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Inbox: Perspective and appreciation go hand in hand

History remembers what you teach it about yourself

RB Aaron Jones
RB Aaron Jones

Matt from Cambridge, WI

I cannot recall any "great" quarterback who didn't have some sort of obvious confidence or borderline arrogance in their nature. Everyone has spoken about Jordan Love's great work ethic and good nature, but do you see that unique "strength of confidence" in him? Or is this something that evolves with time?

It's more of a quiet confidence with Love, but it's definitely there – and it will continue to evolve over time. Love is a lifelong quarterback who understands the weight of his position in the locker room – and that steadiness and intentionality have guided him to Green Bay. He's not wasting any time, either. There already are videos circulating of Love working out with Aaron Jones in California and beginning to build rapport with his Pro Bowl running back.

Ryan from Omro, WI

Hi Insiders. Are "tempering expectations" another way of saying it shouldn't cost me my job next year? Excuses this early is concerning.

Not at all. First, Matt LaFleur is on very steady ground. For Pete's sake, the guy is a year removed from recording the most wins by a head coach during his first three NFL seasons. LaFleur is simply reminding everyone that we're dealing now with a 24-year-old quarterback who's played fewer NFL snaps than Aaron Rodgers has thrown touchdown passes. It's a head coach having his new QB's back.

Matt from Fitchburg, WI

I've heard some fans lament that the Packers could be in for some lean years after having back-to-back MVPs at the helm. I admit I've entertained that possibility, as well, but after reading Cliff's new article, I feel better about the future. I knew the Pack had some bad years in the '70s and '80s but didn't realize how much of it was due to the committee making awful head-coach decisions. It seems like the structure now may insulate from that in a way, and we have good people at the top.

I agree. Structurally, the Packers are much sounder today than they were back then. The NFL was a different league back then, too. There was no free agency, which made it even more painstaking for bottom-dwelling teams to pull themselves from the pit of obscurity.

Jason from Austin, TX

Wes, the one thing Love has going for him that most rookie QBs don't is that if Love is named captain, it won't seem forced like when some rookie QBs are (if they are).

It was odd seeing Zach Wilson on the sideline with a captain's patch last year, though the same thing happened to Matt Ryan in Indianapolis. Personally, I don't make as much out of the "C" as some and I'm sure it's the furthest thing on Love's mind right now.

Doug from Parker, CO

I have been reading a lot lately about the Packers' hands being tied by the salary cap. For years, I was under the assumption that we had a handle on the cap. Is this the price of bringing in too many free agents in the last couple of years? The cost of a Hall of Fame QB? Did we kick the can down the road one too many times? Or, with defensive contracts next season, are we at the point where it's time to reset? I hate to think purgatory is on the horizon.

Philosophically, nothing's changed. The Packers still have a great handle on their cap. In fact, I think that proficiency has helped conquer this challenging offseason. Yes, the bill came due for Green Bay on a number of items, but that's true for half the NFL. The QB change undoubtedly will continue to dominate headlines, but the core of the Packers' roster remains in place with Elgton Jenkins re-signing, Jones restructuring and a promising 2022 draft class growing another year older.

Sam from San Diego, CA

Wes, one of the things I'm most excited to see from Love is his legs. As Aaron Rodgers aged, his ability to escape the pocket and make plays on his feet began to diminish. What have you seen from "10" in games or practice that displays his ability to extend plays and use his feet to pick up yards?

Love's 40 time (4.74) is in the same neighborhood as Rodgers' 4.71 in 2005. I don't see Love being a 500-yard rusher or anything, but defenses still have to respect his mobility. As Love matures, he should be able to use his feet to his advantage like Rodgers did.

Sam from Melbourne, IA

Speaking of protecting the ball, any idea on Love's hand strength? Some of the sack, non-fumbles by Aaron over the years were remarkable.

Protecting the football is paramount for Love but his hand size is prototypical. Love had the second largest hands (10½ inches) among quarterbacks at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. That should help. Love just needs to clean up the five fumbles he had his last year at Utah State.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

When Davante Adams was drafted, I thought, "That's a cool name. He's going to be a player." Along comes Romeo Doubs and I thought, "That's a cool name, he's going to be a player." When I heard Larry say he looked forward "to getting him (Romeo) excited" during an interview, I harkened back once again to Davante who if I recall was unflappable. Am I onto something, Wes?

Perhaps. I'm going to write a little something on Doubs sometime in the next week after LaFleur offered lofty praise of his receiver's rookie season. LaFleur couched his comments with the same line about tempering expectations but did say Doubs has "some Davante Adams-type movement skills in him." The key for Green Bay is helping Doubs' develop that potential.

Joe from Las Vegas, NV

Good morning, all. The NFL seems to have ruined Thursday Night Football by making it available only to a small part of the fan base. If the ratings decline severely, do you see the going away of Thursday Night Football or a change in the broadcast stations?

I don't think ratings will decline. It's a matter of how much it will grow. Certainly, Amazon knew what it was signing up for when it bought the entire TNF package. It's banking on the growth of its streaming platform over the next four years.

Chip from Detroit, MI

If Keisean Nixon plays a lot at nickel going forward, is there a worry that could take some bounce away from his return game?

No. Nixon played on defense all last season, seeing time in the slot in both nickel and dime. If Nixon proves to be Green Bay's best option at nickel, the coaching staff has to give him that opportunity.

Bruce from Palatine, IL

Wes, you promised to come home with an answer to the void years vis-a-vis compensatory formula. So, what'd you find out?

I did. It's my understanding Jarran Reed, Dean Lowry and Robert Tonyan all count towards the compensatory formula because those players did not restructure their deals to shorten the number of years on their respective deals. For example, if a team signs a player to a one-year deal and includes void years for cap relief (e.g. Reed), that team is still entitled to a compensatory pick if that individual leaves as an unrestricted free agent a year from now and his contract warrants it.

Bill from Wilmington, DE

Wes, I see some mocks having GB select OT Paris Johnson at No. 15. Doesn't that seem like a reach with other needs? Also, have you heard anything on the progression of Rasheed Walker on the OL? Thanks!

Spoff is taking the lead on our Prospect Primer series, but there doesn't seem to be much consensus on who is the top offensive line prospect in this draft. The 33rd Team has Georgia's Broderick Jones as its top prospect in the whole thing, while listing Johnson at No. 11 and Peter Skoronski at 23. CBS Sports has Skoronski listed at 12, Johnson at 14 and Jones at 33. Johnson seems like the safest bet given his size (6-6, 310) and arm length (36 inches). I have nothing new to report on Walker. We'll see in the spring.

Emma from Davenport, FL

If Team II had to pick a jersey number, what would they choose?

I have a feeling "0" may become the new "88."

Jeffrey from Taylors, SC

Can a player wear 00 or just 0? Math would point out they are equal, but all things in the NFL are not equal!

Don't get greedy. Just one zero is allowed. The NFL saves the double zeroes for Mac Jones rookie cards.

Scott from Green Bay, WI

Why do we have rules to keep the long snapper from being injured, but we encourage the nose tackle's destruction on fourth-and-1? Seems like a silly question, but health is health, and fair is fair...isn't it?

And that's a fair question. The reason the long snapper rule was enacted was to protect the player in a compromised position (e.g. head and neck down while snapping). Nose tackles come off the ball with their heads tilted up towards the blocker. Long snappers also don't have traditional backups on the gameday roster. If something happens to a long snapper, that can be a competitive advantage for the opposition.

Robert from Glendale, WI

My first Packer game was also a 2-0 loss to the Bears, but it occurred in 1937 at City Stadium in Green Bay. The Packers went into punt formation on third down. The substitute center sailed the ball over the head of punter Joe Laws. On fourth down he short-centered the ball, forcing Joe to fall on the ball in the end zone, resulting in a safety for the Bears. Late in the game the Packers got in field goal territory. The great Clark Hinkle booted the ball. It sailed far left.

Hence, why we must protect today's full-time long snappers.

Brian from Urbana, IL

Hello fellow humans, I am sitting here proctoring a standardized test for middle schoolers bored out of my mind, so I thought of a question to submit about testing: The NFL got rid of the Wonderlic Test, but still gives cognitive assessments. If you had your druthers, would you remove all cognitive tests from the combine? Do you think they're at all helpful? Thanks!

There may be some truth hidden in the Wonderlic, but I've never thought it was as illuminating as NFL greybeards make it out to be. To me, it seems like it was used more for confirmation bias than anything else.

Matt from Allouez, WI

Anyone who thinks we should have won more Super Bowls with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, needs to read Cliff's latest article. I remember the games in the 80s being painful to watch. Since Favre and Rodgers, the Packers have always been capable of contending. We as fans need to appreciate how good and entertaining the football has been (and still could be), not lament the same thing 31 teams in the league go through every season. One team gets the Super Bowl trophy, but not all fans are entertained.

Those same fans also need to remember the Minnesota Vikings made the playoffs 12 times during the first 15 years of the Packers' slide, while losing four Super Bowls. Life teaches us two valuable lessons: Nothing is guaranteed, and perspective and appreciation go hand in hand.

Tom from Harker Heights, TX

As several readers have mentioned, that 2-0 shutout at County Stadium was an abysmal loss. I agree. But to me, the foreshadowing of things to come was a November game at Minnesota in '71. A 3-0 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Dan Devine's first year as coach. John Brockington rushed for 149 yards and as I remember, the Packers were inside the Vikes 20-yard line five times that Sunday. It wasn't called "red zone" back then. Not even a field goal. Chester Marcol got drafted the next year.

Marcol (second round, 34th overall) is still the highest-drafted kicker in team history. At the time of Marcol's selection in 1972, he was the second-highest kicker to be drafted into the NFL, behind Washington's Charles Gogolak (sixth overall in 1966).

Blake from Eden Prairie, MN

I wasn't one of the 150,000 in attendance at the preseason Bears game or the Ice Bowl, but my first-ever Packers game was at Milwaukee County Stadium, 1 week BEFORE the Ice Bowl. I was sitting on the 20-yard line with my godfather, and he made a call that I'll never forget. With the Packers just going into the huddle, he announced, "Bart Starr to Carroll Dale. This corner of the end zone. Touchdown." Fifteen seconds later, it happened exactly as he predicted, and I was hooked as a lifelong Packers fan.

What did your godfather do next? I would've beaten my chest red in jubilation.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

Perhaps "First Packers game attended" might be a good Outsiders question this summer? For me, that'd be the 2011 divisional-round loss to the Giants. Don't worry, I made it better by also attending the "Dez Dropped It" game!

That's a good idea. Let's table this discussion until July. I can't wait to read more of your responses.

David from Goldsboro, NC

Around this time last year, I discovered the "Longform" section of the website. To anyone who hasn't checked it out, it's some of the best storytelling and insight into these guys lives you'll ever read. Is there anything new planned for this year? When can we expect more?

Thanks for checking it out, David. I hope to have more profiles later this offseason and already have a few plans in place for the 2023 season.

TK from Grafton, WI

To Tom and Lance, we're going to push each other, and thus the Inbox, to excellence! Grafton, aka, "The Rolls Royce of Packer Fandom"!

Now, you guys just need to find a fourth horsemen at a local Grafton watering hole and begin the takeover of Inbox.

Dustin from Kansas City, MO

I enjoyed Cliff's thoughts on Dan Devine. For all the things he did wrong to the Packers though, I still think the worst thing he did in his career was almost not letting Rudy play. If it wasn't for Jamie O'Hara going off script and throwing that touchdown pass, Rudy never gets in the game and Devine's legacy is even more tarnished than it already is.

History remembers what you teach it about yourself. Happy Friday.

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