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The postseason stakes don’t get any higher than the NFL

RB MarShawn Lloyd & QB Jordan Love
RB MarShawn Lloyd & QB Jordan Love

Joe from Wausau, WI

The last couple of training camps it seems the defense has dominated the offense more often than not. Do you see a different dynamic this year, especially with the defense learning a new scheme?

Perhaps, though I'm not one to chart perceived wins and losses during practice. If both sides are learning and growing, that's what truly matters. That's how a football team prepares for Week 1. But yes, I would expect the offense to be further ahead this summer given Jordan Love's development and having so many key playmakers who are now a year wiser in the scheme.

Johnny from Nasawaupee, WI

II, lots of pre-preseason talk about the receiver room and who will take that next step. One name that doesn't seem to get a ton of mention is Jayden Reed. If this young man takes a step up…look out. Looking back on his clutch catches in 2023, Reed made a bunch of them. How will the Packers get the most from Reed in '24?

By just putting the ball in Reed's hands, and fortunately there are countless ways to do that in Matt LaFleur's offense. Reed has that "it" factor and unparalleled versatility. For that reason, I think Reed is gonna be even more electric in Year 2…whether it's talked about it or not at the moment.

Al from Green Bay, WI

It just dawned on me. All four teams in the NFC North have QBs drafted in the first round. Jared Goff and Caleb Williams were both drafted No. 1. J.J. McCarthy was picked 10th overall. And our man Jordan Love was the 26th selection. Given Love's rapid ascension, would you now classify him as a "steal" at 26, or must we wait to see how things shake out in the division?

I don't think it's too early to call a Love a steal considering how tedious it can be to find franchise QBs. Love isn't a finished product by any means and must build on past success, but his performance last year alone proves he was a solid find in the latter half of the first round.

Ethan from Coralville, IA

Drafting Jordan Morgan has raised an interesting and much-talked about tackle competition this offseason. Has any indication appeared that perhaps Rasheed Walker or Morgan will move to the right side while Zach Tom is recovering from his injury?

For now, it's Morgan rotating in at right tackle with free-agent pickup Andre Dillard. As I said on "Packers Unscripted," this is valuable work for the rookie first-round pick to get to test drive right tackle. As we've seen so many times, any Green Bay O-lineman is one injury away from swapping posts. My expectation is Morgan will continue playing that swing-tackle post throughout the spring.

Joe from Hampshire, IL

With Tyler Davis working back from injury and Tucker Kraft out until training camp, this is Ben Sims' chance to earn snaps. In college, he was known for route-running and running fast. Did his blocking progress in-season similar to Kraft's improvement? I have hopes he can be what LaFleur had planned for Josiah Deguara to be.

Deguara and Sims are two entirely different tight ends, but I was impressed with how Sims handled being tossed into the fire last year as an in-line blocker. He has the frame for it. It's funny you mention Sims as a pass-catcher. I probably saw Sims run more routes of 10 or more yards in last Tuesday's OTA than I did all last year. This is a great opportunity for Sims, a waiver-wire claim days before the 2023 season, to get in all those reps he missed last summer.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

Hello II, tight end isn't looking too healthy right now. Do you think they will look to free agency to bring in one until Kraft and Davis get better?

I doubt it. The Packers have plenty of available options with undrafted rookie Messiah Swinson joining practice-squad holdover Joel Wilson and fullback Henry Pearson. Like Sims' situation, OTAs and minicamp offer all those young tight ends a chance to show what they can do.

George from Kennebunkport, ME

Henry Pearson, a TE in college, is listed as a FB on our roster, but I cannot remember him being used on offense. Recently, Deguara has been the de facto FB. With Deguara gone, is there a chance we see Pearson or is it more likely we continue to use a player listed as a TE in that role?

That was a point I raised at the rookie minicamp. Pearson is the only natural fullback/H-back on the roster. He has to earn a spot like everybody else, but his skill set is fairly unique compared to Green Bay's other TEs and RBs.

David from Janesville, WI

Gents – Happy Memorial Day! After a moment to honor the fallen, I'd like to point out how much I appreciate the slotted contracts for draft picks. While at the time I type this we still have two unsigned picks, there is no concern about them holding out and missing the early parts of the season like we may have seen years ago. I don't remember when the league implemented the change, but it has been a good one.

The rookie-wage scale is one of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement's biggest successes. It removed the headaches from negotiations, lopped a year off rookie contracts, protected veterans, and got draft picks on the field faster, which is what they need. I think it's been a win for everybody.

Trent from Alva, FL

Do you see the NFL ever implementing a quarterback salary cap based on a percentage of the entire cap? With Jared Goff now taking up 21% of Detroit's salary cap, I would think owners would be on board with a cap so no player would take up more than let's say 25% of the cap. I would think most of the players would vote for that as well so that there would be more money to go around for everyone.

I don't ever see the NFL and NFLPA placing a cap on a player's earning potential. As I've written in the past, those premium contracts for QBs also help league parity because it gives teams without a franchise QB a chance to win in other ways.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

It's way early, but do you have any insights on the Packers' process for selecting the roster? Would the practice squad be an extension of the 53, or is that a process unto itself? Would it resemble anything like the draft, with a rank order irrespective of position, then a by-position depth chart with "need" as a tiebreaker? Outside of the specialists, including PR and KR, is "we-fense" established after the initial roster is put together? Thanks.

I don't know Brian Gutekunst's exact approach, but I view the construction of the 53-man roster and 17-player practice squad as two different processes. Having the flexibility to "call up" players from the practice squad has definitely impacted things. It's enabled teams to protect draft picks and developmental prospects a little more while also creating latitude to hold onto a veteran special-teamer who might not play on offense or defense. To your final point, every team ranks everything.

Craig from Green Bay, WI

Does the Packers' equipment staff need to pack two of everything for road trips? Jerseys, shoes, helmet, etc., for each player? How does that work?

We wrote an entire article on the subject back in January. I'm also proud to say that project was nominated for a Hashtag Sports Award for "Best Use of Visual Storytelling." Thank you to Steven Hudy for submitting our application.

Randy from Raymond, IA

Is it possible for you to share any info on what Christian Watson and Eric Stokes learned about how to avoid those bothersome hamstring injuries? I have dealt with my own hamstring issues the last two years while competing in our local senior softball league. I missed multiple games due to this recurring injury. It couldn't be because of my advanced age, could it? (I turn 68 next month) We hold our own draft every year. They draft players by age, 50-59, 60-69, and 70 and over. And no, I was NOT Mr. Irrelevant!

Hey, we wrote an article on that, too! What I found most interesting from our conversation with Watson was how asymmetry between the strength of a person's legs can lead to injury. Again, only time will tell with Watson but hopefully he can move past this. Wishing you the same good fortune on the softball diamond.

Michael from Lakewood, CO

Adding to the question from Elias in LA, here's what the Broncos website said on May 21 about the joint Packers-Broncos practice: "The practice will be open to fans. More information, along with the Broncos' full training camp schedule, will be released at a later date."

Nice. Congrats to both Broncos fans and Packers fans in the Denver area. Fans add a lot to those practices. There was a cool vibe at the Packers-Bengals practices in Cincinnati last year.

Andy from Darien, CT

Regarding the discussion of "best-of" playoff series that other professional sports employ, I never felt that was necessary in the NFL. Within every game, every possession feels like its own contest. The winner of the most contests moves on to the next stage. Additionally, a huge part of the chess match is the coaching strategy and countermoves during the game so hate to dilute that over a series. Do you guys share this view?

Indubitably. The postseason stakes don't get any higher than the NFL.

The Green Bay Packers hosted a Football Outreach Camp to give elementary school students the opportunity to get active and have fun, in conjunction with the NFL Play 60 program.

Dustin from Kansas City, MO

Once the NFL moves to the 16-team playoff and playoff byes are no longer a factor, do you think it will devalue the regular season to the point we might start seeing teams give rest days? I really hope not, but I figure the bigger the playoffs, the closer we are to seeing teams give rest days like they do in other sports.

That's my greatest fear. Having the No. 1 seed is a premium advantage in the NFL not only because it guarantees a spot in the final eight, but it also has a significant impact on the health of your football team. Sure, a No. 1 seed might beat an eighth-seeded team nine times out of 10 but what happens when a team's face of the franchise goes down with injury in the process? How is that good for the NFL?

Adam from Chippewa Falls, WI

In regard to Darrel's question about the best record of a team to miss the playoffs, the Baltimore Colts went 11-1-2 in 1967, but lost the head-to-head tiebreaker to the 11-1-2 Los Angeles Rams. Baltimore lost to the Rams on the final game of the season, which resulted in the Rams winning the Coastal Division.

We've sure come a long way over the last 50-plus years.

Dale from Fenton, MI

If you awoke one morning to find there was no longer a Green Bay Packers team in the NFL and you were making your living as a (root) beermaker, do you think you would be an NFL fan?

That's an excellent question. Probably not, if I'm being totally honest. I'm not really a fantasy football player or someone who does the appointment TV thing. This team and its connection to this community is what has always drawn me in.

Bob from Jensen Beach, FL

Not to belabor the laser issue, but if they use it to measure making a first down, they also need to use it to place the chains at the start of first down. Currently that's a guestimate from the sideline judge's quick view.

A game of inches…officiated in the most subjective way possible.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

Wes, Matt Schneidman claims he would defeat you (just barely) in a cage fight due to his size, length, and build. He does concede your edge in fitness and technique. Who would you take, and when can we stream it?

All I have to say is I fully intend to work "medium-sized fella" into my Twitter biography at some point.

Dan from Richmond, VA

Wesley, I agree it's a no-brainer that brats are the best food option for game days at Lambeau. So, do you have a special arrangement with the press box vendor to supply you with a side of asparagus, or do you have to bring your own from home?

I sneak in my own asparagus on Fridays.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

Spoff, did you see that Rob Manfred said no robot umps in 2025, because they haven't been successful enough in the minors? I laugh because Angel Hernandez still umps Major League games with impunity.

Spoff isn't back until Tuesday, but this was too good not to post.

Roger from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, gentlemen. Mike said that he is trepidatious about next year's schedule release video? Does that mean he is going to be discombobulated for nearly a year?

That'll probably be the case unless there's a recombobulation area going in at Titletown that I don't know about. Have a terrific and thoughtful Memorial Day, everyone.

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