Packers fans have earned every bit of the success they’ve enjoyedWes Hodkiewicz
Mike from Green Bay (via Platteville), WI
Sorry, Wes. I won't be in on Monday. I would have called but Schefter lost your number.
Don't even joke about such things, Michael. Good morning!
Nate from Naples, FL
My friend, who is not a Green Bay fan, sent me a text asking how Packers fans are dealing with Aaron Rodgers' looming departure. I sent him a screenshot of your response to Benjamin from MN, highlighting "We're all going to have to remember what 1992 and 2008 were like." He replied: "Tough (cookies). Must be nice"
That's fair. The citizens of Green Bay and Packers fans worldwide have been very fortunate, but I'd also argue these fans have earned every bit of the success they've enjoyed over the past 30 years - especially when you consider what the 25 years were like before the Brett Favre Era began. It's not just the energy fans give this football team on Sunday, though. It's everything this community has done to ensure this football team has remained in Green Bay for 104 years and counting.
Fredrick from Bluffton, SC
I was out on a sports page, and they listed the NFL stadiums in ranked order. "All 30 NFL Stadiums, ranked: No. 1 Lambeau Field (Green Bay Packers)."
That's exactly what I'm talking about...and that field does not belong to a billionaire or venture capitalist. It belongs to you. It belongs to me. Every day, it belongs to Green Bay.
John from Andover, United Kingdom
Pleased to see Keisean Nixon re-sign and whilst I am interested in how his performance last season compares to previous kickoff and punt returners for Green Bay, I personally hope that, whilst playing for GB, he only ever gets to return one kickoff per game. And plenty of punts!
I'll drink (root beer) to that.
David from Minneapolis, MN
As good as Nixon's return stats were last season, on top of not returning kicks until Week 7, I recall at least one big return that was called back due to a ticky-tacky penalty. He seemed so close to going the distance every time he touched the ball; imagine if he would have broken another one or two.
Nixon presents a threat the Packers have lacked in the return game for a very long time. Everyone sees Nixon's speed and explosiveness in highlights, but it's his mindset that impressed me most. There is no fear in Keisean Nixon. He has unrelenting confidence in his ability. All he needs was a team to have similar faith.
Josh from New Richmond, WI
Morning Wes! With last year being Nixon's first year returning in the NFL, he likely has never spent an offseason focusing on returns. With Nixon fully entrenched as Green Bay's return man, do you think he can take his game to another level (already an All-Pro level) with a full offseason of training for this role?
150%. I also think he has a lot to offer this defense. We saw last year how flexible the Packers needed to get with their secondary after Eric Stokes' season-ending injury. Nixon doesn't get enough credit for helping keep that middle of the nickel and dime defense together.
Primo from Portland, OR
Good morning, Wes, how are you? Well, I hope. I'm thrilled to have Keisean Nixon back! Will you let him catch some passes next year?
I would like to see it.
Michael from Houston, TX
Last year Darnell Savage was benched, and when he came back it was written that he was freelancing too much and getting out of position trying to make plays he thought were developing in other areas of the field, only to leave an opening for the opposition. It sounded like the coaching staff got through to him about that and he stopped doing that when he came back and played much better. I have read many comments by sportswriters that the Packers might need to replace him. Why?
That's a good question. I, too, felt Savage played much better after returning to the starting lineup. I think that short break was a good opportunity for him to reset and get back to playing like himself again. To Savage's credit, he was a total pro through it all. Once he was back in the lineup, Savage seemed to look more confident playing closer to the line of scrimmage. Regardless of where Savage lines up next season, he's going to be a big part of this defense. The Packers are counting on him to not only make plays but also help lead the secondary.
Nate from Kewaskum, WI
Since Mike McCarthy isn't around, we can deal in hypotheticals: Would you rather your favorite team won a championship and missed the playoffs for the next 10 years or play in the playoffs (but not win the big one) for the next 10 years?
While I'm sure most fans would say win the Super Bowl and take a decade of mediocrity, that doesn't seem to play well in reality. Doug Pederson was sent packing three years after Philadelphia won Super Bowl LII. Listen, a championship is never guaranteed. The best you can do is assemble a strong football team, make the playoffs and hope for the best. For almost 30 years now, the Packers have run out of the tunnel Week 1 believing they can win it all. The QB may change, but never, ever, stop believing.
Josh from Watersmeet, MI
Do you have a favorite play or memory of Aaron? Of the many, mine has to be the pass to Jared Cook on the sidelines putting the Packers in FG range to win the playoff game in Dallas. This is the greatest throw I've ever seen, and he made it look effortless. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman were calling that game and I remember they didn't give the play justice with their call in the moment. I think it was because the play was so absurd Buck couldn't believe what he saw. Crazy good. Awesome entertainment. Thanks No. 12.
That's a good one, but my favorite play will always be the Hail Mary in Detroit. It perfectly captured Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback: the intelligence, pocket awareness, generational arm talent and his ability to make your jaw drop in an instant.
Edward from Racine, WI
Hi Wes, with this excruciating wait on the Rodgers situation. I think back, as a child, when Vince Lombardi won the first and second NFL titles. By the time third, I was totally hooked. I could not get enough of NFL and the Packers. I think it is so excruciating because the 24-hour news cycle we have now. With this situation, are Packers handcuffing themselves. Every time another NFL team sign a free agent my heart sinks especially when they are a safety. Well just getting this off chest.
I understand, Edward. I agree the 24-hour news cycle has changed the game, for better or worse. I enjoy how interconnected we are today, but I think instant gratification also has created unrealistic expectations for situations to resolve themselves. For example, I can only imagine how NFL Network would've handled Jim Ringo's contract issues with the Packers in the early 1960s. I'm not worried about the Packers "handcuffing themselves," though. My advice is to take a breath and see how everything works out. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will the 2023 Green Bay Packers.
Patrick from Folly Beach, SC
Do you think that the Packers will go back to using more motion and the run game this year?
Yes...but before you chalk that up to Rodgers' future, I think the emergence of Christian Watson is a huge game-changer in that regard. The Packers have used pre-snap motions for years with Tyler Ervin, Amari Rodgers and sometimes Aaron Jones. Watson can do that and so much more. He's an all-around threat defenses must respect. I think that wrinkle presents a world of options for Matt LaFleur and his play-calling.
Steve from Kansas City, MO
I know you hate this, but can we please draft Georgia tight end Darnell Washington? I know TEs usually take time to develop in the passing attack, but this TE can plug and play immediately as an in-line blocker while he learns. He has more upside than Rob Gronkowski did and should develop into a red zone nightmare for opposing teams - something GB lacks currently. Please?
I don't hate that, though I'd be careful comparing Washington's potential to that of a future Pro Football Hall of Famer like Gronk. But Washington might be my favorite prospect in this year's draft class, regardless of position, and he is quickly rocketing up expert draft boards.
Kevin from Janesville, WI
I could be looking at this the wrong way and we won't know until we learn trade compensation details, but I can't help feeling like we're going to miss out on usual benefit of a starting QB on his rookie contract being surrounded by experienced weapons. Normally, I would hope for an insurgence of talent via the draft and some notable free agent signings, but I don't see how that can happen with our cap situation. Please share the optimistic path to reloading and getting back to being Super Bowl hopefuls.
I don't know how many teams are going to benefit from that ideology after Kyler Murray's holdout following his third NFL season. Franchise QBs want to get paid as quickly as possible. Although Cincinnati isn't quite there yet with Joe Burrow, the Bengals are already positioning their cap to absorb what likely will be a record-setting contract. If the Packers proceed with Love, they'll do so with knowledge of what his success might mean for their cap. Again, Love eventually commanding a big contract is a net positive for Green Bay in the long run.
Geoff from Omaha, NE
"They say on-field performance and postseason awards are factored in, but it seems like 99% of the time it's based solely on average salary per year." Do you know if they take into account the position or is a QB going to get you a higher draft pick than a RB?
That doesn't matter. It's based only on the player's salary, though a franchise QB who reaches unrestricted free agency (e.g. Tom Brady in 2020) is far more likely to receive a huge contract that results in his previous team receiving a top compensatory selection.
Brad from Chippewa Falls, WI
Will the upcoming season be as much of an evaluation of Coach LaFleur as it is Jordan Love? AR12 could cover up so much with his play and football IQ that could make cover up game plan or coaching mistakes. Is that an unreasonable expectation?
It'll be an evaluation of everything and everyone because that's how we've been conditioned to watch this sport, but LaFleur will be ready for that challenge. He's been in pressure-packed situations before with quarterbacks, whether it was developing Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins in Washington or coaching a veteran like Matt Ryan in Atlanta. LaFleur and Green Bay's coaching staff have been developing Love and the rest of this roster on a daily basis for years. They know these players' strengths and weaknesses and will adjust accordingly. I'm excited to see it unfold.
David from Henderson, NV
Morning Gents. An observation regarding Jamaal Williams. The sad part of him leaving and Detroit signing David Montgomery is that the Lions are paying Montgomery $2 million more per year than the Saints are paying Williams. It was a pleasure watching him last year and become the rushing TD leader for the season.
I'm sorry, but I still think the Lions did Jamaal dirty. He deserved so much better for what he gave that franchise the past two years. The Lions travel to New Orleans next season. I'm rooting for Williams to have a 200-yard, multiple-touchdown day.
Mike from New Orleans, LA
Gilbert Brown was cut from the Vikings before playing a snap. I was only two, I clearly don't remember this. What was the situation? The Gravedigger is still one of my favorite players, and by far my favorite nickname.
I believe weight was an issue with Brown when the Vikings cut him. I've read he was around 355 pounds that summer with Minnesota. Today, barring an off-the-field situation, I don't see a team cutting the 79th pick in the NFL Draft before the first game of his rookie season. At any rate, Brown getting cut obviously worked out to the Packers' benefit. After Brown's early turbulence, I always found it funny how he only played for one team the rest of his NFL career.
Tom from West Palm Beach, FL
With regards to Daniel from Ellettsville, IN's question: Professional athletes have to pay state taxes based on where their games/matches are played, so their tax situations get messy quickly when you consider the numerous locales of away games. Any idea why that is the case, and they aren't taxed based on the home state of their organization like any other job that requires travel?
No clue. I don't do my own taxes like other staff writers. I do, however, enjoy writing a check to the Controller of Pennsylvania every few years.
Kyle from Osceola, WI
Perhaps for this year's Outsider Inbox, instead of another question, we get a fill-in-the-blank: "According to my research, which could be wrong, _." I'd love to hear what my fellow Insiders know, (or think they know).
A fill-in-the-blank question or two in this year's Outsider Inbox could be fun. What do y'all think?
Andrew from Burke, VA
What would happen to the Inbox if the Packers signed Will Fuller out of retirement as a veteran WR presence?
An "Error 404" the likes of which we've never seen.
Randall from Clifton, CO
Mike/Wes, like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our (Packers) lives?
Well, we made it through "the week" and now I'm looking forward to watching some basketball in Madison tonight (Go Redbirds!). Michael will indeed be back Monday. Have a great weekend.
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