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Inbox: Every first is memorable

Consistency is difficult to achieve anytime

2023 Rookie Minicamp
2023 Rookie Minicamp

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

I understand the concept of managing expectations for a young team with a new QB1, but I still expect the Packers to win the NFC North, and will be disappointed if they fall short. That may not be rational, but it's real.

As I've said multiple times already, I'm back to my optimism without expectations mantra from 2019. But there is no juggernaut in the NFC North, in my opinion.

Bill from San Antonio, TX

I watched the "rookie arrival" video. I couldn't help but think of the range of emotions they felt meeting their new coach, teammates, and the staff for the first time. Putting on that helmet with the big "G" must feel pretty awesome.

Joe from Swansea, IL

With so many kids in camp this year, I'm wondering: Can you guys tell when the light bulb goes off? Are there signs that tell you he's "got it"? Is it always obvious? Does it depend on the position he plays?

Sometimes it doesn't happen until Year 2 or 3, but if it does happen for a rookie, it's almost certainly to be in a game and not practice. The first of Christian Watson's three TDs vs. Dallas last year comes to mind.

Gina from Waukesha, WI

When are the players given the playbook? Are they allowed to take it home between minicamp and training camp?

The rookies get an introduction to it this weekend and then are fed more as they assimilate into the offseason program and eventual OTAs with the rest of the squad.

Fredrick from Bluffton, SC

I have a comment about players teaching or mentoring a young player. In the business world I wouldn't be real happy with teaching a new employee my job. My concern is will I be losing my job. Can you really believe that a starter is out there to impart his knowledge to a rookie? Also, I read that a pro said it's the coaches' job to teach not mine. I'm trying to keep my job.

I do think the whole mentorship narrative gets a bit overblown when fans or media don't differentiate between a veteran player whose place on the roster/in the lineup is fairly secure vs. a veteran player who's potentially threatened and looking to hang onto either one or both. Just because a player is a veteran doesn't mean he's automatically going to function as a mentor.

Luke from Rochester, MN

Recently read some sobering things about NFL draft picks. "From a team standpoint, if just one of your draft picks is extended in a second contract, that is an average draft. Extending two is a good draft, and 3 or more is extraordinarily good." Do you agree or disagree with that conclusion?

Sounds about right.

Roger from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, Mike. Thought I was going to be asking this question to Wes, as you answered his question yesterday. But I'll go ahead anyway. I was confused when Kenneth Odumegwu was "allocated" to the Packers. Does the "assigned" team "bid" for players like when they acquire players through the waiver process? Who would know? (Inquiring Packers fans "need" to know.)

I've learned that the International Player Pathway program for 2023 randomly assigned eight players to the teams in the NFC North and AFC West, the last two divisions that had not yet participated in the program.

H.R. from Henderson, NV

A follow-up on the question from CJ from Cedar Rapids, IA, please. What happens if the Jets end up with a pair of 2's (or a pair of 1's) in the 2024 draft? Would the Packers end up with the higher of them? Or would they only end up with whichever one was originally the Jets' to begin with?

The Packers would get the Jets' original pick.

Christopher from Appleton, WI

One of the biggest parts of Davante Adams' game was his offseason work ethic. He'd grind month in and out and would come back bigger, stronger, and quicker every season. Do you see a current player on the roster with that same level of drive?

Plenty. Adams isn't a perennial All-Pro and possible future Hall of Famer simply because of his work ethic and drive. He is who he is because of the incredible talents and gifts he has that many don't have, and then the way he applies his work ethic and drive to maximize them, thereby maintaining his edge over the mere mortals.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

What's your favorite nickname for an NFL fanbase?

Bills Mafia in Buffalo is the best, followed by the Dawg Pound in Cleveland.

Joe from Wausau, WI

Last year the Packers offense was the worst in the NFL at converting goal-to-go situations to touchdowns. How do they go about fixing that?

Run the ball better in red-zone and goal-to-go situations. When the Packers had that otherworldly 80% TD rate in the red zone a couple years back, they ran the ball very effectively down there. It set up everything else they used to get into the end zone.

Ray from West Des Moines, IA

How do you see Tyler Goodson fitting into the Packers' future?

He's in a full-fledged competition for the No. 3 job behind Jones and Dillon with Patrick Taylor and rookie draft pick Lew Nichols. I only see one of those three making the 53-man roster at this point, with the practice squad available for those beaten out if the right impression continues to be made.

Darren from Wakefield, MI

Hi Mike. Can you please explain the situation with players such as Crosby and Lewis at this time of year? Are they holding out for a team to offer more money than the Packers are willing to pay? Are they offered a number etc. or is it the Packers aren't sure if they want them as returning players? Personally, I'd be on board for both to be on the 2023 roster.

I'm not sure the two situations are all that similar in totality. Crosby has indicated he wants to keep playing, and comments on the Packers' side from earlier in the offseason would indicate the cap impact is a big concern. I also can see – and this is just my speculation – a difference in the length of commitment from the Packers vs. what Crosby might be seeking at this stage of his career. Both sides are in a tough spot business-wise, to be honest. With Lewis, it's not as clear whether he plans to continue playing, and if he does it might have to be in just the right situation as far as the team, the teammates, etc., for him to keep going. His role is going to fit only certain teams, and his interest might be in only certain teams. For both players, it feels like they're waiting for the stars to align, but their eyes are on different skies.

Steve from Colorado Springs, CO

It always seemed to me over recent years that how the team fared in games was inordinately dependent on how AR fared, more so than many quarterbacks. It seems logical that, at least initially, Jordan would not have the same level of impact on game outcomes. If so, is that good or bad (or both)? Either way, I am really looking forward to whatever comes.

No offense, but I think you're confusing the expectations for QB play vs. the impact of QB play on games. It's still very hard to win in this league if the QB plays lousy, and there's a heck of a lot less to overcome if the QB plays great.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

Hi Mike, I'm curious to hear your take on an opinion of mine. Over the past few years it seemed Rodgers was reluctant to throw the ball over the middle. Instead leaned towards throwing lob passes down the sidelines to Adams and Lazard. Love's TD throw against Philly when he dropped back, stuck his foot in the ground and hit Watson on the quick slant was telling.

Not to quibble, but to me that TD was more of a downfield crosser than a quick slant. That said, Rodgers always wanted to attack individual one-on-one matchups – which were most often along the boundary – if he thought his guy had a chance to make a play downfield, and they worked plenty due to his amazing accuracy and timing. Everyone remembers more the occasions they didn't when a third-and-2 shot play resulted in a punt, which was justifiably frustrating. So I didn't process that as a reluctance to throw over the middle as much as an aggressive approach regarding one-on-ones outside to hit an explosive play. With Love being so much younger and far more inexperienced, I can see less urge to fire a one-on-one ball, and perhaps more patience with letting the post-snap scheme work somebody open, rather than relying on the pre-snap look to determine the matchup to go after. Not that he won't do the latter, but maybe less often. That's a little bit of spiffballing on my part, but I hope the distinction makes sense.

Matt from Waterloo, IA

Mike, with regards to preseason games this year, how much playing time will Jordan Love see? Or will it mostly be about seeing whether Clifford or Etling will be the backup? Appreciate all you and Wes do to keep us informed.

That'll be an interesting balancing act for LaFleur, because while the preseason reps could help Love, you're only putting him out there with the No. 1 offensive line in front of him. They won't necessarily need a whole lot of reps, but they need to be out there for Love, so it'll just depend on what LaFleur feels is the right compromise.

James from Appleton, WI

Like Mark from Missoula, I have wondered what Jordan Love might bring to the offense that Aaron Rodgers did not. First, Love may reset the offense back to when Rodgers was more of a scrambling QB. I also expect Love to run the play called more often. Rodgers earned the right to do it, but he was playing chess at times when all we needed was checkers.

Brendan from Warren, MI, also brought up the scrambling element. I do think Love's younger legs will keep defenses a little more honest with their pass rush, but I don't see an excessive amount of scrambling or designed runs a la Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson.

Ryan from Bloomer, WI

Cheers Mike! What do you think the chances are of getting a home opener and a home finale? Has it happened before? Which would you prefer and would it be different if AR was here one more year hypothetically?

I think a home opener would be best for Love as he initially takes over, but after that I believe young QBs often perform better in the cold, so if he proves up to it his first year, late-season home games could really work to the Packers' advantage. In my time here, the Packers have opened and closed the regular season at home just four times – in 2018, '11, '08, and '07.

Larry from Keyser, WV

What's the best season record for the Packers during the first year with a new starting quarterback?

They went 9-7 in Favre's first year in '92, and Favre was actually 9-5, as the Packers were 0-2 when he stepped in for an injured Majkowski in Week 3.

Julius from Providence, RI

I just saw the craziest fact. According to Sports Illustrated, there are four teams whose most experienced receiver (or tied for most) is a former Packer. Jets have Cobb, Raiders have Adams, Chiefs have MVS, Bears have ESB. And if you don't count Matthew Slater of the Patriots (with one career reception in 16 seasons), then the Patriots have Ty Montgomery (who is a WR again, but now has No. 14). It is mind-boggling how good the Packers are at drafting receivers. This bodes well for this season.

In the immortal words of Regis Philbin during his "Seinfeld" cameo, that's a little bonkos.

Robert from Verona, WI

As the Brewers got off to a hot start, Craig Counsell cautioned fans that there would be ups and downs due to the youth on the team. Although injuries also play into it, I think it's fair to say we're experiencing some of the downside Counsell warned about. I have to think Packers fans need to be prepared for the same. I fully expect there to be many great moments that will energize Packers fans this year, but as fans we'll also have to endure the inconsistencies of a young and developing team.

Consistency is difficult to achieve anytime, and it's even more elusive the younger a team is.

Graydon from Menomonie, WI

Last weekend was the draft. This weekend is the rookie minicamp. That's two busy weeks for you. How are you ensuring a healthy work-life balance during this time?

I'm taking a brief excursion that includes Monday off, so you get Wes for the first couple of days next week. Have a great weekend, everybody.

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