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Inbox: It's happened a bunch

Opportunity will come knocking

T Trent Williams, QB Brock Purdy, G Jon Feliciano
T Trent Williams, QB Brock Purdy, G Jon Feliciano

Mike from Ames, IA

How often do you two get messages suggesting you retire? Do you keep score to see who gets more?

We're more likely to get messages from stockholders who believe, as "owners," they have the authority to fire us.

Scott from Milwaukee, WI

Just curious about who's affected by the mandatory retirement at age 70. Are GMs and coaches included?

No. That mandatory retirement age is in the bylaws for members of the board of directors and executive committee, and the team president/CEO is on the executive committee.

Joe from Hampshire, IL

Gents, a memo to all, Mike recently introduced the shorthand for an Inbox favorite phrase, ATMR (wcbw). So a question for research: Have any NFL teams missed the playoffs in the season prior to making an appearance in the Super Bowl?

It's happened a bunch just within the last dozen years or so. Super Bowl appearances by the Bengals ('21), Buccaneers ('20), 49ers ('19), Eagles ('17), Falcons ('16), and Giants ('11) all came after not making the playoffs the prior year.

Jerry from Des Moines, IA

How about Joe Whitt Jr. getting the DC job in Washington! Wish him all the best (except against the Packers). Will you share a memory you have of Whitt while on MM's staff?

He stopped me in the hallway once to compliment me on a WYMM piece I did on the DBs after a game. Kinda blew me away, frankly. Happy for Joe.

John from Indianapolis, IN

Do you expect the Packers to have a news conference to introduce the new defensive coordinator and do you think Matt LaFleur will be a part of that?

It'll take place at some point. No word yet. I suspect LaFleur wants all the dust to settle with regard to the '24 coaching staff before addressing the media.

Steve from Flagstaff, AZ

Hi Mike, what development can we expect from Sean Clifford and possibly Alex McGough if we keep three QBs, barring an injury that may keep Love out for an extended time? (God forbid). Anything we as fans need to know about their growth as a passer or a leadership? Or do you think they are progressing just fine as their backup roles?

Clifford really impressed me for a rookie playing his first preseason games last summer. With a year in the offense under his belt and the likelihood he'll play even more preseason snaps than last year, I'm really curious to see how much more command he has out there come August. Though preseason action always comes with the caveat of the players around the QB and how they're functioning, particularly up front. Regarding McGough, I just haven't seen enough to be able to comment on him.

Isaac from Columbia, TN

Sorry, one more draft question to whet the appetite: Does the axiom, "The best time to draft one is when you don't need one" apply to all positions (maybe besides punters/kickers)? If so, could this be the year the Packers frustrate everyone in the funniest way by drafting a receiver in the first round?

It applies mostly to quarterbacks, but I think it also applies to three other premier positions (offensive tackle, pass rusher, corner) because there's no such thing as too much depth at those crucial spots.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

The list of productive players from the Packers' last few drafts is insane! Gutey gets all the credit – or blame – because he's ultimately responsible. How much of Gutey's talent evaluation team remains in place for this year's draft? If I were another NFL team, I'd take a good look at that crew and see who (whom?) I could pilfer!

I haven't heard of any major changes in the upper levels of the personnel department, but if the Packers contend again in 2024, I expect opportunity will come knocking for some of those guys.

Marin from West Lawn, PA

On average, how many Packers personnel attend to scout potential prospects at college all-star games such as the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game?

As many as are available. The all-star games and scouting combine are the culmination of their year's worth of road work. When commitments overlap, the department divides and conquers.

Darrel from Pueblo, CO

II, Gute is responsible for the roster and drafting players. I assume ML, OC, DC and scouts have some important input. Do you know exactly how that works out and then Gute makes his choices?

The personnel department does the bulk of the scouting. They will ask members of the coaching staff to review film and write up reports on potential prospects of interest. LaFleur often studies the quarterbacks. The wide receivers coach will be tapped for his thoughts on, you guessed it, wide receivers. Coaches might also be part of in-person or Zoom visits with prospects, too. Their views are then thrown into the mix when the entire personnel department has its final round of draft meetings in April to set the board.

Chris from Fremantle, Australia

Philadelphia Eagles were given the Sao Paulo game, and in Week 1. We are scheduled to play an away game against them. Why do I get the feeling that we'll be opening our season away, again, and against them in Sao Paulo?

A popular query. I honestly have no idea. It'll depend on whether the Eagles want to "protect" their home game with the Packers from being moved, or if they're more interested in protecting other home games in '24, like their Cowboys and Steelers matchups. Stay tuned I guess.

David from Goldsboro, NC

Looking at the upcoming schedule, of the five non-divisional road games, which do you think will be the most challenging or exciting environment for this team next season? Which are you most looking forward to?

For me it's all about the Rams game at SoFi, because I've never been in that building. It'll become the 43rd different stadium in which I've covered an NFL game.

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, UK

I don't know if you follow rugby, but when there's a review you can hear all the officials talking to each other about the incident and exactly what they are reviewing. Do you see the NFL going down this route rather than the chief official just announcing the result?


Gary from Davenport, IA

Did you know that Caitlin Clark went to the same high school as Bob Harlan? I guess Harlan is no longer considered the most famous alum of Dowling Catholic HS in Des Moines, Iowa.

I did not know that. Speaking of the Harlans, I heard that Kevin and his daughter Olivia will make history on Westwood One radio covering the Super Bowl together – Kevin on play-by-play and Olivia reporting from the sideline. That's cool beyond measure, in part because I know both of them. Longtime viewers will remember Olivia doing some video work for us as a training camp intern (summer of '11 or '12?) when she was just getting her broadcasting career started.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

If you were allowed to be in the draft room on draft day or the interview room while potential coaching candidates are being interviewed, which would you choose and why?

The draft room. To see that process and the conversations that go on amongst so many different, important people, with a clock ticking would be fascinating.

David from Janesville, WI

Gents, I know we haven't gotten any indication of what if any significant changes will take place with the defense, but I'm curious how that change will spill over to special teams. Nixon is a key returner, but may no longer fit the mold for their vision of a starting corner. Maybe that limits the investment the Packers would be willing to make. Eric Wilson is one of my favorite special-teams players and he showed he can step in on D as well. If a 4-3 is brought in maybe that increases his value?

Nixon is a slot corner, so the defensive front won't really affect him or how the Packers go about building competition and depth at that spot. I think Wilson has plenty of value on special teams and for linebacker depth in any system.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

Our WR and TE rooms certainly seem to be stocked. Does this make Gutey's job even harder in April as it pertains to drafting BAP? Say he's sitting at his desk during the second round. A top prospect that he has a late first-round grade on at WR or TE falls to our pick. By not selecting the player you risk missing out on the next Deebo Samuel or Travis Kelce (Super Bowl week reference). But by adding another high pick to full rooms you're just taking snaps away from developing players. Tough job.

That's why you're always working the phones for possible draft trades, because the scenario you describe screams trade down. It's all about maximizing the value of your draft slots to help your team best.

Mike from Grovetown, GA

From 2018 to 2021 the Packers have not drafted well in rounds 4 through 7. In those four drafts, it looks like only three players panned out (Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jon Runyan, and Isaiah McDuffie). However, in the past two drafts the success rate looks to have markedly increased. What do you attribute this to?

Any number of things. Player health, mental makeup, system fit, coaching, opportunity … but mostly the random unpredictability of human development.

Reg from New Berlin, WI

What defensive player made the biggest improvement in his second season? On the defensive side of the ball, what rookie showed the greatest improvement over the course of the season?

Devonte Wyatt for second-year defender. Rookie on defense? Tough call amongst Lukas Van Ness, Karl Brooks and Carrington Valentine.

Brian from Chaska, MN

The new DC's scheme calls for aggressive cornerback play. The single high, four-man front has been proven effective. The scheme can lead to vulnerability to the deep pass. I feel Jaire is born for this increased pressure. What are your thoughts on the other side of the field?

It's going to get tested. A lot.

Christopher from Hagerstown, MD

Is there any postgame quote that's stuck with you? I don't think I'll ever get "Musgrave stayed on his feet!" out of my head.

Having learned of that postgame locker room speech in Dallas after the fact, the first thing LaFleur said at the podium that day made so much more sense: "That was fun." It also encapsulated the vibe of the team during the stretch run.

Dan from Madison, WI

Mike, help me understand why the Brewers would sign Rhys Hoskins to a (most likely) one-year deal, but then trade Burnes. I'm not even criticizing the trade; I like who the Brewers got in exchange, but then why spend the money on Hoskins? Either plan on winning now or in the future. This halfway in-halfway out doesn't make sense to me.

The Hoskins signing was not some all-in move. It was a mid-level signing to stay competitive at a position that sorely needed an upgrade. The Brewers are trying to remain as consistently competitive as possible on an annual basis and avoid any massive drop-off when their highest-priced talent inevitably leaves. It's a delicate balance that may or may not work. Stearns tried to have his cake and eat it too when he traded Hader at the deadline in '22. He believed that team would still make the postseason while he shored up the future at the same time, but it backfired in the clubhouse. Lesson learned, so now Arnold's similar moves will likely come in the offseason so as not to be so disruptive to a (hopefully) contending team's chemistry, and they'll reassess at every juncture.

Joe from St. Louis, MO

Hi Mike and Wes, about the playoffs being a crapshoot, which I 100% agree is the case, how have teams like the Brady-led Patriots and the Mahomes-led Chiefs been able to navigate that chaos theory to multiple and consecutive championships?

Look at how those teams perform(ed) in crunch time in postseason games. In the biggest moments, mistakes are minimized.

Collin from Kirkwood, MO

Which team do think has the better defense? KC or SF?

In the front seven, the edge goes to the Niners. But back end, I think the Chiefs are much better.

Michael from Baraboo, WI

Who is your pick for the Super Bowl and why?

I'm picking the Chiefs because A) I will be rooting against the Niners, obviously, and 2) Bushwood or not, there's no sense betting against Patrick Mahomes at this point.

JR from Silvis, IL

I see that the 49ers are favorites, but to me it comes down to one person and that is (shockingly) No. 15. I just don't see him allowing the Chiefs to lose. If there is anyone in the league capable of willing a team to victory, I think it is him.

That, too.

Greg from Wauwatosa, WI

Salary cap, rebuild, youth movement as well as maximizing draft capital have me wondering if a possible trade of Jordan Love would be in the Packers' best interest? Love's value is extremely high coming out of 2023 and if that could be parlayed into a top-five pick or better combined with a fourth-round pick would that set the table going forward?

(Sigh.) I … just … give up. Happy Wednesday.

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