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Inbox: The operative word is chance

The proof will be in the pudding

WRs Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson

Mark from Big Bear City, CA

Good morning, Mike. So I expect Aaron will let us all know next week if he will still be in Green Bay next season. Oh, and you are on vacation right?


Jason from Hilton, NY

The LEGO game reenactments are great. Would it be possible to recreate the Ice Bowl in LEGO form? I could also just settle for a reenactment of Vic pumping gas in the cold.

I might pay Fabian for that one myself.

Kyle from Watertown, SD

Not a question but an answer to the video board question. I work for the company manufacturing the new video boards. The new boards will be 48 feet tall by 220 feet long (I don't know specs of existing board as we didn't manufacture them). The displays will be a 6mm pixel pitch with a resolution of 2400 pixels tall by 10980 pixels wide.

There we have it.

James from Chicago, IL

With Tom Brady's career, don't forget to mention the 2002 realignment that took the Colts out of the AFC East. Winning the AFC East and getting home field in the playoffs would have been considerably more challenging with another HOF QB in the same division.

Point taken, yes.

Steve from Colorado Springs, CO

Many comments about the benefits of a running QB in the II lately. I can't argue with most of it, but what I am wondering about is the perceived increased potential for injury to the guy who can least afford it. Do you have any thoughts on running quarterbacks and injury? Is the perception real or not? Thanks dudes.

And therein lies the rub. The Chiefs' Super Bowl run was almost derailed by the injury to Mahomes, so that risk is ever-present. Something bad could happen on any tackle, in or out of the pocket, even with all the protective rules. But I think the savvy quarterbacks manage those risks outside the pocket as best they can. RGIII taught everyone an invaluable lesson in that regard.

Mark from Mount Vernon, WI

Couple of random questions. How many years does a player have to be in the league to qualify for a retirement pension, and does it count if the player is only on the practice squad? Also, do teams provide health insurance or is that thru the league? Thank you.

A player needs four accrued seasons to qualify for a pension, but practice-squad membership does not accrue service time. I don't know the specifics on health insurance, only that the players aren't responsible for it. They get it through the teams or union, or some combination thereof.

Chuck from Richfield, WI

Love the detail and thought that went into answering Tabb from Houston on DC question! My question relates to the well-deserved Hall of Fame announcement of Brookfield's own Joe Thomas. Who holds the Packer record for consecutive snaps in a career?

I honestly have no idea. Thomas' 10,000-plus consecutive snaps is an insane record. Totally nuts.

Joe from Swansea, IL

Penetrate a little darkness for me, will you? Based on the volume of II submissions you see, has the fan base changed its view of AR12's status? Are more II correspondents moving to the Jordan Love camp? Or is the support for Aaron Rodgers as strong as ever? I'm curious how you would characterize all this.

I would characterize it as a majority of II readers (though not overwhelmingly so) possessing a curiosity regarding what the Packers have in Jordan Love and a greater willingness to explore that curiosity than previously, which seems natural to me following an 8-9, playoff-less season. There's also a segment that would like to see Rodgers play his entire career for the Packers.

Tim from Olathe, KS

Mike, please compare and contrast Jordan Love with our prior backup QBs, Brett Hundley and Matt Flynn. Particularly, can Love win games like Flynn was able to do, or handle pressure better than Hundley?

I don't know the answer to either one, but I think the answer to both is yes. Love's had only one career start, and though he didn't handle Kansas City's incessant blitzing very well that day, LaFleur certainly lamented afterward not being able to give him answers to the blitz. I believe Love has more natural talent to play the position, which is why he was drafted in the first round (not the fifth or seventh). The rest remains to be seen.

Dan from Tomah, WI

I find it interesting that people are still thinking Rodgers would be traded to the Raiders, since they are on the 2023 schedule. As much as I would love to see Jaire Alexander and Adams battle for 60 minutes, no way this happens. The thought of Rodgers and Adams torching GB's defense would be a deal breaker. If Rodgers is indeed traded, no way will it be to the Raiders.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I would sincerely question whether Rodgers would want to go to the Raiders. The West Coast and Adams attractions are obvious, but Josh McDaniels' offense is rooted in nothing Rodgers has run. Moreover, if he truly wants to pursue another championship, facing Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert twice a year makes for a tougher road than playing in almost any other division. Winning a division earns home playoff games, and winning the AFC West will be extremely difficult for years to come.

Andrew from Burke, VA

Welcome to the dead zone, where everything is made up and the points don't matter! Can you list off some upcoming key dates to look forward to between now and the draft? I'm curious if there are any planned owners meetings to discuss the season and determine any new adjustments to be made.

The combine starts Feb. 28. Free agency begins March 15 (with the negotiating window opening March 13), and all teams must be in salary cap compliance by then. The owners' meetings are the last week of March, and Wes will be covering those for us, as usual. Offseason workouts begin April 17.

Jason from Blaine, MN

Which players do you see the team approaching to restructure their contracts to keep them on the team, and will those deals most likely be done prior to the draft?

The two at the top of the list are Aaron Jones and David Bakhtiari, and the restructures would most likely occur prior to March 15. News broke this morning some work was done on Jones' deal.

Nathan from Manitowoc, WI

Do the Packers assign a scout to go to the XFL and USFL games or does the pro personnel department do that?

That's the pro scouts' area, and I don't know if they attend the games or just review the film. Could be mostly the latter but leading to the former for those who catch their eye, I suppose.

Ed from Minneapolis, MN

Hi Mike, thanks for going solo with the Inbox. Now that we're in the offseason, can you answer a question regarding "the record books." Are franchises which have switched cities comparing with the original location? Or is each incarnation its own entity? (Baltimore, Chicago, etc.?)

Different situations have been treated differently. I believe the Baltimore Colts' record book went with them to Indianapolis, but the Ravens started fresh when the Browns returned to the league and reclaimed the Cleveland history. I think the Cardinals have combined all their locations (Chicago, St. Louis, Phoenix) into one record book, as have the Rams and Raiders, to my knowledge.

George from Edinburg, VA

Mike, with no horse in the race other than being a lifelong Packer fan, am I the only one who wasn't upset a Man Named Suh didn't get another ring?

He played less than a dozen snaps in the game. I hadn't given it any thought, honestly.

Brad from Denver, CO

Hi Mike, one thing I learned from Vic was a better understanding of the coin-toss options to start the game (e.g. his "kick to the clock" explanations from his Steeler days). For years now, at the end of the first half in any broadcast, the networks automatically state that "XYZ to receive second-half kickoff." Is that choice communicated on the way into the halftime locker room or are the networks making a blanket assumption that no team will refuse the ball when they own the second-half option?

They're making an assumption, but it's a safe one. I've yet to see a team with the second-half option choose direction over the ball.

George from North Mankato, MN

Looks like the Packers will benefit from our ST coach not getting his deserved chance as a HC next year. What's your quick take of the coaching hires thus far?

DeMeco Ryans getting a top job was the no-brainer of no-brainers. I'm not convinced Sean Payton with Russell Wilson is a good match, but we'll see. And I still can't believe somebody hasn't given Eric Bieniemy a shot. That KC offense isn't all Andy Reid's doing, and he's explained as much.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

Do you ever recall a team doing a "do over" so to speak when looking for their franchise QB? For example, the Bears trading Fields and using that first overall pick on one of this year's top QBs? What if they really loved one of them?

The Cardinals drafted Josh Rosen 10th overall in 2018 and then took Kyler Murray at No. 1 the following year.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

Biggest question mark for the Pack other than QB1 has to be safety. Adrian Amos is a free agent and Darnell Savage lost his starting job this year. It never ceases to amaze me how fast things change in the NFL. When we originally put that pair together I thought that was our strongest safety room going back to when Nick Collins was suiting up. Now it seems we're back to the drawing board. Gutey sure has his work cut out this year, I suppose I should say every year.

Nature of the business. But I would actually say the larger question mark is edge rusher, because there's no telling when Rashan Gary will be all the way back, and after Preston Smith, the next-best performer at that spot down the stretch was Justin Hollins, who's a pending free agent. Kingsley Enagbare showed promise as a rookie, but I think the Packers have to re-fortify that position. It's a more difficult spot to fill than safety, in my opinion.

John Breske of Elderon, Wis., was named the 25th member of the Green Bay Packers FAN Hall of Fame on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023.

Tabb from Houston, TX

I think the Jets arguably (or maybe no arguments?) had their best draft class in the last 20 years or so, and got me thinking about best Packers draft classes in that same timeframe. I am biased to Jordy (one of my all-time faves), and so the sans first-round class of 2008 has got to be up there (e.g., Finley, Sitton, Giacomini), but the 2022 draft class could very well overtake that: Quay Walker, Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Kingsley Enagbare, Zach Tom, and if Devonte Wyatt follows a similar trajectory to Gary… Thoughts?

Early indications are the '22 class has a chance to be the Packers' best and deepest overall since probably '14 (Clinton-Dix, Adams, R. Rodgers, Linsley, Janis). But the operative word is chance. The proof will be in the pudding.

Steve from Niagara, WI

As the Packers prepare for the draft, do you think they have seen enough of Zach Tom to know if he is a legitimate starting right or left tackle of the future for them this upcoming season?

I believe the Packers are confident Tom is a starting offensive lineman in this league. I'm just not sure if they've zeroed in on his best position yet.

Rich from De Pere, WI

A (Viking) buddy of mine asked if the 2023 Packers' roster is closer to the 2021 team (13-4) or the 2022 team (8-9). And depending on how the Packers' brass assesses that, will that affect whether they bring Rodgers back or make the move to Love? Help me answer this!

There's way too much unknown about the 2023 roster right now. The Packers have more than a dozen pending unrestricted free agents, a few restricted free agents, contracts to restructure (or not), plus free agency and the draft, before we have a handle on it. What's happening at QB will be determined before much of the rest occurs.

Kathy from Sedro-Woolley, WA

Did either of you have a different career in mind other than the career you now enjoy? You are so knowledgeable and you enlighten folks such as me who love the Packers but have a lot to learn.

When I was a kid I wanted to be the next Bob Uecker, broadcasting baseball games on the radio. As life evolved, I decided I wanted to write about sports and couldn't have been happier as a soon-to-be 23-year-old fresh out of grad school keeping my own stats under the Friday night lights. The hope was always it would lead to bigger and better, which it did, though the current form (online only, daily reader interaction, adding videos and podcasts, etc.) wasn't even a concept back then.

Kenton from Rochester, MN

Hey Spoff, great article on Fabian Moritz, the German genius behind the Packer LEGO highlights. I've always loved and looked forward to those highlights but I just assumed it was done by some high techy commercial studio. I never dreamed it could be the brainchild of a single person – and as a part-time hobby to boot. So thanks for the fascinating, enlightening and inspiring story.

Via Zoom, there was quite the smile on his face when I asked him how many are on his production team. I had no idea.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

Just beat the offseason.

And with that I'm checking out for a bit. Wes takes over tomorrow. Take care and happy Friday.

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