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Inbox: The volume to process mentally on the fly is extensive

Development will happen organically

WR Romeo Doubs
WR Romeo Doubs

Rex from Chetek, WI

"I got a question posted in the Insider Inbox!" "In the Inbox? What is it?" "It's an online forum for Packers fans, but that's not important now."

Now we're rolling.

Gary from Hope Mills, NC

Good morning! When asked about tailgating, Mike said he couldn't make it through the marathon of work if he started with a beer or something to that effect. That may be true, but I'm sure everyone would forgive him for his mistakes just to get a chance to see what he wrote after starting with a six-pack or more. It might not be accurate but I bet it would be interesting. I bet the in-game chat would have a record number of people online that particular day.

At least I'd go out in a blaze of glory, eh?

Kenton from Rochester, MN

Mike, I liked how you responded to Kent from Lewiston ID that players' internal motivation is based primarily on money and opportunity. I think we fans sometimes have an overly romantic view of what actually drives most professional athletes. During my 35 working years, my career choices were mostly driven by how much I was making followed by what the prospects were for making more. Why would athletes be any different?

Most are geared even more forcefully in that direction because their earning window as professional athletes is open only so long.

Greg from Perkasie, PA

Mike said, "If an opponent is not on the schedule at all, nobody is wasting their time on it." Do you think that is still true for perennial playoff teams of the same conference who might not be scheduled to play each other in the regular season? I'd bet the Chiefs, Bills, and Bengals would all be keeping tabs on each other even if they weren't scheduled to face off in the regular season.

Not in terms of studying film specifically on them. They'd see those teams plenty on film against other teams they're preparing to play. But as far as building scouting reports and game plans, they aren't going there unless a playoff matchup is in the cards.

Jim from Franklin, WI

Caleb from Knoxville asked about the team strength nobody is talking about, and Mike mentioned the kicking game. Agree totally. However, I really think the offensive line being top five in the league again could be huge. It was absolutely musical chairs across that line last year. Right up to an hour before start times of games a player wouldn't be able to go after an entire week of prep! Injuries happen but last year for the Packers at O-line was comical. Stability at O-line will be great.

I couldn't agree more. But earlier in the week I had provided a rather lengthy answer on that specific topic, and all offseason we've been discussing the experienced depth of the unit. So since the question referenced something "nobody is talking about," that didn't feel like an appropriate answer.

Bob from Pocatello, ID

Hi Mike, when you (and others in the know) talk about a player's combine or pro day bench-press reps, is there a formula that determines the weight that a player needs to bench press? Thanks again for your "even" approach to II.

Bench reps are at 225 pounds, regardless of player/position.

Tom from Newville, PA

When last-possession close games become the norm, the norm becomes mundane. It leaves a cheap and plastic feeling. Free agency sucks worse than a day-old bratwurst with 2-day-old sauerkraut. Give me dynasties again. Give me rivalries between teams that have longtime players with history between them. Packers vs. Bears was way more intense and awesome when the players had longtime careers for each team. It felt like they were Packers and Bears. Now, it's just here today gone tomorrow.

I get where you're coming from. But you're the type of old-school fan the NFL knows it has and won't lose, and fans like you don't drive the TV ratings through the roof. The casual fans do, and week after week of down-to-the-wire games in a parity-filled league is what keeps them watching.

Hank from Centennial, CO

At least one higher draft choice has failed in recent years, partly, it has been intimated, because he couldn't learn the playbook well enough. Are modern playbooks becoming needlessly complex? Seems to me three or four wasted plays because of mental mistakes could turn a win into a loss. Or is the idea of running a smaller list of plays, and learning them perfectly and running them flawlessly, a hopelessly quaint notion in the modern NFL?

The latter. Teams spend countless hours prepping to take away, or limit, what opponents do best, and schematically there's always a way thanks to sub-packages and hybrid/position-less players, depending on how much a team wants to sacrifice or make themselves vulnerable elsewhere. It's how the game is played these days. Regarding "learning the playbook," I've gathered the toughest part for young offensive players isn't learning the plays themselves, but all the checks and adjustments that can take place at the line of scrimmage, as well as the options built into the play post-snap (receiver routes, for example). The volume to process mentally on the fly is extensive, and the only way to get it down is to play and get the reps. All the studying on paper/tablet only gets a player so far.

Mike from McFarland, WI

With so many question marks on the offensive side of the ball, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon aren't one of them, do you believe because of this the Packers' offense will be run-dominant as it was the last few games of last season? Or will they push Jordan Love to throw more to quicken the process of getting used to being a starting quarterback?

LaFleur is going to seek the balance that will make the offense most effective so it can help win games. He's not going to call plays because he "needs Love to develop faster." Development will happen organically with good game plans, a strong supporting cast, and a focus on efficiency.

Rick from Branson, MO

Hi Mike. Really enjoy the Inbox and thanks to everyone who contributes. Excited for the Love era to begin. I'm not too concerned about wins and losses this year. I want to see moments from Love that make me go wow! Moments of brilliance from him. I saw it with Favre and Rodgers. Curious how you think and what you're looking for from him this year. Thanks!

I'll mainly be watching for two things. First, how comfortable he looks running the offense, and within that, how he uses elements built into the offense (jet motion, play-action) to help himself. Second, how he performs in crunch time.

Paul from Gorham, ME

Good morning! Is there a player from another team you wish you had seen in person, but did not get the chance while covering GB (schedules didn't bring it together)? Is there a current player you would like to "not miss"?

I have yet to see Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes (except in preseason) in person. Jackson hasn't played the Packers yet. Our digital team wasn't traveling in 2021 when the Packers played at KC, and Mahomes was injured for the road trip to Arrowhead in '19. So I'm really looking forward to the Chiefs game this season and the Ravens game in '25.

Steve from Toronto, Canada

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers unveiling their resurrected "creamsicle" unis this week, it got me thinking about other uniforms that have been discontinued. The original Jaguars uniforms were great IMO, but one set I would really love to see return would be the Dolphins uniforms that they wore in the '90s-'00s. If you could bring back one uniform, which would it be?

I'd love to see Houston (or Tennessee), at least once somewhere along the line, wear the old powder blue Oilers uniforms, with the oil derrick on the white helmet and everything. Next for me would be the old Falcons duds, with the red (or white) jersey and red helmet.

Dave from Germantown, TN

I just looked at an SI article about the Packers' schedule. While the games aren't won or lost based on power ratings, it appears to me the Packers have a schedule that could yield positive surprises. Only five teams on the schedule are ranked in the top half of the league. Let's hope the Packers have the talent to take advantage of a potentially favorable schedule.

Well, everyone had similar thoughts last year with the "mediocre" NFC East on the slate and that turned out to be the best division in the league with three playoff teams, including the eventual NFC champs. So yeah, the NFC South is the division everyone's frowning on this year, and as a third-place team the Packers got three third-place opponents as well. But one of those (Giants) was a playoff team and the other two (Rams, Steelers) are coached by Super Bowl winners and may not be down for much longer. It's not whom you play, it's when you play 'em.

Tom from Two Rivers, WI

Hi Mike, I hope you enjoyed your time off. Since it's dread zone season, I thought I'd ask a Brewers question. Are you frustrated with the team these last few seasons as we see pretty good to very good pitching, while game after game, we march out 4-5 "hitters" with averages between .200 and .220? I understand the game has changed, but the all or nothing approach at the plate for our Brewers is really difficult to watch at times. How do you feel about it?

It drives me nuts. I despise the focus on home runs determining a player's offensive value. Building a lineup with a bunch of .200-hitting sluggers and then lamenting all the stranded baserunners when nobody can get a clutch hit is like, well, duh.

Roger from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, Mike. I've run out of questions for this dead zone. Just waiting for it to end. The good news is that training camp is less than two weeks away. Then we can start asking some "real" questions. Are you as anxious as me?

To the extent everyone's questions are going to be asking us to make definitive judgments on starting lineups and roster decisions based on the first few non-padded practices, not really. But it's part of the deal.

Dave from Shawano, WI

Insiders, we are all playing checkers while Spoff's playing 3D chess. I choose to believe he let Shirley pass knowing someone would comment and he could use an even better paraphrase from the movie. Well played, sir!

Have a good weekend, everybody.

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