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The Pro Bowl remains the ultimate honor

The Packers had two tackles worth consideration


I'm really bugged by the Pro Bowl selection process. It has become a popularity contest with us fans only voting for our own guys. Do players put any stock in it anymore?

If there was any question about what the Pro Bowl means to players, take a listen to discussing the honor with the media on Wednesday. This was a lifetime goal for Lang and something he strived to accomplish from the time he broke into the NFL. It's validation for years of dedication to one's craft. Is the selection process perfect? No, but it doesn't dilute the Pro Bowl's prestige. As frustrating as I'm sure it was for Lang to wait as long as he did, it seemed to make the recognition that more meaningful for the eighth-year veteran. He was overcome with emotion and pride when discussing the honor. It's in moments like that you realize the Pro Bowl remains the ultimate honor.

Lance from Hudson, WI

Jordy Nelson, who currently leads the league in touchdowns, is seventh in receptions and is eighth in yards doesn't make the Pro Bowl. Do people forget about him as a top-tier receiver?

It's not easy to make the Pro Bowl at any position, but it's a perilous path to make it as a receiver in today's NFL. There are already five receivers in the NFC with 1,000 yards in 14 games, including Nelson. Three of those players – Julio Jones, Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr. – were selected to the team. Another, Larry Fitzgerald, is an established favorite and leads the league with 98 receptions. Nelson is definitely deserving, though.

Gerry from Green Bay, WI

So how does Larry Fitzgerald make the Pro Bowl ahead of Jordy? Something akin to a lifetime achievement award?

That's kind of how the game is played. How many of you remember Jeff Saturday being voted to his sixth Pro Bowl in 2012 during the same week he was benched for Evan Smith? That's not to take anything away from Fitzgerald. By most accounts, he's had a fine season but name recognition can go a long way sometimes with the fans making up a third of the vote.

Max from Sherwood Park, Canada

How did David Bakhtiari not get selected to the Pro Bowl?

Bakhtiari and right tackle Bryan Bulaga were near the top of my list of snubs. They only take three tackles, so the chance of both making it is highly unlikely. Still, I thought we'd see two Packers offensive linemen named to the Pro Bowl. Bakhtiari and Bulaga have been arguably the two most important players on the roster that nobody has talked about this season. They have been lights-out as the bookends of the offensive line, especially with Rodgers dealing with hamstring and calf injuries over the past month. That's how it goes, though.

Corey from Eatonville, WA

Rex Ryan picked Pryor over Ha Ha because he said Pryor could hit. Glad he passed up on our Pro Bowler. Maybe that's why Rex is no longer in N.Y. What are your favorite qualities in our three Pro Bowlers?

Clinton-Dix's drive, Lang's toughness and Rodgers' competitive fire.

Paul from Chicago, IL

If the season ended today the Packers would have played all of the NFC playoff teams this season.

If the Packers make the playoffs, they'll have taken the hard road to get there with a combined opponent record of 96-83-1. Not exactly the powder-puff schedule many pundits were talking about entering the 2016 season.

Josh from Phoenix, AZ

Hey Insiders, let's just say that the Packers and Giants both make the playoffs. Both teams make it to the championship game. Green Bay won their division, and the Giants have a better regular-season record. Which team would host the game?

Advantage goes to the higher seed, and in this case, the division champion. The NFC Championship Game would be played at Lambeau Field.

JJ from Cape Coral, FL

I always hear how Rodgers is so fantastic at running a play when the defense has too many players on the field. And they say he's a master at making the defense jump offside. I think the other 10 guys on offense deserve a bulk of the credit too, hey?

I have never seen a quarterback have more control over a line of scrimmage than Rodgers. He's masterful in how he can rally the offense to the line of scrimmage and get the snap before the defensive player gets off the field. He's also spent years perfecting his cadence. To your point, it takes all 11 guys to get set and draw the penalty. The Packers display a lot of discipline in those predicaments.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Do you foresee Rodgers gimping his way through the rest of the season or do you see him returning to full health/mobility at some point?

He was a full participant during Wednesday's practice. While it wasn't a padded practice, it seems like that's a pretty good indication of his progress after sitting out practice all of last week. Rodgers suggested on Tuesday that he could be closer to 100 percent against the Vikings.

James from Berlin, WI

If a team is out of timeouts with less than 10 seconds left, could the coach throw the red flag to protest the previous play (spotting the ball or whatever)?

The replay booth steps in if the call is debatable within two minutes of the end of the first half and regulation. If a coach still has a timeout within two minutes, he could use it to give the booth more time to consider a possible review.

Andre from Leipzig, Germany

Hello writers, when is Sam Shields back on the field? In my opinion we need him for the playoffs. GoPackGo!

Shields' season is over. It ended when the Packers opted to activate Makinton Dorleant from injured reserve earlier this month. Football is on the backburner for Shields. It's pretty apparent the organization's goal for Shields is to get healthy.

Tom from New York, NY

Do you guys see the wide receiver/running back hybrid becoming the new NFL trend? Has Montgomery's success changed the game overall? If so, the position needs a new name. I like the sound of "runceiver."

I recall the Jaguars trying to tab Denard Robinson as an offensive weapon or "OW" a few years ago. They eventually caved in and just started calling him a running back. You've seen a lot of NFL teams converting larger receivers to tight ends in recent years in hopes of finding the next Rob Gronkowski, but I can't think of another comparable to Montgomery.

Greg from Danbury, CT

I was listening to the Chicago announcers comment on how the Bears were trying to force a fumble rather than strip Montgomery. Is that a Bears strategy, to force fumbles? Or is it an assumption that rookies are more susceptible to strips than veterans? Either way, it didn't work. I'm kind of surprised Fox kept at it.

I don't know what the Bears' game plan was, but I definitely noted in re-watching the game how much they tried to strip Montgomery of the ball. Maybe they saw something on film they felt they could take advantage of. Whatever the case, Montgomery's ball security has impressed me this season. He's carries the ball naturally and doesn't expose it to would-be tacklers. If you come after Montgomery, you better come prepared. He won't go down easily.

Justin from Centerville, UT

After your stat about winning without a Rodgers passing TD, I was curious when the last time we won without him scoring any TD was. I believe it was Oct. 31, 2010, in a 9-0 game against the Jets.

Correct, though it probably should have been Sept. 24, 2012, at Seattle.

Joe from River Falls, WI

Wes, in response to one of Mike's responses yesterday: I'm an NFL-bound player for a college team slated for a mid-level bowl game. What motivation do I have to risk a career's worth of earnings? What obligation do I have to a (already questionable) college bowl system?

None. Athletes sign a letter of intent to commit to a particular college, but that doesn't make them contractually obligated to play. It's up to that individual to decide what's best for him and his future. If it's me, I want to play with the men I'd spent the past three, four or five years of my life with, but to each their own.

Will from Chicago, IL

Wes says he doesn't question Ty running back kicks. That's cool, I'm good with that. Why is he on punt coverage, though? Pretty sure I saw him out there for all the Bears' punts. Now that is a job someone else certainly could be doing to save wear on Ty.

I can see why it would be difficult to pull Montgomery off the punt-return unit. He's been pretty dynamic with a pair of blocked punts (one preseason, one regular season). That's a decision the coaching staff has to make. I don't think there's a right or wrong answer, but I get why he's out there.

Dan from St. Joseph, MN

I find it interesting that the first question answered today was about Coach McCarthy being in discussion for Coach of the Year, considering about a month ago some of the wolves were howling for him to lose his job. I feel very fortunate, and I feel most Packer fans would agree, that McCarthy is our coach. I sincerely hope he knows the wolves are not representative of the majority of Packer fans.

Adversity can do strange things to people. As I've said on here before, the easy reaction is to panic. It takes real character to push forward when you're not getting the results you aspire to. McCarthy and the Packers persevered during a difficult time and they're better for it.

Rusty from Huron, SD

Hypothetically speaking, if there would have been less time left after Jordy caught the pass, could he have somehow caused a penalty on himself to stop the clock? Especially knowing they were in field-goal range?

I'm pretty sure there would have been a 10-second runoff that would've ended regulation, but I seriously laughed out loud thinking about what Nelson could have possibly done to draw a penalty after the play.

Mark from Minneapolis, MN

The NFL is running out of excuses with the Coach of the Year award. It probably doesn't mean anything to Coach McCarthy or the organization, but it means something to the fans. The Packers won a Super Bowl with McCarthy at the helm, and the 10-6 regular-season record was a "red flag." The next year he leads the team to a 15-1 regular-season record, but apparently another coach did a better job. In 2016 they will win the NFC North with as many key injuries as any team in football, and he will be ignored again. Makes ZERO sense.

It seems like the Coach of the Year award usually goes to a coach on a team with the biggest turnaround more than the most successful team. It takes really unique circumstances for the coach of the best team to get the honor.

Caleb from Sioux Falls, SD

Is it possible to beat the Vikings even though their defense is ranked second in the NFL?

The Colts didn't seem to care about where Minnesota's defense ranked.

Larry from Stanley, WI

I was just wondering why, after the injury, there would have been a 10-second runoff for Chicago to decline? Didn't we have a timeout taken from us? I thought there was no runoff if a timeout is used. I guess maybe I'm wrong.

The Packers had used all of their timeouts on the Bears' previous series.

Chad from Tarpon Springs, FL

Thoughts on Casey Hayward making the Pro Bowl with seven interceptions this year?

I'm happy for Casey. It couldn't happen to a better guy.

Brookes from Bismarck, ND

I saw on that the Lions could clinch the division with a win and a Packers loss this week. Wouldn't the Week 17 matchup still be up for the division though even with that outcome?

A Detroit win over Dallas would give the Lions 10 wins, which would be unattainable for the Packers if they lose to the Vikings on Saturday. They may still be able to sneak in as a wild-card team, but the NFC North title would go to Detroit regardless of the Week 17 outcome.

Michael from Champaign, IL

There's all this talk about Week 17 Packers-Lions flexing to SNF. I thought there was no SNF or MNF on Week 17.

There's no MNF.

Matt from Dyersville, IA

A Packers loss to the Vikings would be like receiving a "Jelly of the Month Club" membership instead of the big bonus you were expecting.

That's why you cannot let up. The four straight victories won't mean anything if you don't see the run through. You have to keep building.

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