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There's less around to help refill the tank

The Packers' actions will indicate what they think


Tim from Sioux Lookout, Canada

This year's draft is loaded with edge rushers and defensive linemen. Would it be better to keep the 14th overall pick or trade it for an early second- and third-rounder?

It depends how the board looks when you're on the clock. It's not a decision you make now.

Rob from Buckinghamshire, UK

Who was the last Packers rookie to make it to the Pro Bowl? How about All-Pro team?

Eddie Lacy in 2013 on both counts.

Mitchell from Edmond, OK

How fitting for a guy named Millerwise to oversee all food and beverage events at Lambeau Field.

Charlie is a good dude. I'm glad he's sticking around.

Mark from West Bend, WI

Spoff, will the Packers' coaches travel this time of year and scout players as well as people from the personnel department leading up to the draft? I seem to recall a photo from last year showing Mike Tomlin at T.J. Watt's pro day and was curious if a position coach or head coach would have input on a player's fit as well.


It depends on the situation and the player. At times, the personnel department will ask for additional input from a coach, which can be in the form of viewing film and writing a scouting report, or attending a pro day, or helping conduct an interview on a pre-draft visit. There's no set formula or routine, except all coaches attend the scouting combine to meet players.**

Dylan from Bozeman, MT

Doug Pederson, Frank Reich, Nick Foles...Cool pattern for a Super Bowl team.

Especially if Wentz someday makes it to the Hall of Fame.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

Will AR be full-go when training camp revs up?

I don't expect him to have any limitations when offseason workouts begin in mid-April.

Eli from Columbia, SC

With respect to Al from Green Bay, Coach McCarthy HAS wasted that possession. There were at least two games this year where there was enough time (over a minute left, some timeouts) to attempt a drive downfield, and the Packers elected to kneel instead. The Insiders defended it then, but it seems that now you feel differently?

Your facts simply aren't correct. The only 2017 scenario that fits what you describe was the end of the first half in Pittsburgh, where the Packers had the ball on their own 10 in a 14-all tie with 1:06 left and three timeouts. After two plays gained 17 yards to the 27, McCarthy took a timeout with 37 seconds left and then decided to just run out the clock. It was a rare lack of aggression on McCarthy's part, but I understood the thinking with Hundley, on the road, in prime time, against Pittsburgh's defense, and Green Bay getting the ball coming out of halftime. The only other time all season he ran out the clock at the end of the half with at least 20 seconds left was in Week 17 at Detroit, with 31 ticks on the clock.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

The team wearing white has won 12 of the last 13 Super Bowls, so naturally the Patriots have chosen to wear white. If another team made that choice, it would be called superstition, but when the Patriots make that choice it is a sign of their unparalleled attention to detail.

They've lost two Super Bowls in the last decade wearing blue. I don't think they care at all about what jerseys anyone else has been wearing.

Paul from Monroe, MI

What this playoff series shows is that great teams are deep ones, especially at QB. The Pack simply was not ready to replace AR and I pray it doesn't make the same mistake again. Do you see any sign of recognition that experienced depth at QB is a necessity for a playoff run?

There's a long offseason with potential personnel moves to be made. The Packers' actions will indicate what they think. I've stated before I believe Hundley will face legitimate competition for the backup job in 2018.

Rich from De Pere, WI

As our new GM looks at building the roster with a better mix of experienced, quality free agents (as opposed to undrafted rookie free agents) to go with our draft picks, the Eagles should be the perfect example. Foles, Ajayi, Jeffrey, Long, Blount all impacted the game.

And the only real big-money signing in that bunch was Jeffrey, who then earned an even bigger contract. The midseason trade of a fourth-round pick for Ajayi worked nicely.

John from Jefferson, WI

Regarding pass interference, going to 15 yards flat would be patently unfair to the offense, but being spot at all times is becoming ridiculous. Can we get a booth official tasked with instantly replaying the foul when DPI is called, and relaying "intentional" (spot) or "incidental" (15 yards) to the lead official in time for a call with minimal downtime?

Good luck with that. Worthwhile idea, though.

Tom from Fairfield, CT

Why do the Patriots' receivers always seem to be open on these short crossing routes when the other team knows full well this is the Patriots' bread and butter?

They're the masters at all the rubs and picks. Their route system is also highly predicated on pre-snap and even post-snap defensive looks. They react on the fly to what they see, play after play, and the receivers and Brady must be on the same page. Every team has that built into its passing game, but the Patriots might rely on it more than any other team.

Euan from Aberdeen, Scotland

Do you think Gutekunst will look to address the secondary and pass rush in the draft, or will he delve into free agency should the likes of Malcolm Butler or Ziggy Ansah become available?

It may not be an either/or proposition to him.

Jerome from Midland, MI

For the Super Bowl, who would you prefer announcing the game: Troy Aikman/Joe Buck, Al Michaels/Cris Collinsworth, or Tony Romo/Jim Nantz, regardless of what network is televising the game?

I like Al and Cris best.

Chris from Wyoming, OH

How many times a day/week do you get questions or comments from people who believe they are addressing the front office or coaching staff? I know you only post a few, but...whew!

How many times a day/week does your mail end up in the wrong state?

Eric from Kenosha, WI

I was a bit surprised no one mentioned in Monday's Inbox former Badger Corey Clement putting Anthony Barr on his duff with a brilliant spin move. Is it wrong that it made me smile?

No, not at all. Clement's balance on that play was remarkable.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

I think it's safe to say the Saints would've given the Eagles a better game than Minnesota.

I still think the Saints were the best team in the NFC this season, but the best team doesn't always win. That's why we watch.

Dan from Grand Rapids, MI

Nine of the last 10 teams to be seeded No. 1 reached the Super Bowl. In contrast, the Packers have played all three NFC Championship Games in the Rodgers era on the road. Seems like Rodgers was onto something when he said we needed to get teams in Lambeau in the playoffs. The Eagles used a last-place schedule to go from worst in the division to a No. 1 seed. Do you think having a third-place schedule next year could help us to a higher seed?

Well, one of the Packers' two "third-place" games is against the Falcons, so I'm going to say no.

Burt from Oconto Falls, WI

Great job on the column guys, but I have to disagree with Mike on the turning point of the Jacksonville game being the third-and-18 play. I felt the delay of game penalty coming off a timeout which took away the first down was the biggest mistake. They were driving before that but had to give the ball back to Brady, which is never a good thing. I also felt they got too conservative in the second half with all the first- and second-down runs. You can't beat the Pats by playing not to lose.

I'm not ignoring the potential 10-point swing at the end of the first half, but it wasn't the momentum shift many are making it out to be. The Jags got right back in control in the third quarter, shutting the Pats down and driving twice for field goals to re-establish a double-digit lead. New England was 1-for-8 on third downs when Brady converted the third-and-18 with 10 minutes left. It's when the momentum shifted for good. As for the second-half runs, the Jags actually threw the ball on every second down in the fourth quarter. But they were counting on their time of possession advantage leading to late production from Fournette, which didn't happen on first down.

John from Crivitz, WI

Does the Jaguars' third-and-18 become their fourth-and-26?

Not quite the same, but given their playoff drought and long time between AFC title games, it'll live on for quite a while.

Walt from Skandia, MI

I agree with your thoughts about how one play changed each game on Sunday. I would also suggest that had the Patriots lost the one play would have been the hit on Gronk.

Quite possibly, yes.

Bob from Monticello Conte Otto, Italy

I mentioned this several weeks ago, but are you surprised by the Eagles making it to the Super Bowl? I thought Pederson was embellishing when he commented this year's Eagles were as good or better than the 1996 Packers. Maybe he was right.

I'll admit, I wrote the Eagles off when Wentz went down, because every time I watched them this season, he was so clearly the engine who made them go. Really, though, it's the defense that's better than I thought. It stopped an MVP QB four times in goal-to-go with the game on the line to beat the Falcons, and it blanked the Vikings after the opening drive while scoring the game-changing TD on its own.

Chris from Maple Ridge, Canada

Bold prediction. The Browns make the playoffs next season. You heard it here first.

I'm predicting 2019.

Mark from Minneapolis, MN

Interesting article by Jim Souhan from the Minneapolis StarTribune. Confirms how difficult it is to advance to the Super Bowl with stars aligning this year for the Vikings. Injuries to marquee NFC players and Elliott's suspension seemed to provide an opportunity that may never be matched again. Also, he feels a high priority in the near future is keeping off natural grass in the playoffs. A 33 percent winning percentage on natural grass since the Metrodome was built 36 years ago is hard to argue with. In general, doesn't it seem like a team is faster and more crisp indoors?

Teams will almost always look and feel better playing in the same environments they normally play and practice in. It's the nature of the beast. But I agree, the Vikings couldn't have asked for a better opportunity given all the circumstances that unfolded in the NFC this season.

Dan from Lignite, ND

With regard to the Vikings' loss after the hard-fought, near-miracle win, I have come to believe the post-victory hangover is a real thing. I see a similarity to the Packers' playoff run last year, when we "just ran out of gas." But I don't attribute it to over-celebration or overconfidence or thoughts of destiny. I just think the human body and mind are not equipped to go through something like that twice in seven or eight days.

I agree, especially on the road. It's difficult enough to summon all the emotion necessary for a second straight week with so much at stake. But the Cardinals, Packers and Vikings of the last three years all had to travel after their emotional walk-off wins, so there's less around in the heat of the moment to help refill the tank, and it showed. It makes what the Ravens did in 2012 that much more impressive. After the double-OT win at Denver, which required the miracle 70-yard TD pass in the last 30 seconds of regulation, Baltimore went to New England, beat the Patriots by two touchdowns, and then knocked off a dynamite San Francisco team in the Super Bowl.

Bobby from Green Bay, WI

Curious of your opinion, how do you think a sixth Patriots Super Bowl victory would affect the legacy of Lombardi/Starr?

I don't compare them. Six in 18 versus five in seven are both unparalleled in their own right. Different eras, different games.

Jesus from El Paso, TX

On which point do you Insiders most adamantly disagree (drinks not included)? Perhaps you can serve as role models for civil discourse?

With Wes having recently turned 30, we adamantly disagree on how young he is.

Dan from Rothschild, WI

Why would you want the SB to come down to one possession, Brady against the Philly defense? You know that if it comes to that, the refs will step in and make sure the Patriots get the win. Scoff if you must, but there is a history there.

You wonder if two weeks of media hype surrounding New England's one penalty versus Jacksonville's 10 will have some impact on the game. It shouldn't, but we're all human.

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