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Inbox: It needs to play out

Learn first, then assess

RB AJ Dillon
RB AJ Dillon

Mike from Algoma, WI

I've been waiting so long for a legitimate reason to say this – "You guys are a couple of clowns!"

Plenty of others didn't wait so long, trust me.

Carolyn from Minneapolis, MN

I might be an old fogey, but where is the printable Packers 2024 schedule this year? Been looking all over the website.

You weren't the only one to ask. It was posted along with everything else. Here’s the link.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Mike, I just learned that you know how to juggle, so we have that in common. My roommate at UW-Platteville taught me how to juggle and I half-jokingly tell people it's the only thing I learned at college that I still remember. I graduated 40 years ago this month, after all.

30 years ago for me. That's hard to believe. My dorm neighbor freshman year at Lawrence had attended Barnum & Bailey Clown College. That sounds like a joke but it's not. It was a real school back then, and he truly was a certified clown. In the good weather, he rode his unicycle around campus to go to class. Never had to lock it in the bike racks because no one else knew how to ride one, so who was gonna steal it?

Jon from Stambaugh, MI

Dear Wes, I hate to be a stickler (actually I do) but ATMR, WIC (which is correct) the Packers played what I believe was the first Thanksgiving Day game ever at Hagemeister Park against the Stambaugh Miners on Nov. 25, 1920. I know this because in my high school in Stambaugh was the game ball signed by the Packer players in a display case. A proud moment for a town which is now Iron River in the UP of Michigan.

You are correct. The Packers also played at home on Thanksgiving in 1922 against the Duluth Kelleys, but both the '20 and '22 holiday games were non-league affairs so they aren't in any official NFL records. There was no league in '20, and the '22 game didn't count in the standings.

Shilo from Wildomar, CA

The Packers also had back-to-back Thursday games in 2007. We won at Detroit on Thanksgiving, then lost to Dallas in the game that Favre got hurt and Rodgers came in and lit it up. Barely anyone could watch that Dallas game because it was on NFL Network and access was way more restrictive back then, and it was a matchup of 10-1 teams! Spoff, I think you omitted the 2007 Thursday double from your article to see if someone would write in. Did I call your bluff?

Not exactly. I specifically referenced back-to-back Thursday NIGHT games in my schedule piece, focusing on '15. The '07 Thanksgiving win in Detroit was a day game before the Favre-Rodgers prime-timer in Dallas the following week. Good memory, though.

Dale from Prescott, WI

Mike, suggesting you get well rested before the tough four-game stretch of primetime games. You'll have to dig into your reserves for sure. Mercy.

My thoughts exactly.

Brian from Twain Harte, CA

The best part of the 2024 schedule is no back-to-back-to-back away games; and only one back-to-back away games. This is the benefit of having an extra home game this year. I am assuming that the two of you are very happy with this season's travel schedule.

I'm still not crazy about going to Brazil, and a night game in Seattle is no picnic, resulting in a roughly 4:30 a.m. landing back in Green Bay. But otherwise, can't complain.

Craig from Sussex, WI

The biggest advantage of this year's schedule (in my humble opinion) is the fact that the Packers don't play a single team that had their bye week the week prior. The only time a team will have added time off before they play the Packers is the last game of the season when the Bears will be coming off a mini-bye. I believe this will be to the Packers advantage.

It certainly can't hurt.

James from Appleton, WI

Be sure to schedule a nap before the Dolphins game! I see that the Bears play all six of their division games in the last eight games of their schedule. Isn't that odder than anything you've seen on a Packers schedule?

Has to be. It's downright strange. The Steelers got all six of their division games in the last nine on their schedule, including four in a row, with their two Cleveland games in a span of three weeks. Yikes.

Spike from Crescent City, FL

Given the schedule will the Packers host the Ravens for a joint practice?

We haven't heard anything yet regarding potential joint practices in August, so stay tuned on that front. Regardless, two of the three preseason games being in the afternoon was a pleasant surprise.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Wow, in Wednesday's Inbox Shannon from Ovilla manifested a nearly ideal schedule for us! Week 2 is at Lambeau, the bye is reasonable, the Thursday game is at home vs. a non-conference opponent (Dolphins), no crazy division-game oddities, and two of the last three games are on home (frozen) tundra. Plus, the only holiday game is that Fins tilt on Thanksgiving night (tryptophan plus Packers equals warmth). Can we just let Shannon do the NFL schedule from now on? It might be happier for everyone.

Works for me.

Kirsten from Madison, WI

The problem isn't the NFL transitioning to streaming. The problem is they're not bidding it out and selecting just one. "Do you want Sunday Night Football? Subscribe to Peacock!" "Is it Thursday? Yeah, you're going to need Amazon Prime." "Ooh, look! It's Christmas! Hope you have Netflix!" OK, NFL, go ahead and stream. But don't be jerks about it. Not everyone can afford 37 subscriptions.

I hear you, but one service also can't afford all the games the NFL wants to stream. Amazon is already paying $1 billion (with a B) per year just for the Thursday night package.

Adam from Chippewa Falls, WI

If the NFL is going to increase the streaming of games, the least it can do is expand the size of the home market. It's ridiculous that the state of Wisconsin isn't considered to be the home market for the Packers, only Green Bay and Milwaukee. In addition, if any state taxpayers fund a stadium, they should be considered a home market.

Couldn't agree with you more on both counts.

Alex from Eau Claire, WI

Follow-up question to Mike's response to Dennis from Rapids about midseason breaks. Mike said too many eyes not watching NFL games or something to that effect. My question: Why does the NFL care? Haven't those massive-dollar TV deals been signed? I would think it's up to the networks to make their investment worthwhile via marketing and promoting.

True to an extent, but any dip in eyeballs/ratings would impact the NFL's negotiating power when the TV deals are up again.

Matt from Richmond, VA

As someone who will be flying in for the Week 18 game against the Bears, can you remind me just how flexible that game will be? Is it just the Sunday time that is flexible, or could it also be played on Saturday or Monday? Thanks.

There's no Monday night game in Week 18. Two of the 16 games will be selected for Saturday. The rest will be on Sunday, with one in primetime and the rest divided between the noon and 3:25 p.m. (CT) slots.

Dan from Marshfield, WI

Has Preston Smith ever played with his hand on the ground? I've only seen him play as an OLB.

Same here, and I'm interested to see if he makes the switch.

Bruce from Palatine, IL

With all the discussion about the new kickoff rules, I haven't seen anything about onside kicks. How will that work? Will the kicking team have to declare they are doing it? Will we never see a surprise onside kick to start the game or after a score again? Are the unexpected onsides kicks (like in the '09 playoff versus Arizona) a thing of the past?

Correct. Onside kicks can only occur in the fourth quarter and must be declared in advance, applying the rules as they were in previous years.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Mike, while comparisons may be a fool's errand, doesn't Green Bay hold a special place as the Mecca of football that could push attendance to record-setting levels for the NFL Draft? Provided the weather is good I could see this as a blockbuster event. When will we know the full schedule for the week? Do you anticipate the city scheduling any complementary events, or Brown County, maybe neighboring communities?

I could see it as a blockbuster event, too, but I'm skeptical how many distant fans will make the trip when they're forced to get hotels as far away as Sheboygan, or Milwaukee, or Wausau … because nothing's going to be available within close range. If the Green Bay area had as many hotel rooms as Chicago or Detroit, it very well could draw more fans for the draft, but it doesn't. It's why the city can never host a Super Bowl.

Jerry from Frankville, IA

This might be a better question for Outsiders Inbox but I am curious your thoughts with your travel experience. The Packers organization has done a terrific job of keeping Lambeau Field modern but maintaining its historic feel. With all of the stadiums that you've visited is there something that, though maybe not practical, would add to the Lambeau experience? Buccaneers pirate ship, Jaguars poolside cabanas, Steelers Doritos corn dogs, Vikings obnoxious horn?

Free beer? On second thought …

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Morning guys, last year before the season started there was a lot of talk about how the Packers were going to emphasize and rely on the running game. Jones's injury blew that scenario up. What about this year? Will Jacobs, Lloyd and Dillon be the emphasis or will Love's emergence at the end of last year turn the plan around?

If I know Matt LaFleur, given the only major "transition" on offense this year is at RB1, he's going to build game plans each week that are best suited to move the ball and score points against the Packers' specific opponent. And then he'll adjust to the inevitable injuries that hit along the way.

Phil from Paris, IL

Hey II, I just wanted to mention that I really think people are sleeping on Emanuel Wilson this year. I was very impressed with him in his limited opportunities last season. I think with another year under his belt he could see some opportunities, especially with the unpredictability of injuries. Do you see a scenario where he makes the team over Dillon, who is on a one-year deal? I think Lloyd may be the power back that could eat some of Dillon's snaps anyway.

Everyone wants to establish the 53 and running back pecking order nearly four months before the first game. It needs to play out. We have to see if Wilson is indeed improved in Year 2, how much Lloyd is ready for as a rookie, how the coaches want to use Dillon, etc. Learn first, then assess.

Monty from Velva, ND

Let's say the starting LBs are Quay Walker, Isaiah McDuffie, and Edgerrin Cooper. Who would you envision playing Will, Sam, and Mike? I know what I think but would love to hear your take and why. Keep up the great work.

All I'll venture to say at this point is I don't see Walker as a Mike. Beyond that, nothing would surprise me, and the Packers are going to spend most of their time with just two LBs on the field anyway in nickel.

Richard from Greenwich, NY

Good day guys, just wondering if a benefit of the attack style of defense, as opposed to the philosophy of "make 'em grind it out, limit big plays, and wait for offensive mistakes," might be less time on the field for the defense, lessening fourth-quarter fatigue.


Paul from Chicago, IL

If you have a strong offense, isn't it better to pair it with a more rather than less aggressive defense? An aggressive defense may give up the big play sometimes, but it also will tend to increase the number of possessions your offense gets per game. (Since they either get the stop quickly or give up the score quickly.) More possessions favors the team with the better offense, right?

I guess that's yet another way to look at it, but this is getting overthought to death. I'll revert to my original take on defense in general in the NFL these days – making key plays at key times makes a bigger difference than anything else.

Dean from Belmont, MI

Can we please have an episode of "Unscripted" in the clown outfits? Please … pretty please?

Nope, no matter how nicely you ask me, Danny. I mean, Dean. Happy Friday.

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