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Inbox: Keisean Nixon can take it to the house at any time

Week 1 better be at Lambeau Field next year. These fans deserve that.

CB Keisean Nixon
CB Keisean Nixon

Brett from Lakewood, CO

Thanks for letting us know about your aversion to the armchair GM thing, Mike. That will help us as we frame our questions. What big-name free agents do you think we'll pursue this summer?

Good question. I'll save this one for Spoff.

Logan from Tribune, KS

I've long heard that filling out the coaching staff rests on the shoulders of the head coach. Do they have "scouts" or others lined up to help them take this task on? Seems like a daunting task!

Like anything in life, it's mostly networking and connections. The bird in the hand versus two in the bush, right? Many times, when coaches are hired, they've worked with someone already on staff. As we speak, LaFleur is flipping through his internal and external rolodex in search of the right people to bring into this organization.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

Good day, II. I recall one of you commenting that tight end is one of the more difficult positions for a rookie to have an immediate impact. It seems GB has been trying to find an answer at TE since Jermichael Finley. Robert Tonyan showed potential, but ultimately didn't prove to be "the answer." Of all the draft success that's now apparent, Gutey and Co. hitting on not one, but TWO promising TE rookies has to be the most underappreciated. QB, Aaron Jones, OL, WR...and now TE. The offense is starting to look stacked!

We've both commented on how difficult the transition can be for tight ends entering the NFL, but Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft were among the rookie TEs who bucked that trend this year. All told, Green Bay's tight ends combined for 77 catches for 793 yards and four TDs. That's tremendous output for a position that had only one returning player Week 1 (Josiah Deguara). Their ceiling is as high as any position on the roster.

Dan from Muskego, WI

I couldn't agree more with Mike that signing Keisean Nixon should be the top FA priority. Not only because of his versatility, but because of the attitude Nixon brings – always attacking. He may not be as talented as Jaire Alexander, but I love the way he plays defense aggressively. You can have a good defense playing the "bend but don't break" scheme, but I don't think you can be a GREAT D playing that way.

Nixon's signing two years ago solved a lot of lingering issues on both defense and special teams. The Packers went from being an afterthought on kickoffs to one of the league's most feared units. Nixon can take it to the house at any time and change the entire complexion of a football game. That isn't easy to do in today's NFL. What's more, he's a durable and versatile cornerback who provided stability in the middle of the defense. Like Mike, I have Nixon at the top of my list of pending free agents.

CJ from Cedar Rapids, IA

Recently I saw an article that stated Sean Rhyan was better at run blocking than pass protection. In your opinion is it easier to teach someone like Sean to pass block or someone good at pass protection to run block?

Rhyan has the potential to be a true road-grader. He can flat out move people. Pass-blocking footwork is a different deal, but I'd argue Luke Butkus and Adam Stenavich are two of the best developers of O-line talent in the NFL over the past five years. I have confidence this coaching staff can help Rhyan improve in that area. Both he and Rasheed Walker took massive steps forward in Year 2.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

Have we finally kicked the third-round drafting curse to the curb?

I'm not a fan of this narrative. To me, it's self-affirmed hogwash. Sure, the Packers haven't drafted an All-Pro like Fred Warner in the third round, but Morgan Burnett, Richard Rodgers, Kyler Fackrell, Oren Burks, Montravius Adams, Ty Montgomery, and Josiah Deguara were all fine players relative to their position and draft status. All seven helped this team and earned vested-veteran status. But yes, Kraft and Rhyan both look like solid long-term prospects.

Craig from Sussex, WI

Don't be surprised to see a Packers vs. Lions game as the last game of the regular season next year.

Sure. I mean, it's worked out that way six of the last eight years, right? To be honest, however, I couldn't care less whom or where the Packers play in Week 18. The only thing I'm concerned about is Week 1 better be at Lambeau Field next year. These fans deserve that.

Richard from Telford, TN

Are you looking forward to an offseason with no QB controversy? I know I am.

The past is already written. The ink is dry. I'm just happy for Jordan Love and the opportunity he has to sit in the driver's seat and lead this football team into the future.

Sean from Palatine, IL

Good morning, Wes! You mentioned players can use the team facilities but can't receive coaching. Does the NFL have officials on-site to monitor that? Could Jordan Love and the WRs workout in the building and "bump into" Coach LaFleur?

The juice ain't worth the squeeze of losing draft capital, fines, etc. They'll see them in April.

Pat from Kennesaw, GA

So, it looks like the head coaching jobs are getting filled. That leaves a mastermind of a coach on the defensive side of the ball left out there. Let's go after Bill Belichick for DC!

It's interesting. Of the 10 longest head-coaching tenures with one NFL team, only one person accepted a head-coaching opportunity the year after his run ended with his previous team: Curly Lambeau. If the phone doesn't ring in the next couple weeks, I'll be curious to see what move Belichick makes.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

Seattle and Washington now stand as the only two NFL teams without a head coach. How surprised are you that Bill Belichick, the greatest coach in NFL history (sorry Vince), is still unemployed?

I love you, Jeff. But Vince Lombardi is the greatest coach in NFL history. The Packers had fallen on hard times when Lombardi got here in 1959 and he helped rebuild them in short order (with help from Jack Vainisi). New England was in the Super Bowl four years before Belichick's arrival.

Jeff from Montclair, VA

Piling onto the Christian Watson questions. For evaluation and rehab program such as he will undergo this offseason, are the costs on him, the team, or both?

If the Packers are sending Watson somewhere, presumably the organization would foot the bill…no different than a player seeking a second opinion. Kudos to Watson, though. He told reporters after the season he's more concerned with finding answers than whatever the cost may be. I believe every word of that. Watson has a good head on his shoulders. He wants to figure this thing out.

Jake from Lansing, MI

Insiders, thank you for your work for Packers nation. More of an observation, but when Steve from Appleton listed NFL's young/seasoned quarterbacks. I was surprised that neither Steve nor Mike brought up the most seasoned of them all, Aaron Rodgers. How the mighty have fallen! Yes, I know it is easy to forget about Rodgers since he didn't play this year. However, I for one am excited to see Rodgers on the field again. Would you edit the list and add Rodgers?

When Steve referred to the "guy who used to play here," I just assumed he meant Rodgers and not Tim Boyle. But yeah, a healthy Aaron Rodgers is still very much a part of that conversation.

AJ from Baltimore, MD

I'll see Steve from Appleton's question about young vs. old gunslingers (Love, Herbert, Tua, Purdy, Burrows and Allen vs. Mahomes, Jackson, Cousins, Stafford and Rodgers) and take a ride in the way-back-machine to 1996 with Aikman, Favre, Brunell, Bledsoe, Dilfer vs. Elway, Marino, Kelly, Young and Harbaugh. Which group of 10 QBs would you take, the '96 crew or the '23 crew? Call me nostalgic but I think the '96 QBs in the 2020s era would dominate.

Easily 2023. No different than how I'd take the 1996 QB contingent over 1967. That's just how the game and quarterback position have evolved.

Steven from Redlands, CA

Yes, we all expect either AFC team to be favored in this year's Super Bowl, but I can't help but hope for the either the 49ers or Lions to win it all, then fade into obscurity for a few years. Growing up three hours north of Green Bay my hometown was evenly split between Packers and Lions fans. While I pitied the benighted other half, I can't help but quietly cheer for them now. Does any NFL fan base "deserve" a win more than the Lions?

Yes. I'd argue the Browns or Bills deserve a Super Bowl more than the Lions or any other NFL team. Call me a sore loser, but I'm pulling for the AFC champion to bring home the Lombardi Trophy.

Mike from Lake Villa, IL

Good morning, Wes and Mike! Steve from Appleton and Mike mentioned 16 NFL quarterbacks by name when referencing them as either promising young QBs or veteran stars. One QB from the NFC North division was omitted from either category (and rightfully so, as to veteran star). Does that seemingly support the notion that our rival to the south is likely taking a QB with their first pick?

I like Justin Fields. I think he's better than all these QBs the Bears have drafted and is a legitimate starter in this league. But if Caleb Williams is everything he's advertised to be, it may be impossible for Ryan Poles to pass on him. There hasn't been a quarterback this celebrated coming out of college since Andrew Luck.

Tim from Escanaba, MI

In response to Pete from Caledonia, MI, my wife is a Lions fan while I back the Packers. With the exception of two games/year (guess which ones), she roots for the Packers, in addition to the Lions. In a similar manner, I root for the Lions, in addition to the Packers (except for those same two games). We both want to see both teams be successful (up to a certain point). Do you think that our behavior is odd?

That makes total sense to me. Happy spouse, happy house.

Monty from Velva, ND

Hey Wes, during the preseason, the NFC North was being proclaimed by many prognosticators as one of the worst divisions in the NFL. I guess the upper Midwest showed them not to doubt, don't you think?

It's been that way for years. For a division that's made the NFC playoffs 23 times since 2010, the NFC North sure gets its fair share of disrespect. The NFC East and NFC South each have 20 appearances.

Dave from Germantown, TN

If the Ravens win the Super Bowl after Michigan won the college playoff, will we ever have another season where the winners of each game were brothers? (John and Jim Harbaugh)

That would sure be something. I don't have Elias at my beck and call, but I can't imagine that's happened before in the same season.

Lane from Monroe, WI

When will the Packers start interviewing candidates for the defensive coordinator position?

According to media reports, that process is already underway. For those asking about timelines…I only offer this for comparison and context – the Packers announced Mike Pettine wouldn't return on Jan. 29, 2021, and officially hired Barry 11 days later.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. Chris Gizzi's dismissal was sad news. The image of him leading the Packers onto Lambeau Field while carrying an American flag after 9/11 will never be forgotten. Was the overabundance of injuries in 2023 blamed on him? Thanks.

First and foremost, I wish Chris nothing but the best. But it would be reckless for me to comment on what went into that decision until LaFleur speaks. We don't talk to the strength-and-conditioning staff, and I have no deeper insight into how the Packers train players than you do. Again, I'm sure LaFleur will be asked what went into the decision to let Gizzi go and his plans for the strength staff in 2024.

Bill from Kronenwetter, WI

Morning, if a player with a large contract in his last year retires, how much would come off the team's cap as opposed to outright release where bonus and void years come into play?

It's the same as cutting or trading the player. The team takes a "dead-cap" for salary that's been paid out and the rest of his base salary/future bonuses comes off the books.

Mike from Niles, IL

Wes, you and all of us are blessed that you are not in charge of team-personnel decisions, or you would be continually writing about a perennial loser.

Not sure if that's supposed to be a "got 'em" post, but it lacks both wit and originality. Alas, I suppose heavy is the head that knows it all.

Bill from Clive, IA

Greetings, editors. The last time I asked this question it was not the right time for it to be answered, but I still want to know! When the Packers take a long road trip (say a four-hour flight to SFO or LAX), do they fly on an airplane with a standard seating configuration (first, business, coach), or on some kind of modified layout with seating appropriate to the size of the players?

It's a standard plane. They just don't fill the middle seat to afford players more room.

Linda from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, Wes. Mike disclosed his plans for this weekend. How are you going to spend your free time this weekend?

I'm actually hitting up the Madison Card Show today. In fact, I'll probably be halfway to Madison by the time this column posts. I'm looking forward to grabbing some pizza at Ian's and checking out the Columbus Antique Mall, too. I also may be hopping on a certain YouTuber's stream for the Royal Rumble tonight.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Thank you for allowing me to share "Reasons to believe" this season. It was quite a ride! Here's the year-end version as we look to next year's run. Reasons to believe: 1) The Packers have their QB of the future, and it's all Love! 2) Offensive weapons abound. Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks, Luke Musgrave, Tucker Kraft, etc. All young studs. 3) Talent on defense will provide our new DC with weapons. 4) Opportunities through the draft, five picks in the first three rounds. 5) Best darn beat writers in the NFL!

Thank you for coming along for the ride, Al. You raised salient points all season long and you do so once again in your season-in-review submission…absent your fifth, obviously.

Johnny from Salt Lake City, UT

Well, what are we supposed to do now? Just read II Q&A every day for the next seven months?

Well, I suppose this would be a good time to mention this will be the last Saturday edition of Insider Inbox until training camp. Ask Vic started as a five-day-a-week column, and we want to get back to that during the offseason. This way, Mike and I can free each other up for some long weekends that often have eluded us. It also lessens the weekly burden when one of us is on vacation. The plan is to alternate Mondays in the months ahead. As always, we appreciate your readership and dedication to the column. Have a great weekend.

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