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Inbox: Those unheralded stories defined the Packers' season

Everyone wants to win it all, but ultimately only one team can

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LB De'Vondre Campbell

Doug from Eugene, OR

"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence." Check.

"The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand." Check.

"Winning isn't everything, but the will to win is everything." Check.

"The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall." Check.

I'm not going anywhere. The Pack will be back.

Check. Good morning!

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

Hello Mike and Wes and all the Insiders out there. I give you two a ton of credit for having to revisit that horrible letdown of a game over and over again. You've taught us to moderate our expectations, but none of us truly did that. We set ourselves up for this huge disappointment, but then we all believed in this team. We'll get through this together and hopefully round about the end of March we can get enthused again and start looking forward to the '22 season. Thanks for all you do.

I'll never ask a fan to curtail their expectations. They should have high expectations. It's the Green Bay freakin' Packers. It's more so how people manage disappointment. Everyone wants to win it all, but ultimately only one team can. This is hard. I'm not saying it isn't. But that's why it matters.

Robert from Verona, WI

Following the game, I found myself at peace with whatever the future holds for Green Bay. If that means Aaron Rodgers moves on and we'd be facing a roster overhaul, I was ready to take the ride. If it meant significant salary cap gymnastics to keep the championship window open for another 1-3 years, I was on board. After a few more days, I don't even want to consider a roster overhaul. Generational quarterbacks don't often fall in your lap, and there is unfinished business we need Rodgers for.

As the dust begins to settle, this is where I came down on things. I believe Matt LaFleur is right when he talked about how there will be no rebuild. The Packers don't need one. Amidst all the uncertainty, this roster still has a lot of young talent that's already under contract for 2022. It really comes down to what Rodgers wants to do. If Rodgers is back, then Brian Gutekunst, Russ Ball and the rest of the organization begin to build on that foundation. It is good to hear things are in a better place today than they were last offseason. That already makes this current situation more desirable.

Bill from Clive, IA

Offseason-came-too-early Greetings, Insiders! I read someplace that AR12 got sacked five times, although I don't seem to remember that many. Was there a pattern of sorts in evidence as to how the pass protection was breaking down?

The only area I felt the 49ers consistently won was up front. They made the necessary corrections, especially against the run, after the first series. Once San Francisco started stopping Green Bay's ground game, the defensive front got back to doing what it does best – pressuring with four and allowing DeMeco Ryans to mix his coverages. It was an expertly crafted game plan.

Rudy from Cedarburg, WI

Gute and Russ Ball have the future of the Packers in their hands. How do they prioritize the many decisions they need to make to get under the cap? Davante Adams, De'Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas all must stay – but they can't use up half the cap. There are other key players too. This is a nightmare, but I guess it is still better than being the Lions GM!

This is no disrespect to the Lions because I think they made several good moves this past year, but I'd much rather be in the Packers' position where you have an overabundance of talent than a dearth of it. Brad Holmes and Detroit's brass have an uphill battle to climb to get that done. Green Bay just needs to push the right buttons and it's back in the hunt in 2022.

Joe from Swansea, IL

Not that Gute has you on speed dial, but I'm wondering: Once (if) you have 12 and 17 back in the fold, which Packer free agents are most important to re-sign? De'Vondre Campbell? Robert Tonyan? Rasul Douglas? Lucas Patrick? Is any of that possible without renegotiated contracts for David Bakhtiari, Aaron Jones and others? My head hurts, and I'm not Russ Ball.

That's why Russ does what he does and I handle Inbox.

Bob from Rome, NY

Gentlemen: Thank you for listing the unrestricted and restricted free agents. I know Davante Adams is the No. 1 priority on offense and De'Vondre Campbell should be a priority on defense. Who is your overall No. 3 priority? I say Rasul Douglas because Robert Tonyan is coming off a major injury and never too sure how that is going to turn out. Thank you!

What's interesting is three names you mentioned come at positions the Packers had been searching years for. I don't know how Green Bay does it but I'd love to see Campbell back. He changed that defense and made me a believer in how impactful an inside linebacker can be in today's NFL. And you don't need me to tell you how important Douglas was to Green Bay's success. I don't know how it all sorts out, but those unheralded stories defined the Packers' season.

Greg from Long Beach, CA

I was surprised at my own frustration watching 12 on the McAfee show (Tuesday). I know there's not a whole lot to do but find perspective and move on, but I found all the talk of gratitude and appreciation unsettling. I didn't feel the fire and the frustration that I expected. I don't know exactly what I'm looking for...I guess I just feel empty and expected that to be mirrored by the face of the franchise. I suppose a divisional round game is better than nothing, but I was looking for more.

I'm sorry you feel that way Greg but I nearly fell to the floor in laughter with "I found all the talk of gratitude and appreciation unsettling." Thank you for that.

Col from Ludlow, UK

If we say the defense won by a furlong, and the offense won by a nose, did special teams even get out of the gate for that one? Even get out of bed? Given all that, and the disappointing end to the season yet again, could it be it hurts so much simply because our source of entertainment has just been so abruptly taken from us?

I suppose that could be the case for some. But I also think there's good people like Greg from Long Beach who are struggling to cope with this season being over for a team that had such high expectations. It hurts because you care. It's hard to find a soft landing after climbing this mountain for six months.

Kristian from Aarhus, Denmark

Dear Insiders! First of all, thank you for the season here on packers.com. I am an avid reader of your content and am never disappointed at both the quality and the variety of the content. Massive kudos (as the young would have it). I find it troubling to hear from the players that following the loss, none of them envisioned the loss as even remotely possible. Why do players at this level and at this stage not consider losing as an option (this being the proverbial crapshoot)?

It's a fan's right to worry but teams must focus. Competitors naturally compete to win. The Packers had one outcome on their mind until Robbie Gould's kick sailed through the uprights. Once it did, much like fans, there's a freefall of emotions.

Arthur from Eau Claire, WI

When articles are written about how players' (mainly quarterbacks') legacies/careers are less because they only won one Super Bowl or were never in one at all, is it just that much hooey just to get clicks or is that something that the voters consider a tiebreaker? I know that this is a dumb question to some, but I always told my kids that there are no stupid questions if you don't know the answer.

Can I just clear one thing up? The legacy of a player or team isn't parroting what some well-dressed talking head tells you. It's how that person and/or team made you – and I'm physically poking my finger into your chest right now – feel; today or 20 years from now. It's the memories you created and the accolades you celebrated. That's true legacy.

Mike from Wilson, WI

Can you explain how a compensatory pick works for someone like Davante Adams should he leave in free agency?

The best compensatory pick a team can receive for losing an unrestricted free agent is at the end of the third round. Assuming no team has been stripped of a draft choice, that usually is No. 97. It's awarded for next year's draft and slotted based on the average per year (APY) salary of the contract the player signed with his new team. This year, for example, the Packers will receive compensatory picks for Corey Linsley signing with the LA Chargers and should get one for Jamaal Williams leaving for Detroit.

Bill from Richland Center, WI

I'm a steady reader and am wondering if all the quotes about wanting Rodgers back aren't to maintain or improve his worth in a trade. What are your thoughts please?

They're genuine. Rodgers is about to win his fourth NFL MVP. You don't need press clippings to hype up a future first-ballot Hall of Famer who's still at the top of his game.

Rick from Des Moines, IA

Is it me or some players thought they were entitled to a win because they were home and got lazy in preparation?

It's you.

Brock from West Lafayette, IN

Morning, guys. I saw "Packers Unscripted" pop up in my feed, but I just didn't have the heart to give it a listen today. I will eventually this week, but right now the end of the season is still too fresh. What does the schedule look like for "Unscripted" from this point on until next season? Thanks for all you do for us fans!

Thanks Brock. Truthfully, it took us a few pauses before pressing the record button, too. Spoff and I will record another one later today and then we'll be going on hiatus for a bit.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Wes, with a few unexpected extra weeks of no Packers field action to cover, I want to remind you of your New Year's resolution: using all of your PTO this year. Hopefully this gives you and Spoff a good running start towards work-life balance. We're pulling for you, and we definitely can live without you here and there if it means we get a healthier Inbox team in the long run.

…hence our going on hiatus for a bit. Thank you, my friend.

David from Cable, WI

Age does bring perspective. The best offseason recommendation I can make for you guys is spend time with Cliff.

Cliff has earned a much-needed hiatus from me.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Spoff: "I don't want to re-open the overtime rules discussion."

Spoff: **Opens can**

Wes: **Hides under desk**

Buffalo didn't squib the kickoff, gave up 44 yards in 13 seconds to put Kansas City within field-goal range to tie the game and then let the Chiefs go 75 yards to score a touchdown. But yeah, sure, the Bills didn't have enough chances to win the game.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Only two more days of NFL football until another long offseason. Two questions: 1) Which teams would you now like to see in the Super Bowl? 2) Which teams do you expect to be in the Super Bowl?

Cincinnati and Los Angeles. My protégé, Ana Hoosier, works for the Rams and our former colleague, Jenn Maki, works for the Bengals. So, it would be cool to see either of them get a ring. Also, Cincy still holds a special place in the heart of our social media coordinator Steven Hudy, so it would be neat for him if the Bengals made it, as well. I expect Kansas City to win it all, though.

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, UK

Any whisper on an international game next season?

Not even a careless one.

Vince from River Falls, WI

Awesome year watching the Packers. Thank you for answering questions all year. Being a football fan, there's NOTHING better than being a Packers fan! Rough start that first game several months ago, and a rather rough ending, but there's fans of some teams that rarely experience the thrills of winning the division, beating a 7-0 team, shutout of the Seahawks, the playoffs, and more. Great entertainment along with some disappointing moments, can't wait for next year.

This is why I implore people to enjoy the journey. Because whether you win the Super Bowl or lose every game, the NFL season is over before you know it. The Packers came up short but that doesn't mean there weren't some incredible moments that captured your imagination.

Paul from Cumming, GA

As the early and midseason drama unfolded, and this season's team hung its legacy on January, I decided that good or bad they'd get what they deserved. In my opinion, good, bad, and ugly, they earned everything they got this year. Next season will be here before we know it, and hope will spring anew.

As painful as losses can be, there's always a new year and a new opportunity. It'll be training camp again before you know it.

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