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Who is your dark horse candidate for Packers breakout player of 2024?

CB Keisean Nixon, CB Carrington Valentine, CB Corey Ballentine and LB Isaiah McDuffie
CB Keisean Nixon, CB Carrington Valentine, CB Corey Ballentine and LB Isaiah McDuffie

Who is your dark horse candidate for Packers breakout player in 2024?

Marcus from Midvale, UT

I hope the answer is Kingsley Enagbare. It would be a remarkable story and having a fourth guy, after the big three of Rashan Gary, Preston Smith and Kenny Clark, make a huge impact would have profound impacts on the defense. My second-place dark horse is Dontayvion Wicks. I think he could be a special guy here for years to come.

Glen from Henrietta, NY

In a crowded, pass-catching field, I think the dark horse, which there really isn't any, is Dontayvion Wicks. Easy to overlook with Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Luke Musgrave, and Josh Jacobs (plus others) getting the ball, but I feel his production towards the end of last season will produce even more consistency and glory this year. He's strong on route running and tough blocking, so I expect him to get his share of time on the field and suspect he'll be sneaky open often during the season.

Al from Green Bay, WI

It may be a bit risky to go with a rookie as the breakout player for the upcoming season, but I'm going with Edgerrin Cooper. I remember how impactful Clay Matthews was in his rookie year, and Edgerrin will impress!

Mike from Winchester, TN

My dark horse player for a breakout season is Carrington Valentine. He's gotten a good amount of ink lately, so maybe not a deep dark horse, but I love his attitude. He said: "From the start to the middle to the end, I learned who I was as a player. I learned what worked, what didn't work. So now I know my identity of who I am and what I've got to do to take that next step." He's also put in the work to get bigger and stronger, which fits with a more physical defense.

Adrian from Chula Vista, CA

Xavier McKinney. An established star in the NFL who should help take the D to a higher level. He's coming into his prime just as the rest of the D is coming into its prime. The front seven should create numerous opportunities for the secondary, and "X" should capitalize on his chances.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Christian Watson. Having addressed his injury issues, this is his year!

Stephie Rae from Flowery Branch, GA

I know Eric Stokes isn't exactly a dark horse, but I hope he has recovered from his injuries and really lives up to his original expectations as a stud CB.

Sharon from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Hoping Stokes is the "comeback kid" after all the injury issues he's dealt with the last two seasons. As a first-round pick in 2021, Stokes charmed us fans with his stories about being the 'picked-on' team snack guy, and his "dawg" description of his room. It will be great to see him back on the field and in the locker room for more entertaining interviews. May 2024 be the best yet for No. 21!

Duane from Bangor, WI

My dark horse candidate is MarShawn Lloyd. I believe Josh Jacobs will play very well but, between the chances of missing some time and Matt LaFleur's use of two running backs, I believe Lloyd will shine.

Wayne from Lake Hallie, WI

Marshawn Lloyd – I love his story of work ethic and commitment and believe that if he gets a chance, he can do some dynamic things.

Jerry from Weston, (just kidding.…Des Moines), IA

I don't know if you can call a first-round draft choice a dark horse, but I say Lukas Van Ness. The coaches broke him in slowly last year. With the change in scheme, Van Ness' experience with his hand in the dirt, his quickness and relentless motor, I think he could have double-digit sacks if he stays healthy.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Brenton Cox Jr. is a second-year player that is playing a premium position in the NFL as an edge rusher. He was a five-star recruit coming out of college. With Kingsley Enagbare injured at San Francisco, Cox Jr. was poised to earn moving up, but pads are not on yet, so we are not sure the total status of Kingsley. Preston Smith is 31 and you can never have enough talent at edge.

Rick from Trempealeau, WI

Quay Walker He has all the tools, athleticism, instincts, drive... and now he has valuable experience to pair with those attributes.

Joshua from Appleton, WI

My dark horse candidate is Quay Walker. I believe this new defensive scheme will let him be more "free" and he will lead the team in tackles.

Marteen from Reno, NV

My dark horse would be Anders Carlson. I think the competition will up his game.

George from North Mankato, MN

My dark-horse candidate for player of the year is Anders Carlson. In a situation similar to Mike McCarthy sticking with Mason Crosby, Carlson returns the favor by kicking well and helping to lead the Packers to Lombardi trophy.

Mark from Burnt Hill, NB, Canada

Kenneth Odumegwu. Could it be any more of a feel good AND Dark Horse story if he was elevated to the 53? As for the knowledge portion? II was the only reason I even found out about the IPP and its amazing reach. If the NFL needs to check out the possibilities of international players in its league, it need look no further than the NHL. My how that program profited from adding Russians and other nationalities. Profit and a good story? Works for me.

Reed from Kansas City, MO

My dark horse breakout candidate is Tucker Kraft. He did an amazing job last year when Luke Musgrave was hurt. He showed that he has the talent to make a Year 2 leap.

Clay from Avondale, AZ

Andre Dillard. He will be this team's Bruce Wilkerson!

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

I'll go with go with Karl Brooks. I think the second year DL makes a big jump this season. Beyond the roster my dark horse contributor to the Packers this year? Aaron Hill the new strength and conditioning coach. If he can help find some solutions to the soft tissue problems that have plagued the Packers recently, Hill makes my list.

Joe from Hampshire, IL

Ben Sims is likely third fiddle, but Kraft's recovery may give Sims more early season shine. He was no slouch as a college receiver and gets more 2024 snaps to keep Musgrave and Kraft fresh in 21-game season.

What piece of football knowledge have you gained from Insider Inbox that has most increased your enjoyment/appreciation of the game?

Mike from San Antonio, TX

The series questions/answers/tests by Vic on the salary cap provided me with my initial understanding of the financial portion of this game and an appreciation of how the Packers' management team must continuously be working the details of all contracts. What a living puzzle!

Gregg from Arlington Heights, IL

II is teaching me to enjoy the ride and not be so hung up, regardless of heartbreak, on the end result. That, because of II, the football season is yearlong, filled with peaks and valleys, but manageable. And, whether it's with questions, statements, or replies, on a daily basis II is filled with witticisms and amusing bits of information that helps me laugh through my day.

Jim from Tempe, AZ

The greatest piece of knowledge I have gained from II isn't football related. It was from Vic about the use of the word THAT. Vic said to use THAT as infrequently as possible when writing. I make a conscience effort to not use THAT unless absolutely necessary. When reading, I will reread sentences in order to remove THAT and it always improves the sentence. Unless your Forrest Gump...That's all I have to say about that.

Brent from Delano, MN

In response to the sign everyone crowd, Vic responded with a statement, "If the people who know them the best didn't want to sign them why should we." This simple statement completely changed how I look at the free agency period. I know there are a lot of reasons why good players get let go, but if you're buying at the top end of the market, you should ask "why are they available?"

Paul from Montréal, Canada

From Vic, in response to the cry to sign every free agent on the market: Remember, no one knows a free agent better than the team that decided not to re-sin him.

Woody from Kill Devil Hills, NC

The most useful knowledge from II came from Vic after the game that shall not be mentioned. As that game ended, I was totally beside myself and full of anger (not sure what I was angry about). I didn't sleep much that night. I don't remember exactly what Vic said in "Ask Vic," but created a transformation in me and ever since I have enjoyed the game of football, win or lose.

Andy from Lancaster, PA

Reading since the Ask Vic days, I've always greatly appreciated learning more and more about the salary cap and how it works. Even now, from Insider Inbox, there are new details to be understood. Aside from actual X's and O's, this is probably the best way to understand how an organization and team operate throughout the year.

Ed from Minneapolis, MN

I asked Vic to explain the difference between dime and nickel. He was very gracious in giving me an answer and not making me feel ignorant.

Kevin from Louisville, KY

It's not so much "football knowledge," but what I have gained from II, starting with Vic, is perspective and the patience to wait and see how things play out. This is immensely improved my enjoyment of the Packers and football in general. Better yet, this can be applied to life as well…and even a pot of chili.

Tom from Woodbury, MN

It is impossible for me to describe only one piece of football information garnered from the Inbox. It is the continual variety of the questions and answers that give a deep insight into how a team is formulated and the incredible detailed preparations that coaches and players go through each week from training camp until the final whistle is blown ending the season. Those things have provided a greater appreciation for Packers football and football in general.

Paul from De Pere, WI

The "football knowledge" I have gained from II that has increased my enjoyment is perspective. It is a game, after all, and anything I might yell at the TV, or any arm chair quarterbacking, or 20/20 hindsight cannot help the Packers in real time, or any other time for that matter.

Terry from Elroy, WI

The piece of knowledge I have gains from II that has enhanced my appreciation for the game is a better understanding of the information the offense gleans from pre-snap reads of the defense, such as how a receiver in motion reveals if a defense or defender is playing zone or man-on-man.

Dan from Waupun, WI

Knowledge gained from II that increased enjoyment? Mike and Wes, Mark Murphy's business side, Brian Gutekunst's human side, football knowledge, and doing a tough job. Coach and coaches' effort, player personalities, behind the doors of the locker room, history, Mondays after a loss. Endless. Oh! The help of the II crew and photo side.

Ricky from Washington, D.C.

To not expect FULL CONSISTENCY from my team. When I was a younger fan and the Packers lost, it would often ruin my week before it even started. By learning to relax and understand that the losses were part of the journey, my overall enjoyment of football has gone way up. This really came in handy last year during the slow start to the season; didn't get too high.

Ted from Amherst, NY

The thing that I have most come to appreciate from the Inbox is the complexity of the salary cap – and how hard that and free agency have made it to keep a team intact and repeat success (like how going all in one year brings train whistles down the road). Vic's anecdote about Chuck Noll retiring because he wasn't going to coach a team with a graduating class is the ultimate quote for me on free agency.

Sam from Janesville, WI

Three things I've learned from Insider Inbox: 'that' is generally unnecessary, when to use 'whom', and Oxford commas are great. Also, it's not so much the knowledge I've gained, but perspective. When I watch with other fans, it seems many don't realize the other team gets paid too. Also, it's just a game. Remembering this helps me to enjoy the wins more, and at the same time the losses are easier to move on from.

Eric from Erie, PA

I don't let a loss ruin my day anymore. Vic used to preach that it's our job to watch. I really enjoy watching now. It lets me be more objective and realistic about my expectations. I still will yell at the TV, but my wife and kids like me after the game. Thanks for everything you all do for Packer Nation!

Bob from Pocatello, ID

It's not from II, but from an II writer/editor. Mike's "What You Might've Missed" feature during the season always completes the game experience for me and leaves me feeling richer and better informed. That feature combined with II, even without the other amazing content, puts it head and shoulders above all other NFL team sites. Thank you.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

It's the simple things, wide receivers are a dime a dozen, you can't sign everybody, salary cap, and you pay it, you cap it.

Etienne from St. Joachim de Tourelle, Canada

For II, I gain clarity and perspective, calmness, better understanding of concept like jars on a shelve, players, not plays; human confrontation, big man rarity, been more realistic, even kneel as a fan, as well as all the little things going around Packers nation like Family Night, bicycle tradition, not being too far ahead on the schedule, salary cap concept and down-to-earth analysis. Your guys' content is awesome, not like some stupid comment I made after Aaron Jones' departure. Long live to II.

Hal from Lanesboro, MN

The thing I've learned the most about from reading II is the impact that the salary cap has on personnel decisions and how those decisions play out in preparing our beloved Packers for success in any given season.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

What is the most important knowledge I have gained from Insider Inbox? I've learned that if given enough time, I can always find a way to whittle down a 613-character post to somehow fit within Inbox's 500-character limit. Inbox has taught me patience. Now why can't I be more concise, like Lori or Margeaux?

Dan from Cross Plains, WI

II certainly has taught me a lot and I've gained a world of knowledge from years of reading. However, I'd say it's not the knowledge that is invaluable but the adopted attitudes of Wes and Spoff have carried over to my subconscious. Understanding a full NFL season is a rollercoaster and to avoid overreacting each week has made each season so much more enjoyable. Thanks for keeping me level headed!

Steven from Wilmington, NC

It's more than just a single piece of knowledge. It began with Vic and has been carried forward by our current II leaders. The constant reminder is each game is just one game, each play is just one play, and anything can happen on the next one. So, stay present and enjoy the show. You truly never know what's going to happen next.

Dale from St Cloud, WI

I love learning about the cap and how money can be moved and hidden, but never lost. From the site, I love learning the story of their life. How they came to be where they are. Everybody should have their story told something. Thank you, guys.

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