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Inbox: It was a bold call, and it worked out

They’re planning to win in 2024

Lambeau Field
Lambeau Field

Michael from Baraboo, WI

Looking forward to the schedule release. The NFL sure knows how to put on a show, don't they?


Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Schedule wishes for Green Bay: Week 2 at Lambeau. Two of the last three games at home including Week 18. No holiday games. Thursday game is non-division at home. Bye week falls between Weeks 7-11. Not having two games against same division team within three-week period.

I could sign up for all of that.

Stephen from Palos Park, IL

Which team are you most looking forward to finding out when the Packers will play them when NFL releases the schedule?

The two Lions games and the 49ers game are the ones commanding most of my attention in terms of the when.

Dennis from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

A midseason break rather than random byes is a great idea. True the NFL wouldn't want to go a week without games, but that's easily solved with split break. Half the teams take a break at the eight-week mark and half the teams take a break at the nine-week mark. Every team gets a break at relatively the same time and the NFL keeps a full slate of games from start to finish. What's wrong with this scenario?

Several folks have suggested this in the past, and I'd be on board, but I'm sure the NFL looks at that as too many eyeballs not watching football for those two midseason weeks.

Tony from Chanhassen, MN

I hear the NFL is considering hosting games on Christmas again this year, on a Wednesday. Considering this is about the worst day of the week to have a game, I think we can assume the NFL will do this every year going forward. If that's the case, would it behoove the Packers to request to be one of the home teams every year going forward? This guarantees the Packers a likely cold-weather game, gives the NFL a premium name on a premium date, and would further drive fan interest in the Packers.

I don't sense the NFL has any interest in Christmas games being in the same location every year like Detroit and Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Nick from Springfield, MO

I am curious how offseason waiver orders work? Since the Packers just made a claim from SF's practice squad, are they pushed to the bottom of the order until other teams make claims?

The waiver claim order from now through the first few weeks of the regular season is the same as the draft order, and making claims does not shift the order at all.

Dan from Northbrook, IL

Hi II, do the reported values from the Jared Goff extension change any of your expectations around what Jordan Love will receive with his upcoming contract? Do you think it is likely to push any potential deal in a more or less team-friendly direction?

I'm not sure it'll change the average annual salary all that much, but Goff getting $170M guaranteed could definitely bump up Love's total guaranteed dollars in the new deal.

Tim from Olathe, KS

Insiders, Detroit's signing of Goff for $53M per year with $170M guaranteed along with other huge extensions and signings tells me they are all-in right now. It also tells me the front office has adopted Dan Campbell's aggressive, perhaps audacious, risk-taking. I tip my cap to them for going for broke. I prefer sure and steady in the NFL. How do you see it?

When you win a playoff game (and get to the NFC title game) for the first time in 32 years, you're going to lock up the players you feel have been and will be most valuable to any continued pursuit. I don't see it as any more aggressive or audacious or risky than any other team would be in their situation.

Laurie from Sheboygan, WI

If (or when, as II maintains), more games move to random individual streaming services so fans have to subscribe to multiple services to watch games in different time slots, are the streaming services at least going to give us a break and not play so many commercials? Or is that too much to ask?

Don't hold your breath. With what those streaming services are paying the NFL for the broadcast rights, they'll aim to maximize ad revenue as well as (hopefully for them) new subscribers.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Insiders, with all the talk about the NFL heading towards streaming of games would hometown fans still get free viewing on local TV?

To my knowledge that's not changing.

Grant from Janesville, WI

What do you think was Green Bay's best backfield since 2000? 2003 when we had Green, Davenport, Fisher, and Henderson. Or 2010 when we had Grant, Starks, and Kuhn. Or 2020 when we had Jones, Williams, and Dillon.

I'd have to take 2003, followed by 2020. In 2010, Grant was lost for the season in Week 1 and Starks didn't play until November, so that's not really worth consideration. I'll throw another one out there to think about, though: 2013, with Lacy, Starks and Franklin (before he got hurt).

Craig from Milwaukee, WI

Do you think the rookie RB will get more playing time than AJ Dillon?

He might. He might not. MarShawn Lloyd will have to earn it, and prove he can pass protect.

Erik from Anchorage, AK

Do you see a world where Tom Clements is enshrined in the Packers HOF?

No offense to Clements, whom I admire and respect, but I'd consider it highly unlikely because the Packers HOF has inducted just two assistant coaches – Red Cochran, also recognized for his longtime service as a scout, in 1997, and Phil Bengtson, who succeeded Lombardi as head coach but was honored for his tenure as defensive coordinator, in 1985.

MaryAnn from Pittsville, WI

What are the initial takeaways from OTAs?

They start next week.

Ryan from Bloomer, WI

I can't wait for training camp. What competition are you looking forward to seeing first?

Safety and offensive line (particularly left tackle and right guard) are the first ones that jump out to me.

George from North Mankato, MN

Do you think the signing of John Parry by the Bills will lead to other NFL teams looking to add a gameday rules analyst/replay guru? If so, how big an impact on the quality of officiating do you think it could have? Can the NFL make it so that officials can't work for a team until they have been out of the league for a number of years?

It won't have any impact on the officiating itself, and I don't see the league creating any sort of stipulation. I think it comes down to whether a team feels its process for deciding whether or not to challenge plays is adequate and effective, or could use another set of eyes. Nothing more than that.

Chuck from Richfield, WI

It appears likely that Soldier Field will be replaced by a "to-be-named" domed stadium, and Lambeau Field would then become the only NFL stadium without a corporate sponsor in its name. I think this adds even more to the Packers' brand and mystique. Is there anything in our bylaws that ensures our stadium will remain named as is? Do you think having the only outdoor stadium in the division would be an added advantage for the Packers?

I'm not aware of anything in the bylaws. Credit for the name staying Lambeau Field goes to Bob Harlan, who resisted any thoughts of selling the naming rights when the franchise was asking for $300M in taxpayer money via referendum for the stadium redevelopment more than 20 years ago. It was a bold call, and it worked out. If the Packers didn't need to sell the name when they needed an extra $300M, I don't see how or why they'd ever sell it now. And I do think having the only outdoor stadium in the NFC North will be to the Packers' advantage.

Stephie Rae from Flowery Branch, GA

I know you addressed this excellently recently but with the new signing of DE Waege, it's clear I didn't grasp what's the difference between the front-seven positions and how they line up, DL, DE, LB, OLB, ILB, hand in dirt? I know nose tackle's opposite C, OLB/edge gets after QB, CBs PBUs. What's the difference between strong, weak and star safeties? What is the box? OK that's probably too many defensive questions for one answer, sorry. But you're always so thorough in breaking it down for dummies.

I'd never call someone a dummy for knowing what they don't know. That makes you smarter than a good portion of folks on this planet. But I digress. The easiest way to understand this new Packers defense is to forget about the old OLB label, and understand the edge rushers are all DL now. The Packers aren't distinguishing DE and DT on their roster, but some of the DL will be interior, some edge, some both, and they'll likely all line up in a three-point stance (hand in the dirt) except for certain calls/packages. All the LBs will line up off the ball, and they aren't being labeled inside or outside anymore. They're just the second level (again, with some variation). The strong side is the side on which the tight end lines up, the weak side the other. For the two safeties, the designations are free and strong, or post and box. Any reference to star would mean nickel corner. The free/post safety is like a deep centerfielder. The strong/box safety lines up closer to the line of scrimmage (when not in Cover-2), with the defensive box comprising the defenders lined up within the offensive line/tight ends width-wise, and within about 5 yards of the LOS depth-wise. Hope that helps.

Bob from Covington, KY

Greetings, gentlemen … I wonder, when the coaching staff says "best O-linemen," how much not only this year but next plays into the decision? For example, Josh Myers is this year's center but maybe they don't anticipate paying his free-agent price next year so Zach Tom moves to center. And if he truly is a potential Hall of Famer there, they'll pay up for him in 2025. Roster decisions aren't just current performance … the team has to factor in current and future bang for the buck.

I agree those are factors in roster decisions, but when it comes to starting lineup decisions, for a contending team like the Packers, you go with the guys who give you the best chance to win now. The Packers aren't planning in 2024 for 2025. They're planning to win in 2024.

Wamp from Rochester, MN

We want a pressure defense and it seems that is what Hafley's defense will be. However, as our offense has shown, those defenses can give up yardage/big plays. How can our new defense stop the offenses that are similar to Green Bay's?

That'll be the million-dollar question. This is admittedly an oversimplification, but I look at the philosophical shift like this: If you're playing a defense designed to limit big plays, you're trying to make the offense go the long way to score, so the more plays they have to run to get points, the more opportunities for them to make a mistake that thwarts the drive (dropped ball, missed block, penalty, turnover). If you're in full-on attack mode, you know you're going to concede some big plays when the offense executes effectively. You have to live with that, and they might score, or get into position to score, quickly at times. But throughout the process you're trying to force the drive-changing (and potentially game-changing) mistake rather than waiting for it to happen.

Matt from Fitchburg, WI

With Clark and the other defensive linemen having less two-gap and run responsibility, would you expect more pressure up the middle in general? If so, I feel like that could be a welcome change. Also, if that's the case, where would you see more defensive vulnerability besides the linebackers potentially missing the gap like you already mentioned?

We'll see about interior pressure. The O-line still has three guys (center and two guards) to block two in most alignments. If the front is constantly attacking upfield, the biggest vulnerability is the intermediate middle if the linebackers bite on play-action.

Jake from Lansing, MI

Insiders, I'm not trying to be facetious as I respect the work you all do. However, a lot has been said about Jeff Hafley's energy, enthusiasm, and drive. I feel like we've heard this song and dance when Joe Barry first came to Green Bay. Do you see something different from Coach Hafley? Is it merely a new face and new vibe? I'm not expecting a "Hafley is much better than Barry" answer...but I just want to know if you're hearing/seeing something that makes you feel like the ship has been righted.

I've been saying all along I'll declare no such thing until I see the results on the field, and how long those results last.

Matt from Madison, WI

Allow me to weigh in on the Packers. We don't need to go 17-0. We need to average 6-7 points per possession in the first three quarters as a distraction from our new defense. Then kill the clock in the fourth quarter. If that happens, we will have home games in January.

This crowd never quits.

Scott from Salem, OR

What if we put our demand for FULL CONSISTENCY in italics so they know we're serious this time?

Happy Wednesday.

Insider Inbox

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