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Inbox: Football hits different when that piece is in place

The entire locker room will define the destiny of the 2023 Green Bay Packers

QB Jordan Love
QB Jordan Love

Josh from Vancouver, WA

"And the older I get, the more I realize anticipation is as important as the experience itself." Wise words from Wes. It's why right now is such a magical time. Every Packers fan is thinking it: What if Jordan Love is the third consecutive great Packers QB? However unlikely, now is the time we get to dream.

Venturing into the unknown can be both frightening and exhilarating, but the risk is worth the reward in this game. That's what made Super Bowl XLV so sweet for this franchise 12 years ago. Now, the Packers prepare for a brand-new chapter with Love under center and soon they'll find out exactly what they have in their young quarterback…and we'll all be watching as it happens.

Craig from Appleton, WI

Once this trade is finally consummated, it feels like a win for both fanbases. Jets fans can be excited about competent QB play for a change and the Packers fans can be excited to watch Jordan Love develop and put his skills on display. I would rather watch that than not knowing who is going to win the QB battle between a rookie and a middling veteran like a lot of fanbases.

NFL teams want to avoid the purgatory you're talking about at all costs, where they win enough to stay in the middle of the pack but not competing for championships. Elite QBs are the unicorns every franchise is chasing and football hits different when that piece is in place. It's priceless for a fanbase to have faith in a franchise QB's long-term potential. Conversely, it can be just as hard to get excited if your team is missing that. So, I totally understand what the Jets are trying to accomplish here.

Samuel from Skokie, IL

We are supposed to temper expectations and understand there will be adversity and mistakes are inevitable. This sounds like what people say about rookie QBs during their first year (e.g. Justin Fields). Love has been learning for three years and at least has a little game experience. We have all seen the third-year jump he made and has been talked about by Matt LaFleur and others. Shouldn't our expectations be higher for Love than a first-year rookie?

"A little game experience" is one way to put it. Love has played 157 snaps in three years, with just 26 of those coming this past season. I would say be hopeful but realistic. Love may hit the ground running like Rodgers did back in 2008, but that would be a perfect scenario. Whether it's a rookie QB or fourth-year veteran, expect competency, not perfection, in a first-year starter.

James from Farmington, NM

Good morning Insiders. The speculation on the trade is that the Jets want some protection if Rodgers were to retire next year. Is this a normal request? It sounds more like a poison pill. If this were standard practice, then there would be takebacksies on almost any trade. "Oh, so-and-so did not live up to expectations, so we are not giving up a second the following draft."

I always believed there are no money back guarantees in this league. The Jets obviously want to be cautious, but we're talking about one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. A trade of this magnitude will happen once, and the Packers want to get fair value.

Bob from Rome, NY

Gentleman: The links embedded in your responses to II questions with written information or videos adds to the already great insight to the responses you provide. Maybe it would help with the Packers' QB angst if II added some for QBs such as Josh Allen, Matt Stafford, and Matt Ryan. My research could be wrong, but I am seeing some pedestrian statistics, at best, for these players in their first year as a starting QB. Thank you!

It's always a mixed bag. Shoot, Peyton Manning still holds the NFL rookie record for most single-season interceptions (28). Stafford's rookie year was rough while playing on a bad football Lions team (2,267 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, 20 INTs). Allen wasn't much better in 2018. He threw for 2,074 yards with 10 TDs and 12 INTs (while also being shut out by the Packers). Matt Ryan was mostly fine as a rookie in 2008 (3,440 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 INTs). But then you have Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, Dak Prescott and Kyler Murray, who all enjoyed great debuts. You just have to watch and find out.

David from Goldsboro, NC

There are many ways to define a successful season. If you could only choose one, which would you prefer to be true at the end of the season? Which one most likely would contribute to wins? 1. Defense in the top 5. 2. Running game in the top 5 yards and TD. 3. Passing game in top 5 yards and TD.

No. 3 would be my top pick because that suggests Love played at a Pro Bowl level and it should be a harbinger of good things to come. But realistically, the Packers can win if any of those three scenarios unfold and I think that's going to be the message Matt LaFleur and his coaching staff deliver to the team this spring. The entire locker room will define the destiny of the 2023 Green Bay Packers, not just Jordan Love.

Steve from Land O Lakes, FL

I see that the question of pushing the pile or the upcoming abuse of the so-called "QB sneak" was not addressed at the owners meeting. Have you any idea why not?

While it wasn't put to a formal vote, Mark Murphy told Larry McCarren in Arizona that the owners discussed the play at length. It is something the league will continue to monitor, especially from a player-safety standpoint. Murphy acknowledged the copycat nature of the NFL and how it's probably only a matter of time before an offensive lineman reports eligible to block from the backfield. Stay tuned.

Tim from Leamington Spa, United Kingdom

However Packers fans feel about Aaron Rodgers moving on, I'm sure nearly all of us are excited to see what Love has under the hood! Excluding Love as an obvious answer, who in your time covering the team have you been most excited to see play, to determine whether they had IT?

Robert Tonyan. He job-shadowed Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis for two full seasons before his breakout campaign in 2020. Tonyan was intriguing to me because he was a converted receiver who didn't slide to tight end until he signed with Detroit as an undrafted free agent in 2017. He was a self-made success during his five seasons in Green Bay.

Matt from Waterloo, IA

Morning Wes! Just wanted to let you know that after a promotion at my job my family will be moving to Omaha, Neb., so I will become "Matt from Omaha." On a more serious note, what does a successful season from Tyler Davis look like next year? Maybe something like 30-40 catches, 400 yards and 3-5 touchdowns?

Just consistency. Tyler Davis got off to a slow start last summer but made the team on the back of his contributions to special teams. With Tonyan in Chicago and Lewis still a free agent, Davis and Josiah Deguara are the only two tight ends on the Packers' roster with NFL experience right now. Regardless of what Green Bay does in the draft, Davis is going to have a chance to carve out a larger role for himself this summer. He must capitalize.

Ray from Phoenix, AZ

Hope you enjoyed your time in Phoenix. Now you know why I live here from mid-October till mid-May before heading to our summer home in Marinette. My question is: With the draft assets we are sure to get, could the Packers go after DeAndre Hopkins for that experienced receiver?

I know it may have been a little cooler than normal in Phoenix, but you'll hear no complaints from me after I started my Saturday walking through a foot of snow. I would be surprised if Green Bay got involved in the market for Hopkins. Isn't his base salary close to $20 million for next season? Any veteran receiver the Packers acquire must come at a more fiscally palatable price. While the free-agent pool isn't deep right now, there's always a chance a veteran could get released after the draft next month.

David from Schoolcraft, MI

So, Wes, you're leaving on a jet plane, back to homeland. Hope your time in the warmth was good. Listening to LaFleur's plan for Keisean Nixon and Rasul Douglas, I heard no mention of plans for Eric Stokes. Any insight from coach or Mr. G?

Just reading between the lines, I get the feeling Stokes still has a way to go in his rehab from that injury he sustained last year in Detroit. I don't know specifics, but that was a nasty knee-and-ankle injury.

Jeffrey from Taylors, SC

Thanks Wes and Mike for all your work on this column. I rarely miss, and if I do I read it another day. Nixon looks so natural returning kickoffs. Always moving forward, making decisive cuts, and exploding in the hole. It was great to see the blockers open holes for him and Nixon finding them! As noted, kickoff returns are now a great expectation, not a great consternation.

That's a brilliant line (wish it was mine). I've talked at length about Nixon but need to give the return team its flowers, too. There are many core special-teamers who contributed to Nixon's breakthrough – several of whom Green Bay has re-signed in recent weeks.

Mike from Huron, SD

Good morning gentlemen. I had the pleasure of playing for Coach Bisaccia when he coached at Wayne State College in Nebraska. The thing I remember about Coach Bisaccia the most is that he was a bundle of energy and a great guy. I loved playing for him back in his early years of coaching. It is fun for me to hear how he continues to be a bundle of energy and also someone the players love to play for. Being a lifelong Packers fan, this is a cool connection.

That's awesome, Mike. Thank you for sharing those recollections. Bisaccia is obviously a great football coach, but he's a true leader of men. He brings an old-school mentality but still is relatable to today's players.

Bil from Stateline, NV

I'm hoping that Mason Crosby finds a home next season…GREEN BAY! Having a first-year starter at QB, it seems to me that having a solid FG unit would be paramount. Mason is a known commodity, has gelled with Pat O'Donnell, is as reliable as they come and knows how to get the job done in foul weather. So, why is Mason still a FA? Is he going to fall victim to the cap? Is management writing the season off as a "rebuild?"

It's hard to speculate on Crosby's status without knowing what type of contract he wants. The Packers' hands are a bit tied right now with the salary cap, but they obviously will need to add a kicker here at some point. I doubt the plan is to roll into the offseason program with just one street free agent (rookie Parker White).

Kim from Hudson, WI

Thank you for your coverage of the owners meeting and my daily dose of Packers common sense! I was listening to the local sports radio in my travels today and heard something about flexing games to Thursday's. Seriously? Is this true? One comment was made about cashing in on the Prime situation and it seems to me that this would place dollars over player health, even more than they already do. I also strongly dislike games are played on a network that not everyone wants to pay for.

Owners approved a measure that could require a team having two Thursday Night Football games on its schedule but tabled the proposal to flex Thursday Night Football games until the spring meetings in May. I'm not a fan of either measure. Not only are those Thursday turnarounds absolutely grueling for players but I also don't understand how that isn't a supreme disadvantage to require a team to play twice on Thursday night. Maybe I'm missing the magic. I didn't watch a second of Thursday Night Football on Prime last year.

David from Watsontown, PA

Who will be the first Packer to wear No. 0?

Good question. I saw Calvin Ridley already claimed it in Jacksonville. I'm sure Red Batty and his equipment staff will have multiple requests for No. 0 soon enough.

Mike from Cottage Grove, MN

Wouldn't it be a hoot if the Packers and Jets were in the next Super Bowl? Wes, I bet you'd have a blast covering that game.

I'd be grateful to cover it. A Super Bowl meeting between Green Bay and New York would mean the future is bright in Green Bay, while Aaron Rodgers also added to his incredible legacy.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

What's the most unexpected thing you've learned at the owner's meetings?

The Washington Commanders might really get sold.

Robert from Oak Creek, WI

My first Packers game was, like some other readers, the 2-0 loss to the Bears. I sat on the 1st base side and watched Frank Patrick in his own End Zone, step on the backline. The thing I remember most of Frank Patrick is the force of his throws. That ball was bouncing off the chests of receivers and defenders. You could hear that ball hit.

Dropped balls by the offense and defense? What in the hell's going on out there?

Terry from Elroy, WI

For Kenny from Wild Rose and Chuck from Richfield: I, too, was at the 2-0 preseason game against the Bears, but it was my second Packers game. My first was in Nov. 1970, at Milwaukee County Stadium when Bart Starr and Ray Nitschke lost to Archie Manning and the New Orleans Saints. I, too, endured nearly two decades of misery.

Was this a random preseason game or the Ice Bowl? I feel like this one had 150,000 in attendance, too.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

One of the great things about Inbox are the recollections of people like Chuck and Kenny vis-a-vis the 2-0 Packer/Bear game in 1971. By that point the Packers were piling up losses and I was in college with thankfully no remembrance that it occurred. A game I did witness in person was the College All-Star game when the 1963 Lombardi-coached Pack lost 20-17. Certainty of life's outcomes ended that night and for all I know eventually led to "gambling is illegal at Bushwood."

In all seriousness, the total lived experiences of the Inbox readership never cease to amaze.

Lance from Grafton, WI

Thank you, guys, for bringing some cheer every day. Longtime reader and I don't often submit questions, but I felt compelled to let TK know that there is a third horse in the race from Grafton.

Oh, there's a Grafton rumble brewing.

Chuck from Sun Prairie, WI

Good morning, Wes. Regarding your Love comment about being around from the start of the movie to the finish: It's great to know you are going to be around Insider Inbox until Love is traded to the Jets.

And I think we're done here. Have a great day, everyone.

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