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Look at the player, not the position

The best look beyond the statistics to see the prospect


Karsten from Wayzata, MN

In my opinion, I feel pretty confident with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams at the running back position, so I don't see any reason to keep Ty Montgomery at RB. So with that said, why not move Montgomery back to slot receiver, where he had some success in the past?

Here's the thing – all three of the Packers' running backs were injured at various points last year. They needed all three to navigate through the season. So why are we so anxious to move guys around? I almost wish could do away with the "Position" next to Montgomery on the website. Look at the player, not the position. He needs to stay healthy, but that versatility is priceless.

Tom from Elkport, IA

Gutenkunst's first test is whether he extends Rodgers before gaining additional health info. Age and two collarbones suggests caution. Rodgers' last performance showed he's not the same guy. Your thoughts?


Rodgers' last performance? You mean when Rodgers stepped in against a top-10 defense after not playing for two months and the Packers lost by a touchdown? I wouldn't read too much into that one game. Earlier in the season, he was playing like a legitimate MVP candidate. The Packers know everything there is to know about Rodgers' collarbones. Based on his offseason work ethic, I'd say there's little risk in cutting that check for the extension.**

Tanner from Tulsa, OK

I'm very excited to see the impact Davante Adams will have next season, as well as Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson's production with Rodgers back. What do you think was the best wide receiver corps the Packers have had?

I'd say 2011. That group was special with Jermichael Finley added into the mix.

Walt from Skandia, MI

If the new pass interference rule is 15 yards, that will be the end of the Hail Mary at the end of the game. Of course the game can't end on a defensive penalty, so maybe you keep taking the 15-yard penalty all the way down the field?

That's something the league would have to consider. Overall, that would be a big undertaking if the league opts to go that direction. I wonder if it would be smart to roll it out on a trial basis during the preseason like the NFL did with extra points before moving them back to the 15-yard line.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

One position I feel is a priority is TE. How should they address the issue? Draft? Free agency? Trade?


Mike McCarthy told reporters Wednesday the Packers need to increase competition at tight end. As I've said before, you have to be patient when drafting a tight end because of how long it can take for those players to develop. That's why free agency and/or re-signing Richard Rodgers make a lot of sense to me.**

Mitch from Bettendorf, IA

I am more interested in what Lance Kendricks can do with a full season of Rodgers throwing him the ball and no Bennett taking snaps. Why do we need to look any further?

*A full year in the system will help Kendricks, but teams need multiple options at tight end. The Packers played the final two months of the season with only two tight ends. That's not ideal for a number of reasons. Green Bay's best teams under McCarthy sometimes had five tight ends on the active roster. I think this could be a good offseason to recharge that position. *

Vinny from Arlington, VA

During the draft, you hear of teams moving up to get a player because they are worried that a team ahead of them is going to take them. How does a team know what another team is thinking or looking to do? How does a team know they need to trade up to draft spot "X" or ahead of a certain team to get a player they covet?

Scouts work the phones like crazy. It's a massive game of telephone during the three days of the draft. They hear things. I'm not saying it's always right, but they hear.

Brandon from Fairfield, CA

Do we have any clearer idea of what our old GM Ted Thompson is up to in his new role? What specialized roles do you think Ted could/will serve? If I'm Gutekunst, I tell him, "Fourth round. Lang, Sitton, Bakhtiari, and Daniels, with Blake and Lowry up and me nail the fourth."

It almost sounds like Thompson is in a "special projects" type role with how he remains involved in both pro and college scouting. He possesses so many years of institutional knowledge and scouting is his life's work. This arrangement brings Thompson back to his roots. I'm sure he'll still be glued-in on draft night.

Stephen from Fort Atkinson, WI

When upper management decides to re-sign one of their own, do they take into account the compensatory pick they could get if they let them walk? If so, do they try and bid just enough to let a player walk, but enough that a team has to pay more than 10 figures so that the Packers get a better compensatory pick?

Gutekunst said Wednesday that is a consideration in the lead-up to free agency, but only a small one. The Packers still want to re-sign guys who are going to help them win. It's just a small consolation if the two sides can't come to an agreement or the market shoots way out of their range.

Gary from Bear Valley. WI

If Dez caught the ball, would the Packers have taken a knee to end the game?

That's what I love best about the Dez catch debate – the NFL's sixth-ranked offense and reigning MVP quarterback had nearly three minutes to respond. Oh well. If it helps the Cowboys sleep better at night, more power to them.

Eric from St Louis, MO

Why not limit pass interference to half the distance to the goal like every other penalty? An end-zone PI on a bomb from midfield puts the ball at the 25.

I like this idea better.

Colin from Tripoi, WI

Guys, I'm starting to wonder if having an all-world QB (and his salary) is the answer in the salary-cap era. I think the Eagles proved that you can win with solid QB play but without the elite QB price tag. If Rodgers goes for it all, I certainly don't want to hear anyone complaining about the offensive line play. Or any other position for that matter. There simply isn't enough money left to build a roster.


I don't see it that way. The NFL cap has grown more than $50 million since I started on the beat in 2012. It's natural for the price of quarterbacks to increase with it. Plus, if the Packers get a deal with Rodgers done this offseason – **as Gutekunst said he hopes to do** – that would allow them to spread out the bonus and reduce the cap hit.**

Steve from Granger, IN

I was reading questions today about how happy and optimistic the players are for Mike Pettine (i.e., Mike Daniels' comments). You both were incredibly high on Capers until the end…like the grim reaper hanging onto to death. I know you are in a difficult situation, but you both were very defensive when we were calling for Capers to be replaced. Will you feel hypocritical in supporting Pettine especially if the defense becomes dominant?

Not at all. I've said before I've always been hesitant to call for people's jobs because we don't know all the variables. If you want to do that in the comments section, that's your right. I believe Capers' scheme works because it's proven and Vic Fangio is still having a lot of success with a variant of that zone-blitz in Chicago. But sometimes change is good. Pettine's arrival seems to have energized the defense much like Capers' did in 2009.

Mike from St Paul, MN

What is the Packers' cap situation for 2018, and how much does that play into wanting to get Rodgers' deal done this year? Do they have the flexibility to frontload the contract through a roster bonus to get Rodgers the money he will command without causing a cap crisis in three years?

I'm going to use Blake Bortles as an example here. I don't know if many of you have read the reports, but the Jaguars actually managed to lower his cap number for 2018 after signing his extension. That's the difference between signing a player with time remaining on his contract and an unrestricted free agent. I couldn't give you the slightest idea how the Rodgers' extension will be structured, but there are ways to make it a win-win for everyone.

Fearn from Rolling Meadows, IL

Is it refreshing to get a younger GM, with a possibly different perspective than his predecessor, or am I just ageist?

It's probably refreshing for fans to hear a new voice for the first time in more than a decade. However, I despise how much we, as a society, place so much emphasis on age. Who are the 30 under 30, 40 under 40 and 167 over 167? Who cares? Do you love what you do or not? I think Gutekunst is hitting all the right notes so far. He has an affable personality and has seen how having a more visible GM can benefit an organization.

Chuck from Poynette, WI

What drill at the combine is most impressive to watch in person versus televised? Also, which position group would you watch if you could only see one?


Bench press. Seeing someone put up 35 reps at 225 pounds is incredible when I'm reminded of how I nearly ripped every muscle in my arms trying to put up 170 one time. Those linemen rep 225 like it's nothing. **

Steve from Middletown, KY

At the combine, is it easy to really see the truly gifted individuals? Do they just jump out at you or do you really have to watch the competition closely? I've read many times that it can be hard to discriminate between guys. Is that why there's so many misses? Is it that hard to find the guys with the "it" factor?


Take a look at photos of Packers players during their NFL Scouting Combine appearances.

It can be difficult to tell the difference between what can and can't be measured. There are players who run easily in the 4.3s and 4.4s, but it doesn't translate on the field. A lineman can be strong as an ox, but that doesn't matter if the technique and footwork aren't up to par. The best look beyond the statistics to see the prospect. **

Michael from Cincinnati, OH

Now that Thompson has moved on will the Packers be active in free agency? What about moving up to land one of the top four QBs in the draft, maybe Allen?

A is more likely than B.

Don from Cedar Rapids, IA

It bugs my ears when announcers (e.g. Cris Collinsworth) add an "h" to words like strong, strategy and strength and mispronounce them as "shtrong", "shtrategy" and "shtrength". Can you make it stop?

I'll have my people talk to their people.

Kyle from Spooner, WI

All the hype about QB contracts seems centered on Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins. Nobody expects Drew Brees to relocate, but is he not also in line for a significant payday that will impact the QB market?

All eyes are on Cousins, but Brees and A.J. McCarron are two of the biggest wildcards in this year's free-agent class. I'm sure the Saints re-sign Brees, but at what price? And what will McCarron get once Cousins lands somewhere?

Jason from Winona, MN

Wes, why don't you like playing defense on Madden? In my opinion, that's the best part. Interceptions, fumbles, and sacks are always fun to get, and having the lead with a minute left always gets my heart beating.

I didn't have the patience for it.

Chuck from Milwaukee, WI

Wes! Congratulations! You now have your own mic!


It truly is **a new day**. **

Joseph from East Moline, IL

One time I saw a girl at a bar wearing a Packers T-shirt so I told her I was Wes Hodkiewicz. Except once I started talking I realized I don't know how to say that last name, so it came out like Ben Stiller saying Favre.

*It twists the tongue of even the most talented SLPs. *

Dan from Twin Lakes, WI

I've got all kinds of new friends now! Thanks, fellas! More seriously, thanks for indulging our silliness at times. You guys do a good job of letting it go far enough but not too far. Enjoy the combine.

It's been a rough start to the combine for me, beginning with getting gasoline sprayed on me from a leaky hose during a stop on my way to Indy. This post made me smile, though. Here's to a better Thursday.

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