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Inbox: The comments didn't cast doubt 

The door will be wide open in the NFC once again

K Mason Crosby
K Mason Crosby

Steve from Flagstaff, AZ

So Mike, on this J Peterman reality tour what would come along with it? A bite-sized Three Musketeer? And instead of muffin tops being hauled to the dump, would it be cheese curds? These references have been off the wall lately. I love it!

It was the muffin stumps that got hauled off. C'mon man. Wes would definitely prefer to dispose of any cheese curds.

David from Janesville, WI

Mike, no offense but I don't have much interest in seeing your or Wes's offices. I would much rather win a day to tour the local micro-brews with you. And Larry should come along for sure. Heck, Weston can chauffeur if we can keep his root beer consumption in check. Now that sounds like a contest worth winning. Hinterland, Titletown, Copper State, the list goes on. Let's line up those flights!

Larry is not a craft brew guy, unfortunately, but his storytelling would carry the day, for sure.

Scott from Bath, Canada

Are the Packers moving on from Aaron Rodgers?

From Indy on Tuesday, Gutekunst was predictably noncommittal on anything regarding Rodgers because there have been no substantive conversations since the season ended. The update was that there was basically no update, as expected.

Donald from Lancaster, PA

When is the deadline for an answer from Rodgers to whether he is returning?

There is no specific deadline, but the expectation is they'll know something in the next couple of weeks before free agency begins.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

Another thought on Mason Crosby: I don't mind if his range has declined a bit, if it makes Matt LaFleur more willing to go for it on fourth down from just inside opponents' territory. The analytics nearly always recommend it, and I'd say even more so when you have Aaron Jones and/or AJ Dillon at your disposal.

The GM sure made it sound like they'll be talking with Crosby soon, and I read those believing he's in the team's plans. Gutekunst feels his kicking leg will be plenty strong a year removed from the knee scope he had last spring, and with the minor back injury behind him as well. Regarding his abilities, the comments didn't cast doubt.

Greg from Toluca, IL

I'm a season ticket holder and just rec'd info on price increase. A comment along with that note was visiting team gets portion of revenue. Why is that? Why don't NFL just let each team keep all home game revenue? I would think it would all balance out.

Obviously the owners don't think it would or they wouldn't have agreed to this arrangement many moons ago. The visiting team getting a portion of the gate has been part of the deal for as long as I can remember.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

Spoff: I got the bill for my club seats yesterday and it's a lot of money. And we have a very expensive MVP quarterback that's not sure if he wants to play this year. And we have a GM that has already mortgaged the farm so there's little opportunity to improve the roster via free agency. And most of the roster regressed last season. And the head coach made no coaching changes. Can you tell me a credible story that gets us to the playoffs this year?

A lot of (stuff) went wrong in 2022. A lot. And the Packers still came a win-to-get-in game from reaching the playoffs. Nothing will be easy, but no matter the QB, I don't believe this team is that far away. Moreover, Philly and San Fran were clearly the class of the NFC last season, but did anyone else look all that impressive? Not to me. The door will be wide open in the NFC once again.

Dennis from De Pere, WI

If Rodgers stays, can the Packers handle both Rodgers' cap hit in 2024 and Love's fifth-year option?

I don't see how.

Nick from Janesville, WI

Just a few years ago it seemed like the Packers were not running into annual cap issues, and now each year it's a game of restructures and tweaking to make things work. Part of me thinks the turning point was the big signing year with Smith, Smith, Amos, and Turner with heavy cap numbers down the line. Or is this still repercussions from the 2020 year when the cap shrank down and the team is catching up?

It has nothing to do with the '19 free agent haul. It's a combination of the cap shrinking over 2020-21 and the Packers being a contender not wanting to break apart a potential championship team just for cap reasons. Other teams navigated the challenge differently because they didn't feel they were in position to push the envelope. The Packers were right there in '20 and came up a tad short. They got the No. 1 seed again in '21 and fell flat at the wrong time. Then Rodgers came back for another go in '22. I don't blame the decision-makers for trying to hold it all together with a title in sight at the expense of an unknown future. It didn't work out as hoped, but that doesn't mean it was the wrong approach. Tearing it down at the moment it felt on the verge would've left a never-ending "what if" feeling hanging over the franchise. There's been no title, but also no what-ifs.

Nathan from Manitowoc, WI

Do you think the bottom of roster will have multiple special teamers only on it like last year, or will it go back to being developmental players like in past years?

I think the Packers saw the benefits to their change in philosophy regarding special-teams personnel and expect them to follow more of last year's path.

Mark from Geneva, IL

IMO, the roster today lacks depth. Yes we need more playmakers, offense and defense, but is there any merit to trading down for more picks to get more depth on both sides of the ball?

It all depends on what the board looks like when the Packers are on the clock. You don't go into a draft committed to trading down for depth and then pass on a major playmaker if he's available. Evaluate the talent, build the board, and then trust it.

Take a look back at photos of Green Bay Packers players during their NFL Scouting Combine appearances.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

In general, which positions have the most potential to help/hurt their draft stock at the combine?

I believe it's receiver. A good or bad 40 time can produce a significant shift for those guys.

Ed from Minneapolis, MN

Hey Mike, I was looking at some of the records for the combine. There weren't any "big names" that jumped off the page. Truly to be on the list close to the record means you have world-class abilities, but why doesn't it necessarily relate to success on the gridiron?

Because the statistical combine tests measure athleticism only, not skills and abilities as a football player. Those help, but it takes so much more. A similar but reversed question would be like asking why a basketball prospect who can make 25 three-pointers in a row isn't a surefire NBA star.

Andrew from Stockton-on-Tees, UK

Which NFL team do you think has the worst uniform? I'd say Seattle Seahawks.

Standard vs. alternate uniforms are two different discussions. With standard, if you ranked the worst ones, I think all three Florida teams (Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa Bay) would be in the top five.

George from North Mankato, MN

Other than the offensive push play, do you know of other rules that are going to be discussed by the competition committee?

There was a proposal by the Rams to make roughing the passer reviewable, but it doesn't sound like there was much appetite for it.

Jim from La Crosse, WI

Why can't the NFL just add horns and lights for when the play clock gets to :00 like the NBA does? This whole idea of an official watching the play clock run to zero and then looking to see if the ball has been hiked is stupid.

Discussed and dissected previously in this space. Unfortunately, I haven't heard anything from Indy regarding consideration.

Kyle from Osceola, WI

Lots of drama and acrimonious news leaking out of the smoke-filled room where the owners' meetings took place Monday. Few know for sure, but I can only imagine Green Bay CEO Mark Murphy to be one of the calmer heads in what is surely a stressful situation. Agreed?

Nothing and nobody would rattle Mark Murphy. He's played safety on a Super Bowl team, represented both the NFLPA and the owners in acrimonious labor negotiations, prosecuted criminals as an assistant U.S. attorney, served as athletic director at the NCAA Division I level … nobody accomplishes all that in a career by getting riled up in a tough spot.

Tony from Davenport, IA

You stated that the MLB desperately needed to increase the pace of play. I would argue the NFL needs to do so also. In an average NFL game the ball is in play for only 11 minutes.

But that's the nature of the game, which is conducive to multiple replays being shown after every snap. Going to a 30-second play clock or something similar would be a dramatic change that likely would lead to bad football. The NFL doesn't want games to take too long, which is why it's loath to make more situations subject to replay review, dragging out a broadcast.

Tony from Chanhassen, MN

Seeing Carson Wentz be released has really made me wonder. What causes a player like that to go from nearly being an MVP, to being traded multiple times, and then finally cut in just a few years? Was it injuries? Confidence? Did the league just figure him out?

Great question. Wentz is a huge mystery to me. Before he blew out his knee in 2017, I think he was headed toward winning league MVP, and the Eagles won the Super Bowl without him anyway. Then he was never the same. The answer to your question is probably some version of "all of the above," but it certainly speaks to how fleeting success can be in this league.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Mike. The NFL's list of top 101 free agents didn't include any Packers in the first 70. Only Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan made the list at all. Seems like that's a good thing. What is your takeaway?

Sounds like the list-makers ignored special teams by not including Keisean Nixon and Crosby.

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, UK

Mike, what has been your proudest moment in your life/career while working for the Pack?

Honestly, I don't rank them. I admit it's fun to see the live blog numbers go through the roof on occasion, because that tells me people find value in the platform and interaction. For me, the pride comes from executing the routine regardless of circumstance. Like getting the game recap written on the bus ride to the airport and knowing it's posted before I board the plane. Or getting the yearbook to the printer on time every summer whether I'm at the office or on the road. Or still providing the best coverage and written material I can for two seasons without in-person interviews. Individual stories come and go but executing my responsibilities well with a "no matter what" outlook is what I hang my hat on.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

Mike, do you ever have a drink while writing the Inbox? I often have one while reading in case you were wondering.

On an offseason Sunday night while writing Monday morning's column, I might occasionally open the beer fridge, once. But otherwise, no. Hey, I saw that hockey documentary featuring your town while I was off last week. Cool film.

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

Larry can pilot airplanes and you guys drive to Indy? Doesn't he like you? :)

Well, I wouldn't expect Larry to fly there on his own dime, and I think the bosses might blanch at that expense report, no? Happy Wednesday.

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