Tue, 13 Apr 2021

Inbox: He's a prime example of that core philosophy

Packers
01 Mar 2021, 17:12 GMT+10

Corey Linsley is everything a Packers player should aspire to be Wes Hodkiewicz

Stuart from Chesterfield, UK

Morning Wes! Your three-way career decision is something we call happenstance theory in the career world: Not having a fixed, rigid plan for the future, but having the foresight to recognize a good route when the opportunity presents itself. Do you think this is a good way to sum up the draft process?

I do, and I've always felt David Bakhtiari is a prime example of that core philosophy. The Packers drafted him in the fourth round in 2013. With Bryan Bulaga moving to left tackle, it was expected Bakhtiari would compete with Don Barclay and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle. And we all know what happened next. Davante Adams, Elgton Jenkins, Corey Linsley and even Aaron Rodgers were all good draft picks at positions that weren't " needs."

Matt from Ford City, PA

Do you see Jordan Love getting traded this offseason? If so, what teams do you think will be in the mix and what compensation shall we expect? Thanks!

Too many paper hands out there in the fanbase. Where are the diamond hands at?

Michael from Pound, WI

Surely (or Shirley), I'm not the only one who never thought Jordan Love was the obvious replacement of Mr. Rodgers? I took it as we needed more talent in the QB room and Tim Boyle is probably getting to the end of his tenure in GB. Imagine if we had better quality QB backups when Rodgers was injured those couple years. I hope the Pack drafts more "talented" QBs, especially in this QB driven league. It doesn't mean Rodgers is leaving anytime soon.

The Packers drafted Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn in 2008 and then got away from investing into young quarterbacks. Tennessee-Chattanooga's B.J. Coleman (2012) was the only QB Green Bay drafted over a span of seven years.

Jason from Woodbury, MN

In defense of Preston Smith, his leadership role on our defense is invaluable, despite the statistical decrease year over year. Plus, you can never have too many solid edge rushers. Take the Norsemen of my home state as a prime example. Two years ago, who could have predicted one of the Vikings' biggest needs entering the 2021 offseason would be talented edge rushers? Certainly not I! The NFL is uncertain at best and having a proven veteran who brings solid play at his position is a major boon.

The only reason I think this is even a talking point is the strange circumstances surrounding this year's salary cap. In a normal year, it would be full steam ahead with the Smith Bros. and Rashan Gary in 2021. The Packers made the three most obvious calls so far (Bakhtiari restructure, and the release of Christian Kirksey and Rick Wagner). Your guess is as good as mine as far as what comes next.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

Kevin King was supposed to be Richard Sherman 2.0 but his body has not held up to the task. Do you think his market price will be high or low end?

King might be the biggest question mark of all the Packers' upcoming UFAs. He's still young (25) with a lot of ability, but also is coming off an interception-less season in which he battled injuries. Some solid cornerbacks are set to hit the market next month (ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert ranked five in his top 50 free agents with six others as honorable mentions), so we'll have to see what market forms for King.

Matt from Ford City, PA

Any way we could get Richard Sherman for a decent price? I like that instead of putting another young player out there. He has stated he wants to play another two years. Thanks!

See previous answer. We need to see what kind of deals Desmond King and Shaquill Griffin (both 26) pull in before the cornerback picture becomes clearer.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

I just learned that Alan Faneca is now coaching at a local high school in my city. It made me think, do players that want to pursue coaching after their NFL career usually start at a high school or do their connections open an avenue to start as an assistant with a former team/coach? Or is it possible he is coaching to keep in touch with the game he loves and to help kids in his community? Thank you for the great work this week.

There isn't one way to go about it. Like any walk of life, connections are helpful but I also think of James Campen coaching high school football in California before catching on as an assistant O-line coach in Green Bay in 2003. Sometimes it is as simple as former players wanting to give back, too, like Bryce Paup becoming the head coach at Green Bay Southwest in 2006. He took a program that had won a single WIAA playoff game and led the Trojans to unprecedented success.

Brandon from Pleasant Prairie, WI

What is more common, a few-win team to get into the playoffs the following year or a playoff team to only get a few wins the following year?

This league is built for quick turnarounds. The 2011 San Francisco 49ers and 2017 Los Angeles Rams went from the outhouse to the penthouse overnight. But I think what we're seeing more and more are these teams that make title runs and quickly come back down to earth. Winning is great here and there is great, but building a perennial winner needs to be the long-term goal.

David from Minneapolis, MN

Who would you unretire No. 88 from the "reserved retired" list for: a player that switches from running back to receiver or a tight end that switches to fullback/receiver, if their position is weapon?

I'd go with the quarterback who returns punts and plays on the hands team. There aren't enough No. 88s under center these days.

David from Cable, WI

A lot of teams are talking about upgrading at QB. Is that just easier than upgrading the coaching or the rest of the roster?

It's a quarterback-driven league and the elite ones are in short supply. In my opinion, there is nothing more difficult in the game of football than finding your quarterback. Because if a GM and head coach get it wrong, they usually don't get a second chance.

Nick from Prescott, WI

I see the writing on the wall with Corey Linsley. That story of the first kid that gave him his bike for the traditional ride from practice is such a great story. He was a rookie and it really reveals who he and his family are. That kid told him his mom was sick. Corey was new in Green Bay and was invited to their family's dinner. He sat at that kid's table for his first Thanksgiving in Green Bay and Corey bought him a new bike to give him.

Linsley is one of the realest. His bond with Travis Kohlbeck and the entire Kohlbeck family will be one that stands the test of time. While founded in football, it's a beautiful moment of humanity. Linsley is everything a Green Bay Packers player should aspire to be.

Richard from Greenwich, NY

Liked the piece on Elgton Jenkins and Adrian Amos. My question is, assuming Corey Linsley is gone and Bakhtiari is out early in the season, who plays where, on your best guess OL?

Jenkins is such a luxury for the Packers. He could start at left tackle or center if Green Bay needed him to. If it were me, given the scenario you presented, I'd probably start the year with Jenkins at left tackle, Lucas Patrick at center and Billy Turner at right tackle. But there's still a lot to figure out between now and Week 1.

Jake from Lake Mills, WI

This is a follow up question from Friday. I think it was James from Chicago who compared Robert Tonyan's numbers with Richard Rodgers' numbers from '15 (good observation, by the way). Putting aside the fairly comparable stats in the passing game; in the humble opinion of Wes Hodkiewicz, how do each players' blocking skills stack up against each other? In other words, who is the more well-rounded TE? The '20 version of Tonyan or the '15 version of Rodgers?

At this point of his career, I'd argue Tonyan is more well-rounded. He's a better blocker and possesses more versatility. Rodgers had great hands but his infamous 40 time and in-line blocking issues were the holdup there. I am glad to see Rodgers resurfaced with the Eagles, though. He's definitely an NFL-caliber player.

Bob from Rome, NY

Gentleman: In reference to the best Packers team in the 1980s, I would like to give an honorable mention to the 1982 strike shortened team. They won a playoff game against the Cardinals and gave the Cowboys everything they could handle. Thank you for all that you do!

I can't remember if I told this story before or not, but as a kid, I used to beg my parents to take me to the Brown County Library so I could go through all the old Packers yearbooks. This was right around the time Green Bay started its turnaround behind Brett Favre. I obviously remembered Don Majkowski but I didn't know much about Lynn Dickey at the time. All I had ever heard from my father was how bad the Packers were in the '70s and '80s but I remember looking at Dickey's numbers and thinking to myself, 'Man, this guy was pretty good." Those early '80s teams were a ray of sunshine during some pretty dark times for the Packers.

Graydon from Menomonie, WI

According to NFL insider John Clayton, J.J. Watt has narrowed things down to the Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans. What are the Packers chances of signing J.J.?

Clayton has since walked back those remarks, but you know what they say about toothpaste and tubes.

Roger from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Wes, you brought back a good memory of mine in your Thursday II column. That Robert Frost poem was my choice for an 8th grade English assignment to select, memorize, and recite a poem to the class. Sixty years later I still remember it, and it has had a huge influence on my life choices.

Music changes and technology improves but the great thing about classic literature is it connects every generation.

John from Madison, WI

Frost, Poe... So, Wes, who else in your Mt. Rushmore of America writers?

Candice Millard and William Burroughs.

Dave from Las Vegas, NV

Wes, did you really flunk the LSAT? How bad could it have been? Did you study and take a prep course?

No. I already decided I wasn't going to pursue law but already had paid for the LSAT. I took it cold, just for the experience.

Warren from Lutz, FL

I remember being happy to go 8-8 in the 80s and even happier we could throw the ball. How times have changed.

My favorite childhood memory was Fox Sports Wisconsin doing a ticker in 2005 on how many games the Brewers needed to win to have a .500 season - not make the playoffs, just win 81 games. That was the bar back then.

Darrick from Kimberly, WI

I, too, like the idea of the retired numbers tiers. To expand on it, I propose different colors of jerseys for the tiers: Gold for permanent retired, green for retired reserve, and white for players that also made significant contributions to other teams. Put them on a wall. Also curious, what do you listen to during your workday? We didn't have music in the office, but I have it going pretty much all day now working from home. It's also my 35th birthday on Monday, so I have that going for me.

If I'm writing story, I listen to Lo-Fi music. I find lyrics distracting when I'm trying to concentrate. When doing Inbox, I usually listen to the Joe Rogan podcast if I like the guest, Jim Cornette, Luke Thomas and other various other podcasts on topics/interests I enjoy.

Donald from Swaledale, IA

Reply to Chris from Hunt Valley; I would recommend a couple books, "More Than A Ring" by Don Beebe and a recent book "Lombardi's Left Side" by H. Adderley, D. Robinson and Royce Boyle. Good reads. As for Weston's reply about fate leading your life choices, I call them blessing and being led by God's hand.

There you go. A couple more for you to chew on...or read.

Sean from Boulder, CO

That's pretty funny, Wes. First thing I thought with your response to Lee was how polite you were in responding to such a ludicrous "hypothetical." But Jake wants answers. Why would Houston trade their "young proven top tier QB" for one who will "be gone in a year or two anyway"? Houston wants draft picks, lots of them, because after all, it's a business. And, if trading a current MVP and long-time Packer when the end gets closer is how you run your business, good luck signing another FA, ever.

And here's the greatest thing of all - Houston reportedly isn't even picking up the phone. Teams are being sent directly to voicemail like it's some kind of 1-800 robocall.

Shel from New York City, NY

I can imagine a scenario 25 years in the future...Tom Brady in the shotgun, discards his walker and completes a 10-yard pass to Gronk, Jr.

With Tom's son Benjamin serving as his dad's quarterbacks coach, his first NFL assistant-coaching position after an 11-year run of his own as the starting QB for the Steve Belichick-led New England Patriots.

Rusty from Eustace, TX

Wes, this Packer owner is no Wisconsin rube with a heavy accent, I'm a Texas redneck with a drawl! Thanks for the levity.

Exactly. Send down a network camera crew to Rusty's place.

Jason from Minneapolis, MN

Hi Wes! Thank you so much for all you do to keep us entertained. Your work is not in vain, and we truly appreciate you and Mike! Now to the point. After exhaustive research, I have determined that there is a tried and true formula to getting a question answered in the Inbox.

1. Don't be a dumb(butt).

2. If you can't help yourself, then be the dumbest (butt) you can possibly be. As my granddad put it, "The biggest (butt) gets the biggest whooping."

I'll see myself out. Thanks again!

I think my work is done here. Mike is back Monday (You're welcome, Jake). I'll see ya when I see ya.

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