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Inbox: Big plays in big moments go a long way

The Packers have shown they aren’t shy

DL Rashan Gary
DL Rashan Gary

Glen from Leesburg, VA

On my way home from a meeting I was listening to music on my Spotify account. With all the music available through that service, there has to be the late, great Sam Spence, creator of NFL Films music. Sure enough, it's all there. Is there anything more stirring and image provoking than NFL Films music?! In preparation for the season, I'm going to listen to some of this every day. If nothing else, it will certainly get me pumped up to face my daily challenges.

I'll have to find some John Facenda narration to get me through the dog days of training camp.

Kathryn from Greenville, WI

Do you think Green Bay can hit over 100,000 attendees for the 2025 Draft?

Mark Murphy has said the total expected crowd over the three days next April is in the 200-250K range.

Aaron from Miami, FL

Hola Amigos, I would add one thing to Wes's response to the success of the MVS pick. With his deep ball ability, the defense had to respect his speed. Even if he wasn't getting the ball, he was opening up opportunities for others.

Look, I wasn't touting MVS as a Packers all-time great by any means. But with respect to his draft position the pick was unquestionably successful, especially when in nearby years the Packers drafted receivers Jared Abbrederis (176), Ty Montgomery (94), Trevor Davis (163), J'Mon Moore (133) and Amari Rodgers (85) before or around the 176th pick they used on MVS.

Cassidy from Carlsbad, CA

How did the Rams manage to accumulate so many picks over the last decade considering the draft capital they traded away for their Super Bowl run? I was under the impression that the train whistle was getting louder at SoFi.

I was surprised to learn the Rams have made the third-most draft picks (93) in the last decade. What's gotten all the attention is this year was the first time the Rams had a first-round pick since taking Jared Goff in 2016, and twice in those intervening years they didn't have a second-rounder either. But in terms of total picks, they've had no draft class smaller than eight since 2017, been in double digits twice (11 in 2018, 14 in 2023), and then hit double digits again this year with 10 picks.

Matt from Milwaukee, WI

Hi Mike and Wes, could you give us some more insight on how the scout team works? How many players are considered part of the scout team? Does this "roster" fluctuate throughout the year? Do scout-team players need to learn an additional playbook every week on top of being expected to know the Packers' playbook? If the scout team is composed of mostly second/third-string and practice-squad players, how much does the first team benefit by practicing against "inferior" opponents? Thanks!

The scout team is the mix of players you mention, and some two-deep guys will take regular reps as well as scout-team reps depending on that week's depth chart or injury situation. They aren't really learning a whole new playbook. For the most part, they're just glancing at diagrams of opponents' plays in the huddle and then running that play on the spot. Coordination of those play diagrams and the scout team in general can fall among the duties of quality control coaches (to answer another common question). The benefits for the first team are not necessarily in the quality of competition – unless the scout-team QB is Year 3 Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love – but in getting a good on-field look at plays they can expect the upcoming opponent to run against them. That's why sometimes the scout team is referred to as the "look" team. Same thing.

Michael from Baraboo, WI

What undrafted FA do you feel has a shot to make the final roster?

No one should be ruled out until the pads go on, which is something to keep in mind during the late May and early June OTA coverage. But looking strictly at opportunity, long snapper Peter Bowden will be in a head-to-head battle with veteran Matt Orzech, so that's worth watching. Specialists are always competing with everyone at their positions across the league, not just who's in camp, but the Packers have shown they aren't shy about going young at those spots.

Bil from Stateline, NV

When writing about Josh Jacobs in the backfield, Kyle references the "proven track record of the new vet." I would caution Kyle and his ilk the same as a fiduciary would – "past performance does not guarantee future results." It's a new season and a new team. Try to temper your expectations. Sure, two years ago he was rushing champ. Last year? Not close! How many players have we seen, that have gone from washout to star, or vice versa, with a new team? Mom would say, don't count your chickens...

I appreciate the fan base's level of enthusiasm for what's new, whether it's Jacobs or McKinney or Hafley or the draft picks, etc. But I'm seeing a lot of submissions making assumptions that are putting the plow before the mule, or the Hod before the Wes if you prefer. I'm in wait-and-see mode on all of it. That's partly my nature and partly what nearly 30 years in the sports writing business does to you. Am I optimistic and excited? Absolutely. But I'm not banking on anything until I see the results.

Jay from Altoona, WI

Networks pay a fortune for the rights to broadcast the games. Every new primetime or national broadcast means one fewer game for FOX or CBS, and they can't be happy for every marquee matchup that gets removed from their lineup (even if Peacock paid the NFL a Brazilian dollars to stream a Friday game). While I assume the latest TV deals anticipated the addition of streaming, is there a limit built into the deals that limits how many games can be removed from FOX and CBS?

Great question, and I'm not aware of the specifics, but I'm sure there are certain guarantees in those broadcast deals with the traditional Sunday networks. The primary thing they're guaranteed is those time slots. At noon and 3:25 p.m. CT on Sundays, games are on those two networks only, no others.

Joe from Hampshire, IL

Cliff Christl did a thorough job of explaining why draft grades on players, and on a team's overall draft, are nearly worthless. His comparison and contrast of various national draft shows was truly insightful; in fact I may sign up for the NFL Network now. To me, that fact that all these shows continue to exist shows me how hungry folks are for info and entertainment, regardless of accuracy.

Which is all well and good in the world of sports. A major problem with the populace these days is it takes a similar approach to media consumption – looking for info and entertainment, regardless of accuracy – on issues that really matter. But I digress.

George from Kennebunkport, ME

Drafting MarShawn Lloyd seems like a brilliant move based on the final year of Dillon's contract and the flexibility the Packers have in Jacobs' three contract years. The "experts" who questioned this pick might be missing that aspect. If Lloyd develops as expected, it gives us roster flexibility at the position while helping maintain a potent RB room for several years.

I actually thought the Packers were going to draft multiple running backs for some of the reasons you highlight. When they took a third safety, those odds certainly went down, but I still wouldn't have been surprised had they done so.

Scott from Tukwila, WA

Greetings II. Here's a thought that I know will never come to fruition. Following the draft, all 32 teams must submit their boards. Then this data will be released completely anonymously without identifying any teams. This would be an interesting way to see just how disparate each team's boards are. I know personally I could care less about how each team's personal board looks. I would much prefer knowing the vast distinctness between them strictly on a comparative, eye-opening manner.

Fascinating, yes. Fantasy, also yes.

Dave from Kaukauna, WI

What are you hoping for in the schedule? I always hope that we play new coaches and young QBs early. SEA (Macdonald) and TEN (Callahan) have new coaches. CHI (Williams) and MIN (McCarthy) have rookie QBs, and IND (Richardson, 4 starts) and TEN (Levis, 9 starts) have QBs in their second season. TEN has both a new coach and a young QB. I don't mind early byes because we have lots of young players who need practice reps. PHI has new O and D coordinators. What are you hoping for in the schedule? GPG

I've always wondered whether it's better to face young QBs early, when they're just getting started but there's more unknown and less on film, or later, when the offense they're running is more of a known quantity and there's more film to study. How last season unfolded has me leaning toward early.

Richard from Madison, WI

OK, I'll bite. I keep seeing references to Jordan Morgan's "hand size" being 11 inches. I'm pretty sure that's not a glove size or the thickness of the palm, but what IS it? Wrist to tip of middle finger? Side to side? With fingers spread as wide as possible from thumb tip to pinkie point?

The latter.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Mike. It now appears as though the Packers have a legitimate competition going for the backup quarterback job for the first time since before Jordan Love was drafted. Do you view this position as the player with the most long-term potential for an NFL career or who is more capable of winning a game or two while filling in during an emergency? Thanks.

The No. 2 is the guy the coaching staff is turning to in order to win a game.

Jake from Lansing, MI

Insiders, thank you for this exceptional forum. I always appreciate reading your insights. I'm writing in response to the all-star idea from Dustin in Kansas City, MO. I feel like Dustin's onto something. A midseason break would be great for all teams. It would eliminate the bye issues and provide all players an opportunity to heal/breathe. As for the Th, S, and M monster, I feel the NFL can do a midseason all-star recognition and a flag football tournament of retired players for entertainment.

It'll never happen, and this idea would plunk the midseason break after about eight weeks rather than the mathematical middle of the schedule, but as a baseball fan I'd love to see the NFL take a brief hiatus in late October and then have baseball schedule the World Series for T-W/F-S-S/T-W during that time off. Game 5 on Sunday afternoon! Sign me up.

Kerry from Lakewood Ranch, FL

If the Vikings and Bears have hit on their QBs of the future, is the NFC North on the verge of an incredible run of competitive football?

Perhaps, but history says at least one of those QBs will not pan out as hoped by the franchises that drafted them, especially if asked to play right away.

TK from Grafton, WI

It seems like every new rule change favors the offense. Given that, what does "great defense" look like in the current NFL?

What I've been saying for a number of years now – making key plays at key times. A third-down stop in the red zone, an interception in the fourth quarter, a strip-sack in two-minute … that's how defenses can best help win games in an offensive league. Only three defenses in the NFL last season allowed fewer than 300 total points (17.6 per game), and only one of those was under 294 (Baltimore at 280). Only four allowed fewer than 5,000 yards (294.1 per game), and only one of those was under 4,900 (Cleveland at 4,593). When those are the top numbers/averages, that means the very best defenses are giving up 20-plus points and/or 300-plus yards plenty of times throughout the course of a season. Flat-out shutting down teams week after week is a pipe dream. Big plays in big moments go a long way.

Doug from Roberts, WI

Mike, when you answered the question to Joe from Cedar Rapids about strength of schedule, you said sorry about the math. Was this because you didn't want 30 "there's no math in Inbox" questions? Do you select/reject questions about math, 88, laser goalposts with a purpose, OR can this not even be asked because of the first rule of fight club? I really enjoy the witty, measured, informed, well-written responses from you and Wes. Best Packers site on the web!

Thanks much. Happy Friday.

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