Paul from Farnborough, UK
I understand why the Packers may start more inexperienced players in order to give them valuable playing time, but seeing as other teams will want us to beat the Vikes and Lions, how important is it that we stay competitive in order to keep the integrity and spirit of the NFL alive? I know that if we were relying on other teams for help to get into the playoffs, I wouldn't want to see a lot of inexperienced players getting starting berths.
Make no mistake – they're here to win. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix said it best this past week in telling reporters his Christmas wish is to have a winning record when this thing is all said and done. This is a prideful bunch that doesn't want to be run over on the Vikings' drive to the playoffs. I'm sure we're going to see some young players get opportunities, but the veterans who are healthy enough to play will play. The ones who aren't will sit. You can be smart with your players and still play with integrity. **
Tim from Spooner, WI
Do you think we may finally see Davis and/or Janis at WR Saturday to stretch the field with Adams' injury? That eight-man box close to the line of scrimmage will be tough to run against. Thankfully, if the Vikings do have a weakness, it may be against the run though, as Carolina exposed to some extent.
I don't know exactly what the Packers will have in mind for that No. 3 receiver spot, but it would not surprise me in the least if Geronimo Allison, Trevor Davis and Jeff Janis all get a shot at it. Depending on the numbers, maybe even Michael Clark gets his chance. Adams or no Adams, the Packers have options with how they want to approach their personnel decisions these next two weeks.
James from Galena, MO
Do you think Callahan should get some game time? Some guys play better in real situations than in practice. Let's see what he can do.
Not unless there's an injury. If the stars align, Aaron Rodgers will play every meaningful snap for the Packers in 2018. These next two weeks are important for Brett Hundley's growth and maturation. That's nothing against Callahan. It's more about the three years you've invested in the former fifth-round pick.**
Chuck from Poynette, WI
Hey Insiders, a lot of people are down on Hundley and his performance while Rodgers was down. I thought he played well and improved. What if any will his trade value be now that he has started a few games? I'm torn whether I would want draft picks or him as a backup. He seemed to be coming into his own.
I think fans believe the sand is falling down the hourglass quicker than it actually is regarding Hundley. He's under contract for another full season. Everyone expected the Patriots to trade Jimmy Garoppolo last summer and he was on the roster in Week 1. I don't presume to know what the Packers' intentions are with Hundley, but the starts he's made this year are only going to make him a better quarterback in the long run. I wouldn't rush that guy out the door.
Dave from Franklin, WI
Why do fans assume that a new coach or GM "can't do any worse" when history shows he surely can and usually does?
Because it's fun to debate at the local bar or at your company holiday party. The reality is teams that constantly shuffle their personnel departments and coaching staffs are historically the bottom-feeders of the league. It's the franchises with a solid base that stay in the Super Bowl hunt every year.
David from Tamworth, Australia
I love me some Aaron Rodgers. Seriously, I've got the signed poster on my wall and everything. Though I can't help but notice that the run game improves when he is out. Obviously it is in large part because it is relied upon more, but teams are also focused more to stop it. I know the man slings the prettiest spiral we may ever see, but do you think maybe he needs a tap on the shoulder to not opt out of so many run plays?
First, the Packers ran the ball with him well in 2014. The balance between the pass and run helped catapult Green Bay to the NFC Championship Game in Seattle. Second, it's impossible to know how frequently Rodgers or any quarterback is utilizing the RPO. That's a scheme question and there's a competitive advantage you're conceding if you talk openly about it. The run can be successful with Rodgers. We just didn't get a chance to see the two work in concert with each other this year.
Joe from Dundee, IL
Do you think MM's statement "beginning the evaluation process over these last two weeks" could have a secondary purpose of reminding all players that any sign of "mailing it in" will be noticed in the next two weeks?
I think McCarthy is saying the Packers won't be in the playoffs and unfortunately he'll have a chance to sit back over these next two weeks and start evaluating everything going into 2018. McCarthy doesn't make emotional decisions. He gathers information, analyzes the data and makes what he feels is the best move to improve the football team. For the past few years, that process has been occurring in late January and early February. This year is a different story. **
Laird from Yelm, WA
Is there any way the Packers and fans can get past the thought that if not for an illegal hit on Rodgers this game could be for the division championship? I know I can't.
If ifs and buts were candy and nuts. We don't live in a hypothetical world, though. It is what it is.
Mike from Phoenix, AZ
The Packers are going to enjoy a higher draft pick than they have had for years. As a regular observer of the team, where do you think the emphasis will be in the upcoming draft to improve next year's squad?
It's impossible to know this early in the process. Spoff and I were talking about how we both felt interior offensive line might be an emphasis last year and then the Packers signed Jahri Evans days before the draft. After the pieces fall in free agency, you'll get a better idea of where the Packers could be looking to add.**
Jim from Maple Grove, MN
Regarding the compilation Jay from PA suggests, implied in the gut-wrenching season-ending losses is the fact that a team is in a position to lose in that way. How many teams don't play enough meaningful football to even make the "lowlight" reel? I'm grateful for what we have here, even if it hurts sometimes.
I think a lot of people don't realize it's not easy to have a winning record in the playoffs. There's only one champion each year, which means the other 11 teams, for the most part, are going to have plays they'll think about all offseason. Atlanta, Seattle, San Francisco all have had gut-wrenching moments, too. That's what happens when you're playing for everything.
John from Flanders, NJ
Guys, as far as the catch rules go, if the ball touches the ground during any part of the process it should be incomplete. And as to the violent hits, why not have the offending team play shorthanded for a specific amount of time? Just my thoughts.
Because football is not hockey or soccer. It's not easy to play down without a player in the NFL. It either means you're taking a player out of the rush and giving the quarterback more time to operate, or playing cover-zero or allowing a receiver to go uncovered. It would be a disaster.
Dallas from Ames, IA
I remember last time Rodgers was injured that the Packers had an insurance policy and were able to deduct the settlement amount from the cap. Do they have a similar policy and what kind of impact will it have for next year's cap?
I don't recall that at all. There are "split-salary" clauses worked into some rookie and veteran-minimum contracts, but not for established veterans at the peak of their powers.
Yohay from Petah Tikva, Israel
Great job, as always. You've proven to be worthy heirs to Vic. Re: the need to better police hits like Davis' – the NFL should adopt the NBA method. Instead of saying there was an "unnecessary roughness" penalty, there should be a "Flagrant foul." Then, just like the NBA, each flagrant foul is reviewed, and if it's determined that it's "Flagrant 2" the player is ejected, while if it's "Flagrant 1," it's only the 15-yard penalty. It wouldn't add too much time to the game, as there's usually one or two such penalties on average per game.
I'd worry about how long it would take New York to debate and make an appropriate judgment at first blush, but I do wonder if your suggestion isn't the future of ejections in the NFL. **
Jason from Park Falls, WI
Studies show that harsher punishment doesn't discourage criminal behavior, so I don't see how all the new penalties, fines, and suspensions are going to do anything to temper the "violence" of the NFL game. These guys aren't bound by law to play football. They get paid well for the risks they take every day. The injuries, whether acute or chronic, are unfortunate, and I would never wish them on anyone, but I don't tune in every Sunday to see a game of two-hand touch.
I don't think I'd equate the subjective nature of hits to criminal behavior. We're talking about speeding tickets here. Throw a $10,000 fine at a player and you'd be amazed how much it can ruin his day. Nobody wants to have their paychecks garnished.
Brett from Merrill, WI
I enjoy when you guys post the hate you get. It's funny, some of these people seem to hate your writing, yet they take the time to read it and send you a question? My 10th grade English teacher told me, "Love is not the opposite of hate, and hate is not the opposite of love. Indifference is the opposite of both."
It's like pro wrestling. You can love me. You can hate me. As long as I'm generating a reaction from the crowd, I can go home confident I did my job.
Daniel from Los Angeles, CA
Insiders, how come there is no official Green Bay Packer YouTube channel? Perhaps doing something similar to this, or the Rock Report, or just short videos with players and what they're up to would be great for the team media.
Because our videos are on packers.com, silly. **
Sean from Baltimore, MD
You both ignored my question...Wes went as far as editing some of it out.
Sorry Sean. I wasn't interested in drudging through your 227-word question. With the heat I take at times for my long-winded answers, I figured the Inbox would be even less enthused. So I gave up on the question that followed this comment, as well. Happy Holidays.
David from San Francisco, CA
Merry Christmas, Insiders! I doubt this will appear on your website but I have a detailed approach to fixing college football and I want to share it with you and other football minds. The NCAA should separate playoffs and BCS bowls under the following format. Six-team playoff with Power Five conference champions filling seeds one through five (Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, Ohio State, USC) and a sixth at-large bid (Alabama, or the Boise St./Notre Dame type). The top two teams receive bye weeks the same as the NFL. Four BCS bowls remain (Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta) and are played with traditional conference format (Pac-12 vs. Big Ten, Big 12 vs SEC, etc.), played by the conference championship losers (Stanford vs. Wisconsin, TCU vs. Auburn, etc.). Standardize to 12-team conferences built with six-team divisions, guaranteeing a division champion either a playoff or BCS bowl. The format gives teams a chance to win an in-conference division title, conference championship game, and appear in the playoffs regardless of how many non-conference games they lose, which will increase quality non-conference competition in the beginning of the season. Think of the TV! Drama remains all season as conference records become scrutinized, and ditch the weekly in-season ranking committee. What a way to start the new football year. Merry Christmas and a safe New Year to your loved ones.
Now this is a much better way to spend my time reading a 227-word comment.
Brandon from Orlando, FL
Mike, how did you get a concussion in racquetball? I don't mean it in a condescending way. I used to love playing that sport with friends. I'm envisioning you sprinting up for a kill shot and the ball coming straight back into your temple. Or possibly taking a racquet to the face? I'm glad you recovered, but sad to hear how much of an impact they have had on you over the years.
Spoff plays for keeps.
Jacob from Port Huron, MI
What day will the NFL decide to change game times for Week 17? I will be attending the Lions game. GO PACK GO!
Sunday night, I believe. **
Tony from River Falls, WI
What is your favorite Christmas or holiday tradition?
Buying Christmas presents at the last minute...and spending Christmas Eve at my parents' house.
Tyrus from South Range, WI
I get to watch my first Packer game from the hospital in Duluth, Minn., with my new daughter, Ayla. Merry Christmas to all and Go PACK!
What an awesome memory. Congrats to you and your family, Tyrus.
Jesus from El Paso, TX
At least the Packers don't have to wait four years for another shot like the USMNT. Why do some people love to be angry?
It's cheaper than a movie?