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Grit got them here

Posted Dec 12, 2017

Brett Hundley has shown a knack for making a big play in the big moment

Danny from Logan, WV

Can we label this team the Cardi-Pack?

Win or lose, you cannot tell me you haven’t been glued to your TV set this season and it’s because this team will not die. The Packers had a decision to make with three minutes left in the third quarter. There was no room for error. The offense needed to produce, the defense needed stops and special teams needed a big play. They got them. The past two weeks have been almost unprecedented. Grit got them here, but you can’t let up.

DT from Bozeman, MT

Is anyone else out there referring to Brett Hundley as “Max Drama”?

Hundley has a knack for making a big play in the big moment. That’s easier said than done. He got the ball out quicker after halftime and threw a perfect pass on that back-shoulder fade to Davante Adams to force overtime. The play-calling was smart and Hundley showed grit in leading the offense back with the game on the line.

Joe from Dundee, IL

If ever there was a time to say that he "high-pointed" the ball, it was Jones’ INT of Kizer’s wounded duck. So amazed and thankful another Packer player did not knock it out of Jones’ hands.

Jones had a 37½-inch vertical jump at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. He used every centimeter of his leaping ability on the interception. It looks like such a simple pick on the surface, but it really isn’t. There are no centerfielders in this game. You have to be aggressive, yet careful, with several teammates going for the same ball. That was a big moment for Jones, who had a few chances at picks in recent weeks. 

Al from Green Bay, WI

It was great to see Jones get his first NFL pick. But to be honest, when the ball hung in the air for what seemed like 10 minutes, I was sure it would fall incomplete as no fewer than four Packers had a shot at getting their hands on the ball. Is there any coaching done about communication between players when the ball hangs in the air like that?

They run through those scenarios, but each situation is naturally different. You’ll see something like that develop only on a few occasions a year. In that case, the player who high-points the ball the best is going to have the chance to come down with it. Jones took care of business.

Collin from Mechanicsville, VA

In reference to the question and answer about Nick Collins’ centerfield abilities, how much longer until we see a switch with Josh Jones playing centerfield and either Burnett or Ha Ha playing closer to the box the majority of the time? Seems like this kid can play center.

The Packers like to cross-train their safeties at multiple spots, so players aren’t restricted to a specific spot. Morgan Burnett’s role is a little different with him playing slot cornerback and hybrid linebacker at times, but you’ll also see Clinton-Dix hover in the box and come on corner blitzes. Jones has good speed and plays physical. He’s another guy who can play in the box or centerfield with more experience and seasoning.

Evan from Appleton, WI

Props for Clay wearing his dad's Browns jersey after the game. What a cool moment to make a non-political or non-bashing-the-other-guy statement. More proof of Clay being a class act.

His dad played for the Browns for 16 seasons. Think about that. Sixteen seasons. What were you doing 16 years ago? You can tell how proud Clay is of what his father accomplished in this game. He’s been emphatic about Clay Jr.’s Pro Football Hall of Fame credentials when he’s been nominated the past few years. I thought it was a neat gesture.

Sam from Stevens Point, WI

I must admit, as a fan who has oftentimes questioned/and or been critical of Coach McCarthy's play-calling, I think the calls late in the fourth quarter/OT these last two weeks have been excellent. The plays have been well-executed and very unpredictable, especially the read-option with Hundley against Tampa. Hats off to MM and the rest of the offensive decision-makers for finding ways win late in games and ultimately keeping our postseason hopes alive.

I thought the play-calling was exceptional against the Browns, with concepts the Packers have been setting up for weeks. I liked the bubble-screen pass to Cobb with a sixth offensive lineman on fourth-and-1 early, leading to the touchdown pass to Jamaal Williams two plays later. With Hundley getting the ball out earlier, the offense got back into rhythm in the fourth quarter and the momentum carried over into the overtime.

Bill from Kronenwetter, WI

The Williams touchdown pass brought back a ton of memories for me from the ’60s. Starr to the running back deep down the sidelines. You are doing great work. Thank you.

He’s a human highlight reel on the field and the energizer bunny off of it. It’s contagious. Williams is a dual threat as a runner and pass catcher, but he’s also stout in pass protection. The Packers drafted him in the fourth round because they felt he was a durable, NFL-ready runner. He had to wait his turn, but Williams brings it every time he touches the ball.

Pete from Madison, WI

The real hero on the overtime interception was Randall. He was inside Josh Gordon’s jersey, forcing the QB to panic. Looked like Randall played one hell of a game. He may be our best pure cover corner.

Randall is healthy this season and it’s showing. He has the speed and athleticism to hang with the best receivers in the league and the versatility to follow them across the line of scrimmage. Gordon made hay against zone coverage early, but Randall did well in helping the defense contain him the rest of the game.

Charlie from Tucson, AZ

So did something happen to Jason Spriggs while he was on IR? Is he playing better or is the team finding ways to cover up for him more?

Believe it or not, young players often improve. It’s a crazy phenomenon. I don’t think you can overlook the value of Spriggs getting a chance to settle in at one position after playing all over as a rookie. Hundley is getting the ball out quicker, but you can see Spriggs’ confidence building.

Bill from Menominee, MI

Hats off to the Pack for playing every down like it was their last. If I were a Browns fan I'd feel more disappointment in the Browns’ loss than excitement as a Packers fan with a win. They had the Packers third-and-12 early and had a penalty. Later in the game had them stopped again and had a personal foul. Their lack of discipline lost them the game. In giving credit where it's due, the Packers’ good discipline kept them in it right through the end. I don't recall seeing many flags against the Packers, especially the punt return.

The Browns, the NFL’s youngest team, had three bad penalties in third-down situations, but none of them actually led to Green Bay scoring drives. The Packers played clean football, though. They finished with only three penalties for 20 yards.

Mark from Largo, FL

Could you please explain why the non-touchdown by Hundley required a 10-second clock runoff? It’s not like either team requested the review. It would have killed us, had there been only nine seconds left to play.

No problem. In fact, Spoff answered the same exact question yesterday. I will say credit the coaches and players for using the 10-second runoff to their benefit. They stayed calm, communicated and wasted no time once the clock started rolling.

Nick from Ceres, CA

The Insider Inbox has been my second bible for the past three seasons now. Thanks to this, I have a better perspective for this Packers team. Thank you guys. My question is, how do you think the Packers can beat the Panthers at home?

Don’t let Cam Newton beat you with his feet. He’s on pace for his most rushing yards since 2012. He hasn’t had the prettiest passer rating every week in this recent stretch for the Panthers, winners of five of their last six. However, he’s rushed for nearly 400 yards with two touchdowns. He didn’t beat Green Bay with accuracy in 2015 (15-of-30). Newton did it with big plays with his arm (19.8 yards per completion) and feet. You have to contain him.

Don from Lancaster, PA

With all the injuries at DB, any chance of converting Janis? He’s tall, fast, has a decent vertical jump, and can tackle. Seems like he has the right qualities.

No. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. No.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

If Rodgers is cleared to play, would you expect him to avoid contact more than usual?

The Packers won’t put him on the field if he can’t be Aaron Rodgers. If he’s cleared, it’s because his collarbone has properly healed. Rodgers and Dr. Pat McKenzie go way back. They’ll take all of the information and opinions collected this week and do what’s in his best interest as a person.

Chris from Moraviantown, Canada

If Aaron Rodgers were to come back and average three TDs and 300 yards per game while winning the last three games and leading the Packers to the playoffs, do you think he’d be considered for the MVP? This season would indicate exactly how valuable he is to the Packers.

Good question and good point, but I don’t see it happening. There are too many other great candidates out there. An MVP can miss a game here or there, but half the season makes it tough to gain widespread support with only the regular season to go off of.

Bones from Ripon, WI

Speaking of snow games, did you see that Army/Navy game? Awesome game to watch and so much class on display! Made me very proud of our young military officers-to-be.

I had a chance to watch a good portion of the second half. It was a great game with drama until the very end. The snow only added to the grandeur of it all. College football is so much better when Army and Navy are doing well.

Adam from Wausau, WI

Do you think players being lost to career-ending injuries should be added to the compensatory draft pick formula?

No. It’s unfortunate, but determining whether a player can return sometimes takes a full year or more. I just don’t know how you’d be able to police it.

Joseph from East Moline, IL

Why is it that in pretty much every sport opponents are respectful to each other in pre- and post-game interviews but in pro fighting they are completely disrespectful?

Because they’re hyping the fight. They have to get viewers interested. Team sports are entirely different. In most cases, players are trying to avoid bulletin-board material. For fighters, you have to win and promote. Afterward, in most cases, there is a lot of sportsmanship shown between the two parties.

Nathan from Oconomowoc, WI

No questions about deferring in OT? I can see the case for it as our offense wasn't doing that much but we had just scored on two consecutive drives. Was it really that windy to take the wind over the ball?

My guess is the Packers would’ve taken the ball if they’d won the coin toss. Since they didn’t, the wind was the next best thing.

Brett from Lakewood, CO

If a 10-5 Carolina team (with one of those five losses happening against the Packers) is playing against a 9-6 Falcons team in Week 17, that would be a good thing. That is, of course, if the Packers are also 10-5 at that point, and on their way to a win in Detroit!

I appreciate your enthusiasm Brett, but it’s going to be hard for the Packers to be 10-5 going into Detroit. A 9-6 record heading into Week 17 would make things very interesting in the NFC, though.

Zach from Clarkfield, MN

Is it bad that I was actually cheering for the Vikings to win this past week? It seemed like it would've helped our cause more than a loss.

Minnesota didn’t get it done against Carolina. You now have my permission to cheer against the Vikings during the final three weeks of the regular season. If they lose out and the Packers win out, Green Bay is NFC North champions.

Troy from Lawrence, KS

Wes, do you think "A Song of Ice and Fire" refers to both Jon and Daenerys, or to just Jon?

Both are central characters, but I believe “A Song of Ice and Fire” refers to only Jon, the child of ice and fire who is at the center of the conflict from the pages of “A Game of Thrones.”

Justin from Danbury, CT

It's actually pretty simple. According to the New York Times, if the Packers win their final three games, they have a 92 percent chance of making the playoffs. I ran possible outcomes a bunch of different ways. The most important game is Seattle at Dallas. If Dallas beats Seattle, the Packers are a virtual lock. If Seattle wins, things get trickier regarding Carolina and Atlanta, but even then, the probability of the Packers making it is still high if they win out.

In other words – just win, baby.

Sam from Nashville, TN

As of right now, the Packers can finish the season as high as the No. 2 seed, or can finish the season looking in from the outside. Just win, baby.

Parity is a beautiful thing.

Kevin from Nyack, NY

Insiders, I'm battling end-stage liver disease, hoping for a living donor. I live in a part of the country where there are almost 2,000 people waiting for liver donations. I'm not sick enough to get a cadaver liver, but will not survive without a transplant. There simply aren't enough organs being donated. I don't have much of a quality of life now and spend the week getting excited to watch my Packers, even with the up-and-down season they've had. I've put a lot on the team to help me feel good. Maybe an unreasonable expectation, but I'm a fan. What can I say? I spent most of Sunday's game griping about the Pack handing the first win to a perennial bottom-feeder. Then, the fourth quarter comes and it all starts to turn around. I regained my composure and knew they'd pull it off in OT. I feel like a schmuck and a fair-weather fan. I'll do my best to stay faithful to the Pack, but not pin too much on a game. Lesson learned. That's all. Except, please, everyone reading, sign your driver's license and be an organ donor. You could save someone's life.

It’s not over, Kevin. The odds are in your favor no matter what the scoreboard says as long as you keep fighting. When facing adversity in life, I feel it’s best to immerse yourself in what brings you happiness. Football can cause anxiety at times, but the ride makes it worth it. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, my friend. Keep fighting.


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