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There is reason for optimism this Sunday

Posted Oct 21, 2017

This Packers team will write its own destiny


Josh from Oshkosh, WI

Amidst all the dread of the Packers losing Rodgers, how much excitement has the Inbox seen this week for Hundley? I'm super excited to watch on Sunday. It's my beloved Green Bay Packers with a new twist.

I was thinking about this recently while sipping on a Pumpkin Spice Latte. There is justifiable reason for optimism. Mike McCarthy loved Hundley coming out of UCLA and has had two-plus years to work with him. This isn’t Seneca Wallace stepping in after being out of football for a year. Hundley is in his prime and ready for this opportunity.

Jimmy from New Richmond, WI

Hi Biff, I was all gloom and doom after losing "The Man" and am very ashamed of myself. It took all my strength to open up packers.com on Monday, but I am glad I did. I don't know how you guys deal with all the negativity on a regular basis, but reading your honest answers this week has been very enlightening, and I'm pumped to see what Mr. Hundley can do. Thank you guys for helping me regain perspective and sanity. On to New Orleans.

As fans, you create your forecast. It can be cold and rainy or sunny and temperate. It’s up to you, but it doesn’t change the way the game is played Sunday. I feel there’s no advantage to being crestfallen. If you’re trying to shield yourself from disappointment, that’s a losing mentality.

Karl from Santa Fe, NM

Hey Insiders, I know the passer rating thing for Hundley looks abysmal, but the third INT was the last-gasp pick, so kinda garbage time, IMHO. You gotta take the shot, but you can't see it as a judgment error, just trying to make something happen. The throws to Adams and Nelson are what I get excited about. They show the arm, timing, poise and potential this young man is just beginning to uncover. I can't wait to see more, personally. Your take?

I can’t wait to see how Hundley performs in front of a home crowd with a game plan designed specifically for him.

Kevin from Richland Center, WI

Obviously timing is a big thing between QB and WR. Is it more common for the WRs to adjust to the QB or is it the other way around?

Timing requires both parties to adjust to each other, but I’d say it’s probably a little more on the Packers’ receivers. After spending the bulk of their careers catching passes from Aaron Rodgers, there’s bound to be some transition to Hundley’s playstyle.

Idwin from Kearney, NE

Evans gets to play his old team this weekend. Does that add on to how much this game means to him on top of Hundley’s first start?

Without question. I asked Evans about this matchup on Monday and he had such a great response – they moved on from him, so he moved on from them. He’s a Green Bay Packer now. Evans said he still has a lot of friends in NOLA, but his job on Sunday is to help the Packers win.

Mark from Dallas, TX

We know McCarthy scripts the first several plays. What would you expect to see from the Packers' first offensive snap – a run to try to get things started smoothly, or a pass knowing the Saints will likely be focusing on stopping the run (and showing confidence in the young QB)?

The first 10-15 plays will be important for the Packers since they’ll shed some light on the routes, packages and formations McCarthy and Hundley are most comfortable with. I’d probably work on moving the ball with underneath routes and boundary hitches – try to get Hundley in an early rhythm and build from there.

Giorgio from Monza, Italy

I am fully convinced that Barr's hit was vicious and unnecessary. Still, AR12's instinct didn't work so well in this case. When you are tackled like that, you should simply let the tackler bring you to the ground, most of all NEVER try to stop the fall with your arm. I've seen something similar happening in a judo match, and it was a mistake.

Everything becomes clearer in slow motion. It’s a different story when you have to make those decisions in a fraction of the second.

Javan from Milwaukee, WI

Can you find a way to persuade Aaron Rodgers to grow a comeback beard and get someone to do a montage of his rehab/beard growth a la Rocky IV? I think that would be pretty awesome.

I approve this comment.

Sean from Springfield, OR

Will the Packers bring in a QB3? Some might remember Seneca Wallace also being lost to injury right after Rodgers in 2013. Made things a little sketchy for a few weeks until Matt Flynn came back and got up to speed.

They did. His name is Jerod Evans.

Joe from Asbury, IA

I believe the game hinges on the O-line. If we can get the running game going and Brett has time to throw then the Packers have a shot. What's the rotation looking like it's going to be this week for the line?

Bryan Bulaga passing the concussion protocol and being removed from the injury report, along with David Bakhtiari, is big for the offensive line. Their participation Sunday would help clear things up for the offense and be a boost for the run game. Center Corey Linsley (back) is now questionable on the injury report, though, with Lane Taylor doubtful, so stay tuned.

Richard from Madison, WI

The last undefeated team in the NFL had been the Kansas City Chiefs. Now they've got the same number of losses as the Packers. I guess it doesn't really matter which ORDER you win them in, does it?

I started 6-0 in my fantasy football league a few years ago and then lost my next six games. I finished 7-7. That fast start did little to quash my sadness. They don’t hand out any trophies for best team in September or October.

Pat from Schofield, WI

Now with Rodgers out, do you think Brett will have the same success at catching the defense with 12 men on the field?

It depends how much no-huddle the Packers run. Hundley possesses good awareness, but Rodgers’ experience is what makes him lethal when it comes to catching defenses with an extra man.

Bob from Racine, WI

The NFL has strange rules. Jake Ryan gets hit with a big fine for a horse-collar tackle that didn't injure any player. Rodgers gets a hit that breaks his collarbone and no fine, no flag. Any wisdom from you folks?

It’s pretty simple – horse-collar tackles are deemed illegal and hits like the one on Rodgers are not. Those are the rules right now. As I stated earlier this week, I think the league needs to have a conversation about hits on the quarterback outside the pocket once the season is over.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

I've been hounding you guys for a while about my dislike for the “identity” talk. While it didn't come up this week, I think it did the week after the Cowboys game. Maybe now you can understand why I dislike it so much. It can change in an instant, so there's no point in trying to find some so-called “identity” for a team. Vic has had the identity of every football team right all along: "Just win, baby."

That’s fair, Ethan. Winning is an evergreen identity.  

Dennis from Hinzerath, Germany

Thanks for giving me perspective on Aaron’s injury. Now that he is placed on injured reserve, what do you think it means to the chance of putting up a Christmas miracle and being back just in time for the rematch against the Vikings and our playoff chances? Keep up the great coverage of the Pack for us.

He’s out at least eight weeks, making him first eligible to come back against Carolina on Dec. 17. Beyond that, I’m not sure what the timeline looks like for Rodgers. What I do know is the more games the Packers win, the longer the season will be. The longer the season is, the wider the window is cracked open for a possible return.

Justin from Stephenson, MI

I find myself getting angry when reading the injury report. Why is that? Frustration is getting to me, every week I watch the games and just wait for the next injury. How can McCarthy be so damn blue-collar and have this many injuries to his team? I get that injuries happen but this is ridiculous. Too many strains, sprains and pulls.

Overcoming adversity is more than a catchy slogan in Green Bay. It’s a mindset. Injuries happen. Frustrating? Sure, but you can’t let them dictate your season. This Packers team will write its own destiny.

Greg from Danbury, CT

John from Crivitz asked how defenses scheme against a QB with a short resume. Technically speaking, I don't believe Hundley is a rookie, but these three words sum up what we can expect from New Orleans: Rush the rookie.

And I’ll throw three words back at you: Protect the rookie.

Dan from Providence, RI

What effect, if any, do you think Taysom Hill may have in either team's prep for Sunday? Would New Orleans even bother to pick his brain about Hundley or the Packers’ offense? And would McCarthy need to game plan around what info Hill might provide to the Saints’ D?

I’ll tell you what Joe Callahan told us this week (Callahan originally was claimed by New Orleans, too, last season). Guys are typically zoned in to their own position, so they don’t always have a lot of institutional knowledge of the offense or defense. Will Hill know a few things about Hundley? Maybe, but I don’t think those scenarios have as much impact as you think.

Doug from Adel, IA

With Aaron out and if Brett is named team captain this week, who will be photo-bombing the captains’ picture? Is Joe Callahan ready to fill in and "bomb" as needed?

Next man up.

Paul from Channing, MI

I know you don't answer negative-based questions. I was wondering if you could imagine Jeff Janis playing in the secondary on defense. I have observed how much effort he puts into everything he does. I do not see that instantaneous effort out of some of our pass defenders. Please comment.

I don’t answer condescending questions. Big difference. Janis isn’t moving to the secondary. This has been addressed before. He’s 6-foot-3 and 219 pounds. He’s a receiver and a heck of a special-teams player.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Brett Hundley will receive his greatest mark of success with a victory against the Saints. What other achievements will define success for him in the New Orleans game?

Lengthy drives and protecting the football. If the Packers protect the football, they’ll win this game in my humble opinion.

Peter from Racine, WI

Not to say they don't give 100 percent every single week, but do you think the other 52 players on the roster will try and dig extra deep to bring their A-plus game this week? If there is a silver lining to Aaron's injury, maybe it's everyone else bringing it extra hard the rest of the season.

Absolutely. Just like how the Mighty Ducks pulled together after Adam Banks’ injury.

Rick from Eland, WI

Finally a TNF game that lived up to the hype! In watching the TNF game, the second-to-last play of regulation confused me. Offensive penalty under two minutes left normally requires a 10-second runoff. There was only 8 remaining when the play started. Did the runoff not occur due to the play being in the end zone, or am I missing something in that rule?

There is only a 10-second runoff if, with a running clock, the team trailing commits a pre-snap penalty (i.e. false start, illegal formation), illegal forward pass, intentional grounding, excessive timeouts due to injury, or replay review where the clock would not have stopped (Jared Cook catch).

Arthur from Chippewa Falls, WI

When Lynch ran onto the field on Thursday night, why wasn't there a bench penalty on the Raiders for either too many men on the field or someone from the sidelines being on the playing surface?

Probably because he picked up an unsportsmanlike penalty and ejection for making contact with an official instead?

Anne from Southlake, TX

I'm a WI native. My grandpa from Algoma, WI, had Packers season tickets, so I've been a fan for 50 years. You are both young guys. I'm a professional journalist, too. May I suggest you exercise some graciousness when you disagree with questions? Like Thursday, Wes was outright rude to the first guy. Vic was too sometimes. You're just lowering yourselves to the person's low level. It's offensive to me as such a longtime fan. It's not necessary to be rude to make your point. You represent not only the organization but the fan base. No need to publish this. I'm suggesting you raise the bar on your professional writing. I enjoy reading your comments when they aren't rude. The best to you both. Thank you for considering this suggestion.

Anne, you seem like a very nice lady. Unfortunately, this isn’t always a very nice world. While I try to be respectful and polite in my daily interactions, I sometimes have to put some folks in their place. I learned during my first six months here sheep don’t survive in this space. If I feel a question is bogus or out of line, I’m going to respond in kind. You may not like my retort, but hopefully this provides some context.

Gracyn from Houston, TX

How did you get your name?

Pa Hod objected to “Wesley.”

Steven from Plymouth, MN

Wes, I loved the “Friday Night Lights” reference the other day. Coach Taylor and Coach McCarthy seem similar in how they'd handle situations like the one presented to the Packers. Clear eyes, full hearts...

…can’t lose.


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