Dean from Leavenworth, IN
And so, it ends
The final chapter now written
That hurts my soul, Dean. Thanks again for coming through with your thoughts and poetry this season. And so, the Packers begin charting their next voyage. There undoubtedly will be changes. Some players will come, and some players will go, but every move will be made in hopes of Green Bay winning another Super Bowl. That's the goal. That always will be the goal. And that's why it hurts so much when the Packers come up short.
Ed from Windsor, CO
I have recovered from the realization that football season is over for me. Do you get any relief now or does the speculation season test your wit and resolve? At least we have Insider Inbox going for us, which is nice. Thank you.
Relief has not washed over me yet. It was weird Wednesday when I realized I didn't need to go to the locker room or shoot our weekly "Three Things" video. The NFL is just rush-rush-rush for five or six months until it's done. But then, everything is just…over. It's like a light switch – on or off, light or darkness.
Daniel from San Diego, CA
I think I read where the Packers were LAST in the red zone this year. Wow. Losing Davante Adams certainly part of it but to be that inefficient you will not get many wins. Another real head-scratcher. Your thoughts. Thanks.
This might be one area where Matt LaFleur's line about winning covering up deficiencies could be applied. Green Bay was prolific in the red zone and goal-to-go in 2020 but slipped to 19th and 11th, respectively, in those categories last year, too. Still, they won 13 games and earned a first-round bye. This year, the Packers just didn't seem to have much confidence inside the 20. They did OK on the goal line but the rest seemed like a chore. Green Bay's to-do list probably starts there this offseason.
Bob from Rome, NY
Wes: It was mentioned during "Unscripted" about how Detroit powered its way in the running game during the fourth quarter. It reminded of something I was thinking all season long that in most games this season, it seemed like the Pack was "out-physicaled" on the defensive side – except maybe the last four games and in short yardage on the offensive side. You may see something different in-person, but it seems that the Pack was not overmatched physically. Scheme? Feedback?
I just think that Detroit offensive line was good at creating holes and Jamaal Williams gained the yards that were there for him. It wasn't anything too fancy. Proper execution and protecting the football can go a long way in this league, and the Lions proved it.
Andrew from Minneapolis, MN
Big thanks for all of the words that you guys put next to other words this season and also for the punctuation in between. It couldn't have been easy. I was looking forward to the playoffs, and now I'm not. Who might we root for and why? What, if anything, can fans do to help the team in the offseason? Also, I was wondering if you guys see yourselves as the co-fan coordinators, or more of the co-offensive fan coordinators of the Packers?
I feel more like Spoff and I are on the defensive side of the ball than the offensive, but I know where you're coming from. I don't really feel like watching the playoffs, either. I'll probably check out the conference title games if there's a storyline that intrigues me (e.g. whoever beat Minnesota, Mike McCarthy, Brock Purdy, Geno Smith, etc.). Until then, it's time for a reset.
Dennis from Parrish, FL
I officially offer a nomination for dumbassery for "Best" submission of 2023!
It's got my vote.
Casey from Madison, WI
Hello Insiders, what Packers road game are you most looking forward to covering next season and also least looking forward to next season? I realize time of year and whether it is a day game or night game may play into your decision, but at this point what is your answer?
It's a good slate of road trips. I won't lie. I'm excited to go to Vegas – not only the city itself but also the opportunity to cover a game in a stadium I've never been to. New York and Denver are fun, too. I don't have strong feelings as far as the road game I'm least looking forward to – maybe Atlanta? That's never been my favorite road trip, especially when we stay outside the city.
Shannon from Ovilla, TX
Wes, a few weeks ago you mentioned the Packers' struggles against the run since Ryan Pickett left. Now that the season is over, I wanted to ask about that. I think it's one of two things and maybe a combination of both. First, Green Bay has not drafted and developed defensive linemen at nearly the rate they have offensive linemen or receivers. Second, playing in a 3-4 base instead of a 4-3 leads to fewer big guys making tackles or eating up blockers. What say you?
I don't think the base defense matters as much as the ability to defend the run in your sub-package. The Packers' defense went through a rough transition in the early 2010s as three- and four-receiver sets took over the league. For one reason or another, Green Bay struggled to stop the run with two defensive linemen during that era. That's not the position's fault. There's more that goes into that than a team's front four but conversely those Dom Capers 3-4 defenses in 2009-10 were tough to penetrate. That's also when Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji, and Johnny Jolly were in their prime. Gap integrity is so important at this level. Green Bay had the defenders this year but just ruptured too much, particularly against scrambling QBs.
Scott from Sauk City, WI
See, this is why we trust you guys. I doubt that any of your readers noticed your assertion that Detroit played two-high "most of the night" and thought, "Gee, I don't think they did." I mean, kudos to anyone who did, but I certainly didn't. We believed you when you said it. But you still corrected yourself after watching the film and admitted your own error. Not many (any?) other sportswriters are gonna (a) watch the film again later and (b) correct themselves. We are a blessed readership!
Yeah, and that one's on me, specifically. I led Spoff astray. That was my impression while trying to cover the game and take notes, but upon further review, the Lions definitely challenged with single-high and the Packers were unable to do much against it. Again, it was a masterful gameplan by Aaron Glenn and his staff.
Tom from West Palm Beach, FL
I thought the end-of-game coaching by both LaFleur and Campbell was brilliant, with the Packers jumping offsides on second-and-1 and the Lions declining the penalty. My question is, what would happen if we ended up in a stubborn-coach-fueled loop of jumping offsides and declining the penalty? Unsportsmanlike conduct? And for which team? Because any penalty that gave Detroit a first down would've been preferable to second-and-1.
Couldn't the Packers just have kept jumping offsides? If the referees wanted to penalize the Packers for delay of game, so be it. But I would've kept doing it until Dan Campbell accepted.
Brian from Moncks Corner, SC
Is it too early to go back to hating the seventh seed concept?
I wasn't a fan three years ago and I'm still not a fan of it now, but I'll say this: a No. 7 seed is necessary in a 17-game regular season. Week 18 might have bordered on unwatchable if it wasn't for the extra seed in each conference. That kept things compelling.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
What do you think will be the biggest difference between the 2022 roster and the 2023 roster?
That's a great question that I don't know the answer to, Derek. As I said to Spoff on "Unscripted," a year ago at this time, I didn't see a scenario in which Davante Adams was not on this football team in 2022. There's much uncertainty surrounding what the 2023 Packers will look like, but I feel the foundation of the roster is still too talented to stay down for long.
Nick from Fredericksburg, VA
Thanks for all you guys do for us fans, especially during the difficult seasons. I noticed we signed a number of players to future contracts shortly after our season ended, seemingly in an effort to start filling out the bottom of next year's roster. Do the non-playoff teams get a slight advantage in this aspect since they can start signing players once the regular season ends, or do playoff teams get to sign futures contracts right away too?
Playoff teams can sign players to futures contracts, too. The Packers actually did that in January 2021 when they signed street free agents Innis Gaines, Chris Blair and Ray Wilborn to the 90-man offseason roster. In general, though, most teams only sign their practice-squad players to futures deals. That's why you'll see players signing futures deals next Monday after six teams are eliminated over the weekend.
Ross from Summerville, SC
Gents, in regards to Quay Walker and his two ejections this year, while his actions are inexcusable and I'm sure there will be repercussions, please everyone take a step back and remember that this man is 21-22 years old and fresh out of college. He will learn from this, and I'm sure come back a better person.
Folks, the young man admittedly made a terrible and regrettable mistake. He apologized and has done everything possible to express his remorse. Actions obviously speak louder than words, but we're six months away from Walker being able to redeem himself on the football field. Until then, I don't see the point of harping on the misstep.
Terry from Green Bay, WI
Good morning II. I just saw on the Packers Facebook page that Keisean Nixon was the third Packer to lead the league in kick return yardage. It listed Al Carmichael and Dave Hampton as the other two. My all-time favorite kick returner was Travis Williams. How can he not be on the list?
Williams returned four kickoffs for a touchdown and led the NFL with 41.1 yards per return in 1967 but only returned 18 total kickoffs for 739 yards. Atlanta's Ron Smith, who had twice as many returns (38) as Williams, led the league in kickoff return yardage (976) that season.
Johan from Evansville, IN
Hi Hod, I find it concerning that teams almost never blitzed Aaron Rodgers for fear of getting gashed for a big play, but the last couple seasons it seems like teams aren't afraid as much. Rodgers got blitzed on the last offensive play Sunday and it seemed like he just threw up a prayer hoping something magical would happen. What's changed?
I just think the Packers had a long-developing play call against an all-out blitz. To my eye, Rodgers didn't have much available underneath and took a shot downfield with a 50/50 ball. Facing third-and-10, those aren't great odds. If anything, with how much time was left on the clock, the Packers might have benefited from running the ball on either first or second down, or throwing something short like the 8-yard pass to Aaron Jones on the first play of the series.
Mike from Lompoc, CA
I feel like I missed something in the Aaron Rodgers situation because of all the talk on the game broadcast about this being "Rodgers' last game at Lambeau." Has this already been decided? Isn't Rodgers still under contract? Personally, I see nothing wrong with him returning for a 19th or 20th season. Can you clarify?
Listen, people have been punching Rodgers' ticket out of Green Bay for three years and guess what? He's still here. Rodgers is the longest-tenured player with one team in American sports. Someday, he no longer will be the Packers' quarterback. That's inevitable. Whenever that happens – if Spoff and I are still here – we'll discuss it. But it seems to me a bunch of people have been perennially wrong on this topic, and I have no desire to join them. The answer to your question is nothing has been decided. When it is, we'll know.
Derek from South Point, OH
Mike/Wes, thank you for guiding us through another season! My son got to be a junior captain for a Marshall University game this season, and we got to tour some of the media press boxes and see some media responsibilities during the game. It deepened my understanding and appreciation of the work that goes into covering games. What is your work schedule like on gameday, especially for a late-night game?
I get to the stadium and settle in, maybe grab something from the snack table. I take a photo of the Gameday program and put it out on my social pages. I'll read what was written by other outlets over the weekend and organize my thoughts for the game. Then, I do my three segments on the Packers Radio Network pregame show. After that, I head upstairs and eat dinner. I'll then set my laptop up, get my notebook and binoculars ready and get ready to cover the football game. Once the game starts, I'm tweeting and doing our live update story, while occasionally lending an extra set of eyes to Spoff for his live blog. The game ends, I head down to locker room, transcribe, write my two stories and head home. On to the next one.
Adam from Chippewa Falls, WI
What are the odds the Packers appear on "Hard Knocks" next year?
Zero. The NFL can only force a team on the show if it has either a new head coach or hasn't made the playoffs for two consecutive years.
David from Shawano, WI
Mark from Lakeville, MN's post about selling season tickets stimulated an idea. What would prevent the Packers from creating their own ticket exchange where season ticket owners could sell tickets to people on the season ticket waiting list? People on the season ticket waiting list shouldn't be as prone to dumbassery as it could get them removed from the list. It would keep the tickets out of opponent's fans hands. It could be cost neutral or a profit opportunity for the Packers depending on fees.
I know nothing (Jon Snow) other than there were way too many Vikings and Lions fans at the last two regular-season home games. If I had to guess, NFL media and sales contracts probably wouldn't permit such an agreement.
Bil from Stateline, NV
"...nip in the butt"? Pretty sure that's supposed to be "nip in the bud," Wes.
Oh, bud out of it, Bil. Have a good Thursday, everybody.