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Inbox: It's essentially a noon or nighttime slate

There are several considerations

Lambeau Field
Lambeau Field

Shilo from Murrieta, CA

Spoff, why do you dislike the whole "first player off the bus" topic so much? I thought you were going to say LVN. It's not particularly my favorite topic, but I don't think it's a bad question/thread, either. Is there more to the story?

No, it just feels juvenile when related to professional athletes. It's a high school bragging right. Speaking of back then …

Bob from Rome, NY

Gentlemen, easy on the "you can't write a term paper while reading the back cover of a book." That was my go-to in high school in a pinch. Thank you!

And yet you wound up just an hour outside Cooperstown. Almost, but congrats anyway.

Monica from Blue Mounds, WI

Wow, again no home opener, all the holidays but yay, only one Thursday night (so far). Are we supposed to be happy with the schedule? Hoping Love would be able to make debut at home in front of full stadium!

You were not alone there. As Larry said in our Instant Reax video, how crazy is it that Matt LaFleur has yet to open a season as head coach at home? That makes it two openers at home over the last 11 years. And then the fireman rushes in, from the pouring rain. Very strange.

Shawn from Stratford, WI

Good morning, II. Overall, I like how the Packers' schedule lays out. There aren't any juggernaut teams to start the season, but rather the challenge of starting out back-to-back on the road and also the first four of six on the road. An earlier bye, but with a mini-bye after Thanksgiving, and our seemingly tougher opponents later in the year when this team should be starting to gel. What are your takeaways?

Let's be honest, nobody knows which opponents will be tough and when, nor where the landmines might reside. My main takeaway is the one I wrote about last night – the rather intense spotlight on division games in Jordan Love’s first season as the starter. Opener at Chicago, first home division game Thursday night vs. Detroit, Thanksgiving at Detroit, first visit to the noisy Minnesota indoors in primetime on New Year's Eve. The division games feel even bigger than they normally would.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

I love the schedule release. It gives frame to the what's going to happen next, makes it real. What caught Spoff's eye?

I find it incredibly ironic that one year after the Packers explicitly did not want the Week 6 bye right after the London game because they felt it was too early – and got stuck with the latest possible bye instead – now they get a Week 6 bye.

Joe from Swansea, IL

Oof. That's a lotta football after the bye.

The Packers will get some rest after the Week 4 Thursday nighter, play one more game on a Monday night, and then have their bye. Those breaks must be put to good use because after that, Thanksgiving weekend is the only respite.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

Most unexpected game of the 2023 schedule?

We knew all the opponents four months ago, so I'm not sure what you're asking. I guess I'll just point out that if that Week 18 game against the Bears is not under the lights, it'll be the first time since I've been working here (this is my 18th season) that the Packers and Bears won't be playing a primetime game.

Jeffery from Brooklyn, WI

So much for the Packers not getting primetime slots this year, five in Jordan Love's first year is awesome. I also like the nine noon games, we don't have to wait all day. Kicking it off against the Bears will be fun to watch. What are your thoughts on the schedule?

It's essentially a noon or nighttime slate, which feels odd. There are only a pair of 3:25 p.m. games – the opener and then at Denver, which is out of necessity for a day game due to the time zone.

Mark from Canton, GA

Unlike some of the "pundits" I guess the NFL scheduling office must have some respect for us yet considering all the primetime games we got.

I mentioned way back when this first came up the Packers were scheduled for four primetime games in 2008 when Rodgers took over for Favre.

Take a look at the opponents the Green Bay Packers will be facing during the 2023 NFL season.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi II, an NFL game on Black Friday? Is nothing sacred?

Seems an appropriate day for a purely financial decision on the part of the league, doesn't it? It had been announced last year that was coming. It's funny, the first version of the Packers' schedule I saw had the Thanksgiving game listed at 11:30 p.m., and I actually paused for a sec to ponder whether it was a misprint.

Chris from Eau Claire, WI

Not good with secrets? Did the pressure get to Wes and he had to spill the beans? JK, thanks for the endless hours you guys put in. Open and close with the Bears. Thanksgiving game. Where's the calendar circle this year for you guys?

I have two. The Monday night in Vegas, which will leave me with just one active NFL stadium in which I haven't covered a game (SoFi in LA), and the reigning Super Bowl champs and Patrick Mahomes coming to Lambeau in early December. A little snow under the lights that night would be exquisite.

Mitch from Eagle River, WI

Hey guys, I have a follow up on the comment from David from Janesville. Specifically voicing a preference for watching player development over the "push for a Super Bowl while the window is open." Why do you think some fans prefer "newness" over a team in legitimate title contention?

I don't think that's a general consensus in all scenarios. I think it has to do with this particular moment in time. There isn't the appetite to run it back yet again after 8-9, when the team wasn't in "legitimate title contention." I think the organization and most of the fan base feel the same way in that regard.

Dave from Waterford, OH

Obviously, this team now fully belongs to Gutey and LaFleur, and I think they are thrilled to be moving ahead with the challenges in building the next championship for the Green Bay Packers. It's not incidental that they decided to move on from most of the older, or longtime, Packers. They wanted a select young group of athletes that they can mold their way moving in the same direction from the start. A lot of good guys were let go, but I think Gutey and LaFleur are excited with the refresh.

You either embrace challenges in this league or get engulfed by them.

Randy from Billings, MT

I will miss both Cobb and Lewis. Both still have some left in the tank, I believe. Both great locker room and work ethic/savvy leaders. Also great sounding boards for young players. Do you think the Packers feel they have enough leaders currently and thus wanted to keep a couple more young players to develop? Or do they think the coaches will help fill the experience gap?

The Packers want to see their young players grow and compete, as well as naturally assume leadership roles that are there for the taking. Adjustments may come later, but that appears to be the approach for now.

Kenton from Rochester, MN

No Adams, no MVS, no Lazard, no Tonyan, no Marcedes, no Cobb – yet in his interview, Jordan Love seemed unfazed by the exit of veteran pass-catchers over the last couple of years. In fact, he implied it would be easier to mold younger guys to his vision without having older guys around who want things "a certain way." Is he just whistling in the dark or do you think it can be helpful for him to NOT have established veterans around that could be seen as challenging his newly won authority?

I don't think it's about an "authority" clash per se, but I would imagine there's some comfort for him in knowing several young, perimeter players might be able to adjust to his game a little easier as he settles in.

Judi from Caledonia, WI

I watched Jordan Love's press conference. I see a more confident, mature leader. I am so excited to see the young guys grow together.

As I mentioned on "Unscripted," my favorite line of Love's very even-keel media session was when he was asked about the pressure of replacing Rodgers and playing for his next contract, etc. His answer was that pressure "is what I signed up for." Ding ding ding.

Russ from Henrico, VA

Having a young team and new starting QB, the opponents for 2023 could be much harder (on paper) than what they do have. What are the odds the NFC South has a renaissance like the East had last year?

Anything's possible, but it'll depend on the QB play. In the NFC East last year, Dak Prescott returned from injury, Jalen Hurts surged to an MVP level and Daniel Jones made himself a boatload of money. All the starting QBs in the NFC South will be new to their teams this year, so it's a great unknown.

Walter from Rome, NY

Hello Insiders! Honestly this is not asked with any snark; who are some notable Packers who have worn 88? I can think of three: Franks, Finley, and the notorious Montgomery. Anyone else? Thanks for putting up with obsessive Packer fans. GPG!

Ron Kramer, Keith Jackson, Roell Preston. And now I'm officially done with 88, too.

Johnny from Fort Myers, FL

I think that Mason Crosby's No. 2 deserves to be retired. His longevity, the huge points record, and all those game-winning, absolutely clutch kicks! What say you, please?

If he eventually winds up in Canton, it's worth considering. But I don't know if that'll happen, and the Packers have nearly two dozen players in the Hall of Fame whose numbers aren't retired, so there are several considerations.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Mike. Let's face it, Anders Carlson didn't have the best field goal kicking percentages from his years at Auburn. It wouldn't be fair to compare his college stats with those of Mason Crosby or Ryan Longwell, but the Packers must have seen his strong leg and equally strong mind to spend a sixth-round draft pick on him. Can accuracy be coached up in training camp? Thanks.

I think the Packers are counting on being able to hone Carlson's fundamentals now that he's able to kick without a brace on his non-kicking leg.

James from Appleton, WI

It's interesting how Matt LaFleur can have 47 victories and a .712 winning percentage in the regular season and NOW we're going to see what kind of coach he is.

Nature of the beast.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

Speaking of wrestlers on the gridiron, they claim Ray Lewis NEVER lost a wrestling match in his life, and could have been an Olympian if he so chose. No surprise to me. Is it true we already had the card made out for Ray until he went the pick before to the Ravens? Which pick did we eventually make?

In 1996, the Ravens took Lewis at No. 26, right before Ron Wolf was going to draft him. Instead he took John Michels at 27.

Brian from Colby, WI

Maybe I missed it somewhere, but in "Packers Unscripted," why are you now in separate areas and not in the same room like you used to be?

It's just a technical issue that isn't allowing us to use our typical cameras, so we have to use Zoom cameras.

Joe from Orlando, FL

In reference to the hockey players in skates, Craig Ludwig was a 6-3 defenseman from Eagle River who played 22 years. He towered over every player in that era.

Yesterday, Wes received from an Inbox reader a picture showing Van Ness in his high school hockey uniform next to his teammates. It was even more dramatic than I envisioned.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

I hope this isn't a dumb question, but I often hear players and coaches refer to "simplifying" the offense/defense in a positive manner, often citing a player's understanding. What does that entail, and if it's so helpful, why do anything but simple?

Simplifying usually involves reducing the number of checks or adjustments that go with any given call. The more possible changes, the more the players have to think in the heat of the action and therefore might not react as quickly as required. So it's about boosting a unit's play speed. But there's a fine line, because the opponent can catch on to looks with fewer potential adjustments and take advantage. That's why the phrase "illusion of complexity" is heard so often in the NFL now. The goal is to run plays/calls that look complicated to the opponent but are simple to execute.

Thomas from Madison, WI

Rebuild … Reload … involuntarily REgurgitate my breakfast after hearing these words again. We need to stop eating the forced label baloney sandwich (not what I had for breakfast) and just allow things to be what they are. Not meant as a slight to AR12, but difference should be something to celebrate, and is a large part of why I'm excited for the 2023 Packers.

Well, the baloney doesn't stop for another four months.

Jeff from Mequon, WI

My fiance and I are holding our wedding reception at Lambeau this December, and with the schedule release we will finally be able to set a date! Shall I set aside a craft beer and a root beer?

Sure, but what's Wes gonna have? Happy Friday.

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