Bears fans, you could have seen this exclusive analysis first, in your inbox, on Wednesday morning if you subscribed to PFW: Chicago. Don't miss out on in-depth analysis, without the fluff or hot takes. Subscribe today and get your first full year for only $27!

Is the Aaron Rodgers controversy just a smokescreen distraction or is it for real? Aaron Rodgers/Matt LaFleur** Submitted by Sid Kenyon

Sid, I’m not sure how it would be a smokescreen since the big “expose” was written by a reporter unaffiliated with the team and hoping to garner a lot of attention with it.

How seriously anybody wants to take it is in the eyes of the beholder/reader, but it has certainly been a distraction.

Tyler Dunne who wrote “the story” is a serious and well credentialed reporter who has done some really good work over the years, enough to convince me there is something to the story of a disconnect between Rodgers and McCarthy.

Unfortunately with the number of unsourced claims made in the story, and the reality that the only players/coaches/front office folks actually quoted were badly outnumbered by the anonymous sources and each have well established agendas over a period of time, and the fact that both Rodgers and McCarthy have vehemently denied most of what was in the report, the best guess I can make is it was much ado about very little.

Mark Murphy, Ted Thompson and Brian Gutenkust are all extremely solid and talented “football people,” and if the situation in Green Bay were anywhere near as bad as Dunne painted it McCarthy would have been gone much sooner and Rodgers would almost certainly have had to been moved as well.

With Rodgers in particular there is plenty of evidence he isn’t what you’d call a “good guy,” but I’ve worked the sidelines — stood no more than 10, 20 feet from them much of the time — of at least a dozen big Packers games over the past five or six seasons and never saw a single incident to suggest there was anything but a normal head coach/QB relationship between the two.

There is also a great deal of evidence that Rodgers is a pretty smart guy, and whether they like each other or not — I have no idea — he has to know if he doesn’t find a way to work with and support LaFleur, he’ll be poison not only in Green Bay but around the league.

The bigger question for me: is LaFleur ready for the job, period? He’s a good candidate, but nowhere near the prospect that guys like Doug Pederson, Sean McVay, Mat Nagy and Frank Reich have been in recent seasons.

His credentials seem to stem a lot more from his relationships with Kyle Shanahan and McVay than what he’s actually accomplished as a coach.

Did the Tennessee Titans offense knock your socks off last year?

It should be interesting and LaFleur’s in a really tough spot because if he doesn’t succeed, I really doubt it will be because of Rodgers — and very few others will buy that either — but if they do take off, Rodgers will get a lot of the credit.

All we know for sure is that LaFleur will probably be staying off the basketball court for a while.

Will the Bears ever be on Hard Knocks? Submitted by Arturo

Lord knows I hope not Arturo! The whole show is ill conceived, voyueristic and a completely unfair invasion of teams’ workplaces and players and coaches right to priacy. It’s just not something I will ever watch.

However, if enough fans disagree with me and the ratings do keep the show on the air, eventually the Bears will have to appear because it is mandated by the league that all teams eventually participate.

I personally think it’s disgusting that the owners' never-ending greed allows them to put their players and coaches in such an unnecessary place.

My hope is that enough fans tire of watching or disapprove of the really tough spot it puts these young players in and that it’s canceled.

To date, 13 teams have participated (the Dallas Cowboys twice), so if the show lasts 19 more seasons, the Bears will be on.

But my guess is that the McCaskeys will avoid it as long as possible — and there is a good chance it won’t ever have to happen.

I have a friend who for some reason believes Mitch Trubisky is not a gamer and doesn’t ‘love football’.. can you please set the record straight for him please? Submitted by Black Gallagher

Black, your buddy doesn’t know his rear end from a hole in the ground.

We’re still a year away from knowing if Trubisky wil ever be a franchise QB, but his toughness, competitiveness, work ethic, leadership skills and love of the game are all over the top, A+++!

Tell your bud to pick a sport he knows something about.

Hub, what are you hearing about the potential work stoppage in the NFL in 2021? Totally makes sense in one of your pro football weekly podcast, you mentioned why is there no talk about lifetime healthcare for the players! I know that would settle plenty private sector negotiation. Submitted by Tony Guzman

Actually Tony, Roger Goodell is leaking rumors that conversations with the players about a new CBA are underway and promising, but don’t buy it for a minute.

What Goodell has already intimated is the owners want 18 regular season games and are willing to give up two preseason games to get them, but at this point the players are still very much against extending the regular season.

What makes this such a tough putt is the owners greed knows no bounds, and the players leadership doesn’t necessarily represent what’s best for the majority of their membership, while the majority of the membership is still young and inexperienced enough that the majority of them don’t really understand yet what’s best for them long term.

The best way to bridge that gap is for the owners to put something huge and undebatably positive — like lifetime healthcare for the players and their families — on the table. It’s something the players would have to embrace and give something back for in return.

But my guess is the owners won’t do it because it’s extremely expensive and there’s really no way to gauge how expensive it will be, even just a few years down the road.

Hi Hub! I have 2 questions if you don’t mind... 1. Which WR do you see as the true no. 2 (w ARob as no. 1) this season? 2. Lagavulin or Laphroaig? Thanks! Submitted by Madlith

The plan is for Anthony Miller to be the No. 2 wideout, and if he can stay healthy there’s every reason to believe he can be a good one.

Interestingly enough, if Miller can’t stay on the field there’s a real chance that next up for that spot could be Riley Ridley or the undrafted rookie free agent Emanuel Hall, who comes with his own injury history.

Taylor Gabriel can be an outstanding weapon, but as you saw last year when he was the No. 2, while he set a career best with 67 receptions, almost twice his previous single season best, his average per catch (10.3) was 3.4 yards per catch below his career average (13.7) entering last season.

If you make him a No. 2, you lose one of your more dangerous weapons.

When I look at Ridley, I see Randall Cobb, Golden Tate or Michael Crabtree — all great No. 2s.

Hall is more of a Mike Wallace or Mohamed Sanu comp and is still a nice player to have.

As for question No. 2, I know Lagavulin is the goods, but I had a battle with the grand old single malt at the Bull and the Bear at the Waldorf Astoria in June of 1997 during game 5 of the Bulls-Jazz series that left me with the worst hangover of my life.

I was with Bill Dow (Irishman) and Neil Cook (Brit), President and Editor of the Daily Racing Form, and probably in over my head. But they were in just as bad a shape as I was when we met for our meetings early the next morning.

Ever since then, Lagavulin has tasted oily to me and it’s just not on my list any more, which is probably more my fault than its own.

Laphroaig is also the goods, but my big three these days are Glenrothes, Oban and my very, very favorite, 25-year-old Glenfarclas, which is ridiculously expensive but absolutely worth the pain.

Is it the water or the geography that make Packers fans the most illogical people on the planet? Submitted by David Lund

David, I know you know this one, where does the word fan come from?

Actually, I find Packer fans to be among the most knowledgeable in the NFL, or at least when it comes to attending games and understanding the action, knowing how to contribute, understanding the moment and participating in a positive way.

Are they a bit more biased and less objective than many when it comes to their team? Maybe, but you kind of have to respect that a bit too, don’t you?

Any possible kickers on the chopping block after minicamp? Also, why haven't we brought in Matt Bryant?

None that are a clear upgrade over Eddy Pineiro or Elliott Fry. Both of these kids appear to have NFL legs, with Pineiro’s particularly looking and sounding (when he hits the ball) like it could be special.

There may be a street vet out there they bring in eventually, but not now.

Remember, they’re carrying $4 million of dead cap money from Parkey, but Pineiro and Fry are both at around $580,000, a little over the minimum, so the total against the cap for the position isn’t that painful.

A veteran with any scalps on the wall will cost at least $2-3 million, and that would be tough.

I say no to Bryant, as he’s 44, kicked indoors in Atlanta and would be very expensive.

You see the Lions as a legit last to first potential team this season as others have noted? Submitted by J.C.

J.C., not only do I not see that, I’m not aware of anyone else who has either?

Trey Flowers is a nice player they badly overpaid for, but there’s no reason to think he’ll be special, and beyond that, what have the Lions done to make you think they’re a playoff team?

I’m not saying they can’t or won’t improve, but they’re still just the fourth most talented team in the division, by a fairly wide margin.

My question is why do White Sox fans freak out over one win to a team not in their division? Follow up question, is it too late to rescind the Quintana/Jimenez trade? Submitted by Jackie

Jackie, they do it for the same reason Cubs fans did prior to the Maddon era: because they know it’s about the most they can hope for this season, chirping at the other side of town. I was raised to believe a doubleheader is when the Cubs win and the Sox lose, but I don’t know how you can be anything but impressed by the job Hahn is doing with this rebuild and the way Renteria has them playing. Give credit where it’s due. Some of my best friends are Sox fans, and while I’ll never understand that I’m happy for them.

As for the trade, I didn’t like it when the Cubs did it, but I understood it. Unfortunately, unless the kid gets hurt — and we certainly all have to hope that doesn’t happen — the Sox have already won that one too.