Andrew from Marshfield, MA
Isn't it time to evolve defensive terminology? If you are in your "sub" package 90 percent of the time, isn't that your base defense now?
Yes, but old traditions die hard.
Eric from Oshkosh, WI
Many people want to eliminate spot fouls on pass interference penalties. This would be a terrible mistake. If PI is changed to a 15-yard penalty, coaches will teach DBs to intentionally tackle a receiver if he gets past them on a long pass attempt. Even if they add a spot foul for egregious actions, they will just train them to make it look unintentional. Having a spot foul forces the defense to actually play defense. A 15-yard PI (even with spot fouls for egregious actions) would only encourage intentional fouls, which would be awful for the integrity of the game. My recommendation would be to go in a different direction: allow coaches to challenge PI penalties. PI penalties on long passes are game-changers – sometimes more significant than turnovers. This would force teams to continue to play legit on defense, while protecting themselves from a bad call that gives up 50 yards on a single play. If the replay shows the offensive player clearly wasn't contacted before the ball arrived, the penalty can be reversed.
The 15-yard PI has not led to a barrage of intentional fouls in the college game, but that said, I'm more inclined toward your challenge suggestion. It would be unpopular and I don't think the league would ever go for it, primarily because it opens a can of worms regarding penalty reviews, but they are such game-changing calls.**
Matt from Bremerton, WA
Have you ever seen a pass interference penalty on a Hail Mary? I haven't. I've seen a lot of the most obvious pass interference, though.
I've never seen it flagged, either.
Edward from Canton, SD
If the max penalty for DPI is changed to a 15 yards that MUST include an automatic first down.
DPI always has included an automatic first down, regardless of yardage. Same as the 5-yard defensive holding or illegal contact.
Dale from Downers Grove, IL
When the NFL is evaluating rule changes, do they get input from the officials? What involvement do the officials have "in the process of the" rule change?
The league gets some input from officials regarding the application of any new rules, but the competition committee makes its own decisions.
Zach from Clarkfield, MN
My 2-year-old daughter says "Go Pack Go" every time she sees football pictures or highlights. I'm not sure what perfect parenting looks like, but this has got to be a start. Thoughts?
I'd work on modesty next.**
Vinny from Arlington, VA
So much is made of what players will become free agents, but there are always cap casualties that occur every offseason. Does the personnel dept. factor this when making decisions, knowing that there may be a cap casualty that may occur to help address a need? Do they project this – keep a running list of prospective cuts around the league? Just saying it's not simply free agency or nothing with regards to vet players. There's inevitably going to be cuts around the league beyond those with expiring contracts. Just another avenue available that shouldn't be overlooked by fans.
The league-wide monitoring is constant.
Mark from West Bend, WI
Wes, they made you drive and pump gas? That's not how it works! Shotgun rider pumps gas, backseat passenger gets snacks and drinks, and driver stretches and unwinds to get ready to jump back in the saddle. Your own mic was only step one.
Hey, c'mon now. Backseat passenger had to write Insider Inbox.
Lori from Brookfield, WI
Mike, Wes received his microphone. The training wheels must be off his career at packers.com. What gift did you receive as your rite of passage?
I just hope my badge still opens the door every day. Anything else, I'll manage.
Al from Chardon, OH
How much of Aaron Rodgers' current cap money in 2018 and 2019 is from guaranteed money paid at the start? If they sign him to a new deal this offseason, does the total for those two years get spread across the duration of the new contract, along with any new guaranteed money?
Rodgers' last extension was in 2013, and signing bonus can be prorated only over five years, so there's no remaining proration to count against Green Bay's 2018 cap. Assuming his new extension will replace the two remaining years, any signing bonus can be spread over the caps from 2018-2022. He'll have other guarantees built into his deal as well, and they have to be capped in the year they're paid.**
Andrew from Dayton, OH
Can you shed some light onto why it takes so long for TEs to develop in the NFL?
It always depends on the player, but college tight ends these days for the most part are pass-catchers in spread offenses, meaning they haven't done much in-line blocking. The tight ends coming from pro-style offenses might have a shorter learning curve.
Brandon from Litchfield, MN
Wes/Mike, Wentz teed Foles up for his Super Bowl run. He's a big-time QB who will be getting "The Man" money soon enough. If Foles plays the whole season, odds are the Eagles are not sitting at No. 1 and don't even make it to the Super Bowl. Backups only win Super Bowls when the starter puts them in position before they go down.
Agreed. No way the Eagles go 13-3 with Foles as the full-time starter. Foles deserves all the credit in the world for taking the baton to the finish line, but those who think the answer is to find a mid-priced QB and spend the extra money to build more around him are kidding themselves.
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?
As I keep saying, that's for Russ Ball to figure out, and I have no doubt he will, based on his track record. Gutekunst talked this week about preparing for all sorts of financial scenarios. It's constantly top of mind.
Rich from Grand Rapids, MI
I am not sure how much we will learn about Gutekunst in a single offseason. To me, next year will be very interesting. Absent new deals, the UFA list next year includes: Matthews, Nelson, Cobb, Ha Ha, Kendricks, Rollins, Montgomery, Ryan, Hundley and Ripkowski. For those talking about trading away quantity of picks for quality of picks, keep next year's UFAs in mind. We will need to restock sooner than most may think. On the bright side, we currently only have $116M in contract obligations next year (vs. $160M for 2018).
All very astute and worthwhile points, and don't forget Randall, if the Packers don't pick up his fifth-year option this spring. This is another reason the structure of Rodgers' new contract carries significant implications.**
Brant from Millis, MA
Did our GM tip his hand a little? We are going to draft an interior lineman, a cornerback and a QB. Is that the impression you got from his first press conference at the combine?
I don't think it's a secret the Packers are looking at those positions, among several others, in the draft.
Matt from Verona, WI
What's your take on Kirk Cousins? I can't shake the feeling that his stats lie, and he's the kind of QB that 8-8 teams have.
He's never won a playoff game, but I also don't think he's ever been surrounded by an abundance of offensive playmaking talent. I think the bigger question with Cousins is whether he's going to take the biggest offer, or go to a team set up to win right away (such as Minnesota) who could leverage its situation to try to get him for a slight discount.
Louis from Columbus, OH
Insiders, everyone says the most important part of the combine is the player interviews and medical testing. Is this all done separately, or do the team reps do it as a group? Do 32 doctors evaluate a player together, or does the same player have 32 appointments to get his knee looked at? It seems grueling to have to be interviewed 32 times, but I wouldn't want the Vikings to know what questions I asked a prospect.
The formal interviews are all done separately and privately. The informal ones are also separate, but generally shorter conversations in a more open area where a scout from Team B is waiting to grab a guy as soon as he wraps up with Team A. The medical exams are done in groups. I'm not sure if it's four or eight teams per room, but something like that. Any MRIs or other scans on old injuries are done once and shared amongst all teams.
Roy from Balen, Belgium
What is considered to be the best draft ever performed by any team, and which draft is considered to be the best by the Packers?
The Steelers had the best draft ever in 1974, finding four Hall of Famers (Swann, Lambert, Stallworth, Webster). The Packers' best was 1958, and it's considered the second-best in league history, with now three Hall of Famers (Taylor, Nitschke, Kramer, plus Dan Currie).
Jake from Greenville, NC
Great press conference with Gutekunst. I had a few big takeaways, but the biggest was just an appreciation for what a smooth transition this has been so far. Arguably the seven most senior members of the Packers organization have different responsibilities, and I can barely tell the difference. What was your biggest takeaway?
That Gutekunst doesn't look new to the job.**
Jessi from Kansas
You discussed the difficulty for coaches and the sacrifices their family makes through their careers. What about you two, what are some the sacrifices you and your families make for your jobs?
Our families have to put up with long hours and minimal days off from August through January, and being out of town roughly every other weekend over those six months. The combine and the draft are the biggest offseason commitments to work around, but otherwise life reverts to some level of normalcy when we're not in season.
Josh from Canmore, Alberta
Congratulations to Matt Forte on a fantastic career. A class act and an absolute workhorse on the field every Sunday. You guys have any stories to share about Matt?
Not really, other than to say I'll remember watching him play when he seemingly was the only thing the Bears had going for them on offense, everyone knew he was going to get the ball, and he still produced.
Dale from Kettering, OH
A 6,000-yard passer would play for a team that falls behind early and never has a safe lead. Do you like any of the current candidates?
A lot of leads are never safe these days.
Paul from Oshkosh, WI
I have seen on the site recently that a lot of people seem to be considering WR a position of need. Am I missing something? It seems to me that we have the opposite problem. We have so much talent in our top three that we can't afford to pay for them all. Behind those three we have a bevy of promising, developing players: Davis, Allison, Clark. I understand Jeff Janis will be a free agent, but I find myself thinking that WR remains one of our best positions on the team.
I still think it is, but you can't be sure any of the young guys you mentioned (a fifth-round pick and two undrafted players) will become the next front-liner to pair with Adams. Remember, Jennings was drafted when Ferguson and Driver were the starters. Nelson was drafted when Jennings, Driver and Jones were the top three. Cobb came aboard when Nelson, Jennings, Jones and Driver were all ahead of him. Adams was chosen when Nelson and Cobb were the clear 1-2. All four of those picks were second-rounders. The Packers have always kept themselves well-stocked at the position.
Bryan from Thayer, MO
Could you please provide some clarity in the Harold Landry assessment? In some mock drafts I don't see Landry at all in the first round, and some he goes at numbers 10-14. I understand the combine will help clear up some of this, but I am confused as to why there is such a large deviation.
New to draft season, are you?