Wed, 03 Jun 2020

Inbox: He had a fascinating career

Packers
23 May 2020, 18:12 GMT+10

Anything to help the replay process would help the game

Dave from Rockford, IL

What was the dumbest question you ever answered in the Insider Inbox?

I didn't know. Now I do.

Evan from Durango, CO

The Vikings lost all of their starting corners and their DB coach this offseason. They have two of the highest paid safeties in league, solid LBs and Danielle Hunter, but frankly their overall pass defense doesn't scare me at all. What am I missing that has everyone so high on the Vikings this year?

I'm not sure everyone is, though I consider them the biggest challenger to the Packers in the NFC North.

Michael from Monument, CO

Which 2019 Day 3 draftee makes the biggest jump this year? I'm thinking Dexter Williams will be the lost man, but am hoping for at least one second-year jump from among Kingsley Keke, Ka'dar Hollman, and Ty Summers.

Most beneficial to the 2020 Packers, in my opinion, would be if the biggest jump of that group comes from Keke.

Nikhil from Washington, DC

Hello Insiders, I read a recent article on fivethirtyeight.com on the draft and drafting. In the article, it mentioned that Ron Wolf was consistently drafting better players than the Packers' draft position would predict and he may have been the only GM to have done so consistently. I didn't track the draft back then and remember Wolf for trading for Favre. Can you give us a rundown of a few great value picks Wolf made?

A few? Wolf drafted 10 players in the third round or later who are in the Packers Hall of Fame (Bennett, Brooks, Freeman, Levens, Chmura, Henderson, Rivera, KGB, Driver, Tauscher), a list that doesn't include numerous other draft picks who made significant contributions to the team in the '90s and early 2000s. Interestingly, nine of those 10 picks were offensive players.

Bruce from Green Bay, WI

PI is out but has there been any discussion of rule changes with onside kickoffs?

Apparently the owners are going to vote next week on a fourth-and-15 alternative to an onside kick.

Jerry from Grantsburg, WI

Let's say the proposed onside rule becomes official. In the instance of a team scoring a TD on an opening drive of a half, would it be worth the risk to try fourth-and-15 to retain possession?

There are details that need to be worked out for the final proposal. I've seen different suggestions on how many times per game the option could be used (once or twice), when in the game (fourth quarter only or anytime), and any other limitations (must be trailing or can be ahead and still try it). I have yet to see the definitive rule that supposedly will be up for a vote.

Ken from Derby City, KY

Hey II, isn't obvious the NFL (New York) sided with the officials a month into last season and now they're just making it "official"?

I don't think the NFL sided with the officials. I think the senior VP of officiating did.

George from North Mankato, MN

If you only get to choose one for approval, which would it be and why? Sky judge or different onside kick?

I'll take the sky judge. Anything to help the replay process (New York) would help the game.

Ryan from Noblesville, IN

Read an article yesterday about "NFL's Top 10 Deep Passers." Rodgers didn't even make the list and he's the Hail Mary king. But Brady and all his dink-and-dunk passes was on there at No. 4. What a load of crap. Click-bait BS anyone?

You clicked.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Mike, in Cliff Christl's article on Paul Held did you think his picture looked a lot like Steve Young?

I could see a slight resemblance, almost like he could be Young's brother.

Shilo from Murrieta, CA

I like requiring more interview and advancement opportunities, but I DON'T like the "enhanced draft stock" concept, and I'm glad that was tabled. If I was a minority that was hired, I would naturally wonder if my team hired me just to get the better pick; if I was a non-minority and not hired, I would feel like I may have been a victim of reverse discrimination against me. NFL, please don't do enhanced draft stock.

I agree, I think that's a bit misguided. Creating opportunities for otherwise overlooked candidates to state their case is one thing. Incentivizing the final hiring decisions doesn't sit right.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

Would there be more black general managers and coaches if there were some black owners?

I'm no sociologist, but nonjudgmentally I would say that's a natural assumption. Human behavior isn't completely free of influence, even if no bias is intended.

Brian from Urbana, IL

Of course the Rooney Rule is insulting. It was only supposed to be the start of a bigger cultural shift. But that didn't happen, as illustrated by the current numbers. The Rooney Rule cannot be the standard. We are all obligated to work toward something better, so as to eliminate its necessity.

That would be ideal. The NFL is trying. There's no ideal solution.

Gary from Springfield, IL

Good morning! In "Unscripted," Wes mentioned quarterbacks who were not given ample time to develop before being thrown into the fire of NFL competition, thus not only hindering the ability to reach their professional potential but also subverting the impact on their team and on the league. In your estimation, which quarterback is the most lamentable casualty of this sort of underdevelopment?

I don't know how to rank them, to be honest. I guess I'll say the one I've always wondered about was David Carr. He was drafted No. 1 overall in 2002 by the expansion Texans and then sacked 76 times as a rookie. Two years later he was sacked 49 times, and then 68 more times the year after that. Houston had so far to go it would have been unfair for almost any quarterback, let alone a young one trying to learn the pro game while constantly under siege.

Andy from Kalamazoo, MI

Dear Insiders, about playoff bad calls that benefited the Pack, one that always sticks in my mind is the non-call on James Jones' hold during Jackson's screen-pass TD against Philly. Given where the score and momentum were right then, not scoring on that drive could have meant no SB for Rodgers. No one commented on it at the time but I've always thought we got away with a big one.

You prompted me to go back and look at it, and yeah, definitely got away with one. I will say, though, the hold occurred on second-and-goal from the 16, around the 10-yard line, so it would have been second-and-goal from the 20. Not a game-deciding call by any stretch. To cover others that were mentioned, Jason from Austin, TX, brought up the Devin Hester/Johnny Knox fake-out punt-return TD at Soldier Field in '11 called back on a hold, but that wasn't in the postseason. Scott from LA sent in the Chandler field goal in '65 vs. the Colts, whose mystique and what-ifs are captivating. That's by far the most significant and, getting back to the origin of this discussion, led to a rule change on goalpost height.

Forrest from Green Bay, WI

Responding to Wes's inquiry of the last time DPI/OPI was called during a Hail Mary. My first thought goes back to the Hail Mary that never was from Drew Brees to Jimmy Graham against the 49ers. It was tied 24-24 with :06 left on the clock. Brees bought time and bombed one to Graham and he made the ridiculous game-winning catch. Until a flag was thrown for OPI and the Saints ultimately lost in overtime. History is certainly not on the Saints side when it comes to calls.

I vaguely recall that one now that you mention it. When you think about it, since Drew Pearson pushed off on the play that led to Roger Staubach coining the term "Hail Mary," maybe the flags just aren't destined to be thrown.

Joshua from Houston, TX

I know Green Bay won't retire James Jones' 89, but what about retiring his hoodie?

I'd love to see a spot for it someday in the Packers Hall of Fame.

Matt from Fort Myers, FL

Good morning Mike and Wes. Do you think that the possibility of the salary cap going down next season due to the economic impact of Covid-19 is making general managers reticent to sign any players to new long-term deals? The big one that comes to mind is Dak Prescott, but do you think that makes Gutekunst more likely to let this season play out before negotiating any extensions with players like Kenny Clark or David Bakhtiari?

I really don't know, but it's entirely possible there's too much future economic uncertainty for either side to want to make commitments right now. I would imagine there's some impact, but to what extent I can't be sure.

Rob from Louisville, KY

When it comes to great Packers who wore No. 36, I'd also include MacArthur Lane. He was special.

I think it's neat when a number's history includes prominent players from both sides of the ball, like the No. 87, which many readers have pointed out (Willie Davis, Jordy Nelson).

Brian from Arlington, VA

Ben from Milton asked about timing of II in order to meet the 8:30 a.m. upload time. The answer didn't address that. I've always been curious about when the question cutoff time was and when you start to answer the questions? Do you have a set time frame?

Nothing's set, really. Most of the time, Wes and I write the column in the late afternoon for the next morning. Occasionally, I'll step away and finish it in the morning. I might write Monday's column late Sunday night or at sunrise, or a combination of both. So if you're looking for the best time to send in your question, there really isn't one. It's part of the charm.

Matt from Minneapolis, MN

I can't remember having so many offensive linemen that could make the team. Beyond the starting five there are three sixth-round picks that we didn't pick just to cut in their first year; Lane Taylor, who was our established starting guard, is on the bench; multiple backups that have gotten experience like Alex Light and Lucas Patrick. And it always seems like undrafted lineman emerge as solid backups. Can you remember having this much O-line depth on the 90-man roster?

I think the Packers have proven depth on the interior of the offensive line. On the outside, it's largely unproven. The development of Light, Yosh Nijman, John Leglue, and others will be a story to watch in 2020.

David from Hahira, GA

I don't do this to nitpick, but the revitalization of the Packers came with the hiring of Bob Harlan who hired Ron Wolf. Harlan became the captain of a ship that had been sinking for years and had the wisdom and humility to go get a football guy to be in complete control of the football aspect of the team. We will never know the fate of the Packers had someone else been at the wheel, but history and management philosophy says Harlan may have been the Packers' last best chance of relevancy.

I won't argue that. There are times I think it's too bad Harlan had to spend two decades in administration before he got control of the wheel, as you say. Then again, maybe those two decades of involvement and observation taught him what he needed to know. He had a fascinating career.

Vincent from Twin Falls, ID

We hear quite a bit about college coaches praising their former players and saying how his player will be ready for whatever the NFL throws at them, and why wouldn't they? Have you heard of any college coach give more of an "eh" response to those kinds of questions when interviewed? Or a college coach say something along the lines of, "This kid needs to sit and learn, he is in over his head."

Coaches aren't going to go out of their way to denigrate their former players on the record, but it's up to a good reporter to ask the right questions, detect anything that sounds over the top, find the veiled criticism and portray the player as accurately as possible. Every player has fought through a shortcoming and/or needs to improve in certain areas.

Luke from Verona, WI

I've read that the Packers have around $385M in their corporate reserves. Are other teams with individual owners able to quantify and release their savings account numbers, or is it simply whatever amount is in the owner's pockets?

The Packers are the only team in the league required to release financial information to the public, due to the ownership structure. No other team does.

Dylan from Belgrade, MT

Soccer one day, hockey the next? I can hear Vic stomping in his flip-flops right now.

Which is louder? Vic or his flip-flops?

Steve from Ramsgate, England

What game on the Packers' schedule do you have circled this year?

Whichever is the first one to get played. This has been the longest offseason I've ever muddled through, and we're only just getting to Memorial Day.

Mark from Hudson, WI

"I kid. I kid." So it is okay to drink that early? Thank goodness...had me worried for a moment!

It's easy to lose track of what day it is in our current times, so why pay attention to the time of day either? Happy Thursday.

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