much of this offensive scheme will be shown during the preseason games? It's like a double-edged sword. You want your players to experience it in game situations, and better grasp it, but you also don't want to show your Week 1 opponents (the Bears) too much to prepare for that game. What approach do you think will be used: the "hide my hand, so they cannot prepare" approach, or the "show them who we are, and make them stop us" approach?

I would expect the Packers to practice their base concepts throughout the preseason. They won't be anything revolutionary to the teams studying LaFleur's Tennessee offense from a year ago (and other places he's been in previous years). Everyone works on base concepts, the foundation, the "vanilla" stuff, as it's called. But they're not going to show any variations to the base concepts that are opponent-specific, which will be planned well in advance but executed only in practice.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

I recently read an article about Jonah Williams (OL, Alabama) and his in-depth approach to scouting and opponent preparation. He reviews film of opposing players and creates a spreadsheet mapping out their commonly used techniques. He then practices specifically against those moves leading up to the game. He only gave up two sacks in his final two seasons as a starter. Is this type of preparation normal for offensive linemen in the NFL or is such work generally left up to the scout team?

A spreadsheet would be unusual, but players watch film and prepare for specific opponents all the time. The trick at this level is anticipating, or finding on film, all the countermoves, and preparing one's own counters, for the four-quarter battle. A college player might get a handful of matchups each season against guys who can effectively empty the kitchen sink. In the NFL, he'll get one every single week.

Theologos from Athens, Greece

Mike, in most mock drafts I see no love for the Clemson guys. I would love if we could get one of them. They are talented (obviously), well-coached, disciplined and without off-field problems. And they know how to win games also.

No love? Wilkins, Lawrence and Ferrell are all being talked about as first-rounders from that Clemson defense. Just because nobody's mocking them to the Packers doesn't mean they aren't good players, or that the Packers won't pick one.

Dean from Vienna, VA

Can you talk a little bit about the role of the coach in the draft process? Is he in the room? Does he have input into the board? And might that role be bigger with a new coach and a new scheme than in later years? Or is he a neutral recipient of whatever the draft (and FA signing) gods provide?

Most input from the head coach (and any assistant coaches, for that matter) has been gathered well in advance of draft night, and it's part of the mix as the board is built. During the draft, the coach might provide quick feedback if a question arises, but in the moment he's mostly an observer. At least that's how it's been in the past.

Richard from Madison, WI

The answer about the Pack taking Randy Duncan No. 1 in 1959 reminded me of how they got there: "By the time Green Bay's nightmare season [1958] ended, Scooter McLean had coached the Packers to their worst record in team history, 1-10-1, prompting New York sportswriter Red Smith, a Green Bay native, to pen, 'The Packers overwhelmed one opponent, underwhelmed ten and whelmed one.'" As a sportswriter, do you ever hope to come up with a line that great?

I'm just fine if I'm the most whelming sportswriter of all-time.

Corey from Whitehall, PA

Rashan Gary from Michigan was quoted saying "causing havoc isn't on the stat sheet." I really love that response!

But causing havoc doesn't win games in the NFL. Playmakers and big plays do.

Chun from San Gabriel, CA

How big of a jump should we expect from the defense entering Year 2 of Pettine's scheme? Third-down defense was the biggest issue last few years and the additions of the Smiths who are great at generating pressure should make a huge difference. Pressures are just as important as sacks and last year we didn't get much outside of blitzing the corners or safeties.

Getting pressure without blitzing will help any defense. That's when blitzes can graduate from becoming survival calls to potentially game-changing ones.

Marlon from Eagle River, WI

What are your thoughts on hosting the NFL Draft at Lambeau?

If Green Bay were to host a draft someday, it won't be at Lambeau. Too much weather risk outside, and no spectator room in the Atrium. The Resch Center and (eventual) new expo hall across the street, with Lambeau as a backdrop and hub of other fan activity, could certainly work, though.

Henry from London, UK

Good morning guys, longtime reader, first-time asker. I'm planning on throwing off my whole sleep pattern to be up for the draft this year for the first time in my NFL fandom (1 a.m. UK time). Given the second Packers pick falls pretty late in the round I need to ask, how long does the first round of the draft normally last? I know each team has 10 minutes but how much do they normally use? Would you advise a nap strategy, where I take some tactical zzz's between picks 12 and 30? Thanks.

In recent years, the first round has taken around 3½ hours to complete. A lot of teams don't use the full 10 minutes. As for sneaking in a snooze, I'd advise against it given the trade opportunities Gutekunst may have.

Bill from Thornton, CO

Hello, since the Chargers decided they would make more money by playing the Packers in a 27,000-seat stadium than playing in London, would the league consider some sort of incentive to get a road team to accept that game? Or a bigger one to get GB to give up a home game?

There's no way the league could compensate the Green Bay area for the overall economic impact of a home game, which is why the Packers have no interest in giving one up. It's a worthwhile stance to take given the taxpayer assistance required to renovate the stadium at the turn of the century. I'm not sure what you mean by incentive for a road team. Whatever the case, eventually the league is just going to have to step in and make it happen.

Bill from Iowa City, IA

How much do you think the new offensive scheme will affect the quality of play of the offensive linemen? Do you think the change will be significant enough to influence who sticks on the 53?

The Turner signing was a scheme fit, and the draft picks on the O-line will be, too. I'd expect the Packers' established starters to adjust as needed, but anyone pushing them from behind will have been chosen for the roster for a specific reason.

Steve from Kansas City, MO

Here's hoping we take a stud OL at 12 to help keep ARod healthy. Also, what are the chances we take DT Simmons from Miss State at 30 if he's still on the board? I've seen this guy play live, and he's a dominating beast – and a true top 10 talent when healthy. I know it's too early to get a perfect read on his ACL, but since draft picks are 50-50 at best anyway, wouldn't he be worth the risk?

Simmons is a really interesting piece in this draft. His value to teams will be all over the board with his rookie year a washout, but I think he'll still go in the first round. If he's there at 30, it would be hard to pass on a talent like that, but I think he goes sooner.

Matty from Janesville, WI

Very interesting comment from BG when asked about the schedule and he mentioned the way we want to build our team they would like more late home games. That tells me first 2-3 picks are going to be in-the-box guys, both offensively and defensively. To me, that screams OL, DL, and/or LB on those first 2-3 picks; maybe TE but it's a deep draft for TE. There was another Packer great that once mentioned, you only have so many large athletic men, take them while they're there.

I took the comment on the schedule as a reflection of LaFleur's previous thoughts about the running game. But your draft targets are what I've had in mind for the Packers all along, regardless.

Ian from Kirkwhelpington, England

With one pick in the first 167, how do you think Saints fans are feeling this week? Pleased with the trading already done, or lamenting their draft position this year?

They had one of the best teams in the league the last two years, and didn't get farther than they did due to a pair of flukes. If I'm a Saints fan, I'm not lamenting anything with regard to the moves that put my team in that position.

Andy from Verona, WI

When a trade occurs when the clock is about to run out on the team picking, do both teams involved in the trade need to call in the trade to make sure the terms match up? Do the calls both have to come in before the time runs out to help determine the timing and accuracy of the trade?

Yes and yes.

Chris from New Canaan, CT

In my opinion, using "need"/ BAP as the basis for projecting draft picks is misleading. The team needs to be built around AR12's projected tenure. If I were in Gutey's chair – and clearly that's fantasy, but indulge me – my focus is to get the players on the roster who give GB the highest probability of winning multiple Super Bowls over the course of AR12's remaining time as QB. He is generational talent who will not be around forever; my draft choices are highly influenced by that reality.

We all know that Rodgers is on the back third of his career now. You don't want to be picking this high again with him at QB. This is the opportunity to find difference-makers.

David from Minneapolis, MN

I was curious as you mentioned having four picks in the top 75 and six in the first four rounds so I went back and looked at the last 10 drafts. Over the last 10 years we have averaged 2.2 picks in the top 80, and 3.4 in the top 120. This year we are almost doubling the number of picks for each category! To say this draft is important for our future is a massive understatement.

Preaching to the choir.

Dan from Toledo, OH

Is Brian Gutekunst being honest about subterfuge? Or is saying he was up to subterfuge also subterfuge? Am I being paid to write this comment as part of a subterfuge scheme? On Thursday at 8 p.m. I will breathe a sigh of relief and say: "The subterfuge stops here."

Happy day before draft day, everyone.