Bill from Wilmington, DE
Wes, I believe the performance of the special teams was promising and may be one thing (upon which) we don't need to put as much emphasis. Your thoughts?
*Ron Zook’s special-teams unit had a fine season, but I think there’s always something to emphasize. That’s how you avoid complacency. Trevor Davis is a great example of this. He finished third in the league in punt-return average, but there are still areas where he can improve. Justin Vogel surprised many people with how consistent he was in a record-breaking year, but that’s only the beginning. That was a good season for the unit, but what can be done to make it great? *
Walt from Toms River, NJ
Regarding free agency and the upcoming draft, a lot of talk of what are the needs. I believe the one area that Aaron Rodgers has not had, except for a few years with Finley, is someone that can cover the middle of the field. This would open up the passing game that is missing in most of AR's reign. Do you agree?
I think the offense is different with a dynamic tight end such as Jermichael Finley or Jared Cook. I expect them to add a tight end this offseason. I’m just not sure whether you’ll see the Packers sell the farm to sign a Pro Bowl veteran or use a high pick on the position. **
Scott from Henrico, VA
Wednesday’s Inbox reminded me: Perhaps our Super Bowl is the enshrinement of No. 64. Can't wait for Saturday.
*There should be no debate. An 82-year-old man, whose NFL career ended nearly 50 years ago, remains in the conversation for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. If he wasn’t worthy, we still wouldn’t be talking about him. His daughter and family have done everything they possibly can. On Saturday night, it’s time to right this wrong. *
Mike from Fort Wayne, IN
I hope the Packer fans are not getting their hopes too high concerning Gutekunst's potential sojourns into free-agency land. I think he will be more similar than dissimilar to TT. What is your take?
My take is I have no take. Not yet. I don’t know what Gutekunst said in his interview. I’m not privy to the conversations he’s had with Mike McCarthy. My hunch is the Packers will be active in free agency this offseason, but I don’t know what the standard will be. Only Gutekunst and his inner circle know what the front office is thinking.
Kevin from Superior, WI
Will Ted be in the draft room?
*I don’t know for certain, but I couldn’t see why not. All the pro and college scouts are in there with the general manager. *
Wally from Bloomsburg, PA
Saw the "2017 in photos" of Jahri Evans and couldn't help but remember meeting him a few times while visiting my favorite bar in Bloomsburg, Good Old Days. I'm 6-3 and was probably 250 at the time and he dwarfed me. Heck of a nice guy and heck of a player. As luck would have it, he would play for the Packers, my favorite team. Here's to a hometown hero!
I’m not sure what the future holds for Evans, but he’s a class act. I can see why he was held in such high regard in New Orleans. He’s quiet and humble, but still incredibly approachable. That’s not always a given with a veteran player coming into a new environment. Whether Evans is back next season or not, the Packers’ offensive line is better for having the six-time Pro Bowler as a teammate. **
Stephen from Green Bay, WI
I am sure this has been asked before, however it didn't really interest me until today. So Devante Mays has a rookie contract, how does that pay out? Monthly stipend, or does the player make it weekly in the offseason? Just wondering since no one balances their budget the same.
*All players are paid per week during the regular season. Some vested veterans get offseason roster and workout bonuses, as well. With a few exceptions, most players on rookie contracts receive a daily stipend for participation in the offseason program and training camp. *
Zach from Clarkfield, MN
What was your favorite Packers in-game moment from this past season?
It’s a tie between Dean Lowry’s 62-yard touchdown and Dean Lowry’s Lambeau Leap after sprinting 62 yards.**
Eric from Milwaukee, WI
Should there be any problems when renegotiating Aaron’s contract, or is he still looking to finish his career in Green Bay?
*I don’t want to be cavalier about this because it is a very important transaction the Packers need to take care of the next couple years, but I feel fans make too much out of this. He’s said time and time again how he respects legends who have played their entire career in one place. He wants that to be part of his legacy. Sooner or later, the Packers are going to do right by Rodgers. *
Tomáš from Ratíškovice, Czech Republic
Yesterday you talk about moving the Super Bowl to Saturday from a U.S. perspective. But what about international fans? A lot of my non-football fans want to see the biggest game, but the game doesn’t start until midnight here and they must go to work Monday morning. Moving the Super Bowl to Saturday can make a lot of new football fans in Europe.
*We received several comments from international readers on this topic. All of your points are valid, but I don’t see the game moving from Sunday. The Super Bowl is built around a full week of coverage hitting a crescendo Sunday evening in the United States. As long as the ad revenue keeps going up every year, I don’t see it changing. I sympathize with your predicament, though. *
Keith from Normal, IL
Hey Wes, I am wondering how Rob Gronkowski returned to practice if he is still in concussion protocol? I thought you have to be cleared in order to practice.
That’s what I used to think, too. However, a part of the concussion protocol now is returning to practice on a “trial-return” basis before being cleared. I believe that’s what Gronkowski did.
Ron from Tama, IA
Do you see the Packers drafting more defensive backs and linebackers this season to shore up that often-injured defense?
I get what you’re saying, but the only thing you can do is build the most competitive 90-man roster you can and let the chips fall where they may. It’s like over-correcting a car. If you overload at cornerback or linebacker, what do you do if injuries strike at a de-emphasized position? **
Braf from Ellsworth, WI
Insiders, love the column. If you were doing this same thing but for a team like the Browns, with years of high draft picks and no real results, what would you say to the fans in the Inbox? How would you guys keep yourselves from walking out the door? Thanks!
*Post 20 questions and answer with a link to “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” 312 times a year. *
Patrick from Collierville, TN
Just curious, do you know how many ex-Packers will be suited up for this Sunday's Super Bowl game?
*Philadelphia long snapper Rick Lovato (2015), New England defensive linemen Ricky Jean Francois (2017) and Lawrence Guy (2012), and Martellus Bennett also is on the Patriots’ injured-reserve list. *
Joseph from East Brunswick, NJ
It seems that the Packers players are always injured more often than other teams. Are our injuries due to the fact that we do not have enough physically gifted athletes on this team?
No. It’s because it’s football. Furthermore, injuries were up this season league-wide. Every team deals with injuries to a certain extent. The question is are you losing a pawn or your king? That’s the difference.
David from Los Angeles, CA
No question, just a comment. Since I have developed a fair amount of disgust with how Goodell does his job combined with the fact that I don't care for either team, I will be golfing rather than tuning in. My preference would be to see the Patriots win. Why not? No other QB will ever win five Super Bowls, why not a sixth?
I wish I could golf right now. I’ll be pulling for the Eagles. While I enjoyed my time covering Jean Francois in Green Bay, I’d like to see Doug Pederson and Nick Foles win it all. Two backup quarterbacks – Pederson to Favre and Foles to Wentz – lifting the Lombardi Trophy. What a story that would be. **
Ken from Madison, WI
With all the questions on replay and what constitutes a catch, I suggest the refs only use regular-speed replays when challenges are invoked. Play it as you see it!
*Simple and effective. I know some media members were displeased to hear Roger Goodell say Wednesday that the league is going to revisit the catch rule, but I’m in favor of it. The last clarification only further muddied the water. It’s the right thing to do. *
Dean from Leavenworth, IN
Since the league started replay review to decide calls they've opened a can of worms that has seemingly only made things worse and definitely slowed down the process. Since replay review isn't going away, I would like to see review limited to 60 seconds and use only real-speed video, not slow-motion or freeze frame. Human element is a part of the game (and life) and expecting perfection isn't realistic.
*I’m indifferent to slow-motion and full time, but I agree it’s time to bring back the shot clock on reviews. It’s getting ridiculous. If time expires, then there isn’t sufficient evidence to overturn the call. Period. *
Oscar from Cottage Grove, WI
Most people believe if the Dez Bryant incompletion is ruled a catch, Dallas wins the game. How much time was left in the game at that point? I believe there was another three minutes left and with Aaron Rodgers as your QB, you don't lose that game anyway. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
The fourth-and-2 play started with 4 minutes, 42 seconds left on the clock. People want to act like it was Packers-Chargers from 2015 with no time left. **
George from Atlanta, GA
How and when do the players find out if they're going to be cut loose in free agency? If the team hasn't begun negotiating with their agents by a certain date? Are most just given an outright release? Lastly, when can a player begin contacting other teams?
Every situation is different. Silence typically means the player will be allowed to walk in free agency. Unrestricted free agents may begin negotiating with prospective suitors on March 12 and sign March 14.
Ted from Dayton, OH
Looking at Sam Shields' Instagram, it seems as though he is planning on playing football again next year, based off pictures and videos of him training and captions saying things such as "missed a whole year," along with Morgan Burnett's Instagram. Is Sam Shields returning?
It takes two to tango. For years, Nick Collins did everything in his power to try to get a team to clear him. An NFL team and its medical staff would have to clear Shields neurologically for him to play again. Head injuries cannot be taken lightly. This is different than rehabbing a knee injury. You have to proceed with a great deal of caution. I wish Shields well. I enjoyed my dealings with him.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
Doesn't a third-round pick and a defensive back seem like a small price to pay for a playoff-caliber QB? Why wasn't there more of a bidding war?
*The Super Bowl hasn’t even been played. Did anyone even know a bidding war was going on? I find the whole situation very bizarre. *
Jack from Tempe, AZ
Chris Long and LeGarrette Blount wouldn't be the first two players to win back-to-back Super Bowls by beating their first team in the second Super Bowl. Brandon Browner was on the Super Bowl-winning Seahawks in 2013 and on the Patriots in 2014 when they beat the Seahawks.
*Browner didn’t actually play in Seattle’s Super Bowl because he was suspended. I think that’s what Spoff was going for in his response. *
Cory from Oregon, WI
To give an idea of how bad Eagles fans are, they were the first team in the league to have to implement a jail in their stadium.
Robert from Pflugerville, TX
Are you guys just as sick of T.J. Watt questions as many of us are? My gosh people, move on.
*I am. But I fear this will only be the beginning. *
Matthew from Vancouver, WA
Regarding the question of the Patriots' private jet, if the Jets bought their own private jet, would they paint their logo on it, or would they paint it to look like their logo? Welcome to the offseason.
*I know there’s no such thing as true irony, but would it be ironic if the Jets only had a team bus to travel to away games? Asking for a friend. *
Jim from Maple Grove, MN
Hey Biff, congratulations on Little Biff! If you could coin a nickname for someone on the current roster, who would it be and what would it be?
*It’s going to be tough to top “Little Biff.” I don’t know why but I always like to say “Big Country” Joe Callahan, which doesn’t make much sense. It hasn’t caught on. *
Tom from New York, NY
Who is your dream halftime show performer? Preferably one the league would never approve. I'm stuck between the Sex Pistols and Iron Maiden. The panicked choreography would be worth the price of admission alone.
Scott from Dallas, TX
Given that several coaches (Campen, Whitt, etc.) have changed positions, do they have to change numbers?
My work is done here.