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Inbox: Packers fans cannot wait to see what comes next

Jordan Love was the constant in a sea of immense change

WR Dontayvion Wicks
WR Dontayvion Wicks

David from Roscoe, IL

Welcome back, Wes! Am I the only one who doesn't think Travis Kelce's bump is THAT big of a deal? No, it's not a great look, but Andy Reid bumped him earlier in the year when he was acting out of line. I think it's how these guys are. Thank you for all your hard work!

As someone who's issued a few enthusiastic rebuttals to my boss over the years, I can't say I minded Kelce-gate. The Super Bowl is the ultimate competition and Kelce is a competitor. Also, it's not like some random undrafted rookie bumping into an all-time great head coach. Kelce has played 11 seasons for Reid. Relationships matter.

Rick from Trempealeau, WI

This offseason feels so different from 2023. What a difference a year makes. Last year we were all sad about not making the playoffs, Aaron Rodgers leaving, and all the looming question marks. Now, don't you feel everyone is excited about what's next? I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling like the next five months are going to drag on until training camp opens.

The anticipation is there, for sure. I can feel it being around Lambeau on a daily basis. This has the making of a very fun football team. I feel like something that was lost in the narrative of how young the Packers were in 2023 was the dynamics of the team. If we can look past the experience for a minute, it's fascinating how incoming players such as Jayden Reed and Tucker Kraft complemented what Aaron Jones, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs already do so well. There are so many tantalizing possibilities out there and that makes Green Bay dangerous.

Etienne from St Joachim de Tourelle, Canada

What are your assessments on this free agent class of 2024? My gut feeling is telling me that a lot of the prime free agents will re-sign with their current team. I feel like we will add depth and competition mostly on O-line and all over the defense side. I would love Derrick Henry in green and gold, but my guess is it is too expensive.

That one would shock me. If a Jones-Dillon redux doesn't work out, I'd expect Green Bay to dip into the draft rather than sign a veteran running back. To the first part of your question, I agree extensions and franchise tags will remove the top layer of this free-agent class, but the best moves don't always generate the biggest headlines. The Packers also have more liquidity this year than they did in 2023. If Brian Gutekunst has his sights on a player, he'll have room to make a move.

Ross from Hudson, WI

The much-ballyhooed stat of the legendarily youngest receiving corps in NFL history begs the question: whose emergence next year would reap the most carnage on opposing defenses? My vote from the young guns would be "Big Play Tay" Dontayvion Wicks.

That's a strong pick. I was blown away with how comfortable Wicks looked in the offense from Day 1. He followed in the footsteps of Doubs in that way. Wicks made a few mistakes, but never the same one twice. Meanwhile, I found his ability to generate separation and explosive plays to be striking. If that's what Wicks looked like as a rookie, Packers fans cannot wait to see what comes next.

Bruce from Jackson, WI

Welcome back Wes. Hopefully, you had time to decompress and recharge for the Outbox to come. Did you see the NFL's video of the top 100 catches of the 2023 season? Packers had two catches by Watson at Nos. 85 and 52. I know the players probably would say it doesn't mean anything, but Reed, Doubs, Wicks, Luke Musgrave, and Kraft all had catches just as good or better than the top 100 selected. Hopefully, they'll underestimate them next season to our advantage!

Agreed, but it still would be nice if the NFL wakes up to what the Packers are doing here at some point. The league missed out on a lot in 2023. Off the top of my head, I can think of two or three Doubs catches that should be on that list.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

Calling my shot that both Wicks and Reed both end up with 500 career catches! A pretty tall accomplishment.

It feels like Reed is already halfway there.

Terry from Kolberg, WI

In most comparisons to Favre's, Rodgers' and Love's first-year starting, I feel they do not take into account the receiving core (both WR and TE) comparison advantage both Favre and Rodgers had compared to Love is huge. The two positions that normally take time to develop is WR and TE. Then compare the O-line and it makes Love's season more impressive. What other QB could withstand losing your left tackle then rotate your right guard and left tackle positions throughout the year and survive?

Love was the constant in a sea of immense change…just like a franchise quarterback should be. Regardless of who was available, Love never blinked.

Sean from Palatine, IL

Speaking of parity, the Chiefs lost to the Raiders less than 50 days before winning the Super Bowl. They also haven't scored more than 30 points in 10 games (one of the longest active streaks). But they keep winning. The margins are razor thin.

Kansas City played in several close games this year, but I firmly believe it was the NFL's best team by year's end. The Chiefs' superpower was their ability to learn from losses and keep improving. Even after KC's loss to the Packers, I didn't sense panic from Reid, Patrick Mahomes, or anyone on that roster. Because it wasn't just about making the playoffs to them – it was ensuring they were their best selves once they got there. There's an innate confidence in that locker room that it will find its way. That's such a rare intangible in sports.

Check out photos of the fifth-annual Titletown Winter Games, presented by U.S. Venture.

Mark from Big Bear City, CA

Good morning, Wes. Welcome back hope you are rested and ready to roll. I know it's early, but I've been looking at prospects for the OL and came across Kingsley Suamataia from BYU he's played right and left side OT their saying he is an athletic freak, strong and fast at 6-foot-6, 320 pounds and said if needed he could move inside. Sounds like a Packers to me and is only 21 years old.

The Packers value athleticism in their offensive linemen, so that checks a box. Suamataia received a combine invite, so we'll see how he performs in Indy. I'll have my eye on the vertical again this year. The Packers drafted the two top performers in that area in 2022 and I'd say it's worked out OK for them. Zach Tom looks like a 10-year starter while Sean Rhyan made huge strides in Year 2 following his transition to guard.

Michael from Baraboo, WI

What will be the biggest change we will see with the new DC?

Without having a chance to talk with Jeff Hafley about his specific plans, I would say how the defense attacks the first five yards. There's give and take with every decision and situation, but I feel we'll see an overall more aggressive mindset.

Robert from Emmaus, PA

It seems that every year, there are changes to the coaching staff in addition to the team. When was the last year that the coaching staff was unchanged from one year to the next? When the Packers have a great season, they lose coaches to promotions and free agents to other teams. This tells me that the Packers are doing the right things, developing player, and coaching talent, but what is the effect to the team and how long does it take to recover?

I can't think of a year where there were no changes whatsoever to the primary assistant positions on the Packers' coaching staff. Even Jimmy Robinson left after the Packers won Super Bowl XLV, which had a cascading effect on the rest of the staff.

Tom from Nolanville, TX

Reading Mike's thoughts on Desmond Bishop reminded me of his rookie preseason. It was the preseason game the Packers played the Jags. The first time the Pack kicked off, Bishop raced downfield and blew up the return man with such ferocity that the guy's helmet went flying. The next time the Pack kicked off, same result. I thought right there, this dude is a keeper. He made a name for himself on special teams and moved on up.

Much has been written about the butterfly effect Nick Collins' neck injury had on the Packers' defense. While Bishop wasn't a proven All-Pro like Collins, I'd argue his injury was just as devastating to Dom Capers' unit. It created a merry-go-round at inside linebacker, with several converted outside linebackers attempting to fill that void. Bishop was just scratching the surface of his ability before that preseason game in San Diego, and it took years for the Packers to replace his impact at inside linebacker.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Wes, while I concur with Mike that Anders Carlson making a leap pays huge dividends for the Packers, I'd like to see what a Brenton Cox Jr. jump could add to the defense.

Again, Cox is not your typical UDFA. He's a blue-chip, five-star collegiate talent. Following Kingsley Enagbares unfortunate knee injury, Cox has a massive opportunity in front of him this summer. We will see what he can do with it.

Dave from Waterford, WI

How is the new kicker the Packers signed looking so far?

I've yet to hear anything from the private detective.

Rudy from Rhinelander, WI

Wes, now that you will have a secure lunch for the week, are we to expect a super-charged, energetic Inbox this whole week? What are the chances that David Bakhtiari is a Packer at the start of next season? It seems like a $40 million cap hit for a player with recent injuries is not a smart move. Gutey is smart. I trust his judgement…but?

I'm working from home a lot more these days, so my lunches have been safe since the season ended. For the 12th time, I'm reserving comment on Dave's situation until it resolves itself. I have no knowledge of his rehab process (other than the beautiful photos Bakhtiari has posted on Instagram of him and his family) or what Gutekunst and the personnel staff are thinking. I'm sure Gutekunst will again be asked about Bakhtiari at the combine in two weeks. Until then, I'm not slinging paint at the wall just to color it.

Richard from Farmington Hills, MI

Given the plethora of picks the team already has, and the number of young players now on the roster, it seems to me that Gutey is much more likely to actually trade up this year than down.

Yes, though that's been Gutekunst's M.O. regardless. He traded up to get his guy in the first round during each of his first three drafts: Jaire Alexander (eventually), Darnell Savage and Love).

The Green Bay Packers hosted the 'Project Play 60' event in the Lambeau Field Atrium on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024.

Tim from Clear Lake, IA

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If so, you (Mike, Wes, and Vic) should be happy to see how Pete Dougherty of the Press Gazette now answers fans' questions. How do you feel about this? Do you know if any other NFL teams' web sites offer such a format?

I love it. I wouldn't say Pete took any cues from Inbox, but I've told him for a long time to take questions in advance – especially during the offseason. So, I'm glad to see it appears to be working out for him and the P-G folks.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Wes, welcome back! Since you've been gone you've been appointed GM for the Vikings. Your QB of the last six years is a free agent. There appears to be a no apprentice ready to step in, and with the 11th position in the draft, the top QB prospects will be off the board before your pick. What's your play?

I'd re-sign Kirk Cousins and draft a quarterback in the first round to develop. If that means moving up to get that QB, I'd do it. Because the Vikings could be left in the dust in this division really quick if they aren't careful. To me, it would be pragmatic for Minnesota to compete with Cousins in the present while keeping one eye on the future.

Gordon from Newport Beach, CA

Wes, the Packers wouldn't draft a long snapper, again? Would they?

I don't know how much y'all have studied up on long snappers but drafting one doesn't guarantee a team's found its guy for the next decade. There have been six long snappers drafted since New England selected Joe Cardona in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Five are out of the league, including Hunter Bradley. Miami's Blake Ferguson (sixth round, 2020) is the lone active exception.

Pat from Kennesaw, GA

In regard to Phil from Madison about whether to defer or not to defer, a friend of mine says he would always receive saying he wants an extra possession. That's not guaranteed whether you kick or receive. What is guaranteed is your opponent will not double up.

Up until this year, I stood in total agreement with your friend. But I also saw how the 2023 Packers team, as a whole, played significantly better with a lead than when trailing. That's why I felt it was the right move for Green Bay to start taking the ball in Detroit. Next season could be an entirely different story, though.

Eric from DeMotte, IN

Longtime reader, first-time submission. My favorite Packers player growing up was free safety Willie Wood. He was a five-time NFL champion and inducted in both the Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame. As the Packers address the safety position this offseason, it seems that Wood's aggressive style of play is still the model in today's NFL. Your thoughts? Thanks for keeping us informed and entertained.

Aggression is a trait that never goes out of style, particularly at the safety position. The game has evolved since Wood played, but hard-hitting, ball-hawking safeties remain in high demand. The Packers have some major decisions looming on the back end. At this moment, I believe Zayne Anderson, Anthony Johnson Jr. and Benny Sapp III are the only safeties on the final 53 signed for next year.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Damn…I am still looking for the Insider on Saturdays. How long does it take until we get used to no Insider on Saturday?

I apologize to all of you desiring more II, but I gotta say – I forgot how good it feels to have a three-day weekend.

Sue from Three Lakes, WI

I would love your take on the Bucks. Should we be concerned or will Doc right the ship?


Sarah from Neenah, WI

What will everyone do during the offseason?

Well, I hear De Pere's boys basketball team is pretty good. Have a great start to the week.

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