Inbox: every premiere is memorable

Last year, the Packers’ offense was the worst in the NFL at converting on-goals to touchdowns. How do they fix this?

Run the ball better in red zone and goal situations. When the Packers had that otherworldly 80% TD rate in the red zone a few years ago, they ran the ball very effectively there. He set up everything they used to get into the end zone.

Ray from West Des Moines, Iowa

How do you see Tyler Goodson fitting into the Packers’ future?

He is in full-fledged competition for the No. 3 spot behind Jones and Dillon with Patrick Taylor and rookie draft pick Lew Nichols. I only see one of those three players making the 53-man roster at this point, with the practice squad available for those beaten if the right impression continues.

Darren from Wakefield, Michigan

Hi Mike. Can you please explain the situation with players like Crosby and Lewis at this time of year? Are they expecting a team to offer more money than the Packers are willing to pay? Are they offered a number, etc.? or are the Packers unsure if they want them as returning players? Personally, I would be fine with both being on the 2023 roster.

I’m not sure that the two situations are so similar in their totality. Crosby has indicated he wants to keep playing, and comments from the Packers side earlier in the offseason would indicate the impact of the cap is a big concern. I can also see – and this is just my speculation – a difference in the length of the Packers’ commitment to what Crosby might be looking for at this point in his career. To be honest, both sides are in a difficult business situation. With Lewis, it’s not as clear if he plans to continue playing, and if he does, he may need to be in the right situation in terms of team, teammates, etc., for him to continue. His role will only suit certain teams, and his interest might only be for certain teams. For both players, it feels like they’re waiting for the stars to align, but their eyes are on different skies.

Steve from Colorado Springs, CO

It always seemed to me over the last few years that how the team fares in games is overly dependent on how AR fares, more so than many quarterbacks. It seems logical that, at least initially, Jordan wouldn’t have the same level of impact on game results. If so, is it good or bad (or both)? Either way, I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens.

No offense, but I think you are confusing expectations for QB play with the impact of QB play on plays. It’s always very hard to win in this league if the QB plays badly, and there’s a lot less to overcome if the QB plays well.

Hi Mike, I’m curious to hear your take on an opinion of mine. For the past few years, it seemed like Rodgers was hesitant to throw the ball down the middle. Instead, he ducked down to throw lob passes on the sidelines to Adams and Lazard. Love’s TD throw against Philly when he fell backwards, dug his foot into the ground and hit Watson on the quick tilt was telling.

I don’t want to quibble, but for me this TD was more of a pitch passer than a quick tilt. That said, Rodgers always wanted to attack one-on-one clashes – which were mostly along the border – if he thought his guy had a chance to play on the pitch, and they worked a lot because of his accuracy and of his incredible timing. Everyone remembers more the chances they didn’t make when a third-and-second shootout resulted in a punt, which was rightly frustrating. So I didn’t treat it as a reluctance to throw in the middle as much as an aggressive approach to one-on-one outside to hit an explosive play. With Love being so much younger and much more inexperienced, I can see less urge to shoot one-on-one, and maybe more patience to let the post-snap scheme work somebody, rather than to rely on the pre-snap look to determine which match to follow. Not that he doesn’t, but maybe less often. That’s a bit spiffball on my part, but I hope the distinction makes sense.

Mike, regarding pre-season games this year, how much playing time will Jordan Love see? Or will it be mainly to see if Clifford or Etling will be the replacements? Appreciate all you and Wes are doing to keep us informed.

This will be an interesting balancing act for LaFleur, because while the preseason reps can help Love, you’re only putting him there with the No. 1 offensive line in front of him. They won’t necessarily need a lot of reps, but they have to be there for the love, so it will just depend on what LaFleur feels is the right compromise.

Like Mark of Missoula, I wondered what Jordan Love could bring to the offense that Aaron Rodgers didn’t. First, Love can reset the offense to when Rodgers was more of a scrambling QB. I also expect Love to direct the piece called more often. Rodgers earned the right to do so, but he was playing chess at times when all we needed was checkers.

Brendan from Warren, MI also brought up the jamming element. I think Love’s younger legs will keep defenses a bit more honest with their passing rush, but I don’t see an excessive amount of scrambling or designed runs à la Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson.

Well done Mike! What do you think are the chances of getting a home opener and a home final? It’s already arrived ? What would you prefer and would it be different if AR were around a year longer hypothetically?

I think a home opener would be best for Love as he takes over initially but after that I think young QBs often do better in the cold so if he lives up to his first year, late season home games could really work for the Packers advantage. During my time here, the Packers only opened and closed the regular season at home four times — in 2018, 2011, 2008 and 2007.

What is the best season record for the Packers in the first year with a new starting quarterback?

They went 9-7 in Favre’s freshman year in ’92, and Favre was actually 9-5, as the Packers were 0-2 when he stepped in for an injured Majkowski in Week 3.

Julius from Providence, RI

I just saw the craziest fact. According to Sports Illustrated, there are four teams whose most experienced (or tied for most) receiver is a former Packer. Jets have Cobb, Raiders have Adams, Chiefs have MVS, Bears have ESB. And if you don’t count the Patriots’ Matthew Slater (with one career reception in 16 seasons), then the Patriots have Ty Montgomery (who’s a WR again, but now has No. 14). It’s amazing how good the Packers are at drafting receivers. It bodes well for this season.

In the immortal words of Regis Philbin during his “Seinfeld” cameo, it’s kinda bonkos.

While the Brewers got off to a good start, Craig Counsell warned fans that there will be ups and downs due to the youth of the team. While injuries also play a role, I think it’s fair to say that we are experiencing some of the downsides that Counsell warned of. I have to think Packers fans need to be prepared for the same. I expect there will be many great moments that will energize Packers fans this year, but as fans we will also have to endure the inconsistencies of a young and developing team.

Consistency is hard to achieve at all times, and it is all the more elusive the younger the team.

Graydon from Menomonie, WI

Last weekend was the repechage. This weekend is rookie minicamp. It’s been a busy two weeks for you. How do you ensure a healthy work-life balance during this time?

I’m doing a brief excursion that includes Monday off, so you’ll have Wes for the first two days of next week. Have a great weekend everyone.

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