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Inbox: These guys don't care one whit about the outside noise

The benefits are innumerable


Jerry from Dallas, TX

Can you please find and post a copy of the game plan for Sunday? Thanks.

And once again …

Darren from Wakefield, MI

I realize it's my fault for reading/listening to some of the talking heads but, geesh, the Packers may as well not even get on the plane. Does the "underdog" label provide any extra motivation to players? I like the Packers' chances as I know there isn't one coach or player that isn't planning on winning this game.

My sense is these guys don't care one whit about the outside noise.

Steve from Scranton, PA

Mike, Cliff Christl’s recent column on the construction of this year's Packers squad is a must-read for all Green Bay fans. He perfectly lays out the template for building a championship-level team (drafting the QB when you DON'T need one, keeping the roster youthful, shedding the aging stars when they still have some value, etc.), using direct quotes from true legends of the game like Madden, Walsh, Landry, Young and Finks … phenomenal! Hopefully no current NFC GMs read


Matt from Waunakee, WI

Hi Mike, I have great respect for Coach McCarthy and what he accomplished in Titletown. What are some of your favorite memories from covering him?

My best memories of McCarthy date back to my (and his) first year here, in 2006. At the time he was hired, the Packers head coach was contracted to write a weekly column for the local Gannett newspapers. Mike Sherman wrote them himself. When I came on board, I became McCarthy's ghostwriter. So once a week I had an appointment to go to his office and interview him about a relevant football topic. I'd write a draft, and then my boss and McCarthy would finalize it before sending it along. The conversations that stood out were when he described the ins and outs of the QB helmet communication, replay reviews, and mentally prepping himself to call a game. The following year, the newspaper contract was canceled, so that was that, but I learned a ton just listening to him in those sessions.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

The NFL announced the teams giving up home games to play in Europe next year and three of the four are road opponents of the Packers – Vikings, Bears, and Jaguars. Can you envision the Packers playing any of them there? Has the NFL ever hosted a division game in Europe? I'd imagine for competitive balance they wouldn't.

There have been division games in Europe. Jets-Dolphins in 2015, Colts-Jaguars in '16, Cardinals-Rams in '17, Panthers-Bucs and Texans-Jaguars in '19. That said, I can't imagine the Vikings or Bears would move their game against the Packers overseas. Jacksonville had a chance to move its game with Green Bay in '16 to London and didn't do it, so I wouldn't expect it this time either.

Kristian from Aarhus, Denmark

Dear Mike and Wes, I know we're all "on to the Cowboys," but can we take a moment to talk about the current firings of head coaches of a certain magnitude? I wonder if you two have seen an offseason that has produced this many let-offs of HCs of such renown? Feels like a changing of the guard kind of thing.

The architects of pro and college football's most recent dynasties, plus another Super Bowl-winning coach and an NFL Coach of the Year from as recently as two years ago, all moving on in a span of a few days. I read that Matt LaFleur is now the seventh-longest tenured coach in the league. Crazy.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

Great job by Evan, Emma, and Wes on Photo Essay: Traveling with the Green Bay Packers! The detail that stood out to me was that every gameday football has passed through Bryan Nehring's hands, "including every touchdown Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love ever threw as the Packers' QB." Wow. Who could possibly top Nehring in a "tell us something about yourself" icebreaker?

But you wanna know something about Bryan? He'd much rather tell you something about his wonderful family, or ask about yours.

Joe from Liberty Township, OH

During the 2023 draft the Packers took some heat for not only passing on safety Brian Branch, but trading pick No. 45 to Detroit and allowing them to take Branch. Then they traded again down to pick 50, allowing the Bucs to take OT Cody Mauch at 48. Those two trades yielded Jayden Reed, Dontayvion Wicks, and Karl Brooks. I'd say those trades worked out pretty well for the Packers.

No argument here.

Hansen from Waukesha, WI

Insiders, where would you rank Jayden Reed's season among the best rookie seasons in Packers history?

Maybe top 10, I don't know. Hard to say without extensive study. No offense to Reed, but it's not in the top five when you look historically at Billy Howton, Irv Comp, John Brockington, Chester Marcol, Willie Buchanon, Tom Flynn, and Eddie Lacy.

Mike from Katy, TX

Seems like Karl Brooks is having a tremendous rookie year. Without access to his stats, I cannot validate. What say you?

Color me impressed. He's got four sacks, which is notable for a rookie on the interior, and he made a great play on that screen early vs. the Bears. But it's really not about the stats. If you look at the last few plays in my latest WYMM, he's also having an impact by helping other guys.

Jason from West St. Paul, MN

Great coverage all season guys! I've been reflecting on the season this week and wondering your thoughts on the one play that changed the outcome of the season. Mine is the missed FG by New Orleans in September. If that field goal is made the playoffs don't include the Pack.

But the Packers still would've had 1:05 on the clock to try to get a game-winning field goal of their own. If we're talking a fortunate season-altering miscue by an opponent, it has to be Quentin Johnston's drop of the deep ball in the last 30 seconds for the Chargers.

Joe from Dartford, UK

What was your favourite game of the regular season? And why? I think mine was the Thanksgiving game against the Lions. Fantastic win and made me believe we could push for the playoffs.


Venny from Montgomery, AL

As a writer, which weekend matchup has the better story? My bias says it's the Packers vs. Cowboys. McCarthy matches up against a team he coached for 13 seasons, two historic franchises with plenty of playoff history against each other. However, the Rams vs. Lions is a very worthy story as well. Stafford reached the Super Bowl with his new team as Goff tries to get the Lions their first playoff win since 1991. What are your thoughts?

Stafford vs. the Lions fascinates me. Given what the Lions are building, and trying to accomplish, against the dismal history of the last 30 years, and "their own" quarterback – he who went 0-3 in playoff games for Detroit – is tasked with ruining all that? Hollywood couldn't have scripted it any better. Selfishly, my only wish is it were the Monday night game so I'd get to watch it. But beggars can't be choosers.

Karl from Burlington, WI

Is the scouting department for the Pack broken down into specialties or does the scouting dept. work as one in all areas? I ask because the past couple years the Pack have brought in players that are somewhat hidden on team rosters or practice squads and have a positive impact in GB. Examples: Campbell, Douglas, Ford, Nixon, Melton, Owens. I am probably missing other names. This can't be a matter of just being lucky, so what's the process?

Including the GM, the Packers' personnel department consists of 21 full-time individuals. At least five of them work in both the college and pro realms, while four (a director and manager of pro personnel, plus two scouts) devote all their time to the pro side. They leave no stone unturned.

Cindy from Hawthorn Woods, IL

More a comment than a question: Tom Clements was my law firm mentor as a summer associate in Chicago in 1989. He was smart, kind, and unflappable. When I see him on the sidelines conferring with his QBs I have to believe he emits that same air of quiet inspiration. I unfortunately don't possess the skill set to pivot – as he did – to a career as an NFL coach, but I am happy for the Packers that he is still out there guiding young people to excel.


The Green Bay Packers held practice inside the Don Hutson Center on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024.

Tim from Tucson, AZ

There appears to be a sentiment developing. I believe I've even heard it a bit from the coaches. Making the playoffs with such a young team and after a poor start is a big accomplishment. However, do you think there's a feeling already developing that any further achievement is icing on the cake? Are the Packers just satisfied making the playoffs and how does LaFleur keep the team hungry for more?

I don't think anyone's satisfied, but your point is valid. To me, the hunger comes from the veteran players passing onto the rookies that these opportunities can't be taken for granted. Fortunately, in this respect, all the second-year guys missed the playoffs last year when they had the same chance, so they can deliver a similar message as well.

Tom from Cambridge, MA

I'm fascinated by all of the "How is Jordan Love going to stay humble and grounded now that he's a success" talk. Love is a 25-year-old man who was perfectly comfortable going on national TV and saying he wanted to learn how to shuffle cards so he could play more Uno. I don't think we need to worry about his ego right now. Go Pack Go!

Not at all.

Dan from Cross Plains, WI

No question, just a comment. According to my research, which could be wrong (I've always wanted to say those lines!) the blowout wins by the Cowboys at home were against the Jets (first week without Rodgers), the Patriots, Rams (Stafford was injured this game), Giants, Commanders and a fading Eagles team. Cowboys certainly are a juggernaut but maybe that home margin of victory isn't all that special.

The Lions are a good team that went into Dallas and took the Cowboys right to the wire. The Packers are a good team capable of the same thing, and when it comes to crunch time, it's anybody's game.

Keith from Bakersfield, CA

Entering the playoffs, I believe the veterans on the defense are the key to success. We saw last week that the young offense is plenty capable, but also still prone to occasional rookie mistakes. The D has been very inconsistent, but they really need to play like they did the last two games. How do you see it?

I don't mean to insult anybody or burst balloons, but the defense will be hard-pressed to play the way it has the last two games, when it faced a team with QB issues and another down two starting O-linemen. The Cowboys are an explosive force offensively, and to me the Packers' defensive performance – aside from possibly getting a key turnover from a team with only 16 giveaways all year – will come down to whether it can get a red-zone stop or two to keep four or eight points off the board.

Christopher from Bellingham, WA

He doesn't get the full league-wide attention he should, but is anyone else amazed Kenny Clark is still only 28 years old, has played at very high level for eight NFL seasons and displayed incredible durability? Great person. Great draft pick.

Preston Smith's durability on this defense is unmatched, but Clark has missed only eight games in eight seasons, and one of those was for Covid.

Robert from Sturgeon Bay, WI

Here's to hoping that playoff Rashan Gary returns. He was the best player on the field that day, despite losing to the 49ers.

He's had two multi-sack games in his last three playoff outings. Just sayin'.

Craig from Appleton, WI

Looking at the Cowboys games for the final four weeks of the season, they finished 2-2 with a questionable officiating call helping them avoid 1-3. The Bills, Dolphins, and Lions all had a lot of success running the ball. For as much credit as JL is deservedly getting, the running game is going to be the key to victory. Do you see it a different way?

The Packers will have to stay balanced offensively, no doubt. Make the Cowboys defend all your weapons, especially Jones. Running the ball effectively will open up more options in the playbook, keep the pass rush at bay, and control the ball to keep the Dallas offense on the sidelines. When it comes to running the ball in this game, the benefits are innumerable.

Chris from Kennesaw, GA

M&W, back when I first started reading Ask Vic and making the Packers site a regular stop, I decided to check other teams sites to compare. There was nothing close. The way you two and your peeps have blown this thing up is most impressive. Every Packers fan is lucky to have what you provide. Was there a conscious decision to do what you've done or did it happen organically? If it was a conscious decision, whose consciousness was it? This is the best team website in pro sports. Thank you.

Appreciate the kind words. It's been a long, never-ending evolution. When I got here in 2006, the website staff was two full-timers (including me) and one intern. Now amongst digital, video and social, the operation is enormous. Ask Vic in 2011 opened the door to fan interaction, in-house video productions took off shortly after that, and then social media exploded around a decade ago. As best it can, the organization has remained forward thinking in all those realms and nothing stays still. I've been here 18 seasons and feel like I've had at least a half-dozen different official job descriptions. My next one is always right around the corner.

Brian from Ontario, NY

What a time to be a Packers fan. I don't think there is a more satisfying gauntlet moving forward. First, they handle business and dismantle the Vikings. Then, clinched a playoff berth vs. the rival Bears. Now, Dallas is next with Big Mike at the helm. The Niners would follow, which could be considered the Packers' boogeyman in recent history. From a pure setup and roadmap to the NFCC, how much better can this get?

Just beat the Cowboys. Happy Friday.

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