Skip to main content
Powered by

Inbox: Karl Brooks has been a real find for this defense

In 2024, expectations will be where they’ve always been

DL Karl Brooks
DL Karl Brooks

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

"No expectations." What do you think, Wes? Is that off the table for 2024? It was nice while it lasted.

Pressure is a privilege, right? Rest assured, in 2024, expectations will be where they've always been…and hopefully proper recognition from the rest of the league is soon to follow.

Craig from Sussex, WI

The Packers appear to be a fan/league favorite with their young and exciting lineup. I see a lot of primetime games on the schedule this coming season.

I'd expect the primetime slate to be maxed out next year with Jordan Love's budding stardom and the way this team performed down the stretch. To that end, I'd be stunned if Green Bay has eight noon games again in 2024. Sorry Ma Hod.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, what have you seen in Jordan Love that assures you he will have the discipline and focus to continue his playmaking progress despite his leap from anonymity to national recognition?

How Love handled media row at the Super Bowl last week. The guy is so comfortable in his own skin, and it translates to how he plays the quarterback position. Love is equal parts driven, focused and talented.

Paul from Ellensburg, WA

Hey fellas, I recently read a national media article that re-drafted the first round of 2023 for fun. They had Jayden Reed in theirs, but also Dontayvion Wicks and surprisingly Karl Brooks. My question is do you think Brooks played well enough to be considered so highly that in a re-draft he would go in the early rounds?

I do. Brooks quietly went about his business to the tune of 20 tackles, four sacks, four deflections, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble while playing just 380 snaps (34%). Statistically, that's the most impactful season by a Packers rookie defensive lineman since Green Bay switched to the 3-4 in 2009. Whether he was drafted on Day 1 or Day 3, Karl Brooks has been a real find for this defense.

Brian from Maple Grove, MN

With a reported move to four down linemen on defense, do you see any change in personnel placement? Colby Wooden is listed at 6-foot-4, 273 pounds, which seems a little light at DT.

Versatility was part of the package when the Packers selected Wooden last year but I don't know enough about his game yet to predict where he'll fit best in Jeff Hafley's scheme. He lined up both outside and inside at Auburn, though.

Mark from Dallas, TX

Obviously, the hope is both Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft will be long-term successes for the Pack, but curious your thoughts on them as rookies. To my untrained eye, it seemed like Musgrave was better at getting open and Kraft prevailed with yards after the catch and blocking. But I'm not confident in that assessment.

I think your assessment, while broad, has merit. I loved everything about their rookie seasons. My only regret is we didn't get to see more of Musgrave and Kraft together in two-TE sets, which has become a staple of Matt LaFleur's offense.

Steve from Dickeyville, WI

With free agency happening soon, why hasn't any re-signing or restructuring deals been reached?

Deals can go down at any time. That's part of the excitement. But deadlines most often spur action. Keisean Nixon re-signed at the start of free agency last March and De'Vondre Campbell did the same the year before. Aaron Rodgers and Preston Smith both signed extensions prior to the start of free agency in 2022, as well. Every so often a deal will get done in February (e.g. Aaron Jones' restructure), but you can't set your watch to it.

John from Jupiter, FL

Morning Wes. I must say my biggest concern going into this offseason is the defensive backfield, primarily safety. On the other hand, something this past season taught me was to trust the organization. I felt the same way when all our receivers left starting with Davante Adams and we've seen how that turned out! Thanks.

When the Packers emphasize something, they get results. The two-year renovation at receiver is probably the best example of that, but I think it also applies to what we've seen at tight end, offensive and defensive line, and inside linebacker. Gutekunst and Co. saw what happened in the secondary in 2023, most of which due to injury. I expect the front office will respond accordingly.

Randy from Clarksville, TN

Could you please explain why LaFleur started platooning at right guard near the end of the season? I thought Jon Runyan was a very solid performer. Injury? Contract? Declining play? Please help me understand. Thank you.

It started because Runyan was a little banged up, but the Packers stuck with the rotation because Sean Rhyan played well. While the RG platoon was in motion, the offensive line also started playing better as unit. If the results are positive, why mess with it?

Vishnu from Cupertino, CA

Wes, you mentioned keeping an eye out for the vertical when looking at O-linemen. How does a vertical translate to O-line talent?

It's one indication of a lineman's athleticism, explosivity and burst, all of which are key to quickly generating force and moving an opponent off his spot.

Brian from Fort Atkinson, WI

Good morning, Wes, how are you today? You answered a question yesterday about coaches leaving and the effect that can have on a team. The first coach that came to mind was Tom Clements. I believe having him decide to keep coaching for a couple more years would be huge for Loves continued growth. Has there been any word on if he is for sure coming back next year? Thank you both for taking the time to answer our questions.

The expectation is Clements will be back, though we're still waiting on an official announcement. Clements' return has been a boon for both the Packers and Love. Luke Getsy did great work with Love during his first two seasons, but the young QB's game has reached another level under Clements.

Kim from Sheboygan, WI

Hi Wes. Thanks for what you guys do. I was wondering when the team finds out what the cap limit will be this year? How much will/has it gone up?

NFL Network reported on Monday night the cap is expected to settle in around $250 million, but there hasn't been an official announcement yet. That could come any day. Last year's cap was set on Jan. 30, 2023.

Dan Bogenschuetz of Sheboygan, Wis., was named the 26th member of the Green Bay Packers FAN Hall of Fame on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024.

John from Yorba Linda, CA

Good morning, Wes. It appears the owners will be reviewing the "fumble out of the end-zone-touchback" rule this offseason. What other rules do you think will be added/changed? My favorite, not that it needs changing except for the name, is "unnecessary roughness." Roughness is a necessity and highly desired in football.

I doubt defensive holding will be on the table, but at what point do we look at whether it should be an automatic first down?

Al from Green Bay, WI

Wes, you're the Vikings GM. The Bears have just called and offered you their first pick in the draft. In exchange, they want your pick No. 11 this year plus Justin Jefferson and a second round pick next year. Do you bite?

It's a fair offer, especially considering what Carolina gave up for No. 1 last year, but Jefferson might be the one player on Minnesota's roster I wouldn't be willing to part with.

Rudy from Rhinelander, WI

OK Wes, you are Gutey when free agency starts – do you dip into the plethora of free agent safeties or hold your cards close to the vest until the draft? The Adrian Amos free agent signing was very beneficial to the Packers, so we know it can be done. Oh yeah – GPG.

It depends on who's available and at what cost. Gutekunst made a salient point last fall in response to trading Rasul Douglas for a third-round pick: "It's more about that's a four-year rookie contract." Teams can't sign everybody because they can't afford everybody. If the Packers spend big on a free agent, it could make it difficult to re-sign homegrown talent in coming years. Meanwhile, draft picks come at a set cost for four years.

Joe from Hampshire, IL

Wes, I am still chuckling at Spoff's "apples and orangutans." As you prep for your combine trip, what are some unique Indy memories or stories you are willing to share? Also, has the NFL made concrete plans to move the combine to other cities in the future?

My favorite memory is meeting Dick LeBeau outside the Circle Centre Mall in 2017 – a true gentleman. There have been some rumblings about the combine moving in recent years, but it'll be in Indianapolis through at least 2025. To me, that's still the best place for it. The event will never have the fanfare of the NFL Draft. Just let it be what it is.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi Wes, since it seems like a major focus on the Inbox is the upcoming NFL Draft, will there be a Packers Predict contest for readers to submit their picks? Also, I know BG isn't averse to making trades to move up in the draft. Next time you see him let him know that I'd love to see Joe Alt from Notre Dame in a Packers uniform.

Alt might be a stretch. It's early in the pre-draft process but some early mock drafts have Alt going in the top five. I can't comment on whether there will be a Packers Predict for the draft, but I could see us asking Inbox readers to submit their first-round picks and publishing those who hit the nail on the Spofford.

Kevin from Rockton, IL

In response to David's post (from Roscoe, IL – we share a H.S.) on Kelce-gate, I'd like to propose a scenario for SB LIX. Just before halftime, with the Packers down by 10, Kraft and Musgrave bounce LaFleur back and forth between their bellies like a ping pong ball because MLF's not getting them the ball enough. Each gets a second-half TD, and the Packers win by four. Results matter.

There were some strong reactions to my "take" on Travis Kelce. Listen, I can see both sides of this debate, but Kevin raises the key point – winning cures all. If Kansas City unravels after the dust-up between Kelce and Andy Reid, both are likely to be asked extensively about it afterwards. But the Chiefs didn't lose. They won and flew home with the sport's richest prize.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Wes, I would be OK if the NFL slept on the Packers all the way to a Super Bowl victory. However, I don't expect that will be the case. Would training camp be too early to know if the Packers have the strongest overall roster in the NFC North? Will Detroit be favored to win the division?

I mean, that strategy worked for the Packers in 2010, right? I'm sure Detroit will be favored to win the division again and have no problem with that. That's how it goes.

John from East Setauket, NY

With the serious business of the season behind us and the need for probing insight along with it, can we ask a lighter question? Besides the Packers, what other team helmets/uniforms do you like and which ones do you not?

I've always loved the Carolina Panthers' color scheme and uniforms. I also appreciate how they haven't changed their logo since entering the league in 1995. Classic is cool, kids. Too many franchises forget that in the modern NFL.

Brandon from Imperial, MO

Good Morning, My question is about the voiding contracts of Keisean Nixon, Darnell Savage, and Yosh Nijman. If BG doesn't extend any of them, does that mean they're all but gone? The way I understand it BG could still re-sign but you still take the cap hit after the void date? These seem like guys the team would like to have around so what has to be done and what are the implications of the void date?

It doesn't mean they're gone, but teams can't spread out that cap hit from the void years if the two sides don't agree to a deal before that deadline. Still, I believe Campbell and Robert Tonyan re-signed with Green Bay in 2022 after their contracts "voided."

Darrel from Pueblo, CO

Now that we are in the dead zone, how about you guys exercise your extreme influence with the Packers Pro Shop and have them offer a Packers Hawaiian Shirt. Your talented design people and excellent staff can make it happen. It would be a huge seller.

Spoff and I have 999 jobs here, but fashion is not among our list of responsibilities (thankfully). I can confirm there are some Tommy Bahama shirts in the Packers Pro Shop, though.

Ben from Guffey, CO

Don't be sorry about no II on Saturdays. Y'all earned it, and we could afford to change up our routine a little. A break from a good thing can be a good thing.

It also helps on a week like this when one of us is out and the other has to pen the column each day while also covering the Packers Fan Hall of Fame announcement and any news that breaks.

JR from Silvis, IL

On YouTube, you can find clips of coaches or players having reactions to seemingly "stupid" questions. Have either of you ever asked a question that got an angry or aggressive or "seriously, dude?" type response?


Don from Boise, ID

Wes-ism ... "ensuring they were their best selves once they got there." With some editing, "ensuring we are our best selves once we get there" would be a good battle cry for the coming year. Wouldn't you agree?

I'll gladly waive my writer's fee if anyone wants to use it.

John from Nasawaupee, WI

Wes: Nice to meet you today. Thanks for taking the picture of Patti and me. Continued success.

It was my pleasure, John. It was wonderful to meet you both.

Bill from San Antonio, TX

Nice to have you back, Wes. That "paint on the wall "comment was classic. This may be a boring question, but I was curious as to what the HQ looks like during the offseason? 9-5, Monday-Friday, etc.?

It was church-mouse quiet in the office Monday, though it was President's Day. We'll see what excitement today brings.

Insider Inbox

Insider Inbox

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