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The difficulty of the 2017 schedule is TBD

QB rivalries need time and the right circumstances


Gavin from Franklin, NC

What are your thoughts on Seattle and the Falcons in the first two games?

They won't make or break the season, but they could determine where some games in January are played.

Frank from Neshkoro, WI

It looks like the Pack has 27 roster spots available for rookies. With their history of undrafted free agents making the team, they would seem to be one of the most likely choices for guys that just want a chance. Do the UFAs really look at that, or do they just take the best offer?

They don't look at spots available heading into the draft, but certain teams' reputations for giving undrafted players a legitimate shot at the roster, not just the practice squad, definitely plays into it. The knowledgeable agents inform their clients so they take it into account.

Kevin from Waukesha, WI

Hey Insiders, if you want to put your five best offensive lineman on the field, why not start Spriggs at guard? Is it size, or do they just want to save him as a backup swing tackle?

His frame is more suited to tackle, and let's not forget, he only entered at guard in an emergency last year when Barclay got hurt as the first backup to Lang. If he's your backup swing tackle, that's where he needs to practice every day, especially as a young player.

Ferd from Woodbury, MN

Not who you play, but when. Good (still rounding into shape) or bad (not all banged-up yet) that we get Seattle and Eddie first week?

The Seahawks aren't a great September team. Their Week 1 victory over the Packers in 2014 in the kickoff opener, coming off their Super Bowl triumph, is their best early-season performance, maybe by far, in recent years. All that and Lacy notwithstanding, I think the location of the game matters most. The last three years have taught us that.

Max from Sydney, Australia

Now to the real question, will Eddie Lacy get booed?

I hope not. He doesn't deserve that. If he does, I guarantee he'll be laughing about it. Eddie can laugh at anything.

Paul from De Pere, WI

Mike, your favorite beer is?

I go with the flow and try a lot of seasonals throughout the year. I have plenty of mainstays and anchors in my life, for which I'm thankful, so a specific beer need not be one.

Al from Muskegon, MI

Why is it that the Packers bear the responsibility of filling the seats at new stadium openings? Minnesota and now Atlanta. Can't these lame fans fill their own stadiums?

It's not about the tickets. It's about having a compelling matchup to show off the new stadium on national TV in its first game.

Jason from Houghton, MI

As a TV viewer the schedule looks great! As a season-ticket holder I'm NOT impressed! Two home games during the work week with only three early start games if none are flexed (always happens). Not to mention both preseason games are on Thursdays? When will those attending be taken into account again? I think we will be seeing more open seats in the south expansion area and club areas since it will make more sense to watch at home. What can be done?

Don't know what to tell you. The league makes the schedule, not the Packers, and builds it around TV ratings more than anything. The more Sunday noon kickoffs you have, the worse your team is perceived to be. Take a look at the Browns' schedule. In my experience, other fans don't have much sympathy for season-ticket holders and their complaints because they'd love to just have tickets, and have to spend plenty on the secondary market to get them. I do think the flex scheduling business is rotten for ticket-holders, I'll give you that.

David from San Francisco, CA

Forget what a deep draft means for our team, we're all just speculating on that; but what does a deep draft mean in the grand scheme of the NFL? Should we expect more rookie contributions, more quality teams, etc.?

I think it means teams thought to be a few years away might get there sooner, because they can find more potential starters in one draft than they normally would.

Dennis from Naples, FL

All I have to do is send a postcard from "jolly" ol' England to get my question read?

We'll be checking for authenticity.

Mark from Canton, GA

It seems like so many fans are talking how Clay Matthews is on the downside of his career, some even spouting about trading or cutting him. Do players even listen to what fans say and if so, could Clay be a player with a chip on his shoulder this year and make those "fans" eat their words?

The true pros block it out, and Matthews is a true pro. No one has to tell him last year was a rough one. He knows that, and he knows he's getting older, but believe he's done at your peril. I thought**what he told me the other day**when I asked about his health was revealing – that this offseason feels like three years ago to him, when he was coming back eager and hungry from the twice-broken thumb. In 2014, he had 11 sacks and saved the run defense from near-oblivion.

Timmy from Chicago, IL

The Browns recently said the No. 1 pick is between Garrett and Trubisky. I think they are trying to pull an old fantasy football trick. They will draft Garrett and the Jets will take Trubisky at 6, but all along the Browns are just hoping Watson will be there at 12.

Interesting theory.

Tony from Rochester, IN

Maybe to just annoy a few of the football-only tribe, but how about that Thames?

When you're in a long-term rebuild like the Brewers, you make it interesting when you catch lightning in a bottle once in a while. Thames is the early-season lightning.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

The Packers have the 18th-toughest schedule in the NFL according to one source. Do you agree? Which stadiums are you looking forward to visiting most?

As Wes alluded to yesterday, the schedule-ranking narrative is worth no one's time. The so-called "easiest" schedule the Packers had last year produced seven games against teams that made the playoffs and 12 of 16 against teams that finished 8-8 or better. The difficulty of the 2017 schedule is TBD. As for a stadium, I'm really jazzed to see Heinz Field under the lights. Some late-November snow in Pittsburgh would make it perfect.

Chris from Ontario, CA

Insiders, the first half of the 2017 schedule concerns me. GB could easily be under .500 before the bye week.

Of course they could, or they could be in command with wins over some of the NFC's best under their belt. Either way, just don't be two games under with six to go again. You don't want to have to come back from that two years in a row.

J-Rod from Moncton, Canada

Ouch … starting in Week 8 the Vikes play five of their next six on the road (with a bye week in there). Rough stretch indeed, but good chance hopefully for some separation.

It starts with a game in London before that bye, so take that for what it's worth. More critical for them is playing four of five on the road, all against NFC foes, from Thanksgiving in Detroit through Lambeau in Week 16. As an aside, I don't quite understand the league putting Vikings-Lions on Thanksgiving for a second straight year and going with the Chargers in Dallas. Those choices are head-scratchers for me, given the other options.

Rick from Boyd, WI

I finally figured it out. The reason some folks always get their questions answered is because they are nothing more than you idiots posing questions to yourselves so that you can express your own opinions about crap no one asks about.

I don't have that high an opinion of my opinions.

Chad from San Antonio, TX

Opening against Seattle and Atlanta and closing with Minnesota and Detroit, they put some heavy-duty bookends on us and I think it's going to get fun.

That was the first thing I noticed about the schedule, the opening two and final two games. Playing three of the AFC North games over a four-week stretch beginning in mid-November was the only thing that struck me as odd.

Max from Neenah, WI

Insiders, I know I'm two years early, but the Packers' 100th anniversary is coming up in 2019. With something this big on the horizon, is there already any chatter inside the organization about what special things might be in store for that season, or is it still too soon?

I'm sworn to secrecy, for now.

Mark (the other one) from Indianapolis, IN

Now MLB has chimed in and said Vegas could be on the table for a team. Since I'm OK with talking other sports in this forum, what do you think that means for Pete Rose? If MLB can be in Vegas, can't Pete be in the Hall?

Not necessarily, because those involved in games gambling on games is different from a team simply being located in a city, but I see your point. The stance on Rose becomes a little tougher to defend.

Daniel from Manitowoc, WI

Hello Insiders. I'm just wondering why you think the sportswriting gurus haven't tried to make a Brady-Manning-esque rivalry happen between Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. It checks all the boxes, in the sense that they both have similar styles, are both on perennial playoff-contending teams with plenty of bad blood between them, they have faced each other numerous times (and many of those games have featured some of the finest play from both QBs), and they both look to play in the NFL at a high level for years to come. There's plenty of hype whenever the two teams face off, but they never mention a potential QB rivalry between the two heavyweights. What gives?

Give it time. Brady and Manning met in both the regular season and playoffs twice in back-to-back years early on (2003 and '04), and the rivalry built from there. Brady also was becoming Manning's new Florida, the guy he couldn't beat (0-6 to start). So far, the regular/postseason double dip has happened only once for Rodgers-Wilson, three years ago, and Wilson's 3-0 start against Rodgers was obviously tainted by the Fail Mary. But you said it, both look to play for a long time yet, so let's wait and see.

Players were back in Green Bay for the first day of the offseason workout program. Photos by Evan Siegle,

Pam from Oakfield, WI

What type of monitor are some players wearing in the work out photos?

It's a GPS-type device that monitors heart rate and other workout data.

Gunars from Ames, IA

Vic often raved about John Steinbeck. Do you have a favorite classic? Don't let me down, I need reading material.

Not in the same vein, but I'll read just about anything Michael Lewis writes.

Stephen from Chicago, IL

Can we stop ignoring Ron Dayne's bowl rushing yards just because, at the time, the NCAA didn't include them in the career rushing numbers? It just seems silly that players after a certain year get to include their bowl numbers while players playing before that year don't include them. The NCAA is an organization made up of institutions of higher knowledge. Are they incapable of adding back bowl yards to older players? So for the record, and with all due respect to Donnell Pumphrey, Dayne is still No. 1, and yes, I'm a homer. But am I wrong?

No, you're not, and my bad for not acknowledging the discrepancy when putting together the Primer on Pumphrey, who's behind Dorsett as well as Dayne. It's so absurd I'd forgotten all about it.

Michael from Wausau, WI

Hey guys, if you had a year of time dedicated to one writing project, like a sabbatical from your regular job, what would you write?

I'd dive into something in either baseball or politics. I lived in D.C. for only three months, 20-plus years ago, as a grad-school reporter, but that bug never leaves you.

Dylan from Amery, WI

No love for Matt Lepay? Touchdown Wisconsin.

Indeed, and my bad again, for not adding him to the list in the first place. As Jesse from Eau Claire said, book it.

Bill from Escanaba, MI

On the first night of the NFL Draft, any guess what time the Packers will be on the clock?

Going strictly by the 10-minutes-per-pick math, it could be as late as 11:30 p.m. CT or so, but in recent years the first round has moved along rather quickly, so I'm going to guess around 10:30.

Jake from Loveland, CO

Insiders, if there's no financial incentive, why would a player come back to Green Bay this week?

Because for young players especially, using the extra time to work with your coaches is a smart career move.

Jason from Moreno Valley, CA

Hey Insiders, I'm sure it's been asked before but I've never seen an answer. Has anyone asked Ted who he felt his first-round pick was going to be in Aaron's draft before the picks started? And at what point did the focus change from, "I was thinking it was gonna be between this DE and that lineman," to "Darn it, that Rodgers kid just might fall to us"?

Ted has never said, and knowing him, he never will.

Joshua from Mankato, MN

I understand Jake from Loveland, CO, being angered by a moronic article citing Mike Daniels as the most overpaid Packer, but here is another take: TT is so good at cap management, Daniels was the best example of overspending the "experts" could find. I kind of like what that says about the Packers.

You weren't alone amongst Inbox readers with that thought.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Mike, the second half of the season includes five of the last eight on the road. I see this to be challenging for a draft-and-develop team. What do the Packers need to do to extend their playoff streak?

Win 10 games. That's all it really comes down to.

Jesus from El Paso, TX

I love the contrast of the Inbox writers. Puppy-Love Biff keeps it fresh while Mid-Life Mike keeps it real and Wise-Old Vic pulls the strings. Thanks for all you do. You are an integral part of football for me and many others.

I'm not sure how to respond to that, but I appreciate the sentiment. Have a good weekend, everybody.

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