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Inbox: There always seems to be someone who emerges

After that it’s splitting hairs

WR Malik Heath
WR Malik Heath

Evan from Middleton, WI

Consider this an official request to sample local Brazilian beers and report back to us on your favorites. Since the request came from a fan for II, time spent at the bar can count as "work" for you, right?

I'll run that by the boss.

Bill from Olathe, KS

Will the Packers game in Brazil be the inaugural first game of the 2024 season or will there be one on Thursday night?

Thursday night will kick off the season, presumably at Arrowhead Stadium in KC. Brazil will be the season's second game.

Randy from Grand Jct., CO

Mike/Wes, I was wondering why just Browns or Packers to Brazil; why not Steelers, Cowboys, or Panthers, they are on the schedule?

I'm guessing the Eagles got to protect a game or two from being moved out of Philly. I would think the Steelers and Cowboys games would've been their priorities.

Keith from Dodgeville, WI

Guys, for those of us not lucky enough to be able to see the Packers play in Brazil is the game carried on radio?

As far as I know. I'd anticipate the Packers and Eagles having their own radio broadcasts, plus a national option on Westwood One.

Tobias from Front Royal, VA

Hi, do you think there's any chance the Packers wear their blue-and-gold throwback uniforms to Brazil? A little nod back to our history while complying with the rules against green?

The ship has sailed on those throwbacks. The Packers' current one is the 50s Classic with the gold and Kelly green, and I don't anticipate those being worn in Brazil.

Neil from Crystal, MN

I understand the NFL's desire to capitalize on the Brazil following, and for journalists to visit new locations. I just hope this trip doesn't have the effect on the season that the last overseas trip did. Beside the QB injury, it seemed like it took a lot out of the team.

I think the QB injury took a lot out of the team.

Jim from De Pere, WI

Greetings Mike and Wes, I appreciate all that you do for II and Packers fans. In this year's work on the Prospect Primers, do you have a personal favorite that you are hoping the Packers draft?

There are a few who have jumped out at me as good fits, but then every time I start to really picture a guy as the Packers' first-round pick, I keep hearing he's rising up boards and won't be around at 25. So I don't know. Two years ago, I was really high on Devonte Wyatt and Christian Watson, and the Packers got both of them, so that probably burned up my quota for a while.

Jason from Austin, TX

Y'all have been doing Prospect Primers for a long time now. Have you ever done a Primer on a player that wasn't drafted, but later ended up being traded to or signed with the Packers? That might be fun to look back at what the Primer said about that player.

I don't have access to the complete files/videos/etc., but I found a bunch of old notes from 2014 through 2018, when we did a lot more Primers annually, and I came across quite the list of Primers who eventually became Packers: Rasul Douglas, Allen Lazard, Bronson Kaufusi, Tyler Ervin, Jarran Reed, Devin Funchess, Za'Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Sammy Watkins, and Christian Kirksey.

Benjamin from Bear, DE

Good morning, gentlemen. Simple question. What one thing are the Packers looking for Jordan Love to improve on going into the 2024 season? And if Love does improve on what's now an unknown skill, how will that relate to wins and losses? I guess the question wasn't so simple.

Actually it is. I've said countless times this offseason, Love's biggest area of improvement is crunch-time performance, which relates directly to the win column. He was wildly up and down in that area all of last season, to the end.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

I just read a stat that said Jordan Love's 35% completion percentage outside the pocket was last among qualified quarterbacks. Do you have the split on how it broke down between the season's halves? Do you know if that is an area of emphasis for improvement?

I don't know where that stat came from, but the dart he threw on the run to Jayden Reed for a TD in the loss to the Buccaneers gives me no qualms about his out-of-pocket ability.

Curt from Locust Grove, GA

I recently read an article that someone within the organization believes Zach Tom is a Pro Bowl right tackle, All-Pro guard, and a Hall of Fame center. Obviously all are good problems to have, but what position would you rather have filled? Hall of Fame center, Pro Bowl tackle, or All-Pro guard?

I think that depends on the other pieces to the offensive line at the team's disposal, meaning, what makes for the best overall unit? When Gutekunst answered a question about Tom at the combine, he sounded a bit reluctant to move him. But I could see the thought process changing, depending on what happens in the draft. As always, stay tuned.

Terry from Kolberg, WI

Just thinking, at one time when things were not going so well for the Packers they were set to have the sixth selection in this year's NFL Draft. Not saying I wanted the season to play out that way, but what fun it would be to be speculating on who we would take with that pick? We would probably have our choice of any OT we would want or one of the top three WRs. Just dreaming.

The last time the Packers owned a top 10 pick was 15 years ago. I'm just fine going another 15.

Gary from North Las Vegas, NV

Brett Favre had Reggie White, Aaron Rodgers had Charles Woodson, these were some of the best veteran defensive leaders a team could have. Who is going to be that veteran defensive leader for Jordan Love?

I think this team has several defensive leaders, which is natural when there's no future Hall of Famer in the locker room like White or Woodson. Kenny Clark, Preston Smith and Rashan Gary are all veterans who lead in their own way. In time I could see Quay Walker and Keisean Nixon growing into bigger leadership roles as well, and Xavier McKinney was a team captain with the Giants. There may not be "the guy" on defense, but there's no shortage of leadership.

Jack from Chicago, IL

The II has discussed the slot CB position quite a bit with the discussion largely focused around Nixon as the nickel with Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, and Carrington Valentine on the outside. I was wondering if you see Corey Ballentine as someone who could cross-train to play both spots? I don't know how well his skills or size fit the position but I was watching highlights and saw him make some sound tackles. What do you think?

I wouldn't rule it out, but boundary corner has been his primary spot on defense. It'll be worth watching during OTAs if he takes any snaps inside.

Dan from Columbus, OH

The WR hype seems to be off the trains again. There will probably be three WRs drafted in the top 10 this year, and while the Chiefs probably wouldn't say no to a top WR they just won't back-to-back Super Bowls after trading arguably the best WR in the entire NFL (yeah, Patrick Mahomes, I know). Do you think too high of a premium is being placed on WRs?

If you think the guy is the next Jerry Rice, then go for it, but with a top 10 pick I'd be strongly inclined to look elsewhere. Of the 25 receivers drafted in the top 10 over the past 20 years, I'd say only Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones and Mike Evans lived up to that draft status, with the jury still out on Ja'Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle and Garrett Wilson. There are some awfully disappointing names among the other 18.

Mike from Geneva, IL

LaDainian Tomlinson made a suggestion recently that while with the Chargers their offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, intentionally threw a playoff game in order to get the head coaching job with the Dolphins. While I think the assertion is unlikely correct, the way that game played out and the carries he received with a second-half and fourth-quarter lead don't make sense. Do you think the NFL needs to reconsider the hiring window for head coaching jobs until after the Super Bowl?

No, that'll never happen anyway, and the suggestion is absurd. Throwing a playoff game? C'mon, man. I think LT might need a refresher on the second half of that contest (vs. the Patriots in Jan. 2007), which was a one-score margin throughout. When I looked up the play-by-play, it didn't take long to find the Chargers muffed a punt that led to a Patriots field goal, threw an interception (on a pass intended for LT) in New England territory, and had their own defender fumble the ball back to the Patriots after intercepting Brady. I would submit those three plays had a greater effect on the outcome than LT only getting nine touches in the second half.

Mark from Madison, WI

When the Packers set their 90-man roster do they have the same number of players at each position every year or does it change every season, like four QBs, 10 CBs, etc.?

There are no set numbers. There are minimums they prefer to have in order to get through practices without overworking anybody, but beyond that, no specific annual targets.

The Packers Tailgate Tour kicked off the final day of the trip with a visit to the 115th Fighter Wing to meet with military personnel. The tour visited with employees at the Village Hearth and surprised athletes at the Special Olympics Games with a $250,000 impact grant before heading back to Green Bay.

Bob from Emmaus, PA

With the wealth of talent on the team and potential draft choices is this the year that an undrafted free agent will not make the Packers' roster? When was the last time this happened?

Wes keeps detailed track of this, and he tells me the last time the Packers didn't have an undrafted rookie on the roster for Week 1 was 2004. There always seems to be someone who emerges, and the larger practice squads make it easier to hang onto a draft pick who might not be ready yet.

Bill from Clive, IA

I enjoyed reading in the Tailgate Tour blog Mike Daniels' comments about both social media and the value of earned wisdom. For a guy who is often described as quite a character and a bit of a cut-up, he sure seems to have a good grip on reality. And I'll bet he still can engage the youth in the audience. Favorite Daniels story?

Not so much a story but one of his favorite expressions. It's not fit for print but I'll just say it involved something in his Cheerios.

Jeff from Wauwatosa, WI

Hi II, isn't this the time of year when all the Packers' scouts come to Green Bay to watch film of prospects and debate back and forth? How I would love to pull up a chair in that room.

The final pre-draft meetings are taking place now, yes, making the final adjustments to the board before next Thursday.

ML from Jamestown, PA

I've noticed that NFL team websites are very similar in appearance. During the in-game blogs this past season, comments would lead me to believe that the platform used for the blog was controlled and/or provided by the NFL. How much freedom do the individual teams have to produce content on their sites? How much control does the NFL exert on the individual teams' media departments?

The NFL controls the platform(s), but not the content.

Darryle from Lubbock, TX

Regarding the difficulty of the QB position, it's simply unmatched in team sports. To the quick decision-making, to making the correct throw. The wins and losses come down to them, it is the single most important position in all team sports. Do you think having the correct coach(es) and play-calling dictates a QB's success to a degree?

Coaching, and how the offense is built to accentuate the strengths of the QB, are way more important than the actual play-calling during a game, in my opinion.

Jeremy from West Allis, WI

After the top tier (QB, T, EDGE, CB), which would you say are the next four when listing premium positions? The criteria being a subjective combination of salary, draft priority, impact on the game, and anything else you prefer. Mine would be WR, DL, G, LB.

DL would be next for me, by a wide margin. After that it's splitting hairs.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Mike, I just read an article that listed the most famous person from each of Wisconsin's 72 counties. The people weren't necessarily born in those counties, though. When I scrolled down to Grant County I hoped to see your name but it was John Fiedler. Are you ever going to be more famous than "Piglet"?

Not a chance, and Paul Chryst is way more famous than I am anyway. But I had no idea the voice of Piglet was born in Platteville. Neat. Apparently he lived there only as a very young child.

Dan from Minneapolis, MN

The NFL has announced that teams can have three different helmet configurations for the 2025 season. I believe the current throwback uniform, in which the Packers simply remove the logo and stripe from their normal configuration, will count as their second helmet. (I believe they could wear a helmet of any color with their throwbacks and still be within the current two-helmet rule). What do you foresee as a third option for 2025?

Only The Shadow knows.

Mark from Westminster, CO

After intense study, I've come out with my 1,265th mock draft, my final one. I'm pretty sure I nailed it, though, so I expect to be on all the national sports shows while getting a kajillion clicks for my picks. I can't wait to share it with you after the draft.

Is a kajillion more than a Brazilian? I'm out. Happy Monday.

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