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Plenty of others are saying similar things

These playoffs have been full of sideshows


Jim from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Do you miss Wes?

Spending a week with Cillian is way more important than anything he could have done here this week. I talked to him Thursday and it sounds like he's had a good week. I'm sure he'll remember it.

Bruce from Savage, MN

Packer fan here in Minnesota. Your comment about the salary hit for Vikes QB needs clarification. Sam Bradford's cap hit for 2017 is $18 million.

My apologies. I had seen an old cap number for Bradford. As other readers pointed out, the Vikings' cap charges on offense are so low because they're getting productive receivers like Diggs (a fifth-round pick still on his rookie contract) and Thielen for relative bargains. They made out like bandits on re-signing Thielen last spring.

David from Lake Forest, CA

Insiders, it is interesting to hear everyone hoping for a pass rusher or shutdown corner to make our defense dominant again, yet it is interesting that you just stated, "When Smith has been out due to injury, it's just not the same unit. Not even close." I think the same thing could be said about Seattle with Earl Thomas and/or Kam Chancellor. No doubt they have talent on the corners surrounding both, but maybe we are missing the forest for the trees in our quest for defensive superiority?


There's no one formula. You maximize on your best players and they lead the way. It's not the position they play, specifically. It's what they do for the defense and how they're utilized.**

Richard from Yankton, SD

Vic always would say get the big guys early. I'm a firm believer in that. Do you have any draft-day beliefs?

That it's almost as big a crapshoot as the playoffs.

Eric from Alexandria, VA

Random question here – Why is it called a "wheel route"?

It describes a running back circling out of the backfield to run a downfield route. The arc of his route covers roughly 90 degrees of a circle, or wheel.

Alex from St. Louis, MO

I don't get why the Jaguars are acting cocky about facing the Patriots when they said the Steelers saying similar stuff was such a motivator for them last week. Why poke the gigantic bear? Looks like winning is going to their heads a bit.

This has been a strange postseason, with more "disrespect" takes than normal, the Philly underdog masks, donations from fans to charitable foundations of players from other teams, for various reasons. I don't know what to make of all the sideshows, really.

Josh from Hackensack, NJ

Judging from what I have watched in the playoffs, there is no NFL team that I would consider dominant. A few changes and keep No. 12 on the field. We'll be right back in it. Your thoughts?

Sure, but the Seahawks and Cowboys are saying similar things, and the Falcons, Panthers, Rams and Saints all know they were close to still playing this weekend, and the Eagles will get Wentz back at some point … you get the idea.

Jim from Pewaukee, WI

What is this 2014 Seahawks game everyone keeps talking about? I recall no such game and wish others wouldn't as well.


Duly noted.**

Derek from Arlington, WI

Hey guys, I like to think of the Packers organization as one of the classy ones, and I feel like a lot of who they draft and bring in is done so with character and locker-room fit being a top priority. I'd like to believe they are all good, genuine, decent men. In your time there who is the most genuine, down-to-earth player that you have encountered?

There have been many, so it would be hard to pick just one, but three who come to mind over my dozen seasons are Aaron Kampman, Jarrett Bush and Jordy Nelson.

Jeff from Greenwood, MN

Mike, do you think any Viking success or Super Bowl win dictates any Packer front-office aggressiveness towards free agency? This would be similar to how the Yankees and Red Sox have reacted to each other over the years.

I don't believe we'll see the type of reaction there was after 1998, when the Vikings went 15-1 in Randy Moss's rookie season and Ron Wolf drafted three corners with his first three picks. But Minnesota definitely has set a standard on defense that many in the NFC are striving to match, including the Packers.

Richard from Madison, WI

"There are multiple coaches on the sideline calling out the personnel groups for every play." OK, but that just backs up the original question a notch. Now, instead of wondering how the PLAYERS know who has to be on the field, we're left wondering how all those COACHES know. And how the players already on the field figure out that they're supposed to come out, since they're out of earshot of the coaches. And, as a follow-up to that, what if the group that has to be on the field doesn't include the guy with the green sticker on his helmet? THEN who's responsible for calling the shots on the field?

Don't make it so hard. The defensive coaches on the sideline are all on headsets and get the call from upstairs. If you're on the field and a package is called that you're not in, get off. The guy with the speaker helmet generally doesn't come off the field. If he does, there's a designated signal caller for the package that doesn't include him.

Gary from Austin, MN

Mike, to answer your question of "Don't better players execute better?" I would answer if that were true, then draft grades would be absolute numbers. The best example of that not being true is the LA Rams, who underachieved in 2016 with essentially the same players who made the playoffs in 2017 with a new coach. In today's NFL with free agency and the draft, every team has better players or at least they believe they do. It's what each team does with their better players that counts and that's what's called execution.

Players also get better, and the Rams are a great example of a young team with improving players and some key additions that meshed with the right coaching staff. Most important, they have a young QB whose arrow is pointing straight up, and that changes any equation.

Kevin from Asbury Park, NJ

I get the feeling these two upcoming games are going to be high scoring affairs – by the defenses. The Jags and Eagles defenses are so fast and a pick-six honestly seems like it could happen on every play. I am really going to enjoy watching these defenses fly around the field this weekend.


Day two of the leadership event held at Lambeau Field was geared toward 140 male Brown County middle school students. Photos by Evan Siegle,

You get the feeling a defensive score is going to decide at least one of these two games.**

Mike from Novato, CA

Hey guys, regarding a possible (I hope) Jags appearance in the Super Bowl, I wonder how big the TV audience in London would be? After all, Jacksonville is almost London's adopted team.

Interesting thought. If it happens, I'll have to keep an eye out for coverage from the UK. Perhaps all our Inbox readers across the pond can keep us apprised.

Troy from Ninety Six, SC

There is a lot of talk about adding veteran depth to the lineup. This sounds good in theory, but how does a GM convince a veteran to become "depth" when most veterans I hear (James Harrison, Adrian Peterson) expect to be starters? Would you really want to sign someone that is content to be a backup?

They're never content to be a backup, but they'll compete like mad to try to earn the job, and to not give it back should injury or other circumstances open the door. Love the name of your town, by the way.

Chris from Parker, CO

In your opinion, what are the odds of Philly getting the win this weekend and how can they get it done?

I think the Eagles have to win the same type of low-scoring game they did against the Falcons (15-10). I don't see Nick Foles lighting up Minnesota's defense. If the Eagles give up 16 or 17 points or more, I think they'll have a hard time winning.

Jon from De Pere, WI

What do you think, safe bet IF Vikings were to win the Super Bowl – Green Bay at Minnesota to open up the 2018 season?

Entirely possible. We heard it here first.

Dan from Tomah, WI

With the uncertainty at the TE position and many of the WR spots pretty full, could you see Michael Clark adding some pounds, going to blocking school, and switching positions?

No. He has barely cracked the book on learning to play receiver, so to speak. He has never blocked at the line of scrimmage in his life. I can't imagine trying to do that for the first time in the NFL.

Monty from Hazen, ND

Gentlemen, here's what I want to see this offseason. First, I want Jimmy Graham through free agency. Second, I want a pass rusher in the first round. Third, I want a fast WR in the second round. That's what I want. What am I missing?

The Inbox is obsessed with Jimmy Graham. I have no idea if the Packers are even interested. If I have to keep reading Jimmy Graham inquiries, I'm invoking Seinfeld on y'all. Jimmy is a free agent. Jimmy catches passes. Jimmy down the seam. Jimmy's got game. Jimmy's gonna wear me out.

Walter from Long Beach, CA

Good morning, Spoff. With Steratore being announced as the Super Bowl referee, are we in for the longest Super Bowl ever? And also, how did the league decide that he was the best guy to officiate the biggest game of the year? Are they morons?

What's your beef with Steratore? I'm with Vic that he's one of the best, if not the best. I'm glad he's getting to call his first Super Bowl. I believe the honor and duty are long overdue. If he has a real sense of humor, he'll ask one of the team captains to hold his index card while he tosses the coin.

Jeff from Colorado Springs, CO

Hey Mike! I couldn't help but notice you've used the phrase "for the long haul" in a couple of your answers this week. Could you possibly be referring to the eventual successor to Aaron? If not, could you please elaborate on what you mean by that? Thanks!

It's more a reference to the remainder of Rodgers' career.

Dave from Green Bay, WI

Mike, every Inbox, there seems to be people that treat the Inbox as an opportunity to score in overtime, always forgetting that you will get the ball last. One wonders how many of these comments never even see the field.


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