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Will Packers have new Pro Bowl players in 2017?

A fast start can mean different things


David from Madison, WI

You submit your postgame story after a tough game. Will you see its accompanying photograph before publication?

Not until later. As soon as I send the game story, I'm on to my next story.

Michiel from Brussels, Belgium

Hey Insiders, my first time posting a question and I'm a bit scared. My brother is DB/ST coach on a Division 1 team in Milano-Italy. They recently played the Italian bowl but sadly could not repeat after not losing a game since the start of last season. But, Calvin Johnson was there to put the game ball on the field and after the game I got his autograph. As a lifelong Packer fan I felt bad getting an autograph from a Lion, but as a European I don't get many chances for autographs from NFL players and he was quite the player. Am I banned from Packer fandom now?

You're forgiven. Megatron will be a Hall of Famer. We're all football fans first.

Mark from Winfield, IL

Insiders, Vic used to joke (??) that his natural hair color was brown and he dyed it that stunning grey. How about you guys doing that for a while? I think it might help with my transition. I'm having trouble letting go.

My graying hair is like Cousin Eddie's Hamburger Helper. It does just fine by itself.

Blake from Dallas, TX

I noticed in the " throughout the years" photos, there was an article about the Browns' expansion draft and it noted they didn't take Reggie White or Robert Brooks, who were both apparently available. Seems like a story there; do you have any insight?

In Feb. 1999, when the expansion draft was held, White had just won NFL Defensive Player of the Year for a second time, but he had hinted at retirement (and did) before coming back to play one more season in Carolina in 2000. He was also 37 at the time, not exactly a building block in an expansion draft. Brooks was coming off a back injury in 1998 and hadn't retired yet but would six months later.

Mike from Fort Wayne, IN

If there is a point in the season where the Packers come to a fork in the road, think they will take it?

That's what I'm talking about.

Michael from Wausau, WI

If you could pick a Packer player who needs a year or two as a jar on the shelf, but will be a big-time player after that time frame, who would it be?

I'll go with Jason Spriggs.

Geoff from Eagle River, WI

Cobb has got to be better x2 this year, right?

If he's healthy, I think he will be. But he has to stay healthy. I look for a big year from Cobb.

Paul from Pawleys Island, SC

Loved Ron from Virginia's observation about "y'all" – he nailed it! As a WI transplant who has now lived half my life in the south, I'd like to point out that the WI equivalents are "youse guys" (singular) and "youse guyses" (plural).

I've lived in Wisconsin all my life and will proudly state I've never used either of those phrases.

Scott from Grafton, WI

Isn't a 50 percent chance at two points better than a 95 percent chance at one point early in a game, mathematically speaking?

Only if you can guarantee that my second try at a two-pointer, should I fail on the first, will work. Math is fun, but it can't make something happen.

Dave from Saukville, WI

During the Ron Wolf tenure, were the football analysts blaming him for the Packers' underachievement like they are blaming Ted Thompson?

Not in the same way, but he took a lot of heat for the Ray Rhodes hire, which he admitted was a mistake after one year, and he retired less than five years after the back-to-back Super Bowl trips.

Derek from Rhinelander, WI

When was the last time that the Packers DIDN'T have a player with a J'd initial on the team? A.J., B.J., T.J., JC... I feel like we need to sign one.

I don't know why I felt compelled to look this up, but then it just got weird. It started in 2005, before A.J. Hawk was drafted, but found punter B.J. Sander. Then in '04, there was QB J.T. O'Sullivan. In '03, linebacker T.J. Slaughter played in one game. In '02, WR J.J. Moses appeared in two games. So I think the answer is 2001, though linebacker K.D. Williams and "KGB" were on the roster then, which is only one letter off.

Steven from Frisco, TX

Guys, Mark Murphy suggested that a change to the league's revenue-sharing policy could affect the team's ability to remain sustainable in the mini-market of Green Bay. I find that hard to believe given the loyalty of the fan base, the season-ticket wait list that will span decades, and the addition of the Titletown district. How would you see such a scenario of the end of the revenue-sharing policy causing the Packers to relocate, play out?

I don't. A change to the NFL's model for sharing national revenue would be a doomsday scenario for the whole league, in my opinion, so I would consider the possibility extremely remote. Of the Packers' $441 million in revenue in the last fiscal year, $244 million was national revenue from the pool shared equally amongst all 32 teams. With Green Bay in the upper half of the league in total revenue, a policy change would affect other teams more than the Packers in the short term, but the impact on any team not in a major market, or without a newer stadium, would be huge over the long run.

Eduardo from Queretaro, Mexico

Hey guys, I've been reading the column for a while, first time I make a question. If you could choose one away game to go to this season, which one would it be and why?

Pittsburgh. It's a place the Packers visit only once every eight years, and Roethlisberger and Rodgers have not gone head-to-head since Super Bowl XLV. Plus, we'll have a pep rally there.

Jacob from Port Huron, MI

Will there be a pep rally in Detroit this year?

Sorry, no. The others are slated for Dallas and Carolina.

Carrie from San Jose, CA

Does the rule prohibiting some players from participating in OTAs actually accomplish anything? I'm all for education. In fact, I wish more college football players were able to finish their degrees. But my understanding is that most players take the entire spring semester off to prepare for the combine. If the NFL were serious about education, wouldn't it do something to address the combine rather than randomly holding back some players who just happened to go to a school with a non-traditional schedule?

You have the floor. I have no additional comment.

Connor from Murray, UT

Hey guys, great job by the way. I will be going to the Dec. 3 game against Tampa Bay and I have been asking around for advice on how to stay warm if it is a cold one. Someone told me to bring cardboard to stand on. Is that real?

Styrofoam works better and my wife swears by it. Anything to provide a little buffer between your boots and the cold concrete helps. It really does.

Matt from Roanoke, VA

There has been a lot more buzz around Dupre than Yancey. I read where Dupre is more pro-ready out of the gate. Any thoughts on this?

Dupre stood out more in OTAs, but those are over now.

Greg from Danbury, CT

Geez, Wes, you know you could have simply deleted the story instead of tossing the entire laptop? Just sayin' for next time.

I fished out the laptop. My kids thank him.

Ryler from West Bend, WI

Will the Packers take their turn in the international series and play the Rams in London 2018?

I think it'll be either the Rams in '18 or the Chargers in '19, given the stadium situation in Los Angeles.

Lee from Marshfield, WI

Hey Insiders, the past few years GB has seen it all with injuries to every position, bad bounces, missed calls, heartbreaking losses, Hail Marys, but boy has it been entertaining. What is the highlight of 2017 going to be?

I don't wanna know. I wanna watch.

Ben from De Pere, WI

With Driver going into the Packers HOF this weekend with a number of receiving records, it got me wondering which records does Jordy have a shot to break?

Let's do the math. Nelson has 497 catches to Driver's 743, and 7,366 yards to Driver's 10,137. If he can average 80 catches for 900 yards each of the next three years, he'll be right there. It'll come down to health, I think. Hutson's TD record of 99 isn't totally out of reach, either. Nelson has 63, so that's three years of a dozen each. Tougher, but not impossible.

Chris from Chicago, IL

Hey Insiders, do you guys have to pinch yourselves once in a while when you think about what you get to do for a living?

I don't pinch myself, because graduate school and eight years of covering high school sports were no walk in the park, but I'm grateful for my job every single day.

Hugh from Sioux Falls, SD

Mike, do you think Vic will quit watching the game from a reporter's point of view? Will he even want to do so in the first place? Should he do so, it sure would be fun to hear what he has to say as "just a regular fan" once or twice.

It's not a switch you can turn on and off. Even when I watch a Milwaukee Brewers or Wisconsin Badgers game on TV, for example, my mind is always working on angles and structure to a story. It's how we watch games. Occupational hazard.

Tony from Shanghai, China

One day, I was walking along the Bund in Shanghai wearing my Packers windbreaker. As a family walked by me going the other direction, the dad yelled, "Go Pack!" We're everywhere.

The location-related mentions that have come through the Inbox in the last couple of days have been interesting, though not surprising. China and New Zealand were the most exotic places.

John from Yakima, WA

In which area of town was the gas station located where Vic nearly froze to death? Will be passing through Green Bay in January and wish to avoid Vic fate.

There's a Steelers' "Terrible Towel" hanging from that pump, which you can see as part of the "Ketchman Reality Tour" I'm devising.

Tyler from De Pere, WI

"The Packers will have an edge-rusher not named Nick Perry or Clay Matthews finish with at least five sacks." And his name is Jayrone Elliott. Flashes in the pan and a one-year prove it contract is all this kid needs.

Fackrell or Biegel could be the guy, too. The Packers will need impact from all three behind their top two.

Josh from Pullman, WA

I loved the bold predictions yesterday! Please, allow me to make my own for Insider Inbox. The Packers will have three new Pro Bowl players this year, but none of them will play in the game.

I see what you did there, and I'll make my suggestions just to play along – Bulaga, Daniels and Perry?

Jesse from Menifee, CA

Jeff from Miami asked about how many states and countries have sent in questions to the Insider Inbox. This reminded me that Vic mentioned, a few years ago, that he would put a pin in a map each time he noticed a question came from someplace new. Is that map still getting new pins? Did he take it with him? Or was it just a map in his head? I imagine that the map is pinned to a large cork board manufactured in Skokie, Ill., and a great story is being told.

We had an intern one year who worked on a digital map with the pins. The next intern did not resume the project. So it goes.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Mike, did you ever think of making Wes wear a motion-sickness patch on road games so he can do his fair share of the workload? It's a tough business for tough people, right?

A patch wouldn't help the poor soul. When I see what he looks like on some of our bus rides, I wouldn't want to trade places with him for anything.

David from Coeur d'Alene, ID

I can sympathize with Paul the mathematician as I am a civil engineer and the nonsensical saying that gets me is, "He is a downhill runner." Like giving 110 percent, this is impossible on a well-laid-out football field that is flat. The only way a player can run "downhill" would be to run to the sidelines on an outdoor field as they have a slope to drain rain away. I have no idea what the phrase is supposed to mean anyway. Anyone can run "downhill," it takes a really fit person to run "uphill."

I hear you on the nonsensical phrases, but I think in scouting parlance "downhill runner" refers to a guy who's always picking up speed, even when he cuts, not slowing down. It actually makes some sense, but I think it's overused by talking heads who can't think of anything else to say.

Josh from New Berlin, WI

Maybe this is a cynical thought, but I don't think it is realistic to expect a team to start fast and continue to build momentum over 20 games. In 2010, the Packers started slow and built momentum en route to a Super Bowl win. In 2011, they started fast and lost momentum en route to a divisional playoff loss. Every season since then has followed a similar pattern. So, you want to be hot entering the playoffs, but, this year, Rodgers also wants a fast start. How does a team manage both without stinking it up in October-November?

You can't have it all, but I think when Rodgers talks about a fast start, he can mean different things. In one sense, he means preventing two losses in September, a tough early obstacle in 2012, '13 and '14 the Packers truly overcame only once. Avoiding that builds the margin for error in the playoff seeding race, and then you look to get hot late. In '15, the 6-0 start gave them cushion, but they weren't hot late. Last year, the Packers had two losses in their first five games and then lost all margin for error by Thanksgiving. This year, Rodgers might specifically have Weeks 1-2 top of mind because of the opponents and potential playoff tiebreakers. He wants to be at Lambeau in January. So do I.

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