Tue, 17 May 2022

Inbox: There truly is no other option

Packers
14 May 2022, 18:12 GMT+10

Lotta strange elements to this scheduleMike Spofford

Mike from Cascade, ID

Well, Happy Friday II. There were more leaks about the NFL schedule than I have leaks in my 20-year-old motorhome!

The NFL makes entirely too big a deal out of the schedule release, but it's a whale of an attention grabber for mid-May.

Pat from Kennesaw, GA

How can the bye week be in Week 14 and not after the London game? Is that a misprint?

Nope. As I wrote in my schedule piece, teams can request to have their bye after a London game, but the Packers didn't. They wanted it later. No control over how much later, but they didn't want the bye in Week 6 with 12 regular-season games still left to play.

Susanne from Eustace, TX

Whew, Weeks 5-10 look concerning. Your thoughts?

Yeah, I don't think when the Packers asked for their bye to not be right after London that coming home for one game and then hitting the road for three straight weeks was what they had in mind. Lotta strange elements to this schedule.

Jim from Hudsonville, MI

The schedule may not be what the II writers were hoping for, but it lines up nicely for us folks living outside the TV market. What were your first impressions?

Playing four teams with new head coaches in the first five weeks is certainly intriguing. Also, it's a long wait to finally get a weekend off after that Thursday night game in Week 11. Not to reiterate my entire column on the schedule, but if the Packers can plow through that seemingly interminable stretch until mid-November without a break and come out in good shape, the multiple opportunities for late-season rest should serve them well.

Tim from Rosario, Argentina

Hello Insiders, like to see the divisional games to end the season, not a big fan to see divisional games to open the season. Divisional games are much too important to be on the schedule early. In my opinion they should not come before the calendar flips to October.

Couldn't agree more. There are only six divisional games in a 17-game slate. There's no reason to play any of them in the first month.

Dan from Grayslake, IL

Well, you got one noon home game. What are you thinking about that?

I'm gonna take full advantage of the one day the press box will have the omelette station.

Gary from Bear Valley, WI

Speaking of Brady's retirement. This time, when the football of his last TD is sold, will the price be DEFLATED?

Please see yourself out.

Shane from Coralville, IA

II, I've been watching "Man in the Arena" lately. The year the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, Strahan mentioned the trip to London being a pivotal moment that galvanized the team. He referred to how unique the experience was and the challenges of traveling so far. The Packers have a similar opportunity this year especially with all the potential young contributors. Do you have a similar moment for the Packers when a road trip "jelled" the team?

New England, Week 15 of 2010. No loss ever did more or meant more for a Packers team I've covered.

Joey from Onalaska, WI

What gives with the Lions and the Packers playing last game of year trend? Is this the start of a new tradition? Something fishy is going on here.

Six times in the last seven years, which means it's the sixth time in the last seven years the Bears and Vikings are playing the regular-season finale against one another. I don't get it, frankly. But speaking of fishy ...

Kevin from Arlington, OH

There has been a lot of talk about serving brats while watching the Packers in London later this year. But wouldn't fish and chips be an appropriate dish? If so, would bluegill and fries be an adequate substitution? Just wondering...

Or crappie, or walleye, or perch ... take your pick.

Zach from Las Animas, CO

I have a question about the value of wide receivers for future seasons. I'm mainly thinking about Adams and Hill receiving their big payouts with other teams. Who has more pressure to continue their dominance, the quarterbacks, or the wide receivers? Which result do think would have a bigger impact on future wide receiver contracts, or am I comparing apples and oranges?

The game is QB driven, and that's not changing, but it has led to a market shift with receiver contracts I admittedly didn't foresee. You're asking whether it's sustainable. I think that partly will depend on whether these big-money receivers who are switching teams/QBs can continue to produce at their previous paces. Does having a top-flight receiver elevate a good-but-not-elite QB to a level that justifies the rising expense? Only time will tell.

Tom from Phoenix, AZ

Mike, inquiring Arizona Packers fans are interested in knowing the financial returns of the latest stock sale. One of the items the proceeds are to finance is replacing the scoreboards. The current scoreboards are 41' high x 162' wide. The LED screens are 27' x 48'. What will be the dimensions of the replacement scoreboards and is there an artist rendering of how they will look?

I've seen no details regarding the new video boards, but once we have them I'm sure we'll post the information on the site.

Colin from Downers Grove, IL

At which position do you think it's most important to have depth?

That's easy. The one that's going to get the most injuries.

Eric from Washington, DC

Besides Sammy Watkins, who are the players in a "prove it" year or final year of their contract? Sometimes those performances can lead to big paydays.

According to my research (which could be wrong), the players as of now who are scheduled to be unrestricted or restricted free agents at the start of the new league year in 2023 are Adrian Amos, Randall Cobb, Dean Lowry, Mason Crosby, Jaire Alexander, Elgton Jenkins, Marcedes Lewis, Allen Lazard, Robert Tonyan, Jarran Reed, Ty Summers, Watkins, Krys Barnes, Yosh Nijman, Keisean Nixon, Juwann Winfree, Taylor, Randy Ramsey and Davis.

Ross from Roswell, GA

Gents, I attended Packers-Browns at Lambeau on Christmas in 2021, now I'll be attending Packers-Dolphins in Miami on Christmas in 2022. Could you get much more opposite? Which would you prefer?

From a work perspective, it's always better to have the holiday games at home. With this one, we'll be flying down the afternoon of Christmas Eve and flying back after the game, so there's no holiday time to spend with family, unfortunately.

Steve from Toronto, Canada

A few observations from the schedule. 1) 2020 deja vu, as we open @ Minny and then play @ Tampa weeks later. Should've mixed it up. 2) Super late bye AGAIN. Brutal. 3) A chance to schedule a Christmas game @ Lambeau - a winter wonderland - and instead we're going to South Beach? Come on, man! Who's the Grinch that drew that up?

The appeal of a Christmas game in Florida escapes me. If the league wanted the Packers on Christmas again, but didn't want the game at Lambeau Field two years in a row, it should've just chosen a different northern, outdoor locale for the holiday ambience. Buffalo, Philly or Chicago all would've made more sense.

Chase from Fort Leonard Wood, MO

Good morning team. Yesterday's lede (is that the correct term for the "title") made me sigh because I didn't want to read about this team building momentum in May. Nice curveball from Wes. After what game this year do you want to be writing a story about how this team is building momentum? Thanks.

Week 15. Beat the defending champion Rams at Lambeau on a Monday night after that late bye. As long as the team and season are on track at that point, a win there sets up a potentially strong stretch run.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

Respect McCarthy? Of course! His football team? Eh, that's asking way too much of me.

The sentiments of many I'm sure.

JD from Youngstown, OH

Not a question but to add to Jeffrey from Sioux Falls, the Missouri Valley Conference also had one player each from Missouri State, Northern Iowa and Youngstown State drafted (and I may have missed more). Scouts these days leave no stone unturned, whether it be FBS, FCS, D-II, or D-III. There are always guys out there who were passed over by the big boys of college football only to grow and progress in their skills during those four years and make themselves worthy of a look come draft day.

If the talent is there, it will be found.

Bob from Port Saint Lucie, FL

Which positions do you think are the easiest and hardest for a rookie to move into a starting role? Learning curves have to be different for each of them.

We've talked previously about some of the hardest, with tight end and defensive tackle being at the top of my list. I don't think any transition is easy, but in my experience running backs and offensive linemen seem to have an easier time of it.

Matt from Cottage Grove, WI

After this season wraps up, who do you suspect will log the most snaps out of our rookie class?

Right now I'd guess Quay Walker. But if one of the rookie offensive linemen earns a starting job, that could change.

Richard from Telford, TN

I recall the knock on AJ Dillon coming out of the draft was his limited pass catching, totally ignoring they were a run-first team. Can the same be said for Christian Watson's limited yardage?

Just looking at last season, NDSU rushed for 280 yards per game with 45 touchdowns. The Bison passed for 150 yards per game with 20 TDs. Even with Trey Lance at QB in 2019, the stats weren't much different. I can't begin to fathom the numbers Watson might've put up at the FCS level in a different offense.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

To me a QB "game manager" means "you're not skilled enough to be the primary reason we win this football game like the great QBs in this league so don't do anything risky or stupid." Aaron Rodgers is skilled, he is good enough to be the primary reason we win football games, and he's one of the smartest QBs in the history of the game. The only question left is a nice one to ask: "Will he HAVE to be the primary reason we win football games this year?" I think the defense is saying, "We got your back."

Adeptly put, and now imagine if the special teams are saying the same thing.

Jeff from Omaha, NE

With the urgency to improve special-teams play do you get the feel that any of our late-round draft picks were chosen with more of an eye toward special-teams roles over their every-down positional contribution?

Maybe Tariq Carpenter, because of a body type that's a tweener defensively. But I don't want to shortchange his opportunity to compete at safety or for a hybrid linebacker role.

George from North Mankato, MN

The recent signings of a LB and TE with the release of a WR have me thinking that our new ST coach is at work looking for his core We-Fense players. Any idea what specific qualities he is looking to find?

Well, the best clue to date is from Bisaccia's lone Green Bay media availability, when he said this about Keisean Nixon, who played for him with the Raiders the last three years before being signed here: "He's got a great mentality. He's fast, he's physical. He don't take any (stuff) from anybody, and he can really run."

Craig from Milwaukee, WI

Do you think the special teams will finally be better?

After the last two years, there truly is no other option.

Scott from Kingsport, TN

I'm coming to visit Milwaukee next week and would like to know your opinion of the Sprecher root beer. I was tempted to buy a children's ticket for the brewery tour.

I'm not the root beer connoisseur Wes is, but it gets a hearty thumbs up from me.

Alan from Fond du Lac, WI

I know this is a Packer forum, but man are those guys in Milwaukee special. Wisconsin sports seems to have a lot of heartbreak, but also has moments like Wednesday night. We always talk about appreciating Aaron Rodgers in this forum. I appreciated Wednesday night's moment. One win left this series.

Bucks in six. Happy Friday.

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