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Inbox: The track record is there

The variables are numerous

Head Coach Matt LaFleur
Head Coach Matt LaFleur

Jeff from Lake Forest, CA

Hi Mike! Welcome back! I decided to take all my PTO when you do and live in blissful ignorance since things only go down when you're gone, and have been deep in spring training the last week in Arizona. Did we miss anything while we were gone?

Yes and no. I guess. Maybe?

Steve from Green Bay, WI

Super wild card weekend was great entertainment this year. While it's not the same, March Madness weekends provide excellent viewing. Throw in some local interest with the state boys basketball tournament, and it was an exceptional weekend in snow-covered Green Bay.

I confess, I didn't do much this weekend but watch hoops, that's for sure. Huge shout out to the De Pere boys team going 30-0 to make state history and take the program's first gold ball in 89 years. Outstanding.

Mark from Vienna, VA

Looks like two big holes on the defensive line need new plugs. I hope that's all we lose from the defense.

Given the Packers' cap situation, and the promise shown by Slaton and Wyatt, I was not surprised to see Reed and Lowry sign elsewhere. The Packers need to keep a steady pipeline of young, rising players in that position group if at all possible.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Welcome back, Michael. If Krys Barnes does not return for the 2023 season as rumored, isn't that an indirect vote of confidence for Isaiah McDuffie and his ascension with the team?


Isaac from Butte, MT

What do you think the Packers should get for Aaron Rodgers if they trade him to the Jets? I'd want a lot for him. It's a business.

I'll stick with what I've said all along. They aren't going to get what the Seahawks got for Wilson (or what the Lions got for Stafford), and they should get more than the third-round pick for Favre 15 years ago. Somewhere in between. Beyond that, I have no idea.

Chad from Germantown Hills, IL

All reporting is saying a Jets trade is just a matter of when not if. What's your opinion on this, and what chance neither team blinks and it doesn't happen?

It's going to happen. Both teams have gone too far to not see this through. As to when, the first pressure point is April 17, when offseason programs start. If the Jets want to give Rodgers a playbook so he can start learning the offense right away, he'll need to be on their team by then. The second pressure point is 10 days later, the first round of the draft. The Packers would prefer to get additional draft capital for this year, rather than have to wait until the 2024 draft for it. But there's no immediate urgency for either side. In fact, both teams' cap situations are better before the trade happens, allowing more freedom to make moves now knowing they can make final adjustments later.

James from De Pere, WI

Welcome back, Miguel! To the best of my knowledge, which could be faulty, why haven't we heard one peep from the NY and national sports intelligentsia on what the Jets have offered for AR12? Obviously their offer didn't overwhelm the Packers' brass. Thank you.

I've never known the Packers to negotiate through the media. So the lack of leaks on what they've been offered is business as usual.

Vic from Livingston, TX

Comparatively speaking, Trevor Lawrence took the controls in Jacksonville with a poor offensive line, an average defense (at best) and a head coach that bombed out in his first year. The Jags are now probably favored to win their division. Jordan Love inherits a team with a solid OL, a very talented defense and a proven coaching staff. We shouldn't expect too much this year, but the possibilities are favorable, no?

Plenty of pieces are in place for the Packers to contend for a playoff spot, but in addition to the usual variables (like health), the Packers will have the biggest variable of all at QB. There's just no telling. I always talk about how teams evolve from September through December. They're different at the end than the beginning of any season. That applies more than ever when your QB should be a much better player later than earlier.

Ben from Sussex, WI

Happy Monday, Mike. While I see many Bears fan pages proclaiming the NFC North is now Justin Fields', I'm curious what you believe opponents fear more coming into Lambeau? Is it attempting to slay the giant that is AR12 or battling the unknown that is JL10? I feel AR12 is more frustrating to battle, knowing no matter how hard you fight, you are most likely to lose. I see JL10 as like entering the battlefield in a quiet fog unaware of what you're about to encounter/may happen to you.

The Rodgers-led Packers had a giant-sized target on their back beginning in Week 1 of 2010, with Rodgers coming off his first playoff appearance and expectations sky-high. That target never really left. Now, as I said, we enter the developing world of the unknown. In 2008, the first two instances Rodgers had the ball down one score with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter, he threw interceptions both times (Week 4 at Tampa Bay, Week 5 vs. Atlanta). You can look it up. Jordan Love won't be defined by his first month, first season or first anything as a starting quarterback, good or bad.

Glenn from Mechanicsville, VA

Brett Favre had Mike Holmgren, Aaron Rodgers had Mike McCarthy. Do you think Matt LaFleur is the right coach for Jordan Love?

We'll find out, but the track record is there. LaFleur helped RGIII win offensive rookie of the year, he helped Matt Ryan win an MVP, and he helped Rodgers turn his career arrow up again and win two more MVPs.

Steve from Phoenix, AZ

Favorite Rodgers throw? Off-balance to Jamaal Williams in the corner of the end zone. That insane wrist flick to a running back who was replaced ostensibly because he's not an accomplished receiver.

We could go on all day, all week or all offseason on best/favorite Rodgers throws, and I'm not making any promises. Your pick of the one in Kansas City from 2019 wouldn't make most folks' top five (including mine), and that's saying something. I also wanted to post it because of your reference to the Lions shockingly moving on from Williams. I concur with all of Wes's comments on that matter. But I digress. To get this out of the way, here are my top three Rodgers throws – third-and-10 to Jennings in the Super Bowl, Cook on the sideline in Dallas, and the Hail Mary to Janis in Arizona. I chose those for their combination of degree of difficulty, game situation, stakes and result.

Kerry from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Now that AR12 is moving on what will his epitaph be for his tenure in Green Bay?

That's a loaded question. I'm not going to try to pen some eloquent tribute that acknowledges his immense talent, impressive accomplishments, and frustrating letdowns, because somebody will inevitably pick it apart just because. But having just listed his three greatest throws, I'll now counter with my three biggest disappointments of his tenure: 1) The game that shan't be mentioned, because that would've given the football world a Rodgers-Brady Super Bowl; 2) His only NFC title game at Lambeau being in an empty stadium; and 3) The blocked punt against San Francisco and subsequent three-and-out, because the Packers were in position to get a home NFC title game with a full stadium.

Steve from Alexandria, VA

On the subject of ownership, my son has argued that the Rodgers era would have seen at least one more Super Bowl title if there were a single owner with the guts to acquire more playmakers on both sides of the ball. Essentially, "go all in" vs. strive to be competitive year in, year out. Do you agree that's been a downside to the existing ownership and management structure (asks a shareholder)?

No. That's a nice sentiment, and it's easy to say "would have" but impossible to prove. Going "all in" guarantees nothing, except having to scale back at some point. The Packers had a first-round playoff bye five times in the Rodgers era and just didn't play their best when it was required. In the postseason, the variables are numerous. It's always a crapshoot. Moreover, the Packers were as close to "all in" as I've ever seen them in 2021, given the plummeting cap.

Trish from Columbus, OH

Welcome back, Mike. Bill Huber's story about the Packers' reset opined (is that a word these days?) that the Packers will field a respectable team "as long as Love isn't terrible," but that filling all the holes via the draft isn't realistic. I would be happy with competitive and entertaining.

I don't think it's ever realistic for a team to fill all its holes via one draft. That's why it's incumbent on young players on the team to grow into larger roles as they mature in this league. Slaton and Wyatt on the D-line, as mentioned. Ford, too. No matter whom the Packers draft at tight end, more will be asked of Deguara and Davis. Stokes at corner will be coming back from a significant injury. There's Toure at receiver, Enagbare at edge rusher, Carpenter at safety. What does Year 2 hold in store for them? Not everyone will rise to his respective challenge, but some will have to, or holes will remain.

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares his favorite photos from the 2022 Green Bay Packers season.

Bruce from Bloomington, IL

What a sense of relief now that the long snapper situation seems to be under control. The rest of the offseason should be a breeze now.

All kidding aside, Gutekunst certainly has shown the continued commitment to special teams after the turnaround year for that phase. Getting back to the comments above, I'm curious which of these primarily special-teams signings (Nixon, Moore, Davis, Ford) do take on larger roles from scrimmage in 2023. Opportunities will be there.

Hank from Centennial, CO

I was disappointed to see some reports that indicated Allen Lazard felt ill-used that the Packers didn't work harder to try to keep him. I don't know if that's true or mere clickbait. If you add up the contracts of GB's former starting WR trio (Adams, Lazard and MVS) it comes to more than $200 million. It seems obvious that no team could afford that, unless you make damaging compromises elsewhere. So why does we like you, but we can't afford you, become you didn't like me after all?

When players hit the market, they quickly learn their value. Their agents have been working hard to discover it. When that value is determined, and a player's original team isn't interested, he can feel the team didn't want him, because it's declining to pay him what he's worth. That's fair. Sometimes, teams are interested in keeping their own players, but not at such-and-such price, and they're in a no-win situation. Either they make a low-ball offer and look bad when that gets out, or just let the player go without an offer, which is respectful in the business sense but impersonal with the human feelings and emotions involved. Frankly, I just ignore it all. It's not worth any of the energy spent on it.

Megan from Noblesville, IN

I love it when players say they would love to play for "X-team" for their whole career. This is the salary cap era and with QBs demanding more and more money, the only way that's happening is if the player really doesn't care about money. Would you agree?

Also fair.

Matt from Pontiac, MI

RIP, Mr. Grant. You were one heck of a coach, and one classy human being, by any standard.

I've heard nothing but wonderful stories about Bud Grant ever since I've been around the NFL. I wish an occasion had arisen to meet him.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

It's all over the internet that Jon Runyan Jr. and Josh Myers got PAID this week! Great for them! Did they take Mike and Wes out for a slice and a root beer? "You know, a little something for the effort"?

Ha, good one. I wish.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

Wait...he will be back even though he said he wouldn't be? Tricky, Mike, tricky.

That was an impostor trying to make Wes fret late last week. Honest. I'm back and ready for whatever the week brings. Happy Monday.

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