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APC Packers Mailbag: Benardrick McKinney, Tootsie Roll Pops and the Salary Cap

Candies, short-term success, and my favorite draft prospect ever are the focus of this week's questions in "Ask Harsha".

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

With the Packers taking a break from practice today, I thought it would be a good idea to go through the mailbag again and answer the burning questions that have been on your mind. Without further ado, let's get to your questions.

How is it that teams like the Broncos and Saints and Cowboys are able to afford free agents? I suppose you could argue that the Cowboys couldn’t, but the Saints were right up against the cap and got Byrd for max cash and still had enough change in their sofas to pay Graham after giving Brees such a crazy deal. And the Broncos went after every single free agent known to man seemingly…

Fair question. As you note, the Cowboys have paid the price for their eagerness to spend big in free agency - namely, being cash-strapped. As for Denver and New Orleans, they both have aging quarterbacks. Brees has said that he'll play as long as he's having fun, but his stretch of dominance as an elite player is likely coming to an end. Despite his excellent statistical 2013, Manning isn't physically the same player he used to be. Both the Broncos and the Saints realize this, and they're capitalizing on what they've got now. Both teams will probably face cap problems a few years down the line, but both will likely be in rebuilding mode by then. So they're doing what Ted Thompson wouldn't - they're pushing cap hits, restructuring contracts and generally doing everything possible to make themselves short-term contenders. There's nothing wrong with that - in fact, Green Bay could very well do that towards the end of Rodgers' career. If you're going to throw a Hail Mary, why not have your best receivers on the field?

Make the ultimate offensive Packer using traits from other Packers.

Offensive player is a bit more difficult than defensive player, since a defender can (and sometimes will) conceivably do everything (tackle, shed blocks, force fumbles, intercept the ball, look at the game cerebrally), but I'll try my best. I want my guy to analyze the game like Aaron Rodgers, throw with A-Rod's accuracy, possess the arm strength of Brett Favre, run with the abandon of Paul Hornung, catch like Don Hutson and block like Chad Clifton.


Glaring omission on my part. Perhaps Brandon took my words (or lack thereof) to heart, because he's reportedly been excellent at camp recently. If you had told me a few weeks ago that Bostick might be the best candidate for the starting job, I would've been a surprised. Now, it's not all that unlikely.

What is an unusual or out of the box lineup/formation that you would like to see utilized?

On defense, I'd love to see a bit of 2-5, perhaps bringing guys like Neal, Perry, Matthews and Peppers onto the field at the same time. On offense, nothing. This team has Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and an offensive line that might finally allow those guys do what they do best. Let 'em go to work.

Do you think that Peppers could play some TE for us, specifically in the redzone?

Sure, it's possible. I've sent some questions about Richard Rodgers over to California Golden Blogs, and I plan to publish their responses here at APC. One of the points I wanted some information on was on Rodgers' red zone ability. This offense, as prolific as it has been, hasn't been phenomenal when it comes to punching it in with the defense backed up. If a tight end on the roster can't offer a fix for that, I wouldn't be shocked to see the team experimenting with Peppers.

What is your thinking on the Grandfather Paradox. Have you ever thought about eliminating my grandfather in the past? I want you to think about this long and hard before you jump in your time machine. If you eliminate him I won’t be a nuisance but on the other hand I won’t be contributing questions for your 10. Next…. does APC have a budget? I’m thinking as I put in all this work to make "Ask Harsha" a success that I don’t necessarily need a salary but my arms and shoulders get a little tight from time to time. Is there a resident masseuse on staff? I believe I could come up with some outstanding questions and contribute in a major way to the site if I was given regular massages to help me ease all the tension I face day to day.

Trust me, I take every question I can get. That in itself defines my view on the paradox. Don't do it for the money, man. Do it for the love of the game.

College football is right around the corner, how about a scouting report on your guy, Benardrick McKinney, haven’t heard much about him. How does he compare to Miami’s (Denzel) Perryman or Bama’s (Trey) DePriest?

I was looking at CBSSports' list of Top 100 prospects for the upcoming draft, and I was shocked that McKinney didn't make the list. This from New Era Scouting: "McKinney is 6’4-3/4" tall, currently weighs 252 pounds and has a ho-hum 7 percent body fat. He can gain weight and grow without losing any explosive playmaking ability at all. He is expected to post a 42" vertical jump, a 10’3" broad jump and a 40-yard dash time around 4.45 seconds. These numbers are going to make NFL people drool."

How an SEC linebacker with good production and a spot on CBSSports' annual "Freaks List" doesn't make the cut is beyond me.

At any rate, the numbers I just quoted are what separate McKinney from DePriest and Perryman. He's the biggest and the fastest. Can you imagine 4.4 speed and that length in pass coverage? Not to mention that BMc (that's right, just came up with the nickname, boom) is an adept pass-rusher and has a better vertical than any receiver at the 2013 combine. I wouldn't be disappointed at all if we picked up DePriest or Perryman (I prefer DePriest between the two) but McKinney is my number one choice, especially since he's still developing. /end rant

What do you see happening with the LionsDo you see the coach turning them around & instilling discipline (with the current team)? Failing totally? Or needing to get some new players (on defense, especially) who are more what he needs?

Let me start off by saying that the Jim Caldwell hire wasn't universally acclaimed. Jim Schwartz took the team from a cellar-dweller to a competitive franchise. Unfortunately, his one playoff appearance (and zero wins) showed that he couldn't help the team go much further. Caldwell is the vanilla-pudding solution. The behavior of the even-keeled skipper nature should contrast the fiery antics of his predecessor. Caldwell is also a guy who has worked with Peyton Manning and got Joe Flacco to produce MVP-caliber play in the 2013 playoffs. On the other hand, he's lasted a whopping two seasons as a head coach, one in which he rode Peyton Manning to a Super Bowl berth and another in which the team floundered without #18. That shouldn't condemn him as a coach, but he's not exactly buzz-worthy.

With that said, there seem to be two issues in Detroit: a) the discipline and b) Matt Stafford's mechanics. Caldwell can probably help with the latter. Time will tell if he can command enough respect to improve the former. I see 9-7 and a game away from the playoffs for Detroit this year, but with signs of real promise.

How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?

More than I have time for.

Will AJ Hawk cause more than zero turnovers this year?

I'm guessing three: two forced fumbles and an interception.

What's up with Colt Lyerla's leg?!?

Sounds like a sprained knee, which Mike McCarthy has termed as a several-week injury. It's a pity, too, because Lyerla seemed to be shaking off the rust. If Colt can come back for the last preseason game, that will certainly help in the evaluation process a bit. If not, the coaching staff will have to make a tough decision. You've got locks in Bostick, Rodgers II and Quarless. You've probably got Jake Stoneburner, Ryan Taylor, Justin Perillo and Lyerla fighting for a fourth spot. This is why the preseason is worth watching. If you've got to miss part of the game, let it be the first quarter. Once the starters are shut down for the night, the real action starts.