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Inbox: This is one of those moments

The Packers have checked a lot of boxes in a short period of time

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes

Gary from Tompkinsville, KY

Not a question. I liked Wes's quote from "Penny Lane" by the Beatles.

Me, too, Gary. Me, too.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Patrick Mahomes at Lambeau in December? See you guys there!

The schedule makers did a great job on that one. I couldn't think of any better way for Mahomes to make his Lambeau Field debut than a primetime game in December. I'm sure it'll be a popular ticket. Like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, Mahomes is a quarterback all football fans need to see in-person at least once. It's also a pseudo-rematch with Jordan Love. Occasionally, there are games that are bigger than just what it reads on the schedule. This is one of those moments.

Dan from Inver Grove Heights, MN

I think the early bye might be a good thing. Gives the team five games to see if Love is all you need and then an early chance to fix any holes where the rain gets in. Thoughts?

The Week 6 bye can't be any worse than Week 14 last year. Asking players at this level to play 13 games in a row is a non-starter for me. This year, four teams will have to play 13 straight to end the year after having a Week 5 bye. I get how complicated constructing the NFL schedule can be, but this year's layout was peculiar – four byes in Week 5, none in Week 8, six in Week 13 and two in Week 14. I almost count the Packers lucky they got one of the two Week 6 byes.

Charlie from Waukesha, WI

When reviewing the schedule, I will mentally check off potential wins and losses. I imagine most fans do the same. I couldn't pick a win or loss for any of the games this year. This realization boosted my excitement for the upcoming season.

Sometimes the smartest move is no move at all, Chuck.

Dwight from Brooklyn, NY

Well, the schedules are all out and the win/loss predictions from national pundits are in. Might as well get it out of the way: It seems nobody is showing Love any love.

The Packers are…and that's the only opinion that matters.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

The run defense needs to be improved right off the bat this year. Starting against the Bears and Falcons, and their respective running games, on the road will definitely be a challenge.

Seeing Justin Fields in the opener and Bijan Robinson in Week 2 presents significant challenges but it's also a major opportunity for the defense to make a statement. The Packers need to start fast on the defensive side of the ball this year – for the unit itself as much as the football team. Beating Fields and containing Robinson would be a step in the right direction.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

"Let's be honest, nobody knows which opponents will be tough and when, nor where the landmines might reside." 100% agree, I'm not sure why strength of schedule is published at schedule release given free agency, the draft, and unpredictable injuries in any given season. I think there's a five-to-seven team turnover for playoff participation, which doesn't include the new teams on the fringe of making the playoffs. At schedule release, strength of schedule is an illusion.

Last year's schedule was the perfect example of that. Perception is not reality in this league. The tide turns too swiftly in this ocean.

Richard from Woodruff, WI

Hi Mike and Wes, I had an interesting first thought about the schedule: Our home opener is against the Saints, the only NFC team the Packers have yet to see in the playoffs. Your thoughts on that? Thanks.

It is wild Rodgers and Drew Brees never met in the postseason, but that's how this sport is. It feels like the Packers have played San Francisco, Tampa Bay and Seattle as often as an NFC North opponent, whereas I've only covered a handful of games against New Orleans and Carolina, though the latter is on me more than the NFL.

Anthony from Reading, PA

Thank you to whoever made those incredible schedule phone wallpapers! Looking at the 2023 schedule it seems like the Packers do play their fair share of teams with impressive passing attacks. How important is the continuity on defense this season with guys such Kenny Clark, Jaire Alexander, and De'Vondre Campbell?

That would be our talented social media coordinator Ben Borus…or as I accidentally called him during an iHeart radio appearance Friday, "Ben Bogus." Outside of pure talent, defensive continuity is the best thing the Packers have going for them. All three of those men are former team captains who set a high standard for their position groups and the young men in that locker room.

Dan from Richmond, VA

Welcome to Green Bay, Simone Biles! Perhaps our best UDFA so far! What can you tell us about her lesser-famous husband and what he might bring to the safety position for the Pack?

Well, Jonathan Owens is quite an athlete in his own right. I have heard nothing but great things about him. If you read our “5 things” story on Friday, you get an idea of the type of character Owen possesses, too. A former Division II safety, Owens gets signed by Arizona, tears his ACL in OTAs and misses his entire rookie season. After Owens got cut at the end of camp in 2019, I don't think anyone would've blamed if he put the cleats away and moved onto the next phase of his life. Instead, he worked out across the street from Arizona's practice facility for nearly a month before getting a tryout with the Texans. Owens has worked for everything he's earned in this league. All he wants is an opportunity and the Packers are giving him the next one.

Brian from Hackensack, NJ

What number is Simone Biles wearing? Someone had to do it.

I bet she purchased the first No. 34 "Owens" jersey printed in the Pro Shop. The funniest part is I coincidentally have a box of Wheaties on my desk with Simone Biles on it. It's too bad she didn't come down to the second floor to sign it.

Daniel from Rochester, NY

Will the Pack sign a veteran QB to help out J-Love?

You know what they say about never…but it sure looks like Sean Clifford and Danny Etling are the QBs on the court. I get Etling doesn't have the accrued seasons of a Carson Wentz or Teddy Bridgewater, but he's been the understudy to three former NFL MVPs (Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, and Aaron Rodgers). He has wisdom to offer to Love, as well.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

It seems to me that the Packers and Jets both have difficult schedules. Do you think it is possible that the Packers end up with more wins than the Jets this season?

For me, the comparisons between the Packers and Jets ended when Brian Gutekunst signed off on the deal. I wish Aaron Rodgers good fortune in the wars to come, but I couldn't tell you a darn thing about New York's schedule aside from the Jets opening against Buffalo on Monday Night Football.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. Shemar Jean-Charles has the distinction of being one of the very few players I've ever mocked correctly to the Packers (fifth round of the 2021 draft). He was only active for six games last year with one tackle to his name. Has his career been impacted by injuries? Do you think this will be his make-or-break season? Thanks.

This is a big year for SJC. He had some injuries early last year and couldn't quite carve out a place on special teams on gamedays. The competition will be fierce this summer, with the Packers bringing back all their corners, signing several safeties, and drafting Carrington Valentine and Anthony Johnson Jr.

Bones from Ripon, WI

How are you, Wes? Please answer my question, please. Which NFL team has the longest streak of not having a home opener? Also, a friend of mine says the Packers request to not have a home opener because they want late-season games at Lambeau to take advantage of poor weather conditions. I don't buy that.

I don't know how it worked out that way, but this is the longest current streak in the NFL.

David from Green Bay, WI

Just watched the YouTube video of the 1973 national championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame with Tom Clements at QB for the Irish. His clutch 30-plus-yard third-down throw from the end zone to seal the victory was magnificent. College national champion, CFL Rookie of the Year, Grey Cup champ, CFL Most Outstanding Player, and quarterback "whisperer" for the Packers. I'd say Jordan Love is in good hands and the Pack is blessed to have him on staff.

There are many folks out there who cannot wait to tell you how great they are – Tom Clements is not one of them. He does his job, does it well and lets the work speak for itself. That's one heck of a legacy and now he has his next great project in Love.

Charlie from Waukesha, WI

Regarding drafting a wide receiver in the first round, since 2010, has any team that drafted a wide receiver in the first round won a Super Bowl?

That same year? No.

Matt from Rewey, WI

With the NFC/AFC crossover game based on position in their conference, what do you think the NFL would do if teams had to play each other twice due to their divisions playing each other? For example, say Eagles and Chiefs had the best records in the conference, and the AFC West played the NFC East? Would they play each other twice?

That's not how the rotation works. For example, the NFC East and AFC East would never have a cross-conference game the same year the two divisions are scheduled to play each other.

Dale from Selinsgrove, PA

I notice you often reference the geographic location of the submitter in your response. Do you look up locations when you don't recognize the town listed out of curiosity?

All the time. In fact, I Googled, "Rewey, WI," after Matt sent in his question.

Roger from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, Wes. The official schedule release was a real bummer as a result of all the leaks. Does the NFL need better security? (Seems someone has an informant at the highest level.)

That was disappointing, Roger, but I am proud of the work our digital, social, and broadcast team did to make this year's schedule release a success despite the leak. That's a dawn-to-dusk day for all of us in the aftermath of covering the Rodgers trade, the NFL Draft, a rookie minicamp and Love's first presser as QB1. I'm grateful to work alongside such a dedicated team.

Gary from Davenport, IA

After looking at the schedule, I realized I need to make plans to do something not related to football the weekend of Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. The Packers play on the previous Thursday night and the Badgers have a bye week. It will feel strange having neither of my rooting interests play the same weekend on what should be a nice fall weekend. Any thoughts on a fun place to take a short vacation?

I'll probably be sleeping…but I hear Door County is lovely.

Jeff from Victorville, CA

New starting QB...check. Draft...check. Schedule release...check. Is it football season yet? I know, I know you'd like to enjoy summer first but I'm in Southern Cal where it's summer year-round. I'm ready!

The Packers have checked a lot of boxes in a short period of time. Now, I'm looking forward to a weekend with nothing on the schedule other than celebrating my wife. Happy Mother's Day to all our Inbox mamas out there, including my own…check.

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