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It's an overlooked factor regarding home-field advantage

Patience will be required this offseason


Cornelius from Milwaukee, WI

Will the Packers go for a running back or a defensive end in the draft?


Peter from Eagan, MN

So was it a sophomore slump or was it a bad idea to pick a safety and basketball player to play cornerback? I know both Randall and Rollins will get at least another year but very little to show this year that instills confidence that they can be starters in the NFL.

The haters are going to accuse me of spouting a company line here, but I'll risk it. Trust me when I tell you they were rarely healthy and battled through a ton to play when they did. Did they live up to expectations and make the Year 2 jump everyone looks for? No, they did not, and that hurt the Packers' defense in the aftermath of Shields' injury. But everything about their second seasons reminds me of a banged-up second-year player in 2015 who didn't "instill confidence" in fans that he was a legitimate NFL starter – Davante Adams. Let's let this play out.

Crigs from West Bend, WI

I think I'm now ready to step away from reading this Q&A every day. It's become such a one-sided discussion that no one can voice any criticism (constructive or destructive) without being shot down. Also, in regard to your comment to Lucas; re-signing your own free agents stops a hole from being created but it doesn't fill other holes that need to be addressed. Just about every executive and scout in the league, when interviewed, has pinned that as a failure of Ted's. The Packers, sans Rodgers, are not extremely talented. You team-employed writers obviously can't say that but please stop panning fans for being correct when mentioning it. Dorsey, Schneider, and McKenzie have all put together stronger overall rosters with similar philosophies that actually include other teams' free agents.

Look, I get the criticism of Thompson for his reluctance to use free agency as much as other GMs. But I'm not spending every day studying tape, managing a salary cap, and concerning myself with a cohesive locker room. Lots of guys look good to sign and plug in, but what do any of us really know about those guys? They're on the market for a reason, often because they're not willing to accept a salary that fits their production, and there's only so much money to go around. Free agency is as big a crapshoot as the draft. For every Julius Peppers there's a Joe Johnson, just like for every David Bakhtiari in the fourth round there's a Carl Bradford. You mention the other GMs and say the Packers, sans Rodgers, are not extremely talented. What happened to the Raiders when Carr went down? They could barely get a first down and were not a playoff team in the slightest. The Chiefs and Seahawks bowed out before the Packers this year. I'm not going to sit here and argue that Thompson's way is the only way, and I do believe if another Peppers or Jared Cook is out there this year, the Packers will do their due diligence.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Hi guys, what is said in the exit interviews? We would like you to work on X. You HAVE to work on Y. You had a good year, see you next year, or you better look for a new job? Just curious.

From what McCarthy has shared with the media in the past, it's a two-way conversation. One way is the types of things you mention. The other is for the player to give McCarthy feedback on the position coaches, training processes, and the like. Nobody's word is gospel but it's all taken in.

Myke from Janesville, WI

"Turn out the lights...the party's over..." to paraphrase Dandy Don. The Packers ain't my nighttime religion; so I'll see you in September when the new cast shows up.

That's fine, but if you've never followed an offseason before, seeing decisions that are made and how a new roster comes together, I'd encourage you to stick around. Many in-season questions that may come up have been answered by what happens in the offseason.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Gentlemen, amazing run by a gritty team. Now that it's over, I just don't care about the Super Bowl. I have no animus or affinity for either team. I'm ready to move on to college hoops and baseball.

I always look forward to the Super Bowl, but March is without a doubt the best non-football month of the year.

Jake from Prairie du Sac, WI

Insiders, I'm curious how many FA's that signed with a new team in 2016 made the Pro Bowl? My guess is the number is not as high as the "sign everybody" supporters may think.

Wes and I did some quick research. Currently, of the 117 players named to the Pro Bowl listed on nfl.com – original selections plus replacements – we counted 23 that came to their current teams as free agents (not necessarily this year). That's 19.7 percent. The number goes up to 28 if you include players acquired via trades (23.9 percent). Make of that what you will, but I think it would be accurate to say around 75-80 percent of the Pro Bowlers are home-grown players.

Jason from Johnston, IA

It was announced the Packers will have the 29th pick in the upcoming draft. How does the NFL decide who picks first between the two teams that lost the conference championship? The four teams that lost in the divisional round? Is it based on strength of schedule?

Regular-season record. The Packers pick 29th and the Steelers 30th because Pittsburgh's 11-5 record was one game better than Green Bay's 10-6. The Cowboys pick 28th, last of the four teams eliminated in the divisional round, because they had the best record of that bunch at 13-3.

Scott from Agoura Hills, CA

Just wondering if you guys are going to continue the Inbox every day during the offseason?

Yes, we will still post Inbox Monday through Saturday every week, with Vic continuing to do Mondays. Some days may not alternate as steadily between me and Wes because of scheduled vacation time as we go along.

James from Pardeeville, WI



Pete from Sheffield, UK

Did the guy questioning the value of home-field advantage not look at the pass rush of either team in that last game? For me home-field advantage made all the difference in slowing the Packers' pass rush and giving the Falcons' pass rush a head start, which determined how the game went.

I wouldn't call it the deciding factor last Sunday, but I think that's generally speaking the most overlooked factor in playing at home in the NFL.

Ray from Celina, TX

Living in the Dallas area and listening to a lot of Dallas sports media, a good point was raised yesterday. The Dallas teams of the early '90s had the amazing young talent on offense but always fell short due to lack of defensive talent. Until they signed Charles Haley and got a pass rush. Then they started winning Super Bowls. This stuck with me and I was able to apply it to the Packers this year in the playoffs. We were unable to apply pressure to Matt Ryan and gave him entirely too much time to make the throws. Pass rush is so much more important and a lot more to blame I think than the secondary. Pressure creates hurried throws and hurried throws create turnovers and incompletions.

To me, it all goes hand in hand. Reviewing the defensive film from Sunday, I saw a handful of times a rusher was right on top of Ryan as he fired. No, that pressure was not consistent enough, not at all, but if the coverage can hold for a split-second longer on those plays, or if the pass rush can get there a tad quicker when the coverage is doing a better job, any defense performs differently. It's rarely just one or the other, and the very best QBs will more often than not take advantage either way.

Charlie from Bozeman, MT

Did the Packers miss their turn in 2014?

Boy, I sure hope not.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

Calling (nonsense) on you, Wes. Hayward was an interception machine from Day 1 with the Packers and all sorts of us wanted TT to keep him at the time. I was shocked he let him go. Capers and McCarthy continually talk up the importance of turnovers and you guys talk about re-signing our own as signing free agents. You can't have it both ways, maestro. OK?

I love Casey Hayward, I'm thrilled for what he accomplished this year, and I miss him as a good guy I got to know in the locker room, but I wish people would give this a rest. He had six interceptions as a rookie in 2012. After his injury-plagued 2013, he played a total of 1,335 snaps over the next two years and intercepted three passes, including none in '15 in over 900 snaps. I don't think that qualifies as a "machine." The Packers re-signed Daniels as the 2015 season concluded, and Bakhtiari as the 2016 season began, to significant contracts. They entered training camp with four recent draft picks plus Gunter, all non-rookies, to play corner behind Shields. I think it's obvious if anyone had known Hayward was going to have a career year, Shields would play only one game, and Randall and Rollins would battle injuries all season long, of course they'd have found a way to keep Hayward, but the reasoning and decision-making at the time were sound. That doesn't mean every decision is going to work out.

Christine from Germantown, WI

Do you think the NFL will ever take a one-week hiatus at Week 8 so all teams will have their bye at the same time?

No. The league would never want a totally dark weekend in the middle of the season.

Jeff from Kenosha, WI

Insiders, here is how I see the Packers' FA priorities. 1) Jared Cook. 2) Micah Hyde. 3) Nick Perry. I would love to keep Lang but guards are replaceable. Your thoughts?

Those four names are the first four that come to mind for me, and the order after Cook is debatable. I think the tricky part in making the right decisions is gauging the market for a hybrid player like Hyde who's not a true corner or safety, and for a player with Perry's injury history. That's not meant as a knock on those guys. It's just reality, and nothing's ever easy. If you're going to re-sign a guy before he hits free agency, you'd better be right about his market or you'll get in trouble, but once a guy reaches free agency, all it takes is one big spender to throw a wrench into everything.

Darin from Madisonville, KY

I know A-Rod still has at least six great years ahead of him, but I've always wondered this listening to his press conferences: In your opinion, what would Aaron be best suited for after football – coaching, TV coverage, or acting? I could see him doing any of the three, or perhaps he is one who will ride off into the sunset never to be heard from again.

I agree with you about all three. His competitive nature is such an everyday force in his life that I could see him starting his own version of "Celebrity Jeopardy!" on which he's the daily contestant everyone else has to try to beat.

Nick from Greenfield, WI

I know Spoff said to watch Badger basketball, but let's not forget Marquette. Just beat No. 1 in the nation and defending NCAA champ Villanova, not to mention No. 7 Creighton a few days ago.

Tuesday was one of the crazier nights in college basketball in a while. March should be really fun.

Andy from Ypsilanti, MI

So this is more for the "Fire Capers" crowd that think he's the source of the Packers' defensive woes. Didn't many see the strength of the Packers as defense through most of 2015 when the offense spent most of the year out of sync due to injuries and youth? What about early this year when the D was consistently keeping them in games while the offense sorted through similar issues to 2015? How soon we forget.

You don't get it, Andy. It's all about constant dependability. Endless reliability. Complete steadiness. Or something like that.

Chad from Troy, MI

Insiders, at what point can we really start seeing what needs the Packers have on their roster?

Right now, the only positions I wouldn't consider a need in terms of building the offseason roster would be quarterback and maybe wide receiver. I'd like to see the Packers add talent everywhere else, and no matter how your roster looks, you never ignore receiving talent in this day and age. How the priorities shake out will depend on health and free-agency situations, which could take a while. We have to be patient with this.

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