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It takes more than one player these days


Gene from Greensboro, NCNC

Wes, thanks for putting up my post about trading Aaron Rodgers to the Browns for a slew of draft picks. You apparently missed the fact that I sent it in on April 1. April Fools’ joke is on you dude! But still, Rodgers to the Browns for a jillion draft picks. Think of the possibilities!

And now you see why I feel the way I do towards April Fools’. Good morning!

Mike from Atlanta, GA

D-line may be a strength this year, but the secondary will be worse. Defense will not be much better on paper, if at all. We'll still give up huge plays. Doubt we make the playoffs. Too much work to be done.

And you can definitively say all this because you know what’s going to happen during the NFL Draft three weeks from now? The Browns aren’t on the clock yet. Free agency isn’t over. We can debate the forecast of the Packers’ secondary a month from now, but this is beyond pointless at the moment. New players are acquired. New prospects emerge.

Matt from Verona, WI

If the Packers' strategy for CB is what I think it is, I'm all for it. Patch it cheaply and look for elite talent in the draft. The free agents everyone has clamored about are getting elite money for being just-a-guy in a weak free agent year.

The offseason is for developing options. Tramon Williams gives the Packers options. The draft gives the Packers options. The return of Kevin King, Quinten Rollins, Lenzy Pipkins and Josh Hawkins gives the Packers options. Possible signings and re-signings could give the Packers more options. You almost need five or six cornerbacks to survive a season. It takes more than one player these days.

Jarod from Wisconsin Dells, WI

This is something that has bothered me for a while. Why does it seem like Pro Bowl appearances are the primary accolade when describing player achievements? To me, All-Pro selections are less biased and a better indication of a season as there is no reliance on a fan vote and it is voted on by people who are paid to watch and know about the game, i.e. writers.

**

Take a look at photos of Packers RB Jamaal Williams from the 2017 season. Photos by Evan Siegle and Corey Wilson, packers.com

All-Pro means more to me than the Pro Bowl because I know how hard AP voters work to get it right. The Pro Bowl tends to be based on name recognition and popularity. The perfect example is Jeff Saturday being voted to the Pro Bowl in 2012 a week after he’d been benched for Evan Smith. David Bakhtiari is a two-time All-Pro and one-time Pro Bowler. That tells you everything you need to know.**

Jesse from Rochester, NY

THANK YOU! I don't know how many times I have said it. Randall Cobb is a great WR. A weapon we need on our team. He’s made so many plays when we needed and didn't need him to. He is evasive, has great hands, and is a good short distance threat. He makes huge plays out of nothing. It's amazing to watch. I'll miss Nelson like the rest of us but I do believe Cobb is a needed weapon. After Cobb is gone/retired, do you see anyone on our roster now with abilities such as he has now?

Cobb is unique. Ty Montgomery has some of those traits, but Cobb’s versatility is difficult for anyone in the league to match. Again, I’m interested to see how Cobb fits into the picture the Packers are painting.

Nate from Naples, FL

At what point do we need to consider throwing a flag for the hit that broke Rodgers collarbone? My estimate is right after the 3-point stance is outlawed, but just before they start playing with two yellow flags on their hips.

I still say a push would have sufficed.

Sean from Milwaukee, WI

I don't understand why fans reject the idea of veterans mentoring younger players. Anyone remember when Tamba Hali was helping division rival Joey Bosa after their game? Veterans want to see younger players succeed.

It reminds me of Ricky Jean-Francois working with Montravius Adams, Christian Ringo and Izaah Lunsford. Jean-Francois wasn’t a lock to make the roster by any means, but still offered every word of encouragement he could to the young linemen. You know why? Because Justin Smith once did the same for him when Jean-Francois was a seventh-round pick out of LSU. You have to pay it forward.

Steve from Flagstaff, AZ

If the Packers can pick up punter Marquette King, should they? He has a good leg but has some immaturity issues which led to his release.

**

We don’t know the details that led to the Raiders letting go of King, but I think the Packers are in a good spot right now with Justin Vogel. Not only is Vogel a good young punter, but he also provides a stable holder for Mason Crosby. There’s value in that.**

Al from Green Bay, WI

Wes provided some potential options for the gunner position this coming season. The four players mentioned (Jones, Rollins, Goodson, Hawkins) are all defensive players. A benefit to having Jeff Janis in that position was that, as an offensive player, he didn't have to go all-out to fight off blocks for 50 yards and then play the next snap on defense. Ideally, wouldn't the gunner be an offensive player or a non-starter on defense?

Yes, but nobody is building a depth chart today. I agree it is suboptimal to have a starting defensive back working as a gunner for the reason you outlined, though.

Tom from Seatac, WA

At this point, free agency feels a bit like "musical chairs." When does the music stop?

The music never stops. It speeds up and it slows down, but it’s always playing. Justin McCray was quietly signed at the end of March, Jahri Evans signed days before the draft. Charles Woodson signed in May. Williams joined the Cardinals last year during training camp and turned out to be their starting cornerback. Team-building is constant.

Dan from Grand Rapids, MI

With all due respect to Michael from North Port, Florida. The Packers must replace Jordy Nelson on offense, not Jeff Janis. I know as a whole we’ve had a crush on him, but having less than 20 catches to your name isn’t hard to replace on the offensive side of the ball.

Janis was a good special-teams player, but Jordy Nelson is one of the greatest receivers in franchise history. That’s a huge hole in Green Bay’s offense and it must be filled. I want to see someone grab the brass ring this summer.

Tim from Upland, CA

Just watched a video of Aaron mentoring Josh Rosen. You gotta love how he talks about being a quarterback at the NFL level. He considers where the body of the defender is, where the receiver is and how he has to react to that, in order to play "real football". I can't imagine the speed at which his brain processes that much information. Amazing.

I wrote a story two years ago about Aaron Rodgers’ brilliance. He processes the game at a level so few ever have. The fact Rodgers also is one of the most naturally gifted players to ever play quarterback only adds to his mystique.

Ricardo from Monterrey, Mexico

Do you see DeAngelo Yancey having a decent amount of playing time this season?

I see him getting a decent amount of playing time in training camp. It’s up to Yancey to show how far he’s come.

Braden from Tunkhannock, PA

It seemed to me that Aaron Ripkowski did not get as much attention last season, do you think he will this year?

**

Take a look at photos of Packers FB Aaron Ripkowski from the 2017 season. Photos by Evan Siegle and Corey Wilson, packers.com

You have to judge Ripkowski and all fullbacks on a curve. It’s rare for any of them to play more than 20 percent of the offensive snaps. He’s still a factor. It’s just the nature of the position in 2018. **

Sam from Houston, TX

I see that LB Ahmad Brooks is an unrestricted free agent. If he hasn’t been picked up by anyone, what suggests the Packers re-sign him? Why or why not?

Brooks had his moments, but he just turned 34 and battled a persistent back injury last season.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

All this talk about drafting a DB like Mike Hughes, Josh Jackson or even Minkah Fitzpatrick got me wondering: why isn't Carlton Davis a coveted corner? He is ranked by the NFL higher than both Hughes and Jackson and a close second to Fitz.

Davis is coveted. He’s just not in that Top 20 conversation right now. I love his size and length, but penalties were an issue at times during his career at Auburn and Davis had only one interception in his final 24 college games. He’s a sound prospect. He may just have to wait until Day 2 to find his NFL home.

Thomas from Evansville, IN

How is the running game and how do you see it shaking out this season? Personally, I like Jones as the main two-down back with Montgomery and Williams as third down/goal line. Although, I think Mays is underrated. What do you see happening?

Training camp is going to be fun to watch because of how much is on the line. The Packers’ preference is to feature every-down backs because the offense can stay in the no-huddle. It may work out the way you suggest, but they’ll let the process play itself out. All four of those guys must prove they can play on all three downs to get the biggest slice of the pie come September.

Mark from Minneapolis, MN

Do you anticipate the changes/transition in leadership and reporting structure having any impact on role and responsibilities in the Packers’ draft room?

It won’t be a major change. Just different guys sitting in different seats. Brian Gutekunst will have John Wojciechowski, Jon-Eric Sullivan and Ted Thompson around him just like Thompson had his own inner circle.

Lucas from Stevens Point, WI

Reports are stating Lamar Jackson is climbing the board. With him not being one of the "top tier" QBs, the Packers are in prime real-estate to receive a Cleveland Browns-like haul for the No. 14 pick, especially with the QB-needy Cardinals right behind us. The question is: do the Packers take the inevitable package being offered of two first-rounders, or do we draft, per se, Marcus Davenport?

Lamar Jackson climbing doesn’t surprise me. I’ve been saying since the beginning he’s my sleeper pick at quarterback. He brings something to the table the others don’t. However, the value of that No. 14 pick lies in who’s available at that spot on draft night. I still want to see the Packers pick at No. 14 for all the reasons I previously outlined, but I wouldn’t fault them for trading back if the offer is right.

Monty from Hazen, ND

The nature of the game of football makes it inherently dangerous. Physics will tell you that something has to give, given the size and speed of the players. We could control the size factor. In the spirit of youth football, what do you think about putting weight limits on players based on position?

I don’t think creating weight limits would make the game safer. If anything, it probably would make it more dangerous because the human body is heavily compromised when cutting weight. That can be extremely dangerous in contact sports depending on when the weight cutting takes place.

Stephen from La Crosse, WI

Please explain your answer that allowing 46 players suit up on game day levels the playing field but 53 does not.

Unless it’s Week 1, it’s unlikely both teams can field complete 53-man rosters on a typical game day. How fair would it be if one team has 53 guys available and the other only has 46?

Ron from Boise, ID

Granted Jeff Janis had his greatest worth to the team on kickoffs as the gunner. Is there a chance that since the kickoffs are changing via rules that Janis was not re-signed as his value was diminished further?

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I don’t think that affected the Packers’ decision regarding Janis, especially after Trevor Davis took over those responsibilities midway through last season. **

Jimmy from Plover, WI

It appears some fans forget the objective of football is entertainment. Favre and Rodgers may not have won 10 combined Super Bowls, but we have been very fortunate the past two decades to have QBs who give you the chance to win on any given Sunday. How many fan bases (and even teams for that matter) would love to move on from one HOF'er to another? I'm going to say 32.

Nobody can guarantee a Lombardi Trophy, but teams can put themselves in position to compete for one. That’s the difference. Teams (and fans) must ask themselves: are you or are you not in the race?

John from Jefferson, WI

With regards to kickoffs: leave everything as it sits (touchbacks to the 25, for example) but allow the returning team to fair-catch the kickoff and have it moved up to the 20. That can give the returning team a 'surprise' decision to run it, and the kicking team still has a chance to surprise with the onside.

I like it. I really do.

Tom from St Germain, WI

For kickoffs, how about kickoffs from one’s own 45, use the Crosby rule and a penalty for not making the end zone (say, out to the 35-yard line)?

That’s not a bad idea because moving the kickoff downfield likely would mean fewer kickoffs going out of bounds and being placed at the 40. Even trade?

Bo from Jangle, MN

May I submit a quick-fix solution to the kickoff issue? Instead of a traditional kickoff, make the teams line up for a punt instead. Bump it up the 40-yard line, the punt would land somewhere around the 15-20 yard line. Good returners still have a job. Onside kicks would be replaced by fake punts. It's quick, it's simple. So, here is the question part: What am I missing?

There are answers. It’s just a question of how much do you want to alter that play. I think changing kickoffs to an organized punt would be a tectonic shift for the game. However, these are the ideas the NFL may need to explore if the statistics suggest they’ll make the game safer.

James from Austin, TX

Regarding kickoffs again, how about fewer guys on the field to reduce traffic? Less collisions, less injuries? Do 22 guys need to be on the field for a kickoff?

Kickoff returns for a touchdown would skyrocket because of all the unfilled gaps.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

This has probably been asked multiple times, but I've missed the responses; how do the insiders go about selecting prospects for the "Prospect Primer" column? There are hundreds to choose from. Is there a method or is it just madness?

We look for the best sound, best video, best stories and players who could make sense for the Packers.

Tim from Ruther Glen, VA

Eliter? Well played sir... well played! I see the t-shirts now, ‘ELITER?’ in bold text across the top of the shirt with a shrugged shoulder Wes just below it. Have a great day Insiders.

This is a good idea for our second Insider Inbox T-shirt. The first obviously will be a Ty Montgomery jersey with an adjustable number to appease the fans.

Rob from Las Vegas, NV

Eliter: I have been a Packer fan since Starr and Lombardi and truly know how blessed we have been with Favre and now Rodgers. Even though I am sick of what outrageous money has done to the best game in the world, I hope Rodgers finishes his career in Green Bay with multiple Lombardi trophies. Yes, Eliter made my Easter bout with the flu easier on this Monday morning, thanks man!

I thought I had avoided the flu bug this year, but then caught it on the tail end of the winter. Unfortunately, my sister-in-law and goddaughter also battled it after landing in Green Bay last week. Stay healthy and hydrated, Rob.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Did Cillian find an egg in the snowbank?

He did…eventually.

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