July 26, 2021

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David Bakhtiari’s a prime example of that core…

5 min read
David Bakhtiari's a prime example of that core...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.