Sat, 15 May 2021

Inbox: That's the direction the league is headed

Packers
16 Apr 2021, 18:12 GMT+10

Having options is critical for long-term success in the NFL Wes Hodkiewicz

Jeff from Eveleth, MN

Gutey usually addresses a major position of need multiple ways. Corner is this year's example. He re-signed Kevin King. He will draft a corner very high. Lastly, I predict a free-agent corner signing after the draft.

Brian Gutekunst is his own GM but he's definitely taken that page out of the Ted Thompson playbook for building depth and competition (e.g. drafting JC Tretter and Corey Linsley in back-to-back years, drafting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix the same offseason the Packers moved Micah Hyde to safety, and drafting Rashan Gary after signing the Smith Bros.). Having options is critical for long-term success. It not only increases competition but also provides depth should injuries arise. Gutekunst knows that.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Other than QB and probably RB, is there any position you would be shocked to see the Packers take in Round 1?

No.

George from, Kennebunkport, ME

After Tyler Ervin got injured, the jet sweep was less effective and hardly used. Who else on the roster today can fill this role? Is that guy also a good kick returner? I don't see one. I am hoping we address this somewhere in the draft. If available, Elijah Moore (Ole Miss) seems like he would fill both roles and give Aaron Rodgers a true slot receiver. Maybe that would shut up the "Packers haven't given Aaron Rodgers enough weapons" talk. Speed alone (WR/KR) might make it worth the pick.

That's what's great about this year's NFL Draft - we've learned fast the type of prospects the Packers covet most in Matt LaFleur's offense. For example, the decision to draft Josiah Deguara in the third round underscored how important that tight end/fullback spot was going to be for LaFleur. So, I will have my antenna up on draft night about whether the Packers draft Moore or any other of these hybrid skill-position players. Because I do feel like they need to bring in a fresh option on jet sweeps.

Michael from Burnsville, MN

How have the Packers been able to avoid an overseas or out of the country thus far? Are there requirements like those of being chosen for "Hard Knocks"?

The Packers technically went "out of the country" (the Boyle preseason game in Winnipeg) but have been adamant about not trading one of their eight regular-season home games for an international game. And unless a team is relocating or hosting a Super Bowl, the NFL couldn't compel it to play a game overseas. Meanwhile, teams such as Jacksonville and the Los Angeles Chargers were reluctant to take their home game against the Packers overseas because it's a guaranteed sellout.

Jim from Eau Claire, WI

Do you think the Packers will play overseas in 2022?

If it's safe to do so, yes. The faster the Packers play overseas, the sooner the NFL can arrange their next international game.

Jason from Woodbury, MN

Wes's answer on the difficulty of trading picks with the Bears got me thinking. When was the last time a significant intra-division trade involving the Packers was made? And why are intra-division trades, in particular, so difficult? Don't all trades result in both parties believing they have ripped off the other team anyway? Thanks guys!

The last trade involving a player that the Packers pulled off with an NFC North/Central team came on Aug. 30, 1998. They traded running back Glyn Milburn to Chicago for a 1999 seventh-round pick that was then used to draft...Donald Driver. As Spoff pointed out, the other trade happened with Minnesota in 2008 when the Packers traded back in the fifth round and picked up an extra seventh-rounder...that they used to draft Matt Flynn. In both cases, it didn't exactly work out in the division opponent's favor, which is why those trades are so rare.

Paul from Northglenn, CO

Does anyone else see a good chance Tim Boyle emerges a starter for Detroit? I feel Jared Goff is very overrated, and will be in for the fight of his life for the starting job.

I'm not offering any predictions about how the QB situation will play out in Detroit, but I'm confident Boyle will open eyes over there. He has all the tools and should get ample reps to prove what he can do.

KB from Wichita, KS

With no combine and limited opportunity for player evaluation by NFL scouts, do you expect this draft to feature more trades for future picks than in previous years' drafts?

No. If that was ever gonna happen, it would've been last year after scouts were left scrambling after a majority of pro days got scrapped due to the pandemic. NFL teams have had a full year to prepare this year's draft. As I've been saying, teams will have all the information they need on draft night.

Kenton from Rochester, MN

I've noticed that a fair number of draft prospects have been designated as "edge" rather than "outside linebacker." Is "edge" now an official position name, or is it just a term made up to describe players whose main skill set is rushing the passer? Or does it mean something else - such as setting the edge on a running play? If so, how is it different than "outside linebacker"? I'm confused, I guess, and I'm afraid I'm missing something.

That's not the official name but "edge" has gained popularity during the pre-draft process because it's a convenient way to lump pass rushers together, instead of trying to differentiate between 4-3 defensive ends vs. 3-4 outside linebackers. Once a player is drafted, then teams will label him either a "DE" or "LB." I don't know any teams that recognize the "edge" position on their official roster.

Kevin from San Francisco, CA

The speculation about Darnell Savage at cornerback reminds me of the suggestion Tramon Williams should move to safety after Clinton-Dix was traded in 2018. Right after the Insiders emphatically dismissed the possibility, Williams started at safety against New England. It just goes to show, the team on the field each week is from available players, based on their skills.

Oh, I remember. It was a testament to Williams' selflessness and professionalism because I think everyone would agree safety wasn't Williams' best position. He played there because that's where the Packers needed him to get through the season. It was a rough year on the field for Green Bay but trading Clinton-Dix to Washington for the fourth-rounder turned out to be a great move in the long run.

Scott from Grovetown, GA

Greetings II. Loved Taylor's comment on Vic, he was spot on. On to my question, how much involvement do you feel Matt LaFleur will have in Barry's defense? Total hands on? Let him be and do his thing? Provide him a principal strategy and let Barry run with it? A mixture of these or something else I didn't mention?

LaFleur mentioned in February he'd been in most of the early defensive meetings this offseason, which isn't out of the ordinary when a new coordinator is laying out his scheme and philosophy. Once the season begins, however, I'd expect Barry will be calling all the shots on defense.

Scott from Sussex, WI

I think it's about time the NFL Draft should enter the 21st century and switch to an auction style draft. It's much fairer, incorporates more strategy, and it's a more exciting way to draft. This idea seems to be gathering steam in the national media and I'm surprised it hasn't been discussed yet in the Inbox. Any idea why?

Mostly because it'll never happen. This is the way the NFL has drafted players into its league for the last 70 years. Even if there was steam behind a rotisserie style, the idea couldn't even be explored until the current CBA ends in 2031.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

Of our Wisconsin MVPs who is the "best of the best": Rodgers, Giannis or Yelich?

Giannis and Yelich are great, but I think you gotta go with the three-time MVP/former Super Bowl MVP.

Tim from Charlotte, NC

Rick from Beloit's question reminds me of a saying I've heard in the business world, in reply to the question, "What if I train my employees and then they leave?" The answer? "What if you don't train them and they stay?"

And for every Corey Linsley the Packers have lost, they've also re-signed four or five Pro Bowlers.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

Good morning gentlemen. I, for one, don't get upset when we must let a player go in free agency. It means the GM is doing such a good job that choices have to be made with all the information available to make them. Whereas, if we did not have our own good players to pay, it means the GM is doing a bad job and now has to risk throwing out money on much higher-risk investments lacking info. He essentially doubles the risk of making bad choices. Give me losing guys any day of the week!

And I'll add this - whatever frustrations fans might feel this offseason about a lack of free-agent signings would pale in comparison to their anger over the Packers letting Davante Adams or Jaire Alexander walk.

Neil from Crystal, MN

Hello Insiders: With all of the draft talk, I decided to think about situations with current Packers that probably won't ever happen. My favorite is Big Dog running the jet motion. Your choice?

Adams throwing a touchdown to Rodgers.

Phil from Madison, WI

In regard to Matthias from San Antonio's question about players who came from nowhere, how about Dave Krieg who went to D.C. Everest near Wausau, began as a backup quarterback at NAIA Milton College (which no longer exists) near Janesville, went to the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent after his coach called the team to suggest they take a look at him, and went on to play 19 years in the NFL, leading three different teams to the playoffs and being named to three Pro Bowls?

To this day, Krieg remains one of the NFL's greatest success stories most have never heard about.

Ken from Elizabeth, IN

Hey Wes, I think it's time for an Insider Inbox poll. Agree or disagree with Spoff, out of the 24 Draft Digest players he's chosen the Packers will not choose any of them! What do you think?

The Magic Hod ball says those odds are favorable.

Joe from Wauwatosa, WI

If you could host or be a contestant on a game show past or present, which show would you pick, which role would it be and why? I would want to play Plinko on "The Price is Right," plus then you get to spin the wheel, too.

Mine is "The Price is Right." You know how Rodgers talked about how his love for "Jeopardy!" started at his grandparents' house? That's how my love of "The Price is Right" began. It was something I could bond with my grandparents about. I still love that show. I've always wanted to be a contestant.

Mike from Allen, TX

Good morning to all. With Spoff's reference to the Wonderlic, I'm wondering if either of you two gentlemen ever took it. I don't mean just looking at the questions, I mean taking the entire test under the time constraints a player would face.

I took it once at the Press-Gazette (which I think I might have mentioned before). I either got a 26 or 28. I can't quite remember.

Jared from Tampa, FL

Richard from Madison, I promise you, not one man on this force will rest one minute until we know everything the Insiders know about the Packers' offseason plans. Now, let's grab a bite to eat.

The same old story - reader finds Insider, reader loses Insider, Insider finds reader, reader forgets Insider, reader remembers Insider, Insider dies in a tragic baloney accident at Lambeau Field on New Year's Day.

Dan from Rice Lake, WI

Congrats to Hope Trautwein, pitcher for University of North Texas women's softball team. She threw a perfect game Sunday by striking out all 21 batters. First in NCAA Division I history. What do we call a "perfect" game that goes beyond perfect?

What an incredible achievement. Steve Nebraska would be proud. I'd say the "perfect" perfect game would have to be a quarterback completing every pass he threw and Aaron Rodgers came dang close to that against the Raiders two years ago.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Hi Wes, what submission location were you most surprised to see?

Uruguay.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

Today should have two Insider Inboxes. One continuing the flow of questions as normal and one with all the posts saying: "KUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHN!!!!" Or maybe just this submission and an estimation on the number of responses saying the same. With it being the offseason, you could throw in a "Best of John Kuhn" photo gallery, including his time working with you fine fellas. Question time: Is John Kuhn the only player to win a second Super Bowl ring playing against the team he won his first with?

I was surprised by how many folks were stumped by Spoff's trivia question. It's an interesting question you pose but there must be a player or two who's done it over the last 55 years. I'm just tired of trying to think of one.

Sal from Hailey, ID

I really miss yelling "KUUUUUUUUUUHN."

I mean, you still can. People might just look at you funny.

Matthias from San Antonio, TX

Now why didn't I think of him? His best year was the year the Packers won the Super Bowl, even scoring two touchdowns in the playoffs. His is an amazing story, almost as awesome as Rocky Bleier

And there's still plenty of chapters left to be written.

Jake from Athens, CA

Just trying to read between the lines here. My chances of getting posted go up if I mail you a sandwich a few days before submitting a question, yeah? How do you feel about pimento cheese?

I can't speak for Spoff but you may never get posted in my Inbox again if I ever find out you sent a pimento cheese sandwich to my mailbox.

Vic from Pittsburgh, PA

I've been reading you jerks for a long time. I have very little faith the two of you can last 17 regular season games. Start crying "BOYZ."

You and me both, "Vic." You and me both.

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