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Several teams are good enough to win the Super Bowl

Make sure you get to Lambeau at least once in the Rodgers era


Andrew from Fort Collins, CO

You've told us how a good pass rush can improve a team's secondary, but how true is the reverse that a good secondary can improve the pass rush? If Sam Shields hadn't gone down, how many sacks would Datone Jones have had last season?

I see your point, but I don't like getting into chicken-or-egg questions. I've always said the two go hand-in-hand, and coaches will say the same thing. The reason I've focused so much on the pass rush is I believe the Packers' depth there is more suspect, and the more often a blitz is needed to generate a pass rush, the more vulnerable a secondary becomes.

Sean from Portland, ME

Offensively, the player I'd like to see make the biggest jump developmentally is Trevor Davis. The WR group is very strong but it lacks a true "take the top off the defense" threat. Jennings was the best at that and then Nelson was the guy in 2014, but he's not getting faster with age. Thoughts?

The main reason a sub-190-pound receiver gets drafted is obvious. Speed.

Steve from North Hudson, WI

What is a bigger factor in NFL parity? Draft order or salary cap?

Definitely the cap. The draft is a speculative and subjective business, no matter the order of picks. The cap is an objective number by which all must abide.

Howie from St. Ignace, MI

Besides Ty and Rip, how many running backs do you predict will be on the opening-day roster?

I expect the Packers to keep three players who can carry the label of primary ball-carrier when they're inserted in a game. I think the fullback decision will be a separate one.

Jeff from Albuquerque, NM

Jamaal Charles is credited as having the most career yards per carry, averaging 5.5. Ty Montgomery is averaging 5.9. This is the same average as Charles' second year in the league. Montgomery is an inch taller and 17 pounds heavier. Dare we dream what a little experience and training could do for The Crazy 88?

I hear you, but I'm going to temper my expectations a bit. Montgomery carried the ball 102 times last year, including playoffs. It'll be a big enough leap for him to go to 200 (an average of 12.5 carries over 16 games) in his first year as a full-time back, let alone push things into the 250-280 Lacy range. One step at a time.

Rob from Menasha, WI

Hey Spoff, don't worry you're not a sissy. Those IBUs come with time. No one's giving up on you yet.

Good to know.

Greg from Hamilton, Ontario

I'm a 41-year-old Packer fan since 1992 and I turned down a chance to see a game at Lambeau Field. Am I insane?

Just make sure you get here at least once in the Rodgers era. I'd advise all bucket-listers to do the same. He's a phenomenal talent to watch.

Hansen from Waukesha, WI

Spoff made an error in Thursday's column, stating the Packers played at the Ford Field opener in 2005. The stadium actually opened in 2002, but still featured the Packers.

I stand corrected, and for the record, that was a Week 3 home/stadium opener for the Lions in '02. Strange.

JJ from Cape Coral, FL

Spoff, who do you think could have come back to the NFL after being retired for five years? I was thinking Jim Brown and Barry Sanders.

Valid choices. Brown hung it up at 29 and Sanders at 30. At their position, though, I can't imagine trying to gear up the body for that kind of duty after five years off.

Brian from Madison, WI

What do you think the ratio of skill to luck is needed for a team to win the Super Bowl? It seems like a lot of luck is needed throughout the season (injuries, the draft, coin toss, ease of schedule, etc.).

For me, it's more about strokes of good fortune in the postseason, and in the Super Bowl itself. Desmond Bishop's open-field, shoestring tackle of Michael Vick is the forgotten play that could have changed everything late in that wild-card game in Philly. Joe Flacco and the Ravens will forever have Denver's Rahim Moore to thank for their title. I've said in this space before to just look at the Patriots' trips to the Super Bowl to see how whimsical it all is. New England lost two Super Bowls on the Tyree and Manningham catches, and won two when the Seahawks and Falcons wouldn't just hand the ball off. There are several teams every year good enough to win the Super Bowl. The bounces and breaks are always a factor.

(Correction: The Bishop tackle was on DeSean Jackson.)

Mike from Las Vegas, NV

Do you find it interesting that the last three times the Packers lost in the NFC Championship they would have played the Patriots? Talk about destiny...

The fates have robbed us of both Favre-Brady and Rodgers-Brady Super Bowls. I'm still hoping the latter happens.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

The Packers have such a unique identity. So do the Steelers, but they changed so much when Noll came it's like they had no history prior to then. Can you think of other teams whose identity changed so radically and why?

The best recent example I can think of is what Harbaugh did with the 49ers earlier this decade, bringing a storied franchise back to prominence, but with a starkly different identity from the Walsh/Seifert era.

Nate from Amherst, WI

Hi guys, everybody keeps asking about the impact of Martysaurus and Kendricks, and I can't help but wonder if it also allows Richard Rodgers to be better utilized to his strengths, and what kind of value that might be. Maybe he's been inconsistent because he's been asked to do too much. So it almost becomes like adding yet another weapon even though he was already here.

Worth watching for sure, but a player with too narrow a niche becomes easier to game-plan for.

Ben from Hilo, HI

Mike, did Vic steal your lunch while he worked there and you're merely carrying on the proud tradition with Wes? Or did this cycle of oppression begin with you?

Trust me, I'm going easy on Wes.

Kelly from Kaneohe, HI

Is it plausible that adding Montravius Adams could do more to bolster the pass rush than any of the actual incoming LBs?

He'll certainly help, but interior pass rush is an acquired skill at this level. The best linemen in college often play tackle, and the weaknesses are generally on the inside. The caliber of pass-blocker an interior rusher is facing goes up exponentially in the NFL. Mike Daniels is one of the best in the league now, but he only had two sacks as a rookie.

Bob from Colby, KS

If the studies are right, then a professional team is NOT economically good for a city (jobs too) and the teams are "blackmailing" the cities to pay for a new stadium on the backs of taxpayers. Are the Packers the exception and why?

Market size. The economic impact of the NFL in a city of 100,000 and "metro area" of a quarter million dwarfs the relative impact in a megalopolis. There's no comparison.

Matt from East Troy, WI

Spoff, I feel for you missing out on the "Major League" filming at County Stadium. If it's any consolation, I was there, and still can't see myself on the movie. My most vivid memories of baseball in my youth were the accomplishments like Nolan Ryan's 300th win, Paul Molitor's hitting streak, and Robin Yount's 3,000th hit. What say you?

I had the chance to drop everything and go to both Ryan's 300th and Yount's 3,000th, so I regret those decisions, too, even if they were easier said than done at the time. I'll never forget listening to the end of Molitor's streak on the radio. I saw Teddy Higuera come five outs from a no-hitter, and I've witnessed three triple plays at MLB games I've attended, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.

Dan from Madison, AL



Jared from Ucon, ID

What do you think Tom said to Gisele afterwards?

Curious way to phrase the question. Maybe he'll be inviting her to Belichick's next media training session.

Stefan from Rock Island, IL

Taking the position of devil's advocate, could the idea of breaking up the divisions and simply qualifying top six from each conference not only ensure the best teams make the postseason, but also make rivalry games less frequent, perhaps more meaningful?

That hasn't worked in the NBA or NHL, in my opinion, as far as enhancing, let alone maintaining, any meaningful regular-season rivalries.

Ryan from Hudson, WI

Mike, I know Americans love to see a game finish with a winner and a loser, but a wise old man once said, "Only a sith deals in absolutes." Let the teams tie and fight another day.

I have no problem with ties as a media member, and I don't have a problem with ties when I'm watching on TV. If I were paying the average three-figure price for a ticket, though, I think a tie would really bother me.

Eric from Oshkosh, WI

I really dislike the Patriots. Not just out of envy because they are successful, but because there always seems to be questionable tactics in their organization. I hardly ever cheer for them. The one exception, when they faced the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. I tried to cheer for the Seahawks because they are in the NFC, but I just could not do it. I think that makes them a rivalry, at least in my mind!

I'm sure you are/were not alone with that sentiment.

Jordan from Orangeburg, SC

My parents own two tickets passed down from my grandfather. In 2003, my family moved to the Deep South but we still have the tickets. Typically we give the tickets to family and friends, but we love having them once a year for a scheduled return to Lambeau. I'm excited for the day the tickets get put in my name, and I'd hate to lose them for selling them occasionally online.

I don't think anyone, including the Broncos, is advocating for revocation due to an occasional secondary-market dalliance. But I also think it's disingenuous of the Broncos (or any team) to profit from a league-sponsored ticket exchange and then punish the fans who use it too much. There are no easy answers here for me.

Dylan from Black Brook, WI

Getting to know players is fun but getting to know coaches is as well. I read James Campen's bio on packers.com and also found an old Ketchman article on him. Guy's a stud, and I am a big fan. Do you have any stories involving him?

He's got some great stories about rooming on the road with Tony Mandarich when the No. 2 overall pick was the all-everything rookie. One involved a late-night knock on the hotel-room door from a member of Guns N' Roses, either Axl or Slash. Maybe both. I can't remember exactly because I was laughing too hard.

Troy from Minneapolis, MN

If Aaron Rodgers were getting inducted into the Hall of Fame tomorrow, who do you think he would choose to present him?

I'm not big on hypotheticals, so I'll answer with a hypothetical. If he were to go the non-traditional route, I could see his presenter being a childhood cancer survivor he's gotten to know through his work with the MACC Fund.

Steve from Menomonee Falls, WI

Regarding the question by Adam from Overseal about veteran background journeys, I was at a charity event for Gift of Adoption Thursday night and heard Ty Montgomery speak about his experience growing up. Truly inspirational how his mother and he changed the lives of so many young kids at risk and to hear him focus more on the positive impact his 17 brothers had on him. He will forever be more than just RB1 or No. 88 to me!

That sounds like a good note to finish on. Enjoy the weekend, everybody.

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