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There's so much to learn

It takes the harmless and mundane to forge a consensus


Kyle from Los Angeles, CA

It seems that Packer fans have reached the "acceptance" stage in the emotional healing process. The last few weeks of the regular season in the Inbox were filled with doom and gloom, but a few key personnel changes and weeks of incredible playoff football have allowed us to get past the emotional hump. The questions are less combative and your and Mike's answers have been less correspondingly prickly. Has opening your emails been less taxing in recent weeks than it was Weeks 14-17? Thanks for sticking around!

You make it sound like I had a choice. Seriously, though, it's all part of it. You've got me all week as Wes spends some time with his new addition. The offseason is only two weeks old, and it's already unlike any around here in a long, long time. There's so much to learn about what the 2018 Packers will look like.

Chai from Evans, GA

Which situation is more attractive to you, coming as HC/GM for a team that is rebuilding, or going to a team with major pieces from your predecessor in which you would have to build around?

I'm no expert in either field, but I think as a GM, I'd want the rebuilding job. As a head coach, I'll take the major pieces in place, particularly at quarterback.

Paul from Charlotte, NC

I think we have phenomenal offensive weapons, but I wonder about offensive creativity. What will Joe Philbin bring to the table in GB?

I don't think there's been any lack of creativity, not with a full, healthy arsenal of weapons. I remember two things most from Philbin's first stint as offensive coordinator here – the emphasis on protecting the football (which has always existed under McCarthy) and the simplicity of decision-making. In talking with reporters, Philbin used to say things like, "If we're looking to run the ball and we've got more guys over here than they do, that's where we want to run it. If we're going to throw the ball, and they've got more guys over there than we do, we don't want to throw it there." It's not a complicated game to Philbin, and I've always liked that about him.

Palash from Johns Creek, GA

Insiders, I don't understand all the hate for Vikings to NOT win the Super Bowl. If I am Packers fan, I should want Vikings to win the Super Bowl, because that makes them the last to pick in the draft as well as higher expectations in the next season and more scrutiny, more potential starters who want a higher salary. All of them could disrupt a team next season.

It just comes down to one play on Oct. 15 for me. If that play hadn't happened the way it happened, and the Vikings were the only NFC North team still alive right now, I'd have no problem with them winning.

Todd from Montreal, Quebec

Not a question, but an observation. In Monday's Insider Inbox, there were references to the poor tackle at the end of the Minnesota game. When I saw the replay, I wondered if the defender thought Diggs had not caught the ball and did not want to get stuck with a "hitting a defenseless player" penalty, which would have given Minnesota a chance at a field goal. Diggs leapt, and it must have been difficult to assess whether the ball had been caught. It is possible it was just a bad play, but given the way the game was called by the officials, it could have been in the back of his mind – or even from the coaches – no foolish penalties. Your thoughts?

The "defenseless player" rule is for contact to the head or neck area. If Williams had hit Diggs the way he intended, it should not have drawn a flag.

Mark from West Bend, WI

Spoff, any thoughts on why Keenum was not called for intentional grounding on the play prior to the Vikings kicking the go-ahead field goal that the Saints challenged for his knee being down? He was definitely in the pocket and the ball never came close to getting back to the line of scrimmage.

There was a receiver in the flat he was aiming toward, which negates needing to be outside the pocket or throw it beyond the line. I didn't think it was grounding, and I thought it was a really bad challenge by Payton to use as his final challenge with 10 minutes left.

Jeff from Green Bay, WI

I read today on another site that excitement around Pettine being hired revolves around him bringing "AFC North Nasty" to this defense as an attitude. I don't see that type of attitude from most of our roster on that side of the ball. Does there need to be a huge turnover on the roster for that to happen, or can one or two impact players change the attitude by example? On a side note...I find it weird that Murphy has announced the hirings of Philbin and Pettine during question-and-answer sessions with the press, but nothing is official yet on the site?

We are awaiting Coach McCarthy's official announcement of, presumably, his full staff once everything is finalized. As for Pettine, I have no doubt he'll bring an attitude he'll want his players to adopt. All coaches do. But for all the attention attitude might get, it won't mean as much as continuity and execution. That's how defenses win.

Ryan from Watertown, WI

Thanks to Mike I am now much more interested in the Clay Matthews situation. I kind of glossed over it thinking he would just be back doing the same thing he always did. A new defensive coordinator might be able to get something different out of him?


Take a look at photos of Packers LB Clay Matthews from the 2017 season. Photos by Evan Siegle and Corey Wilson,

I'm not ruling it out. He's still a dynamic player, in my opinion, and I expect Pettine to experiment at least somewhat with him. Charles Woodson was in his 12th year in the league when he won Defensive Player of the Year in Capers' first season back in 2009.**

Roger from Indianapolis, IN

You noted how players try to "buy a call" with their obvious gestures and show of emotion. In baseball, the ump would kick you out of the game for disrespect. Should football also require the players to refrain from showing their displeasure at a call?

Actually, I was talking more about selling the impact of the contact as it happens, not so much the ranting and gesturing after the fact, which I don't appreciate either. You can also see players lose their footing and slip while engaged with a defender, yet it behooves them to just go down altogether and not fight it, in order to buy the flag. It makes for a legitimate argument in favor of the college 15-yard DPI. But as I've said before, if the NFL considers that, there needs to be a stipulation for blatant pass interference that prevents a long catch, and I'm not sure if I'm interested in more rules, frankly.

Steve from Middletown, KY

I don't know about you, but I wish receivers would stop making the signal to throw a flag for interference. I get really annoyed by it. Just about every play a receiver wants a flag. Like an official can't make up his mind about what he saw and needs help in making a decision. I guess there's no way to control it, but I might go as far as to put a 5-yard penalty on it to stop. Players play, officials officiate.

Jerry Rice and Cris Carter, two Hall of Famers, were notorious for the flag-begging gestures. It became an accepted part of the game, unfortunately, because of who they were. The league needed to put a stop to it then but never seemed concerned, which was too bad.

Gary from Davenport, IA

I just saw the overnight ratings for the playoff games from the weekend. The NBC game was down 5 percent from last year and 16 percent from 2016. The FOX game was down 23 percent from last year and 16 percent from 2016, despite the thrilling finish. The author stated this as evidence of the NFL's demise. I think he should have noted who played on FOX last year and on NBC in 2016. It's hard to compete against Packer playoff classics.

There's a reason that of the 12 wild-card and divisional round games the Packers have played in the Rodgers era, 11 of them have been slotted for either Saturday night or late Sunday afternoon, the two prime ratings positions.

Greg from Whippany, NJ

I feel very strongly that there is enough time left in Aaron Rodgers' career to at least get him and the Packers back to a future Super Bowl. I feel that a reinforced defense will do the trick. It's time for the new GM to look at free agents. Offense is good enough.

The offense needs to get better, too, for the long haul.

Terry from Springfield, MO

What a Sunday of football, huh? My question is in regards to needless PATs at the end of a game. Now that the kicking team is starting to take knees, do you see the competition committee finally coming to their senses and letting the scoring team forfeit the PAT so they can celebrate, and let the losing team walk off the field with some dignity?

I hope so, as do many in the Inbox. I don't think I've ever seen the Inbox so overwhelmingly in agreement on a single topic. It takes the harmless and mundane to forge a consensus, I guess.

Andrew from Valparaiso, IN

I think this year is a good example of why home-field advantage is so important. Five of six NFC playoff teams are either dome or warm-weather teams. None of them want to come up to Lambeau in January. I know it changes teams year to year, but home-field advantage is critical, at least most of the time.


It's why Rodgers said what he said around this time last year at the postgame podium in Atlanta. I still think the Saints are a more well-rounded team than the Vikings, but the buzzsaw New Orleans ran into during the first half was home-field fueled. Kudos to the Jags for winning a cold-weather game in Pittsburgh, but they went from up 28-7 to hanging on in the fourth quarter after getting that punt blocked. Surges by home teams are different beasts, especially in the postseason.**

Matt from Madison, WI

After watching the Vikings game yesterday, I remembered all the luck it takes in order to actually get to, much less win, a Super Bowl. In the Packers' run in 2010, we had so many plays go our way. Multiple pick-sixes, fumble recoveries at opportune times, etc. It doesn't matter which team it is, any team needs a little help from fate to make a run.


Nick from North Pole, AK

Yes, we need players at several positions, but who would be our "Reggie White 2018"?

Let's see who actually might be available after the tags go out first.

Scott from Milwaukee, WI

Who's the strongest guy on the Packers?

I've never heard a definitive declaration from the weight room, but Corey Linsley's name has come up at times.

Eddie from La Crosse, WI

Hey Wes or Mike, what is your opinion of the city of Green Bay's qualifications to host the NFL Draft? Personally, I don't think size matters. Radio City Music Hall does not hold a large number of people, and yet it hosted the draft for a long time. The Resch Center would do just fine, wouldn't it?

The Packers have delayed their application to host the draft until at least 2021 because Brown County is in the process of replacing the old Veterans Memorial Arena with a new expo center. It's very much a wait-and-see deal now.

Achilleas from Volos, Greece

Any predictions on the championship games? I think in the NFC it's open. I give Philly a slight edge because I think Minnesota will still be celebrating. In the AFC, the last guy Belichick wanted to see is Coughlin. If Brady gets hit early, he'll lose tempo.

I hadn't thought about the Coughlin factor against Brady, though I'm not sure in his Jacksonville role how much influence he'll have compared to prior meetings. I guess we'll find out.

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