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New tight ends can force defenses to respect the run


Brendan from Topeka, KS

Hey guys, our defense is lacking players with long hair. Obviously we have Clay but think of the past greats we had on defense with long hair: Mike McKenzie, Al Harris, Tramon Williams, A.J. Hawk, and don't forget Atari Bigby. I'm sure I'm forgetting plenty of others but the lack of hair is obviously affecting our defense's performance.

I knew there was something we were all overlooking.

Mike from Paro, Bhutan

Which players on the current Packer roster would make the best broadcaster, position coach, head coach, and GM?

I like Crosby and Burnett for the first two. I'm stumped on the last two.

Luc from St. Thomas, Canada

I've been obsessed with D'Onta Foreman. I would absolutely love for the Packers to scoop him in the draft. The kid can play!

You're not alone in your obsession among Inbox readers. Projections as to what round Foreman will be drafted are all over the board. I see so many quality backs with a fourth-round grade, I'm very curious to see who's available for the Packers with their first pick on Day 3, if they haven't taken a RB by then.

Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

A GM never takes the field for his team, nor does he devise game plans or call plays. His job is two-fold: (1) to build a roster that could realistically contend for a championship while (2) taking care of the cap. Anything more is up to the coaches, the players, the other 31 teams, and fate. From where I'm sitting, it seems Ted Thompson has done as well as anyone at consistently achieving the only two goals a GM can achieve. Still, during the offseason, certain wolves always begin to howl. What am I missing? Is it just a case of "the buck stops here"?

Yes, but such a well-articulated point with which I agree has no place in the Inbox. I'd ban you but it's Holy Week.

Tyson from Mililani, HI

If Sherman is so good, why does the team that knows him best want to get rid of him so eagerly?

That's the million-dollar question, isn't it?

Dave from Saint Peters, MO

Hey Spoff, remember when readers were ripping on Sherman as such a classless, dirty player? And then Vic said, "You wouldn't be complaining if he was on your team." I wonder if those same fans are begging TT to trade for him.

There's a certain segment of the fan base that wants the Packers to acquire every available player. I call them "the grass is always greener" crowd.

Matt from Dyersville, IA

With the Patriots success after the Bledsoe injury introduced us to Tom Brady, I think of when Favre replaced the injured Don Majkowski. What are your memories of that game?

I was coming off the course in a college golf tournament that afternoon. Signed my scorecard, grabbed a hot dog and lemonade, and turned to the big screen in the clubhouse just in time to catch the final drive. Little did I know what I was really watching.

Nate from Otsego, MN

What I don't like is all these people going, "I've asked millions of questions and you haven't answered any of them!" Guess the whiners gonna whine.

When they're from Wisconsin, they like cheese with their whine.

Jonnie from Detroit, MI

I understand, to a certain extent, that people want to read about the Packers/football on the Packers' website. What I like about questions and answers concerning other sports is that it gives a wider perspective on the sport we love. Please keep including anecdotes and stories from other sports so we can continue to broaden our perspectives. My question is, if covering football was not an option, what sport would you be most inclined to cover instead?

Baseball was always my first love, but I can't imagine raising kids while dealing with that kind of travel schedule. This job puts enough strain on a family for six months out of every year, but I'm thankful they tolerate it.

Anton from Green Bay, WI

I think it could be a good move for the Packers to trade down somewhere early in the draft. This team has most of its starters in place, but lacks quality depth overall. Do you think that is a real possibility?

Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.

Mike from Whitefish, MT

Do teams wait till after the draft to begin recruiting undrafted rookies, or do they start making calls early so a potentially undrafted prospect knows who is interested before decision time?

The Packers use several of their pre-draft visits on players they're interested in signing as free agents as soon as the draft is over. The visits are going on now. They've done business that way for a number of years.

In his ninth season, WR Jordy Nelson returned to catch 97 passes for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns, all team highs. He ranked first league-wide in touchdown catches. Photos by Evan Siegle and Matt Becker,

Todd from Phoenix, AZ

Hey Insiders, do you know when the preseason dates and times will be announced? I already have a flight booked to D.C. for a wedding on Aug. 19, but want to change my flight as soon as possible if I'd need to get there a day earlier or stay later to catch the game.

In the past, when the regular-season schedule is announced – which will probably be next week – the dates for the preseason games are also finalized.

Austin from Fremont, CA

Hey guys, I have a hunch that since the Packers' preseason finale is at home, the season opener will be an away game. You heard it here first.

I'm actually expecting a home game in Week 1 because Green Bay has opened on the road four straight years.

Al from Sydney, Australia

Hey guys, why is Aaron Rodgers considered a sure-fire Hall of Famer and Eli Manning isn't? Eli has played in two of the most exciting Super Bowls ever, has an intimidating consecutive-games streak, and is hardly a regular-season slouch. What gives?

As a two-time Super Bowl MVP, Manning's in Canton in my book, as is Rodgers as a two-time league MVP and one-time Super Bowl MVP. But the debate you reference can be whittled down to one score, 7-0. That's how many seasons Rodgers has posted a 100-plus passer rating compared to Manning.

Jason from San Diego, CA

Hey Insiders, what is your opinion of Donnel "DJ" Pumphrey out of San Diego State?

It's hard not to be intrigued. His size will push him to the late rounds, and he could be a third-day steal for somebody. I have a "Prospect Primer" coming on him next week.

Chase from Fort Huachuca, AZ

There seems to be quite a few free agents still available (AD, J. Hankins, M. Floyd, J. Charles, L. Blount) that I figured would be gone by now. At this point is everyone just waiting for the draft to see what they still need? Are we going to see a lot of these FAs get picked up right after the draft, or are their playing days over?

They could get picked up after the draft, or they'll get signed during OTAs or training camp as soon as a major injury occurs.

Tim from Woodbury, MN

I wonder if Vic's top five NFL TV announcers will include Tony Romo after a couple seasons. But c'mon man, the guy retires and takes over the No. 1 spot at CBS? If my name was Rich Gannon, I would be a little upset.

My dad always used to ask me, "Who said life was fair?"

Greg from Perkasie, PA

I read an article on that said the Patriots believe they can still win the Super Bowl with Garoppolo if Brady got hurt. Does that say more about the QB himself, the system they run, or is that just talking up a player they're hoping to trade?

All of the above?

Emmett from Monahans, TX

I understand and agree with how important pass rush is for a team and drafting BAP, but can you really see the Packers drafting a pass-rusher in the first round, with all the money they have in Matthews and Perry?

Unequivocally, yes.

Steve from Lake Stevens, WA

With the losses they have sustained, regardless of who they have or may acquire in free agency or the draft, is it accurate to say the Packers are expecting a significant jump from several players next season?

Of course, like they always do. Would the Packers have come one game from the Super Bowl last year without Adams, Montgomery, Ripkowski, Taylor, Perry, Clinton-Dix, and Gunter, among others, making a significant jump from the prior year?

Chris from Summerville, SC

Remember when we drafted Ha Ha there was another top safety the Jets drafted in front of us? How's that safety doing in comparison to Ha Ha?

Louisville's Calvin Pryor was taken three picks before Green Bay chose HHCD. It's not even close.

Keith from Columbia, SC

Who out of the 2016 UDFA class do you sense might have the biggest second-year jump?

Brice and Allison are the obvious answers. As for not-so-obvious ones, don't sleep on Patrick and Sandland.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

"Woodson-Brady, the 'tuck rule' play. The Patriots' dynasty started with a call that defied common sense." I completely agree. I remember watching the game live and could not believe they didn't call that a fumble. But think about how that changed everything. What if the Raiders win that game and the Super Bowl? They also went to the Super Bowl the next year. If that one play is called differently (correctly), Charles Woodson may never have been a Green Bay Packer and we may have one less Super Bowl victory in Titletown. Considering this, I would not want to go back and change that play.

Woodson's free agency was four years after the "tuck rule" game and three after his Super Bowl appearance with Oakland, so I'm not sure how much impact to assign there. As much as I've always wondered about that call, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how it set up maybe the toughest, clutchest kick I've seen – Vinatieri's 45-yarder in a driving snowstorm to tie the game. I'd love to see Crosby do something like that at Lambeau before he's done.

Collin from Naperville, IL

See any 2010 in the offense the Packers are building? Deep receiving corps, three TEs that can play, Ty in a similar pass-catching role that Brandon Jackson played, and a rookie in the role James Starks played. O-line is a little different in age but still a good group.

I see where you're going, but the biggest difference to me between the Finley-Lee-Quarless TE trio of 2010 and the current one is Bennett and Kendricks, in particular, are proven blockers who will bring a different dynamic to the running game and the way defenses might have to respect it.

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

Brandon Browner won Super Bowl XLVIII with the Seahawks, and the following year was a part of the Super Bowl XLIX winning Patriots over the team he won it all with last year. That's pretty cool. Ken Norton was a linebacker for the Super Bowl champion XXVIII Cowboys and the XXIX 49ers.

I walked past Norton in a hallway at the scouting combine. Almost looks like he could still play.

Matt from New York, NY

It isn't easy managing a team when you have a QB under contract for $20-plus million/year. Just ask John Schneider.

Schneider shrewdly took advantage of the two years after Wilson's promising rookie year when they were paying their franchise quarterback peanuts and knew they'd be really good. It gets harder, but Schneider will keep that team in the hunt. As I've mentioned before, the Cowboys get two seasons now with Prescott and Elliott making small potatoes. Can they maximize?

Jack from Indianapolis, IN

The boos are old for the commissioner, I'm with you on that. What about the crowd staying deathly silent as he takes the stage? Or is that too petty?

Nothing's too petty for some.

David from San Francisco, CA

I'm sorry you're over the boos of Goodell. He is the worst human in sports and I hate him more than you'll believe.

Enjoy the draft.

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