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Familiarity is paramount in this game

Posted Oct 19, 2017

Confidence is at the core of everything


Jonathan from Paducah, KY

You mean to tell me this team is going with the guy they've been grooming for over two years to be a starter in the NFL and not some outside free agent? Sounds like a bold strategy, Wes Hod. I'm ready to see if it works out for them.

I could think of no better way to start the day than a timely “Dodgeball” reference. And off we go. Good morning.

Jon from Tacoma, WA

What are the chances we see Jeff Janis or Trevor Davis step in as wide receiver more often now that Hundley has the reins? I bet the three have developed some useful chemistry over the last couple seasons.

Those two have caught a lot of passes from Hundley over the years. At the same time, I think you saw how quickly Hundley was able to connect with Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams on Sunday. It’s possible the Packers could use Janis and Davis more on offense, but they also have three of the best receivers in the game to help Hundley.

Joel from York, NE

Packers fans have been spoiled by Rodgers’ ability to take care of the ball and avoid interceptions. Do you think Hundley will do as well, or do we need to be prepared for more INTs as a return to the "normal" NFL level?

Rodgers is one of a kind when it comes to taking risks and protecting the football. You can’t expect that from any quarterback coming in, but Hundley has done a nice job of limiting turnovers during his previous preseason appearances. He also reduced his interceptions in each of his three years at UCLA.

Taylor from Amarillo, TX

Tuesday question from John from Greenville, OH: Do the Packers have enough depth on the offensive line to protect Hundley and to block for the running backs? Wes: "I think so." Sorry Wes, but think you're answering that one with some green-and-gold-tinted glasses there, friend. Our O-line is decimated by injuries; especially at the tackle position. I don't think there's any reasonable way to have prepared for what's happened, so not blaming TT or anyone else. I think what you meant to say was, "For this week, no, Packers have to try and slog through this one and get to the bye and see how things shape up from there."

I love the “What have you done for me lately” crowd. I don’t know how many Packers games you’ve watched this year, bud, but they’ve had two of their best offensive performances this year playing behind a line consisting of three or four guards and a center. Anything is possible. And who said I’m your friend, PAL?

Collin from Mechanicsville, VA

PFF had Clark as the highest-rated interior lineman in Week 5. Is it too early to say that he might be better than Daniels, or is his ceiling that much higher?

The Packers don’t care which player is viewed as the better defensive tackle. It doesn’t matter. What’s important, at any position, is starters are contributing and effective. Clark consistently has done his job this year.

Garrett from Hugo, MN

Insiders, there is an element of the upcoming Hundley show that I haven't seen discussed yet, and I feel it is a silver lining. This guy is playing for a starter’s salary next season. We see it all the time, a career season on a contract year. He has to know there are multiple teams following his performances closely. My question is, given he has been in the system for three years, how much freedom to make checks do you think he will have this week, and also as the season moves on?

The Packers will be smart and feel things out at first. McCarthy has said in the past he put a little too much on Scott Tolzien’s plate during his first NFL start. As Hundley gets more comfortable, they’ll continue to give him more freedom pre-snap at the line of scrimmage.

Humberto from Mexico City, Mexico

Gents, honestly, what is your good-faith estimate (percentage-wise) that AR12 comes back and plays this season? Assume Brett keeps us in the playoff hunt.

It’s hard to say. I haven’t seen the scans. Even if I did, I wouldn’t know what to make out of them. I don’t speak doctor.

Dave from Comer, GA

Am I the only one who finds it "coincidental" that the Barr hit on Rodgers comes a couple days after the Coach Zimmer says the Packers should trade Rodgers? He knows that won't happen so he sends a goon out to intentionally injure the best QB in the league. Coach Z says it was a clean hit. Hmmm...Interesting...

While I no longer believe you can justifiably call that a “clean” hit in 2017, it’s natural for coaches to defend their players. I don’t think there was a bounty on Rodgers or anything. I’ll be interested to hear if the NFL will have anything to say about it this week in terms of a fine.

Don from Hazleton, PA

I don't think the play on Aaron Rodgers where he got hit was dirty until you see Anthony Barr looking to me like he was trying to drive him into the ground. I’m sure when you’re 240 pounds it's hard to stop on a dime, but the way he seemed to drive him down is what bothers me, and I'd bet A-Rod said the same thing. Your thoughts?

I think a simple shove would’ve sufficed and conveyed the message Barr was trying to send. You see it all the time with elite pass rushers. You keep your hands up and on the quarterback in case he pulls it down. If he tucks it, you can still make a play. If he throws it, you’re not punishing him.

Terry from Brooksville, FL

Why don’t the Packers hire Tony Romo for a year until Rodgers gets back? It would be cool to see what Tony can do.

This isn’t Madden. You can’t just sign a guy and start him Sunday, and expect great results. Look at what happened with Josh Freeman when the Vikings did that a few years ago. There might be some sports where you can sign a guy and immediately throw him on the field, but it’s not easy to do that in football. Familiarity is paramount in this game.

David from Plymouth, MI

Why don't they bring back Brett to finish the season?

A Brett in the hand is worth two in the bush?

Rob from Spring Lake, NJ

I believe that my son and I are one of a handful of Packer fans who were in attendance for Rodgers’ first playing time as a Packer. It was Dec. 19, 2005. The Pack was getting shellacked (final score 48-3) and sometime in the second half Favre was pulled (and at that point, given that it was MNF, there were maybe 2,000 fans left in the stadium). When Rodgers entered the game, I turned to my son and said, "Well, at least we'll get a look into the future." Rodgers proceeded to go 8-of-15 for 63 yards, one INT and a passer rating of...drum roll please...36.8 Hopefully those stats provide some perspective to those who want to extrapolate Hundley's first performance onto the rest of the season!

A reminder to not judge a quarterback by his first relief appearance. Let’s see what the guy’s got.

Greg from Mt. Calvary, WI

I think it will be very beneficial to have Rodgers on the sidelines to help break down plays in between series. That being said, is Rodgers allowed to wear a headset? Also, who is all allowed to speak to the quarterback during plays?

Rodgers will have to be medically cleared to be on the sideline, but he’ll be a huge resource for Hundley between plays. He’ll have access to a headset, but the play-caller (McCarthy) is the person speaking to the quarterback.

Naomi from Ronan, MT

Aaron has not been placed on injured reserve yet. I heard if he is placed on this list he must be out a minimum of eight weeks. Are they not placing him on this list because they hope he can come back earlier? Doesn't keeping him on the active roster block out a spot for a possible replacement we need on the O-line?

They’re waiting for all the information to come in before making a decision on Rodgers.

Gerald from Santa Fe, NM

I’m sure there is fan excitement over the possibility of Vince Biegel coming off IR to play. But wouldn’t a more important recovery from IR be Don Barclay? It’s been quiet about how he is doing, and wouldn’t it seem that he might be a lot of what the offensive line needs right now?

Like the PUP players, Barclay is eligible to start practicing again this week and play after Week 8. To do so, however, the Packers must designate him as one of their two players to return from IR. So we’ll see. His versatility would be very beneficial, though.

Paul from Las Vegas, NV

Russell Wilson 2012, Dak Prescott 2016, Deshaun Watson 2017. Brett Hundley now! Brett’s going to make himself a very rich man! It will be a fun ride watching a new star entering the NFL stratosphere. #PACKERSTRONG

It’s funny how hopeless the narrative was with Prescott and Watson when they hopped under center. Even look at how folks were talking about the Packers’ backfield as recently as two weeks ago. Then, Aaron Jones rushes for 125 yards and a touchdown. You don’t know until you know. Maybe Hundley will take the Packers to state like Matt Saracen and the Dillon High School Panthers.

David from Cincinnati, OH

How do you think Lenzy Pipkins looked in, what seemed to me, his first extended look on defense in Minnesota? The Packers do not waste roster spots and we had a lot of talent at CB this offseason. Thompson and McCarthy saw something to have to give him a roster spot.

I drove the Pipkins hype train all summer. I like his skill set. Pipkins might not have had any jump-out-of-your-seat plays during the preseason, but he was consistent, physical and aggressive. The Packers kept him around for a reason. He had good moments in Minnesota and plenty of film to learn from.

Gary from Austin, MN

The difference in last week’s game can be explained not by the injury to AR but to poor tackling by the Packers. Now Capers has said we have to do what we do best. Does that mean that tackling is a lost cause for this team?

I don’t know about you guys, but I felt the Packers had tackled well prior to Sunday’s game. I believe the lack of big plays allowed speaks to that. Everyone is in agreement, though. They have to turn it around against New Orleans.

Josh from San Jose, CA

A lot of coaches and fans I know have a ton of faith in Hundley. Do you think it will help give him more confidence or does it put more pressure on him to succeed? Does this sort of talk even affect the players at this level?

I think it can go a long way for a young player hearing his coaches and teammates believe in him. Confidence is at the core of everything.

Charlie from Waukesha, WI

How many requests for trading Hundley so far this season?

I lost count by August.

Joe from Eau Claire, WI

When a challenge is thrown, who decides the outcome? The ref watching on field or home office?

NFL office in New York makes the final decision on challenges now, but the head official has input.

Mike from Superior, WI

I know Aaron Rodgers was rolling out to the right but I feel like if we would have had our original top lineman there would be a great possibility that this wouldn’t have happened. Green Bay was a whole different team when they had Sitton, Lang, and Tretter. Sure wish we had them now with Brett in there. Maybe Ted should have though more about protecting his No. 1 QB.

Weak sauce. This has nothing to do with the offensive line. If it had anything to do with the O-line, that hit would have drawn a flag on the play because it would’ve been inside the pocket.

Mike from Somerset, WI

Would you say Blake Martinez's improved play is symbiotic with Mike Daniels’ and Kenny Clark's improved play?

Inside linebackers and defensive tackles are the defensive equivalent of peanut butter and jelly, which in turn, I guess makes edge rushers the bread.

Idwin from Kearney, NE

Brett is going to need help in his first career start. What guys do you see stepping up and helping this team stay on track?

This is a big game for the Packers’ pass rush – inside and outside. You know what you’re getting with Drew Brees. He has four yards on five runs this year. The Saints have done a nice job of rebuilding that offensive line in front of him over the years, but you cannot let him get comfortable in the pocket.

Todd from Palm Harbor, FL

It's easy to get down when you lose the best player in football and are struggling with this many injuries, but did anyone see the Giants game last weekend? They were only missing their top four receivers, had a terrible offensive line and one of the worst running games in the NFL, and they went into Denver against one of the best defenses in the league and got a victory. These guys are professionals, anything can happen!

Show me someone who has this game all figured out and I’ll show you a fool.

Ben from Shorewood, WI

How about if a coach uses both of his challenges successfully during the course of the game, the head official then has to do his laundry for one week?

Or he gets a portion of the referee’s game check.

Peter from Eagan, MN

Is it time for the NFL to scrap the coaches’ challenge? The college system is so much better. Having the official in the booth initiate the review makes more sense to me. Let the coaches coach and the officials officiate.

I could get behind this.

Lauren from Tampa Bay, FL

I do not expect this to be answered. Nothing against your great work here, but I noticed that you reply to males 24:2 on the last session. Is it that females are in the minority with questions or that their questions/comments aren't as good?

Female questions are typically better. We just don’t get nearly as many of them. So please, ladies, fire away.

Tom from Erie, PA

Pat from Hudson, WI, needs to go back to school. I am also disappointed that you did not catch it. Germany had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor.

Homework assignment for the Inbox because too many people get confused by this line and frankly it’s annoying me. Go watch “Animal House.” The next person who misinterprets this line goes to the Inbox Hall of Fame. You’ve been warned.


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