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Inbox: The system is still system

Some prospects are just built to succeed at this level

Head Coach Matt LaFleur and QB Jordan Love
Head Coach Matt LaFleur and QB Jordan Love

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

Which rookie are you most excited to see in-person this weekend?

It's always going to be the first-round pick but more for historical context than anything else. Rookie minicamp is largely procedural. It's intended to show the incoming rookies the ropes and hasten the transition into the offseason program. In the meantime, I like to take a second to appreciate how we could be watching the next Jaire Alexander, Aaron Jones, or Christian Watson. So, I'm looking forward to getting a close-up look at Lukas Van Ness and how he looks in that No. 90 jersey.

Tim from Poplar Grove, IL

Hi Mike/Wes, this season may be Matt LaFleur's biggest challenge. So many unknown players and so young! With Aaron Rodgers at QB, I assume our HC altered his offensive scheme to utilize what AR did well. What changes/adjustments would you expect to see now that 2023 is a reboot?

LaFleur and the coaching staff will do the same with Jordan Love under center as they did with Rodgers – tailor the offense to the strengths of the quarterback and the talent around him. There will be things in the offense that work better for Love than they did for Rodgers and vice versa. The point of the offseason program and training camp is to help iron those wrinkles out. But at the end of the day, the system is still the system, and the biggest challenges often reap the greatest rewards.

Donna from Darien, WI

It seemed that the offense became somewhat predictable with Rodgers under center the last few years. Do you agree? And how different do you think it'll look with Jordan Love as the starting quarterback?

I don't know if predictable is the right word, but I am curious to see how much RPO Green Bay uses this season. If a shift happens from Rodgers to Love, that's probably where it'll reveal itself the most.

Kerry from Lakewood Ranch, FL

As the roster stands now, what do you think are the strengths and weakness of the Packers?

I love the upside of this football team but establishing leadership will be critical. There are only three guys older than 30 years old on the roster right now.

Steve from Kansas City, MO

Having seen both Randall Cobb and Jayden Reed play, I'm getting excited for our slot passing game this year. Very similar, but it seems Reed is a step quicker. Am I just seeing what I want to see, or is this a good comparison?

From a size and athletic standpoint, they are similar. Reed's 4.45 40 was a tenth of a second faster than Cobb at the NFL Scouting Combine. They had the same vertical (33½), with Reed edging Cobb in the broad jump (10-1 to 9-7), 10-yard split (1.57 to 1.6) and short shuttle (4.29 to 4.34). Cobb nipped him in the bench (16 to 13) and overall college production.

Jim from Dorr, MI

When looking at the stats of a college kicker, could there be an effect from the entire kick team on the accuracy? Quality of the snap, hold, and blocks could have a hidden effect.

That could be part of it. Brian Gutekunst also mentioned how the Packers look at the entire scope of a college player's career and not his final collegiate season. That's what happened with Anders Carlson, Dontayvion Wicks, Lew Nichols and even the two tight ends. The Packers won't be victims of recency bias and are instead betting on the long-term potential of the prospect.

Tim from Clear Lake (near Grafton), IA

I am still hoping we re-sign Marcedes Lewis. Am I fooling myself? Is there any hope left, after we drafted two tight ends? I want him not only for his blocking, but what better guy to teach the youngsters?

The Packers aren't closing the door on any of their three remaining free agents. I would love nothing more than for Lewis to return for an 18th NFL season and pass down some of his knowledge to the two rookies, but the NFL landscape is everchanging.

Jeff from Victorville, CA

With the schedule release just a week away and unfortunately the schedule makers enjoying divisional matchups Week 1, I would assume the Packers will play at home (about time) Sunday afternoon/evening against the Bears. It makes complete sense. Love/Fields in a new Packers/Bears rivalry.

I couldn't care less whom the Packers play in Week 1, but for the love of Vince, please let the Packers play Week 1 at Lambeau Field. First, the Packers have not opened the season at home in five years. But more importantly, the first chapter of the Jordan Love era should be written at Lambeau.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. Rounds 3 and 4 of this year's draft could be labeled the "cheese selections" here in America's Dairyland with a Kraft and a Colby. Does a fourth-round pick have enough clout to get a custom-made cheesehead hat? The good Packers fans in Colby, Wis., should at least have a new favorite son.

If you play for the Packers, clout is already baked into the cake. It doesn't matter if you're a first-round pick, Mr. Irrelevant, or an undrafted free agent. If you wear the "G," they will cheer. But yes, having a cheese-related name also doesn't hurt.

Dan from Rothschild, WI

Why is there concern about what Jordan Love's contract is? Basically, he is a "rookie" and a first-rounder. The Packers say they don't want to pay too much until they see what they've got. But other rookies are paid big contracts before they see the field. I fail to see the difference.

Mike was Spoff-on with his take on the Love extension. I wanna add that this is not new for the Packers. They previously have worked two-year contracts with pending restricted free agents to get the player more money upfront and give the Packers long-term flexibility. While it wasn't related to the fifth-year option, they signed both Lucas Patrick and Lane Taylor to "two-year" contracts to avoid restricted free agency.

Joe from Ormond Beach, FL

I believe the most important piece of the contract for Love is being overlooked. The confidence he has in himself to forgo the fifth-year guaranteed money. Thoughts?

It's a move in good faith by both parties. The Packers are taking a chance on Love and firmly stepping into the future with No. 10 at QB. From Love's perspective, this two-year pact puts more money in his pocket today while also affording Green Bay some flexibility. Make no mistake – if Love performs, he'll get what's coming to him.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

What I would like to see this year is a team that is led by a very good defense which regularly keeps them in games. Offensively, a group that continues to improve each week, looking very capable by season's end. Reasonable expectations?

Definitely. Growth will be the ultimate measurement of this football team. I want to see the arrow pointing up regardless of what the record says in Week 18. Detroit is a great example of the power of finishing strong. The Lions went 3-14 and 9-8 in back-to-back seasons but went into the offseason feeling good about their progress.

Nick from Maple Grove, MN

I know we haven't seen a lot of Love, and I know LaFleur said to temper expectations, but he gave this team a spark in the Philadelphia game, and I can't help but think we're going to outperform the national consensus this year. Is there any merit to that in your opinion?

To me, it's not even the expectations. It's just readying for what it means for the Packers to have a young starting quarterback again. We watched one of the greatest to ever play the position for the past 15 years. You can't expect Love overnight to master the position the way Rodgers did. Celebrate the victories but always remember this will be a process.

Greg from Conway, SC

Hey guys, great work! Hope you can get some catch-up rest. However, no rest for the weary: What do y'all know about the 12 UDFA rookies? Thanks much.

They made a smart decision signing with the Packers. If you look at the 12 players coming to Green Bay, they'll all play positions of potential need. Benny Sapp and Christian Morgan will be competing at a wide-open safety position, while Chuck Filiaga and Kadeem Telfort are the only offensive linemen the Packers added last weekend. Other than Brenton Cox, the name that caught my eye was App State's Henry Pearson. The Packers haven't carried a fullback on the active roster since Matt LaFleur's first season as head coach. Pearson is a natural pass-catcher (74 receptions for 897 and 11 touchdowns).

Dustin from Kansas City, MO

I just read they are doing a "30 for 30" documentary on Reggie White. I'll definitely be giving that a watch when it comes out. I really enjoy watching these documentaries on various athletes and getting a glimpse of what makes them who they are. Is there any athlete in particular you'd like to see a documentary on? Maybe someone you've met along the way, and you think they have an amazing life story to tell the world? Or just someone you want to learn more about?

White is a great pick. It's been almost 20 years since his passing and there really hasn't been much written about him since then. I think a Curly Lambeau "30 for 30" would make for compelling content IF they allowed Cliff's involvement. Also, this may be a little too "Inside Baseball" for some but I'd love to watch a "30 for 30" on the origins of the fire-zone defense and how the scheme has evolved over the decades. I don't think Dom Capers and Vic Fangio get enough credit for how their teachings have impacted the game we watch today.

Josh from Melbourne, Australia

This time of year, there's lots of rookies coming on deck with lots of different backgrounds, nuances, and experiences. Is there something particularly memorable, peculiar, or amusing you've seen or heard of a rookie doing their first week in the building?

Nothing too humorous is springing to mind, but I have two most memorable moments - Taysom Hill texting me that he finished his lunch and can talk for an interview. I still have that text message saved in my phone. The other is my first time seeing Yosh Nijman in 2019. I didn't know a darn thing about the young man's career at Virginia Tech, but some prospects are just built to succeed at this level. It took a couple years, but Nijman is certainly one of them.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

Was the QB pick as puzzling to you as it was to me and so many others?

I don't presume to know everything about college quarterbacks after watching them play Wisconsin a handful of times. It's the fifth round. You're drafting traits at that point and a team's belief in a player trumps the opinion of the peanut gallery.

Robert from Verona, WI

With the youth movement on full display, it seems the Packers will have ample opportunity to continue building the roster through the draft in 2024. Assuming one pick in every round gives the Packers seven selections. Add in an additional pick from the Aaron Rodgers trade and we're up to eight selections. They could possibly add three more compensatory picks for the departures of Allen Lazard, Dean Lowry, and Jarran Reed, right? So, the Packers could be looking at 11 picks in 2024? Is this an accurate outlook for next year?

Correct. That's the 11 picks Gutekunst was alluding to after the draft (now that we finally got the void years thing figured out). The unrestricted free agency window closed on Monday, so Cobb, Adrian Amos, Mason Crosby and Lewis no longer count towards the compensatory equation. Neither will any veteran free agent Green Bay signs with an expiring 2022 contract. According to Over the Cap's compensatory cancellation chart, Lazard would get Green Bay the top compensatory pick in the fifth round next year. David Onyemata's $11.67 million APY with New Orleans slightly edged Lazard's $11 million with New York.

Bob from Corpus Christi, TX

Now that the draft is done, can the Packers still trade to get additional players to fill spots?

They could, but it would require future draft assets…which Gutekunst isn't overly keen on moving. I think a budget signing in May or June (e.g. De'Vondre Campbell in 2021, Dennis Kelly in 2021 and Lewis in 2018) is far more likely.

Dwight from Brooklyn, NY

So, with the signing of Cobb, when do we start calling them the New York Packers?

They sure are giving the Vikings a run for their money.

Dan from Waupun, WI

Why does sports radio need to keep talking about AR12? I'm sick of it! I feel your pain. What legal drug does your doctor prescribe for us fans? WHY? BECAUSE I NEED SOME! Rant over. Can you tell work is not going good?

I'm sorry to hear that, Dan. Maybe try turning the dial on the radio or throwing on some Gordon Lightfoot?

James from Appleton, WI

Between the cost and the timing of when other teams make their cuts, there's a good chance the Packers don't add a veteran receiver. Might as well roll the dice with what we have. In for a calf, in for a cow, doncha know?

I was unfamiliar with that phrase until today. But yes, I think the Packers may be better off rolling with the young guys than bringing in a veteran who sat on the sidelines of free agency. Samori Toure, Bo Melton and the three incoming rookies could use all the summertime reps they can get.

Sharon from Oak Creek, WI

Asking for a friend, do you have any insight on what round your social media intern might be drafted by the Packers? Thanks Wes and Mike.

I missed this last week, but Kelsey Tehan is a first-round pick in every sense of the phrasing. She's been a wonderful addition to our department this past year. We're lucky to have her. Have a great Thursday.

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