Derek from Eau Claire, WI
The big week is finally here! Good luck to all in the Outsider Inbox!
Almost, almost. It's the big week before the big week. I will let slip that our four finalists (in no particular order besides spelling) include: Al from Green Bay, Dean from Leavenworth (trying to become the first two-time MVP), Derek from Eau Claire, and TK from Grafton. We had more than 25 nominees. Thank you to everyone who submitted a name (that wasn't your own) and congrats to the finalists. The voting window runs from Thursday midnight until Monday midnight. Please do not cast ballots until then. Mike and I still have a full week of Inboxes to get through. Good morning!
Michael from Baraboo, WI
What are you most looking forward to with the new season?
A fresh start. I view this Packers season like a new day dawning. I don't know how many wins the Packers will have this season, but I feel like each one will be a little extra sweet as this young football team unites, develops, and matures.
Jeff from Indian Lake, NY
I remember when Joe Barry came over there was a lot of talk for moving Jaire Alexander into the slot; envisioning him in a Jalen Ramsey-type role along with the big plays that come with it. It seems however that Alexander is much better suited to the perimeter or to following the other teams' WR1. I really do hope Keisean Nixon can catch lightning in a bottle twice, once for his All-Pro return ability and again with his increased role with the defense. I'm ready to have a star manning the star position.
I never wanted to see Alexander play exclusively in the slot. His skill set and ability to defend top-tier receivers on an island are too valuable to be locked full-time inside. At the same time, a shutdown cornerback occasionally does need to move inside if he's shadowing a versatile receiver such as Ja'Mar Chase or Justin Jefferson. The defense went through some trial-and-error with Alexander's deployment early, but I felt like the Packers perfected that part of the recipe during the second half of the year.
Joe from Swansea, IL
Is anybody besides me worried about Keiesan Nixon's defensive workload (e.g. injury exposure) for the most electric kick returner we've had since a certain Notre Dame grad played for the Pack? Would that worry ever factor into coaching decisions about his time on the field away from kick returns? I guess you can't think that way, but, gosh, I'm thinking that way. Color me fretful.
I'm not concerned. Keisean Nixon can handle whatever workload awaits him. I could see a full-time assignment in the slot affecting his utilization on punt returns and punt coverage, but kickoffs require only a handful of snaps and then it's the offense taking the field. Nixon came into the NFL the hard way and waited a long time for this opportunity. I expect him to return to Green Bay next month in the best shape of his life and ready for whatever the Packers need him to do in hopes of securing a long-term deal.
Doug from Neenah, WI
Good morning, Wes. The Packers' first two 2023 draft picks are Lukas and Luke. How many games into the season do you suppose it will be until we hear Kuhn-like cheers for Luuuuuuuke? My money is on Family Night. GPG.
I'm going a little more conservative – first quarter of the preseason finale at Seattle.
Ed from Windsor, CO
I ate a hotdog this weekend without asparagus. I hope, for your sake, that Luke Musgrave never lines up in the backfield. Some things (ala "88") were fun but perhaps better put to rest. Now about those lasers…
I think we're all safe there. Musgrave would be the biggest H-back I've ever seen. I do wonder how much we'll see him in the slot (ala Jermichael Finley a decade ago). Mix-and-matching a 6-foot-5, 252-pound Musgrave with a 5-foot-11 receiver like Jayden Reed intrigues me.
Arthur from Eau Claire, WI
If you could catch wishes like fishes, I would wish for Marcedes Lewis to play one last year for the Packers. Why? In no particular order, Lewis' experience in the scheme, process, Lambeau Field conditions, superb blocking ability, leadership, his experience with J-Love, his class and excellent representation of the team and organization. If he doesn't come back, I hope Lewis hooks up with a team that will give him the opportunities and respect he has earned.
No lies detected. I'm no scout, but I see nobody quite like him on this roster – and really the entire league. Lewis wants one more year in the sun and I hope he gets it whether that comes in Green Bay or elsewhere in the NFL. It's Crash Davis chasing the home-run record in "Bull Durham." I'm cheering for 'Cedes to get that last dinger.
Ed from Minneapolis, MN
Gents, other than the numbers that are retired, are there jersey numbers that will indelibly be fused in your mind with a certain player?
The first to come to mind was LeRoy Butler's No. 36. As someone who grew up watching LeRoy, that number will forever belong to him. The others I immediately thought of were Charles Woodson's No. 21, Clay Matthews' No. 52, and Mason Crosby's No. 2.
Al from Green Bay, WI
A follow-up to the kicker question and draft status: None of the kickers mentioned by Spoff that were drafted early are considered to be among the best all-time at the position. Those honors go to the likes of Justin Tucker, Adam Vinatieri, Morten Anderson, and a few others. Are top NFL kickers harder to identify by scouts, thus leading to later draft selections?
Everyone wants a kicker with a powerful leg and pinpoint accuracy, but those attributes don't matter if he doesn't have the mental side of the game locked down. I really think the only way to know what you have in a kicker is to send him out there on a weekly basis and see how he handles moments of adversity. Does he rally or does he fold? If he folds, does he eventually rally? We talk all the time about cornerbacks needing to have a short memory. Well, turn that up to 11 for kickers. Crosby never was voted to a Pro Bowl during his 16 seasons in Green Bay, but he was always one of the top kickers in the NFL. Why? Because he was consistent in everything that he did.
Phil from Windsor, Canada
I was watching the USFL last Sunday and Jace Sternberger was a force. He was dominant and his maturity and route running stood out. I realize that it's just the USFL, but he could be a perfect weapon for Jordan Love. McLeod Bethel-Thompson, the opposing team's QB, would make a good cheap backup. He has plenty of experience and has won several Grey Cups in the CFL.
I'm sure several standouts from the XFL and USFL will get a look from the NFL in training camp. I think the ship has sailed for Sternberger in Green Bay, but I wish him nothing but the best in his pursuit of another NFL opportunity.
Matt from Greensboro, NC
I've been occasionally watching the USFL. I've seen a definite improvement from the beginning of the season. My question is about USFL players that an NFL team might be interested in. If one makes the team, that's like 30 weeks of football in a season and with all the practices, preseason, and camps that go with them. Heard anything how they'll try to protect players' health?
That is a lot of attrition on the bodies of players, but it's unlikely many will play more than a couple hundred snaps in the NFL. Micah Abernathy played a ton during the USFL season before latching on with Green Bay last summer. While Abernathy made the Packers' initial roster, he only played 14 snaps in two regular-season games. Sure, practices can be a grind, but I couldn't name a USFL/XFL signee who played a full NFL season in the same calendar year.
Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN
Guys, I was at my cabin in Canada and just am catching up on Inboxes. Is there a maximum number a person can safely read in one sitting? I just did four and still feel OK. Thanks.
Doctors recommend no more than six entries in a 24-hour period. So, you're in the clear.
Ray from Weeki Wachee, FL
A recent Inbox comment comparing Brett Favre to Rodgers mentioned a debate about Favre played more to win. Can I start another debate? I always felt Aaron would take a sack rather than throw a ball away because it wouldn't affect his rating. As a Packer, in 25 more games than Rodgers, Favre had almost 100 fewer sacks (438-530)! Though I respect Aaron, I love Brett and believe he cared NOTHING about stats other than winning.
It wasn't about the individual stats to Rodgers. His goal was to protect the football and live to see another play. You don't need to be the director of analytics for an NFL team to see how much winning the turnover battle correlates to wins and losses. Frankly, I think Rodgers has played a major role in how the game has evolved and the emphasis teams place on mitigating interceptions/turnovers.
Rick from Des Moines, IA
Evan is my hero. Thanks for saying it out loud! Been thinking this about AR12 since the trade. I don't want the Jets to win at all. I am a Packer backer.
That's the nature of sport and the spirit of competition. As Spoff said, everyone is welcome to their own opinion. I know a few people barked at me over my response to Steve. I've written enough Inboxes to know losing to AR8 in a Super Bowl wouldn't go over well with the average Packers fan.
Josh from Seattle, WA
Only requirement is to root for Rodgers to play 65% of snaps! So many possibilities of what could come of that trade and the picks to build a championship team for the future. But, thinking past the current year in II is frowned upon. How do you think the front office thinks about multiple years of team building? Thankfully, GB always plans to win and make the playoffs every year. Clearly though, BG has done a youthful reset this season, which requires long-term thinking.
Win now but keep an eye turned to the future. In this game, there is one champion and no single move guarantees that will be you. GMs do the best they can to build a squad that can compete for a title. Either way, tomorrow will come. You better have a team that can compete, or you'll soon be without a job.
Venny from Montgomery, AL
While not likely, I'd love to see Packers vs. Jets in the next Super Bowl. Which Super Bowl scenario do you think would garner a bigger TV rating: 1) The Tom Brady-led Buccaneers vs. the Patriots. 2) Aaron and the Jets vs. the Packers. I would lean towards the latter given Aaron Rodgers, the Packers' global brand, and the New York market.
I tend to agree, especially with all the storylines this offseason.
Mike from Franksville, WI
Some losses aren't as bad when I picture the alternatives. If the Packers stopped the T.O. catch, would they really have beaten Atlanta or Minnesota in their domes on AstroTurf? If the Holmgren era had to end in a loss, ending on an iconic play is better than petering out the next week against the Falcons. Same as '07, I don't see Green Bay defeating New England in the Super Bowl, so at least the Giants spared us from a perfect Patriots season. However, fourth-and-26th and the game we don't discuss will forever be terrible.
This is mostly true, but I feel strongly the Packers win the Super Bowl if they get past Seattle in 2014 and Tampa Bay in 2020. I know, I know…but the scars remind us that the past is real.
Samuel from Skokie, IL
Similar to the question about seating room at the shareholders meeting, I will be in Door County end of July and early August. My son and I would like to see one day of training camp. The doors open an hour and a half before practice. Do you have to go that early or is there room for one and all? I'd love to say hi if I see you guys there.
If you want a choice seat, yes. If you don't care where you sit and/or want to move around, you can get there whenever.
Ron from Mitchell, SD
"Around 8,000 in attendance at last year's shareholders meeting"! And from all walks of life, I'm sure! That's what makes the Packers franchise the best in all of professional sports! GPG!
I'm trying to convince Pa Hod to come to his first shareholders meeting this year. It's not every day a child can say he bought a professional sports team for his father, ya know.
Tom from Burlington, WI
Thanks for the support, Wes and II community! I will technically be working for Delaware North, but your first bowl of booyah and a root beer are on me!
We're all "One G," Tom.
Jim from Eau Claire, WI
After seeing the question from Craig from Milwaukee we now know that the Brewers manager reads the II. It also makes sense that he would ask about improving the special teams.
I'm not the Brewers fan, but wouldn't that Craig be Craig from Whitefish Bay?
John from Livermore, CA
I was wondering what the toughest interview you ever did was.
It was actually one of the first I conducted as a paid journalist. At 18 years old, I interviewed a husband and wife whose son had died. They donated in his name – I think from his college fund – to help his high school upgrade its new basketball court. I'm an empath, but that story hit me especially hard. It also crystalized for me the power of the written word.
Riley from Waukesha, WI
For the shareholders meeting, has any thought been given to organizing an "Insider Inboxers' section?" I'd love the opportunity to meet others who frequent the Inbox and I think it would be fun to sit in the "cool people" section. That's right. We're cool!
It would be funny to see a section with handmade signs on 8x10 paper in the stands.
Laurie from Green Bay, WI
Al from Green Bay for II MVP, please.
Please tell me Mrs. Al just cast a vote for her hubby. We're one day closer to Outsider Inbox V. You brew the coffee. I'll bring the 12 Outsider Inbox questions. See ya, Thursday.