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Inbox: The hope is it'll be open for an extended time

In the right environment, youth can win in this league

QB Jordan Love
QB Jordan Love

Jeff from Janesville, WI

We're getting new.


Thomas from Madison, WI

There's always been a focus on the character and the type of players that the Packers like to build around. Basically, they want positive, focused, good-hearted dudes like Aaron Jones. I understand the NFL is a business, but is there a point where the business side of things is going to dilute the Packers' culture? Sorry for the leading question.

If your culture can't withstand the departure of a key individual here and there, I'd question how strong it is in the first place.

Alan from Mount Auburn, IL

Packer fans have wanted a Week 1 home game for several years now. I predict a Week 1 primetime match up with the Vikings coming to Lambeau.

Certainly not out of the question.

Ken from Boynton Beach, FL

Hi guys, I feel this football team actually got better in the RB and safety positions, which makes it a better team overall. I am going to miss AJ33, but I have always loved Jacobs, and for years, wished he was a Packer and now he is. I think going younger and more durable in both positions was a great move for this team to chase the Super Bowl next year.

The moves were made with an eye toward chasing the Super Bowl for the next few years.

Steven from Balsam Lake, WI

In response to Doug from Neenah, incoming free agent signings Jacobs and McKinney were captains on their previous teams. The Packers are bringing in two more leaders in addition to those you mentioned, Spoff.

True that.

Ed from Hilltown, PA

While we are saddened to see Aaron Jones leave the organization, I'm not sure we don't already have a viable complement to Jacobs on the roster already. Emanuel Wilson had a few bright moments last year and it was a real shame the season was curtailed by injury. I'm sensing a nice jump from Year 1 to Year 2. What are your thoughts and do you have any sense if LaFleur and Gutey are feeling the same way? What are their expectations of Wilson this year?

I think they really like Wilson and are excited about what he may be able to do. But they aren't going to bank on an unproven player as the de facto RB2 and will create legitimate competition for that job to see who rises to the occasion.

Dan from Algonquin, IL

Hi Mike, I accept and approve of the decision to go from having one more season with a beloved RB in his waning years, to having an elite RB in his prime for four years, with only $12.5 mil guaranteed. It makes sense. We've lost some playoff games to teams who pounded the ball with a power run attack and moved the chains consistently on the ground. Have we now become one of those teams who can punish defenses, especially in the playoffs when smash-mouth football goes to a new level?

I have no idea. First, the effective guarantee on Jacobs' deal is closer to $14M. More important, he's a very different type of back, and we just have to wait and see how LaFleur & Co. want to use him to get a feel for what the offense will look like with him as the bell cow. He's been a workhorse on the ground and caught plenty of passes out of the backfield. That's about all I know. Pass protection? Not sure. Jones was probably the best I've ever seen, so the offense will definitely have to adjust there regardless. For all of LaFleur's five years, I always felt the Packers' offense looked and operated differently with Jones vs. without. Now there's a brand new straw in the drink and while I'm curious and excited, I'm certainly not drawing any conclusions or making any predictions when so much feels unknown.

Dave from Comer, GA

I was rewatching a Week 16, 1995 game against the Saints. On the opening drive Favre fakes a screen left, fakes a screen right, then hits the TE for a big gain in the middle. Either Matt LaFleur is the reincarnation of Mike Holmgren, or there really is no such thing as fresh, new, innovative plays in the NFL.

Nobody ever truly reinvents the wheel. Old concepts just get dressed up like new. But I have to say, I've never had "Reader watches '95 Packers-Saints game" on my Inbox bingo card.

Todd from Noblesville, IN

I've been watching our Green Bay Packers, intently, since about 1990. From all of those years, one of my favorite moments was Aaron Jones lifting the head of a dejected Dontayvion Wicks after a tough play against the Rams. That moment made me proud to be a Packer fan and spoke volumes about Aaron as a person. He will be missed for sure.

Lots of folks have brought up that play, and it deserves another mention for sure.

Jim from Fishers, IN

OK, color me curious. I looked at the film from the last play of Aaron Jones's last game in Green and Gold. Did he take a hit to the chest or shoulder? Thank you for all you do. GPG.

He came up limping on that hamstring again after throwing a block in pass pro.

George from North Mankato, MN

Looking at all the "negotiation period" deals, it seems to me like there are some smoke-and-mirror deals out there. Kirk Cousins is one that appears to be more of a two-year, $100M deal than a four-year, $180M pact. Why doesn't the NFL require contracts to be guaranteed so that what's on the box is what you get?

The players would love to have fully guaranteed contracts, like in MLB and the NBA, but the owners would never concede that in CBA negotiations. No way.

Keith from Bakersfield, CA

When Josh Jacobs catches his first pass from JL, will that be the first completion to a first-round pick for Love?

Nope. Jordan Love completed a pass to Marcedes Lewis (for minus-1 yard) at Kansas City in 2021.

Mark from Bradenton, FL

I'm assuming "politics" is a verboten subject in II, but I'm going to try to sneak this question by the subject police: Do you think Aaron Rodgers will have time to play football at a former MVP level and run for vice president this fall?

I won't spend a scintilla of brain power trying to figure it out.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

Mike: "It's not ideal, but it's the world we live in." That, sir, would be one outstanding T-shirt. It applies to everything.

Speaking of politics, that's like the old saying about democracy: It's the worst form of government, until you try all the other ones.

Thomas from Cedar Rapids, IA

Correct me if I'm wrong (CMIIW) but both Jacobs and McKinney count against compensation picks, while the departure of Jones and Bakh do not add to it. This seems very un-Packer like, as does delving into free agency on Day 1. Do you see this as a one-year coincidence or a change in philosophy? GB will always have one eye on the future but do you think current events tell us the Packers are maximizing a window of opportunity?

You're right, Jones and Bakhtiari don't count in the comp pick formula (Campbell won't either), while the Jacobs and McKinney signings will preclude the Packers from getting any comp picks next year for losing Runyan and Savage. The coincidences are really positionally, in that the Packers went after Jacobs because the Jones talks fell through, and they pursued McKinney because Savage wasn't getting another contract after his fifth-year option. As for the window of opportunity, last year's late run showed it's definitely open, but the hope is it'll be open for an extended time here. So I don't look at the current moves as "maximizing" as much as positioning and pursuing, if that makes sense.

Dan from San Francisco, CA

Not a question but sharing an observation. I noticed our two new free agent signings both went to Alabama. Having two players from Bama seemed familiar. I remembered one was Eddie Lacy and a little Googling reminded me that Ha Ha was the other. Fun coincidence (or not?) that we have another Alabama duo playing running back and safety.

Now that truly is a coincidence.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

We can agree to disagree, Mike, but it's not a false equivalency. Bakh's injury was not responsible for the defense giving up 31 points that day. Is Bakh's injury the reason Jones fumbled to start the second half? Tampa scored a TD on the next play to give them 28 points in just over one half. The defense was dreadful in the first half, and I'll grant you the offense did little with three second-half takeaways themselves. But we were NOT one player away, much less one Bakh injury away that year.

You can't just point to numbers and stats. Those back-to-back picks by Ja in the fourth quarter the Packers did nothing with? There was a sack on both of those subsequent three-and-outs. Remember the controversial INT on the pass to Lazard right before half that led to the fateful Scottie Miller TD? It came on second-and-17, one play after … wait for it … a sack. That pick was a minimum 10- if not 14-point swing. All five Bucs sacks were by their edge rushers. Edge protection was a factor in several key moments in a game the Packers lost by five points. If Bakhtiari is healthy, I firmly believe the Packers score more than 26 and don't give up 31 that day. He doesn't erase all the mistakes. Nobody can. But his absence was monumental in how that game unfolded.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

I've been assuming a few positions will be off limits come April until late-round flyers. These include QB, WR, and TE. Everything else I figured is on the table. However, I just read a mock draft that had us taking TE Ben Sinnot from Kansas State in the fourth round. Just got me thinking, if the last few days have taught us anything it's to expect the unexpected.

Nobody knows.

Fredrick from Okatie, SC

How do you view the QB situation? Would you see GB picking up a veteran QB? If Love was out for a game or two is our backup truly the temporary man with as little as he has played? I'm concerned that we might be giving away some games without a stronger backup.

The Packers like what they have in Sean Clifford as a developmental prospect, and I could see another draft pick being brought in to compete for the backup spot. But I don't see them taking up extra cap space by spending on a veteran there, no.

Jason from Austin, TX

Well, at least we know Gute isn't afraid of doing the unpopular move for the betterment of the team. It's definitely not the first time he's done it. Or second. Or third (although I don't know if moving on from Jordy was better for the team). Do you think the relative success he's had for making the unpopular move, only for it to work out (like moving on from Rodgers and having Love succeed) has given Gute the confidence to make more of them? The howl of the wolves is quieter when you're successful.

All I know is Brian Gutekunst has the courage of his convictions. Whether trading up to draft a QB of the future when the team was coming off an NFC title game appearance or moving on from fan-favorite players, he won't be swayed by any outside noise. Not every move works out. Many are tough calls. Every GM has regrets. But he's going to do what he believes is best for the Packers, every time. As it relates to confidence, I think the team Gutey built last year, and how it ultimately performed, has spread confidence to others in the building a conviction he's long held – there's no need to fear being young if you have the right players and coaches, and your culture is centered on growth and development. In the right environment, youth can win in this league.

Brian from Quarryville, PA

If they would make some of the proposed rule changes to the kickoff, the re-signing of Keisean Nixon could be even bigger and better. Will they decide on rule changes at the NFL meetings later this month?

That appears to be the plan.

Brian from Sussex, WI

I'm not one to worry about the title of a player's position, but the responsibilities compared to abilities. I've seen Packers note Keisean Nixon's abilities are coverage in the middle, run support, and blitzing. Seems to align with the responsibilities of the second safety position, particularly when playing close to the line. Could this be a possibility to reduce need at safety, and create opportunity to utilize ability of a player?

Lots of submissions about Nixon's abilities as a safety. Gutekunst told the media at the combine he's looking for the two safety positions and slot corner to be as "interchangeable" as possible. That's the first time I can recall hearing him mention all three spots in that fashion. So we shall see.

Roger from McGrath, AK

ATMR (which is Spoff on!) the old-school Packers logo might not have a real-life model but the Iditarod finisher's patch with the profile of a kicking musher and his dog team crossing the sea ice does. That model musher is the II's own Rod from Chugiak. So we have that going for us, which is nice! Pretty cool, eh?


Don from Boise, ID

Instead of apples and orangutans why not appaloosas and oranges, or are they somehow different?

That works, too, I guess. Happy Thursday.

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