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You have to stay in the hunt

The best contract doesn't always make for the best opportunity


Rod from Chugiak, AK

The uninformed/unrealistic part of our fan base will never be satisfied unless TT stocks the team with a star at every position. You can explain it better than I how, if a team like that could be assembled, how unsustainable it would be. A good example is SF in recent years where they kept underachieving (until Harbaugh arrived) and stocking all those high first-rounders. Once past rookie contracts, that assemblage went poof! Please render a tutorial explaining how winning performance for the long haul can only be sustained with a roster comprised of a few veteran high-salaried stars, talented rookies on the rise, and "just guys" of quality as good filler.

One of the mistakes fans often make is believing every great player will always and forever be great. Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. Father Time is undefeated, though Julius Peppers is taking him well into the 12th round. You need to constantly develop young talent to build around the core of your roster. Seattle GM John Schneider talked this week about how important it is to be consistent. It doesn't do any good to make a run and then nosedive. You have to stay in the hunt. I thought about that this week when watching John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan talk to the media. It's astonishing how the 49ers' flame burned so bright for such a short time in the grand scheme of things. Now, they're rebuilding.

Eric from St Paul, MN

Wes, you are doing great work. I would like to raise one concern: you seem more focused on getting your mic than on contributing to the team, I know the combine is a heady time, but focus on the process, keep stacking success, mind your P's and Q's, nail your Oxford commas, and the mic will come.

I'm a patient person and a team player. I understand if I continue doing the right things, the microphones will eventually come. I'm focused on controlling what I control.

Eric from St Louis, MO

Why do fans expect players to stay loyal to a team because they will "make just a few million dollars more" somewhere else? That is a lifetime of salary in a well-paying job. Players taking less to stay with the Packers gain my utmost respect but I will never expect one to do so.

You have to do what's best for you and your family. I learned that myself over the past year. If you don't, you're doing your talent and ability a dishonor. Now, that doesn't always mean selling your services to the highest bidder, either. Sometimes the slightly smaller contract turns out to be the better opportunity in the long run because of location, familiarity and organizational structure. It's all part of the process, but the best contract doesn't always make for the best opportunity.

Paul from Milwaukee, WI

Insiders, I was wondering what the Packer front office would do (and any other team for that matter) if the best available player was there to draft in the first 4-5 rounds but they don't necessarily fill a need on the team. For instance what if the Packers draft two corner-backs in the first two rounds and the best BAP is there waiting in round three but he's another cornerback?

Dang, I ran out of Erics. Anyway, I don't think it's quite that stringent, especially when you get into the middle and late rounds where there are more players with similar grades. When you talk about picking the BAP, it comes down to making good value picks and avoiding lesser players who only fill a need. If it's a good year for kickers, you're obviously not going to take three in a row because that's what your board says. Only my friend Dave does that.

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

I'd imagine that another key component of who to keep and who to sign and who to draft comes down to the question of "can they excel in what we want them to do?" We have a much better idea of how well our own players fit than free agents from other teams. With the draft, it seems like a much bigger gamble to see if what they've done in college can translate to success at a much higher level.

The longer you have a player in your system, the more you're naturally going to know about him. That's obvious, but it's still the job of Ted Thompson and his pro and college scouts to determine how players fit into the Packers' scheme. It's one of the greatest challenges for NFL personnel departments. Speaking for myself, I've always been a guy who prefers the bird in the hand to the two in the bush.

Jeff from Green Bay, WI

Love this time of year with so much uncertainty and change imminent. I am drawn to Badgers players in the draft this year and think players like T.J. Watt and Corey Clement and could easily fall to the Packers in the second and sixth rounds, respectively, based on the depth of talent. I expect Thompson to get real value for his picks this year, maybe even acquire extra picks if any teams are chasing players individually.

It seems like every year we're talking about how much value there is in the middle rounds, so I'm not really sure how this year compares. What I can say is Watt and Clement are the two Badgers most Wisconsinites will have their eyes on because of their positions and flashy contributions in college. The Packers snapped a 13-year Badger-less streak in the draft three years ago when they took Jared Abbrederis. Time will tell whether they dip back into the Bucky talent pool again this year.

Mike from North Hudson, WI

It's combine time so it's stats, stats, stats. What statistics do you look for the most by position?

RPMs. How hard does your engine run?

Dylan from Amery, WI

What would happen if the draft was before the free agency period?


Luke from Jackson, WI

I'm hoping you can give us insight on the logistics of a press conference. How do members of the media know when it's their turn to ask a question? I can't recall hearing two people starting a question at the same time.

I don't know how other places manage the media, but it's a first-come, first-served approach in Green Bay. The first person to speak up gets to ask his or her question. After a few seasons on the beat, you kind of pick up on the tendencies of the other beat writers. I can glance at Rob Demovsky, Jason Wilde or Tom Silverstein and know they're about to ask. I usually try to get a feel for the conference first and then jump in. It all depends on the environment.

Tom from Iron River, WI

After an acceptable first year, why do so many consider Rollins and Randall as no talents when playing injured all this past season?

The same reason many fans wrote off Sam Shields after 2011 and Casey Hayward after 2015. This game isn't absolute. What happens one year doesn't automatically guarantee the same results the next. Randall and Rollins are both 24 years old. Pop quiz: Anyone know what age Shields turned during what many considered a down season in 2011?

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Signing a high cost free agent is like listening to the promises of a politician. How often do they do what they said they would do?

I'm sticking to my maxim of this space being a politics-free zone, but I get what you're saying. Free-agent signings don't always live up to the billing.

Luke from Madison, WI

Does the fact that the Packers didn't franchise tag Perry suggest that they think they can get him cheaper than the tag minimum, or that they know the market is too high and they won't pay enough to keep him? I don't know all the details for franchise tags. Was he eligible to tag? Is there any other risk to tagging him over the minimum pay requirement?

Tagging a player can make working out a long-term deal tricky because agents often will use that number in negotiations, so many NFL teams are leery of using it. The Packers have been successful at getting long-term deals done with their top players without needing to go that direction.

Stephen from Toronto, ON

I see TT going back to his old habit of picking up a WR in the second round since he hasn't the past two years. I think the team will be looking for a bigger guy, more in the Jordy Nelson mold than like Adams or Cobb. Which WRs like do you think we'll see get drafted in rounds two and three?

I don't think there's too much difference between Nelson and Adams in terms of size. Nelson is a couple inches taller and a few pounds heavier, but Adams still has plenty of size and plays physical. There are some interesting prospects in this draft, but I had a chance to listen in on JuJu Smith-Schuster (6-2, 220) a little Friday. I find him to be an intriguing Day 2 option. Only 20 years old, he was known as a physical perimeter threat at USC who can be difficult to disrupt at the line of scrimmage.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Wes, the Packers usually have 8-10 rookies on their opening-day roster every year. I'm not sure what the average has been during TT's reign, but 8-10 seems about right. Do they factor this in when talking about FA's (ours and theirs)? There are only so many spots available and more than ever it's a young man's game.

There isn't a mark the Packers are looking to hit every year, but it's pretty well understood that the roster turns over about 20-25 percent every year. Incoming rookies typically are the players filling those vacancies. Green Bay has done a fairly good job of keeping young reserves in the pipeline to step into key roles, but the Packers also have used the draft to bring in rookie starters such as Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Eddie Lacy and David Bakhtiari. Moral of the story: Stay ready.

Adrian from Marble, NC

Is Eddie Lacy going to play next season?

That appears to be the plan. Will it be in Green Bay? Stay tuned.

David from Watsontown, PA

What are they saying at the NFL combine about OT Julie'n Davenport out of Bucknell?

Big dude (6-7, 310). I was blown away when I saw him walk into the media area on Thursday. He's going to face some question marks given the lower level of competition he played against, but his arm length and hands are nothing to sneeze at. It looks like he has all the necessary tools to thrive in the league.

Fearn from Rolling Meadows, IL

Love me some JFish, but that thought/image made me laugh.

Coaches are people, too. They require coffee like the rest of us. On Thursday, I stood in line with Dan Quinn this year to keep the tradition alive.

Scott from Memphis, TN

The day sanity comes to the inbox is the day you no longer need to write it. We are FANatics after all.

Packers Therapy was the first name I proposed when we were trying to give the Inbox a label last summer.

Drake from Huntsville, AL

"Sanity on my Inbox day. In-season, offseason, it doesn't seem to matter. I'm still waiting." Do you guys have a particular song you listen to, or a sounder, when you get a particularly insane question? I read your answer and immediately Cyprus Hill went into loop in my membrane.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess Spoff wasn't listening to Cyprus Hill when he wrote that…but it would be legendary if he was. If it's an especially grueling Inbox day, I've been known to start blaring Kendrick Lamar from time to time.

Kevin from Louisville, KY

Can I offer to buy Mike from Chico, CA, a beer? Because, boy, does that guy ever need a beer.

And now "Had a Bad Day" is stuck in my head. Thanks, Mike.

John from Chippewa Falls, WI

I enjoy the "Unscripted" segments, but Wes talks much too fast. Can you slow him down?

Can't stop. Won't stop.

Roger from Largo, FL

Just wanted to give a shout out to the "Packers Everywhere" crew! Great videos, audio, video, producers great job! "Packers Unscripted" is a treat as well. It's inspirational – hard-rock intro, Spoff's bedtime voice. I get inspired to sweep the floor, take out the garbage, trim my eyebrows, every time!

Now I'm sleepy.

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