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There's more than one key domino

Two-thirds of the All-Pro first team was drafted in the first round


Max from Milwaukee, WI

I think this column's No. 1 offseason priority has to be figuring out what a soap opera talking head is.

And whether or not it's eligible for the franchise tag.

Alexander from Menomonie, WI

What is with everyone freaking out? The team needs to rebuild, our coaches need to be replaced, trade-trade-trade, sign everybody, screw our cap! The Packers made the title game. They aren't that far off. Sorry had to vent. Good luck guys.

I understand the frustration that's mounting, with no Super Bowl trips the last six seasons, but the mentality to "load up" and go for it is a misguided, short-term trap. I firmly believe if the right long-term move is there to be made, the Packers will make it, but we have no idea right now if that move will even be out there.

Josh from Canmore, Canada

Are the crazies that are howling to spend everything on big-name free agents the same that were saying the Packers should give up on the season at 4-6 for a better draft pick?

I doubt they'd be willing to admit it.

Matt from Winfield, IL

Vic thinks the dominos fall with Lacy, but I think they fall with Perry (and that he's a must-sign). Wes/Mike, who do you think they fall with?

I'm not sure how to order them, but Shields, Perry and Lacy are the decisions/situations that will have the greatest impact on the rest of the offseason. There's more than one key domino.

Chris from Bozeman, MT

I remember what Stephon Gilmore did to the Pack in 2014. He's a physical stud at the line, and I think could be had for less than what Shields cost us. Agree, we need to wait prior to getting too wrapped up, but to dismiss these topics altogether misses the mark, too. Love this column by the way.

I think Gilmore's price tag will be significantly higher than Shields'. I'm not saying that means you dismiss the idea, but I would be stunned if Gilmore signs anywhere for less than what Shields got three years ago.

Byron from Snowflake, AZ

Lifelong Packers and Braves fan, and I see some interesting similarities. Both good at winning division titles, not as successful in Super Bowls or World Series championships. I hope the Packers are not becoming known as this generation's football version of the Braves. This season and last were memorable. What needs to happen for the Pack to take the next step?

Be healthy and playing your best football heading into January. That part of the formula is never going to change, no matter how the roster is constructed.

Rob from Spring Lake, NJ

I would be interested to see what percentage of Pro Bowlers (or a smaller group...All-Pro) were drafted in the first round. The reason for the question is that Green Bay is not really drafting near the bottom of the first round, but rather the top of the second. If a majority of All-Pros were first-rounders, then yes, we have been at a disadvantage, but if they are not, a GM just needs to have a better board, and the results will speak for themselves.

Not including specialists, of the 23 players selected first-team All-Pro for 2016, 15 were drafted in the first round. Of the 35 players chosen for the second team (lots of voting ties swelled the number), 18 were drafted in the first round.

Todd from Carson City, NV

Should B.J. Raji decide to come out of retirement, do the Packers hold the right to sign him? Any word on how the big man is doing?

Lots of folks asking about Raji. I have no update on him, but should he decide to play football again, he is a free agent.

Sonia from Fairbanks, AK

For those that enjoyed Jared Cook's article about being a Packer, he also spoke about this when he was the guest on "Packers Live." Larry McCarren referred to Cook as the "voice from God" because of his deep voice. If I ever start to lose perspective, McCarren always has a story, or poem, to make me laugh. Do you have any stories from your time working with him?

Wes and I couldn't have had more fun doing our daily "Three Things" video during training camp last summer. We never knew what Larry was going to say, and it was a blast. I bet we would have resurrected "Three Things" this week in Houston had the Packers advanced, and Larry would have made it the best posting on the site every day.

Tony from Menasha, WI

What is the highest round a compensatory pick is awarded? Is there a limit? For a crazy unrealistic example, if the Packers let Aaron Rodgers walk in free agency and he goes on to win MVP, what round would the pick be in?

The highest comp pick is at the end of the third round, but it's not as simple as a pick for a player. Thirty-two picks in all are awarded, from the end of the third to end of the seventh rounds, spread out amongst all teams that experience a net loss in free agency.

Joe from Rhinelander, WI

Insiders, a great point was made about Bakhtiari's and Daniels' impending free-agent contracts being taken care of early by the Packers. Who are the one or two players after next season that would be marquee free agents? That will tell a lot as far as what the Packers will do/spend during this offseason if they wish to keep the future free agents.

The most significant names to mention at the moment would be Clinton-Dix, Adams, Linsley, Burnett and Taylor.

Matt from Marshall, MI

Much has been made in this forum about the impossibility of full consistency. I would reason however, this team needs to focus on regulating their degree of consistency. I am aware a number of factors contribute, but in retrospect, GB seems to have reached manic extremes since the championship game in Seattle. Long and short stretches of both good and bad offense and defense.

Win two. Lose three of four. Win four in a row. Lose three of four again. Win six straight. 2010.

Patrick from Fallston, MD

I read today AR was fined for the facemask penalty in the game vs the Falcons. And yet there was no fine for spearing Jordy Nelson in the Giants game. I believe it is the NFL's inconsistency that drives fans crazy.

Among other things.

Adam from Green Bay, WI

Piggy-backing off the Colts-Vikings "tie" for draft position, the Colts beat the Vikings head-to-head this season. Any reason why that isn't the tiebreaker? Seems like a foolproof solution to me.

You'd think.

Phil from Portland, OR

Look, I know that you guys have spent years in this column explaining and re-explaining the Packers' strategy and decision-making process, but I'm sure that if I just ask this question one more time I'll change your mind and get the answer that I want.

Nicely done. Hey, I have no idea what Thompson is ultimately going to do, if anything, in free agency and the draft. But I'll throw this out there. If there's anything to make me think a departure from the norm could be in the offing, it's this: Given Shields' absence in 2016 and pending situation, there's a lesson to be learned from Nick Collins' unfortunate departure from the game in 2011. The safety position was muddled for a couple of seasons while a long-term, high-level partner for Burnett was sought. It took too long, until the first round of the 2014 draft, to get it right. Corner is a more premium spot. The Packers can't afford for it to take anywhere near as long this time, and I think they know that.

Drew from Madison, WI

I agree with you that Peppers was a fantastic free-agent signing. But, my lasting memory of him in Green Bay will unfortunately be his invaluable leadership to wave Morgan Burnett down in Seattle two years ago.

The memories are harsh (they don't all make us rich, Vic), but I posted this to point out that sometimes failing to reach the Super Bowl is just due to a good old-fashioned mistake (or series of them) that is, for the most part, beyond anything a GM controls, or that anyone could have done in free agency or the draft. Our current discussion about getting the Packers over the hump is worthwhile, but sometimes stuff just happens, like Lee Evans dropping a TD pass in the AFC title game for Baltimore, or Kyle Williams muffing two punts for San Francisco. Both of those teams got their subsequent redemption, and I realize the Packers haven't gotten theirs yet, but you can't just dismiss the methods of a regime whose roster-building did work as intended not so long ago.

Cliff from Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

Can you look into your crystal ball and recommend an away game for next year that my son and I can really look forward to?

Without knowing the dates, the road games at Atlanta and Dallas will be playoff rematches, obviously, and the last time the Packers played in Pittsburgh, the final score was 37-36. Green Bay's recent trips to Charlotte to face Cam Newton have been very entertaining games as well.

Josh from Oshkosh, WI

Do you guys have any idea as to when the last time the Packers played the AFC North and NFC South in the same season? How did that season go?

That was 2005, not a good year. Having those two divisions on the schedule is the only combination McCarthy has yet to face in the same season. He'll get it now in his 12th year.

Amir from Milwaukee, WI

What and when are the different stages of free agency?

Franchise and transition tags are handed out between Feb. 15 and March 1. On March 7, clubs can begin negotiating with free agents from other teams, but no contracts can be signed until March 9.

Duncan from Fort McMurray, Canada

Aaron Rodgers now has a 9-7 playoff record. Anything you would like to tell us about his season's worth of postseason games?

Well, two of the losses were in overtime when he didn't get to touch the ball. His 99.4 playoff passer rating is about five points below his regular-season career mark but still ranks fourth all-time in the postseason. I would say his 16 postseason games represent a solid "season" against the league's best teams, but I'm sure there are a few outings he'd like to have back.

Charlie from Bozeman, MT

I know it is really early, but where the Packers are positioned in the draft, do you see them taking the BPA at 29, taking the BPA at a roster need, or dropping out of the first round?

You hope the best player is at a roster need, but you don't leave a better player for the Falcons to draft, I'll say that. Trading out wouldn't surprise me, either. When the Packers had the 30th pick in 2008, they traded back six spots and took Jordy Nelson. When you're picking this late, a whole lot can happen that first night.

Jenny from Rochester, MN

Now that we have time to look back, is there a play that stands out to you as the turnaround in the season, either before or after the "run the table" comment? Mine was Ha Ha's interception during the Eagles game. At the time, I have a clear memory of where I was standing (following on the app), and saying out loud to myself, "Here we go."

As I said in one of our "Unscripted" podcasts last week, the blowout of Seattle was when I first started thinking "run the table" was realistic. The following week, after the pass to Jordy and walk-off win to overcome the disastrous fourth quarter in Chicago, I felt there might be something really special about this team. From then on, nothing surprised me.

Kenton from Rochester, MN

So I've been waiting for after the end of the season to ask this question: What's the story behind the Lego movies of the three Packer games that have been posted? Who does them? Is it someone on the staff? I think they're fantastic, and I hope whoever is responsible keeps on doing it!

Those are produced by a company called**Brick Sports**. We work with them on which plays to highlight and then let them go to it. I agree they were a great addition to the site this year. My kids would watch a whole game that way.

Dan from Woodland, WI

Hodkiewicz, Hoebelheinrich, only in Green Bay do you find names like that, no? Also, I think a soap opera talking head is something Stefano tried once when he had Marlena trapped in a bird cage.

Like sands through the Hoebelhod …

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