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Inbox: That practice has worked well here

There’s a lot of the same positive energy and optimism as last spring

G Sean Rhyan
G Sean Rhyan

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, what does Jordan Love's presence at OTAs, despite having an unsettled contract, communicate to his coaches, teammates, and Green Bay fans?

That he's the man.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

Very early at this stage but I'm wondering if you can see/feel a difference in the building from a year ago at this point?

I'm not sure about that. Only because it's still a young team and everyone was already so comfortable with Jordan Love. That's what having a good culture is about. Even on the field, Love took first-team reps the past two offseasons before getting the keys to the offense last spring. So, I think there's a lot of the same positive energy and optimism as last spring. If anything, maybe there's a touch more excitement around the building based on how last season played out.

Dan from Cross Plains, WI

Lots of talk about our defensive scheme and play style so let me pose this question. How do you think opposing defenses will attack Love and our offense after a full year of starting? Will we see more attacking styles, or will they make us dink and dunk?

It's gonna be hard to make the Packers dink and dunk with how many skill-position players can stretch the field in this offense. If Christian Watson can put the hamstring issues in the rearview, I'd argue Green Bay has one of the deepest and most diverse receiving corps in all the NFL. I get there's a full season of film out there on Love, but the QB's also had a full offseason to learn and grow himself. Still only 25, I'd expect an even better version of Love this year.

Kerry from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Is it farfetched to think the Packers could be a top-five rushing team next year?

You know, I couldn't tell you where the Packers ranked in rushing during any of Aaron Jones' seven seasons in Green Bay. I didn't care then. I don't care now. To me, all that mattered is when No. 33 was on the field, it felt like the Packers had a chance to dominate any game they played. That's all I want from Josh Jacobs and Co. – give Green Bay that chance (and I think they can).

Dave from Germantown, TN

Based on Love's projected deal and some of the other top-paid QBs, what percent of the salary cap is being dedicated to the QB? If you add in a few more star players, it seems to me there is not a lot left for the bottom 75% of the roster. Do you think this will reduce the number of second contracts for players, (see Jon Runyan, AJ Dillon, etc.)? Do you think the Packers are ahead of the curve by keeping the roster young?

I think it's very simple – the more you hit on draft picks, the younger your football team will be because you're not having to augment the roster with plug-and-play veterans. The salary cap is rising and so too are player contracts. Like we discussed on Tuesday, QBs are often the first to eat at that table.

Jerry from Rockford, IL

Good morning, Insiders. The offensive line is usually your best five players. The defensive line will substitute for down and distance. Did Matt LaFleur start a new trend in the league with the offensive linemen? Maybe it's not about your best five but about your best seven and rotation to keep all the players fresh and keep the defense off-guard? Down and distance on the offense is just as important. Substituting when the defense is not expecting it is a twist. I hope I didn't give away any secrets.

I don't expect anything that drastic, but certainly the Packers have had success rotating offensive linemen going all the way back to the opening weeks of LaFleur's time in Green Bay. I couldn't tell you how many other teams have done that other than using a sixth offensive lineman as an extra blocker. All I know is that practice has worked well here, with Sean Rhyan being the most recent example of that.

Mike from Sidney, IA

To help Chase from CA and others on the difference in the defensive schemes, simply put the difference is one (Joe Barry) scheme they played on their heels and Jeff Hafley's scheme is played on your toes. Most notable will be the back end. Not giving ground to WRs, more press by the boundary corners. Instead of both safeties playing back deep, only one will patrol deeper and the other closer to the LOS. DBs will love this new scheme, no more prevent reverse, it is an attack-forward style scheme.

Rather than spilling any more ink on this, I recommend listening to what Larry had to say during our "Three Things" video following Tuesday's OTA practice. He spotlights what Hafley is doing on defense quite well.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Good morning, Wes! Mike mentioned yesterday that he has already resigned himself to a 16-team playoff in the future. I hadn't heard that it was even being contemplated. Is that being whispered by NFL decision-makers?

You don't have to be in the water to see the tide coming in from the shore. As much as I'd love to disagree with Mike's hypothesis, I cannot. My only hope is the NFL doesn't dilute its product to the point it loses the original flavor that made it popular in the first place.

Jake from Lansing, MI

Wes, I'm not suggesting a best-of-seven playoff format. However, to Mike's comment, playoff games boil down to whichever team is playing their best at the end of the season. In your mind, is this why other sports use a multi-game format? Does more games eliminate the idea of a lucky/streaky effort instead of a true assessment of a full team's talent arsenal? I'm just thinking out loud and wonder what your thoughts are.

In theory, yes. But the physicality of the NFL is the equalizer. It just isn't conducive to a best-of-anything format. In this league, sometimes it's the teams that perform better on that specific day that hang banners, which is why I favor fewer playoff teams. An NFL postseason should be an exclusive group because any of those 14 teams have a realistic shot at the Lombardi Trophy.

Sean from San Diego, CA

I am not all that concerned about Josh Jacobs missing OTAs with a hamstring injury; hopefully, Christian Watson can share some of what he has learned in the offseason. My bigger concern is a torn pectoral on Tucker Kraft. I was really hoping with the offseason Kraft and Luke Musgrave would turn into something special. Do you see our tight ends becoming something special?

I still feel strongly about the combined potential of Musgrave and Kraft. It's just unfortunate we won't get to see it this spring. The Packers are actually a little light right now at tight end with Tyler Davis still on the road back from his ACL.

Brian from Sugar Land, TX

I saw an article about bringing David Bakhtiari back as his knee is supposedly recovered. It brought to mind the thought that Packers fans love to bring back players that have gone on elsewhere. There is this to consider: "Football is a hardheaded, cold business. No matter what a player did last year, he must go if he can't do it this year." And who can argue with Vince Lombardi? I cannot recall any player he brought back once gone. Any exceptions come to mind?

I meant every word I wrote about Dave a couple weeks ago in the column. I'm pulling for him to complete this comeback. But I can't speak on whether that would ever happen in Green Bay, especially after the Packers took a college left tackle in the first round and used three draft picks on offensive linemen.

Jeff from Ely, MN

I agree with what appears to be the II view on an expanded playoff format to as many as 16 teams. Making the playoffs should mean more than being a slightly above-average team. I heard an NBA announcer recently say, "That's playoff basketball!" Implying that the players were hustling more than usual. I've heard similar during NHL games. Hmmm ... so what we watch and pay big money to see during the regular season is what? Chopped liver served lukewarm at best? No thanks.

If the NFL is gonna charge a premium for tickets to regular-season games, then those games should carry meaning in January. That's my problem with the NBA and MLB model. I feel like the NFL, especially in the original format, honors the investment fans make into their team.

Rob from Springfield, IL

In response to the question from Michael from Portage, I was at the UFL game in St. Louis over the weekend. I would agree that the fans love it, and the energy was crazy, but the attendance numbers seem to be a little inflated by the media. I have been to games at Lambeau, in Pittsburgh and at the dome when the Rams were still in STL. Granted each NFL game I've been to has involved the Packers (which may inflate it), but the attendance Sunday was nowhere that of any NFL game I have been to.

Fair enough, but you also don't need statistics or Excel spreadsheets to understand that St. Louis is the best-drawing team in the UFL. I'm personally against any further NFL expansion for the same reason in my previous answer. I feel for the good fans of St. Louis, though.

Caroline from Olympia, WA

How many QBs do we keep on the roster?

That's up to Sean Clifford and Michael Pratt.

Darren from Wakefield, MI

Hi Wes. Great article on MarShawn Lloyd. I'm not sure why the success stories make me more emotional than the flip side. Reading made me wonder how do you do the interview? Did you travel to Delaware or was it all done over the phone, etc.? I remember you traveling in the past to do one. In any case, another must read for Pack fans. Thanks for it.

No, this story was just me working the phones here in Green Bay. I'd love to travel again for a story, but it's hard. There just aren't many windows for me to be out of the building for any extended period of time. Thanks again to MarShawn and Na-Shawn. They could not have been more helpful with the story. Appreciate you checking it out.

Craig from Green Bay, WI

How many Wisconsin Badgers have played for the Packers over the years?

There have been 45 Badgers who have played in regular-season games for Green Bay.

James from Appleton, WI

This offseason, a lot of players were traded for what seemed to be low returns. Do you think compensatory draft picks have affected the market and teams are just letting players go, thinking they will get equal or better compensation anyway?

No, I think it's more of what Brian Gutekunst has said in the past – GMs don't like parting with draft picks. I think that's why we've seen an increase, too, in teams doing pick swaps instead of the traditional "a pick for a player" deals.

Perry from Ishpeming, MI

I've been reading but haven't asked anything in months. I'm excited as anyone with Coach Hafley and didn't Isaiah McDuffie play for him? Does that give him a leg up on figuring out the defense? I said when he got drafted the Packers got a playmaker, but his size dropped his value. Thanks again for all you do! Go Pack Go!

At first glance, you'd think it would hasten McDuffie's transition to this defense. I didn't cross paths with McDuffie on Tuesday but am interested to hear what he has to say about playing in Hafley's defense then and what schematic parallels he sees in its current version.

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

Not a question. I am always kind of amazed when someone asks a question and states that it may be a dumb question. I would tell them the same thing I told my children when they were growing up. There is no such thing as a dumb (or stupid) question if you do not know the answer. Keep questioning people, it's how you avoid ignorance.

In my experience, it's better to ask a dumb question and be sure than to be sure and look dumb.

Dana from Monument, CO

Is attendance at joint practices usually closed to the public?

I can't ever remember a closed joint practice, but we'll know for certain once the training camp schedule is announced.

Tom from Southfield, MI

So, the NFL to test optical tracking system for line-to-gain rulings in the preseason with eyes toward 2024 implementation. Can laser goal posts be far behind?

You beat me to it. But seriously, I cannot love this idea enough. It's 2024. Let's start acting like it. If the technology is available, why aren't we at least trying to use it? I'm glad the league is taking a peek.

Jim from Cadott, WI

Instead of rolling your fish in flour, try corn bread.

As someone who's eaten plenty of once-frozen crappie, I concur that corn bread is the way.

Craig from Sussex, WI

And the very best food option while attending a game at Lambeau is...

Brats. Is that even a question?

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