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It truly is a beautiful game

Aaron Ripkowski is everything you look for in a fullback


Kevin from Neptune, NJ

That comment about playing football on the moon was absolutely amazing. I'm still laughing about it. This place has gotten out of control; I like it.

It's like when your parents leave you home alone for the week. I'll have to make sure to clean everything up before Spoff gets back on Monday.

Mike from Mount Prospect, IL

Wes, you have the opportunity to watch the game up close and personal. Which impresses you more: the speed or the strength of the players?

*The speed of the game. You gain a new appreciation for greatness when you're down on that field. It's incredible to watch players that large and that fast play the game at the highest level. I've always felt football is the perfect blend of athleticism and strategy. Seeing receivers get in and out of their breaks and running backs shift to another gear at the second level is a sight to behold. Then, there's Aaron Rodgers threading passes through the smallest of holes to make big plays extraordinary. It truly is a beautiful game. *

Paul from Nevada City, CA

Guys re: "multi-position" players - is it not the coaches' jobs to put the best 11 players on the field for each play? The multi-use of various players speaks volumes to both management and coaching decisions. Being a PAC-12 long-time fan, I questioned Ty as a receiver at Stanford-remember he was a running back in HS and it obviously appears his physique is more suited to HB.

Running back is probably the more accurate job description for Montgomery, but his talent goes beyond what can be quantified by a single position. Montgomery is the kind of player you want to get the ball to in open space whether he's lining up out of the backfield or split out wide. He runs well between the tackles, but his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield is what separates him as a big-play threat. That's where I expect him to do a lot of damage in years to come.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Wes, many times coaches have commentary about a person being a football player that does not fit any one position. Charles Woodson is one of the greats that comes to mind. In the modern era, who are some of the greatest football players that are able to flex to multiple positions?

If Aaron Rodgers is Ted Thompson's greatest move as general manager, the signing of Charles Woodson is a respectable second. Not only did Woodson immediately give the Packers a bona-fide playmaker, but he also turned out to be a perfect fit for Dom Capers' defense after his hire in 2009. Woodson had the coverage ability of a shutdown cornerback and the tenacity of a hard-hitting linebacker. He, Rod Woodson and Aeneas Williams are all great examples of all-around defensive backs. Deion Sanders also probably falls into the category of the most versatile players in modern NFL history. On a side note, I've always thought really highly of Anquan Boldin, too. He's always been kind of a receiver/tight end hybrid, which I think helped him maintain a high level of play well into his 30s.

Bill from Ringle, WI

You will never see this in the NFL again. A GM who trades his first round pick for a QB picked in the second round and sat the bench his rookie year. How did that work out for the Pack? There was a GM with some stones.

I mean talk about having confidence in your ability as a talent evaluator. Ron Wolf waited all those years for another chance to be an NFL general manager and he bet it all on Brett Favre. That's why he is a Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Dan from Milwaukee, WI

I think if I were a GM, I would seek out free agents cut by their former team who are interested in short term "prove it" deals. Even if you are over-paying for a single year of service, you get to try out the player in your system and then pay him long term if he's worth it. If he isn't worth a long term deal, he hits free agency again and you get a comp pick in return.

This is one area where I don't think Ted Thompson gets enough credit. He's signed Jared Cook, Julius Peppers and Letroy Guion in recent years without having to give up anything in return since all three were released by their previous teams. The Packers have been able to do that because they have been smart in handling their own cap. That's another aspect of the game within the game.

Joe from Hartford, CT

How does TT place a value on Perry? Great year with broken hand but several mediocre seasons prior with all types on injuries. Can you compare his career to someone who last year was paid in free agency with similar circumstances?

Injury history factors into every decision in the NFL. Every general manager must take a long hard look at a player and make a calculated decision whether he'll be able to stay healthy. Perry put up some nice numbers in 2016 (52 tackles and 11 sacks in 14 regular-season games) even with the hand injury late in the year. His situation will be one to follow this offseason.

Steve from Beaver Dam, WI

Where does Aaron Ripkowski fit with the Packers' running back discussion? Other than the NFC title game, he seemed like a potential power rusher for the team. Is moving him to halfback an option with Joe Kerridge also on the roster at FB?

I'd put Ripkowski in the same category as John Kuhn. I believe the Packers will continue to give him opportunities to carry the ball in 2017, but I don't foresee him making a full-time switch to halfback. He's everything you look for in a fullback – strong, physical and not afraid to mix it up. The most encouraging thing about Ripkowski is he showed he could handle third-down RB responsibilities. For a second-year player, it's impressive how quickly he's earned the trust and respect of Aaron Rodgers in the backfield.

Maximilian from Madison, WI

Cue Samuel L. Jackson voice: "Say overtime again! I dare you! I double dare you..." For all of the positives that came out of 2016, I was most impressed with the development of our young ILBs like Ryan and Thomas, even just throughout the course of the season. I feel that they can help set the tone for the defense in the coming years.

I have to agree with Mike McCarthy's assessment last month that Joe Thomas took "two steps" in his second full NFL season. It was a good thing he did with Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez each missing time due to injury. You have to give credit to Thomas for taking his game to another level. He played with confidence all season. Ryan made the jump you'd expect out of a second-year player. I thought he did a good job defending the run on first and second downs.

Patrick from Withee, WI

I keep hearing many people asking to draft cornerback at No. 1, but I have seen very little pass rush up the middle. Do you think there will be an interior defensive lineman available where the Packers are drafting?

I'm sure the Packers are keeping all their options on the table, but they drafted two defensive linemen (Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry) with two of their first four picks last year. With Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion also under contract for 2017, it doesn't strike me as a position of need this offseason.

Reed from York, PA

With the questions about drafting RBs higher, I'm curious how TT & Co. adjust their draft strategy and value rankings based on trends like this across the league. I'm assuming they know which positions may be undervalued in the draft and how teams may jump on other players/positions too soon. Seems to be the real genius of their strategy - being prepared for it to happen and capitalize on it. Thoughts?

If we've learned anything about Thompson's philosophy over the last decade, it's that he's open-minded and adaptable in his approach. Trends always form throughout the league, but Thompson continues to stay true to himself and his process. One of the key principles of that is his mantra that there are only so many athletic 300-pound bodies on this planet and he's done a terrific job of identifying linemen on both sides of the ball that can get the job done. When it's all said and done, David Bakhtiari could go down as one of the best fourth-round finds in NFL history considering his position. At the same time, Thompson also showed he's not averse to using a first-round pick to help out a position like safety in 2014 when Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was available.

Devan from Brooklyn, NY

Wes, you made the point that there is always room for hybrid players on defense. What do you think about the possibility of the Packers drafting Jabrill Peppers? He seems like a jack-of-all-trades guy that could line up as linebacker, cornerback, or safety and bring great speed and athleticism to the defense. Seems to me like just the type of player our defense needs.

I'd imagine the NFL, in general, is going to be keeping a watchful eye on hybrid defensive backs in this draft given how much success defensive coordinators have had installing these type of players into their system. Just look at the dimension Deion Jones added to the Falcons' defense this year. Peppers has a lot of talent. How will that translate to the NFL? That's what personnel directors have to try to figure out over the next two months.

Taylor from Amarillo, TX

Wes, Thanks for soloing the ship for us this week. I have an interesting Romo destination: Jacksonville. I'm not sold on Bortles, but not necessarily ready to write him off either. Romo could step in and buy some time for them to either continue developing Bortles or draft another young QB.

The points you raise are valid, but it sounds like the Jaguars are all-in with Bortles. That was reinforced earlier this week when Jacksonville re-signed Chad Henne as his backup. I was sold on the Jaguars coming into the year. Their defense was vastly improved on paper and I expected Bortles to make a big jump. He has a year left on his deal, though the Jaguars can exercise his option for the fifth year this offseason. My guess is Romo will want to go someplace that is a franchise quarterback short of contending.

Nick from Chicago, IL

I know I'm jumping the gun in regards to the 2017 schedule but there are some weird, yet appealing, matchups. Steelers and Saints both in the same season, not to mention the home game again the Bengals - this is going to be a physical season coming up. Which matchup are you looking forward to if the season started today?

I'd have to say probably Dallas on the road and New Orleans at home. I love to watch Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees compete against one another. The Cowboys game speaks for itself after the Packers knocked off Dallas in the NFC Divisional playoff game.

Ryan from Tooele, UT

Hey Wes, here's a non-overtime, non-shutdown cornerback question for you; have you ever listened to a player speaking and thought "this guy would make a great politician?" Who on the Packers' roster do you think would be a great elected official?

I don't want to get into politics because that never ends well. I will say there have been a lot of players you could see being successful in whatever they do after football. Micah Hyde is at the top of that list. Since he arrived in Green Bay, he's been a consummate professional and articulate public speaker. Tramon Williams also was like that. He could bring context to any story. Jayrone Elliott is another guy who possesses a personality that meshes well with anybody.

Chris from Mankato, MN

I like to consider myself a realistic optimist, and I always try to find the blessings that come from bad situations. Had Lacy never gotten hurt, we might never fully know what Montgomery is capable of. Geronimo appears to be a future difference maker, which we might not know if Cobb never gets hurt. The cupboard looks to be full on offense with the right re-signings.

The next man up has to be the best man up. I definitely agree with your assessment of Allison. It was going to be tough for him to get reps in the final month of the season if Nelson, Cobb and Adams were all available. However, an opportunity presented itself and he capitalized. He's a bright spot on offense that we might not have seen otherwise.

Drake from Huntsville, AL

I like it a lot when you guys participate in the comments section. Thanks Wes!

I promised once the regular season was over I'd be move involved in the comment section. I strive to be a man of my word.

Team Photographer Evan Siegle shares some of his favorite images of the 2016 season

Dan from Madison, AL

Insiders, perhaps you have heard of me ... I'm kind of a big deal. Five out of my first six submissions were published in "Ask Vic". That kind of success made me a minor celebrity. However, I am 0-for-three at getting published in the Insider Inbox. What gives?

I was watching ESPN this morning. The experts were asking the same question. Has Dan from Madison, AL, lost his touch? Has the Inbox passed him by? What does Dan need to do to turn things around?

Tyler from Victorville, CA

How about a mid-round WR like JuJu Smith-Schuster? Hyphens have been big for us i.e. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Ha Ha Cinton-Dix. And the Packers have been drawn to USC players.

And don't forget Evan Dietrich-Smith.

Fearn from Rolling Meadows, IL

Wes, does the team send you out to the combine?

I'm planning to be back there after taking a two-year hiatus to cover the NFL Owners meetings. I really enjoy covering the combine. The atmosphere is awesome. Everyone who's anyone in the NFL descends upon Indianapolis during that week. There's nothing quite like it.

Garrett from Bowling Green, KY

McCarren's favorite things is now my ringtone.


Chris from Prior Lake, MN

What is up with the commenters? Why am I reading about someone's surgery or some other personal non-football related subject?

Inbox is family. There are occasional disagreements, but I've grown to respect and admire how tight this community is.

Sean from Johnston, IA

Can I get out of the Insider Inbox Hall of Fame since the Packers kind of used my Rodgers throw punt idea, even though it wasn't exactly what I had in mind? HAHA. Honest question though, how many of the coaching staff stay in Green Bay working during the offseason?

This is a democracy. I leave it in the hands of the Inbox to decide your fate. To the best of my knowledge, the coaches work in Green Bay during the offseason unless they're deployed elsewhere for draft prep, etc.

Jace from Eagle, ID

Wes, please don't even entertain the OT questions anymore. Thanks!

You're welcome!

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