Drafting elite players is a 1-of-1 propositionWes Hodkiewicz
Bret from Hertel, WI
Welcome back, Wes! I hope you had a great vacation and rest. Not much news last week; just two compensatory picks and couple of new coaches. The Bears made a possible game-changing trade if they have the right QB. Wishing you the best as you head towards March 15.
I may need it. Good morning!
Mike from St. Louis Park, MN
Kicking off the annual "Be Nice to Wes Week" and knowing the new year starts Wednesday, did Mike have this week circled on his calendar months in advance or what? Sure feels like something is bound to happen, eh?
This one's on me, actually. I took off last week because I was slated to go to Vegas with a buddy for UFC 285, but those plans fell through last minute. So, I just stayed in Green Bay instead and burned some PTO. Our vacation time resets at the end of the month, so Spoff and I are usually in a crunch to get our hours in anyway.
James from De Pere, WI
Happy Daylight Saving Time. What is the difference in the duties of an "Assistant Head Coach" versus those of a "Coordinator?" Or is this just a defensive contractual term to stop other teams from poaching coaching talent? Many thanks for all that you do.
That's probably the first time anyone's wished me that, James...so thank you. It's a big deal in the NFL to be named an assistant head coach. I don't think Rich Bisaccia's day-to-day responsibilities will change too much, though. It's just more an acknowledgement of everything he's brought to Matt LaFleur's coaching staff. It also speaks volumes that he's the first coach to receive that title under LaFleur, who's now entering his fifth season in Green Bay. It's a much-deserved promotion. He's already left an indelible mark on this football team.
Mary Ann from Black Mountain, NC
Do you agree that with or without "12," keeping Tom Clements on the coaching staff is one of the most important personnel decisions of the offseason?
Agreed. I don't think it's a coincidence Jordan Love made the most significant strides of his young career under Clements' watch. He's quietly been a central fixture to the success the Packers have enjoyed over the past 15 years.
Rob from Madison, WI
Tim Lester has quite the resume! Excited to have him on the coaching staff. However, "senior analyst" seems too vague. What does that actually mean and what will his role be? Will he be involved with offense, defense, special teams, or all of the above?
The Packers have brought in a veteran coach as senior analyst the past few years, including Butch Barry and John Donovan. The main job of that individual is to bring an offensive perspective to the defensive meeting room. They'll do everything from special "cross-the-hall" projects to game prep.
Terrance from Sun Prairie, WI
Which player will have a breakout performance next year?
Quay Walker. You all know how much I loved watching him play and I think he's going to come back hungry and determined to show what he's all about in 2023. Walker has the drive and fire to match his exceptional physical gifts. He just needs to harness it.
Josh from Newhall, CA
With regards to the idea Christian Watson might be injury prone, the nature of the injuries to me indicates it was more just unfortunate circumstances than an indicator of a pattern. Matthew Stafford was labeled injury prone because of injuries his first couple of years. He went on to be one of the more durable QBs in the league over the course of his career. It's way too early for me to be concerned for our young WR.
Christian Watson is going to be just fine. He already said at the end of the season he plans to spend a lot of time this offseason working on his body in an effort to avoid soft-tissue injuries next season.
Tom from Cambridge, MA
So, on Friday night, Keith from Bakersfield likens three great QBs in a row to hitting the roulette wheel three straight times. On the same Friday night, this Inbox reader was watching "A Night in Casablanca" and there's Harpo Marx hitting Red 5 on three straight spins...Gotta be an omen of some kind, right?
Maybe so. Probability is possibility, not inevitability. While I fully admit it's not easy for a team to luck into three consecutive elite quarterbacks, the eternal optimist in me thinks more about the third spin than the first two. Because that's the only one that matters. Whether it's a run of QBs or tight ends, drafting elite players is a 1-of-1 proposition.
Gabor from Budapest, Hungary
Good morning. Can you imagine a TV program about Aaron Rodgers announcing his decision similar to the one with LeBron James in 2010?
I couldn't imagine any professional athlete doing that again.
Doug from Neenah, WI
Welcome back, Wes. "Broadway Aaron" just doesn't sound right. Regardless of how that situation gets resolved, my loyalties will always remain with the team...legendary players, coaches, Lambeau Field and the uniform right down to the "G" logo. Am I in the minority on this one?
I don't think so. I think we all can appreciate what Aaron Rodgers has contributed to this franchise's illustrious history while also understanding that train will one day pull back into the station like it did with Bart Starr and Brett Favre. I remain an interested observer to all this and excited for whatever the 2023 season holds for the Packers. Truly.
Steve from Town of Rome, WI
Wes, curiosity killing this old cat (in my '60s). Is there any sense of frustration from the locker room or just players and coaches in general regarding another year of waiting on No. 12's decisions? One of his last quotes: "Stay tuned..." makes it apparent that he really enjoys having us lifelong fans waiting on his every move...
Ahh, you're not that old, Steve. I think players are living their lives right now. Josiah Deguara got married this past weekend (congratulations, by the way). This is a time to decompress and recuperate before the offseason program begins in a little more than a month. As long as the Rodgers situation doesn't linger that long, I don't think players will pay much attention to the noise.
Steve from Hurricane, UT
Saturday Mike answered (in part), "Namath has already publicly given permission for Rodgers to wear his retired number." I think Rodgers is a fan of the history/tradition of the game and has a lot of class. If he ends up a Jet, during throwback/alternate uniform games, it would show great respect back if wore Namath on the back. Would that be allowed by the NFL rules?
No, players can only have their legal name on the back of their jerseys. If Rodgers would end up in New York and doesn't want to don Namath's "12," I wonder if Elijah Moore would let Rodgers have No. 8, the number he wore at Cal. Just a thought.
Barton from Tulum, Mexico
Hey Wes, did the Packers' lack of aggression in making trades and signing free agents hurt their chances of winning more Super Bowls with Rodgers? Will that change with Jordan Love at QB1?
I'd argue Green Bay has been one of the league's most aggressive teams during Brian Gutekunst's five years as general manager, especially relative to the salary cap situation. Gutekunst said the Packers would be in every conversation and he's stayed true to that word. While the Packers have been the runner-up on a trade or free agent on a few occasions, that's not always a bad thing. For all those picks Chicago acquired, the Bears still relinquished what turned out to be the 32nd pick for Chase Claypool.
Kevin from Olympia, WA
Are you getting a sense that there is A LOT of enthusiasm building for Jordan (all you need is) Love?
Sure, but how can you not be enthusiastic about Love? It's a first-round prospect playing the most popular position in all of sports. Love's development has been a storyline for three years. Regardless of what happens with Rodgers, I think everyone wants to know how Love's journey ends.
Eric from Springfield, VA
I don't get people who expect another HOF QB and will be disappointed with anything else. It's like saying the season is wasted if you don't win the SB. If that's true, imagine the expectations in New England, you will be living in despair and will never enjoy another season ever. Just watch and enjoy the game.
If the Packers move forward with Love, I hope fans will remain patient and realize he's a young QB who's played 157 regular-season snaps in the NFL. Every day will be a process, no different than it was with Rodgers in 2008.
Jim from Mundelein, IL
GB has been blessed with "4" and "12." These guys have been a treasure. Take it from a fan since Scooter McClean: Nothing on this earth is forever. Do you think that drafting "12" was a part of a process? How about drafting "10" as a part of that same process? If there is a process, how would you define it?
Gutekunst frequently talks about Ron Wolf's assertion NFL teams cannot find themselves devoid of quarterbacks. They're essential to the sustained success of a franchise. Thompson and Gutekunst had their eye on the future when they drafted Rodgers and Love, respectively. The ultimate test of taking "the best player available" is when that individual is a QB in the first round. Personally, I think you're doing your football team a disservice if you ignore that golden rule.
Rich from Hartford, WI
I believe I have seen improvement in Love over the past three years, but most of that was in preseason games. What have you guys seen that would give us hope that he is the QB of the future. I wish him the best, and hope for a great season.
His footwork and pocket presence. Love stands much taller in the pocket now and keeping his eyes downfield. You can have the strongest arm in the NFL, but you're not going to succeed at this level if you don't pass the pressure test.
TK from Grafton, WI
Anthony Richardson is a generational athlete, but his passing accuracy has been inconsistent thus far. I have no doubt tons of NFL coaches believe they can help him fix that. Are there flaws a young player may have coaches think they cannot fix?
For sure. A QB might be erratic with his accuracy, lack awareness or make questionable decisions with the ball, but it's such a valuable position that teams often still bring guys in as undrafted free agents if unique attributes also are present. Richardson is a blue-chip athlete. There may be some flaws, but there are dozens of NFL QB coaches who would love to help Richardson smooth out the flaws and see what's there.
Steve from Rockford, IL
After being sent from Carolina to the Bears and playing three seasons, Muhsin Muhammad infamously stated "Chicago is where NFL receivers go to die." Prophetic? Will the Panthers re-trade the No. 1 pick for an even greater haul than they gave?
I wouldn't be that critical of Chicago. This is the National Football League. If you're on a team, you have a life-changing opportunity. For all the hubbub, Allen Robinson still had a couple 1,000-yard seasons with the Bears and grass wasn't necessarily greener in LA. D.J. Moore is a great wideout. I think he'll do well in Chicago. I just have to chuckle that he was thrown into this trade after the Panthers were adamant about not moving him last season.
Brandon from Pleasant Prairie, WI
In response to Kerry from Lakewood Ranch, we should want to be in the playoffs because we deserve to be there, not because our schedule was "easier."
Both can be true, though. The Seattle Seahawks had two wins over playoff teams this year and I'd still argue they deserved to be in the postseason. The Giants only beat three. Comparatively, the Packers had four wins over teams that advanced to the postseason. It just is what it is.
Tim from Charlotte, NC
Darren from WDC asked about Miami signing Lamar Jackson and the two first-round picks that would be due to Baltimore. Since Miami doesn't have a first-round pick in 2023, it cannot negotiate with Jackson until April 30, after the draft, while other teams with first-round picks can begin negotiations March 13. This according to an article I read on CBS Sports.
Well, there you go. I don't think the Dolphins have to worry about that now, though. They're gonna be dedicating a few extra dollars on the cornerback position after the Jalen Ramsey trade.
Jerry from Rockford, IL
Good morning, sir. Of your all-time favorite sporting events to watch, excluding professional wrestling, what is your favorite to watch? Mine are No. 1 Super Bowl (I will add the playoffs), No. 2 March Madness and a third-place tie among the World Cup, the NHL and NBA, though I do like a good soccer match. Good luck this week.
Mine would be the Super Bowl, March Madness and UFC pay per views during International Fight Week in July.
Greg from Myrtle Beach, SC
Roulette wheel? Dice? I thought there was no gambling at Bushwood or math in the II! Have the rules changed?
If Spoff pulls out the dice, you best run. It took less than a week at packers.com to realize this truth.
Ed from Windsor, CO
Happy Monday. We will know more or less in a couple of days more or less. Welcome back Wes and good luck.
I hope for clarity, for both this organization and Aaron Rodgers.
Derek from Eau Claire, WI
Well Wes, what happens next?
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