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Inbox: It's a new era…and a rather straightforward schedule

You gotta win the games on the grass, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little offseason swagger, too

QB Jordan Love
QB Jordan Love

Mike from Lady Lake, FL

"Never bring peanut butter to a jelly fight." I need to remember that one!

Boy, that was a lot of fun. First off, I need to say I am so freaking proud of our digital and social department. I also want to offer a heartfelt "Thank you!" to Jordan Love, Jaire Alexander, Preston Smith, Elgton Jenkins, Keisean Nixon and Larry for buying into the vision of our schedule release video and having fun with the project. It was a long process but totally worth it. I hope you all enjoyed it. It's a new era…and a rather straightforward schedule.

Conner from Flagstaff, AZ

I just watched the Packers schedule reveal. What did they do to convince you guys on the clown bit? Or was that an original idea from you guys?

I guess a little of both. While I would never openly volunteer for such a showcase, Spoff can legitimately juggle. It all started there and grew into something much, uh, stranger.

Scott from Tukwila, WA

Greetings II. How goes it? How about that schedule, eh?

Like I said, it's a relatively normal schedule other than the four consecutive primetime games down the stretch. That's more unique than bad, though – especially with back-to-back Thursday nighters. I love having four straight noon games to start the home schedule. As the co-editor of the Packers Gameday program, I wasn't crazy about the back-to-back home games in four days around Thanksgiving but that's how it goes. I find it humorous the Packers and Lions weren't matched up in Week 18 after the two played seven regular-season finales against each other over a nine-year stretch from 2014-22.

George from North Mankato, MN

Which stretch of the schedule has you most concerned? I think Weeks 13-16 will be very telling for multiple reasons. Is there a game you wish had been put in a different spot of the schedule?

Not really. I just find it odd Green Bay keeps playing an uncommon opponent like Miami on holidays. Weeks 13-16 will be a challenge. Matt LaFleur said it himself, but I also think it's a massive opportunity for this team if in contention. While I wouldn't say I'm "concerned" about the Detroit Lions in Week 9, that's a critical stretch I have my eye on. Green Bay hosts the defending NFC North champions leading into the Week 10 bye and then faces Caleb Williams for the first time on the other side of it. That's a tone-setter, for sure.

Cody from De Pere, WI

Three division games for the gold package? I know the gold package gets a bad rap for not being rowdy enough, but I can promise you this gold package member will be louder than ever for those three games. Has there ever been a better stretch for the gold ticketholders?

I'm optimistic. Here's the breakdown for how the ninth regular-season game alternates between gold and green package ticketholders – In the 2024 season, when the NFC has the "9-1" schedule, the Gold package will receive the ninth home game at Lambeau Field, and the Green package will receive the preseason game. In 2026, when the NFC has the "9-1" schedule again, it will be the Green package holders' turn to receive the ninth home game at Lambeau Field, and the Gold package will receive the preseason game. However, if the Packers are designated to host an international game in 2026, Green package holders will receive the ninth home game when the "9-1" schedule returns to the NFC in 2028. It just so happens the league booked Minnesota, Detroit and Chicago for the second, fifth and ninth games, respectively.

Preston from Tallahassee, FL

I understand the frustration with the streaming of games, I was thrilled with the NFL dumping the hated satellite-only plan. Out of town Packer Backers, like my family and me, have had to find a restaurant with the NFL package, spend a lot of money on food, sit in uncomfortable chairs, and offer extraordinary gratuities (rightly) for taking up a space for three-and-a-half hours. Now, I can watch Packers every game – nationally broadcast or not, eat better food, and sit more comfortably ... a win.

I'm not saying it couldn't be better, but I feel like we have seen the league make significant progress in how fans can watch games over the past 10 years. As much as the average viewer may not want to sign up and/or pay for a Peacock subscription, it has an easy-to-use interface. I'm also more conditioned to this considering my love for a sport (UFC) that charges its fanbase $80 every four weeks to watch its pay per views.

BA from Phoenix, AZ

If you had the power to make one change to the NFL in any way, what would you change and why?

Go back to 16 regular-season games forever…or at least until I hang up the Steno book.

Kelly from Stoughton, WI

Lots of talk about the streaming services. So technology goes, however, the biggest pain point and the part the infuriates me about the different streaming is EVERYONE is at a different point in the game. Group chats spoil endings, ESPN gives away scoring drives before the end, and so on and so forth. Do you see this as a problem for the NFL? If every ending is spoiled or I can just know the result of the drive before the TV shows it, doesn't that fizzle some of the drama?

As someone who frequently gets yelled at by people on Twitter, I'll just say this – if you don't want your game spoiled, reconsider your use of a second screen while watching live sports.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

I know the NFL doesn't base its scheduling around fantasy football but having the split bye weeks (half the league Week 8 and the other half Week 9) would be fascinating. I don't really enjoy fantasy football, even though I keep playing, but that wrinkle would certainly impact my draft strategy.

For as much as we talk about bye weeks, I still don't have a firm grasp of how the NFL schedules them. For example, it feels like some years there are bye weeks in Week 5 and some years there are not.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

With regards to this season, who or what do you think are the five biggest additions the Packers made this offseason? And who would you pick as an under-the-radar dark horse to break into the top five? This might be a better question for the Outsiders Inbox in about six weeks, so?

Let's save the latter for Outsider Inbox (because I don't have many ideas/submissions yet). I doubt any of this comes as a surprise, but my five biggest additions are Xavier McKinney, Josh Jacobs, Javon Bullard, Edgerrin Cooper and MarShawn Lloyd.

Josh from Seattle, WA

If Lukas Van Ness is our most improved player in the new scheme, how good will this defense be?! Would there be another defensive player on the most improved list, that you think would lead to the best team results?

If that's the case, watch out. Because a rising LVN will only make life easier for Rashan Gary, Preston Smith and the rest of the Packers' defensive line.

Brad from Oshkosh, WI

It's been mentioned in the past that Kenny Clark doesn't get the recognition he deserves due to his responsibilities on the defense, which limited his "attractive" stats like sacks, etc. With the changes to the D, could this be the external coming-out party KC deserves? Pro Bowls, All-Pros, HOF considerations?

Packers fans have always appreciated Kenny Clark. I don't know what it is, but Clark has just remained under the national radar for one reason or another. Statistically, Clark is coming off his best year and is as durable as defensive linemen come. With a more attacking front, I agree with Mike Daniels' comments at the Tailgate Tour launch last month that this scheme could really allow Clark to shine as a player.

Jim from Spicewood, TX

Thank you for addressing my question about the number of defensive linemen on the roster. Your answer, along with the answer to Stephie Rae's related question, begs another question: Please give me your guess (as an example by position) as to who the starting seven will be the first time the Packers line up in a 4-3. That will be very helpful in understanding what type of player is lining up where.

Today, I'd say Gary, Clark, T.J. Slaton (or Devonte Wyatt depending on the situation) and Smith on the ball, with Quay Walker, Isaiah McDuffie and Edgerrin Cooper as the three LBs.

Jim from De Pere, WI

Greetings Mike and Wes. With Kitan Oladapo's surgery to fix a broken toe and him hoping to be ready by camp in August, is this type of injury one that will cause him to fall behind and end up working to "catch up" for most of his rookie year?

It's never good for rookies to miss the on-field work during their first offseason program but Oladapo is a smart dude who's been in the classroom with the rest of the safeties. You hope those mental reps provide enough of a foundation for training camp. To me, the bigger thing is making sure the foot/toe heals properly and he can go 100% whenever he is back on the field.

Travis from Fort Walton Beach, FL

I hope y'all enjoy writing them as much as we enjoy reading the stories about the rookie draft class.

We do…and with any luck, my favorite one of all will run early next week.

Tom from Columbus, NJ

Two-part question. Approximately when will the Packers' training camp schedule be released? I will be visiting Green Bay around that timeframe and was hoping to let my little guy bring his bicycle and hopefully participate in that awesome tradition. Do you have any advice or pointers for doing so?

I don't have a set date for you, but the training camp dates were announced on June 16 last year. If your little dude is looking to get a rider, especially early on, I'd suggest arriving early. I hope you have an amazing time.

Kim from Manitowoc, WI

With a new DC, is he looking for more sacks or more pick-sixes?


Doug from Onalaska, WI

It seems to me there are two distinct advantages to an aggressive defense that haven't been addressed. For the sake of discussion, let's assume both styles give up the same points and generate the same turnovers. An aggressive style will result in more "three-and-outs." That should equate to better field position in general, and a fresher defense in the fourth quarter. I see that as a win-win.

I'll make it even simpler than that. If given the choice, which type of defense would you rather play? An aggressive one or passive? It won't always be perfect. Like Matt LaFleur says, a confident offensive coach feels like he can poke holes in any defense but an aggressive, attacking approach gives the opponent less time to do that.

Gavin from Albuquerque, NM

Breaking the first rule of II: I find it amusing that I can read through about half of the II and determine who is the writer without looking at the top of the article, simply by the responses. Thanks for all you do, always love reading II while drinking my morning coffee.

I'm the one who's never heard of brevity.

Bryan from Madison, WI

What is the advantage to a DE/edge in a 4-3 lining up with their "hand in the dirt" vs. starting in a two-point stance? There must be an advantage, otherwise players wouldn't do it. I've pondered this for quite some time and keep coming up empty. I guess that is why I never played defense.

Mostly comfort and vision. Some guys feel they get a better jump out of a two-point stance where others like having clearer eyes to the quarterback. It's just personal preference.

Jeffery from Brooklyn, WI

Hi, are there any echoes in the halls about Jordan Love's contract?

Friends, I covered Aaron Rodgers through three contract extensions and a restructure. Believe me when I tell you contract consternation is always external. The Packers and Love will figure it out in due time.

Mike from Cottage Grove, MN

Mike or Wes, do you see any similarities to NFL OL vs. DL play and sumo wrestling? Seems like both games have big bodies pushing each other.

Yes, in some ways. Like sumo, winning up front is predicated on linemen using their explosiveness and leverage to move the mountain of a man in front of you.

Brian from Sugar Land, TX

I would suggest there are three assistant coaches in the Packers HOF. Dave Hanner, while likely mainly inducted for his play, made significant contributions, including as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. According to Cliff Christl, "Hanner spent 44 years with the Packers: 13 as a player, 15 as a coach, 15 as a scout and one in quality control. His tenure in football operations was longer than any player or coach in Packers history."

It's funny you mention that. I actually discussed that with Spoff while he was writing Wednesday's column. However, Hawg Hanner was enshrined in the Packers Hall of Fame in the middle of his illustrious run as a coach and later personnel man. He was part of the Packers' fourth hall of fame class in 1974.

Aaron from Fort Wayne, IN

With the draft in Green Bay next year, do you think they'll try to incorporate the bike-riding tradition into the draft-day festivities? Maybe a child fan from each team is chosen to have the first-round pick ride their bike up to Roger Goodell. Not only would it show off one of Green Bay's great traditions, but it also would also teach a valuable lesson to fans of teams who traded away their first-round pick. Choose your fandom wisely (attempted humble chortle).

I watched Mark Murphy ride a bicycle to Lambeau Field on Tuesday night for the unveiling of the NFL Countdown Clock. So yeah, I assume we'll see the bike tradition incorporated into the draft.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. Do you ever "fake the funk" in the Inbox?

I bring the funk every time I open the laptop.

Mark from Minneapolis, MN

The schedule release combined with the returning as well as new coaches, players and administration has me as excited as I can remember as a Packers fan. Can't remember exactly my thoughts heading into the 2011 season, but the quality of the 2024 personnel (current and new) raises the energy level. With your combined experience in and out of 1265 (fans and employees), do you sense a higher-than-normal offseason excitement?

It's hard to compare but I definitely felt both the energy and love after the schedule release. It's an exciting team with very likeable personalities on this roster. You gotta win the games on the grass, but it doesn't hurt to have a little offseason swagger, too.

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