Skip to main content
Powered by

Packers have several players to watch in 2017

The OT debate rages on


Josh from New Berlin, WI

I hate to disagree with Wes, but Lombardi and Starr are not better than Belichick and Brady. When the Lombardi-era Packers won their first three championships, there were only 14 teams in the league. Belichick and Brady have had the same level of success against 32 teams. Add free agency and the salary cap into the equation, and the Belichick-era Patriots are objectively the most successful dynasty in NFL history.

I concur, and I love to disagree with Wes.

Eric from Ames, IA

Could you give our thanks to James Starks for being a great Packer? I believe that without him, our magical 2010 Super Bowl run doesn't – well – run.

His performance in Philadelphia was one of the most out-of-nowhere postseason stories I've ever seen. Rodgers only had to throw for 180 yards to get the playoff run rolling.

Bill from Mediapolis, IA

With the release of Shields and Starks, how much money will be freed up? Is Ted Thompson looking ahead to retain some of our own players?

Making these moves to increase cap room a full month before free agency begins would tell me there are some current players the Packers are interested in re-signing before they reach the open market. Beyond that, I'm not reading anything more into it.

Taylor from Des Moines, IA

Mike, it was announced that we released Sam Shields. While I wish him the best in the future, it now leaves Randall and Rollins as our top options for cornerback. While I think playing healthy will do a lot for them, I can't help but be a little nervous for our pass defense next season since they both had rather rough outings this season. How do you think we will address what could be perceived as a hole now in our secondary?

There's free agency and the draft, and for this regime both avenues are about value. If the right addition is there at a price and/or pick that represents quality value, I expect the Packers to make that move. They aren't going to overspend and/or reach for a player. They will stay disciplined, defining discipline on their own terms, not the fans'. All we can do is wait and see.

Jason from Racine, WI

Could the Packers be in line for the services of Stephon Gilmore?

First, Gilmore is not yet a free agent. Second, see above.

Chris from Menomonee Falls, WI

I think it was Vic who said Hall of Fame players need to have a signature moment. In LeRoy Butler's case, it doesn't get any more signature than the Lambeau Leap.

I don't think that'll be a deciding factor in Butler's candidacy, but I was admittedly surprised in talking to Butler both last spring (before the Tailgate Tour) and summer (at Favre's induction) to hear how confident he is that he'll get in someday. Maybe he felt Wolf's induction will help him, or he was just projecting confidence in interviews to attract positive attention. Either way, he seems to believe it's going to happen, and I hope he's right.

Thomas from Milwaukee, WI

The Kurt Warner commentary got me to start looking up his career. He might have the greatest story of any football player ever. Went from bagging groceries to winning a Super Bowl playing quarterback for the Rams in the same year! I frankly can't think of a better example of the American dream, can you?

From paper or plastic to sterling silver. Not bad. You just never know. I still remember seeing the video of Trent Green's preseason knee injury. If that doesn't happen, does the world ever know who Kurt Warner is?

Dan from Rothschild, WI

Insiders, I just realized this tonight, and I don't recall seeing this mentioned anywhere. If the Packers and Patriots had met in the Super Bowl, it would have featured two quarterbacks (Rodgers and Brady) who replaced two quarterbacks (Favre and Bledsoe) who played each other in a Super Bowl 20 years ago. Would have been a great story.

Indeed. Could have happened two years ago. Might still happen. You got me thinking about Super Bowl "rematches" with different quarterbacks, and I only found two. Miami vs. Washington, 10 years apart (VII to XVII), and Dallas vs. Pittsburgh, 17 years apart (XIII to XXX). Neither featured each franchise's "next" QB, though.

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

Would Brady have been as successful had he played for an NFC team? Last 14 years, four AFC QBs have been in the Super Bowl. Same time, you have 12 NFC QBs.

Those four in the AFC have gone against one another in the postseason a ton, so I wouldn't frown on it too much, but you make a worthwhile point. I said before, the Patriots caught a break this year when Carr got hurt. As December rolled around, I thought the Raiders had the best shot at knocking off the Patriots this year.

T/G Don Barclay appeared in all 16 games of the 2016 season. He was a key contributor to one of the top offensive lines in the NFL in his fifth season with the Packers. Photos by Evan Siegle and Matt Becker,

Jesse from Ham Lake, MN

What if instead of a coin flip deciding overtime possession, we have a "kick off." No blockers, just a holder. Whichever team's kicker can kick the longest field goal gets the ball first. Takes the luck out of it.

Only if they do it "Name That Tune" style. I can make it from 60 yards. No, I can make it from 65. Make that kick.

Dan from Kenosha, WI

Insiders, if I told you your QB would have passer rating 50 points higher than the opponent, you would win the turnover battle 2-1, you would score a defensive touchdown, you would average more than a yard more per play, and your rush game would be almost two yards per carry better, would you take it? I'm betting that's a victory 99 times out of 100.

So is a defense holding an opposing offense scoreless for 57 minutes and 50 seconds, but stats can only put you in position to win. They can't seal the deal.

Alex from Ipswich, UK

We're talking about which young players will make a big jump next year? Well, my pick is Trevor Davis. Davis looked very promising as a returner, and his height and speed give him a lot of potential split out wide. You can never have too many weapons in the air, and Ty's conversion to RB, and possibly RB1 next season, he may relinquish his kick-return duties. Thoughts?

Davis is a player to watch in 2017. Toward the end of the season, McCarthy sounded almost apologetic that Davis wasn't on the gameday 46 more. Stay tuned.

Fawaz from De Pere, WI

Vic would say he doesn't want Calais Campbell. He wants the next Calais Campbell, and Kenny Clark has potential to be that for the Packers.

Another player to watch closely next season. The Packers have several. I think we're all curious to see what the 2016 draft class will become.

Paul from Minneapolis, MN

Sunday's game was great. But THE greatest? When the Packers won in 1997 after a 29-year drought with Desmond Howard's heroics, everyone said it was the greatest Super Bowl ever. Then John Elway's Broncos beat the Pack in the greatest Super Bowl ever. Then came the Rams vs. Titans and so on. Every year it's the same superlative. Why can't we just enjoy a great game without having rank it as the "best ever"? Yes, Pats v. Falcons was awesome. I for one look forward to seeing another great game next year. And the year after. And so on.

People of my generation and older get a little carried away with the superlatives because we remember the dismal stretch through the 1980s and early '90s when the Super Bowl was a snooze most of the time. From XVIII to XXIX, only two Super Bowls were decided by less than 13 points. The game was over before the nacho cheese got cold. What we've witnessed in the last 15 years or so on Super Sunday has – not always, but far more often than not – fulfilled us as football fans.

Josh from Downers Grove, IL

How does the NFL determine the home team when scheduling the two games vs intra-conference opponents based on last year's standings? I feel like Seattle has come to GB a lot recently and we've gone to Atlanta a lot recently.

The home teams in those pairings (NFC North first vs. NFC West first, for example) rotate like everything else, but you can get mini-streaks. The year the full divisions match up in between, the separate rotation can repeat a pairing and location from an adjacent year. The Packers went to Seattle and the Falcons came to Green Bay in '14, so nothing has gotten too out of whack with those two. The locations of postseason games have no bearing on regular-season rotations.

David from Green Bay, WI

Is that the first Super Bowl where the team that had a pick-six lost?


Scott from Santa Monica, CA

Scary thought – Jordy will be better next year. It's usually two years to fully recover from ACL reconstruction.

I'd take 97-1,257-14 again without complaint.

Patrick from Milwaukee, WI

I heard a new and novel proposal for an improved NFL overtime format, by a caller into sports radio. The suggestion is to give each team a two-minute period, starting with a kickoff. Within each two-minute period, it would be just like the end of a normal game. Seems like a great idea – excitement of the two-minute drill; all aspects of the game; very fair and not so coin-flip weighted.

I need to know how to prevent the game lasting forever with the teams matching one another possession after possession, but I'm listening.

Randy from Jonesborough, TN

Way too early prediction for SB LII: the same teams that played in SB II.

We heard it here first.

Alonso from Palmdale, CA

With the amount of California and Alabama kids being drafted by the Packers, are we in danger of losing any ground on home-field advantage during December/January? And since we don't really keep vets past 30, do they ever really master the cold?

Watching the way three playoff teams (Houston, Seattle, N.Y. Giants) and an indoor division rival (Minnesota) played at Lambeau this past winter proved the cold-weather advantage is alive and well. I thought all four of those opponents were affected noticeably by the conditions.

Doug from Duluth, MN

With three seconds left in the game, the Patriots fair-caught the punt on their 35-yard line. They could have had a free kick, but took a knee and went to OT. I haven't seen this addressed anywhere. I was surprised Aikman and Buck didn't even mention it. From the 35, it would be the same length as a kickoff, with no defense trying to block it. Kick it through the uprights, and it's 31-28, Pats win. I can't believe Belichick was worried about a kick-return TD if it missed, especially if the kicker can kick it past the end line. Did he forget about the rule like everyone else? I sure would have kicked it. No telling who wins the coin flip.

I thought about it at the time, and other readers have mentioned it as well. Either he was worried about the possible return TD, or Gostkowski doesn't have a 75-yard leg without a tee. Speaking of late-game decisions, Belichick got away with botching the clock management in the playoffs two years ago against Baltimore in the divisional round, and nobody called him on it. Leading 35-31, Brady was kneeling in the last two minutes when he couldn't run the clock out. The Ravens had one timeout left and used it to force a punt and get a Hail Mary attempt from the 48-yard line. Can you imagine the criticism if New England had lost after taking a knee three times? Even geniuses make mistakes.

Sam from Janesville, WI

So the couple we invited over to watch the Super Bowl walked through the door a pack of San Pellegrino. I laughed out loud and said, "I think you spelled beer wrong." They had no idea what I was talking about. But I have to admit it was quite good.

This is getting out of control.

Tom from New York, NY

Enough Super Bowl. Enough Brady. Enough GOAT debates. Please give us three things we should be watching for as we approach free agency. Anything. Let's kick off the new season.

Three things, OK. Which of the Packers' dozen unrestricted and restricted free agents will be re-signed before March 7, when other teams can begin negotiating with them? Which top-level pending free agents will get tagged by their teams beginning next week? How can I steal Wes's lunch if he never brings one to work?

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.