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Inbox: It's one of the most underrated aspects of this 30-year run

Jordan Love has the opportunity to do something special next season

Offensive Line
Offensive Line

Bill from Sheboygan, WI

Thanks Wes. You start talking about seeds sprouting and we get six inches of snow.

Hey, maybe it's winter wheat that's sprouting.

Tom from New Berlin, WI

There has been a number of discussions concerning the offensive line. With Jon Runyan and Yosh Nijman gone, the problem becomes the ability of the line to mesh together. Do you see this as a problem?

If the O-line meshed last year when Runyan was rotating with Sean Rhyan at right guard and Nijman was spelling Rasheed Walker at left tackle, I think it'll be just fine this upcoming season. Luke Butkus does a great job with that group. I feel like the biggest thing for Green Bay is going to be building back its depth after all these recent departures.

Dale from Prescott, WI

What's your take on the possibility of being penalized for a "hip-drop" tackle? Almost have to make it reviewable. No idea how a guy tackling at full speed controls that.

The NFL made it sound like "hip-drop" tackles will be disciplined more through fines than flags. I respect what the player-safety committee is trying to do, but I have some questions about the proposal. It just seems like there's so much subjectivity to "hip-drop" infractions. I also wonder what happens if a referee does throw a flag during a critical point of a fourth-quarter game? I hope to gain more clarity over the next couple days.

Johan from Evansville, IN

I think the conversation around "hip-drop" tackles will become the new placeholder of roughing the passer body-weight discussions. The NFL loves physics when it comes to AWS Next Gen Stats. Why do they ignore physics when it comes to this? It's already tremendously difficult playing defense in the current league and that box of how to legally play defense naturally looks like it's getting smaller and smaller.

That's why I struggle with this. Pass rushers have to be careful with how they hit the quarterback. Defensive backs must be mindful of how they cover receivers. Now defenders have to think twice how they tackle the ball carrier or they're going to lose money.

Dan from Kenosha, WI

Insiders, reading the proposed rule change regarding hip-drop, hawk-roll (tackling method the Seahawks taught) I think there may be an unintended consequence. This style of tackling allows smaller players (defensive backs) to bring down much larger players (Derrick Henry) without subjecting their bodies to a huge collision. Removing this tackling method will mean more missed tackles, more shoulder injuries, etc. We will just be moving who gets injured not reducing overall injuries.

The NFL is pushing the "weightless" element hard in the penalty's language but again this game is played at breakneck speed. It's survival of the fittest out there. If a DB is trying to tackle Henry, he may be falling to the ground because that's where the momentum of the play is taking him. It's not easy to slow down a 250-pound running back enough after he's already beaten your defense at the first two levels.

Ross from Summerville, SC

Gents, if a QB (J.J. McCarthy) drops to the Packers when their pick comes up, do they draft him or trade out?

No QBs before Day 3. If that's how the board falls, then trade the pick to a QB-needy team. The Packers have their franchise signal-caller. I'd rather put pieces around him to take the next step in 2024.

Logan from Tribune, KS

Am I the only one who thinks the proposed kickoff rules seem overly complicated? Why not just eliminate the kickoff and start the offense at the 20-25 at this point?

The line the NFL keeps saying is it wants to keep the "foot" in "football." The league doesn't want to eliminate the kickoff or the excitement the play creates for fans. It's just been a perilous enterprise trying to find ways to make it safer.

John from Yakima, WA

How does the change in kickoff rule enhance, detract, remain the same regarding player safety? And do you see the change affecting receiving team formation from current formations?

The idea is to make the play safer, with the delayed rush from the coverage team slowing down collisions with the kickoff returner. The formation doesn't drastically change other than "the setup zone" requires the returning team to lineup at least nine players from the 35- to the 30-yard line. Seven of those nine must have their foot on the 35.

Mary Anne from Orange, CT

Why did the Packers let Jonathan Owens go, he played great and filled the role, as we advanced in the second half of the season? As our secondary needs a strong support system, Owens certainly was one of the successful backups.

Owens did a good job in a pinch and was rewarded with some guaranteed money from Chicago. However, the Packers went another direction and signed the best safety on the market in Xavier McKinney. It's possible Green Bay signs another veteran this offseason but drafting a safety to partner with McKinney seems like the more likely move to me.

Dave from Germantown, TN

I have been thinking about the Packers' obvious needs at linebacker and safety. Players want to play. Could you see a player going to the coaching staff and asking for a shot at playing an "open" position?

Some things need not be said, Dave. If you're on an NFL roster and not aiming for an "open" position, then your roster spot is what will soon be "open."

Scott from Sauk City, WI

As far as divisional games, I like what Vic (maybe you both as well) used to say – the first month of the season is an extension of the preseason. If the NFL is going to use divisional record as a division-winner tiebreaker, they should put those games after Oct. 1. But, like you said, that leads to a lot of divisional games that have to be crammed into 12 weeks. There's no right answer. Maybe avoid them in the first two weeks?

I don't disagree. I also know the league isn't gonna concede flexibility to implement such a measure. Aside from those Week 18 division games, the NFL wants all options on the table when building the schedule grid.

Arn from Kenosha, WI

Good Morning II. Former Minnesota receiver Blake Proehl is pursuing a singing career and doing quite well on American Idol. Which Packer do you think could do the same? How about Wes or Spoff?

AJ Dillon was on stage with Zach Bryan in Milwaukee the other day, though I'm unfamiliar with his singing prowess. Our digital coordinators say my singing is all right, but I consider myself more of a shower performer than a front man.

Chase from Carmichael, CA

How hard is it to build a successful OL in the NFL? And how critical is the QB's acumen to help them succeed? I'm asking because OL seems like one of the most important things to get right for veteran and rookie QBs (see: NYJ 2023 season, Game 1). But if that's true, and teams keep reaching for QBs instead of building an environment for the QB's they draft to be successful, then it would seem they're the reason for their perpetual mediocrity (see: Chicago). Until they get lucky (see: CHI/CAR trade?).

Sticking with the musical theme, the QB and O-line are like a lead singer and a band. The two must work in concert with one another or the performance won't sound good. What happened with the New York Jets last year reminded me of the situation David Carr walked into in Houston in 2002. Maybe Carr wouldn't have panned out regardless, but the Texans' O-line did him few favors during his time with the Texans. As much as we talk about QB play in Green Bay, the Packers have done a remarkable job of developing offensive linemen throughout the starting tenures of Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, and now Love. Building a solid O-line is easier said than done, but it's a must. The king is only as strong as the guards protecting him. What Green Bay has accomplished on the O-line is one of the most underrated aspects of this 30-year run.

Michael from Baraboo, WI

Love had an outstanding year. What are some things that he can work at improving during the offseason?

Sharpening the tools, cutting down on the interceptions and learning from 634 passes he threw (including playoffs), both the makes and the misses. One season does not make a career, but Love is trending up. Now, he has the opportunity to do something special next season – both for himself and this franchise.

William from West Covina, CA

It seems the Packers may have Josh Jacobs and AJ Dillon as the starting running back duo. I'm guessing the Packers may draft a running back for the future. Plus, if Emanuel Wilson has an even better preseason than he had last year, he may need a roster spot, too. Four running backs on the 53. Likely or unlikely?

It's too early to say. With 11 draft picks, it wouldn't shock me to see Green Bay draft a running back, but players still get what they earn during training camp. That's how Wilson went from a late-May signing to besting Lew Nichols, Patrick Taylor and Tyler Goodson for RB3. There are no set numbers for positions, though. If four running backs are worthy of the 53 next summer, Brian Gutekunst will adjust accordingly.

Jeffrey from Taylors, SC

Do you think the Packers triple-up in the draft at LB for 4-3 defense? Need a thumper?

A triple-up would surprise me, but I definitely could see them taking two. It's not just about defense, either. Inside linebackers are pivotal to special teams, as well. Before Isaiah McDuffie started contributing on defense, he earned his first paychecks in the third phase.

Clayton from Slinger, WI

Getting back to the question from Lane from Hurricane, UT, didn't Eric Stokes rip off something like a 4.21? I remember his speed was a major factor in drafting him.

Stokes was clocked in that 4.25-4.28 range at Georgia's pro day. Unfortunately, there wasn't a combine in 2021 due to COVID, so we don't have an "official" 40 time to compare with Christian Watson, Bo Melton, and Co. But yes, Stokes would be in that conversation, too.

Mark from Las Vegas, NV

We have an extremely dynamic group of young receivers and there is varying array of talents spread among them. I'm wondering though why when they talk about Watson, they always talk about his ability to stretch the field. However, they don't seem to mention the same ability when talking about Melton who, from everything I've read, has comparable speed. Is there more to stretching the field than speed? Couldn't he be used similarly to Watson if Watson is not available?

I think Melton could do that even with Watson available. Melton helped fill that downfield void after Watson tweaked his hamstring against Kansas City but also freed Watson's versatility up when No. 9 was back on the field. The two of them together could be very dangerous in this offense. On a personal level, I'm a big fan of Bo Melton. I've liked him since the Packers signed him in December 2022. He has the right mentality and astonishing physical gifts.

Ben from Guffey, CO

Hmm...Personally, I'm OK with beginning the season and ending the season with rivalry games. Adds to the drama of the rematch later on, with the teams being completely different in the rematch.

I agree with all of you. I just doubt the NFL would setup Week 1 division games like it does in Week 18. But again, I'll never say never with this league. Things can change quickly (see: an NFL team in Las Vegas).

Mike from Oshkosh, WI

Hello Insiders, I have been wondering about different draft scenarios and preparation. Do the Packers (and other NFL teams for that matter) use mock draft programs or websites in preparing for the draft? I know many of us fans do mock drafts for fun, but I wonder if teams do it to get a feel of how early a draft target may come off the board.

The Packers run their own series of mock drafts, but I don't know of any set programs or websites that they utilize.

Tim from Charlotte, NC

Wes, is it "HALF-lee" or "HEY-flea"? If it's the latter, could this cause problems during practice?

It's the former. Crisis averted.

Yotam from Atlit, Israel

Well, Wes answered that the farthest/most unusual country features in the inbox was Uruguay. I guess it was most unusual, because farthest it was not. Uruguay is 5,300 miles from GB, while Israel is 5,900 miles. So, I guess my question is what made it so unusual?

I just get a kick out of submissions from South America. It makes me feel worldly. But I appreciate you and everyone worldwide who takes time out of their day to read Inbox. I really enjoy it because it makes me feel a connection to many places I'll likely never get to travel to in this lifetime.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

To Jeff from Indian Lake, NY. Strangely enough, Wisconsin's lack of an NHL team means I'm personally not even invested in the NHL. I don't care who wins "The Cup" every year. My hockey rooting interests end in college. To that end, here's wishing the Badger ladies luck this weekend. I hope that by the time the next II is published, we've seen them win their eighth national championship. I'm sure that I'm strange for being a fan of the sport while ignoring the professional ranks, though.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case but Wisconsin women's hockey remains the most established and successful program in the country. If I was devout hockey fan, I'd be cheering from the rooftops, too. Congrats to the Badgers on their runner-up finish.

Terry from Green Bay, WI

Wes, we need a new II rule specifically for you. You like to put TV or movie quotes in your replies, which is ok. You can even modify them a little for added humor. But you cannot modify them if it ruins the great image in our heads the original quote created. They are, and always will be, spectacular!

That's fair. Welcome to a new week.

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