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Inbox: He leads this building with dignity and class, and the Packers are better for it

It speaks volumes when players sing a coach’s praises long after they’ve worked together

Mark Murphy
Mark Murphy

Jim from St Pete Beach, FL

Best MT5 ever. I love that man.

I've always wanted to write, "Mark Murphy from the top rope!" Today, I have that privilege. 10/10, Mark. No notes.

Joe from Swansea, IL

I was stunned to see the unwarranted criticism of Mark Murphy in his monthly column this weekend. He has led this organization through repeat playoff appearances and consistent relevance in a league that legislates against the best teams in the league (draft order, waiver wire, a salary cap that mitigates consistency). There's only one thing that worries me about this team's future: Murph's forced retirement and the transition to his successor.

I've written before about how much respect I have for Mark…and not because he's the Packers' President/CEO. It's because I've worked in many different environments. I've seen what good leadership looks like. I've seen what poor leadership looks like. I've seen the importance of vision, empowerment, and the value of having someone in front of the room whom people believe in. Not only is Mark all of those things but he's also salt of the earth. He genuinely cares about fans, his employees, and the Green Bay Packers. He leads this building with dignity and class, and the Packers are better for it. Now, it's not over. Far from it. There are many miles yet to travel with major dealings ahead. But once 2025 arrives, I have confidence in Murphy and the organization to cultivate a seamless transition into the future. As a team employee, I have no concern about that whatsoever.

Summer from Williamsburg, VA

Mr. Murphy is far more gracious than I would be with rude submissions to his column. What do you think are the highlights of his tenure as president? What about his leadership will be missed when he does retire?

Where do you begin? Murphy has overseen a perennial contender on the football field and remarkable growth off it. Me writing this column is just one of hundreds of examples how the Packers have expanded since Murphy was hired. I'd put the Lambeau Field upgrades and renovations, Titletown development, infusion of college football games and concerts, and acquisition of the 2025 NFL Draft at the top of a long list of accomplishments during Murphy's tenure.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

Everything changes, but nothing changes? In the 15 years of AR starting, Packers missed the playoffs four times, 13 or more wins five times, six times in between those two and expecting playoffs every year. As our esteemed II savants have told us many times, just make the postseason and you have a chance. The best news of 2023 is my expectations for 2024 are the same as they've been for those 15 seasons, heck the past 30 (since Brett Favre's first).

I'll throw down the caveat again that nothing is ever guaranteed in the NFL. But the Packers undoubtedly are in a better position today to win a Super Bowl than they were when Jordan Love walked into the building on the first day of the offseason program last April. That's the No. 1 thing I wanted from the 2023 Packers, and we got it. The quarterback changed but hope remains the same in Green Bay.

Dave from Waterford, WI

Do you think the new DC is a good fit for the Packers?

I was out of town on assignment last week and am still learning about Jeff Hafley, but I like what I've heard so far. He has an extensive background coaching defensive backs and a solid track record of developing aggressive, tone-setting defenses. Well-regarded in the coaching realm, Hafley also seems to be a solid dude. I'm excited to meet him and learn more about his vision for the Packers' defense.

Mark from Big Bear City, CA

Good morning, Wes. Hope you had some quality time off with the family. I read an article where Richard Sherman talked about Jeff Hafley when he was at San Francisco coaching the DBs. He basically had nothing but praise for him, said he was smart, a good communicator and was really into studying offenses. He said he really enjoyed the year he was his coach for the DBs. He also said we were lucky to have him as our DC.

Sherman's words go a long way for me. It's one thing for a player to say nice things while playing for a coach. It speaks volumes when players sing a coach's praises long after they've worked together.

Tom from New Berlin, WI

With the new DC, does Brian Gutekunst ask for his input on the draft?

Gutekunst was asked this same exact question and here's his full answer: "It's not gonna be like a wholesale change – hey, we gotta ship off and bring a bunch of new guys in – it's not gonna be like that. I think as we get into the nuances of what Jeff wants to do, certainly it may with our current players, may be conversations about where they play and how they fit, but one thing I think we prided ourselves here, both sides of the ball, is versatility and bringing in guys that can be versatile. … I think we'll get into that over the next few weeks and see where that lands, but I wouldn't expect a lot to – again, that influence will have an effect, but how much? We'll see." So, we'll see.

Green Bay Packers DL Kenny Clark attends the 2024 Pro Bowl Games in Orlando, Fla. on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024.

Collin from Omaha, NE

Insiders, how significant is the injury to Kingsley Enagbare? He seemed to be hitting another gear towards the end of the year and I'm curious if the injury will affect his availability for next year? If so, how does that affect our needs for the draft? I feel like another depth piece is needed at EDGE behind Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, and Lukas Van Ness.

Enagbare tore his anterior cruciate ligament and faces a lengthy rehab. He was in good spirits during final media availability, which was great to see. ACL injuries are not insurmountable. Enagbare need only look across the locker room for a perfect example in Gary of how a young pass rusher can bounce back and regain form within a year. In the meantime, it wouldn't surprise me if the Packers pursued an extra edge rusher in the draft or free agency. The past two years were proof you can never have enough.

Thomas from Wiesbaden, Germany

First off, thank you for your dedication and professionalism day-in and day-out providing Packer fans the most in-depth analysis, interviews and much more for us to enjoy. I do have a question regarding Jordan Love. During the Remix of the Packers' 2023 touchdowns, Wayne Larrivee – the voice of the Packers radio, mentioned numerous times "Jordan threw that ball off his back foot." Is that something he is going to have to work on in the offseason or is that one of his intangibles?

I look at Love's ability to make off-platform throws as a benefit, not a detractor. As long as Love's not forsaking his fundamentals or discipline, I don't view that part of his game as something the Packers' coaching staff needs to restrict. When the situation calls for it, that component is part of what makes Love special.

Joshua from Milwaukee, WI

One advantage of sitting a young QB for 2-3 years: lack of public scrutiny/pressure. Do you think Packers fans would have been as patient with Jordan Love if they'd already witnessed three years of growing pains? Conversely, Justin Fields is likely done in Chicago before getting a fourth season to grow. Coaches/GMs lose jobs over poor game performance. Poor practice performance (especially if progress is still being made) is easier to hide.

I've said my piece before on the lack of patience with young players in today's NFL. Maybe Love would've been ready to play straightaway, but it wouldn't have been easy to walk in the door as a 21-year-old quarterback during COVID-19 and lead a football team. De'Vondre Campbell and others have talked about how they could tell in practice Love could play. Regardless of how the Packers got there, they've found their quarterback once again. Meanwhile, Chicago has some MASSIVE questions to answer in the weeks and months ahead.

Albert from Cedar Lake, IN

How can the Packers help develop kicker Anders Carlson to overcome his accuracy challenges?

Take my previous answer but switch "quarterback" to "kicker."

Benjamin from Burlington, VT

Do you know the provenance of Jayden Reed's nickname "Bird"? Is it as simple as a progression from Jayden to Jay to Jay-Bird to Bird?

It was given to Reed by his late father Sabian because he wanted him to fly on the field. You can read more about it in our story on him from last spring.

Richard from Santa Ana, CA

Any college running backs come to mind in the draft that fit the Aaron Jones mold? Just amazing how he sparked the offense down the stretch. It was quite impressive to see him rip off some nice gains when healthy.

There are some good backs in this year's draft, but I don't know if there's anyone who reminds me of Jones. Blake Corum has a good first cut and initial burst but doesn't possess the top-end speed of Jones. Oregon's Bucky Irving is interesting. He has a slender build at 5-foot-10, 195 pounds but is a 1,000-yard rusher who also had 56 catches last year.

Michael from Baraboo, WI

Do you anticipate a number of draft-day trades by the Packers?

Gutekunst seemingly has made a trade or two during each of his previous six drafts as Green Bay's GM. With 11 picks in hand, I'd be fairly surprised if the Packers only drafted players in those 11 slots.

Tom from New Berlin, WI

Do you feel the Packers will draft a wide receiver in the later rounds?

I probably wouldn't take a wideout this year, but I also know nothing (Jon Snow). You always want competition, but I'd argue there's already plenty of it there with Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks, Bo Melton, Malik Heath, Grant DuBose and Samori Toure all returning.

Donald from Big Flats, WI

Hey Wes, I was just looking back when we moved from 30th to 26th to grab Jordan Love. The next three teams were Seattle, Baltimore, and Tennessee. Do you think BG thought one of those teams would take Love and have him sit behind Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, or Ryan Tannehill? I think Tennessee would still have been looking for a franchise quarterback.

I don't want to speculate on Gutekunst's thought process, but it's logical to be concerned another team would trade up to draft Love in front of where the Packers were picking. Since the introduction of the fifth-year option, it makes all the sense in the world for a team to trade into the first round to draft a QB and secure that extra year of control.

Green Bay Packers DL Kenny Clark attended the NFC practice and team photo for the 2024 Pro Bowl Games in Orlando, Florida on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024.

Brian from Chaska, MN

As the Green Bay Packers uphold their legacy as one of the NFL's iconic franchises, how do you see the balance between tradition and innovation shaping the team's strategies on and off the field? In what ways does this delicate equilibrium contribute to the Packers' enduring relevance and success in the ever-evolving landscape of professional football?

This is probably a better question for MT5 than Inbox, but I've always taken this view – you honor your past by fostering an environment that helps produce an even brighter future. I think the Packers do a great job of maintaining a forward-focused vision while also appreciating what's made this place unique and special. While evolution is inevitable, a small-town team like the Packers can still recognize the path it's traveled to get where it is today. Titletown and the bid to host the NFL Draft are two great examples of that.

Keith from Bakersfield,

A Saturday without an Inbox is like a sundae without a cherry. I hope you guys fully enjoy your well-deserved offseason weekends!

Hey, sundaes are still pretty good even without cherries. Just saying.

Steve from Flagstaff, AZ

Well, Spoff had me laughing on the Timmy/Seinfeld reference with "make one click and end it". LOL! I'm sure you guys had a lot of repeat posts … (serenity now!) But are any of you going to be in Las Vegas this week covering and writing, or are both of you staying close to home? Then we get into the combine, and we will be hearing news of which prospects took the proverbial jump and fans will ask who should the Packers take and again both Wes and Mike will say … serenity NOW!

Oh, we'll both be there soon enough. For now, we're covering stories from Green Bay and burning PTO when we can.

Doug from Lake Mills, IA

I was appalled at the verbal attack on Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy by Justin from Tucson in the recent MT5. And to think he repeated it in a dozen emails. Murphy's gracious response shows he's exactly the opposite man he's accused of being. Having been in leadership for 44 years, this reminds me of a quote from sportscaster Dick Johnson back in 1987: "I'm growing very weary of being shown the light by people who can't do what I do but know I'm not doing it right." Touché!

Amen. Have a great start to the week.

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