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Inbox: That sounds like a fair read, but remember …

Several factors determine the true impact

T Rasheed Walker
T Rasheed Walker

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi Mike, that was quite the homecoming you received from the II submissions on Monday. However, I think you might have missed an opportunity. You could have penned all the questions and credited them to fictitious people and places, then dazzled us with your well-thought-out replies. It was April Fools' Day after all. It would have avoided your "Welcome Back Kotter" moments.

To paraphrase, the names haven't changed since I hung around, and teasing me a lot when you've got me on the spot … well, it's part of the gig.

Michael from Cottage Grove, MN

Are there any players on the Packers' roster that are pre-Gutekunst?

Just one. Kenny Clark.

Jeff from Victorville, CA

Mike, there's a lot of hope that the Packers can stay reasonably healthy in 2024 especially with oft-injured players like Christian Watson, Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes. It is football so what would you consider a "healthy" season? One game missed? Two games missed? None?

It's not solely about raw numbers. (Stuff)'s gonna happen. You'd like players to avoid the major injuries that sideline them for a month or more. Extended absences significantly alter plans and approaches for both the team and opponent. Timing and circumstances matter, too. If a key player is going to miss a game or two, is that happening at the same time another key player is also down? Or are they spread out? And at what point in the season? Several factors determine the true impact of injuries.

Darrick from Kimberly, WI

There have been at least two comments regarding the Packers MUST line up two returners deep on kickoffs. However, per the NFL Operations website, the rules regarding the new kickoff state "a maximum of 2 returners may line up in the landing zone and can move at any time prior to, or during, the kick." Language regarding the setup zone states "at least 9..." so they can have 10 in the setup zone and keep KN back there alone if they choose.

Appreciate the knowledge.

Chase from Carmichael, CA

I'm not saying I'm for this, but would a week of play-in games be better than an 18th game? If considered, I assume the NFL would want all six wild card slots to be up for grabs in order to maximize the number of games. I don't like it because it further dilutes the regular season, but in exchange you increase the value of winning the division with an effective second bye week.

Play-in games? That feels like the start of another Jim Mora rant, but I digress. So you're saying a pre-wild card weekend before the actual wild card weekend? Goodness, no. All the other major sports have done enough to dilute the value of their regular seasons. The NFL doesn't need to jump on that train.

Barb from Marengo, IL

I enjoy reading your articles about prospective players. It's always fun to dream! You provide information about size, honors, exciting plays, etc. My question is how does Gutey assess character qualities? Does that require some contact with the player and/or coaching staff? Or do they have access to information that you don't?

Members of the personnel staff interview the players themselves at the Senior Bowl, combine, and on pre-draft visits. They also do background work by talking to college coaches, high school coaches, and anyone they can reasonably contact who can provide relevant information. No one can uncover everything, but it's a pretty thorough process.

Jim from De Pere, WI

Greetings Mike and Wes, thank you for all you do with II. Regarding your Prospect Primer pieces, do you have to get clearance from the Packers on which players are featured to avoid divulging who they may be interested in drafting?

No, the player selections are made absent any communication with personnel. As noted at the beginning of each post, they're chosen based on mock draft research of players most frequently projected to be available in the back half of the first round. That's it, that's all.

Johnny from Salt Lake City, UT

Looking forward to this year's edition of the Prospect Primer! How many years have you been doing this? How many years have you highlighted a player the Packers actually picked in the draft?

We've been doing Primers in some form or fashion since 2013. We haven't always taken the approach as outlined above, but that's been our method for the past few years. Some of the Packers' high picks we've profiled in advance over the years have included Datone Jones, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Davante Adams, Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson, Devonte Wyatt, Christian Watson and Lukas Van Ness.


2024 Prospect Primers

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Mike, Ray from Phoenix asked about using all 11 draft picks based on the likelihood of them making the 53. According to BG the intent is to create competition. Who can say how the final roster shakes out? There are any number of ways to retain control over players beyond the initial 53. I don't see that as a consideration. That is not to say the Packers make 11 selections. That depends on how the draft unfolds. I don't see that math as part of the approach. Any chance BG has a magic number?

I don't think he's got a target number, because I agree the math doesn't really matter at this stage. Right now, the Packers have around 15 guys on the roster without an accrued year of service time in the NFL, meaning they're developmental prospects who haven't played in games (or have barely played). Guys like that are not guaranteed to make it to training camp. It's just the nature of the beast.

Troy from Westminster, CO

Good morning...when it comes to consolidating draft picks because the roster is loaded, as I see it, it's the exact opposite. I want the Packers to have to cut good players. Teams who believe their rosters are too full to draft too many guys eventually may find themselves wishing they had more guys. The Packers have selected 24 players the past two drafts with an exceptional hit rate. Ten more picks like that would absolutely put this team over the top. History suggests BG feels the same.

That, too.

Jacob from Holmen, WI

Morning Mike. It always seems like the strongest position group in the draft is picked over of Round 1 talent according to the Packers when the mid-20s rolls around. Nothing should surprise us in the first round with the Packers these days, however, if the Packers don't go O-line Round 1, I would be floored if two of the next four picks presumably still in the top 100 were not offensive linemen.

That sounds like a fair read, but remember, in recent years the Packers found Jon Runyan in the sixth round and Rasheed Walker in the seventh.

George from North Mankato, MN

I am curious about the NFL performance pool. Is the over $393M that was allotted to players split evenly amongst all franchises? Which Packer players were awarded additional pay? Does it count against the cap or is this a way to solely reward players on lower-paying contracts? Is there a limit to how many players can earn the bonus in a given year?

Every team got about $12.3M, and it's distributed based on a comparison of playing time to contract salary. Anybody who plays a snap is eligible to receive some extra money, which does not count against the cap. According to good friend Bill Huber at Packer Central, the Packers' largest bonus went to Jonathan Owens, and the next three highest were all offensive linemen – Zach Tom, Rasheed Walker and Josh Myers. At least 20 players received at least $200K, some of whom are no longer on the team (like Owens). A corollary to performance-based pay is the proven performance escalator, which can boost the fourth-year salary of a player drafted in the second round or later who meets certain playing time thresholds over his first three seasons. Myers, T.J. Slaton and Royce Newman are eligible for the salary bump in '24, and that new salary will count against the cap.

Dwight from Brooklyn, NY

Just as teams study game tape of opponents, I know that teams also study their own game tape to try and spot tell-tale tendencies and make adjustments. My question is this: Is there a specific coach(s) and player(s) tasked with this duty? Or is it something like an all-hands-on-deck where everyone is free to speak up?

Quality control coaches might get self-scout duty at times, and the entire staff dives into it during the bye week. But anyone who notices anything at any point is certainly encouraged to bring it up.

Matt from Allouez, WI

Can you clarify Mark Murphy's comments about flying to Brazil? How did the Packers get to London last year? It seems like a weird comment given that Air Force One has landed at Austin Straubel and Mark Murphy is saying they can't get a big enough jet there.

My son, who's an aviation aficionado and currently works at an airport, explained this to me last week. The issue is the length of runway needed for a Dreamliner-type jet that's fully fueled for a 12-hour flight to have enough room to take off. The full weight of the vessel determines how much runway is required for liftoff, and Green Bay's longest runway is shorter than those at larger airports. The Packers flew on such a jet to London two seasons ago, but that was a seven-hour flight, so with that amount of fuel, the plane was light enough to take off from Green Bay. It's not possible for a plane carrying nearly twice as much fuel to do so.

Scott from Sauk City, WI

My wife and I will be celebrating 15 years of marriage this spring, and are looking at a relaxing Door County getaway to celebrate. If one wanted to catch a stadium and HOF tour on the way through town, at what point during the late spring/early summer might one be potentially able to accidentally run into players on the grounds? Are any of them around before training camp starts?

Offseason workouts start April 15 and run through the mandatory minicamp in the second week of June. I don't know how easy it will be to bump into any players, though. When they want to, they can keep themselves pretty isolated in the team facility, and they "carpool" to the Hutson Center and practice fields for OTAs. I work here every day and if it weren't for the days the media has access to the locker room, I'd rarely see them.

Mark from Greenville, SC

"Enjoy the reveal." That is the way I hope to be able to enjoy next year! Great advice.

Happy Wednesday.

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