If you pass the eye test as a young quarterback, the wins will comeWes Hodkiewicz
James from Willand, United Kingdom
Hi, not a question, just a note to say that the sun finally came out here in my village today. I was sat with a mug of tea, reading the civilized Q&A in the Inbox, wearing my Packers t-shirt, and thinking that we could do more of these forums in the world. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face every day (almost).
Before we discuss what I'm sure you all want to talk about...I wanted to say thank you to James. This is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me in this column. The past two days I've had the privilege of sitting in a couple league meetings here in Phoenix and the one I enjoyed the most was regarding the emergence of international NFL markets. I sat in the conference room, thinking about the wonderful Packers fans I've met the past 12 years and the worldwide reach of this franchise. Some of my all-time favorite interactions have been with our fans from across the pond - some of whom may never get to watch a Packers game in-person. Last October was special for many reasons, but the most meaningful part of the Packers playing in London was seeing what that game meant to UK fans. Being born and raised in Green Bay, it's easy to take Lambeau Field for granted when I drive into work every day. It is a privilege to do what we do. That starts with all of you. Anyway, thanks for making my day.
Paul from Mount Pleasant, WI
The slow progress in finalizing Aaron Rodgers being traded to the Jets: is the major block that the two teams cannot agree on compensation or is it a calendar date/cap room issue? Or, maybe, is it a combination of both things?
It's primarily centered on compensation, but I think the other component to this is our collective need, as a society, for immediate answers. The reality is you can't put a stopwatch on progress. Things happen when they happen, as they happen. In my mind, the key is all the necessary parties are at the negotiating table. Both Gutekunst and Joe Douglas made it clear on Monday that both sides want to get this deal done. In the meantime, the Packers have a QB they're very excited about in Jordan Love.
Vinny from Arlington, VA
So, how much have you both gotten to know Love since he arrived in GB? I imagine it was fairly limited his rookie year when the pandemic occurred. I'm curious to know how much interaction you've had with him and any insight and observations you have regarding him, his personality and character. Thank you.
We've only touched the surface with Jordan, as a player and a person. Due to the pandemic, we didn't get a chance to stand in front of him until this past year. When Aaron Rodgers is the starting QB, it's not often you're talking to the backup during the regular season. Our most extensive conversations with Love came during last year's offseason program, and I found him to be a very cordial, respectful guy. I think fans will enjoy Love's level-headedness. As Brian Gutekunst said on Monday, the kid just goes about his business the right way.
Jackie from Algoma, WI
Assuming things play out as expected and Love is our starting QB when the season starts, what does success look like in a rebuilding year? What are the top three performance indicators that would signal that the Packers are on pace to make a run at winning the division?
Three indicators aren't necessary. I think you only need one - the eye test. Brett Favre passed it in 1992. Aaron Rodgers passed it in 2008. Regardless of how next season plays out for the Packers, a successful year would be Love passing the eye tests. If that happens, the wins will come. Mike Martz, the former Rams coach and current analyst for The 33rd Team, offered glowing praise of Love earlier this month. It's so rare a quarterback of Love's talent gets a chance to acclimate to the speed of the NFL game for three years. I can't wait to watch him play and finish his crucible.
John from Salt Lake City, UT
Hey guys, I'm not even close to being an NFL GM, so feel free to lampoon me if this is ridiculous, but would the Jets part with Zach Wilson in a trade at this point? Is having him as a backup a tenable position after drafting him so high and treating him as a future franchise QB?
It doesn't sound like the Jets plan to move Wilson this offseason. Robert Saleh told reporters at Monday's AFC coach availability that Wilson is the Jets' No. 2 quarterback right now and he still believes Wilson has a bright future.
Doug from Neenah, W
Good morning, Wes. The Jets GM said the trade might not get done until summer training camp. How does this impact the Packers ability to move on?
"As long as it takes." That's how Gutekunst put it. Green Bay likes its young QB and is prepared to wait things out. You can read the rest of Gutekunst's thoughts in our "Five things" story from Monday.
Matt from London, United Kingdom
If Randall Cobb leaves, as expected, GB will have lost/gotten rid of four WRs from the start of last season (Sammy Watkins, Amari Rodgers, Allen Lazard and Cobb), along with the top pass-catching TE in Robert Tonyan. Last year, they lost Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown. Even though last season's rookie WR class looked really promising, the lack of depth and experience is really alarming. Will a strong draft class and a big Year 2 leap from Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs be enough to give Love enough weapons to have a fighting chance?
If healthy, yes. I think the top of the depth chart will be solid when all the chips fall. The only question is who steps up if someone is out. Rodgers reiterated all training camp how he expected Lazard, Cobb, and Watkins to carry the load...and then all three quickly were sidelined by injuries. When the rookies' numbers were called, I thought all three played well. That experience will pay dividends this year. So, I am expecting a jump from that nucleus. The only question is who will be the next men up? That's where the Packers have some figurin' out to do.
Tom from Burlington, WI
Good morning, Wes. I hope you're enjoying the weather! With the Niners seemingly moving on from Robbie Gould, do you foresee him trying to extend his career elsewhere? Would that effect pricing/negotiations with Bing? (That's how my wife and I refer to Mason)
Like Crosby, Gould said he intends to play next season. He already did a few interviews where he expressed a desire to go back to Chicago. Gould (40) and Crosby (38) are the league's two oldest free-agent kickers. If one signs, that probably sets the market for the other. The Packers are still in "wait-and-see" mode with their kicking situation.
Matt from Bloomington, IN
I might be missing something, but couldn't the "push sneak" be abused even further by having a non-QB take the snap? AJ Dillon being pushed by Kenny Clark and T.J. Slaton perhaps? I don't expect us to be the ones to do it, but maybe if a team starts abusing the sneak to the point that it is unquestionably no longer a football play, there will be momentum for it to be banned.
Perhaps. I do think things could get shaky, though, if the center is not snapping to his usual quarterback. A clean exchange is just as important as the "push" in those short-yardage situations.
Mark from Homewood, AL
I, too, would like to see the "QB push" play outlawed. But it's probably not as automatic as the Eagles make it look. It certainly helps to have one of, if not the best offensive lines in football and a quarterback who can legitimately squat 600 pounds. That's a lot of push.
No doubt and give credit where it's due - everyone and their grandpa knew what the Eagles were doing last year on third-and-short and virtually no one could stop them. Interestingly enough, the Packers were one of the few who held their ground.
James from De Pere, WI
Hello Wes (and don't forget the sunscreen)! Since controlling the line of scrimmage is vital and our OL is in excellent shape, I see the Pack going DL in the first round (and maybe more!) Am I off base here?
Not at all. Defensive line is always a safe bet because there are only so many 300-pound defensive linemen with elite measurables, often requiring a team to spend an early pick on the position. The Packers have drafted five college defensive linemen in the first round since 2009, including three D-tackles (B.J. Raji, Kenny Clark and Devonte Wyatt). The question isn't if Green Bay drafts a defensive line. It's how early does it do so.
John from Black Rock, Nova Scotia, Canada
Just a clarification on the two players that wore No. 2 on their jersey. You correctly stated that only Mason Crosby and Charlie Mathys have ever worn that jersey but listed the years for Charlie Mathys as 1925-26. Mr. Mathys, my grandfather, played for the Packers from 1922-26 and wore that jersey throughout. He also played one year for the Hammond Indiana team in 1921 after graduating from Indiana University as its quarterback and defensive back. Mason Crosby has done that number proud.
Well, I'll be darned. It would appear you might have corrected some Packers history. I'll run this by Cliff and see what he says.
Michael from Winfield, IL
"Having the utmost confidence in your returner is a priceless commodity." Keisean Nixon signed a one-year deal with the Packers. If Nixon's a priceless commodity, what does it take to extend his deal?
I don't want to speak out of school here, but I'm guessing there's a "prove-it" element to this agreement. Nixon is an excellent kick returner but he's a cornerback, first and foremost. He even mentioned that on his Instagram page when a news outlet only called him a "KR." There's a lot to gain for Nixon this year. If it's me, I want to put on a show this year and cement my value to the NFL.
Tom from Grafton, WI
The Lamar Jackson trade request is intriguing. I would imagine any team wanting Jackson would be giving up less by just signing him to a tender now and giving Baltimore two first-round picks. If there is no trade and Jackson doesn't play this year under the franchise tag, would he be a true free agent in 2024 or would Baltimore still have the right to franchise him again in 2024?
The Ravens still have the right to franchise tag him again (e.g. Le'Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers five years ago). John Harbaugh was very complimentary on Monday of the job both Jackson and Eric DeCosta have done in the negotiation process. Right now, Jackson is playing the leverage game in an effort to get the best possible deal. That's the business of football.
Bret from Hertel, WI
Dear Mike and or Wes, did injuries and lack of speed play a part in not signing the former starter and rookie FA in Krys Barnes? I was always impressed how well he played prior to being injured.
I don't buy the speed thing with Barnes. Maybe that's why Barnes went undrafted but his football IQ and aggression balance things out. I think the Packers' decision to not tender Barnes had more to do with having De'Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker as the undisputed starters, and also the presence of Isaiah McDuffie and Eric Wilson on special teams. There just wasn't room for Barnes to see the field. In Arizona, he'll have an opportunity to compete for a larger role.
Jeffery from Brooklyn, WI
Hello II, does Yosh Nijman have a restricted tender on him, and if so, what did he sign?
The Packers placed a second-round tender on Nijman. He's unsigned at the moment but that's not uncommon. Lazard didn't sign his tender until mid-June last year.
Gary from Sheboygan, WI
Did Seattle get a comp pick when Bobby Wagner went to the Rams? And will the Rams get a comp pick now that Wagner went back to Seattle?
Funny enough, neither Seattle nor Los Angeles will get a compensatory pick for Wagner since both teams released him.
Chuck from Richfield, WI
Wes, I can't help but love any writer whose column encompasses Andrew Jackson, Bill Belichick and...Frank Patrick! The latter struck a chord since his footwork (or lack thereof) resulted in a 2-0 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears at County Stadium. Inserted at QB late in the game, Patrick stepped out of the end zone while attempting to pass. It was my first Packer game and I recall that dad and other doctors would even get paged now and then by the public address system!
What a memory. I can only imagine what that day must have been like for you. All the excitement and anticipation to watch a professional football game...only to bear witness to a 2-0 preseason defeat. That is nightmarish. You have earned your Packers' stripes, my friend.
Rob from La Crosse, WI
In reference to Keith from Lincoln, your roadshow report with Larry could be titled "Reporting Live Between The Rock and A Hod Place." Thanks for all you guys do for us fans.
I'm gonna mention this to Larry and enjoy watching him blankly stare at me for 10 seconds before I slowly back away...
Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI
Well, my 'homer' bracket picks for Purdue, Houston, and Marquette (as yours did on that last one), but the FAU Owls are coming through for me. They also have a really cool logo that I rate among the best at the college level. Do you have any favorite college (or high school) logos?
FAU is up there for me. I was a big fan of Florida Atlantic in college because I idolized Howard Schnellenberger. The school also has a beautiful campus in Boca Raton. I'm pulling for the Owls the rest of the way. Based on my broken bracket, that probably doesn't bode well for them.
Ben from Pensacola, FL
Well, y'all wish me luck. Put in my notice to work and I'll be packing up a trailer and taking my dog across country. Soon Ben from Pensacola will be Ben from Guffey, CO via Pensacola, FL, and originally from Orlando, FL. Shall I point out that my parents are actually from SEA, WA originally? Too much? Sorry.
Safe travels, brother!
Mike from Albuquerque, NM
Just had surgery and II is one of the things that kept me going. Thank you all. Not a question but a comment. A new cheer for 2023-2023: "Push his keister to De Pere?"
Heal up, Mike, and thank you for making us a part of your recovery process.
Nick from Owego, NY
Do you think the Packers will keep two staff writers on the roster this year? Do you think we could get a first-round pick for Mike or Wes? They gotta be worth more than a pregame announcer (Sean Payton).
A first-round pick? Together, Spoff and I might be worth a discount code for three cents off a gallon at Cenex. Matt LaFleur is probably already speaking to the media at the time this edition of Inbox posts. We'll have more stories throughout the day on packers.com. Have a great Tuesday.
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