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It's been quite the metamorphosis

Posted Sep 30, 2017

The Packers are in good hands with this group of safeties


Mauricio from Chicago, IL

I would just like to congratulate you because you called that Ha Ha would have the first interception for the Packers on the season and he did, so, props to you, and maaaaan is Ha Ha a special player. I think our future defense should be built around him. Thoughts?

I’d first like to thank the academy. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a special talent and he’s only getting better. He won’t turn 25 until Week 16. Top-down, the Packers are in good hands with this group of safeties.

John from Little Rock, AR

So in less than two years the Packers’ O-line has gone from starting four natural tackles to four natural guards?

It’s been quite the metamorphosis, hasn’t it? Whether it’s the guards stepping up or a rookie like Aaron Jones playing his first NFL offensive snaps out of the blue. Jahri Evans and Justin McCray have some previous tackle experience in college, but it’s still an achievement the Packers navigated such treacherous waters without their top five options at offensive tackle.

Larry from Green Bay, WI

I think Coach Campen should be given huge kudos for piecing together a patchwork O-line that was for the most part very effective.

You’d have a better chance of relocating the Packers than getting James Campen to compliment himself, but he has put on a coaching clinic this season. It’s one thing to teach fundamentals, but his ability to get these new guys mentally prepared to play 70-plus snaps is a masterclass in coaching.

Cid from Orlando, FL

There's a lot being made of Lane Taylor playing tackle "for the first time in his life". Could you explain a bit about what it takes to go from guard to tackle?

Evans outlined why it’s so difficult in our Game Notes. Most blocks are instantaneous for guards. It usually involves stronger, but slower, nose tackles and three-techniques bull-rushing into you in traffic. What makes tackle a challenge is everything is based on footwork and fundamentals because you’re facing quicker rushers who typically are exceptional athletes. You often have to kick out a few steps before contact, which can be problematic for some guards.

Matt from Verona, WI

Lane Taylor is playing his way to a rich contract with the Bears, Vikings, or Lions.

Good thing he’s now under contract through 2020 after signing his extension earlier this month.

Stephen from Washington DC

I read Wes' article about Lane Taylor making the switch to tackle and there was a lot about how Bakhtiari and Bulaga were there giving him advice during the week, and I've seen both of them on the sidelines during games talking to the O-line. Is it normal for injured players to help the next guy up this much, or are we just really fortunate to have these guys on our team?

That’s probably commonplace on many NFL offensive lines, but the difference here is Taylor had two of the best in the business at the position to bounce ideas off of. It cannot be overstated how beneficial that is to a player making a spot start at a completely new position.

Gavin from Albuquerque, NM

How about a new rule: You lower the crown of your helmet and take a guy out of the game, you are ejected and suspended until he is medically cleared to return to the playing field. I call, it the “eye for an eye rule.”

While I believe Danny Trevathan was sincere in his apology, the hit went well beyond a football play and what’s acceptable in 2017. You can’t hit a defenseless player like that. Davante Adams’ momentum was stopped. There was no forward progress to halt. It’s a shame. Your idea – while extreme – has merit.

Jesse from Byron Center, MI

Can you explain why Danny Trevathan didn't get ejected for that hit on Davante? He seemed to lead with the crown of his head and the refs missed it.

Referee John Hussey told pool reporter Rob Demovsky, “From my perspective I just didn’t see enough to have it rise to that level.” He then said he didn’t have enough information to determine whether it was egregious or unnecessary. Keep in mind they don’t have the benefit of replay review, but I still would’ve like to have seen the whistle blown earlier on the play.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

If the NFL is as committed to player safety as they say, now is the time to send a message via Danny Trevathan.

I’ll be watching the league office closely this week, but I think everyone is just happy Adams is OK. All concussion are serious and must be handled with care, but thankfully all signs point toward no significant neck issues for Adams.

David from Philadelphia, PA

Glad to hear that Adams is moving around OK after the Trevathan hit. My question is, will he even want to play football again, if he can, after a scare like that? And what will he be thinking next time a ball comes high over the middle? Even if Adams plays again, he will never be the same. Here's to hoping his mental health is doing well, too.

Adams is the only one who can answer the questions your pose, but I will say he’s one of the most confident and headstrong individuals I’ve covered in the NFL. He isn’t fazed by anything. Assuming he’s cleared and everything is OK, I don’t see it affecting how he plays.

Kevin from Fitchburg, WI

Wanted to say congrats to Brice on his first interception, I believe. It seemed like he kept a pretty firm grip on the ball while celebrating after the play was done. Do you know if he was able to keep it?

I think so. There were several young players walking around with footballs in the locker room afterwards.

Craig from Temperance, MI

Now will this team start looking for a RB like hhhhmmmm Mr. Peterson?

No.

Jonathan from Holdrege, NE

Remember when everyone was mad Thompson went with Lane Taylor over Sitton? Remember they were confused about drafting three running backs?

Funny how things work out, huh? To your second question, the Packers went through their top three running backs in the first month of the 2016 season. They weren’t going to wind up in that predicament again.

Timothy from El Paso, TX

Not a question, but I have to say it’s awesome seeing Aaron Jones do what he did. I’m in El Paso, and he was drafted out of UTEP. After the game the local news channels were going crazy about his start and touchdown.

It was a great moment for both UTEP and Jones, who really stepped up considering he didn’t touch the ball in his first three NFL games and really has been platooning as the No. 3 back on the game-day roster with Devante Mays. He runs with power and explosiveness. There’s a reason Aaron Rodgers said he’s comfortable with him.

Ben from Colchester, CT

Our prayers are with you Davante. Man, what a game. So impressed by the team's resilience and determination. I cannot say enough about our two lines, they both stepped up to some very difficult challenges. My question is how did the Insider team stay loose and focused during the weather delay?

Most players I talked to said they listened to music and relaxed. The strength-and-conditioning staff had foam rollers and other devices to help keep the players’ bodies from tightening up. Morgan Burnett told me after the game he just sat and watched time tick off the clock until the players were allowed to retake the field.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

I thought a telling stat was Aaron never running for gains and our backs having the longest runs of the game. Even if he slides, it simply wasn't worth the risk of him taking off and he knew better the whole game.

It was a product of the game plan. The Packers scripted quick-release routes and slants to help get the ball out of Rodgers’ hands early. He had a few opportunities to scramble on a couple rollouts and bootlegs, but there seemed to be an open receiver every time.

Lasse from Svendborg, Denmark

Did Josh Hawkins just leapfrog Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins?

The Packers have used all of their veteran cornerbacks this season and I’d imagine they’ll continue doing so. Mike McCarthy said Friday it was his decision to send Randall to the locker room, opening an opportunity for Hawkins and he made the most of it with five tackles and three deflections. Hawkins has taken that step you look for.

Troy from Madison, WI

There were a lot of great plays as noted in your articles, however I feel there is also quite a bit to look at in the "What You Might’ve Missed" column. The de-cleating of an offensive lineman by Kenny Clark, the super game played by big Dean Lowry, and one de-cleat by, I believe, Jahri Evans towards the goal line. Loved the toughness the Packers demonstrated.

It’s up to Spoff what he pinpoints in WYMM, but a look at the stat line of Clark (eight tackles) and Lowry (five tackles) doesn’t tell the story of their season. Those two have been critical against the run, especially since Mike Daniels went down with the hip injury.

Will from Arlington, VA

There's been a lot of talk about Rodgers checking to make sure the flag is thrown when defenders jump offside. Do you think this is because of the 2014 NFC Championship Game, when he thought he had a free play, threw an end-zone pick to Sherman, and the flag was never thrown? That play still baffles me when I see it on replay.

That’s a really good question and observation. I’ll try to ask Aaron the next time I get a one-on-one with him. I can’t say for certain why he does it, but it wouldn’t surprise me based on his steel-trap mind.

Clint from Port Washington, WI

Why does it seem like the Packers cannot go into halftime without letting the other team score?

Because it’s football. Occasionally, the other team scores, too. This isn’t Madden on rookie mode.

Matt from Verona, WI

It was a great win, but I'm still going to whine. Does that flat pass to the tight end ever work? Bennett had like 23 receptions for a yard and a half. At least the drops issue seems over.

I don’t have an issue with it. It was a part of getting the ball out of Rodgers’ hand as quickly as possible. I thought Bennett played well. He helped chip off the line, picked up 26 yards on the early rollout, and caught an important pass in the middle of the field to set up a fourth-and-1 conversion on the 13-play scoring drive in the third quarter.  

Susie from Green Bay, WI

It looked like the Bears forgot we had a receiver named Jordy Nelson. Has any other receiver scored four touchdowns in a span of four days?

I’d have to think that would be a record unless someone did it between Sunday and Thanksgiving games in the past. Nelson is on pace for 20 touchdowns. Not too shabby.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Punts and extra points were very successful against the Bears. What grade do you give the new LS?

I thought Taybor Pepper did a nice job, especially with the quick turnaround. He was the first to admit he has a ways to go, but it was a good debut. He was busy with 10 snaps between punts and kicks.

Chad from Port Douglas, Australia

It was embarrassing for the officials with the contact on Vogel. It clearly showed no tipping of the ball by a long way but because McCarthy was out of timeouts he could not challenge. Pretty ridiculous. If something is obviously an incorrect call the officials should overturn it regardless. That is their job.

It was unfortunate the Packers couldn’t challenge. It obviously didn’t have any bearing on the outcome, but the 28-yard punt hurt Vogel’s net average in addition to the unnecessary hit. He finished with 46.2 average, but imagine what it would’ve been if the play was ruled correctly.

John from Nenarella, TN

Why did the Pack wear the white uniforms?

Not sure. Maybe try Google.

Richard from Yankton, SD

Looks like there were a lot of open seats. What's the tipping point before the NFL stops the protest?

What game were you watching? Did you turn off the TV set during the rain delay?

Nick from Michigan City, IN

How about that reaction to bringing out the flag and the national anthem? I've been to many games, including “Salute to Service” games, and have never seen anything like that. Awesome!

I was pleased with the response. It was great hearing the roar of applause for the unfurling of the flag and the chants of U.S.A. Listen, everyone here loves America and what it stands for. Like Jordy Nelson said, this process has led to constructive conversations with members of my own family and opened my eyes to the happenings in Puerto Rico, which I didn’t know nearly as much about until Lance Kendricks brought up the discussion.

Kirsten from Madison, WI

The issue of skill sets aside, are there any official regulations barring any member on the team from filling in for any other member on the team? Once you're part of the 53, could the coach, if necessary, plug you in anywhere?

I’ve seen Letroy Guion play guard. Anything is possible.

Dennis from Lindenwood, IL

Wes, don't you mean should've, would've, could've?

Nope. I think I’d remember my grandfather’s sayings.

Amanda from Villa Rica, GA

What are the odds that if it's our choice, we elect to receive the football in the first half more often now after such a fast start to the game yesterday?

It’s probably a coin flip.

Jay from Woodstock, GA

"And so." Spoff, I'll bet your mom-in-law uses the Wisconsin "er no?" too. As in, "Will you post my comment, er no?"

I don’t know whether Spoff would post it, but I’m up for it, er no?

Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

Insiders, there's just one topic on everyone's mind this morning, and that's Lucas Patrick's mustache. What's your take?

Stellar. It’s no surprise Patrick played as well as he did. You’re taking your first step toward stardom with that kind of ’stache game.


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