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That's why you trust the process

A deeper roster helps soften the blow of the unforeseen


Matthew from High Point, NC

So there will be at least one man on the 53 that wasn't on the current roster, eh? Didn't take long for that prophecy to come true Westradamus.

As a wise man once said, "It ain't over until it's over." Good morning!

Dave from Eau Claire, WI

With the signing of Marcedes Lewis, does anyone else think the Packers are looking at using Jimmy Graham as a wide receiver with Lewis in the more traditional TE role?

Graham can play anywhere, but he's most dangerous creating mismatches from the slot or splitting out wide. Lewis gives the Packers an experienced, in-line option at tight end who's renowned for his blocking. We'll see what Lewis has to offer this summer, but this easily is the most accomplished group of tight ends the Packers have had during my time on the beat.

Matt from Chicago, IL

Am I missing something? The only reason to bring in a veteran tight end this late is because they weren't happy with current backups. Who's the odd man out?

Nobody is the odd man out. The Packers had a spot open on the 90-man roster after Filipo Mokofisi retired and used it to sign Lewis. They have seven tight ends on the roster at the moment. May the best men win. I would've guessed roster spots would have been difficult to come by for Justin McCray and Lucas Patrick last summer, but injuries took care of that. A deeper roster helps soften the blow of the unforeseen.

Steve from Cottage Grove, WI

Is it now safe to say we can see Gutekunst putting his own stamp on the team? Additions of Muhammad Wilkerson, Jimmy Graham, and Lewis, with also a few positions full of young but talented and rising individuals. Seems like a good approach to maximize the present while still building for the future.

Draft-and-develop is still a big part of the way Gutekunst runs the Packers' personnel department, but he's also shown a willingness to address positions with veteran players the front office feels will fit into the Packers' scheme. Lewis brings something different to the tight ends room much like Graham, and Wilkerson with the defensive line.

Jake from Greenville, NC

I've long believed that the best way to learn is to teach. Do you think Aaron Rodgers helping bring along guys like Brett Hundley and DeShone Kizer does anything to improve his own game?

Absolutely. What better way to reinforce everything you've learned over the years than by teaching those same lessons to the next generation of NFL quarterbacks. Plus, I'm sure there are a few things a 22-year-old quarterback can show an established vet 12 years his senior, too.

Philipp from Fayetteville, GA

In response to Sam from Janesville, WI, regarding veteran signings, I think it is still farfetched for the Packers to sign a veteran receiver like Dez (or whomever). JJ was developed in Green Bay and there was value in him knowing the system prior to being brought back.

That's what I was saying. Help me out a little here, people. The last time the Packers signed a veteran free-agent receiver who didn't start his career in Green Bay.

Tony from Eagan, MN

In response to Vinny from Arlington, VA, Young players don't get better or contribute by veterans lowering their expectations. I coach high school, and while admittedly a long way from the professional level, when young guys come up to varsity, the veteran varsity guys are told let it rip as you would to any other player. Nobody benefits from lowering expectations.

*Nothing has ever been accomplished from couching expectations. The demand for excellence is what leads to greatness. *

Jordan from Appleton, WI

Mike, do you really think the 2016 offense was the best post-Philbin offense? Because I think the 2014 offense would like to have a word with you.

In totality, I believe the 2014 Packers' offense is the best since that record-breaking year in 2011. The final stretch of 2016 was impressive in its own right, though. We talk about the "run the table" and Jordy Nelson's comeback season, but rarely is it mentioned how explosive that offense was down the stretch after Cook returned.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

Why this is even a conversation in regards to adding a veteran WR is that GB's offense is typically a tough one for a rookie to make an instant impact. It typically takes years to grasp the playbook, various WR spots, adjust to pro speed, etc., to make an impact in the first year. I don't dismiss the idea of a veteran WR because the rookies are unproven and while they have great potential and should improve over time and each season, strictly looking at the 2018 season has me a little concerned with the level of raw and inexperienced WRs GB has behind Adams, Cobb, and Graham.

That's not necessarily true, though. Yes, the Packers haven't had a rookie come in and have a 1,000-yard season, but James Jones, Greg Jennings, Davante Adams and even Randall Cobb (for the reps he was given) all stepped in and made an impact as rookies. There's always uncertainty with free agents and draft picks. I'd rather bet on the player with upside. That's why you trust the process.

Richard from Madison, WI

Just looking at Friday's column-topping picture of Aaron Rodgers in the all-white color-rush jersey. Man, I like that look! Any chance the Packers will add it to their regular jersey rotation?

I thought it was a snazzy look. I believe it's up to NFL teams whether they want to wear the color-rush uniforms next season on Thursday Night Football. We'll see if they return against the Seahawks, I guess.

Justin from Utah

"Onside kicks will become much more difficult for the kicking team to recover than they already are." This is my biggest issue with the rule change. Two-score games might turn to the two-minute offense with 6 or 7 minutes left now. The whole game could potentially be impacted by this change.

This is why I was silently rooting for the league to keep the former rules on "declared" onside kicks. I'll be interested to hear what Mason Crosby has to say about it at some point because his job just got a whole lot more difficult.

Matthias from Hartford, WI

Frankly, I'm a bit surprised that Julius Thomas hasn't been signed yet.

Frankly, I'm more surprised Gary Barnidge hasn't been signed in the last 13 months. Between the injuries and the circumstances, Thomas just never was able to recapture the magic in Jacksonville or Miami.

Jon from Waukesha, WI

I don't think analytics will ever take over football the way they have baseball, for one simple reason: football is the ultimate team game, and so individual analytics don't quite tell the whole story the way they do in baseball, where it is a game of individual matchups.

The difference with analytics in football is there are just so many unknowns, whereas this has been a trend in baseball for two decades now. Football analytics may not be as illuminating as baseball in the long run, but it probably will show where teams can improve their overall efficiency.

Miguel from Guadalajara, Mexico

Did you get to see Herb Waters at OTAs? How did he look?

Healthy, but cornerbacks aren't built in a day. Waters has done everything right to this point and now he's finally able to put it all to use on the field.

Andy from Sheboygan, WI

Not a question, but an answer to keep the ball rolling. Outside of barely remembering Barry Sanders, I'd have to say the first NFL player I hated but respected was Mike Alstott from Tampa Bay; it seemed no one could ever stop that guy.

Oh, good one.

Joseph from East Moline, IL

What are some key stats you would look for in players when getting together your fantasy draft board? I usually try to compile the last three years of a player's touches, targets, and TDs per game, and yards per touch. I like to get an average with and without the player's single highest and lowest games.

I look at three things – age, performance from the previous season and what the depth chart looks like at the player's position. I also look for who the primary backup is at every running back spot. Locking down Larry Johnson in 2005 is what helped me win my first title.

Griffin from Belmont, NC

When discussing QBs and stats, which stats hold the most weight in your eyes when it comes to ranking? I think Super Bowls are important, but are way overrated when saying a QB is great or not.

I think winning a Super Bowl is important on the resume of a Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback, but the best in my opinion are the ones who consistently performed at a high level throughout a 10-15-year career. A good example of that is Peyton Manning. Winning a second Super Bowl in clearly his worst NFL season didn't make or break his legacy. It was cemented well before that. Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl and Dan Marino didn't. Who had the better career?

Kevin from Stallis, WI

Spoff, perfect response to Greg from Ann Arbor on the anthem issue. Everyone in this country has the right to protest how they see fit, but a business has the right to say not on our watch. Why can't people from both sides see it with that kind of logic?

As I said Thursday, communication is so important during these polarizing times. I felt the Packers demonstrated the type of unity we need in this country from the top-down when players locked arms during the national anthem. It was a respectful way of honoring the country, but also acknowledging those among us who continue to battle oppression on a daily basis. It's easy to yell. It takes courage to listen.

Jim from Tucson, AZ

Why is this so hard? The players are in the entertainment industry. They are entertainers. We fans pay to be entertained. We do not pay to hear or see gripes, complaints, or social justice demonstrations. Demonstrations are fine, but not when on stage. Why is this so hard?

Because those players on "stage" are people, too.

Lazaro from Corpus Christi, TX

I don't know if you'll reply to another "good bullpen" comparison but I sort of feel like having a good rotation of 2-3 running backs is like having a good bullpen. You keep rotating your running backs, bringing fresh bodies in, wearing down the opposing team. Sort of like how teams bring in fresh arms in the final innings of the game to wear out the batters.

I could see it. A good third-down back is just a solid little closer.

Steve from Kansas City, MO

With the new kickoff rules, how smart do the Patriots look for bringing in Patterson? Have the Pack really identified who their returner will be this year? Trevor Davis, Randall Cobb, or another?

Davis, Cobb and Ty Montgomery all have return experience. I'm sure the three rookie draft picks will get a chance to show what they have this summer.

Jasper from Potomac, MD

Who do you have: Caps or Golden Knights?

If it's not the Lightning, I hope the Knights take it all.

Mike from Somerset, WI

If the Packers win the Super Bowl in Year 1 of Brian Gutekunst as GM, does this add to Ted Thompson's legacy?

If the car starts when you turn the key, it says something about the previous owner, right?

Zack from Dayville, CT

Now that the kicker is the only player with a running start, when does No. 88 learn the art of the dribble onside kick? Clearly a more athletic, faster kicker is one way to help with onside kick recovery. FYI, can a kicker wear 88?

Time is a flat circle.

Nate from Ames, IA

Listen up, Wes. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We are all part of the same compost heap.

I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.

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