Skip to main content
Powered by

Inbox: It's the matchup factor

The cat-and-mouse game has just begun

CB Jaire Alexander
CB Jaire Alexander

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

If the Packers draft Kool-Aid McKinstry, do you think he would run through a wall for Jeff Hafley?

Not bad, honestly. Not bad.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

Just finished watching the Prospect Primer on McKinstry. "Add ball hawk as one of the reasons GMs around the league are all, drinking the Kool-Aid." Very nicely done, Mike. I think that deserves a bow. A secondary with two players from 'Bama, one McKinney and one McKinstry, seems like poetic justice. I'm still clamoring for DeJean to be the pick if he's available but sign me up for this as well.

For the record, I did not write the video script on McKinstry, I just voiced it. The author was esteemed video producer Taylor Rogers, who packed as many Kool-Aid puns in there as he could. And yes, after our recording session he saw himself out.

Darren from Wakefield, MI

I'm glad to hear if the Packers play internationally it's an away game. Wasn't the UK game a home game? I can't imagine the compensation received from the NFL for the international game can cover the revenue loss for a home game, the greater Green Bay area, and not to mention the inability for tens of thousands fans missing out on a game opportunity at historic Lambeau Field. Do you have an estimate on difference? All due respect to the international fans of course.

I have no estimate, but the impact on the local economy of games at Lambeau Field is why the Packers didn't give up a home game to play overseas until the NFL forced them to do so in 2022.

Chuck from Greenville, WI

I have enjoyed every II since Vic arrived but this is my first submission. My career has taken me to over 30 countries and given me the chance to watch Packer regular-season games at 1 a.m. in China and S. Korea as well as playoff games at 10 p.m. in Switzerland. As for the consternation of the effect of time zone differences, there will only be a two-hour time difference in September. Hydrate on the flight and there will minimal impact.

So we (might have) that going for us, which is nice.

Dustin from Kansas City, MO

It almost feels like the Packers getting the Brazil game would be like adding an extra home game. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I don't think the Eagles have the same sort of worldwide brand recognition the Packers do. I would expect a lot more Packers fans in the stands than Eagles fans should it come to fruition. Also, traveling aside, I would think playing in Brazil would be much more enjoyable than playing in Philly.

Unfortunately, all that didn't help the Packers two years ago in London at Tottenham Hotspur, which turned into UK Lambeau. Perhaps a second time would be the charm.

Craig from Appleton, WI

Do you think the Chargers and Bills are looking at the success the Packers had last season at WR and decided to try to copycat the success? Both teams let their top two veteran receivers from last year go to other teams.

I don't see any correlation. Their moves seemed financial to me, with disgruntlement in Buffalo's case also part of the picture.

Hank from Centennial, CO

I have worked for English companies for years. When describing "pocket presence" to coworkers who are not well versed in American football I put it like this: Imagine you have about two seconds to discern where several teammates who are yards away from you will be in a moment's time. Meanwhile you are standing in the middle of an intense bar fight involving 300-lb. men. It's no wonder it's a rare skill. Jordan Love's steady improvement in that regard was one of the best things about last year.

Your analogy only begins to describe why NFL quarterback is the most difficult position to play in all of sports, and I don't think there's any debate. There may be moments when the pressure is greater on a kicker or hockey goalie or ninth-inning closer, but in terms of sheer difficulty regarding what it takes to succeed, NFL QB stands alone. The speed of the action and decision-making, the physical and mental demands, and the reliance for team success all feel more overwhelming to me the more I learn about pro football, and I'm still learning as my 19th season in this job approaches.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Something that I think that has been overlooked was the speed and efficiency Love and ML had with getting the play called and getting to the LOS last season, often with at least 10 seconds remaining on the play clock. That allowed Love to read the defense and start his cadence, which caused the defense to reveal their intensions and Love to make the right adjustments. Do you think defenses will be more prepared to counter that this season?

I don't think any defense likes to give anything away pre-snap, but I was astounded at how effective Love became at getting and reading the tells in his first year as a starter. It really showed up on film during the strong stretch run. Maybe opposing defenses didn't think they had to concern themselves as much with disguising against such a young QB, particularly after all the struggles in October. I really don't know. Whether or not that indeed was the case, they'll make it a point of emphasis to disguise better, but that's where a QB's post-snap quick hitters can catch defenders out of position. The cat-and-mouse game has just begun.

Russ from Odell, IL

Mark Murphy will be leaving his position in July 2025 with mandatory retirement. I believe Russ Ball is currently 65. Does his job have a mandatory retirement at 70 years old as well? Russ is a magician overseeing the salary cap.

For the record, Russ is 64, but the mandatory retirement age applies only to members of the franchise's board of directors and executive committee.

Rob from Spring Lake, NJ

I would like this year's officiating "emphasis" to be on QBs who either fake a slide and/or toe-tap down the sideline and then get outraged when they get hit hard. I'm all in favor of protecting the QB, but when Josh Allen at 6-5, 237, is lumbering down the field, if he fakes a slide, the "penalty" should either be that the whistle is blown and play is then dead, or he then forfeits the ability to be protected further on down the field. QBs can't continue to have it both ways.

Couldn't agree more. Even the slightest hint of a fake slide should be an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from the spot of the foul, in my opinion, and a QB approaching the sideline should step out of bounds well in advance of an approaching defender (if time and space allow) to garner protection. The way we've seen top-tier QBs like Allen and Mahomes exploit these rules will only get worse if it's not addressed.

Satah from Sturgeon Bay, WI

II, I'm hoping you can educate me about the value difference between safety and cornerback (based on the franchise tag value, CB is significantly more valuable and I believe S is one of the least of any position). My understanding is that S is a bit bigger player and CB faster. However, S has to be able to stop the run and cover receivers. Seems S is more versatile, although I understand it's very difficult for CBs to shut down elite receivers. Why such a value difference between them?

It's the matchup factor. Safeties rarely, if ever, are matched up against a particular offensive weapon. Corners are, regularly, and their ability to limit a star player's impact or totally negate a lesser player's production rates higher on the "game-changing" scale. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying safeties can't be game-changers. But on a down-in, down-out basis, an elite corner's matchup against a top receiver is more likely to have a larger overall impact on a given contest. It's a game of difference-makers on both sides, and they, well, make the difference. How's that for profundity?

Greg from Perkasie, PA

Regarding the situation Chicago finds themselves in this draft, if you were the GM, would you keep pick 9 and draft a top-tier player, or try and trade back for more draft pick ammunition? I would have a hard time not dangling that 9th pick in front of QB-needy teams hoping that I'd get a decent haul of picks in return.

I'm with you, but it could depend on how the QB situation plays out through the first eight picks. I wouldn't trade the pick just for the sake of getting more. I'd be sure I'm getting a good haul for it.

Jason from Austin, TX

Insiders, I could be wrong, but I feel like Gute has preference in taking developmental first-rounders over players who are Day 1 starters. Do you think that's because there's a risk that "ready to go" players have already reached their ceiling, or do you think it has more to do with the mindset that a developmental player with first-round talent has a higher chance of becoming elite? Or have you not noticed any preference in this regard?

When the Packers evaluate and compare draft prospects, they don't ask "Who is the better player?" but rather, "Who will be the better player?" It matters not whether a guy fits your team as a Day 1 starter. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. Plenty of immediate starters could still have long-term development in front of them. They're looking for the guys who will have the most impactful careers when it's all said and done.

Dale from Aurora, CO

Mike and Wes, I've asked this before with no response. I have to think that draft picks are given some considerations on what conference they played in. Would not a player in the Big Ten be given at least a slight nod over say an ACC player, based on competition strength?

Competition faced is based on the film, not the conference label.

Jeffery from Brooklyn, WI

Hey guys, tick tock, time is almost here to get the excitement flowing once again. If Gutekunst hits on at least half of this year's draft this team will be fully rebooted with young talent. Looking forward to it but it also brings uncertainty. What position are y'all looking forward to watching compete this year?

That's hard to answer without seeing the draft class yet, and Gutekunst strives for competition up and down the roster. But I'm expecting competition for spots and playing time will be most intense at offensive line, safety, linebacker and kicker.

Matt from Greensboro, NC

If you're currently on the team and the team drafts your position, that puts you on notice. Any interactions with or observations of team members that will be pushed by a rookie? This is professional football but does the passion ooze out so that you observe a change?

These guys are competitors to the utmost. If the potential or possibility of competition bothers them, they've already lost and/or wouldn't have gotten where they did in the first place. That's not to say they're actively rooting to see draft picks at their positions, but they know it's part of the deal. Those who waste the least amount of energy fretting over it boost their chances of rising above it.

Scott from Sussex, WI

Hey Mike, why do you like baseball so much?

It's the game I fell in love with as a kid. It's also the one I played through high school and college. As I've gotten older, I've really come to appreciate the intricate strategy involved, and I love managing/calling a game as I watch it.

DT from Bozeman, MT

Piggybacking on Ron from Eleva, the best advice I ever got from a boss in 26 years in the Air Force was "make sure you run out of career before you run out of family." It can be a challenging balance act but the rewards of getting it right are immeasurable and last a lifetime.

That's as good a segue as any into what I did with my Monday off. My wife, son and I went chasing the eclipse, a first for me (second for them after doing so in 2017 when my son was in college out west). Grabbed a hotel in northwest Indiana on Sunday night, got up Monday morning and strategized. With my son checking all the weather reports and cloud-cover projections, we ventured toward southwest Indiana (rather than the northeast portion of the state) to take our best shot. Traveled every back road we could to avoid traffic and wound up in some place called Goose Pond Fish & Wildlife Area a little south of Linton, and it turned out to be the perfect spot. Totality for, by my stopwatch, 4 minutes and 4 seconds. Maxed it out. I was blown away and amazed by the spectacle of it all. Mother Nature is something else. Incredible sight and a forever memory. Happy Wednesday.

Insider Inbox

Insider Inbox

Join writers as they answer the fans' questions in Insider Inbox