Inbox: The game is always changing

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Do you believe we will be a passing or running team this year?

Yes. Good morning!

I believe a pass rusher (EDGE) is the greatest draft need. However, are there any skill-position players we should keep our eye on? I know it depends on how the board falls, but how deep in the draft do the Packers wait to draft a skill position player?

It largely depends on free agency. For example, I’d look to draft a receiver earlier if Randall Cobb doesn’t return. Regardless of how Brian Gutekunst handles the tight ends, though, I’d like to see the Packers draft one and start that development process because it’s going to take a season or two to bring him along. Plus, it’s going on five years since the last time Green Bay drafted a TE inside the top 200.

Do you know which Valentine’s Day card was downloaded the most? I gave the Mike Daniels card to my wife (along with a regular card, of course).

I think it’s safe to say Aaron Rodgers took the cake…for like the sixth year in a row.

On the topic of best Aaron Rodgers throws, I still come back a throw from the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. Protecting a small lead with third-and-10 from his own like 20-yard line, Rodgers put it on a rope to Jennings just over the outstretched fingers of great coverage and underneath Polamalu for a 35-yard gain and almost a TD if not tripped up. That’s when I really knew the moment wasn’t too big for him.

Rodgers already made several big plays in his career prior to Super Bowl XLV, but I’ve always felt that throw was his “announce my presence with authority” moment. You have to remember Rodgers wasn’t a two-time MVP yet. He wasn’t even a Pro Bowler in 2010. However, Rodgers was on the verge of something special and that pass served as the harbinger for his breakthrough.

On defense, it seems to me we have a lot of young (fewer than four-year) players on the roster except for edge rushers. On offense, it seems we have more veteran players except at wide receiver and running back. How much does the age of the players by position group influence the team strategy in pursuing free agents and the draft?

The renovation of Green Bay’s defensive line is probably the best example of how to ease a position group from aging veterans to a younger nucleus. In 2013, the Packers pivoted from tried-and-true 340-pound defensive tackles built for a traditional 3-4 to players who better fit the direction of the league such as Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels and Dean Lowry. At each position, teams must analyze the roster, forecast future growth and build around those they feel can get the team to where it wants to go. The game is always changing. It’s up to the GM and his personnel department to read those winds and decide whether to augment a position through the draft or free agency.

Gents, I know we’re talking football moves here, but what about the infamous grave digger celebration by none other than Gilbert Brown? Oh and how about that Gilbert burger? Not too shabby, either.

Speaking of 340-pound defensive tackles…

Hi Mike. Joe from Clio, MI, asked a question I have thought about for some time regarding the upcoming CBA. I think guaranteed money might make it in MLB and the NBA, but injuries in the NFL can end careers, thus they have upfront signing bonuses for UFAs. Having guaranteed money is a slippery slope for the NFL with average career years so much lower.

I’ve struggled with this for years. On one hand, I think having more guaranteed contracts would benefit the Packers because of how well they manage their cap and contracts. On the other, I fear they’d fall into the same trap as the Brewers, playing in a league where big markets dominate. As exciting as last year was for Milwaukee, I can’t get invested in the MLB because of its structure. Any NFL team has a legitimate chance at winning a Super Bowl in 3-5 years with good management. That’s just not the case in MLB – and if a small market does succeed, it’s hard to make it last. But yes, injuries and large roster sizes complicate fully guaranteed contacts for NFL teams.

Anyone remember Randy Moss going to the Patriots? If I remember, Favre was not too happy the Packers didn’t pursue him. Moss never got the ring, but Brady got 50 TD passes. See where I am going? Draft and develop first, but once-a-generation talent available, may as well take a shot.

People remember the production and rightfully so, but what hindsight specialists overlook is why Moss was on the market in the first place. He’d worn out his welcome in Minnesota and Oakland, and it eventually happened in New England, too.

Perhaps more a comment than a question: I don´t recall the fan base panicking when the Bears had Brian Urlacher AND Julius Peppers. Is it possible that Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith are any better than they were?

Better right now? No. Younger with their best days ahead? Yes.

Kevin King for a third? Give me a break. Anyone who has been watching can see that the defense is totally different with King and Alexander out there together. Add Breeland to that (God willing), and all of a sudden the corners are arguably the strength of the defense. We should be thanking our lucky stars they didn’t deal Davante for a third back in 2015. How many times will we go through this exercise before people realize that you need to be patient with young guys?

There were so many fans who wanted to cut Adams after 2015. Could you imagine what the public outcry would have been if the Packers actually did and he caught 111 passes for 1,400 yards elsewhere in the NFC? This isn’t some high-priced veteran who’s underperforming. King is a young, ascending player whose best days are ahead of him. Have a little patience, people.

Here’s a motivator – if the Packers do not make the playoffs in 2019 they become eligible to be on “Hard Knocks.” Uff da.

Here’s a bigger motivator – if the Packers do not make the playoffs in 2019, it would be their third consecutive year missing the postseason. That would be the first time that’s happened since Brett Favre’s first season in Green Bay.

We’ll learn more at the combine, but the pool of pass rushers appears to be deep. That’s interesting considering Demarcus Lawrence, Dee Ford, Jadeveon Clowney, Frank Clark and Tre Flowers are set to hit free agency.

We don’t talk about the CFL much, but do the Insiders have any thoughts on the splash the Toronto Argonauts made with the signing of DT Cory "Poop" Johnson?

My only thought is why an NFL team hasn’t made this splash signing.

Khalil Mack from Chicago, Harrison Smith from Minnesota and Darius Slay from Detroit.

Denver and Baltimore are taking two different QB paths – older, expensive pocket versus younger, cheaper runner. Is this as close to a straight-up comparison as we’ve seen?

Pretty much. Denver is scrambling to find a quarterback. The Broncos swung and missed on Paxton Lynch in the first round and then struck out again after going the veteran route with Case Keenum.

I can only speculate, but Zac Taylor had his hands full through the month of January. Either way, it is strange so many coaches have reportedly turned the job down.

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