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Inbox: These are the stories we pass down from generation to generation

December is when the temps are the lowest and the stakes are the highest

Former Packers WR Jordy Nelson
Former Packers WR Jordy Nelson

Steve from Bradenton, FL

Sorry, some Inbox math. Yesterday you answered 25 submissions and five were from Florida. That's 20% of all comments posted. Apparently, a lot of snowbirds from Wisconsin. I thought y'all loved your Wisconsin winters. Guess deep sea fishing beats ice fishing any day. Getting way too crowded in the Sunshine State. But at least many are Packer fans.

I feel like this submission is the Punxsutawney Phil of Inbox, telling us we are in for a long Inbox offseason. Good morning!

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

It may be offseason for the Packers, but the Inbox is in midseason form. Yesterday's submissions were cooking, finished off by "Ford, Nixon and Agnew." Brilliant!

I get it's not verbatim like the rest, but how are people not throwing "LBJ/OBJ" references out left and right? That's all I heard for two years. It's right there. Now you abandon it?

Pat from Kennesaw, GA

I see more talk about the NFC/AFC Championship games moving to a neutral site. I'm not a fan. With that, the only advantage of getting the No. 1 seed is a bye week. I would really think owners would veto that, if they have a vote, so they potentially have a home championship game and help their communities with the revenue. What do you think of that scenario?

I would not be a fan of it. We've already taken away one advantage with the elimination of a first-round bye for the No. 2 seed in each conference. Now, if a No. 2 seed is the top remaining seed, you're telling me that team doesn't even get to host an NFC/AFC title game? And we haven't even talked about the millions in revenue small-market communities such as Green Bay, Buffalo and Cincinnati would lose. To quote Mike Spofford, "Oh Come Aw-nahhhhhh."

Alex from Duluth, MN

Looking back on the 2022 season, I think the importance of Aaron Rodgers's thumb injury can't be overstated. Do you think the effect on his grip/accuracy or the lost practice reps with the new receivers played a bigger role in the final outcome this year?

Probably, but that's football. Kansas City and Jacksonville wound up being much closer than I thought last weekend. How much of that had to do with Patrick Mahomes' ankle injury? Or the Cowboys losing Tony Pollard? The Lombardi Trophy doesn't go to the best team on paper in September. The title of Super Bowl champion is awarded to the best team left standing in February.

Al from Green Bay, WI

OK Wes, performance review time for the 2022 Packers: Which players (besides Keisean Nixon) exceeded expectations? Which players had a disappointing season, and are looking to bounce back next season?

It was a disappointing season for Green Bay as a whole. So, it doesn't seem quite fair just to point out a few individual players, though I enjoyed Spoff's honest interview with Kenny Clark and the story that followed. Conversely, there weren't many who exceeded expectations, either. Jon Runyan became a consistent staple at right guard, Yosh Nijman held the fort at left tackle early on and Romeo Doubs played a significant role during the first half of the year.

Bob from Fredericksburg, VA

Good morning, guys, thanks for all you do. During the summer, Aaron Rodgers was very convincing when he was saying that he hoped to retire as a Packer. Now he seems on the fence maybe even leaning towards leaving. Do you think that the high expectations going into the season and the way this year played out has anything to do with his change of heart?

I wouldn't call it a change of heart. It's more acknowledging the uncertainty of the NFL. Rodgers touched on this Tuesday with Pat McAfee, adding that he'd still love to finish his NFL career with the Packers – and it's possible he might already have. But again, everything is conjecture until Rodgers makes his decision on whether to play again in 2023. The Packers will have a plan.

TK from Grafton, WI

Just because a guy is a hotshot coordinator doesn't mean he'll be a great head coach. The job has a lot of "non-football" responsibilities.

It's funny you mention that because I, too, was thinking about that this week. There's no proven method for hiring the right head coach, so we build all these qualifiers and prerequisites to thin the herd such as, "Their offense was good," "Their defense is innovative," or "Oh, he used to play there." At the end of the day, you're hiring the person as much as you're hiring the coach. Matt LaFleur and Mike McCarthy came from differing backgrounds but were great fits with the Packers. I also think of Nick Sirianni, who has been perfect for Philadelphia. Sometimes past is prologue, but there are exceptions to every rule.

David from Goldsboro, NC

How much time do the coaches get off now that the season is over? Is that regulated by each organization or does the NFL have rules in place, so no coach or organization gets an advantage?

There are no "official" rules on coaches. Most staffs will take a few weeks off once their season is over and then reconvene to review the season and begin building their preliminary plans for the upcoming season.

Casey from Madison, WI

Hello Insiders, in your opinion, what is the best month of the football season to be out in the elements watching a Packers game at Lambeau Field and why?

December. Historically, that's when the temps are the lowest and the stakes are the highest. It's my favorite month of the year for football.

Ken from Sunrise, FL

In regards to Ben from Pensacola, FL, on his opinion on Ja'Marr Chase's TD. You commented "Also my thought at the time. It was a heck of a play by Milano, and Chase was still trying to secure the ball after he was out of bounds." Listening to Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller on "Moving the Chains" on NFL Network, two people who REALLY know what they are talking about, both agreed the TD was made and Chase lost control of the ball after he was out of bounds. Should have been called a TD.

I can see both sides of the argument. Why I favor it being a catch is because I think anyone watching in real time would say that's a catch…even if you reviewed it at full speed once or twice. All the questions start once you turn on slow motion and replay it 50 times from 12 different angles.

Brian from Columbia, MO

I'm already tired of seeing the words "mock draft"...

You're two steps ahead of me, Brian. I'm still stuck on the words "flag football."

Eric from Springfield, VA

Do you think fans only have a memory of NFL history to the early 1990s or so? Or to just to when they started watching? I wonder how many don't know, or care to know, the history of the '70s, the rule change which launched the passing game, the stars of the '60s, what teams were even in the league in the '50s, etc. It's easy to forget how certain playoff games ended by one play, shooting another team to victory. I guess it only matters who wins, but there is so much more.

That's why I enjoy every conversation I have about Packers history with Cliff, Larry and Pete Dougherty. Because those guys lived it. I wasn't here when Larry, Lynn Dickey, or John Brockington played for the Packers. Just like how my son wasn't alive when LeRoy Butler and Reggie White brought a Super Bowl back to Titletown. These are the stories we pass down from generation to generation. And credit to Cliff, his lifework is making sure those stories are accurate.

Lee from Sullivan, IN

I saw where Rich Bisaccia interviewed for the Colts HC job. But I also see where the Saints have to grant permission for Sean Payton to interview. Are head coaches the only ones under team control like that? Or is it due to Payton being retired with contract left?

When Sean Payton "retired," his contract tolled with the Saints. So, he'd have to be either let out of that deal or traded to coach elsewhere. Any NFL coordinator or assistant can interview for an NFL head-coaching position without needing their team's approval.

Jason from Austin, TX

Runners being pushed forward by linemen will end once the defense starts doing it in return. Stack the linebackers behind the linemen and have them push their way through. The offense will push, the defense will push, and the NFL will become a multibillion-dollar tug-of-war game! (Push-of-war?)

Until someone on defense gets called for unnecessary roughness. I don't know if you guys caught it but there was a play during the Dallas-San Francisco game where the whistle blew, and the tackler finished the play. It was legal, nothing nefarious at all, but I immediately thought to myself, "Rasul Douglas would've gotten 15 yards for that, I bet."

Shane from Saxon, WI

Good morning, Mike mentioned the 49ers' defense and "dynamic offensive weapons." Would the Niners be playing this weekend without the Christian McCaffrey trade?

Oh, that's an excellent question. Perhaps not. I am high on Elijah Mitchell, but McCaffrey is the perfect playmaker for Kyle Shanahan's offense. Beyond just the numbers, McCaffrey provides so much eye candy that can help free George Kittle and Deebo Samuel. I mean, how many times last Sunday was Kittle just throwing his hand in the air for the ball when left open?

Dennis from Appleton, WI

The 49ers' 2023 depth chart at quarterback is interesting to speculate. Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance, Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson are all on the current roster. Jimmy G. may finally be traded as I don't see them moving Lance or Purdy. If they can keep all three happy, they probably can afford to retain the veteran as well as the other two still under their rookie contracts. What do you think?

Jimmy G. redid his contract before the regular season, so he'll be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and I don't think it's any secret Garoppolo will be wearing a different uniform next season. So, it's going to come down to Purdy and Lance. Financially, San Francisco can afford to carry both young QBs, but we'll see if it's a competition next year for that No. 1 spot or not. If Purdy leads the 49ers to a Super Bowl, it's hard to foresee a scenario where he isn't the starting QB next season.

Chase from Citrus Heights, CA

I always thought it was foolish for Philadelphia to push Andy Reid out. The stats you clarified on Wednesday seem to reflect that. Then, you look at what he did with Alex Smith making the playoffs four of five years, and then five straight AFC Championship games with Mahomes and it's hard to see Reid as anything but one of the best. Mahomes is arguably great, but he did change Smith's career, which makes me wonder how long Donovan McNabb would have lasted in the league without Reid.

The writing was already on the wall with McNabb. By 2010, it was pretty obvious Philly wanted to move forward with Michael Vick. Overall, I think history has shown it was the right time for Reid and the Eagles to go their separate ways. Philly has had some lean years, but it also won a Super Bowl. That's no small thing. Obviously, Reid's work in Kansas City will earn him a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday.

Joe from Hardwood, MI

Just a response to Julian stating "...That is the only thing that will lead to a complete revamping of NFL officiating." I couldn't disagree more. The NFL wants exposure to officiating, as it has for several years, as it is now an integral part of the product the NFL is selling. It won't revamp officiating, except to expand its perceived impact. Officiating is now an equal part of game analysis. A revamp would remove controversy, which sells. Surprising officials' jerseys aren't for sale.

Echoing Spoff, I feel the time to overhaul the process was four years ago after the Los Angeles Rams beat New Orleans. If the league doesn't care, I don't care. The wolf is running loose in the yard. Just pray it doesn't bite you when your season is at stake.

Nancy from Duck Creek Village, UT

Do you think the last bizarre play of the Cowboys-49ers game was a "McCarthy play" or a "Jerry Jones play"?

I'm not looking to blame anyone for "that play." I just never want to see it again.

Dan from Rice Lake, WI

I am consistently amazed at how top-tier broadcasters provide a relevant stat/nugget about a player after he makes a play. Are they simply that well prepared or do they have a back-room researcher whispering sweet nothings into their ear electronically?

The best play-by-play and color commentators put in so many hours of research. On the road, I do my Packers pregame radio hit where Larry and Wayne call the game from the visiting radio booth. Every time, I'm blown away by the meticulous notes Wayne takes and brings with him. He has detailed tidbits on every player on both teams. Commentating is one of the hardest jobs in all of sport and the best make it look like nothing.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

The NFL seems to be in the exploring stage of streaming. Amazon Prime is a start, but I'm curious about their long-term plans for NFL+, which is the league's own streaming platform. Do you see a day where there are certain games that can only be viewed if you have NFL+? Maybe a day where there is no middleman, and all games are aired only through NFL+?

I don't think it ever gets to that point, at least in the United States. I do like NFL+. I felt it was much easier to rewatch games this season. But there's no real incentive for the league to build its own paywall with how much money it is making off these media deals. WWE has had success with its network but that's due partly to moving its premium programming from pay-per-view to streaming.

Marteen from NV

Hi Mike and Wes, since this is my first full year of following the "Dynamic Duo" at II, do you continue answering questions throughout the offseason up until a certain point? When do you get to take some time off before the grind starts up again?

We keep going until we're told to stop, and I don't hear no bell. Have a great Thursday, everybody!

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