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Inbox: It happens all over the league

Nobody has an infallible crystal ball

OL Zach Tom
OL Zach Tom

Johnny from Salt Lake City, UT

The trade is done. The draft is over. What are we supposed to do now until August?

Enjoy the weather, at least around here.

Kevin from Indianapolis, IN

Good morning! What has history taught us about having a young team in regard to staying healthy? Do the younger players tend to be available more often because they don't have the wear and tear on their bodies, or is there a period where they tend to get injured more as they learn how to prepare for the grind of a longer NFL season?

There's definitely some give and take in that equation. On balance, physically speaking, it's a young man's game, but plowing through that first season and the longest year of football in any player's life is a rite of passage that matters.

Jacob from West Allis, WI

Are the Packers exempt from one of their games being flexed to Thursday night since they already play two Thursday games this season?

Flex scheduling as it relates to Thursday games has not yet been approved by the owners. There's expected to be another vote at the end of this month. But Monday nights are in play with flex decisions this year for the first time.

Mark from Carlsville, WI

Is it possible the Packers' brass secretly believe GB doesn't stand a chance to go anywhere even, if they get in the playoffs, so they are not signing vets for one year and two void years so they can get their cap in order, the young players get experience and lots of snaps and then next year, start fresh with players on rookie contracts and lots of experience then fill in holes discovered with vets?

That's a lot to unpack. The Packers are working to get their cap in order, and this transition year is the best time to make progress on that front. They will be playing to win. Nobody is writing off this season. But they aren't going to make major, future financial sacrifices – as they did with an MVP/HOF QB – while they're learning and figuring out what they have at the game's most important position.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Mike. Do you suppose Aaron Rodgers taught Jordan Love how to properly execute your "guitar fake" before he left for the greener pastures of the Pac-Jets?

First off, it was Rodgers himself who called it the "guitar fake," and second, Love certainly saw plenty of times how it's done if he wants to incorporate the move into his play-action execution.

Keith from Bakersfield, CA

It seems like NFL pundits only see two paths for teams to improve – draft picks who play right away, or big-name free agents. I rarely see any discussion about developmental players who were not starters, but are expected to grow into bigger roles. Is it that unusual for a backup player to ascend to starter or difference-maker? GB has quite a few stars who were overlooked early in their NFL careers, plucked off practice squads or drafted and developed.

It happens all over the league, but how much fans pay attention to it depends on what sources they consult for news about their teams. Beat reporters who cover a single team and are around it 24/7/365 know a lot more about it than media members who are tasked with knowing the league as a whole. Their jobs are different, therefore their analysis will be different.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

I wish fans would stop worrying about the '70s and '80s. Not only are those decades long gone but the power structure that ran the team then is also long gone. No more executive boards making football decisions. As much as Ron Wolf did for this franchise, I think modernizing the power structure might be the most important. We have football people making football decisions now. That sets us so far beyond those two decades it's not worth mentioning anymore.


Aaron from Phoenix, AZ

The topic of good-QB-leading-to-SB vs. HOF-QB-NOT-leading-to-SB is so oversimplified and impossibly binary. Football is a team game, more so than most other sports. It also has a playoff format of win-or-go-home, so can be a true crapshoot. This is a QB-dominant league, no question. But looking back on the past 23 SBs, seven QBs led their team to victory that are not first-ballot HOFers, and 4-5 of them might never be HOFers. Yes, mostly QB HOFers win, but not as often as you might think. T-E-A-M!

And some of the biggest games can hinge on plays during which the QB is just another player on the field, or on the sideline.

Dan from Algonquin, IL

Hi Mike, how can we have a discussion about the greatest QBs to never win a Super Bowl and not mention Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Fran Tarkenton, Warren Moon, Matt Ryan, and Philip Rivers? They are better than many of the QBs who have won Super Bowls, who have no chance at the HOF. It's still the ultimate team game.

I wasn't aware we were having that specific discussion, but if you'd like me to chime in, Marino and Kelly are at the top of that list by a wide margin in my view. Kelly losing one of those four Super Bowls to Mark Rypien as the opposing QB speaks to the points made above as well.

Nathan from Manitowoc, WI

With the recent signing of Jonathan Owens, who is in the pro personnel department? Seems like the team is good at finding good off-the-radar players from other organizations.

It's always a collective effort within the department, but Richmond Williams is the director of pro personnel so he certainly has a big hand in any signing like Owens.

James from Appleton, WI

Jonathan Owens may or may not be a starter at safety, but with his addition, I believe the safety position becomes like the offensive line in that the front office is confident they have more than capable starters at the positions – the coaches just have to figure out who those starters are.

I agree.

Keith form Truro, Nova Scotia

Hi Mike, I see that Dallas is desperate for a kicker. Do you think Mason would be interested in going there if the price is right? Is he the better of the free-agent kickers still available?

Crosby, Gould and Succop are all still out there. I'd say they're the top three.

Scott from Palos Park, IL

The kicking game is going to see a youthful competition, at least early on, with the potential for a veteran signing if the youngsters fall short. I would suspect that having a strong ST specialist room plays into that decision. How much does having an experienced holder in Pat O'Donnell make the decision to go young at placekicker easier?

It perhaps provides some peace of mind, but I've said all along a portion of the roster's youth movement is being driven by salary cap considerations, not just an unabashed desire to go young.

Mark from Appleton, WI

We non-streaming fans had to put up with Amazon Prime effectively taking away Thursday Night Football. Now NBC Peacock will have exclusive rights to a playoff game next January. When will this rich-get-richer NFL stop taking away the game from the traditional football-loving fan?

When moves like this stop making money. I can appreciate the frustration, but the NFL does not sit still when there's money to be made, particularly when it comes to broadcast rights, which form the biggest piece of the pie by far.

Jeff from Vandenberg SFB, CA

*Googles Todd McShay's Comments on Brian Brohm* McShay: "I honestly think Brian Brohm, two years from now, could be the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. It would not shock me at all," McShay said of the pick. "And I still think Aaron Rodgers has a chance as well, but I think Brian Brohm's upside is greater than that of Aaron Rodgers." Me: LOLOLOL

I'm not out to disparage dedicated and honest work, but that example just shows how those who scout and evaluate football players for a living can still be so wildly wrong at any given time. Nobody has an infallible crystal ball.

Scott from Norwalk, CT

Morning II. I've heard it said by more than one pundit that the Packers' defense was "built" to work best with a lead. That makes sense given we often saw 12 to come out gunning, and once we had a solid lead a weakness in run defense mattered less. (Not that we *intentionally* built a defense that was poor against the run, of course.) Do you agree, and if so, what adjustments can Joe Barry make this year – personnel, assignments, scheme – to adjust to perhaps a slower start by the offense?

I think any defense would rather play with a lead and has a chance to function better in that scenario. That said, I don't know what specific adjustments Barry is going to make this year. At the podium yesterday, he admitted it took the defense way too long last season to find itself, settle in and play at a more reliable, consistent level. His challenge is to smooth out the inevitable bumps, and do so as quickly as possible, and that would've been the focus even without the QB transition on offense.

Mark from Eureka, IL

Much has been said about the Packers' secondary playing too far off the ball. What can we expect from Greg Williams' style?

TBD, but it should be stated that anytime Jerry Gray was asked about off coverage in certain situations, he deferred those questions to Joe Barry.

Susan from Allegan, MI

Good morning, who is the most promising backup quarterback in the unlikely event that Love gets injured during a game? Thank you.

I don't believe we have that answer yet, but I suspect the preseason games will tell us.

Eric from Springfield, VA

I'm sure the list isn't in front of you, however, after being the coach with the most wins in his first three years, where does LaFleur rank in the first four years? Did he go down a few spots?

After three years, the top three on the board were LaFleur with 39 wins, George Seifert at 38, Jim Harbaugh 36. After four years, those numbers were/are Seifert 52, LaFleur 47, Harbaugh 44. According to my research (which could be wrong), John Harbaugh and Chuck Knox also had 44 wins in their first four years. Mike Tomlin and Bill Cowher each had 43. Bruce Arians had 43, with his first year encompassing only 12 total games as interim in Indy in 2012. Mike Shanahan won 47 in his first four years leading the Broncos, but he had a previous 8-12 tenure over 1¼ seasons with the Raiders in the late '80s. I'm not aware of anyone else who comes close to the mid-to-upper 40s.

Kerry from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Packers road to the playoffs this year; Split with your divisional rivals and the AFC West, win three out of four from the NFC South and beat the Rams at home for 9-8. Steal a road win at the Steelers or Giants for 10-7 and perhaps win the NFC North. Doable?

You make it sound so easy.

Zack from Dayville, CT

Weston, nine commas hurt my brain discussing possible safeties this season. It was nearly like watching a preseason game with nine three-and-outs, nine punts, nine penalties, nine commercial breaks, nine Tony Romo stories, nine false starts and nine empty root beer bottles on the floor. Give the Packers nine wins in 2023 and see how that shakes out in the division. It might be enough.

I shall repeat: There is no juggernaut in the NFC North.

Donny from Green Bay, WI

The movie "Air" has recently been released and it's fantastic. The culture of basketball and branded partnerships are forever changed because of that Air Jordan deal. "Moneyball" was also a great movie and showed an entirely different way to build a baseball team and the monetary dynamics at play in MLB. Is there a football movie I'm not aware of or should be made in relation to a huge moment in football? I'd like to see a movie on the USFL vs. NFL era otherwise I'm stumped. Any opinions?

ESPN's 30 for 30 film "Small Potatoes" is a really good piece on how the USFL was built and subsequently fell apart.

Brian from Chesapeake, VA

Spoff, sorry you missed the Braun HR, one that was very important in Brewers history. Did you ever listen to Brian Anderson's TV call of it? Still gives me goosebumps whenever I need a pick me up. Almost as good as "He's got Randall Cobb...YES!"

Oh, I've heard the call. I remember hearing it when I got home that night. I distinctly recall leaving the press box in Tampa, where I'd been following a text-only play-by-play on my computer screen, with the score 1-1 after Counsell had drawn the bases-loaded walk to tie the game. I couldn't stand not knowing, but postgame duty called.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

When does the dead zone start? As much as I love Packer football and everything I've learned from II over the years, I truly look forward to the untapped potential of the dead zone. Somewhere out there is the next laser goalpost submission or a revival of the number which shall not be named. We just need to turn over every stone as a fanbase to find it. Even at the cost of sanity for a certain Spoff and Hod.

The dead zone officially begins the week after mandatory minicamp. So that's T-minus 33 days and counting. Happy Wednesday.

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