Dan from Plymouth, WI
I literally just finished reading Friday's Insider Inbox where you mentioned "If only there was a Pro Bowl cornerback available, who’s beloved inside the Packers locker room, respected throughout the league and ready to help remedy your advanced condition? Anyone know of someone like that?" when my smart watch alerted me that the Packers were signing Tramon Williams. Well played, sir.
What a coincidence? Good morning!
Amy from Bayport, MN
I’m sure I am not alone in loving the Tramon Williams signing. Do you think the main goal is for him to provide veteran leadership and some depth? Or, in your opinion, does he still have enough athleticism to be a starter outside and pair with Kevin King to lock down the boundaries?
*I told you guys last week this is the free-agent cornerback who I felt made the most sense for the Packers. Anyone who has followed the team the past two years could see this coming. It’s a reunion that needed to happen. The beautiful thing about Williams is the Packers can play him in the boundary or slot and he’s not going to gripe about it. He also provides a much-needed veteran voice in a young room. *
Tom from Fairfield, CT
Tramon Williams, my goodness. I must say he is one of the most likable people imaginable. I guess he is extremely well preserved for his age, etc. Anyway, he was always one of my favorites. I have heard of his physical regimen including yoga, etc. Have you heard anything interesting about Tramon's physical routine and exercise and lifestyle habits that has helped him stay so youthful?
Packers welcome back CB Tramon Williams who has played in 167 games with 130 starts during his 11 NFL seasons. Photos by Chris Callies, Harmann Studios, AP and James D. Smith
I wrote a story detailing about five years ago the steps Williams was taking to prolong his NFL career. Yoga was a part of that process and it appears to have paid dividends. The most interesting part was where he got the inspiration – newly-minted Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens, who also played deep into his 30s. Age is just a number. What counts the most is the legs and Williams still has the springiness required to play at an elite level.**
Jim from Huntertown, IN
It's not every day our "veterans from SB XLV" count goes up. Welcome back, Tramon! What does he bring to the table at this point?
Hey, we’re back to five again.
Louis from El Paso, TX
Will the Packers draft UTEP All-American guard Will Hernandez with their first pick? He opened up holes for Aaron Jones when he intermittently led the nation in rushing his junior year. Had the Pack had Hernandez last year, I seriously doubt Aaron Rodgers would have been hurt. Hernandez is that good.
The Packers haven’t drafted a natural guard in the first round in eons, but both Hernandez and Quenton Nelson are going to give Green Bay and the rest of the NFL a lot to consider. Hernandez could have played major Division I football, but grades held him back. His time at UTEP with Sean Kugler, an offensive line coach by trade, benefitted Hernandez greatly. I still would be surprised if the Packers went with a guard at No. 14, but Hernandez and Nelson are each going to play in the NFL for a very long time.
Patrick from Spotsylvania, VA
In today's pass-happy league, do you think having a run stopping ILB and a cover ILB are still needed or do you see the need for having two cover ILBs and a run stopping DL as the way defenses are headed?
I think you need a three-down linebacker, a run-stopping linebacker and a hybrid linebacker to navigate all the potholes an NFL season presents. Run-stopping defensive linemen are great, but you still need blue-collar tacklers behind them who can stand up to 240-pound running backs in third-and-1 situations.
Jared from Jamestown, ND
If you had the choice between a shutdown corner or a dominant pass rusher, which would you take at No. 14?
*In a perfect world I’d say a shutdown cornerback you can plug in on an island and not think about for eight years. *
Zach from Missoula, MT
I know Brian Gutekunst reads these emails so I'm putting in another vote to ‘Draft Josh Jackson.’ Mike Daniels said so. The guy’s tape is amazing!
*Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I think the last two times Mike Daniels publicly stumped for two former Hawkeyes they wound up being Micah Hyde and Christian Kirksey. Not too shabby. *
Jesse from Bellingham, WA
A few weeks ago at the grocery store the big screen TV in the electronics section was playing football. I stopped and watched a 10-minute compilation of all the picks Kizer threw last year. I was surprised because I thought he played pretty well against us. What do you think his strengths and weaknesses are coming to the Pack?
Kizer looks the part at 6-foot-4 and has a strong arm. Everything on paper screams NFL quarterback. His issues last year stemmed from turnovers (22 interceptions, six fumbles lost) and a low 53.6 completion percentage. That’s behind him now. It’s a new day for both the Browns and Kizer.**
Mark from Bettendorf, IA
No matter what happens between now and the draft, Gutekunst has kept his promise of being "in the conversation". That works for me. It always takes two to tango.
Gutekunst promised to leave no stone unturned in free agency and I think he’s lived up to the bargain. You can’t sign everybody, but there’s no limit to how many unrestricted free agents teams can talk to this time of year.
Larry from Spencer Lake, WI
How cool is it we can start saying ‘Tramon Man!’ again? Not to mention getting back a Packer Super Bowl alumna. Also kinda great to have a former Packer on the inside tweeting breaking news.
Yeah, one-clap for all the news James Jones has broken the past few weeks. Impressive. On a personal level, the other benefit of having Williams back is he’s by far one of the most quotable athletes I’ve ever covered. He’s articulate, a consummate professional and can bring context to any story you’re writing. He’s a beat writer’s dream.
Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI
How frustrating does it get when fans make comments that sounds like the Packers roster is already set in stone and the young players who didn't play much last year will not be improved this year? Other than coaches and players, (and maybe you) no one gets to see what they did last year in practice and how their improvement is factored into the makeup of the roster this year.
*It’s only frustrating because of how quickly things can change in this league from one season to the next, sometimes for the better or sometimes for the worse. If your roster is staying the same, your team is dropping in the standings. *
Aaron from Lexington, KY
Forget about WR3. Let's get Cobb back healthy and rolling. The rest will sort itself out. Have a good weekend.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are counting on Randall Cobb this season. I’m actually kind of surprised more folks haven’t asked about how Jimmy Graham and Cobb could be used in tandem this upcoming season. I think those two together could be worth the price of admission if they’re healthy. They’re two completely different body types, but both field-tilters. Mike McCarthy wants to attack the middle of the field. Those are two guys can get it done.
Wayne from Green Bay, WI
Other than Aaron Rodgers, what do you think was TT's greatest example of drafting BPA?
*Corey Linsley is the first name that comes to mind. The Packers had JC Tretter pegged to be their starting center in 2014 when they drafted Linsley, a career center, in the fifth round. Tretter injured his knee a week before the regular season, but Linsley was ready to step in Week 1 against Seattle. The rest was gravy. *
Eric from Stevens Point, WI
Was, the key word in Friday's column was COMPETITION. We have a ton of primary and secondary positions up for grabs. Out of HB1, WR3, TE2, RG, RT, DE2, OLB3, CB 2-4, SS1, which battle are you most excited to see in camp? Also, do you ever remember a time when so many starting positions were up for grabs?
Team Photographer Evan Siegle shares some of his favorite images of the 2017 season.
There will be quite a few jobs up for grabs this summer. I’m most excited to see the camp battles at receiver and cornerback. There’s opportunity for young players to emerge in every-down roles at both of those positions.**
Matt from Kula, HI
To follow up on my question about predicting how much 4-3 the Packers will play this year, what is Pettine’s history on using four down linemen? It also seems like this will have a big impact on roster decisions and would be a subject for internal discussions even at this early stage.
Pettine has been on the job for more than two months at this point. The directions are in the box at this point and the Packers know what direction their defense is heading. We just have to wait and see what kind of players they seek to bring it all to life.
Max from Carmel, IN
With Tramonster back in at CB, it very much now feels like those freaking out a week ago have nothing to worry over. A lot of new for the Pack, but I think anyone who doesn’t see this year as a Super Bowl attempt needs to step back and take a broader view of our landscape.
*The defense is going to be different. That much has been assured through the first two weeks of free agency. Williams is a good start for reloading at cornerback, but I have a feeling that’s just one domino in a series of many this offseason. *
Gary from Wrightwood, CA
I find it hard to believe there are no trade rumor questions about Brett Hundley. Is the Inbox simply ignoring the issue?
You’re the first to ask, Gary. Until proven otherwise, I see the Packers taking Kizer, Hundley and Joe Callahan into training camp to determine their No. 2 quarterback. I like that approach rather than starting over with another rookie. Hundley had his ups-and-downs, but I don’t see how it benefits anyone to walk away at this point. Let’s see how he grows from that experience.
Kevin from Succasunna, NJ
Have you heard if Dom Capers might be going to any other team?
*I haven’t heard anything on the Capers front. I don’t think he’s taken a year off since he broke into coaching in 1972, so I wouldn’t fault him if he wanted to step away for a bit and reassess things after the 2018 season. It worked wonders for Wade Phillips. *
Bob from Billings, MT
Today there are no rookies on the team. Their job, with coaches’ assistance, is to improve their craft year over year. How much influence and contact can the coaches have during the off season to advance their football skills?
Zilch until the start of the offseason program April 16.
Philip from Fishers, IN
First off, I loved the answer to Dave from Franklin’s question. FDR. New Deal. I actually laughed out loud for that one. I was wondering, could you expand on that? How do they determine the contract to give a player that is coming off the practice squad? Is there much room for negotiation?
There isn’t much room for negotiation because these are young players who have cleared waivers. They often sign contracts for either one-to-three years at the league minimum off practice squads. The only area I can think of regarding negotiation is whether there’s a split-salary clause if the player winds up on injured reserve.
Tony from Olathe, KS
If I am Cleveland, I take quarterbacks with No. 1 and 4. They have missed often enough that it is probably worth hedging their bets a little.
There’s something to be said for this, but the wide array of talent available inside the Top 10 makes it too much of a luxury to overdraft at quarterback. Taking two QBs seems indecisive and would create a huge distraction for two young guys already under an immense amount of pressure as Top 5 picks.
Roger from Indianapolis, IN
Has an NFL team ever traded with a CFL team? Do teams keep track of CFL players who might be available? Many of them played American college football.
NFL teams aren’t allowed to trade with the CFL. Instead, there is a specific day (this year was Feb. 13) when NFL teams may begin signing CFL players each offseason.
Gordy from Tomahawk, WI
My wife and I plan on making a trip to Green Bay this summer and doing the Lambeau tour and Hall of fame. Any idea when they will be replacing the turf so we don't end up in the middle of a construction zone?
*New grass gets planted in the spring, fibers will be stitched in the summer and hopefully ready to go once the preseason rolls around in August. *
Rob from Appleton, WI
Wes, thanks for the reminder, I cannot wait for next opportunity to look a whining cowboys fan in the eye and confidently say SCOREBOARD!
It’s actually a pretty versatile phrase. For example, “Did you finish mowing the grass? SCOREBOARD!”**
Jacklyn from Minocqua, WI
Seems to me your primary job with inbox is to soothe the fears of neurotic Packer fans.
More or less.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
Go Sister Jean!
Donny from Los Angeles, CA
Phone's ringing, Dude.
Thank you, Donny.
Dan from Chicago, IL
Hey man, I know the inbox can be harsh. Sometimes you eat the bar... Strikes and gutters, ups and downs. But the Biff abides, and I (and others) take comfort in that. P.S. your “Big Lebowski” comment made me laugh to beat the band.
‘The Biff abides’ has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
Scott from Racine, WI
Big Lebowski and Caddyshack references in the same Inbox? When you get inducted into the Insider Inbox HOF, Friday’s will be on your highlight reel. The question is, who will be your presenter?
Blaise Winter. OK, that does it for me this week. Spoff will be back Monday to carry you through the week, while I spend some time with the family. Good night, and good luck.