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Inbox: It is indeed a team game

That’s it, that’s all

Team huddle
Team huddle

Bil from Stateline, NV

Oh, Mike! I can't believe you whiffed on it when Will from Rochester, MN, set you up with that lob shot, "Shirley, you can't be serious." You left one of the great movie lines of all time lying on the table. Or, was it just too easy? For anyone else who was expectant and left wanting, here it is. "And stop calling me Shirley!"

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit making obvious retorts.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Tight end is traditionally a long road from rookie to meaningful and consistent contributor. It was reported Luke Musgrave was doing well in OTAs, however that doesn't mean he will be able to become an every-down weapon automatically. What can a player like Luke do during the dead/off time to continue to prepare and expedite or accelerate the pro transition?

Learn the playbook inside and out. Then turn the playbook inside out and learn it again.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

One of my favorite parts of attending a Packer game is the "Jersey Loop" we do before each game. We walk an entire loop, take in the scene, and point out any jersey that hasn't been spotted to that point. Of course Favre and Rodgers get checked off right away, towards the end you are looking for obscure ones. What's the coolest jersey you've seen a fan wearing?

I don't know if I could rank them, but your post made me smile, because anytime I'm in the press box at a road game, I look around in the stands for the more obscure or historical jerseys worn by those teams' fans. I love seeing Chuck Foreman jerseys in Minnesota, or a Billy Sims No. 20 (not Barry Sanders) in Detroit. Last year, seeing a Lee Roy Selmon jersey in Tampa and a Steve Tasker jersey in Buffalo was pretty cool.

Tim from West Windsor, NJ

Have the rules for how many times a practice-squad player can be activated for a game before they must be signed to the 53-man roster changed from last year? If memory serves, not always reliable at my age over 70, it was three times in 2022. I have been reading II since the days of Vic. Go Pack Go.

I believe the rules remain the same.

Rich from Antioch, IL

Hi, I expect the young TEs to play a big role in LaFleur's offense this season. Set up single coverage on the young receivers. Christian Watson to get a lot of targets. I like Romeo Doubs, but Samori Toure and Jayden Reed could be tough guys to cover one-on-one. Jordan Love needs to show he can handle the blitz. I am expecting the Packers to score points but the defense will need to play like it did at the end of last season. The Love, AJ Dillon and Josiah Deguara draft is now on the clock. This was LaFleur's draft as far as I am concerned.

That's a lot to unpack, but I'll just follow up on one thing I said yesterday. The other offensive playmakers will have to take advantage of the attention Watson is going to command for this offense to be successful.

Peder from Sevastopol, WI

Good morning, afternoon or evening. Mike's response to David from Janesville stated that D coordinators spent their time offseason outlining how to deal with Christian Watson. My question: Do you think all D coordinators, just those from teams on this year's schedule, or just those from the NFC North are scheming for Watson?

Coaching staffs do some offseason planning for every opponent on the upcoming schedule, but the most time is spent on division opponents and any other teams faced in the first four weeks. If an opponent is not on the schedule at all, nobody is wasting their time on it.

Kent from Lewiston, ID

When a player leaves the Packer organization for a division foe, which of the these factors contributes the most to a player's personal motivation? Money, revenge or ego factor. If you ranked them 1 to 3, and why, I'm interested in your stance on that. I'm sure the answer isn't cookie cutter, but losing Big Bob might come back to haunt us.

Aside from Favre, I would rank the factors as money and opportunity. That's it, that's all.

Matthew from Sheboygan, WI

I recently enjoyed hearing Tre Watson, an XFL player and Christian Watson's older brother, in a podcast. Tre's perspective as a family member with an astute understanding of the Packers' offense and Christian's role within it opened up a new dimension in my fandom. Have you ever met a family member(s) who impressed you with how thoroughly they understood their Packer's work on the field? Or is such understanding common? Incidentally, Tre has the makings of a great NFL analyst/commentator.

I can't say I've ever had such an encounter. The only one that comes close occurred during one of my early years in this job. The Packers had an undrafted DB named Tra Boger trying to make the roster. His father is Jerome Boger, the NFL official. I chatted with him and he shared how some of the conversations go with his dad regarding officiating. It was brief but enlightening.

Thomas from Oviedo, FL

Bill from Raleigh, NC, pointed to that final game against Detroit as a reason not to trust our defense. Let's not forget that the D held the high-flying Lions offense to 20 points. That's seven points less than their 2022 average. They held them to 15 in the first game. The D didn't give up a ton of points but most were in the fourth quarter. Part of that could be on the offense. When the offense puts the defense on the field too much they wear down both physically and mentally.

It is indeed a team game.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

Based on past reads in II, I'm guessing Wes is happy to see Cecil Isbell in consideration for the Hall of Fame. I'm hoping Sterling Sharpe gets in at some point, as well. He was so dominant during his playing time. It's a shame that a neck injury derailed the career path of such an amazing talent. Throw in Mike Holmgren and a few others this year and the Packers are well represented.

Wes will stump for Isbell any chance he gets, so I'll leave that to him. I do believe Sharpe and Holmgren both will get in at some point, but it might still take a while.

Nik from Moore, SC

If Terrell Davis is a HOFer, Sterling Sharpe is a HOFer. That is all.

In a general sense, I tend to agree. I've said all along what separated Davis in this discussion was what he did in the postseason – 204 carries, 1,140 yards and 12 TDs … in just eight games, including a Super Bowl MVP.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

Unless Jerry Rice and Sterling Sharpe, the two best wide receivers I have ever seen, did 35 reps on the bench press, PLEASE explain to me why bench press would ever matter at wide receiver?

The position is asked to block on occasion, you know.

Sam from Antigo, WI

Another site has put together a team of the best Packer players in the 30 years of the Favre/Rodgers era. For the five cornerbacks selected, two were undrafted free agents. What does this represent to you?

Several things. Tramon Williams and Sam Shields were both late bloomers, they had incredible dudes like Charles Woodson and Al Harris from whom to learn the ins and outs of the game, and Joe Whitt Jr. was a very valuable assistant coach in the McCarthy era.

Paul from Wolcottville, IN

Not a question, more of an observation. Being a Reds fans (don't show me the door just yet!) I had very, very low expectations for the season. But this team of young players is a thrill to watch and grow together. I did not have high expectations for this year's Packers squad but after seeing what this young, retooled Reds team is doing I think this could be one of the most entertaining seasons we've had in a while. No expectations, just joy at what could be!

Professional sports seasons are long, and as such they can grind up and spit out young players trying to make their way. They also provide opportunity for young players, and teams, to grow and come into their own. You never really know.

Troy from Bakersfield, CA

"Don't lose the game in the first 55 minutes, then win it in the last 5." I don't throw the term "profound" around loosely, but I found Mike's description of the new style of NFL exactly that. Perfect product for the league as it keeps viewers and spectators around much longer. As an entity, what has the NFL done to nearly perfect its product over recent decades to achieve so many one-possession outcomes at the very end of games?

It's due to all the factors that collectively contribute to competitive balance – primarily the salary cap, but also the inverse draft order and free agency. An additional factor, I believe, is the rules geared toward the overwhelming importance of quarterback play, so any game that matches two teams relatively equal at QB is increasingly likely to come down to the final minutes.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

What's one potential team strength we're not talking about yet?

The kicking game? Who knows, Anders Carlson might be the next great one. We shall see.

Ben from Guffey, CO

Yes, defenses did play GB differently after Watson got going. He'll have a lot to grow/build on, but I was amused/excited about how despite that adjustment, Watson was only slowed a little. That speed alone won't get him superbly far this year, but the more he blends technique with it, watch out.

That's the plan, Stan. I mean, Ben. Happy Friday.

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