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Inbox: So should the Packers

Nobody has any idea


Dan from Lignite, ND

Semantics, syntax and left-footed kickers from the past. Oh, dear Lord … We need some real football to talk about, and fast!

Almost there.

Gary from Tomball, TX

I'm a tad tired from the long all-day drive north from Texas, but I have tickets to the Packers-Bears game this Sunday. I am now about 106 miles from Chicago, I've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and I'm wearing sunglasses. What should I do?

Hit it.

Shilo from Murrieta, CA

Who went to Denny's and ordered Moons Over My "Hammy"? Yikes.

Not Jake and Elwood. But it was good to see Romeo Doubs back at practice on Thursday at least.

Richard from Tustin, CA

Is it official? Are Rashan Gary and DB69 a full-go to open the game? I can't imagine not having them along with the news of possibly not having Watson and Doubs.

They're figuring out a snap count for Gary in his first game back. The plan is for David Bakhtiari to be full-go.

Ed from Windsor, CO

One day closer, T-minus two, Go Pack Go. Football people are always excited for the first game, but do you feel there is some extra anticipation in the building or is it business as usual? You are now seasoned professionals, what does your game day look like and what are you most excited for? As always, thanks for your words.

There's this mixture of business as usual, because new seasons begin every 12 months regardless, and outsized curiosity as to what lies ahead. The organization is turning a page to a new chapter but nobody has any idea what words they're about to read.

Benjamin from Albuquerque, NM

So, um, about them Lions...

Hats off on a huge win. The red-zone fumble looked like it might sink 'em, then Kadarius Toney gave 'em life and turned things back around. Toney's two dropped passes were arguably the two biggest plays of the night. From Super Bowl hero to goat in the next game. Such is life.

Graeme from Tucson, AZ

I'm brave enough to admit it. I was rooting for the Lions as the game progressed. Am I bad Packers fan? Maybe. But it was a great result for football I think. Welcome to the new season!

Can anybody else in the NFC North beat the Chiefs? If not, that's a win the Lions have on the rest of the division all season.

Keith from Bakersfield, CA

One take away from the Lions-Chiefs game is what a difference a dominant offensive line can make. How much of Detroit's game plan will we see from GB?

Game plans are opponent-specific, and the Chiefs didn't have Chris Jones on that D-line. It made sense for the Lions to pound the ball. I thought they got away from it in the third quarter, but they got back to the run in the fourth to take the lead and put it away.

Brian from Suwanee, GA

Maybe I missed an announcement on it, but I was just curious which players were named team captains?

There's been no news there. LaFleur indicated an announcement of some sort is coming.

Dave from Huntsville, AL

In prior years the guardian caps were only required until the second preseason game. When did they become required for the first week of the regular season and are they mandatory all year?

They are mandatory for all contact practices during the regular season for all positions except QB, WR, DB and specialists.

Ray from Phoenix, AZ

With the soft-tissue issues on our wideouts, do you see ML going more double tight ends or will Heath see meaningful snaps at wideout?


Austin from Manassas, VA

All offseason we heard about how the defense was taking a more aggressive approach. Sunday is a perfect test against a mobile QB. I want to see an aggressive pass rush, linebackers all over QB scrambles, and DBs close to prevent the quick pass. I trust our guys to win early and often. Will the coaches? I can't wait to find out on Sunday!

I think it's more of a tricky test, to be honest. As I said on our latest "Unscripted," there's an interesting contrast to this opener. Amidst all the banter about aggression on defense, the Packers have to start 2023 with a focus on discipline in how they defend a QB who's such a threat to run. It's as much a mental challenge as a physical one.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Larry said a mouthful with the words "be careful not to be too careful." It certainly applies to containing Justin Fields, but would you say it applies to our young offense as well?

I don't know, Margeaux. Sorry, couldn't resist a Week 1 flashback. Yeah, I think I see what you're getting at. The Packers have to protect the football, limit penalties, negative plays, and all that. But the young guys have to just let it all hang out and go play. Love has to be willing to let it rip. Don't let sound and disciplined morph into hesitant and tentative. That won't work.

Reed from Myrtle Beach, SC

Devil's advocate here. Regarding Mojo's from Brookfield, WI, question about De'Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker both having 100-plus tackles being a good thing, couldn't that also mean the defense was on the field too much?

That was my initial reaction, too.

Jamie from Manchester, UK

I seemed like AJ Dillon was picking up an extra yard or two on every run during the preseason, similar to what we saw in his rookie year but didn't seem to be there in 2022. Do you think we'll see him at his beast-like best again this year? This offense is going to need all the help it can get if the top two WRs are going to be missing time early.

No matter who's at receiver, Dillon has made no secret of his mentality and approach to this season. I expect that to shine through sooner than later.

Bill from Clive, IA

Greetings, editors. The wife and I are on the last leg of our vacation, completing the Lake Michigan Circle Tour, and will do the two-hour stadium tour. Hope to see you in the hallway! So, on the way here she asks me "who is the highest paid Packer now that AR12 is with the Jets?" I think I know who the top five are, but not in what order. Help a guy out here?

Going by APY of their current contracts, the five highest are David Bakhtiari, Jaire Alexander, Kenny Clark, Elgton Jenkins and Jordan Love. Based on 2023 cap charge, it would be Bakhtiari, Clark, Gary, Alexander and Jones.

James from Ottawa, Canada

II, I had a question about game prep in Week 1, specifically around film. I assume some weight is given to preseason action, with the bulk of the focus being last year's tape. But what of rookie film? For example, for the Bears, how would they study rookies who will be Week 1 contributors, such as Jayden Reed and Luke Musgrave? Will they mostly watch their college tape, or is that considered irrelevant in the bigger/faster/stronger world of the NFL?

Unless the offensive schemes are similar, they aren't spending much time, if any, on college game film.

Julie from Appleton, WI

After last year's experience in London, is there a desire to go back in the near feature...possibly a different city/location?

The Packers will gladly play overseas again if another team is willing to give up a home game against Green Bay. But the Packers won't give up another home game of their own until forced to do so by the league, which can't happen until 2030.

Peter from St. Simons Island, GA

After reading Cliff Christi’s article on Lambeau’s Notre Dame Box offense I wonder if there are any existing recordings of games from that era. I'd love to see how football looked in those days. Wouldn't you?


Juan from San Antonio, TX

Wes stated that moving Kenny Clark to end should make him more dangerous because he would be out of the clutter. I remember a similar move by B.J. Raji and it did not work out well and he was moved back inside because he was more effective there. What make you think this move will be different for Kenny?

Clark has a different playstyle as a pass rusher and, at 20 pounds lighter, is more athletic overall than Raji was, in my opinion. Raji had 10½ sacks his first three years in the league, but just a half sack over his last three, often coming off the field in pass-rushing situations. That's not the case with Clark.

John from Henderson, NV

Which team is next after the Bears in net wins for the Packers?

Including playoffs, the Packers have beaten the Bears and the Lions 105 times each.

Zak from Huntington Beach, CA

According to my research, which could be wrong, the Packers ST were dead-last in kickoffs resulting in touchbacks last season (22%). They were an anomaly; a full 10% fewer touchbacks than the second-worst team (Steelers, 33%) and woefully below the league average of 59%. How strong is the rookie Anders Carlson's leg when kicking off of a tee?

Plenty, from what I've seen.

Katie from Chicago, IL

Who has a better defense going into Sunday's game, Bears or Packers?

I like Green Bay's. Chicago was in the bottom five in the league in yards allowed and last in points allowed in 2022. The Bears should be better than that, but so should the Packers.

Jim from West Hills, CA

Trying not to get ahead of myself, but I read the article about the possible injuries to both Watson and Doubs. Hopefully they stay healthy and are not out for too long, if at all. Injuries are part of the game but last season, neither one along with the veterans Cobb, Lazard and Watkins could stay on the field. As much as people wanted to blame 12 for not having continuity due to missing minicamp I feel any passing-game struggles were based on availability of the WR group. 10 needs them.


John C. from McHenry, IL

Seems the Packers have some non-starting talent in key positions that could keep the starters fresh. I'm thinking of edge, ILB, and OL specifically. Getting players like Kingsley Enagbare, Yosh Nijman, Isaiah McDuffie, and maybe Carrington Valentine involved early and often might help the starters in the fourth quarter. Do you think Matt is planning on using non-starters more than usual?

The Packers use rotations at edge rusher and defensive line all the time. Not so much on the offensive line, where continuity is key, and at inside linebacker, where communication skills are paramount. As for Valentine, he's currently the fourth corner, so he could see the field in the dime package, but he's not taking snaps from Jaire Alexander or Rasul Douglas unless necessary.

Brian from Trego, WI

Most vital question, who is to make sure Jordon Love's mom gets a better seat in Chicago than the nosebleeds she had when he started in KC?

Love told reporters he's got better seats this time, which is good to hear, because the nosebleeds at Soldier Field are way worse than at Arrowhead.

Nathan from Williamstown, MA

How many players will catch a TD pass from Jordan Love before someone creates a narrative that none of them were first-round picks?

Nicely done.

Ryan from Ripon, WI

I am really interested in our punter. Where did he come from and why did no one talk about him in preseason?

We were waiting to see how the competition played out. Once he got the job, I wrote this piece on him*.*

Conan from Kaneohe, HI

Somewhere in heaven Stuart Scott is smiling.


Doug from Woodington, OH

G'day, Mike. With an exciting new season upon us, just wanted to send a shout out to you and Wes. Both of you do an otherworldly job of keeping the Inboxers informed 24-7 during the season (and beyond). I'm looking forward to all of the anticipation, the anatomizing, and the camaraderie this new year will bring our way. What are you most looking forward to over the next few months?

Honestly, just covering, analyzing and talking about the stuff we're really here for – the games that count.

Craig from Niagara, WI

In your previous Inbox the first question was regarding how big of an opener this game is. It's not just a win or loss, it's pride and confidence. If the Packers lose and play good ball, it builds confidence. If they win and play poor ball, confidence is still not there. Belief yes, confidence not so much. They need to play good ball regardless of the outcome. This year is the building block for many years to come.

Correct, but you said it in your last line – this year. Not this game. This game is one within this year. I know we'll be suffering through overreaction Monday regardless of Sunday's outcome, but all we will know is where the Packers are right now, not where they're going to be.

Brandon from Summerville, SC

In defense of Mike, does the baloney stop in the Inbox on Sunday too, or just on the football field?

Oh, how I wish.

Luke from Rochester, MN

I thought of a great universal response to the Packers winning, losing, or tying Game 1: "Well, that's a start." Can you do one better?

Happy Friday.

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