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Inbox: Beyond that, it's wide open

The process should benefit everyone

WR Samori Toure
WR Samori Toure

Jeff from Janesville, WI

A year of massive change, no idea what to expect.

Refreshing, isn't it? Like I said a few weeks ago, it feels like 2019 all over again. The "massive change" is just in a different part of the team.

Taylor from Hull, IA

Do you think there is a new sense of calm within the organization now that Rodgers is gone? The goal is always to win, but it felt like the fanbase has been in the "we have to win now before it's too late" mindset the last several years. It seems like we are now entering a window of building instead of reloading or risking the wrath of the QB.

The Packers executed the contracts they did and pushed the money down the road as they did because they felt amidst the Covid-related cap challenges they had a championship-contending team, which they did until last year. Financially speaking, they maximized on the opportunity. Results-wise, they did not. But nobody's feeling any less pressure to win, because when you talk about the "window," winning is what opens that up, and the task now is to get back to that point.

Brian from Urbana, IL

"Matthews had his share of success during Loadholt's six years in Minnesota." Excuse me but I suspect this may count as chortling.

My bad.

Bill from Louisburg, KS

I guess I am missing the obvious, can you please explain the benefit of JL10's one-year contract extension from both sides? Thank you.

Doing an extension rather than picking up the fifth-year option works as a nice compromise for both sides. For the Packers, the deal can be structured so the cap hit in '24 is less than the option, and there's less guaranteed money. For Jordan Love, the extension pays him more money this year and includes incentives that will allow him to make more than the option figure in '24 if he performs well. It makes a lot of sense for both team and player.

Steve from Fox Lake, WI

Wondering if you guys noticed that the Ravens declined LB Queen 2024 option. I remember this player was a popular choice of Packer fans and pundits back during the 2020 draft, me as well. Wish this player the best but it's interesting to note that year BG moved up to take JL at 26 overall and has been taking heat ever since. The book hasn't been completely written yet but once again we learn to trust our GM.

I was in the Patrick Queen fan club for the '20 draft, too. I don't cover the Ravens, so I can't speak to everything that's gone on. But they made the trade for and huge investment in Roquan Smith and then spent a third-round pick on the inside LB from Clemson on Friday night. A lot can happen in this league in 3-4 years. Nobody really knows, and the Packers don't know on Love yet, either, but they've now mitigated their financial risk and helped the cap in '24 as they find out.

Joe from Wausau, WI

Packers added void years to Darnell Savage's contract to save cap room. Is dead money due to void years every year going to be the new normal? Or will they eventually try to get out of this situation?

The idea would be to do it less and less moving forward, but they restructured Savage to make room for the portion of Love's extension that will count this year. Hopefully they can get close to caught up next year when cap-wise Rodgers is totally off the books.

John from Heber, UT

No disrespect to Jayden Reed, after all he has yet to lace up his cleats in Green Bay, but all the praise and promise for him coming to the Packers reminds me of similar comments made about Amari Rodgers just two years ago, and we know how that turned out. What do you see in Reed that will hopefully lead to more productivity and longevity that Rodgers?

Reed is two inches taller and 20 pounds lighter than Rodgers. Different body types. Reed has more sudden quickness and overall speed, with a ton of film showing contested catches downfield. Rodgers didn't have that. The Packers liked what Rodgers did in the short-area game at Clemson, but he struggled physically and mentally his rookie year here, admitted to not staying in shape, and the repeated fumbles in the return game dragged down his confidence. He needed a fresh start, and so did the Packers at filling the role envisioned, so they're trying again with a different physical profile.

Dave from Germantown, TN

There is a narrative advanced by general journalists that now that Rodgers is gone, the Packers are now suddenly adding receiving weapons to spite Rodgers. Don't you think the draft would have unfolded very similarly if Rodgers was still a Packer?


Dave from Yeovil, UK

Morning Insiders. With the additions of Lukas Van Ness, Colby Wooden and Karl Brooks it appears that opposition QBs now have more reason to fear our pass rush. But will this defense be any better at stopping the run?

It has to be, and that's where they're counting on the difference T.J. Slaton, Devonte Wyatt and Walker can make now that they're all a year older with more experience under their belts. Time will tell.

Shawn from Kissimmee, FL

Are there any players left on the team that were drafted by TT? Is it down to Aaron Jones and Kenny Clark?

And David Bakhtiari.

Scott from Hayward, WI

This team, barring bringing anyone else in, is young. Very young, not that there's anything wrong with that. The Rodgers trade, and addressing the TE and K positions in the draft reinforce the youth movement that is happening at 1265 Lombardi Ave. As the roster stands, there are just three players over 30. In your years of reporting, do you remember any collectively younger team than the Packers have going into the 2023 season?

From 2006-08, the Packers were the youngest team in the league three years running, based on average age of the 53-man roster in Week 1. And that was with a QB in his mid to late 30s.

Craig from Appleton, WI

Jordan Love (24), AJ Dillon (24), Christian Watson (23), Romeo Doubs (23), Jayden Reed (23), Luke Musgrave (22), and Tucker Kraft (22). Our offensive skill positions just got a whole lot younger compared to last year. Throw in Samori Toure and the two other drafted WRs too. How big is the challenge going to be to get all of these players on the same page to start the season?

I don't think it's about getting on the same page so much as dealing with the growing pains, and hopefully mistakes made by one player aren't repeated by another. If everyone has to make the same mistakes to get it all down, this is going to take too long. If they can learn from their teammates' miscues, the process should benefit everyone.

Andrew from Placentia, CA

It seems just about every season for as long as I can remember, we knew who the leading receiver would be. Or, at least the top candidates. This year I have no clue how the WR or TE depth chart will look like. Many would say that's scary, however, I find it exciting. I can't wait to see which of the new young potential stars develop as Love's go-to guys. Do you have any early predictions?

Well, I'd be surprised, barring injury, if Watson isn't the leading receiver on this team. I also believe Doubs will be the No. 2 when the regular season kicks off. But beyond that, it's wide open.

Patrick from Indian Land, SC

You mentioned the two leading receivers as Doubs and Watson but I am wondering why there does not seem to be any mention of Samori Toure? Where does he come into the picture for wide receiver?

At this point, as I wrote over the weekend, I see training camp featuring Reed, Toure, Dontayvion Wicks, Grant DuBose and Bo Melton as the leading candidates for the third and fourth spots in Week 1.

Noah from Derby, KS

What do we know about why Brenton Cox was dismissed from two teams in college? He looks like he has great film and if the coaches feel like it isn't an issue I'm not too worried. I like pass rushers with a couple screws loose.

I don't think anyone felt like "it isn't an issue" otherwise Cox would've been drafted. I don't know much about the circumstances surrounding his dismissals. He's being given a chance to put it all behind him. The question is will he.

Dan from Richmond, VA

Two Inboxes in a row have mentioned the Pack using a lot of "12" personnel. As I assume this isn't a reference to Mr. Rodgers, I will happily plead ignorance and ask you to explain.

The two digits of the offensive personnel group refer to the number of running backs (first digit) and the number of tight ends (second digit). So "12" is a one-back, two-TE set. Teams also commonly refer to "11" personnel, which is one back and one tight end, meaning three wide receivers.

Erik from Mansfield, TX

I think many of us fans expected the Packers to snatch up Darnell Washington, as he seemed like the perfect heir to Marcedes Lewis. Yet not only did we not get him, he absolutely plummeted overall. Do you think that's just from teams being leery of a knee injury on a man with a 6-7 frame?

That's my best guess. It's another indication the most important piece to the combine – the reason the event was established in the first place – is the medical checks, and much of what teams find out from the medical checks does not get leaked to the media.

Bob from Marinette, WI

I know that I shouldn't but I was listening to sports talk on the local radio and they were ripping the draft choices with all the injuries. Like you guys have said that they wouldn't have picked them if they were concerned about the injuries. My question is do the Packers medical staff get access to x-rays and the college's medical staff and doctors' reports for those players?

All players invited to the scouting combine who have reported an injury in college have the appropriate scans done in Indy (x-rays, CTs, MRIs) and those are shared with all NFL clubs. Some players still recovering from those injuries are then re-checked before the draft. Players not invited to the combine can be brought to team facilities to have medical scans done as well.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

Speaking of numbers. It was pretty weird seeing 17 read Anders Carlson and not Adams. Did anyone wear it last year? Did I miss that?

Practice-squad kicker Ramiz Ahmed wore No. 17 last year and played in one game, kicking off vs. Dallas.

Richard from Iowa City, IA

Would you please describe the experiences of a rookie when they arrive in Green Bay for the first time? Does a team representative help arrange travel and initial lodging? I assume that an initial physical comes soon. What steps are taken to get the rookie acclimated and ready for a first workout or practice? I'm curious about what the first week or so would look like for a new player.

The players will be arriving on Thursday for rookie minicamp. The team arranges their travel, hotel stay near the airport, and transport to and from Lambeau. Once in the building, they have a checklist of duties, including a physical, picking up equipment, etc., to be completed before any group activities for the minicamp begin. It's a rather streamlined, systematic process.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

When can we expect to have the Packers' schedule released?

The latest rumor is the league is targeting May 11.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

I know the draft is dominating the conversation but I wanted to mention how nothing is guaranteed when going for championships. The Bucks and Bruins were the best teams in their respective leagues and are done in the first round of the playoffs. Boston set all kinds of records this regular season. The playoffs are just a different beast and you never know what will happen. Enjoy the wins when you can.


Jack from Pattaya, Thailand

So there was an article about it being the anniversary of the Library of Congress and it had a nice section on Ainsworth Rand Spofford and how under his direction he dramatically expanded on Jefferson's idea of a broad range of subjects being available at the Library.

In the previous mentions here of Ainsworth, I don't recall if I referenced great-great-great grandpa's occupation before his LOC appointment from President Lincoln. He was a journalist. Imagine that.

Markus from Aurora, CO

Gents, the draft is over, and we have so many questions but no answers yet. It's that time of the year again, where we need to be patient and see what develops.

Happy Wednesday.

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